His first exceptional subject in this ESP research was Adam Linzmayer, an economics undergraduate at Duke.In 1931, Linzmayer scored very highly in preliminary Zener card tests that Rhine ran him through; initially, he scored 100% correct on two short (nine-card series) tests that Rhine gave him.The series comprised 37 25-trial runs, conducted between August 1933 and March 1934.From run to run, the number of matches between Pratt's cards and Pearce's guesses was highly variable, generally deviating significantly above-chance, but also falling dramatically below-chance.During the war years, Rhine lost most of his male staff members to war work or the military.This caused something of an hiatus in the conduct of new research, but the opportunity was taken to publish the large backlog of experiments that had been conducted since the early 1930s on psychokinesis.Even in his first long test (a 300-card series), Linzmayer scored 39.6% correct scores, when chance would have been only 20%.
He was educated at Ohio Northern University and the College of Wooster, after which he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and was stationed in Santiago. He taught for a year at Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, in Yonkers, New York.
In the early 1960s, Rhine left Duke and founded the Institute for Parapsychology, which later became the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man.
In the 1970s, several high-scoring subjects – Sean Harribance, M. Dykshoorn, and Bill Delmore – were tested in the lab, shortly before Rhine’s retirement.
Rhine, along with William Mc Dougall, introduced the term "parapsychology" (translating a German term coined by Max Dessoir).
It is sometimes said that Rhine almost single-handedly developed a methodology and concepts for parapsychology as a form of experimental psychology; however great his contributions, some earlier work along similar — analytical and statistical — lines had been undertaken sporadically in Europe, notably the experimental work of Oliver Lodge.