THE POLTERGEIST MACHINE
Poltergeist effects may be as much the result of electromagnetic anomalies as the workings of mischievous discarnate spirits, as inventor John Hutchison has been able to demonstrate in his laboratory.
Extracted from NEXUS Magazine, Volume 4, #1 (Dec '96 - Jan 1997)
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©1996 by Albert Budden, B.Ed.
I have always been impressed by the Statement of Purpose published in each and every issue of NEXUS, to make available 'hidden knowledge', otherwise known as 'gnosis', in order to assist people cope with the changes that the planet is going through. Whilst the paranormal may not have the serious consequences for people as war or environmental concerns, it would be difficult to state with any confidence that psychic phenomena and the UFO issue have not engaged public attention on a grand scale. The reasons for this boom are obscure, except that it could be said that people are looking for something that makes their lives meaningful.
As for myself, I have been an investigator of anomalies for almost 16 years and have certainly found a rich source of fascinating material - and, recently, an inventor who has helped me make sense of one of the prime mysteries of our time: poltergeists.
It is the amazing discoveries of this man, one John Hutchison, from British Columbia, Canada, that I would like to share with you here.
The general public has been treated to big-budget, special-effects movies on poltergeist activity and has been led to regard it as consisting of spectacular phenomena involving spirits from other dimensions who enter our domestic world and wreak havoc. I suspect that few film-goers realise that there is a reality behind this movie mythology, where furniture does move, objects do levitate and sail round the room, fires do start behind locked doors and in impossibly enclosed places, water does mysteriously vanish, objects do appear to arrive from nowhere and seem to vanish just as strangely, iron bars are found twisted and broken, and mirrors shattered.
Probably most bemusing, however, are the effects on electronic devices and electrical equipment, causing them to perform strange feats. Television sets switch themselves on and off, repeated telephone connections are made which engineers consider 'impossible', and computers show programmes that have not been installed by anyone or information that is inaccessible through normal use. What causes these weird and unnerving effects, and what do they have to do with an inventor in Canada?
Cases come my way through contact with people who know of my interest in anomalies (I have had three books published), and each case brings its own surprises. I was certainly not ready for the situation I met when I arrived at the 'haunted' home of a middle-aged couple in Welyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, UK. I use a small tape recorder for interviews, and as we settled down in their comfortable lounge I was startled by the noise of a loud crack which seemed to come from the wall opposite me. Neither Jane nor David, as I shall call them, reacted with any degree of surprise. "That happens all the time," they told me casually. Somewhat distracted, I fiddled with my tape recorder, setting it down on the low table before me, beside a cup of coffee. Apparently, unexplained noises were commonplace in this household, including some heavy, plodding footsteps along an upper passage during the small hours of the morning.
Jane and David then regaled me with accounts of light bulbs which constantly popped, a video recorder which refused to work on some days, vases of flowers that sailed into the air before dashing themselves on the carpet, matches which caught fire spontaneously inside their box inside a drawer, water taps which turned themselves on and off, the doorbell which chimed as they stood at the open door with nobody pressing the button, dressing-table mirrors which cracked increasingly almost every night, a stone statue on the patio which caught fire and explosively lost its arms, legs and head (all of which were found several yards away down the garden), and most disturbing, considering the amounts of energy involved, a large heavy hardwood table which overturned itself overnight on a regular basis (about twice a week).
Barely taking all this in, but knowing that I had it all on tape, I reached for the coffee in front of me on the table - but it was swirling around in the cup like a mini-whirlpool. I looked at Jane and David who just shrugged in unison. The whirlpool effect stopped suddenly, but I had lost interest in drinking my coffee.
Readers in the UK, USA and Australia who have read my books may realise that I am no longer puzzled as to the causes of such phenomena, as I feel sure, after 16 years, that I know what they are.
One of the instruments that I always take on any investigation is a field meter which measures the levels of electromagnetic pollution at a location. Jane and David allowed me to wander around their home with the meter, and it soon became clear to me as I went from room to room that the place was subject to sudden and powerful power surges. I could have foreseen this, even if I had not developed the electromagnetic pollution approach (for which I am known) for the understanding of anomalies, as there was a 40-foot-tall radio mast, for transmitting line-of-sight microwave signals, erected just five feet away from the outside wall. Apparently, as the planning and safety authorities do not regard siting power lines over residential properties as hazardous to health, a microwave tower is thought of as nothing to be concerned about.
