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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

Zener, Dr. Karl (1903-1963) In the early 1930s, a Swiss psychologist named Zener, a partner of Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine, designed a set of cards bearing five symbols which he felt were sufficiently different from one another that they would be ideal for conducting certain tests, among them extrasensory perception (ESP) tests. These symbols are: circle, plus sign, wavy lines, square, and star.


The five symbols developed by Dr. Karl Zener for use in tests of extrasensory perception.

      These are normally used in a deck of twenty-five cards, five of each symbol. For decades, Zener cards have been employed in parapsychological laboratories in the search for the ever-elusive powers called telepathy and clairvoyance. So far, in spite of millions of bits of data gathered through that extensive exploration, experiments with Zener cards have failed to yield convincing, replicable results.
      After a few years of association with Dr. Rhine, Zener began efforts to have him removed from the campus of Duke University, fearing the burden that the university would have to bear for being connected with parapsychology.



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