Astonishing Legends

Hosted ByScott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess

The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. Over 85 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown that exploring and embracing the wonders of our world can be not only enlightening but exciting. Welcome to Astonishing Legends!

Lady Wonder Part 2

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It seems Lady Wonder was much more than a “One-trick Pony.”  But even if you consider her one trick to be an abnormal aptitude for intuitiveness and the ability to express it, that’s quite a trick for an animal.  Her impressive skills were at least intriguing enough to garner a scientific study of her phenomenon by a couple of leading researchers of the day.  Joseph Banks Rhine or “J.B.” as he was known, and his wife Louisa E. Rhine were the founders of the branch of psychology known as parapsychology, with J.B. credited with coining the term Extrasensory Perception, or E.S.P.  In a week, they conducted around 500 experiments on Lady Wonder’s powers.  While there was no conclusive proof that the horse had an individual and infallible psychic perception, the data collected was enough to astound the Rhines since no human trickery was detected.  In the following years, J.B. Rhine would come to doubt his initial conclusions, although he never expounded on his later thinking.  Still, he wondered if there wasn’t instead a form of telepathy between Lady and her handler Claudia Fonda, which would be nearly as remarkable.  Skeptics have claimed that this mere parlor trick was performed by having Lady move over each letter on her “typewriter,” at which point Claudia would somehow signal Lady to tap the correct key.  However, this would necessitate Lady having to step several feet in either direction to cover every possible letter and number, and the Rhines observed that when she was most effective, the horse was near motionless while in an almost trance-like state.  It would also not explain how Claudia then could have answers to questions she would not logically know.  If J.B. Rhine’s rethinking of his conclusions was correct, it might be just as extraordinary if there was psychical cooperation between Lady and Claudia, one that perhaps Claudia was not even aware of herself.  Whether you believe psychic ability with any living creature is real or not, at the very least, the story of Lady Wonder illustrates the profound and special bond humans have with the animals they love.

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