Jane and David's health problems were typical of people who have spent a prolonged period close to a source of electromagnetic fields. Their problems included masked food allergies, chemical sensitivities, electrical hypersensitivity, and photophobia (hypersensitivity to light) which forced both of them to wear tinted spectacles. Their condition was not helped by their having been radio hams for several years; this only added to their exposure levels.
The readings in several rooms exceeded 100 milligauss per metre as a magnetic field density; between 25 to 35 kilovolts electric field; and over 0.5 milliwatts per square centimetre intermittently in the RF scale. None of the fields was constant, but they would suddenly surge through the house.
Even before I had taken any readings, I was aware of the typical signs and symptoms that I feel when exposed to a strong field source. I felt a tingling sensation on the backs of my hands, the hairs on my arms stood out, and throughout my visit I battled with a thunderous headache which came on seconds after entering the house and lifted 10 minutes or so after leaving it. I have not found one case of 'poltergeist' activity which did not happen in an electromagnetic hot-spot.
It was a deep-in-thought investigator who took the train home to London, and I could not resist listening to the recording I had made. However, not really to my surprise, the tape was blank. Instead, I thought of the implications of these weird field effects and realised that to anyone with a layman's knowledge of electromagnetic fields they must appear as an extremely unlikely energy source to produce the movement of objects and materials that did not have ferrous content (i.e., ceramics, water, stone, concrete and wood). Anyone who has experimented with magnets soon finds out that only iron is affected. It was little wonder that psychokinesis or PK was thought to be involved, but I regarded this as a distinctly different process from apparent poltergeist activity.
ANALYSIS OF 'POLTERGEIST' PHENOMENA
From a scientific point of view, how could all of the strange effects reported by Jane and David be understood? Let us take them one at a time:
1. Light bulbs constantly 'pop'.
A power surge will supply power to a circuit through the atmosphere and through the glass of a bulb, subjecting the tungsten filament to increased levels of electricity. These repeated 'boosts' to a filament will create a small movement each time, especially when the filament is hot and more flexible when the bulb is on. It will not be long before this repeated movement induces metal fatigue, and soon, when the light is switched on, the filament will break with that familiar 'ping'.
2. The video machine malfunctions on some occasions but works on others.
A magnetic field can affect the electronic circuitry, causing it to malfunction by inducing what are known as magnetostrictive effects. That is to say, a magnetic field will cause the microscopic ferrite components to deform so that critical contacts are lost - in turn, inducing the circuitry to fail. When the field drops, the ferrite components resume their normal dimensions, contacts are regained and the circuitry functions normally.
3. Loud snapping 'clicks' and heavy, plodding footsteps are heard.
When iron or steel is magnetised by a field which then abruptly drops, an auditory sound wave is produced by a mechanism called magnetostrictive acoustics, also known as the Page Effect. Deep-sounding 'thuds' or high-pitched 'cracks' will be heard depending on the thickness and length of the metal and how it is held in place in a building. For example, thick metal girders embedded along a floor will produce a series of progressive 'thuds' as the field moves along them, giving the impression of footsteps, whereas a thin iron conduit carrying wiring embedded in a wall will produce a sharp 'snap'.
So far, these phenomena can be understood by identifying them in the Handbook of Magnetic Phenomena by Harry E. Burke.1 The fires inside matchboxes which are inside drawers could certainly be ignited by the thermal effects of microwaves, and I have personally seen flash-bulbs blown at a distance by the diathermy effect induced by a microwave field. The chiming doorbells could easily be induced by power surges activating the circuitry, just as car alarms can be set off in this way. One would not have thought that taps could be turned by magnetic fields because of the levels of mechanical force needed, but it was pointed out to me that a whole range of seemingly mysterious events, including doors locking, windows flying open and taps turning, can be typical indicators of imminent Earth tremors. Such reports are collected by seismologists and are known as "diagnostics". These revelations have shown me that not everything can be understood from a commonsense, everyday logic point of view and that 'hidden knowledge' can be found through a disciplined tradition of repeated mental exercises, commonly known as education!
However, as we work our way down the list of 'poltergeist' phenomena, it becomes clear that there is a point where the laws of physics cannot help us and we venture into the realms of the unknown, the unclassified and the purely experimental. How do objects, some of them quite heavy, levitate when they are not made of iron or have any iron content? (The heavy table must have moved for it to have overturned.) How does stone and/or concrete shatter and/or catch fire? How does mirror-glass crack? And how did electromagnetic fields make my coffee turn into a mini-whirlpool before my eyes? I had a problem. I knew that poltergeist activity took place in electromagnetic hot-spots, but what were the physical mechanisms involved in generating these effects?
