has been connected with good and with creative powers. Thus in the
daytime we are active and the light of the sun brings the world to
with the concept
of the "goodness" associated with illumination and radiation, the terms
are frequently used to connote revelation. Seeing the light, the light
at the end of the tunnel, a visionary experience or, in the case of the
Apostles who received "the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of
Pentecost", or a "captive light" within man, appears early in religious
systems and has had a profound influence both in religious and occult
inner etheric light
has been represented pictorially by most ancient religions when
glorifying important figures. In the case of Moslems in the form of a
flame and in early Christian art by a gloria, a luminosity surrounding
the head or whole body. More frequently the practice has been confined
to a halo around the head only, known as a nimbus.
Baron Karl von
Reichenbach, a well-known industrial chemist, demonstrated that
radiations coming from magnets, crystals, plants and animals could be
seen and felt by certain sensitive subjects. These radiations were
given the name Odic Force. Although often claimed to have been seen by
clairvoyants, it was not until 1911 that W. R. Kilner devised ways of
showing the aura. By looking through a dilute solution of dye called
dicyanin, or by looking at a very bright light through a strong
alcoholic solution, then viewing the subject against a dark background,
he could observe the aura. Kilner believed that illnesses caused
changes in the colours of the aura and hoped to use this information to
aid in the diagnosis of disease.
interesting development caused a resurgence of interest in auras when a
Russian engineer, Semyon Kirlian, developed high frequency photography
which, it was claimed, showed the aura as a fuzzy glow around the
boundary of the image.
invention of Kirlian
photography and its suggested relevance to the state or condition of
the object being photographed, prompted claims that the auras of human
parts — fingers, toes and so on, and those of plants, leaves and
insects, contained information about the physiological, psychological
and psychic states of those objects. This being so, the "life-force",
"life-energy" or "bio-plasma'" of the object could become an important
probe for obtaining information otherwise inaccessible by other
techniques. This is also a belief of Theosophists, and is taught by
organisations such as the Inner Peace Movement, who claim that the aura
is also an indication of the level of purity attained by an individual.
who have been
trained to interpret the colours of the aura associate red and orange
with energy, yellow with the intellect, green with the healing arts and
claim that quartz and
many other minerals possess curative powers capable of curing such
things as malaria, venomous snake bites, venereal disease, cancer and
multiple sclerosis. Auras can also be cleansed simply by performing a
stroking motion above and parallel to the body ending with a vigorous
flick. This, it is claimed, disposes of the aura's pollutants.
Save Your Life (1985), C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., wrote.
(psychics) agree that the aura is three-layered: tight against the skin
is a sort of dark layer (some see it as blue or transparent like empty
space) a quarter inch or an eighth of an inch thick; next is a more
complicated layer, two to four inches thick and of a blue-gray colour
which shimmers like heat on a summer highway; and finally there is the
fuzzy layer, perhaps light blue, which can be up to several feet thick.
Healthy people have bright coloured auras. Disease darkens the aura."
argue that the
aura is an electromagnetic anomaly and dispute the claims made by aura
readers because it is not possible to see certain wavelengths with the
human eye. The method devised by W. R. Kilner for perceiving an aura
was probably the result of a phenomenon known as image retention. If
you stare at bright light or a vividly illuminated object, then look at
a blank wall, the image will still be seen.
these conditions if
you are expecting to see an aura you will probably imagine that you
have, although it won't be a natural emanation from the person or
object under observation. Brindley (1970) explains:
caused by the light/ dark adaption of the light sensitive cells in the
retina. The brightness...causes a high rate of breakdown of pigments in
the cells in the outer area of the retina, while the pigment in the
cells of the central area (focused on the object) were increasing their
pigment and hence the sensitivity. Movement of the eye to look
elsewhere exposes all the cells of the retina to a lighter background.
The cells which were focused on the object were more sensitive and
fired at a greater rate, causing a glare effect which is seen as an
image of the object."
momentary retention of
a picture on a TV screen after the set has been switched off is a good
supposedly proving the existence of an aura in the metaphysical sense
of a "life-force" radiating from a human body, does exactly the
opposite — inanimate objects one would assume not to possess a
"life-force" such as plastic, stones and metal objects, also reveal
auras. However, it has nothing to do with proving the existence of a
supposed life force but rather evidences an electromagnetic anomaly
produced by a reaction between the photographic paper and an object
placed upon it, a phenomenon well known to physicists as a corona
discharge in air.
many claims made by
psychics, their theories are rarely subjected to controlled testing.
When they are, a totally different picture emerges.
practical test of
aura reading was demonstrated on a TV special "Exploring Psychic Powers
Live" (ATN Channel 9, 1989) An aura reader was faced with a wall of six
feet high door-like panels numbered "1" to "10". Behind them an unknown
number of people were randomly placed. The aura reader had previously
seen clear auras around all these people. In the test she saw auras
emanating above all ten panels, but in reality, people stood behind
pre-supposes that the aura extends well beyond the body, and that
clothing is no barrier. In fact, a two to three millimetre radiation is
the maximum. A consideration of an extended and tactile aura in
everyday situations shows how ludicrous is the concept.
Channel 9, Exploring
Psychics Live. July, 1989.
C.S. 1970. Physiology of the Retina and Visual Pathway. Edward
Copen, B. Magic
of the Aura. Academic Publications. UK.
1992. 'Heigh Ho, Come to the Fair.' the Skeptic. 12(1):41-42
1992. "All About Auras." the Skeptic. 12(2):41-42. Australian
Ian. 1990. Crystal Healing: A Danger to Logic and Health. the
Skeptic, VoL. 10, No.1. p17. Australian Skeptics.
A. J. and
Bickel, William S. 1986. "A Study of the Kirlian Effect." Skeptical
Inquirer 10 (3):244-257
H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing,
Australian Skeptics Inc.