The first tests used in the study of precognition were done by J.B. Rhine, the father of modern parapsychology, and his wife. Rhine originally conducted the studies to study telepathy, but results also supported precognition and psychokinesis.
He started conducting his studies in the 1930s using traditional Zener cards, a deck of cards that contained drawings of common psychic symbols such as the ring, five-pointed star, square, wavy lines, and plus sign. Rhine conducted the study using a subject located in one building and the experimenter in another building. The subject was made to guess the correct sequence of the cards before the deck of cards was shuffled by the experimenter. Rhine’s experiments on precognition were the first to be conducted in a systematic and scientific manner, and he made sure that subjects were not able to use the five senses to generate the correct answer. Rhine and his team were also to replicate the tests thousands of times, and eventually tabulated the results.
Prior to the studies of Rhine and his wife, a British aeronautics engineer named J.W. Dunne also studied precognitions based on his dreams and the dreams of other people and how these related to events reported on the TV and radio news days after. But unlike Rhine and his wife, Dunne concentrated on individual accounts and did not conduct any laboratory research.
Another institution that also conducted tests for precognition and other paranormal abilities was the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Group. The institution conducted hundreds of tests that spanned years before the program was finally closed down in 2007.