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)
©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.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
To Page 2 of Nexus/John Hutchison Article
Back to Main Links Page