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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Levy, Dr. Walter (1948- ) Hired by Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine as director of his Institute for Parapsychology in Durham, North Carolina in 1973, Dr. Levy was a medical student who had an avid interest in parapsychology and had previously worked during his vacations at the institute, starting in 1969. As soon as he began his experiments at the institute's lab, it was evident that he had a knack for getting positive results.
      Rhine had long been under fire for sticking with his statistical studies of extrasensory perception (ESP) rather than going into the more exciting aspects of examining “gifted subjects” such as Peter Hurkos and Uri Geller, who appeared to be able to produce paranormal wonders on demand. Levy, under Rhine's direction, began a series of psi tests on wired-up rats designed to discover whether the rodents were able to influence a random generator, through a computer, to deliver to their brains certain strong pleasure pulses, more often than chance would call for. He also used fertilized chicken eggs in tests to discover if the developing embryos could turn on the incubator lights with psi pulses.
      The results of Levy's work were sensational, and the rats, too, seemed satisfied with this line of work; nothing was heard from the eggs. Rhine was well pleased and the institute was prepared to issue a press release on their success. Then suspicious lab workers discovered that Levy was cleverly manipulating the apparatus in order to produce positive results; an auxiliary recorder showed that the rats had no psi powers at all. Nor did the eggs.
      Levy resigned his position and went into a medical field.



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