Jim Coe jimcoe at
Tue Nov 23 00:12:25 EST 1999

I built one of these "plant consciousness sensor" electronic systems, as
mentioned in "The secret Life of Plants" - similar to a "Lie Detector". I
got lots of interesting signals too. Only problem is they don't correlate to
anything. But that's no problem for a lively imagination and the usual "see
what you believe, rather than believe what you see" approach of
pseudo-science to overcome. With lots of random data, you can get out
anything you want - like an inkblot.

An example. I had a plant hooked up (the variety he liked to work with) one
day. When I walked into room - sure enough, I got a big signal spike. So, I
could have said "Yes! The plant knows I just walked in!" The problem is that
during all of the next week during which I ran this, it never again gave me
a signal when I walked in. So, do I say "Well it did it once, so that proves
the plant is conscious."? Or is it a lot more likely that I just happened to
walk in at the same time a signal happened.

These signals came and went all the time. Nothing I did seemed to affect
them in any repeatable way.
I started thinking about the electronic circuit design and realized there
was a major problem there!

All these "Lie Detector" type circuits put the test subject (usually having
a high resistance (more correctly a high "AC Impedance"), in series with a
battery - then they amplify and detect fluctuations in the voltage or
current in this battery circuit. Now, a battery contact - especially to a
high impedance load, is a very squirrelly thing. Many things in that
interface act like little batteries in series with the main battery. There
are electrochemical effects at the connection, such as changing leaf
moisture, mechanical (movement) effects that change the impedance with the
slightest motion of the leaf, EM (electromagnetic, i.e. motors, light
dimmers,radio, TV, 60Hz power wiring, etc.) interference effects from house
wiring and radio/TV (since the interface can also have diode
characteristics), etc. etc.

In other words, this circuit is practically guaranteed to pick up and to
generate all kinds of signals that have nothing to do with the plant -
except for the impedance and physical characteristics of its leaf. This is
especially true as you turn up the gain of the amplifier. In electronics,
this is known as an "active circuit" - that is, it creates signals and
applies them to the plant.

So, I figured the smart thing to do would be to just use an amplifier hooked
up to the leaf - a passive circuit which would simply amplify and measure
as the other circuit does.

I built a (rather good) very high impedance input balanced differential
amplifier (to cancel out EM and very low frequency contact movement
artifacts). I know this circuit worked well, because I could hook the
contacts to my head and measure clean brainwave pulses on my oscilloscope.
Brain waves on the scalp are a high impedance source (though the scalp is
not as high as a dry leaf) and are in the tens of microvolts (millionth of a
Volt) range - consistent with other low level biological signals.

When I hooked this rig up to various plants, I got nada, nothing no signals
at all.

I conclude that the signals reported by "Plant Consciousness Sensors" are
artifacts of the circuit itself and are not coming from the "consciousness"
of the plant.

Incidentally, I tried other sources, like eggs (talk about high impedance -
eggshell must be practically a perfect insulator!), trees outdoors, yogurt,

I imagine that some of you will think I'm just one of those skeptics that
doesn't want to believe anything that isn't pre-approved by "hard science".
As it happens, I do think a healthy dose of skepticism is usually good - do
you believe everything every advertiser says on TV?

Well, I also built a couple of good "Acupuncture Point Finders", which
clearly indicated points of very different impedance near where "Acupuncture
Points" are supposed to be on many people. A couple of Chinese Acupuncture
doctors thought they were pretty cool and used them.

I also took Polaroid photos of two nearly identical slices of a pear - one
on top of a "Pyramid Energy Plate" device I bought in a metaphysical
bookstore and one on top of only the shelf. These were in mason open jars,
to stop air currents, and were placed on a shelf in a closed nursery
hothouse about 3 feet apart. In other words, one jar with the peach slice
inside was on the "Energy Plate" and the other jar, with the other peach
slice inside, was just on the shelf.

They looked the same for many days. Then the one on the "Energy Plate"
stopped deteriorating, while the other was eventually black and shrunken.
When I put them next to each other on a piece of cardboard and removed the
"Energy Plate", they were both black and shrunken in a couple of days.

Someday, I'd like to do this over, in a double-blind way, and with a dummy
"Pyramid Energy Plate" under the "control" sample.

So, I think there are many things unaccounted for by "hard science" - but
not the "Secret Life of Plants".

  --jim coe
  Like creative photography?
<rmcelwaine at> wrote in message news:80svr3$uc9$1 at
>                The following quote illustrates the NATURALNESS of
>           Psychic Phenomena, etc., which orthodox science and religion
>           IGNORE or DENY.
>                               SEXY PSYCHIC PLANTS !

>                                    Robert E. McElwaine
>                                    B.S., Physics and Astronomy, UW-EC
>           P.S.: PASS IT ON !
> Sent via
> Before you buy.

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