Crystals, Gems & Psionics

New Age Claims for Crystals Examined and Tested at Metropolitan Study Group

Frater Lego, Audio Igitur Cognosco

New Age claims made for attributes of crystals in healing may be rather sweeping, but they are not so unreasonable as they might seem at first sight. Or rather, it would be more correct to say that how sweeping you think the claims actually are, depends almost entirely on your concept of reality and the extent to which you are tolerant of the tendency of established twentieth century science to be very selective about accepting evidence of ideas it doesn't like.
Let me start by defining one or two points. Many things around us, from snowflakes to sugar, from laptop computer displays to blood cells, have a crystalline structure, but this paper will be restricted to minerals: to gems and semi-precious stones. Another point is that the study of the properties of crystals and gems goes back many centuries. Hildegarde von Bingham was a writer and composer of note at the turn of the 10th century - and she wrote at length on the healing properties of crystals - and she followed the teachings of the ancients. However, the present paper deals only with more recent claims. Some of these, it must be admitted, are repetitions of ancient claims, but much of the information circulating now has been 'channelled' by New Age thinkers.
The distribution of elements in the mineral world is sometimes surprising and by far the most common element is quartz, or silicon dioxide. Carbon is, of course, more common in total, but not as a mineral. Silicon dioxide represents about 40% of all minerals making up the earth, and comes in the form of sand and sandstones, as well as quartz crystals. and has some interesting and scientifically established properties. As long ago as the 1890s the Curies discovered that pressure on quartz causes a small electric current to flow - hit it and you get electricity! (The reverse is also true: give it an electric charge and a piece of quartz will expand slightly.) Quartz responds to minute changes in the electromagnetic field around it, and vibrates 32,768 times a second with a reliability which lies behind its use in clocks and watches.
From these properties one can see that, though some of the claims made for crystals may at first sight test credibility, yet there is scope in some of the attributes for a possible methodology behind these claims.
The scientific uses of crystals, apart from those in clocks, include electrical measuring instruments, semiconductors made of pure silicon and used in computers and as a part of electronic circuits. Other common uses include silicon solar cells, for generating electricity from light, piezzoelectricity, crystal diodes and lasers (using mainly synthetic rubies) and applications using the hardness of diamonds, [It is worth noting that crystals appear on a scale of hardness from 1 to 10, each material able to scratch the next lower on the scale. Diamonds at 10 represent the hardest substance and Quartz has a hardness of 7 on this scale.
Beyond the scientific uses, there are a group of attributions relating to health, to emotions and to psionics. Some of these are self-evidently genuine. For example, in the New Age canon, the semi-precious stone Carnelian gives courage, while Rose Quartz makes the wearer more lovable. It is believed that carrying the appropriate stone encourages the emotion. If one believes firmly in the effectiveness of crystals and caries a piece of Carnelian, one is likely to believe oneself braver - which is, of curse, to be braver. Likewise, having a piece of Rose Quartz and believing in its efficacy in making the bearer more lovable will probably make one behave in ways that encourage love.
The next group of applications may work through what mainstream medical science refers to as the 'placebo effect'. In the testing of modern drugs, up to 60% or more of the effectiveness can be due to this 'placebo effect'. Mainstream medical studies have failed to explain why it occurs - giving it a name does not explain it - but they have shown a bewildering array of factors which affect it: the status of the person prescribing the drug; the time the drug is given and even the colour of the placebo pill and other factors, all make a huge difference to the effectiveness of a scientifically neutral substance, like sugar or salt. There is a certain amount of evidence that this phenomenon may be related to what is called 'vibrational medicine', though much of mainstream medicine does not like this idea.
To sum up:
a) Some attributes of crystals are bound to be effective by their very nature;
b) Some attributes may be due to the actions of vibrational medicine or the placebo effect;
c) Some scientific properties exist, from which we can hypothesize why others may be justified;
d) A few claims do not seem to relate in any obvious way to groups to (a), (b) or (c).
