'The secret life of plants' quotes:
Plant Curiosities: Silphium laciniatum, a type of sunflower plant, indicates the point of the compass with its leaves; Arbrus precatorius, indian licorice is so keenly sensitive to all forms of eletromagnetic influences it is used as a weather plant; the flowers of oriental poppies can be seen flashing at dusk.
The adventure started in 1966. Backster had been up all night in his school for polygraph examiners, where he teaches the art of lie detection to policemen and security agents from around the world. On impulse he decided to attach the electrodes of one of his lie detectors to the leaf of his dracaena. The dracaena is a tropical plant similar to a palm tree, with large leaves and a dense cluster of small flowers; it is known as the dragon tree (Latin draco) because of the popular myth that its resin yields dragon blood. Backster was curious to see if the leaf would be affected by water poured on its roots, and if so, how, and how soon. Backster’s dragon tree, to his amazement, was giving him a reaction
very similar to that of a human being experiencing an emotional stimulus of short duration. Could the plant be displaying emotion? What happened to Backster in the next ten minutes was to revolutionize his life.
The most effective way to trigger in a human being a reaction strong enough to make the galvanometer jump is to threaten his or her well-being. Backster decided to do just that to the plant: he dunked a leaf
of the dracaena in the cup of hot coffee perennially in his hand. There was no reaction to speak of on the meter. Backster studied the problem several minutes, then conceived a worse threat: he would burn the actual leaf to which the electrodes were attached. The instant he got the picture of flame in his mind, and before he could move for a match, there was a dramatic change in the tracing pattern on the graph in the form of a prolonged upward sweep of the recording pen. Backster had not moved, either toward the plant or toward the recording machine. Could the plant have been reading his mind?
When Backster left the room and returned with some matches, he found another sudden surge had registered on the chart, evidently caused by his determination to carry out the threat. Reluctantly he set
about burning the leaf. This time there was a lower peak of reaction on the graph. Later, as he went through the motions of pretending he would burn the leaf, there was no reaction whatsoever. The plant appeared to be able to differentiate between real and pretended intent. Backster first considered his plants’ capacity for picking up his intention to be some form of ESP; then he quarreled with the term. ESP is held to mean perception above and beyond varieties of the established five sensory perceptions of touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. As plants give no evidence of eyes, ears, nose, or mouth, and as botanists since Darwin’s time have never credited them with a nervous system, Backster concluded that the perceiving sense must be more basic. This led him to hypothesize that the five senses in humans might be limiting factors overlying a more “primary perception,” possibly common to all nature. “Maybe plants see better without eyes,” Backster surmised: “better than humans do with them.” With the five basic senses, humans have the choice, at will, of perceiving, perceiving poorly, not perceiving at aIl “If you don’t like the looks of something,” said Backster, “you can look the other way, or not look. If everyone were to be in everyone else’s mind all the time it would be chaos.”
During the next few months, chart after chart was obtained from all sorts of plants. The phenomenon appeared to persist even if the plant leaf was detached from the plant, or if it was trimmed to the size of the electrodes; amazingly, even if a leaf was shredded and redistributed between the electrode surfaces there was still a reaction on the chart. The plants reacted not only to threats from human beings, but to
unformulated threats, such as the sudden appearance of a dog in the room or of a person who did not wish them well. Under normal circumstances, plants may be attuned to each other, said Backster, though when encountering animal life they tend to pay less attention to what another plant may be up to. “The last thing a plant expects is another plant to give it trouble. So long as there is animal life
around, they seem to be attuned to animal life. Animals and people are mobile, and could need careful monitoring.” If a plant is threatened with overwhelming danger or damage, Backster observed that it reacts self-defensively in a way similar to an opossum—or, indeed, to a human being-by “passing out,” or going into a deep faint. In another series of observations, Backster noted that a special communion or bond of affinity appeared to be created between a plant and its keeper, unaffected by distance. With the use of synchronized stop-watches, Backster was able to note that his plants continued to react to his thought and attention from the next room, from down the hall, even from several buildings away. Back from a fifteen-mile trip to New Jersey, Backster was able to establish that his plants had perked up and shown definite and positive signs of response-whether it was relief or welcome he could not tell-at the very moment he had decided to return to New York. Backster has no idea what kind of energy wave may carry man’s thoughts or internal feelings to a plant. He has tried to screen a plant by placing it in a Faraday cage as well as in a lead container. Neither shield appeared in any way to block or jam the communication channel linking the plant to the human being. The carrier-wave equivalent, whatever it might be, Backster concluded, must somehow operate beyond the electromagnetic spectrum. It also appeared to operate from the macrocosm down to the microcosm.One day when Backster happened to cut his finger and dabbed it with iodine, the plant that was being monitored on the polygraph immediately reacted, apparently to the death of some cells in Backster’s finger. Though it might have been reacting to his emotional state at the sight of his own blood, or to the stinging of the iodine, Backster soon found a recognizable pattern in the graph whenever a plant was witnessing the death of some living tissue. Could the plant, Backster wondered, be sensitive on a cellular level all the way down to the death of individual cells in its environment?
On another occasion the typical graph appeared as Backster was preparing to eat a cup of yogurt. This puzzled him till he realized there was a chemical preservative in the jam he was mixing into the yogurt that was terminating some of the live yogurt bacilli. Another inexplicable pattern on the chart was finally explained when it was realized the plants were reacting to hot water being poured down the drain, which was killing bacteria in the sink. Backster’s medical consultant, the New Jersey cytologist Dr. Howard Miller, concluded that some sort of “cellular consciousness” must be common to all life.
To make his point, Backster realized, he would have to devise an experiment in which all human involvement was removed. The entire process would have to be automated. The test he finally chose was to kill live cells by an automatic mechanism at a random time when no humans were in or near the office, and see if the plants reacted.
The scientific hypethesis which Backster wished to pursue was, properly phrased in the vernacular of science, that “there exists an as yet undefined primary perception in plant lite, that animal life termination can serve as a remotely located stimulus to demonstrate this perception capability, and that this perception facility in plants can be shown to function independently of human involvement. “
The experimental results showed that the plants did react strongly and synchronously to the death of the shrimp in boiling water. The automated monitoring system, checked by visiting scientists, showed that plants reacted consistently to the death of the shrimp in a ratio that was five to one against the possibility of chance.
William M. Bondurant, an executive of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, produced a grant of $10,000 for Backster to pursue hIS research, commenting: HIS work indicates there may be a primary form of instantaneous communication among all living things that transcends the physical laws we know now - and that seems to warrant looking into.”
Backster was thus able to invest in more expensive equipment, including electrocardiographs and electroencephalographs. These instruments, normally used for measuring electrical emissions from heart and brain, had the advantage of not putting current through the plants, merely recording the difference in potential they discharged.
What particularly fascinated Vogel were Mesmer’s theory of a universal Ruid whose equilibrium or disturbance explained health or disease, Coue’s ideas of autosuggestion as they related to painless childbirth and self-betterment, and the postulates of various writers on “psychic energy,” a term popularized by Carl jung, who, though he differentiated it from physical energy, believed it to be incommensurable. Vogel reasoned that, if there was a “psychic energy,” it must, like other forms of energy, be storable. But in what? Staring at the many chemicals on the shelves of his IBM laboratory, Vogel wondered which of them could be used to store this energy.
Vogel picked three leaves from an elm outside his IBM laboratory; at home he laid them on a plate of glass near his bed. Each day, before breakfast, Vogel stared concentratedly at the two outer leaves on the glass for about one minute, exhorting them lovingly to continue to live; the center leaf he assiduously ignored. In a week, the center leaf had turned brown and shriveled. The outer leaves were still green and healthy-looking. Most interesting to Vogel, the severed stems of the live leaves appeared to have healed the wounds caused by being ripped from the tree. Vivian Wiley continued her experiments and later showed Vogel the saxifrage leaf which she had kept green and alive for,two long months while the control leaf was completely dehydrated and brown.
Vogel was convinced that he was witnessing the power of “psychic energy” in action. If the power of the mind could keep a leaf green way past its time, Vogel wondered what its effect might be on liquid crystals, an intensive study of which he was pursuing for IBM.
Trained in microscopy, Vogel had taken hundreds of color slides of liquid crystal behavior magnified up to three hundred times; when screened, they rival the works of a gifted abstract artist. While making the slides, Vogel realized that, by “relaxing his mind,” he could sense activity not visually revealed in the microscopic field.
“I began to pick up things at the microscope which eluded others, not , with ocular vision but with my mind’s eye. After becoming aware of them,” says Vogel, “I was led by some form of higher sensory awareness, to adjust the lighting conditions to allow these phenomena to be optically recordable to the human eye or to a camera.”
The conclusion at which Vogel arrived is that crystals are brought into , a solid, or physical, state of existence by pre-fonns, or ghost images of pure energy which anticipate the solids. Since plants could pick up intentions from a human, that of burning them, for example, there was no doubt in Vogel’s mind that intent produced some kind of energy, field.
Vogel also found that some of the philodendrons he worked with responded faster, others more slowly, some very distinctly, others less distinctly, and that not only plants but their individual leaves had their own unique personality and individuality. Leaves with a large electrical resistance were especially difficult to work with; fleshy leaves with a high water content were the best. Plants appeared to go through phases of activity and inactivity, full of response at certain times of the day or days of the month, “sluggish” or “morose” at other times.
