SPR was the first major organization to attempt to assess psi scientifically, beginning with surveys that revealed the important role that alterations in consciousness played in the topics investigated. The Report on the Census of Hallucinations, organized by members of the society, analyzed and categorized some 17,000 responses to the question, Have you ever...had a vivid impression of seeing, or being touched..., or of hearing a voice; which impression, so far as you could discover, was not due to any external cause? Affirmative answers were obtained from about 1 in 10 of the respondents, with more visual hallucinations reported than auditory or tactile hallucinations (Sidgwick, Sidgwick, & Johnson 1894). Marks and McKellar (1982) refer to this collection as a veritable mine of data, noting that the investigators attempted a pioneering effort to categorize the reports into sensory hallucinations, ordinary sense perceptions, dreams, and what today would be considered eidetic imagery.
The Duke University team did not ignore ESP in dreams and other spontaneous case material, thinking these reports might be useful for generating research hypotheses. In response to J.B. Rhine's call for case material, thousands of letters were received; their collation and evaluation was attempted by L. E. Rhine, a task that was to occupy her for several decades. By 1973, she had tabulated 12,659 cases of reported ESP and 178 of PK. In one analysis of these anecdotes, she (Rhine, 1962) observed that 65% consisted of dreams Surprisingly, it was observed that dreams contained a greater amount of complete information about the event in question than did purported ESP occurring during the waking state. In one of L.E. Rhine's (1981) cases, a woman in the state of Minnesota dreamed that her daughter, Mary Jane, who was living in California, came up behind her and embraced her. The mother remarked, My God, it's Mary Jane, and then she noticed that her daughter's face was cold, pallid, and haggard. The dream worried her and she shared it with her employer. Three days later, Mary Jane unexpectedly arrived in Minnesota; she had driven there from Los Angeles, encountering a snowstorm and two near accidents. She was cold, weary, and pale.