THE POLTERGEIST MACHINE
This is where the experimental findings of John Hutchison, the electromagnetics pioneer in British Columbia, Canada, enter our arena of understanding - up to a point, that is. For what he has fortuitously discovered shows without a doubt that poltergeist activity is electromagnetic in nature. His research opens doors which lead to more questions than answers.
So what is it that Hutchison found that made the national television news in three different countries (the USA, Japan and Canada)?
Basically, what Hutchison did was cram into a single room a variety of devices which emit electromagnetic fields (such as Tesla coils, van de Graaff generators, RF transmitters, signal generators, etc.). He found that after they had been running for a while, effects began to occur that were identical to what have come to be regarded as poltergeist phenomena. Objects of any material levitated into the air and hovered there, or moved about and then fell; fires started in unlikely places around the building; a mirror smashed at a distance of 80 feet away; metal distorted and broke; water spontaneously swirled in containers; lights appeared in the air and then vanished; metal became white-hot but did not burn any surrounding materials; and so on.
Everything that psychical researchers have been documenting for decades as poltergeist activity - and that priests have been called in to exorcise - eventually turned up in the laboratory where John Hutchison's device operated. Although it was made up of different parts, it operated as a single entity, and phenomena occurred in the same unpredictable way as reported poltergeists: you could be there for days and nothing would happen, then suddenly coins would flip and fly, water would swirl and a transformer would blow. And this brings me to an unfortunate aspect of the device: it has a tendency to destroy itself. It is worth recalling at this point that psychical researchers have in fact dubbed poltergeist activity as "destructive haunting".
Therefore, I was vindicated in that it was clear that classical poltergeist phenomena are generated by EM field effects - but how? These were not conventional magnetic phenomena or those of ordinary static electricity which can disturb non-ferrous materials. And there were other unusual aspects that had to be taken into account: the effects that occurred were all at low power and at a distance.
On one video recording a 19-pound bronze cylinder is seen to rise majestically into the air, at a distance of 80 feet from the centre of the device, but, incredibly, Hutchison tells us:
"The source power was 110 volts AC. One side of the AC line had a power factor capacitor (60 cycles, 250 volts) and a 100-amp current limiter."
On another occasion, when Hutchison's layout of apparatus and equipment was reproduced by an electrical engineering company interested in this device, he explained:
"All components are powered from a single 15-amp, 110-volt, 60-Hz supply."
ELECTROMAGNETIC POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Before we examine aspects of Hutchison's device in more detail, let us remember that the aim of this article is to assist people around the world adapt to an accelerating transformation. As we can see from the recent increase in interest in the paranormal, understanding the implications of poltergeist phenomena would certainly qualify as a valuable goal.
Until now, the general public has been led to think of poltergeists as spectacular fiction, and, for many decades, status quo psychical researchers have done little better by regarding this phenomenon as the activity of spirits of the dead or intelligences from the astral plane. At this stage of my career as an investigator of the paranormal, and at this stage in our developing awareness, which is an integral part of the generalised transformation, people are hungry for answers. They have had enough of regarding strange phenomena as permanent mysteries and want to move forward. We are at the crossroads. We can continue along the road where mysteries remain unknown and are kept as such by the traditional psychical research establishments (I cannot name them for fear of litigation), or we can seriously examine fresh alternatives which begin new directions that give some real hope for answers and understanding.
Many people in the UK and USA already know of my environmental causation approach to the paranormal and anomalies in general, by the movement I have launched in my books. If I were to encapsulate my case in a single general statement, I would say this: that in the understanding of the paranormal, electromagnetics are as fundamental as genetics are to biology. However, as we will now see in the exploration of the Hutchison device, this certainly does not mean that if we identify poltergeists as electromagnetic in nature, we can all pack up and go home, mystery solved. In fact, the situation is the reverse as we can now enter realms of real scientific possibilities, although they do begin to sound like science fiction! That is to say, some very strange doors begin to open...