Having eliminated random influences, Vogel began a new round of experiments in the spring of 1971 to see if he could establish the exact moment when a philodendron entered into recordable communication with a human being.
Asked to describe the process in detail, Vogel said that first he quiets the sensory responses of his body organs, then he becomes aware of an energetic relationship between the plant and himself. When a state of balance between the bioelectrical potential of both the plant and himself is achieved, the plant is no longer sensitive to noise, temperature, the normal electrical fields surrounding it, or other plants. It responds only to Vogel, who has effectively tuned himself to it-or perhaps simply hypnotizes it. A plant could be awakened from somnolence to sensitivity by his giving up his normally conscious state and focusing a seemingly extra-conscious part of his mind on the exact notion that the plant be happy and feel loved, that it be blessed with healthy growth.
… creative experimentation means that the experimenter must become part of their experiments.
Asked how the higher energies, such as thought, might operate on the physical bodies of living organisms, Vogel says he has now begun to speculate on the strange properties of water. As a crystallographer, he is interested in the fact that, unlike most salts, which have one crystalline form, core samples of glacier ice have more than thirty different forms. “Uninitiated persons, when first looking at them,” says Vogel, “could conclude that they were observing as many different substances. And they would be right in their own way because water is a real mystery. ”
Pierre Paul Sauvin developed a system guaranteed to hypnotize anyone, even the most recalcitrant, by placing the subject on an unstable platform in a pitch-black room and swaying before him a rainbow pattern of light that causes him to lose his balance. With such exotic expertise it was not long before Sauvin had a toy electric train running round a track and reversing its direction through nothing but his thought and emotion relayed to a plant. He was able not only successfully to demonstrate the phenomenon before an aud ience of sixty in Madison, New Jersey, but to make the train start and stop at will under the klieg lights of a television studio.
His main preoccupation was the development of a foolproof plant device that could be activated by any human being. For Sauvin’s purposes it did not matter whether the plant was in any way rational or feeling, so long as it could reliably pick up his emotional signal and trigger the switch. Whether plants were “conscious” or not, Sauvin was convinced they had an energy field similar to the energy field generated by a human being, and that somehow an interaction of these fields could be put to use. The problem was to develop equipment sensitive enough to take advantage of the phenomenon in an absolutely reliable way.
In Japan a saft-spoken doctor of philosophy and successful electronics engineer from Kamakura, a charmingly gardened retreat not far from Yokohama harbor, has developed a similar lie detector into a device with the most fabulous results yet achieved in the plant kingdom. A regular consultant on lie detection for the Japanese police, Dr. Ken Hashimoto read about Backster’s laboratory experiments and decided to wire one of the family cactuses to an ordinary polygraph by means of acupuncture needles. His intent was more revolutionary than Backster’s, Sauvin’s or Byrd’s. He hoped to enter into actual conversation with a plant; to do so he counted on an improvement he had made in the Japanese procedure for lie detection. To simplify and make less expensive the process of police interrogation, Dr. Hashimoto developed a system, similar to Dektor’s, whereby nothing more than a cassette tape is needed to record the reactions of a suspect. Electronically transposing the modulations of the suspect’s voice, Hashimoto was able to produce on a paper a running graph reliable enough to pass muster in a Japanese law court. It now dawned on Hashimoto that by reversing the system he might be able to transform the tracings from a graph into modulated sounds, giving voice to a plant. His first experiments with a cactus similar to the giant saguaro of California and the Arizona desert, but much smaller, were a failure. Loath to conclude that either Backster’s reports or his own equipment was defective, Hashimoto decided that it might be he who was having trouble communicating with the plant, despite the fact that he is one of Japan’s leading researchers into psychic phenomena. His wife, on the other hand, who loves plants and is renowned for her “green thumb,” soon got sensational results. As Mrs. Hashimoto assured the plant that she loved it, there was an instant response from the cactus. Transformed and amplified by Dr. Hashimoto’s electronic equipment, the sound produced by the plant was like the high-pitched hum of very-high-voltage wires heard from a distance, except that it was more like a song, the rhythm and tone being varied and pleasant, at times even warm and almost jolly.
When plants are able to auto-regulate their environment and establish optimal conditions for their own growth with the help of electronic instruments, said Karamanov, this should be a long step toward larger harvests of cereal grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Using the system developed by Pavlov with dogs, whereby he discovered the “conditioned reflex,” the Kazakh scientists simultaneously “punished” a philodendron with an electrical shock each time a mineralized ore was placed next to it. They reported that, after conditioning, the same plant, anticipating the hurtful shock, would get “emotionally upset” whenever the block of ore was put beside it. Furtherwore , said the Kazak scientists, the plant could distinguish between mineralized ore and a similar piece of barren rock containing no minerals, a feat which might indicate that plants will one day be used in geological prospecting.
In addition to a plant’s ability to recognize friend and foe, Soviet researchers also noted that one plant supplied with water can somehow share it with a deprived neighbor. In one institute of research a cornstalk planted in a glass container was denied water for several weeks. Yet it did not die; it remained as healthy as other cornstalks planted in normal conditions nearby. In some way, say Soviet botanists, water was transferred from healthy plants to the “prisoner” in the jar. Yet they have no idea how this was accomplished.
As fantastic as this may seem, a kind of plant-to-plant transfer has been taking place in England in experiments begun in 1972 by Dr. A. R. Bailey. Two plants in an artificially lit greenhouse in which temperature, humidity, and light were carefully controlled were suffering from lack of water. Bailey and his collaborator measured the voltages generated between two parts of both plants. When one plant was watered from the outside through plastic tubes, the other plant reacted.
In 1899 Jagadis Chandra Bose noticed the strange fact that his metallic coherer for receiving radio waves became less sensitive if continuously used but returned to normal after a period of rest. This led him to the conclusion that metals, however inconceivably, might exhibit a recovery from fatigue similar to that which took place in tired animals and people. Further work began to convince Bose that the boundary line between so-called “nonliving” metals and “living” organisms was tenuous indeed. Spontaneously moving from the domain of physics into that of physiology, Bose began a comparative study of the curves of molecular reaction in inorganic substance and those in living animal tissue.
Shortly thereafter it dawned on Bose that if the striking continuity between such extremes as metals and animal life were real he should also theY were held to have no nervous systems, were universally reckoned as unresponsive. Picking several horse-chestnut leaves from a tree in the garden next to his lab, Bose found that they responded to various “blows” in much the same way as had his metals and muscles. Excited by the results, he betook himself to his greengrocer and purchased a bag of carrots and turnips, which, of all vegetables, appeared the most stolidly nonsentient, and found them to be highly sensitive. When he chloroformed plants, Bose discovered that they were as successfully anesthetized as animals, and that when the narcotic vapor was blown away by fresh air like animals they revived. Using chloroform to tranquilize a huge pine tree, Bose was able to uproot it and transplant it without the usually latal shock of such operations.
When Sir Michael Foster, secretary of the Royal Society, came to Bose’s laboratory one morning to see for himself what was happening and Bose showed the Cambridge veteran some of his recordings, the older man said jocularly: “Come now, Bose, what is the novelty of this curve? We have known it for at least half a century”But what do you think it is?” Bose persisted quietly. “Why, a curve of muscle response, of course!” said Foster testily. Looking at the professor from the depths of his hunting brown eyes, Bose said firmly: “Pardon me, but it is the response 0f metallic tin!” Foster was aghast. “What?” he shouted, jumping from his chair, “Tin? Did you say tin?”
Since ordinary plants and their different organs exhibited electrical response indicative of excitation under mechanical and other stimuli, it puzzled Bose that they gave no sign of this excitement by visible movement. Unlike the mimosa leaf, which, if irritated, abruptly collapses, owing to a contraction of its cushion-shaped base, or pulvinus, other plants seem, at least to the eye, placidly unconcerned when scraped, burned, or otherwise interfered with. Back home in Calcutta, it suddenly hit Bose that the contraction in the mimosa was magnified by its long leaf stalk. To similarly magnify a suspected contraction in other plants, he designed a special optical lever with which he was able to demonstrate visually that all the characteristics of the responses exhibited by animal tissue were also found in those of plants.
Bose then began to concentrate on determining how mechanical movements in plants might be similar to those in animals and humans. Since he knew that in plants there was respiration without gills or lungs, digestion without a stomach, and movements without muscles, it seemed plausible to Bose that there could be the same kind of excitation as in higher animals but without a complicated nervous system. Bose showed that in mimosa there exists the same kind of “reflex arc” which causes us to withdraw our fingers instantly from a hot stove before pain can be felt.
In Desmodium gyrans, or the telegraph plant, Bose found that if the cut end of a detached leaflet was dipped in water in a bent glass tube it recovered from the shock of its amputation and began to pulsate anew. Was this not like an excised animal heart which can be kept beating in Ringer’s solution? Just as the heart stops beating when blood pressure is lowered and starts again when pressure is raised, Bose found the same was true for the pulsation of the Desmodium when the sap pressure was increased or decreased .
Though it had been thought that plants liked unlimited quantities of carbon dioxide, Bose found that too much of this gas could suffocate them, but that they could then be revived, just like animals, with oxygen. Like human beings, plants became intoxicated when given shots of whiskey or gin, swayed like any barroom drunkard, passed out, and eventually revived, with definite signs of a hangover.
