The Secret Life of Plants
Source: The Secret Life of Plants
Cleve Backster was an American expert on lie detectors. In 1966, using a lie detector, he accidentally discovered that plants have high-level emotional activities that were similar to those of human beings. He then conducted a series of studies that amazed the world.
Plants Have Feelings!
One day, Backster connected a lie detector to the leaves of a dracaena, commonly known as a dragon tree. He wanted to see how long it would take for the leaves to react when he poured water on the plants roots. In theory, a plant will increase its conductivity and decrease its resistance after it absorbs water, and the curve recorded on graph paper should have gone upward. But in actuality, the line that was drawn curved downward. When a lie detector is connected to a human body, the pen records different curves according to the changes in the persons mood. The reaction of the dragon tree was just like the undulation of human mood swings. It seemed that it was happy when it drank water.
Plants Have ESP
Backster wanted to see if the plant would have any other reactions. According to past experience, Backster knew that a good way to elicit a strong reaction from a person is to threaten that person. So Backster dunked the leaves of the plant into hot coffee. No reaction. Then he thought of something more terrifying: burn the leaves that were connected to the lie detector. With this thought, even before he went to get a match, a bullish curve rapidly appeared on the graph paper. When he came back with a match, he saw that another peak appeared on the curve. It was likely that when the plant saw he was determined to start burning, it got frightened again. If he showed hesitation or reluctance to burn the plant, the reactions recorded by the lie detector were not so acute. And when he merely pretended to take action to burn the leaves, the plant had almost no reactions. The plant was even able to distinguish true intentions from false ones. Backster nearly rushed out into the street to shout, Plants can think! Plants can think! With this astonishing discovery, his life was changed forever.
Later, when Backster and his colleagues did experiments around the country with different instruments and different plants, they observed similar results. They discovered that even if leaves were picked off from a plant and cut into pieces, the same reactions were recorded when these pieces were placed near the lie detector electrodes. When a dog or an unfriendly person suddenly came in, the plant reacted too.
Plants Are Experts at Detecting Lies
Generally for experiments involving lie detectors, electrodes are connected to a suspect and then the suspect is asked meticulously designed questions. Everyone has a clear-headed side, which is usually called conscience. Therefore, no matter how many reasons and excuses one gives, when lying or committing a bad deed, that person knows clearly that it is a lie, a bad deed. Hence, the bodys electric field changes, and this change is what is recorded by the equipment.
Backster did an experiment in which he connected the lie detector to a plant and then asked a person some questions. As a result, Backster discovered that the plant could tell if the person was lying or not. He asked the person what year he was born in, giving him seven choices and instructing him to answer no to all of them, including the correct one. When the person answered no to the correct year, the plant reacted and a peak was drawn on the graph paper.
Dr. Aristide Esser, the director of medical research at the Rockland State hospital in New York, repeated the experiment by asking a man to incorrectly answer questions in front of a plant the man had nurtured and cared for since it was a seedling. The plant did not cover up for its owner at all. Incorrect answers were reflected on the graph paper. Esser, who had not believed Backster, saw for himself that Backsters theories were correct.
Plants Can Recognize People
In order to test how well a plant can recognize things, Backster called on six students, blindfolded them, and asked them to draw lots from a hat. One of the choices had instructions to uproot one of the two plants in the room and destroy it by stomping on it. The murderer had to do the deed alone, and no one else was to know the culprits identity, including Backster. In that way, the remaining plant could not sense who the killer was from other peoples thoughts. The experiment was set up so that the plant would be the exclusive witness.
When the remaining live plant was connected to a lie detector, every student was asked to pass by it. The plant had no reactions to five students. But when the student who had committed the crime walked by, the electronic pen started drawing frantically. This reaction indicated to Backster that plants are able to remember and identify the person or thing that causes them harm.
Plants have close ties with their owners. For example, when Backster returned to New York from New Jersey, he found from the records on the graph paper that all his plants had reactions. He wondered if the plants were indicating that they felt relieved or were welcoming him back. He noticed that the time of the plants reactions was the moment when he decided to return home from New York.
Sensitivity to Life on a Microscopic Level
Backster discovered that the same fixed curves would be drawn on the graph paper when plants seemed to sense the death of any living tissue, even on the cellular level. He noticed this by accident when he was mixed some jam into the yogurt he was going to eat. Apparently, the preservatives in the jam killed some of the lactobacilli in the yogurt, and the plants sensed this. Backster also found that the plants reacted when he ran hot water in the sink. It seemed they reacted to the death of bacteria in the drain. To test his theory, Backster did an experiment and found that when brine shrimp were put into boiling water via an automatic mechanism that did not require human intervention, the plants had very strong reactions.
The Heartbeat of an Egg
Again by accident, Backster noticed plant reactions one day when he cracked an egg. He decided to pursue this experiment and connected the egg to his equipment. After nine hours, the graph paper records indicated the heartbeats of an embryonic chick 160 to 170 beats per minute the same as a chick embryo that had stayed in an incubator for three or four days. However, the egg was an unfertilized egg that was bought from a store. There was no circulatory system inside it either. How could Backster explain the eggs pulse?
In experiments done at Yale University Medical School during the 1930s to 1940s, the late professor Harold Saxton Burr discovered that there were energy fields around plants, trees, human beings, and cells. Backster thought Burrs experiments offered the only insight into his egg experiment. He decided to put his plant experiments aside for a time to explore the implications of the egg experiments and how his findings might relate to the issue regarding the beginning of life.
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