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Dr Thompson's Psychic Test Cards

Dr Thompson’s Psychic Test Cards were inspired by the E.S.P cards developed in the 1930s to test the claims of purported psychics and telepaths in as rigorous a manner as possible. They included Joseph Rhine’s ‘Zener Cards’ in the U.S. and Harry Price’s ‘Telepatha Cards’ in the UK. 

In the simplest variation of the test only two people are required, one (the Transmitter) to look at the cards and the other (the Receiver) to guess what is on them by reading the Transmitter's mind. The Receiver records what they believe is on the card in a REPORT BOOK. You could work through the pack just once or go back through it multiple times, shuffling thoroughly after each complete round. When you are finished, you count up how many correct answers the Receiver gave.


The original decks had just five symbols so you would expect a hit rate of 20%, or one in five, so if a ‘receiver’ scores much more than that then the psychic investigators would be interested. I created a variation of these earlier decks in my YELLOW DECK.

To introduce complexity and text generation to the process I also created a RED DECK of Psychic Test Cards, employing more suggestive symbols, which I sketched through automatic drawing. The cards can be used in a similar way to the original cards, with a Transmitter and a Receiver, but in this version instead of the Receiver simply drawing the image, they are invited to write a sentence or phrase based on what they ‘receive’. 

DR THOMPSON'S PSYCHIC TEST CARDS were created for the 2023 Hauntings exhibition in Folkestone, curated by artblab and Poem Atlas. The sets were made using a duplexing process, connecting a brilliant white card stock with Gmund Action's Vibrant Arsenic (for the YELLOW DECK) and Electric Blood (for the RED DECK). 

Sets are available on request. They will include both the YELLOW Deck and RED DECK, a REPORT BOOK and instructions. 

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