A year after the foundation of the institute, Bose convened a meeting, sponsored by the governor of Bengal, to an nounce that, after eight years of struggle, he had finally been able to devise a brand-new instrument, the crescograph . Through the use of two levers, this extraordinary invention not only produced a ten-thousand- fold magnification of movement, far beyond the powers of the strongest microscope, but could automatically record the rate of growth of plants and their changes in a period as short as a minute . With this instrument Bose showed the remarkable fact that in countless plants, growth proceeds in rhythmic pulses. each pulse exhibiting’ rapid uplift and then a slower partial recoil of about a four th the distance gained . The pulses in Calcutta averaged ahou three per minute. By watching the progress of the movement on the chart of his new invention Bose found that growth in some plants could be retarded and even halted by mearly touching them, and that in others, rough handelng stimulated growth, especially if they were sluggish and morose.
From the observation of this complex series of transitional forms Goethe obtained the inspiration for what was to become his doctrine of the metamorphosis of plants. In a flash he realized what had been accumulating in his mind through long years of association with plants: the fan palm showed clear, living proof that all the lateral outgrowths of the plant were simply variations of a single structure: the leaf.Goethe saw that propagation and prolification of one organ into another was simply a process of metamorphosis. He saw that each organ though outwardly changed from a similarity to a dissimilarity had a virtual inner identity.
With his new way of looking at plants Goethe came to the conclusion that nature, by bringing forth one part through another, could achieve the most diversified forms through modification of a single organ. “The variation of plant forms, whose unique course I had long been following, now awakened in me more and more the idea that the plant forms round about us are not predetermined, but are happily mobile and flexible, enabling them to adapt to the many conditions throughout the world, which influence them, and to be formed and re-formed with them.”
Encouraged to further experimentation, Singh requested Gouri Kumail, a lecturer at Annamalai’s Music College, to playa raga known as the “Kara-hara-priya” to some balsam plants. Kumari, a virtuoso, played for twenty-five minutes each day, on a fretted lutelike instrument usually fitted with seven strings, the veena traditionally associated with Saraswati, goddess of wisdom. During the fifth week, the experimental balsams began to shoot ahead of their unserenaded neighbors and, at the end of December, had produced an average of 72 percent more leaves than the control plants, and had grown 20 percent higher. Singh then experimented on a vast number of species, such as common asters, petunias, cosmos, and white spider lilies, along with such economic plants as onions, sesame, radishes, sweet potatoes, and tapioca. Each of these species Singh entertained for several weeks just before sunrise with more than half a dozen separate ragas, one per experiment, played on the flute, violin, harmonium, and veena; the music lasted a half hour daily, scaled at a high pitch, with frequencies between one hundred and six hundred cycles per second. From all this experimentation Singh was able to state, in the magazine of the Bihar Agricultural College at Sabour, that he had “proven beyond any shadow of doubt that harmonic sound waves affect the growth, flowering, fruiting, and seed-yields of plants.”
Replying to a question which he thought would “naturally bristle up” in the minds of his readers, as to exactly what caused the effect on plants, Singh explained that in his laboratories he could visually demonstrate that the fundamental metabolic processes of plants in relation to transpiration and carbon assimilation under the excitation of musical sound or rhythmic beat were very much accelerated and increased over 200 percent compared to controls. “The stimulated plants,” wrote Singh, “are energized to synthesize greater quantities of food during a given period of time, which naturally leads to greater yields.” Singh also reported that his method of musical stimulation has even increased the chromosome count of certain species of water plants and the nicotine content of tobacco leaves.
At about the same time a Canadian engineer and gentleman farmer, Eugene Canby, of Wainfleet, Ontario, broadcast the violin sonatas of Johann Sebastian Bach to a test plot of wheat and produced a crop not only 66 percent greater than average but with larger and heavier seeds
In 1960 in the agricultural community of Normal, Illinois, a botanist and agricultural researcher, George E. Smith, learned of Singh’s experiments while chatting with the farm editor of his local newspaper. The following spring, Smith, somewhat skeptically, planted corn and soy- beans in flats and divided them between two identical greenhouses, both kept precisely at the same level of temperature and humidity. In one of the greenhouses he installed a small record player, its speaker directed toward the experimental plants, and played George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”twenty-four hours a day. According to Smith’s report to his employer, Mangelsdorf and Bros., Inc., wholesale field seed suppliers in St. Louis, Missouri, the Gershwin-inspired seedlings sprouted earlier than those given the silent treatment, and their stems were thicker, tougher, and greener.
Smith, still skeptical, was not satisfied with his subjective observations. Removing ten corn and ten soybean plants from each of the greenhouses, he carefully cut them at ground level and immediately weighed them on apothecary scales. To his surprise the ten corn plants which had been enjoying Gershwin’s music weighed 40 grams and those deprived of it only 28 grams; the corresponding soybean plants’ weights were 31 and 25 grams respectively.
To make sure that his tests were not due to chance, Smith laid out four corn plots in 1962 planted not only with the same Embro 44XE but also with another highly prolific hybrid, Embro Departure. The first plot was treated to the previous year’s music, the second left silent, and the third and fourth offered only ear-splitting continuous notes, one with a high pitch of 1,800 cycles a second, the other with a low pitch of 450. At harvest time the Departure plants stimulated with music produced 186 bushels per acre as against only 171 for the silent plot. But those exposed to the high note outdid themselves to achieve nearly 198 bushels; those subjected to the low note topped 200. Gains for the Embro 44XE were less pronounced, though Smith had no idea why. Pressed by his neighbors from several counties around to explain his results, Smith speculated that sound energy might increase molecular activity in the corn, and added that thermometers placed in the plots indicated that soil temperature was inexplicably two degrees higher directly in front of the loudspeaker. Smith was perplexed that the edges of the leaves of those corn plants growing in the slightly heated earth appeared a little burned, but thought this might be due to excessive exposure to musical vibrations. There were many unresolved mysteries, said Smith, one of whose Kansas friends had told him that high-frequency waves had been used successfully to control insects in stored wheat and that the same wheat planted later germinated faster than untreated grain.
In the mid-1960s the varied efforts of Singh and Smith aroused the curiosity of two researchers at Canada’s University of Ottawa’, Mary Measures and Pearl Weinberger. LikeL. George Lawrence, they were conversant with discoveries by Russians, Canadians, and Americans that ultrasonic frequencies markedly affect the germination and growth of barley, sunflower, spruce, Jack pine, Siberian pea tree, and other seeds and seedlings The experiments indicated, albeit inexplicably, that enzyme activity and respiration rates in plants and their seeds increased when they were stimulated by ultrasonic frequencies. However, the very frequencies which stimulated some plant species inhibited others. Mea-sures and Weinberger wondered whether specific audible frequencies in the sonic range would be as effective as music in enhancing the growth .
In a series of experiments lasting more than four years, the two biologists exposed the grains and seedlings of spring Marquis and winter Rideau wheat to high-frequency Vibrations. They found that, depending on how long the wheat seeds had been vernalized, the plants responded best to a frequency of 5,000 cycles a second.
Baffled by their results, the two researchers could not explain why audible sound had resulted in accelerated growth so striking that it seemed to promise to double wheat harvests. The effect could not have been produced by breaking chemical bonds in the the Canadian Journal of Botany, since, to do this, one billion times as much energy as was added by the sound frequencies would be required. Instead, they suggested that sound waves might produce a resonant effect in the plant cells, enabling the energy to accumulate and affect the plant’s metabolism.
Two students, following Mrs. Retallack’s lead, ran an eight week experiment on summer squashes, broadcasting music from 2 Denver radio stations into their chambers, one specializing in heavy accented rock, the other in classical music. The curcubits exposed to Haydn, Bethoven, Brahms and other eighteeen and nineteenth-century Euroean scores grew toward the transistor radio, one of them even twining itself lovingly around it. The other squashes grew away from the rock broadcasts and even tried to climb the slippery walls of their glass cage.
At this point, various critics sourly suggested that the experiments were invalid because such variables as sixty-cycle hum, the “white sound” heard from a radio tuned to a frequency not occupied by a radio transmitter, or the announcers’ voices emitted by the radio sets had not been taken into account. To satisfy these cavils, Mrs. Retallack taped rock music from records. She selected the extremely percussive rock renditions of Led Zeppelin, Vanilla Fudge, and Jimi Hendrix. When plants leaned away from this cacophony, Mrs. Retallack rotated all the pots 180 degrees, only to see the plants lean in the opposite direction. This convinced the majority of critics that the plants were definitely reacting to the sounds of rock music.
Trying to determine what it was about rock that so jarred her plants, Mrs. Retallack guessed that it might be the percussive component in the music and started yet another experiment in the fall. Selecting the familiar Spanish tune “La Paloma,” she played one version of it performed on steel drums to one chamber of plants and another version played on strings to a second. The percussion caused a lean ten degrees away from the vertical in Mrs. Retallack’s plants, but nothing compared to the rock. The plants listening to the fiddles leaned fifteen degrees toward the source of the music. An eighteen-day repeat of the same experiment using twenty-five plants per chamber including squash from seed and flowering and leaf-type plants from greenhouses produced largely similar results.
Now Mrs. Retallack wondered how the effects of what she called “intellectual mathematically sophisticated music of both East and West” would appeal to plants. As program director for the American Guild of Organists, she chose choral preludes from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orgelbuchlein and the classical strains of the sitar, a less-complicated Hindustani version of the south Indian veena, played by Ravi Shankar, the Bengali Brahmin.