I need, perhaps to explain briefly the term 'vibrational medicine'. This is related to our conception of reality. If you turn on a radio & a TV set at the same time, you receive two different programmes, the different tuning of the receivers decoding two different signals which exist in the same space. It is a fact so blindingly obvious that we do not think about it, that 'things' - and radio and TV transmission signals can be thought of as things for this purpose - can exist in the same space as each other without conflict, providing their vibratory rates are different. If one bombards the area occupied by the human body electronically and then photographs it, the etheric body becomes dimly visible. This aura or 'Kirlian' photography (after the Russian who discovered it thirty or forty years ago) is freely available at the Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit and the Alternative Medicine Fair. There are a number of other electronic devices, as well as some psionic ones, from which the etheric body can be inferred. It appears to occupy the same space as the physical body, but at a different vibratory level. Let me quote:
"We live in an ocean of frequencies, as a fish lives in water. The fish is unaware of the many
possibilities of the medium in which it moves. So man has been totally unaware of the pos-
sibilities of vast ocean of frequencies in which he lives. The many energy frequencies move
in geometric patterns. When he geometric patterns are altered, their manifestation is alter-
ed. Crystals are those substances which alter the geomet-ric pattern of frequencies..." 0
I need also, for the benefit of those who did not hear a paper I delivered last year about the subject to both Metropolitan and Michael Penrose Colleges, to define 'psionics'. This is the name given to mind machines, though not all mind machines are psionic. I have, for instance, a mind lab, consisting of a flashing strobe and matching beeping sound which prompts ones brain waves to follow preset patterns to achieve effects like relaxation or self hypnosis: that is certainly a mind machine, but not really psionic. The term covers things like the psionic black box for vibrational healing or overlooking and the crystal healing rod, like those shown.
It was in the area of psionics and vibrational effects that we undertook some experiments at Metropolitan Study Group in January this year. For the purposes of those experiments group (a) were ignored, though some New Age channelled information is on display today, along with some examples of scientific and psionic applications. Group (b) attributes were felt to need larger numbers, longer periods and greater resources than were available to the Study Group. However, falling into group (d) were a couple of frequently made claims we did test. It is widely claimed that a piece of quartz in the soil makes a pot plant makes it grow better and that a piece of quartz in the water makes cut flowers last longer. One of my daughters swears (anecdotally) that both are true and the florist from whom I bought the cut flowers for the experiment also took it as a matter of established fact.
In November I bought two sets of three plants of the same type and about equal development. Three were marked 'A', 'B' and 'C' and Peter Dudley, the Secretary of the Study Group, placed a piece of quartz in one of them, made a note of the letter of the pot and sealed the note in an envelope marked 'experiment 1. Next the second three pots were marked 'M', 'N' and 'O'. One of the three he then watered with treated water for two months - I'll go into details in a moment
In January I bought three identical bunches of cut flower and placed them in three identical vases, marked 'X', 'Y' and 'Z'. Into one of them Peter Dudley placed a piece of quartz, made a note of which vase and sealed the note in an envelope marked 'experiment 3'.
Turning to the water for experiment 2, water has some interesting, if scientifically controversial properties, used in Homeopathy, Bach's Flower Remedies and Gem Essences. The continual dilution of homeopathic medicine until no molecules of the original substance remain can only mean - assuming that homeopathy works - that the effect lies in the field of vibrational medicine and that water itself can be imprinted with a vibrational 'memory' of what was there. Evidence for this comes from experiments into the effects of spiritual healers on water. This is not the time or place to raise this as an issue, but I did try treating the water myself with a crystal and it was this water used in the second experiment.
The pot plants and cut flowers were left in Stansfield Hall Library, which was neither warm enough nor light enough for any plant to do well. They were watered regularly by Peter Dudley, using tap water except for one pot watered with treated water. In January the Study Group considered this paper and my experiments (and an another, to which I will refer to in a moment.) Each person was asked to vote as to which of the three plants in each group was 'best developed' or 'best preserved'.
There were 17 people present: 4 did not vote - me as organiser, Chairman Ron Pike, Secretary Peter Dudley and Senior Substitute Magus, Andrew Stevenson. That left 13 votes. A choice of three subjects and the answer 'all about equal' (4 answers in all) means that a chance score would be 13 divided by 4 correct votes and that, to be significant, the score would need to be higher than 4 or less than 3. Can I also stress that no results from these experiments could be considered as having proved anything, one way or another, in scientific terms.
Voting was as follows:
Experiment 1 - Crystal in the soil
Pot A__1___ Pot B__9___Pot C___0__About Equal___3___
The correct pot was Pot. B (The result was very significant statistically)

