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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

Lady Wonder A horse in Richmond, Virginia, that in 1927 was investigated by Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine when it was claimed that the animal had extrasensory perception (ESP) powers. It was Rhine's first encounter with, and interest in, such claims, and he readily accepted that the horse could answer questions and make predictions by pushing over children's toy alphabet blocks to spell out responses, because he could not solve the puzzle, but he believed it was due to telepathy.
      The magician Milbourne Christopher, who looked into the matter, determined that when Lady Wonder's trainer was unaware of the answer required of the horse, results dropped to zero. It was a case of ideomotor reaction and has become a prime example of that phenomenon in psychology.
      Such trained horse acts are well-known, another famous case being that of Clever Hans (which see) though there is no evidence that Hans was purposely trained for this task.

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