The plants gave positive evidence of liking Bach, since they leaned an unprecedented thirty-five degrees toward the preludes. But even this affirmation was far exceeded by their reaction to Shankar: in their straining to reach the source of the classical Indian music they bent more than halfway to the horizontal, at angles in excess of sixty degrees, the nearest one almost embracing the speaker.
Mrs. Retallack also determined that these different musical styles markedly affected the evaporation rate of distilled water inside the chambers. From full beakers, fourteen to seventeen milliliters evapo- rated over a given time period in the silent chambers, twenty to twenty- five milliliters vaporized under the influence of Bach, Shankar, and jazz; but, with rock, the disappearance was fifty-five to fifty-nine milliliters.
The electromagnetic waves differ from sounod waves in that they can travel not only through matter but through “nothing,” racing at a speed of 186 million miles per second through vast regions of the cosmos which previously was thought to contain a medlium called “ether” but is now held to be almost a perfect vacuum. But no one has yet explained exactly how they travel. As one eniment physicist complained to the authors, “We just don’t know the mechanism for the damn thing.”
Wondering how electrical phenomena might influence seeds, Nollet planted several dozen mustard grains in two tin containers and electrified one of them from 7 to 10 A.M. and from 3 to 8 P.M. seven days running. At the end of the week, every grain in the electrified container had sprouted and grown to an average height of 15 to 16 French lignes; the ligne is an old French measure, the twelfth part of an inch, or about 2.25 millimeters. Of the non electrified seeds the three which had broken ground were only 2 to 3 rignes tall. Though he had no idea why, Nollet could only suggest in his book-long report to the French Academy that electricity somehow had profound effects on the growth functions of life forms.
Abbe Bertholon, came out in 1783 with a full-scale treatise, De L’Electricite des Vegetaux. A professor of experimental physics at French and Spanish universities, Bertholon gave strong support to Nollet’s idea that by altering the viscosity, or flow resistance, of fluids in living organisms electricity could change their growth functions. He cited the report of an Italian physicist, Giuseppe Toaldo, that in a row of jasmine bushes the two which were next to a lightning conductor grew thirty feet tall whereas all the others attained only four feet. Bertholon, who was considered something of a sorcerer, had a gar- dener stand on a slab of insulating material and sprinkle vegetables from an electrified watering can. He reported that his salads grew to an extraordinary size. He also invented what he called an “electrovegetometer” to collect atmospheric electricity by means ot an antenna, and pass it through plants growing in a field. “This instrument,” he wrote, “is applicable to all kinds of vegetal production, everywhere, in all weather and its utility and efficacity cannot be ignored or doubted except by timid souls who are not inspired by discoveries and who will never push back the barriers of the sciences but will remain eternally within the narrow confines of a cowardly pusillanimity which, to palliate it, is too often given the name of prudence.” In his conclusion, the abbot boldly suggested that one day the best fertilizer for plants would come in electrical form “free from the sky”.
Concentrating on the electrical properties of metals, Volta was led in 1800 to the invention of a pile of alternating zinc and copper discs with a piece of wet paper sandwiched between each two layers. Instantly chargeable, it could be used to produce electric current at will, not only once, like the Leyden jar, but thousands of times, and thus for the first time researchers were freed from their dependence on static or natural electricity. This first ancestor of our electric storage cell disclosed an artificial dynamic or kinetic electricity.
Julius Elster and Hans Ceitel, who specialized in the spontaneous emission of radiation from inorganic substances which was corning to be called “radioactivity,” began a vast study of atmospheric electricity. This disclosed that the soil of the earth continually emits electrically charged particles into the air. Called ions from the neuter present participle of the Greek verb, ienai, meaning “to go,” these particles were either atoms, groups of atoms, or molecules regarded as having a net positive or negative charge after gaining or losing electrons. Lemonnier’s observation that the atmosphere was continually filled with electricity at last had some kind of material explanation.
Since on a clear day in good weather the earth has a negative electrical charge while the atmosphere is positive, electrons stream skyward from the soil and plants. During storms the polarity is reversed, the earth becoming positive and the base of the cloud layer negative. Because here are at any time an estimated three to four thousand “electrical” storms raging over the surface of the globe, the charges lost by the earth in those areas favored by balmy weather are thus replaced, and a seesawing balance of electrical gradients maintained.
As a result of the ever-present flow of electricity, the voltage, or electric pressure, increases at higher altitudes. Between the head of a six-foot man and the ground he stands on, it is 200 volts; from the top of the Empire State Building to the sidewalks around it, 40,000 volts; in the interval between the lowest layers of the ionosphere and the earth’s surface, 360,000 volts. Though this sounds dangerous, not much shocking power can be generated because there is little current flow. The chief difficulty in harnessing this vast reservoir of energy and putting it to work is lack of precise knowledge of exactly how it functions and of the laws which govern its operations.
At an agricultural research station run by the U.S. Government near Riverside, California, Molitorisz decided to adapt what he had learned from Nollet’s insights to citrus orchards. In an early experiment, he ran current through citrus seedlings. When the current Rowed in one direction, the growth of the tiny trees was speeded up; when the direction was reversed, the seedlings shriveled. Evidently, the electricity somehow abetted the natural flow of electric current present in the plants or, when severed, blocked it. In another experiment, partly inspired by his reading of Abbe Bertholon, Molitorisz applied a fifty-eight-volt current to six branches of an orange tree but left another six branches untouched, only to discover that within eighteen hours sap was freely circulating in the “powered” branches while in the untouched branches there was very little sap flow.
In the early 1920s Georges Lakhovsky, a Russian-born engineer living in Paris, had begun a series of books which suggested that the basis of life was not matter but immaterial vibrations associated with it. “Every living thing emits radiations,” stressed Lakhovsky, and advanced the revolutionary new theory that cells, the essential organic units of all living things, were electromagnetic radiators capable, like wireless sets, of emitting and absorbing high-frequency waves.
The essence of Lakhovsky’s theory was that cells are microscopic oscillating circuits. In electrical parlance such an oscillating circuit requires two basic elements: a capacitor, or source of stored electric charge, and a coil of wire. As the current from the capacitor flows back and forth between one end of the wire and the other, it creates a magnetic field which oscillates at a certain frequency, or so many times per second. If such a circuit is greatly reduced in size, very high frequencies are obtained; Lakhovsky believed this to be what occurs in the microscopically tiny nuclei of living cells. In the small twisted filaments within cellular nuclei Lakhovsky descried the analogs to electrical circuits.
In his L’Origine de la Vie, published in 1925, Lakhovsky set forth a number of startling experiments upholding the idea that disease is a matter of disequilibrium in cellular oscillation, that the fight between healthy cells and pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, is a “war of radiations.” If the radiations of the microbes are stronger, cells begin to oscillate aperiodically and became “diseased.” When they cease to oscillate, they die. If the cellular radiations gain ascendance, the microbes are killed. In order that a diseased cell be restored to health, Lakhovsky felt it should be treated by means of a radiation of appropriate frequency.
In 1923, Lakhovsky designed an electrical apparatus emitting very short waves (with lengths of two to ten meters) which he called a “radio-cellulo-oscillator.” In the surgical clinic of the famous Salpetriere hospital in Paris he inoculated geraniums with cancer-producing bacteria. When the plants had developed tumors the size of cherry stones, one of them was exposed to radiation from the oscillator. During the first days the tumor grew rapidly, but after two weeks it suddenly began to shrink and die; after a second two-week period it fell off the afflicted plant. Other geraniums treated over different time periods also shed their cancers under the effect of oscillator radiations.
Lakhovsky saw these cures as supporting his theory. The cancer had been overcome by the enhancement of the normal oscillations of healthy cells in the geraniums. This was quite opposite to the approach of the radium specialists, who proposed that the cancer cells be destroyed by external radiation.
In the development of his theory Lakhovsky was faced with the problem of the origin of the energy necessary for the normal production and maintenance of cellular oscillations. It did not seem probable to Lakhovsky that the energy is produced within cells any more than the energy in an electric battery or a steam engine is internally produced. He therefore came to the conclusion that the energy is externally derived from cosmic radiation.
To try to establish the cosmic origin of the energy, Lakhovsky decided to dispense with the device he had dreamed up to produce artificial rays and tap natural energy from space. In January, 1925, he picked one of a series of geraniums previously inoculated with cancer and surrounded it with a circular copper spiral thirty centimeters in diameter, its two unjoined ends fixed in an ebonite support. After several weeks he found that whereas all the control geraniums inoculated with cancer had died and dried up, the plant ringed with the copper spiral was not only radiantly healthy but had grown twice as high as uninoculated controls. These spectacular results led Lakhovsky into a complex theory as to how the geranium had been able to pick up from the vast field of waves in the external atmoshere the exact frequencies which enabled its cells to oscillate normally and so powerfully that the cancer afflicted cells were destroyed.
In Marh of 1928, the geranium with the spiral around it had attained the abnormal height of four and one half feet and was flourishing even in winter. Sure that by his work on plants he had stumbled upon a new therapy of unimaginable importance to medicine, Lakhovsky went on to develop a sophisticated therapeutic device for human beings which he callled “multi-wave oscillator”. It was succesfully used in French, Swedish ani Italian clinics to cure cancerous growths and lesions brought about radium burns; goiters and a variety of diseases regarded as incurable.