Experiment 2 - Watered with treated water
Pot M___2__Pot N___2__Pot O___5__About Equal___4___
The correct pot was Pot O (The result was just bewyond the limits of chance)

Experiment 3 - Cut flowers - crystal in the water
Vase X__7___Vase Y__2__Vase Z___2___About Equal___2_
Correct vase, Vase X (The result was stastcally significant)

Before spelling out my reservations and possible reasons for the results, let me deal with the other experiment. For this two volunteer dowsed with a pendulum, trying to identify which of 5 identical ESP cards covered a coin. Each tried first dowsing the uncovered coin, which was then concealed when they had left the room. Each volunteer tried once whilst wearing a crystal headband and once without. Everything was done in full view of the group and there was no voting - the dowser selected one of the 5 cards in his own time.

There were no cases of the dowser choosing the correct card, though it is interesting that those near to the table agreed with each other that , in the cases involving a headband, the pendulum had actually moved more over the correct one than the one chosen, Can I add that, once again, the sample was too small to mean anything scientifically.
I want to consider now some of the uncontrolled factors which could have impacted on the results and why there might have been genuinely positive trends some of the time.
To take the first point, there are a number of factors to consider. While the Stanford Research Institute findings, taken over many years for the CIA and American military, suggest that psychic powers are latent in most people, it is clear that the degree of natural talent, spontaneously available without training, varies widely from person to person. The potential for abnormal findings are further increased because some members of the SRIA have developed those latent talents in one direction or another. The experiments involving dowsing called for 'random' volunteers - but it was hardly a random group from which they were drawn. It will be obvious that wearing a crystal headband may not make much difference to someone either very talented already or whose talents have been developed by say, meditation. Nor will it make much difference, of course, to some with little and undeveloped talent in that direction. Incidentally, I charged the water in the second experiment myself. I have no training or track record in spiritual healing, so the llow level of success in that trial is possibly impacted by that fact.
As to why experiments in group (c) applications might work, we need to consider the paper on the holographic universe which I delivered to the Metropolitan Study Group in January last year. I drew attention to the fact that the negative of a hologram is not a picture, but consists only of interference patterns and that every part of the negative contains every part of the image, unlike the negative of an ordinary photograph. I mentioned Professor Karl Pribram's experiments established that we remember holographically - that no matter what what part or how much of a rat's brain he removed, it remembered all it had learned. Professor of Quantum Physics, David Bohm, on the other hand, argued that the whole of reality could be considered as a holographic projection from a higher level. In practice, since the universe is dynamic and changes from moment to moment, we need to imagine a holographic videotape, in which past, present and future can be viewed at random, like the random access memory of a computer, from level of interference patterns, but only the present is visible from the perspective of the projection.
If reality is a holographic projection, then we are ourselves part of that projection. But every part of the hologram contains the whole image, albeit faintly. This would explain the concept '...as above, so below...' It would also explain why dowsing, precognition and remote viewing work - we already have that knowledge of the whole of reality within ourselves and need only to find a way of accessing that knowledge.
At another level, and turning more specifically to the role of quartz crystals in telepathy and remote viewing, we know that quartz responds to the most minute changes in electromagnetic fields We know that brain waves can be measured on an EEG. Therefore, we can be sure that quartz would respond to brain waves, if it were placed closely enough. Now we come to an area of speculation. Four hypothetical steps:

(i) Brain waves are on the same electromagnetic spectrum as radio and light waves, and
(ii) Our brains are not us - we reside somewhere outside our physical bodies, and
(iii) We must be in touch with our bodies and, since every other contact is in the form of
waves on the same spectrum, this is probably true of 'thought waves', and
(iv) Quartz responds to virtually every other wave in the spectrum, so it probably responds
to these waves as well.
This is, let me emphasise, a series of hypotheses. It is not proved as fact. I do not claim it as fact. I set it out as a possible mechanism by way of which quartz may help telepathic communication - and we didn't prove that it did, though there were signs that further experiments might be more conclusive.
To enlarge the field of reasoning and hypothesising, let me continue with the earlier quotation:
"Crystals are those substances which alter the geometric pattern of frequencies. We must realise these
frequencies are moreor less stable, but crystals because of their strength of geometrical pattern can
modify and reform the frequency pattern. In sodoing, energy can be released and directed to man's purposes.
Crystals are orderly arranged molecularly and magnetshave an orderly arrangement of molecules which
makes possible magnetic lines of force. The magnet represents the mostorderly of what we may call 'matter
polarity': the crystal represents the most orderly focus of what we may call 'spirit polarity'. The orderly
focus of molecules in a magnet produces amagnetic field: the orderly focus o f molecules in a crystal prod-
uces an etheric field. The etheric field is similar to a magnetic Field of force. Just as the magnetic field is the
key to electricityso the etheric field is the key to magnetoelectricity or di-electricenergy." 1
Di-electric or magnetoelectricity (ME for short) is difficult concept to explain, and an explanation doesn't belong here, except to say that it is related to negative matter and Einstein's formula that E=mc2/ 1 - v2/c2. The idea of negative matter is fascinating I might pursue it on another occasion. For now it is enough to point out that crystals do convert energy of one vibratory length (light) to another (electricity) as in solar cells and that there are other, equally scientific examples of this facility.
All in all, it looks as if both New Age claims and ancient teachings on the powers of crystals and gems are not without foundation, sweeping as they might seem.

Textual Notes

There are only the two direct quotes, but information in this paper is based on:

Ahsian, Naisha; Crystal Ally Cards - The Crystral Path to Self Knowledge; Heaven & Earth, Vermont; 1995
Cunningham, Scott; Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic; Llewellyn, St. Paul Minnesota; 1996
Gerber, Dr. Richard (MD); Vibrational Medicine; Bear & Co, New Mexico; 1988/1996
Melody; Love is in the Earth; Earth Love Publishing, Colorado; 1995
Simpson, Liz; The Book of Crystal Healing; Gaia Books, London; 1997
Symes, Dr. R.F. & Harding, Dr. R.R.;Crystal & Gems (Eyewitness Guyides Series); Dorling Kindersley, London, 1997


A course and notes taken by the writer at the Natural History Museum, London
Experiments done at the Metropolitan Study Group of the SRIA, Saturday 16th January 1999.

Specific Quotes:

1. Through the Curtain; V. Neal & S. Karagulla; California, De Vorss & Co; 1983; pp171-2 (Quoted in Vibrational Medicine qv above)
2. ibid. (Italics added in: Vibrational Medice qv above)






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