Studies on ESP were first conducted by the British Society for Psychical Research, which was founded in 1882. This society, along with the American Society for Psychical Research, founded in 1885, sought to prove or disprove the authenticity of mediums who conducted séances. Early evidence produced by the psychical societies were often gathered through less credible sources and utilized nonscientific means of data gathering.
The first person to conduct ESP studies through a measured, systematic approach was J.B. Rhine, a psychologist at Duke University. Rhine was not the first person to utilize a scientific approach to his study on ESP, but by far, his methods were the most rigorous and sophisticated than those of the earlier researchers.
A typical experiment on clairvoyance using Zener cards included a subject who was placed in one building and an experimenter located in another building. The experimenter would then shuffle the deck of Zener cards, then draw out one card from the shuffled deck and place the card on the table. The experimenter would repeat this motion after every minute. The subject in the other building would then try to guess which card is lying on the table at that very minute. Thousands of Zener card experiments such as these were conducted by Rhine and his group with the results tabulated and analyzed afterwards.The Geiger counter is another device that measures random bursts of radiation from radioactive substances, which lights up a series of bulbs. The subject then tries to guess which bulb lights up next.