S.P. Shchurin and two collegues from the Institute of Automation and Electrometry have been awarded a special diploma by thu URSS State Committee for Inventions and Discoveries for discovering that cells can “converse” by coding their messages in the form of a special electromagnetic ray.
The experimenters placed identical tissue cultures in two hermetically sealed vessels separated by a wall of glass, then introduced a lethal virus in one of the chambers which killed the colony of cells inside it. The second colony remained wholly unaffected. However, when they replaced the glass divider with a sheet of quartz glass and again introduced killing viruses to one of the colonies, the Soviet scientists were astonished to see that the second colony also met the same fate as the first, even though the viruses could not possibly have penetrated the barrier. Other first and second colonies of cells, separated by the quartz glass, both perished when only the first colony was murdered with chemical poisons or lethal radiation and the second left unexposed. What killed the second colony in each case?
Since ordinary glass does not permit ultraviolet rays to pass but quartz glass does, it seemed to the Soviet scientists that here was a key to the mystery. They recalled that Gurwitsch had theorized that onion cells could emit ultraviolet rays, and they resurrected his ideas from the limbo to which they had been consigned in the 1930s. Working with an electronic eye amplified by a photomultiplier and registered by a self- recorder which traced a graph marking the energy levels on a moving tape, they found that when life processes in the tissue cultures remained nonnal, the ultraviolet glow, invisible to the human eye but detectable as oscillations on the tape, remained stable. As soon as the affected colony began to battle against its infection, the radiation intensified. Reports on this work in Moscow newspapers disclosed that, however fantastic it might seem, the ultraviolet radiation from the affiicted cells carried information encoded in the fluctuation in intensity which was omehow received by the second colony, just as words are transmitted and received in dots and dashes in the Morse code.
Semyon Kirlian and his wife, Valentina built an equipement that could photographicaly reproduce a strange luminescence which seemed to issue from all living things but was unapprehensible by the human eye. By laying film or plate in contact with an object to be photographed and passing through the object an electric current from a high frequency spark generator which put out 75,000 to 200,000 electrical pulses per second, the Kirlianshad come across a way of photographing this ‘aura’ or something akin to it.
At the Human Dimensions Institute at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, New York, one of the professors, Sister M. Justa Smith, a Catholic nun and biochemist, began thinking that healing energy coming from or through a healer’s hands would have to affect the enzyme system before diseased cells could change to a state of health. Sister Justa -who had finished a doctoral dissertation proving that magnetic fields increase, while ultraviolet light decreases, enzyme activity-after engaging the cooperation of a healer, found that when he was in an “optimum psychological state,” or good mood, the energy coming from his hands could activate the pancreatic enzyme trypsin in a way which compared to the effects of a magnetic field measuring from 8,000 to 13,000 gauss. (Human beings normally live in a magnetic field of 0.5 gauss.) Sister usta is continuing experimentation to find out whether a healer can activate other enzymes in the body and whether this activation can be of help to the maintenance of health.
Dr. Barry Commoner, in his book The Closing Circle challenged his academic colleagues by pointing out that the new technology allowing more corn to be produced on less acreage than before might be a success economically but was ecologically a disaster. Commoner characterized he nitrogen-fertilizer industry in its hurtling dash for profits as one of the “cleverest business operations of all time.” Evidence suggests that in the presence of artificial nitrogen, the natural fixation of nitrogen from the air by soil bacteria stops and, as a result, it is increasingly difficult for farmers to give up the use of the artificial product. Like addictive drugs, fertilizer nitrogen creates its own demand, the buyers having been “hooked” on the product.
All living things are biochemical photographs of their environment. (Andre Voisin, Soil, Grass and Cancer).
When soils have only minerals but no organic matter, said Sabarath, the plants in them are like people forced to eat salty foods. They are driven to drink water and more water. Plants absorbing an excess of mineral salts take in an excess of moisture. Though they look lush to the eye, they are no longer in balance, and therefore no longer resistant to disease.
Pfeiffer came to realize that it is only our human egotistical point of view that labels a weed a weed, and that if they were viewed as a functioning part of nature, weeds would have much to teach. Pfeiffer proved that a whole group of weeds, including sorrels, docks, and horsetails, are sure indicators that the soil is becoming too acidic. Dandelions, which lawn owners so feverishly dig up; actually heal the soil by transporting minerals, especially calcium, upward from deep layers, even from underneath hardpan. The dandelion is thus warning the lawn owner that something is wrong with the life of his soil. Pfeiffer showed that daisies play the same role, in that analyses of their incinerated ashes show them to be rich in calcium, the most important constituent of lime. Pfeiffer doubted whether the orthodox view, holding that the daisies have selectively “fixed” lime, was correct, since they could grow in limeless soil providing there is enough silicon present together with microorganisms. Pfeiffer came to the conclusion that, when soil lacks lime, silicon-loving plants such as daisies move onto it. When they die, they bring to the soil the missing calcium he had found in his analyses. But he could not answer the question “How does the calcium get into the daisies?”
Insects arrive in orchards just to point out the very mistakes that man is making.
Early in this century a young Breton schoolboy who was preparing himself for a scientific career began to notice a strange fact about the hens in his father’s poultry yard. As they scratced the soil they constantly seemed to be pecking at specks of mica, a siliceous material dotting the ground. No one could explain to Louis Kevran why the chickens selected the mica, or whyeach time a bird was killed for the family cooking pot no trace of the mica could be found in its gizzard, or why each day the flock produced eggs with calcareous shells though they apparently had not ingested any calcium from land which was entirely lacking in limestone. It took Kevran many yars to establish that the chickens were transmuting one element into another.
Henri Spindler, another French scientist became fascinated with how Laminaria, a variety of algae, seemed to be able to manufacture iodine. Searching for answers in half-forgotten litterature on the dusty shelves of libraries, Spindler found that a German researcher by the name of Vogel had planted cress seeds in a container covered by a lass bell jar and fed them nothing but distilled water. A few months later they contained twice the amont of sulfur which had been present in their seeds. Spindler also uncovered the fact that, soon after Vogel, two Britishers by the names of Lawes and Gilbert discovered at the famous Agricultural Research Institute at Rothamstead, England, that plants seemed to extract from the soil more elements than it contained.
Delving deeper into the mystery, Spindler came across the work of a Hanoverian baron, Albrecht von Herzeele,who in 1873 brought out a revolutionary book, The Origin of Inorganic Substances, which offered proof that, far from simply absoring matter from the soil and the ar, living plants are continuaslly creating matter. During his lifetime, von Herzeele made hundreds of analyses indicating that, in seeds sprouting in distilled water, the original content of potash, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium and sulfur quite inexplicably increased. Though the law of the conservation of matter held that the exactly same mineral content in plants grown in distilled water would be found as in the seeds from which they spring, von Herzeele’s analayses proved also that not only mineral ash but everyone of the plant’s components increased, such as the nitrogen which burned off during the incineration of the seeds.
Von Herzeele also discovered that plants seemed to be able to transmute, in alchemical fashion, phosphorous into sulfur, calcium into phosphorous, magnesium into calcium, carbonic acid into magnesium and nitrogen into potassium.
This cautious approach dictated by scientific mores was made more explicit by Baranger in an interview for Science et Vie in 1959. “My: results look impossible,” said Baranger, “but there they are. I have taken every precaution. I have repeated the experiments many times. I have made thousands of analyses for years. I have had the results verified by third parties who did not know what I was about. I have used several methods. I changed my experimenters. But there’s no way out; we have to submit to the evidence: plants know the old secret of the alchemists. Every day under our very gaze they are transmuting elements.”
By 1963 Baranger had incontestably proven that in the germinations of leguminous seeds in a manganese salt solution, manganese disappeared and iron appeared in its place. Trying to shed more light on the mechanisms involved, he discovered a whole web of complexities related to the transmutations of elements in seeds, including the time of their germination, the type of light involved, even the exact phase of the moon.
Baranger established that seeds of Cerdagne vetch growing in distilled water showed no change in phosphorus or potassium content. But seeds growing in a calcium salt solution varied their phosphorus and potassium content by the enormous factor of 10 percent, and that calcium increased in both groups. “I understand perfectly well,” Baranger told the science writers, who grilled. him with every possible objection during the course of their interview, “that you are astonished by these results. For they are astonishing. I understand perfectly well that you are seeking the error which could make nonsense of these experiments. But so far no such error has been found. The phenomenon stands: plants can trans- mute elements.”
The practical consequences of Baranger’s findings cannot be overestimated. One of these is that certain plants can bring to the soil elements useful for the growth of other plants, which could lead to many changes in received doctrines about fallows, rotations, mixed crops, fertilizers, or, as Friend Sykes found out through actual trials on his Wiltshire land, he manuring of infertile soils. Moreover, as Baranger opines, nothing prevents us from thinking that certain plants are capable of producing rare elements of industrial importance. They appear to supply us with an example of subatomic transformation which we are not capable of performing in the laboratory without bringing into action particles of high energy in exactly the same way we are not capable of brIngmg about at ordinary temperatures the syntheses of innumerable products, either alkaloids or others, which are extracted from plants.
Kervran, who has now retired from his duties as one of France’s more eminent professors in order to embark on the career of a determined alchemist, asks why chemically pure reactions such as the combination of one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen can be realized in a test tube only at extremely high temperatures and pressures whereas living organisms can perform the same feat at room temperature. He feels that the biological catalysts known as enzymes are in some way responsible.