For example, part of the Hutchison effect literally rips half-inch- square steel bars apart and actually shreds the shattered ends (all at low power and at a distance, remember). Tremendous energies come from somewhere, and in his experiments with the disruption of metal masses in the laboratory, Hutchison has developed his own ideas. He wonders if somehow the fabric of space-time is actually breached. As he puts it:
"The idea is to excite the surface skin of the masses and their atoms to create an unstable space-time situation. This might allow the fields from the Tesla coils and RF-generation equipment to lock up in a local space-time situation. My thought is that now a small amount of energy is released from the vast reservoir in space-time at the sub-atomic level to create a disruptive or movement effect."
Suddenly we are considering the atomic physics of poltergeist activity! There are few things more exciting than to realise connections between areas that were previously thought to be entirely unconnected. We could eventually move on and devise experiments to test the limits of poltergeist activity - and then, the floodgates are open! We are moving through strange landscapes that everyone had previously thought of as only vague possibilities.
Modern psychical researchers who regard themselves as insightful and progressive now say, "You know, in the future, what we now think of as the paranormal will be commonplace, and not only understood but actually used in our everyday lives; for example, to dematerialise objects in one location and rematerialise them in another." But this "future" has to begin somewhere, and it would appear that the application of electromagnetics to poltergeist activity is in fact this early beginning.
However, it is ironic that this discovery was not originated in state-of-the-art government physics laboratories by a highly qualified and experienced scientist, but by someone who is the classic individual experimenter and self-made physicist. John Hutchison began his personalised journey through electromagnetics at an early age and, by accident, discovered the unusual effects described. But let us continue by considering in more detail the phenomena his device can generate.
THE HUTCHISON EFFECT: A LIFT, DISRUPTION AND LUMINOUS ENERGY SYSTEM
The original way that Hutchison set out his range of apparatus was, by industrial standards, primitive and crowded, with poor connections and hand-wound coils. But it was with this layout with its erratic standards that he obtained most of the best examples of objects levitating, despite the fact that the maximum power drawn was 1.5 kilowatts, and this from the ordinary power sockets of the house mains.
The Hutchison device produces effects which can basically be divided into two categories, propulsive and energetic. It can induce lift in objects made of any material and also propel them laterally. It has been noted that there are four types of trajectory that affect objects weighing a few pounds, and all of these upward movements begin with a twisting spiral movement. Also, there has to be a particular geometry in relation to the direction of gravity, i.e., downwards of these objects, for them to be affected in this way. Some objects will not take off if you turn them on their sides, but will if you stand them on their ends. It is evident, therefore, that the relationship of their physical forms to the fields which swirl invisibly around them is important.
Returning to the four modes of trajectory, first, there is the looping arc, where objects take off relatively slowly over a period of seconds, loop in the air and fall back to earth; then there is the ballistic take-off where objects shoot upwards suddenly, hit the ceiling and fall back down. A third type of trajectory is a powered one where there appears to be a continuous lifting force; and the fourth is where an object moves upwards and just hovers for some time. As mentioned, these objects can be of any material whatsoever - wood, plastics, copper, zinc, styrofoam, etc. It must be mentioned that 99 per cent of the time the objects do nothing at all, and one can wait for days before anything happens, but it is just this erratic unpredictability that one finds when investigating poltergeist activity.
Another major area of activity is the disruptive phenomenon where materials are destroyed. Hutchison has a collection of metal samples which have been broken and/or deformed, indicating that high energy levels are involved, as mentioned before.
As one may imagine, this device has attracted intense interest from a variety of professional, academic and industrial sources, not to mention covert military attention.
In the USA, a respected and well-qualified electrical engineer, George Hathaway, has taken on the research and development of the device. As explained, although the device has many interrelated parts, it acts as a single entity. Of the disruptive effects on metals and other materials he relates:
"The disruption part of this...system has produced confirmatory physical samples that include water, aluminum, iron, steel, molybdenum, wood, copper, bronze, etc... We have tested various pieces that have broken apart, for hardness, ductility, etc. We have used optical and electron microscopes.
"Two samples of aluminum... one of which is twisted up in a left-handed spiral...and another which was blown into little fibres...molybdenum rods which are supposed to withstand temperatures of about 5,000 degrees F... We watched these things wiggle back and forth... In general, a collection of pieces of metal shows that they have been blasted apart or twisted..."
In domestic settings where 'poltergeist' activity is usually observed, metal-bending and deformities take place with less vigour - which is to be expected due to the accidental field configurations produced as electromagnetic pollution from power lines, radio transmitters, civilian radar, etc., interacts with Earth energies - otherwise known as geomagnetic and geoelectric fields - at locations inadvertently built over fault lines.
