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Kirlian Auras

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There is no reason to believe that all physical laws have been discovered. Investigation of life may reveal new laws of science that will become just as firmly established as those laws of science known today. Western science has long regarded "psychic phenomena" as either imaginative fantasies or ridiculous claims for supernatural events. Fortunately, a few scientists, ignoring the skepticism of their colleagues, are investigating such things as ESP, acupuncture, or states of consciousness. Recently, I visited one of these researchers, Dr. Thelma Moss, at the Center for the Health Sciences at UCLA. She has been investigating the Kirlian aura. This is the name given to a a dynamic aura or corona emanating from living objects when photographed electrically. The process is named after Semyon and Valentina Kirlian who jointly developed the technique of electrophotography in Russia. Their original technique, still used today but with modifying improvements, is the passage of high-frequency, high voltage, low amperage electrical currents pulsed through two capacitor plates. A photographic emulsión píate and the object to be examined are placed between the two plates. The Kirlians described the process as a "window on the unknown". Kirlian photography was introduced into America in 1968 by Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder, who had been studying psychic research in the U.S.S.R. With a stronger cultural tradition of mysticism, the Russians have been doing Kirlian research for twenty-five years. Dr. Moss has been investigating the Kirlian aura for severalyears. She has presented papers at the National Institute of Mental Health, an international Conference in Psychotronics, has journeyed to Russia to see first-hand the work being done there, and has published articles in numerous journals. Some of the areas being explored by Dr. Moss and her associates include the auric response to alcohol and marijuana, a possible correlation to acupuncture, and the "phantom leaf." For example, in one study a medical student volunteered to get drunk in the laboratory for experimental purposes. He agreed to drink one ounce of whiskey every fifteen minutes, until he wished to stop. The first photograph taken, before any alcohol consumption, showed a typical very thin emanation associated with anxiety or nervousness. After the first drink, the aura had grown larger, with a lavender tinge. By the seventh ounce he had achieved a "rosy glow" which became rosier by the eleventh ounce. With his seventeenth ounce he was clearly "all lit up"-at which point he stopped the experiment. Moss reported marijuana ïnioxication aiso snowea sucn aramanc enects. Acupuncture theory is premised on the belief that energy flows along pathways or meridians in the body. Thus, when the balanced energy flow is blocked or in some other way becomes unbalanced a normal healthy aM person becomes sick. This energy flow is considered invisible. ever, Dr. Moss believes that Kirlian photography may V" reveal the effects of this energy flow. Support for this possiblity has come from several experiments which seem to demónstrate a dramatic change in the Kirlian aura before, during, and after acupuncture treatment. In a paper presented at the NIMH conference on acupuncture Moss described one such change: "One of our colleagues complained of a chronic pain in the right foot. We took pictures of the sides of both feet, right and left. Again, we found an imbalance; but in this instance the chronically aching right foot revealed less corona than the left foot. This subject volunteered for acupuncture treatment, and several needies were inserted around the injured area, the ball of the foot. Again there is clearly seen an increased corona after treatment." One of the more interesting findings reported from the Soviet Union is Kirlian photography showing brighter areas at the traditional acupuncture points. In one experiment, Russian researchers claim that more electricity applied to one such area would light up others at various places on the body. Many scientists investigating the Kirlian aura now believe that this technique can be used to detect disease and other physical malfunctions prior to any overt manifestation by the body. The first indication of the diagnostic capability was noticed by Semyon Kirlian in 1949. He had been given identical leaves from two plants of the same species to photograph. From such work Kirlian had learned that each species of plant had a unique, reproducible aura pattern. However. these two "twins" were exhibiting different patterns. Later, Kirlian was informed that one plant had been infected with a disease. While there was no overt sign of disease, nor any other indication that the plant was infected and soon to die, the Kirlian photographic technique revealed the presence of desease. Many investigators have hopes of using Kirlian photography elinieally for both physical and psychological diagnosis. Reports from the U.S.S.R., with its longer history of research, indícate major advances in this diagnostic process. One scientist claims to be able to recognize over 100 diseases through the Kirlian aura. Kirlian photos are also being used to diagnose erop diseases. The Russians have had some success in monitoring effects of drug radiation treatments on a person. One application of Kirlian photography is in the study of the "healing process" -the psychic "laying on of hands." Many researchers have found differences in auro emanations between the and post healing process. Although different machines reveal different patterns and more research is needed, many have reached a tentative hypothesis that some type of energy transfer is going on between patiënt and healer during the healing process. Most intriguing of all results mentioned is the "phantom leaf ' effect. When from 2-10% of a leaf is cut away a photograph of the whole leaf is obtained. While this "phantom leaf effect is rarely seen, photographs have been obtained independently in the Soviet Union, Brazil, and at Dr. Moss' laboratory. As she herself claims, the necessary conditions required to produce consistent "phantom leaf pictures are not known. However, they usually expect clear "phantoms" about 5-10% of the time and near-misses in which a suggestion of the "phantom" is seen about 20% of the time. Altogether, she and her associate, John Hubacher, have accumulated more than a dozen "phantom leaves" which show clearly an internal structure presumably belonging to the cut-off portions of the leaf. The metaphysical importance of such "phantom leaves" has not escaped her notice. These "phantom leaf' effects, if valid, would vide evidence of a non-material structure possibly primary to the physical body of the leaf structure. This non-material foundation seems to be independent of the ical structure, and ït is even possible that physical structure is dependent upon this non-physical foundation for form and development. This finding would also tend to corrobórate the "nonscien tifie" continued on page 26 Kirlian Photography continued from page 1 7 claims of yogis and others that all lile has an energy body in addiiion to the material body. This would not be the first example of scien! tifie corroboration of voKic claims, such as direct manipulación of sucli "autonomie" processes as heart beat rale oí body temperatura. In addition. it would provide strong support for a vitalistic. non-nicchanislic understanding of lile. The mad treatment and disrespect western society luis tor life is a result of the lit'e-machine identity. Tlie implications tor biology, medicine, as well as many other facets of our society are quite interesting as a complete re-orientation of current theory and practice would be necessary. Historically, science has been the depository as well as the final arbiter of knowledge in the western world. The scientific method has generally been recognized as the only valid method for obtaining such knowledge. The impact of science thus extends into all other aspects of western civilization. Consequently. a radical reorientation in western science leads inevitably to a similar reorientation in western civilization. It may be thal the Kirlian aura is evidence of sonie type of field effect among living organisms. thereby showing an interrclationship between all living things and indeed between all things. In addition. such a field effect would seemingly dissolve the requisite boundary which divides Out There (objective reality) and In Here (subjective unreality). The impact of such a field effect on social and political beliefs could be revoluüonary. No one knows what this aura is the Kirlian photographic process reveáis. However, experiments have shown what it is not. There is no correlation between - cular pressures, skin resistance or temperature, nor is it related to sweat. Consequently, investigators are divided on what this aura represents. ome say it" is an ar-, tifact of the photographic process itself, others claim tffat the aura is simply a heiotofore unseen manifestation of some cominon physiological process(es), while others claim that the energy body is being photographed. Obviously, much more research and an open, curious mimi is necessary.