In a yearbook entitled Alchemy: Dream or Reality? published in 1973 in Rouen by the students of the prestigious Institut Nationale Superieur de Chimie Industrielle, Kervran writes that microorganisms are a concentration of enzymes. Their ability to transmute elements is not a mere hooking of peripheral electrons to form bonds as in classical chemistry but involves a fundamental alteration of the nucleus of elements.
Most transmutations have been observed to take place within the first twenty elements of the periodic table. They further always seem to involve hydrogen or oxygen. Thus the transmutation of potassium to
calcium is accomplished through the addition of a hydrogen proton .
Basic to Bovis’ theory is that the earth as positive magnetic currents running north to south, negative magnetic currents running east to west. He says that these currents are picked up by all bodies on the surface of the earth, and that any body placed in a north-south position will be more or less polarized, depending on its shape and consistency. In human bodies these telluric currents, both positive and negative, enter through one leg and go out through the oposite hand. At the same time cosmic currents from beyond the earth enter through the head and go out through the other hand and foot. The, currents also go out through the open eyes.
All bodies containing water, says Bovis, accumulate these currents and can radiate them slowly. As the currents go out and act and react against other magnetic forces in objects, they affect the pendulum held by the dowser. Thus the human body, as a variable condenser, acts as a detec tor, selector and amplifier of short and ultra-short waves; it is a go- between for the animal electricity of Galvani and the inanimate electricity of Volta.
Bovis developed a pendulum from a similar device which he says was used by the ancient Egyptians, made from crystal with a fixed metal point suspended on a double strand of red and violet silk. He called it “paradiamagnetique” because it is sensitive to objects which are either attracted or repelled by a magnet. Bodies which are attracted, such as iron, cobalt, nickel, magnesium, chrome, or titanium, he called paramagnetic; those which are repelled, such as copper, zinc, tin, lead, sulfur and bismuth, he called diamagnetic. By placing a small magnetic field in the form of a solenoid between the dowser and the pendulum he claimed to be able to pick up very faint currents such as those emanating from a non fecundated egg. He explained the use of red and violet strands as increasing the sensitivity of his pendulum on the grounds that red light vibrations are the same as the atomic vibrations of iron, which are paramagnetic, and those of violet being the same as copper, which are diamagnetic.
Bovis found that with his pendulum he could tell the intrinsic vitality and relative freshness of different foods within their protective skins because of the power of their radiations. To measure with his pendulum the varying radiant frequencies produced by foods Bovis developed a biometre, or simple ruler arbitrarily graduated in centimeters to indicate microns, which are thousandths of a millimeter, and angstroms, which are a hundred times smaller, covering a band between zero and ten thousand angstroms.
By placing a piece of fruit or vegetable, or any kind of food, at one end of tbe ruler, Bovis could watch his swinging pendulum change directions at a certain distance along the ruler, which gave him an indication of the degree of the food’s vitality. According to Bovis the limit of any object’s radiance is overcome at some point by the general telluric field surrounding it, and can thus be measured. Dowsers maintain that any two objects of the same material and size placed a yard or so apart will create two fields which will repel each other at a halfway mark easily noted with a pendulum. Increasing the size of one of the objects will cause its field to move closer to the smaller object. Simoneton found that food which radiates 8,000 to 10,000 angstroms on Bovis’ biometre would also cause a pendulum to turn at the remarkable speed of 400 to 500 revolutions per minute in a radius of 80 milimeters. Foods which radiate between 6,000 and 8,000 spun it at a rate of 300 to 400, with a radius of 60 milimeters. Meats, pasteurized milk and overcooked vegetables which radiate less than 2,000 angstroms, have not sufficient energy to make the pendulum spin.
With this background Simoneton had enough electrical engineering and radio knowledge not to dismiss Bovis as a quack, and was able to establish empirically that with Bovis’ system he could measure specific wavelengths from foods that indicated both vitality and freshness. Milk, which he measured at 6.5 thousand angstroms when fresh, lost 40 percent of its radiation by the end of twelve hours and 90 percent by the end of twenty-four. As for pasteurization, Simoneton found that it killed the wavelengths dead. The same he found true of pasteurized fruit and vegetable juices. Garlic juice, when pasteurized, coagulated like dead human blood and its vibrations dropped from around eight thousand angstroms to zero.
On the other hand freezing fresh fruit and vegetables has the effect of prolonging their life; on defrosting they resume their radiance at almost the same level as when they were iced. Food placed in a refrigerator will deteriorate, but at a much slower pace. Unripe fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator may actually increase in radiance as they slowly mature.
Dehydrated fruit was found by experiment to retain its vitality; if soaked in “vitalized” water for twenty-four hours, even several months after drying, it would reradiate almost as strongly as when freshly picked. Canned fruits remained perfectly dead. Water turned out to be a very strange medium: normally unradiant, it was capable of being “vitalized” by association with minerals, human beings, or plants. Some waters, such s those at Lourdes, Bovis found, in 1926, to radiate as high as 156,000 angstroms. Eight years later some of the same water still registered 78,000 angstroms. The Czech-born psychic Jan Merta holds that the rind from apples, pears, and other fruits and vegetables, when left to soak in a glass of water overnight, releases healthful vibrations into the water which can then be drunk to provide better nourishment than the rind itself, which has little or no effect on Simone.ton’s pendulum.
To simplify life for readers of his book, Simoneton divided foods into four general classes. In the first he placed those foods whose radiant wavelength he found higher than the basic human wavelength of 6,500 angstroms, going up to 10,000 or higher. These include most fruits, which run between 8,000 and 10,000 at the peak of their maturity, and vegetables if eaten fresh from the garden. Simoneton noted that by the time most vegetables get to the market in town they have lost one-third of their potency; by the time they have been subjected to cooking, they have lost another third.
Simoneton says fruits are filled with solar radiation in the healthful light spectrum between the bands of infrared and ultraviolet, and that their radiance rises slowly to a peak while ripening, then gradually decreases to zero at putrefaction. The banana, which is healthily edible or about eight days out of a span of twenty-four between the time it is picked and when it starts to rot, gives off optimum vibrations when it is yellow, not so good when green, and very low when black. Anyone who has lived in pineapple-growing areas of the world such as the Hawaiian islands knows that a pineapple picked and eaten at the precise time of its ripening-a period lasting no longer than a few hours -has a delicious taste which amazes people who have only eaten storebought fruit picked long before they come to maturity.
Vegetables are most radiant if eaten raw, two raw carrots being better than a plateful of cooked ones. The potato, which has a radiance of only 2,000 angstroms when raw (perhaps because it grows underground hiden from the sun), mysteriously rises to 7,000 angstroms when boiled and all the way to a very healthy 9,000 when baked. The same applies to other tubers .
Legumes, such as peas, beans, lentils, or chickpeas, rate 7,000 to 8,000 when fresh. Dried they lose most of their radiance. They become heavy, indigestible, and hard on the liver, says Simoneton. To benefit from legumes they too should be eaten raw and freshly picked. Optimu m results come from their juices.
In Simoneton’s second category he places foods radiating from 6,500 down to 3,000 angstroms. These include eggs, peanut oil, wine, boiled vegetables, cane sugar, and cooked fish. He rates a good red wine be tween 4,000 and 5,000, and says it is a better drink than devitalized city water, and certainly better than coffee. chocolate, liquor, or pasteurized fruit juices, which have virtually no radiance. Echoing Nichols, Simoneton says that, whereas the juice of a fresh sugar beet gives 8,500 angstroms, refined beet sugar can fall as low as 1,000, and the white lumps that get wrapped in papers are down to zero.
Of meats, the only one that makes Simoneton’s list of edible foods is freshly smoked ham. Freshly killed pork radiates at 6,500, as does all animal meat; but once it has been soaked in salt and hung over a wood fire its radiance rises to 9,500 or 10,000 angstroms. Other meats are almost pointless to eat; they are an exercise in tough digestion, which wears out rather than vitalizes the eater, requiring him to drink coffee to keep from falling asleep.
Cooked meats, sausages, and other innards are all in Simoneton’s third category along with coffee, tea, chocolate, jams, fermented cheeses, and white bread. Because of their low radiation they do one little or no good, says Simoneton.
In his fourth category are margarines, preserves, alcohols, liquors, refined white sugar, and bleached white flour: all dead as far as radiations are concerned. Applying his technique for measuring wavelengths directly to human beings, Simoneton found that the normal healthy person gives off a radiance of about 6,500 or a little higher, whereas the radiations given off by tobacco smokers, alcohol imbibers, and carrion eaters are uniformly lower. Bovis claimed that cancer patients give off a wavelength of 4,875, which, he noted, was the same wavelength as that of over- refined white French bread before the Second World War. However, because a cancer victim will radiate this low level long
It is Bovis and Simoneton’s thesis that human beings should eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, and fresh fish that give off radiations higher than their own normal 6,500, if they wish to energize themselves and feel healthy. They believe that low-radiance foods, such as meats and bad bread, instead of bringing vitality to the body, sap the body of its existing vitality and that that is why one can feel heavy and devitalized from a meal one expected to replenish one’s energy. From the fact that most microbes read well below 6.5 thousand angstroms, Simoneton, like Lakhovsky, deduces that they can only affect a human being whose vitality has been lowered to a point where cells resonate at their wavelength, whereas a body with a healthy vitality remains immune to attack by microbes. This gives a raison d ‘etre for deadly microbes in an ordered universe. The same principle, no doubt, explains why plants whose radiance has been reduced by chemical fertilizers are subject to attack by pests.