The following example taken from a well-known case in the UK - the Enfield poltergeist - shows a typical instance of metal- bending:
"It was 10.15 am on 6 December 1977. Janet was leaning on the kitchen worktop, and her mother was sitting down. Both were out of reach of the stove. Suddenly, they both heard a noise coming from the teapot - the same metal one that Grosse had seen rocking in front of his eyes. Mrs Harper picked up the pot and found that its stout metal lid had arched upwards, just as the spoons had done, bending right out of shape so that it no longer fitted the pot. I took the lid in both hands, and even using considerable force I was unable to bend it back."
Hathaway, in his descriptions of metal deformity, clearly gives the impression of intense energies at work:
"The largest piece [of metal] is about 12-13 inches long. It's two inches in diameter, of regular mild steel, and a 3/8 of an inch long part was blasted off the end and crumbled like a cookie."
However, even the domestic 'poltergeist' displays phenomena where extremely high energy levels are involved, although in the following example, also from the Enfield case, we get the impression that more conventional high-magnetic-field densities are involved:
"Mr Playfair...was already on his feet and standing in the doorway of their bedroom, wondering if he was seeing things.
"The entire iron frame of the gas fire had been wrenched out of the wall, and was standing at an angle on the floor, still attached to the half-inch-diameter brass pipe that connected it to the mains. The pipe had been bent through an angle of thirty-two degrees. This was a major demolition job, for the thing was cemented into the brickwork, and it was out of the question to suggest that one of the children could have wrenched it out. When we finally dismantled the whole apparatus, we found it quite a job even to move. It must have weighed at least fifty pounds."3
We may ask ourselves what new directions for investigation into 'poltergeists' are open to us in the light of the Hutchison Effect. Startling as it may seem, an answer is there ready-made for us in the almost matter-of-fact information that Hathaway supplies:
"Fragments have been analysed and found to have an anomalously high silicon content, although the original material was not silicon steel...a standing piece is 5-6 inches tall, 1 and 1/4 inches in diameter and is a piece of case-hardened steel... The case-hardening has been blown off at the top and about 3/4 of an inch of it vaporized during an experiment...a piece of iron was analysed for composition which showed anomalously high amounts of copper...wood particles were also found inside a piece of aluminium..."
Evidently, the energies involved are able to reorganise materials in a way that is virtually impossible by any other means, but we are now provided with a previously unheard-of perspective. From the Hutchison experiments, it is clear that an analysis of the composition of metals at the 'poltergeist' site, in order to detect similar mixture-anomalies, is an essential investigative procedure.
Although we may shelve theories of psychokinesis and separate them out from 'poltergeist' activity as belonging to dice-throwing experiments or the spoon-bending of Uri Geller, the weird physical antics of the mixing and matching fields of the Hutchison Effect provide us with something far stranger. This underscores the point made earlier that although it sounds as if the enigma of the 'poltergeist' is being diminished by identifying it as electromagnetic field activity, in actual fact the mystery is merely being redirected.
Physicists and electrical engineers should now reconsider the nature of severely modulated electromagnetic fields, for there are evidently previously unrealised potentials. The energies involved in the Hutchison Effect are clearly the same ones at work during 'poltergeist' activity, and it is only the ignorance and entrenched positions of the psychical research fraternity that prevent them from accepting these insights into electromagnetic energy potentials.
These energies include weird thermal effects. During Hutchison's experiments, flames have been produced and emitted from blocks of concrete, and fires have broken out in different parts of the building where the device was housed. Again, these effects are typical of 'poltergeist' reports. On one occasion, a steel file was held in place against a wooden board by two plywood struts, to prevent it taking off. The file glowed white-hot, but the board when examined afterwards was not even singed. Such mischievous thermal antics of 'phantom arsonists' have been attributed to the 'spirit energy of the poltergeist', whatever that may be, but Hathaway's warnings are more to do with effective safety practices in the laboratory:
"From time to time there are scorch marks on the boards from other experiments. The apparatus makes fire spontaneously in parts of the lab, if you're not careful."
The device can also induce unusual aurora-like lighting effects in mid-air. Once when Hutchison was filming in 1981, a sheet of iridescence suddenly descended between the camera and some of the hardware being used. It had a strange pinkish centre to it, and after it hovered there for a short period it vanished just as suddenly as it had appeared. Hutchison actually thought he had been hallucinating, but when the film was developed it transpired that there had actually been something objective there.
