Notes on a Case of Scientific Fraud in Parapsychology

My first professional job was at the Institute for Parapsychology. After working there a few months, it became apparent that the laboratory Director who had hired me, Walter J. Levy, was fraudulenty manipulating the data. Two colleagues and I exposed him as a fraud on an experiment in which I was his coexperimenter. The end result of these events was described in J.B. Rhine's article "A Second Report on a Case of Experimenter Fraud" in the Journal of Parapsychology, 1975, pp. 306-325. A surprisingly accurate article on these events appeared in Time magazine, August 26, 1974.

Unfortunately, some other descriptions of the events have not been accurate. Notably, D. Scott Rogo's chapter in the book A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology (1985, Edited by Paul Kurtz) may be best described as historical fiction. Rogo or his sources appear to have known of certain key events and then tried to imagine what could have happened surrounding those events, without any direct knowledge of the reality of the situation. Among the myriad of incorrect information, large and small, Rogo claims that Rhine and others at the laboratory tried to suppress the reporting of the replication efforts for the fraudulent research. That is simply not true. Those of us involved formally agreed early in the process that we would wait until we had a full overview of the entire situation before publishing about it. There was never any question that the full story was going to be made known.

Some summary documents that were written at the time are given below. These were the basis, in part, of Rhine's article. These documents were intended to be made available to anyone who was interested in more details.

Additional information on experimenter fraud in parapsychology and on methodological standards and research procedures for addressing experimenter fraud can be found in three articles:
http://jeksite.org/psi/misconduct.htm or in pdf at http://jeksite.org/psi/misconduct.pdf,
http://jeksite.org/psi/fraud_standards.pdf,
http://jeksite.org/psi/methods_predictions.pdf.

J.E. Kennedy       (version of 1/21/2017)


Chronology of Events in Exposing W.J. Levy (1974), J.E. Kennedy, J.W. Davis, J. Levin.
     
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Memo Summarizing Maze Research (1975), J.E. Kennedy.
     
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Summary of the Rat Implantation Work (1975), J.E. Kennedy.
     
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Summary of Egg Work (1975), J.E. Kennedy.
     
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Other Methodology Articles