It struck Simoneton that the therapeutic marvels attributed since the dawn of history to herbs, flowers, roots, and barks might not be due simply to their chemical content, but the healthy wavelengths they radiate.
Simoneton believes the day wi11 soon come when vaccines are made not from the bodies or carcasses of animals but from the radiant juice of plants. To set the world right Simoneton envisages doctors with headphones like radio operators, able to diagnose by the frequencies they receive from patients just what ails them, able to broadcast to them just the frequencies required to set things right.
Perhaps the most informed doctor in the healing power of plants was Paracelsus, who acquired his lore from old European herbalists, from wise men of the East, but primarily from the direct study of nature. According to his “doctrine of sympathetic resemblances” all growing things reveal through their structure, form. colof, and aroma, their peculiar usefulness to man. Paracelsus recommended that a physician sit quietly in a meadow, relax and soonn notice “how the blossoms follow the motion of the planets, opening their petals according to the phases of he moon, by the cycle of the sun, or in response to distant stars.”
With Paracelsus, Bach believed that everything that lives radiates, and with Simoneton, he realized that plants with high vibrations were able to raise the lowered vibrations of human beings. As he put it, “herbal remedies have the power to elevate our vibrations, and thus draw down spiritual power, which cleanses mind and body, and heals.” Bach compared his remedies to that of beautiful music or arrangements of color, or any gloriously uplifting medium that gives inspiration; his cure was not to attack the disease, but to flood the body with beautiful vibrations from wild herbs and flowers, in the presence of which “disease would melt away as snow in the sunshine.”
Simoneton’s dream that doctors with earphones would one day diagnose patients simply by tuning in to the frequencies given off by their ailing organs and then be able to cure them by broadcasting to the organs more healthful vibrations has turned out to be closer to fact than fiction .
Dr. Albert Abrams claimes that the idea that disease was of cellular origin was out of date and must be discarded. Instead, he maintained it was because the molecular constituents of cells undergo a structural alteration specifically a change in the number and arrangement of their electrons, that they develop characteristics which only later become visible at the microscope.
Since one spot on the trunk of a healthy subject reacted to not just one but several pathological specimens, Abrams next began to conceive of an instrument which might differentiate between the wavelengths of all specifically diseased tissues. After months of research, he worked out what he called a “reflexophone,” an instrument very much like the rheostat-a continuously variable electrical resistor used to regulate current-that could emit sounds varying in pitch and thus obviate the necessity of having to tap a specific point on a body.
An even more fantastic revelation came when Abrams found he could diagnose the ills of the human body with his instrument from a single drop of the body’s blood. Furthermore, by apparently inducting the effect from one reflexophone to another which contained three rheostats calibrated in units of 10’1 and 1/25, he was able to determine not only from what disease a person was suffering but to what stage it had advanced.
One day while Abrams was demonstrating to a class the reaction induced by the blood of a malarial patient, he suddenly turned and said, “Well, there are upwards of forty of you physicians present, and probably all of you would prescribe quinine to a patient suffering from this disease, but can anyone of you offer any scientific reason for so doing?” There being no reply, Abrams took out a few grains of sulfate of quinine and put them where the blood drop had been in the device. It produced exactly the same percussion note as malaria. He then placed the malarial material in the container together with a grain or so of quinine wrapped in tissue paper. Now the percussion which had produced a dull sound indicating malaria gave a resonant sound. To his amazed class Abrams put forward the suggestion that radiations emitted by quinine molecules exactly canceled those from malarial molecules, that the effect on malaria of quinine was due to an unsuspected electrical law which should become the subject of intensive research. Various other known antidotes behaved similarly-mercury against syphilis, to cite but one example. Abrams knew that if he could devise a wave-emitting instrument, similar to a wireless broadcasting station, which could alter the character of the waves transmitted by malarial or syphilitic tissue, he might cancel them out as effectively as did quinine or mercury.
Though at first he believed “this was beyond the wit of man,” he eventually built an “oscilloclast” with the help of a friend, Samuel O. Hoffman, a distinguished radio research engineer who had achieved fame in World War I by devising a unique method for detecting German zeppelins approaching the U.S. coast even at a great distance. This oscilloclast or “wave breaker” could emit specific waves capable of curing human afflictions by apparently altering or canceling out radiations emitted by various diseases. By 1919 Abrams began teaching its use to physicians, who, because neither they nor Abrams could exactly explain how it effected cures, regarded it as nothing short of miraculous.
Homeopathy is a method for treatmement founded by Christian Samuel Hahnemann, a chemist, linguist, tratslator of medical works, and the author of a comprehensive apothecaries’ lexicon. He got himself into serious trouble with the then equivalent of the FDA by his discovery that small doses of what can cause the symptoms of a disease in human beings can also cure them. The original discovery was made by chance when the Countess of Cinchon, wife of the Spanish Viceroy to Peru, was relieved of malaria with an infusion of bark from a local tree which produced symptoms in her identical with those of malaria. Thereafter known as “cinchon bark,” the remedy was sold by monks in Spain to the rich for its weight in gold and given to the poor for nothing.
Spurred by this novel approach to medicine, Hahnemann made a methodical search for plants, herbs, barks, or any substance, including snake venom, which could produce symptoms similar to those of a known disease, and by administering them in small doses produced some near miracle cures. He found belladonna to be a remedy against scarlet ever, pulsatilla against measles, and gelsemium against influenza.
Quite as extraordinary as Hahnemann’s cures was his next discovery, that the more he diluted a remedy the more potent and effective it became, even if diluted to an infinitesimal one million to one. Rudolf Hauschka explains the phenomenon by suggesting that if matter is a condensation or a crystallization of cosmic forces, these forces would naturally revert to being more powerful as they were liberated from their material casing like jinns from a bottle.
A careful chemist, Hahnemann would start by diluting the tincture of some bark, root, resin, seed, or gum with ninetynine parts of pure alcohol. This would give him what he called a one-centesimal potency. He would then dilute one part of this liquid into ninety-nine parts of a diluent. The third time round he would have a tincture that was only one millionth part of the diluent. The result, for some even to him mysterious reason, was far more potent. Hauschka explains part of Hahnemann’s secret as being in the rhythmic, mathematical fashion in which he shook his dilutions, rhythm having the same effect it has on humans of freeing the spirit from the clutches of the body.
On the East Coant of the United States Howard Armstrong, who had become an industrial chemist with many inventions to his credit, decided to try his riend’s method in Pennsylvenia. After taking an aerial photograph of a cornfield under attack by Japanese beetles, he cut one corner off the photo with a pair of scissors and laid the remainder togather with a small amount of rotenone, a beetle poison, extracted from the roots of a woody Asian vine which the Japanese call “roten,” on the collector plate of one of Upton’s radionic devices. Alter several five- to ten-minute treatments with the machine’s dials set to specific readings, a meticulous count of beetles revealed that 80-90 percent of1 them had died or disappeared from the corn plants treated through the photo. The untreated plants in the corner cut away from the photo remained 100 percent infested.
Upton, Knuth, and Armstrong combined their talents and the first letters of their names to form UKACO, Inc. The new company’s goal was to relieve farmers of unwanted pests by the new method, as scientifically inexplicable as it was simple and inexpensive.
What also may have alarmed the governmet was the idea that if a host of insects could be affected, even killed, simply by radiating a poison at them via a picture of the plants which they were attacking, then the same technique could be militarily applied to concentrations of troops or even the populations of whole cities in wartime. All this discouragement, added to the studied and seemingly sucessful efforts of governmental and industrial moguls to wean farmer away from the new approach to insect control, finally forced UKACQ to close its doors. But the story of what came to be called “radionics was only beginning .
T. Galen Hieronymus suspected that the unknown energy emitted from metals might be somehow linked to sunlight; since it could be transmitted over wires, it might have an effect on the growth of plants. To find out, Hieronymus placed some aluminum-lined boxes in the pitch-dark cellar of his Kansas City house. Some boxes he grounded to a water pipe and connected by separate copper wires to metal plates on the outside of the house exposed to full sunlight. Other boxes were left unconnected. In all of them Hieronymus planted seed grain. In the connected boxes the seeds grew into sturdy green plants. The seeds in he unconnected boxes had no trace of green and were anemic and drooping.
This brought Hieronymus to the revolutionary conclusion that whatever caused the development of chlorophyll in plants could not be sunlight itself but something associated with it, which, unlike light, was transmittable over wires. He had no idea at what frequency this energy might be located on the electromagnetic spectrum, or even if it was related to it. As Hieronymus continued to build instruments for the doctors, and to experiment with them, he grew more and more convinced that the energy being modulated by the devices had little to do with electromagnetism. This notion became a certainty when he found the device itself was short-circuited if bathed in light rays from the sun just as electrical circuits in a radio are shorted by being plunged into a bath of water.