Once again, the Enfield case provides us with comparable examples of strange, luminous phenomena in a domestic setting, and in this extract they are accompanied by other typical phenomena also explainable within the Hutchison Effect:
"The Harpers hoped to find some peace and quiet in the Burcombes' house, but it was not to be. From the kitchen Sylvie suddenly let out a piercing scream and dropped the kettle she was holding. It was some time before she could calm down enough to describe what had happened. 'I was just pouring the water from the kettle into the teapot,' she said, 'when something appeared right in front of my eyes and then dropped onto the kitchen unit top, and bounced once.' It was a plastic rod, about six inches long, from one of the children's toy sets. 'I sort of looked down, opened my eyes, and this thing was in front of me,' she told Grosse when he arrived shortly afterwards. 'I screamed, shouted and jumped back, and after I jumped back I saw the thing jump and come up again.'
"Grosse questioned Mrs Burcombe very carefully about this incident, which seemed to be a genuine case of one of the rarest of all psychic phenomena: materialisation. The plastic rod had definitely not been thrown at her, she insisted. It had just appeared in front of her eyes and dropped down... But he had already seen too much, in both his own and his sister's homes. He had watched open-mouthed as a lamp slowly slid across a table and fell to the floor, vibrating violently. He had seen a drawer open by itself. He had felt an invisible force stop him closing his own bedroom door, which simply stuck half-closed though it normally swung shut on its own. And he had seen something far more alarming as he stood one day at the bottom of the Harper's staircase, looking up it. 'I saw this light,' he said. 'It was the equivalent, I should say, of twelve inches vertical. It looked like a fluorescent light behind frosted glass, which burned fiercely and gradually faded away'..."4
With the insights gained from what is possible during operation of the Hutchison device, coupled with my own findings that 'poltergeist' activity takes place at locations that are electromagnetic hot-spots, we can begin to understand what is going on in such cases. Unusual light phenomena can occur, and on consulting Burke's Handbook of Magnetic Phenomena we find several mechanisms documented where magnetic fields interact with light to produce specific optical effects that are predictable in laboratory conditions, but are obviously most startling when they occur spontaneously in domestic settings. Having stated this, however, the sheet of iridescent light which appeared during Hutchison's experiments also came as an unexpected and surprising phenomenon.
In the extract given above, it is not difficult to rethink the apparent materialisation of the plastic rod as a typical trajectory of the Hutchison Effect, observed many times and recorded on video. Likewise, the lamp slowly sliding across the table and vibrating could have come straight out of the catalogue of effects similarly induced. In fact, compared with the extreme effects that Hutchison can obtain with his device, domestic 'poltergeist' phenomena which previously seemed so dramatic, now seem quite tame. But as already noted, this lessening of effect is consistent with the fact that the Hutchison device involves a concentrated collection of devices which appear to act as a single entity, whereas an electromagnetic hot-spot occurs by the chance juxtaposition of freak environmental field sources.
Unfortunately, the investigators present during the 'poltergeist' activity at Green Street, Enfield, England, in the late 1970s, did not carry out a thorough field survey or identify the field sources involved, despite the fact that a magnetometer registered distinct deflections as objects were 'thrown' across the room. In fact, there is the distinct impression that, for them, electromagnetic fields were not a welcome explanation for the phenomena they witnessed, as the Playfair book relates how they discontinued use of the magnetometer once it showed that power surges occurred in conjunction with physical phenomena:
"When everybody was settled into bed, we switched on both tape recorders, Eduardo's being connected to the signal from the magnetometer, and left the room, since I had told him that nothing would happen if we both stayed there. From the landing we could keep an eye on the dial of the machine, and in the following forty minutes Janet's pillow was twice thrown across the room just as it had been the previous evening in my presence. This time, of course, I could not see Janet, although Mrs Harper assured me at once that she had not thrown it. And each time the needle on the magnetometer did indeed deflect, though Eduardo thought this might have been caused by creaking bedsprings."5
It is difficult to understand how bedsprings could cause power surges strong enough to register on a magnetometer (I, myself, have used many types of these instruments during investigations), and even more difficult to understand how they could induce deflections which happened to coincide with the movements of objects. Also, it's a wonder the investigators did not eliminate this as an option, if they thought it was possible, by simply moving the instrument away from the bedsprings. Magnetometers are of course designed to withstand the effects of magnetic fields, and so it is even more puzzling why the following reasoning and actions were employed:
"I was a little worried that he might have to go back to his university and report that the expensive instrument he had borrowed without permission had broken down, so we called off the experiment once we were satisfied that it seemed possible that there was some link between poltergeist activity and anomalous behaviour of the surrounding magnetic field."6
One of the primary investigators of the Green Street 'poltergeist' in Enfield, North London, was Maurice Grosse, who has given many lectures on his experiences and is now regarded as one of the leading authorities on this kind of phenomenon. On the whole, 'poltergeists' are regarded as discarnate and mischievous entities who home in on the energies of an adolescent focus and who unintentionally wreak havoc wherever they go, although particular locations are usually favoured for the most spectacular phenomena.
In the course of my career as an investigator, I have discovered that 'poltergeist' activity takes place in electromagnetic hot- spots, and is electromagnetic in nature. However, 'poltergeist expert' Maurice Grosse takes a different view:
"Albert's enthusiasm for his suppositions does him credit, but...displays a distinct lack of practical experience of psychic phenomena... I look forward with great interest to the day when flying boxes, stones, toys, heavy items of furniture, plus spontaneous fires and water phenomena, together with the passage of matter through matter, levitation, metal bending, to name just a few examples of poltergeist high jinks I have personally experienced, can be explained by electromagnetic and bioelectromagnetic activity."7
Well, Maurice, this is the day you have been waiting for! In fact, it was "the day" over 15 years ago when Guy Lyon Playfair's book on the Enfield 'poltergeist' was published in 1981 in the UK, when at the same time on the other side of the world in British Columbia, Canada, John Hutchison's device was just getting underway and generating all of the physical 'poltergeist' activity you were considering.
This is not the place to fully expound my own biological research into how the human body reacts to prolonged field exposure, except to say that the body eventually acts as an oscillator and can add to the electromagnetic mayhem generated at hot spots. That is to say, I would add to the Hutchison Effect by including my own findings, as outlined in my books, which point to 'poltergeists' being electromagnetic phenomena, and my conclusion that there is a bioelectromagnetic aspect where the human body behaves as another piece of electrical apparatus or hardware and re-radiates generalised ambient fields in more beam-like, coherent forms. This is a symptom of an increasingly common clinical condition known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EH), caused by exposure to electromagnetic pollution from power lines, transmitters, etc. The condition was the subject for an international conference of medical specialists and academics at Graz, Austria, in 1994. It is treated at the Breakspear Hospital in Hertfordshire, England.
However, nobody in psychical research here in England seems to be aware of EH or the work of John Hutchison, and there are fixed ideas which are protected with a religious fervour. Freak electromagnetic field conditions which seem to stretch the laws of physics to almost breaking point are not a welcome conclusion, although the history of science is littered with painful upheavals where the established view is turned on its head, and iconoclasts like myself and, unwittingly, John Hutchison, threaten the status quo. For example, Dr John Beloff, the Editor of Anomaly, the respected journal of the Society of Psychical Research, wrote to me to tell me:
"Whatever the relevance of exposure to EM radiation...it has no obvious bearing on psychic experiences in general."
Having investigated reports of apparitions and 'poltergeists' in hot-spot locations for over three years, and measured the fields present with my trusty field meter, this statement made no sense at all. Perhaps the reader will have some inkling of the sort of establishment opposition I am up against, or may even refuse to believe the Hutchison Effect themselves.
However, it must be remembered that a number of well-known electrical engineering organisations have been involved. For example, McDonnell-Douglas Aerospace and the Max Planck Institute in Germany, both took many photographs, some of which appear here.
I anticipate that there will be a wave of controversy as a result of this article, if the reactions here in the UK are anything to go by, and I would be interested in any constructive suggestions that readers may have.
1. Burke, Harry E., Handbook of Magnetic Phenomena, Van
Nostrand Reinhold Company, NY, 1986.
About the Author:
Albert Budden, B.Ed., is an investigator specialising in the scientific study of the paranormal as well as electromagnetics and health. He is the author of several books, including Allergies and Aliens: The Visitation Experience-An Environmental Health Issue (Discovery Times Press, 1994), UFOs: Psychic Close Encounters- The Electromagnetic Indictment (Blandford, 1995), and The Poltergeist Machine: The Hutchison Effect-A Lift and Disruption System (Discovery Times Press, 1996). He is a member of the Environmental Medicine Foundation.