Hieronymus next designed a special analyzer, first with lenses, finally with a prism, by means of which he could identify, from the radiations they emitted, many of the elements on Mendeleyev’s periodic chart. He found that the energy, when refracted through a prism, behaved in the same manner as light, except that the angles of refraction were much more acute, and that the energy from various elements came through at angles of refraction in the same order as the contents of their nuclei.His ability to detect a substance from its radiation alone convinced Hieronymus that disease was destroyed by the Abrams device and its descendants “through a radiative attack on the binding energy which holds molecular structures together.”
The frequency of emanation, or angle of refraction, is in exact proportion to the number of particles in the nucleus of an element, says Hieronymus. The range of frequencies or angles of refraction from complex substances can thus be used to disclose what they contain. The energy emitted does not, like electromagnetic energy, attenuate inversely as the square of the distance from its source. It radiates out only a certain distance depending on the object from which it is emitted, on the direction it takes, and even on the time of day of its measurement. Something varies the amount of radiation emitted in the same way that fog, smoke or other materials altering the density of the air in our atmosphere vary the intensity of light from whatever source. Nagasaki had been blasted, to describe his new Trying to describe this radiation Hieronymus first came up with the cumbersome explanation: “Energy obeying some of the laws of electricity but not all of them, and some of the laws of optics, but not all of them.” To obviate the repetition he finally coined the term “eloptic energy. ” This energy, he concluded, though independent of, was somehow affiliated with, electromagnetic energy. Because of the difference, Hieronymus inferred that their spectra of frequencies were necessarily related. He decided to refer to eloptic energy in all its wavelengths as a fine medium which, as he wrote, “might be the same as that which used to be described by electronic engineers and physicists as ‘the ether ’ put in action at higher harmonics than so far experienced.”
In the early 1940s Hieronymus applied for a patent. The invention to which he put claim was basically a method and an apparatus “relating to the art of detecting the presence of, and measuring the intensity or quantity of, any known element of material matter, singly or in combination, whether in solid, fluid or gaseous form.” For those who might rush to duplicate his idea, there was an important qualification in the application which stated that the “apparatus preferably relies upon the element of touch and, therefore, the skill of the operator. “
In 1949, Hieronymun was awarded US patent number 2,482,773 for the ‘Detection of Emanations from Materials and Measurement of the Volumes Thereof’.
Like the UKACO partners, the De La Warrs found that they could obtain equally succesful results either by directly radiating a plant or by beaming energy to it through one of its leaves or even its photograph. “It would appear”, wrote De La Warr, “ that each molecule of matter is capable of producing a tiny electrical voltage that is specific to itself, and which ‘transmits’ rather like a tiny radio transmitter-receiver. A collection of molecules, therefore, is capable of transmitting a generic pattern. This means that the signal from a plant or human is quite individual, and that each plant or person will receive a transmission on their own generic pattern. It is here that the photograph plays its part, as it is thought that the emulsion on the negative retains the generic pattern of the object photographed and can be induced to re-radiate as a carrier. Thus, with a photograph of a plant in circuit it is possible to affect that plant at a distance.”
The theory was in no way airtight, but the results obtained by radionics were fantastic. Realizing that the presence of living organisms in the soil is a prerequisite to good husbandry, the De La Warrs wondered if they could treat the soil itself through the cells living within it by radiating energy patterns effectively equivalent to plant nutrients. To attempt this they determined to photograph the soil of garden plots, treat the photos radionically, then plant vegetables in the treated soil to see how they would fare.
They began with cabbages. Selecting two sites eighty feet apart, in he curtilage of their laboratory, they removed all the topsoil. This they thoroughly sieved and mixed to eliminate any possibility of soil variation then spread it back on the sites, allowing it to settle for a week. On the 27th of March, 1954, they began a month-long treatment of ne site by radiating its photograph daily in their darkroom, leaving the other site untreated. This treatment accomplished, they planted four young cabbages, selected for their similarity, into the soil of each site. For two weeks no difference in the rate of growth was observable , causing them to have doubts about the procedure. Thenceforth to the nd of June, the cabbages in the treated soil continued to grow larger than those left to grow normally. Photographs taken some four weeks before maturity revealed that the plants in the treated site were three times larger than those left to grow normally.
Instead of dejection, this news brought the De La Warrs to a stunning realization: perhaps the plants had been responding all along not to the radiations from their machines but indirectly to the human beings involved in the experiments! To test this idea they called up the plant-breeding firm and obtained permission to run the very same tests the firm had performed on exactly the same plots. To the amazement of the establishment’s horticultural staff, the De La Warrs were successful in increasing growth with treated vermiculite to a significant degree but, try as they would, the professional plant growers could not repeat the De La Warrs’ success.
After three years of intense labor with plants, and out-of-pocket costs of some $20,000, the De La Warrs had at last stumbled onto the crux of the problem. A human factor of immense importance was confusing the issue. To determine the extent of this factor they again mixed vermiculite into the soil of potted oats. Their assistants, who daily poured measured quantities of water onto the seeds, were told which pots contained the treated substance, which the untreated. What they were not told was that none’ of the vermiculite used had in any way been irradiated and was as inert as when brought from the supplier.
Though every one of the oat seeds had received no nutrient energy other than that provided by the soil itself, the De La Warrs were excited to note that the seedlings in those pots which the assistants believed to contain treated vermiculite were coming up faster than the others. Human belief that a plant might grow faster was apparently acting as a nutrient to actually produce faster growth. Thought was a food!
De La Warr, who considered this experiment the most important he had ever run, found himself face to face with a shattering new reality with the most far-reaching implications: the mind of a human being could affect cell formation!
However, Dr. Robert N. Miller, an indusiial research scientist and former professor of chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, began a series of experiments in 1967 with Ambrose and Olga Worrall, whose feats of healing have become celebrated in the, United States. Using an extremely accurate method of measuring plat growth rates developed by Dr. H. H. Kleuter of the United States Department of Agriculture, with accuracies up to one thousandth of an inch per hour, Miller, working in Atlanta, Georgia, asked the Worrals to direct their thoughts at rye seedlings from Baltimore, some 600 miles away.
Whereas the growth rate of a new blade of rye grass had been observed by Miller to stabilize at 0.00625 inch per hour, after he asked the Worralls to think of the seedling at exactly 9A.M., the trace on a graph indicating growth rate began immediately to deviate upward and by 8 A.M. the following morning the grass was growing at a rate 84 percent faster. Instead of growing the expected l/16 inch in the interval, the seedling had sprouted more than 1/2 inch. Miller reported that the dramatic results of his experiment suggest that the sensitive experimental technique could be used to measure accurately the effect of mind over matter.
The mysteries of how the human mind may act through radionic devices such as those of UKACO, Hieronymus, or De La Warr are yet to be explained. In an amazing development, the late John Campbell, editor of Astounding Science Fiction-since become Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact-determined in the 1950s that a circuit diagram of Hieronymus’ machine drawn in India ink worked as well as the machine itself. “Your electronic circuit,” he wrote to Hieronymus,”represents a pattern of relationships. The electrical characteristics are unimportant and can be dropped out completely.” Voysey, an English dowser, corroborated the evidence by pointing out that if he traces a line with pencil on paper, thinking strongly that this mark will represent a certain metal, his pendulum will react to the drawn line exactly as if it were the metal.
After a prolonged study of radionic devices sponsored by the Foundation for the Study of Consciousness set up by Arthur M. Young, inventor of the Bell helicopter, Frances Farrelly, who ran her own college for medical laboratory technicians, also came to the conclusion that the devices were not necessary to achieve effects. While working in England with a Harley Street physician, she found she could walk toward a patient with her hands outstretched and feel within her own body where the patient had trouble. As she says: “I was beginning to run the instrument in my head, or mentally only.” Since then, Farrelly has been able to make diagnoses of ills of individuals not only without a radionics device but without a blood spot or a photograph or anything at all. The mental image of a patient held in her mind is sufficient. She calls this a “resonating reflex phenomenon.”
In the summer of 1973 Farrelly’s talents were put to test in Prague when one of the participants in the First International Conference on psychotronics a Czech logism for the effects of mental energy on matter-lost a wallet in the cavernous four-story Railway Workers’ Building, site of the conference. Within minutes, Farrelly tracked it down, pinpointing its exact location inside a box at the back of a dark closet where a cleaning woman had placed it for safekeeping. The following day she was confronted by a professor from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences who gave her a chip of mineralized rock and asked her before a large audience if she could state its origin and age. Rubbing the table before her to get a radionic type “stick,” Farrelly, after putting a dozen questions to herself, stated that the mineral in uestion came from a meteor and was about 3,200,000 years old, answers which exactly matched the most considered conclusions of expert Czech minerologists.
During her stay in England, Farrelly was intrigued that the De La Warrs seemed to have radionically detected that every living plant has a critical rotational position (CRP), which is apparently established by he earth’s magnetic field as the seed sprouts out of the ground. If the seedling is transplanted in such a way that it continues to grow in its CRP, it will thrive better than plants which have been transplanted out f that orientation. This phenomenon was also independently discovered by Hieronymus, who found that a reading on the dials of his radionic device was maximum when the plant was rotated in a given position with respect to a compass rose. The De La Warrs had also found that, because of this apparent relationship with the geomagnetic field, a plant has a pattern of radiation around it. Nodal points within this pattern or web which seem to concentrate the field of radiation can be located by a portable detector with a probe and a rubbing plate similar to that on their radionics device. In England Frances Farrelly found that with a simple dowsing pendulum she could locate on a tree and in the domelike geometric pattern laround it nodal points of energy which could expose X-ray film.