The claims made for crystals may be rather sweeping, but they are not so unreasonable as they might seem at first sight. Or rather, it would be more correct to say that, how important you think the claims actually are depends almost entirely on your concept of reality and to the extent to which you are tolerant of the tendency of established twentieth century science to be very selective about accepting evidence of ideas it doesn't like.

Let me start by defining one or two points. Many things around us, from snowflakes to sugar have a crystalline structure, but I will be restricting my remarks to minerals: to gems and semiprecious stones. The distribution of elements in the mineral world is sometimes surprising and by far the most common of these crystals is quartz, or silicon dioxide. It represents 40% of all minerals making up the earth and has some interesting and scientifically established properties. As long ago as the 1890s the Curies discovered that pressure on quartz causes a small electric current to flow - hit it and you get electricity! [The reverse is also true: give it an electric charge and a piece of quartz will expand slightly] Quartz also responds to minute variations in the magnetic field around it, and vibrates 32,768 times a second with a reliability which lies behind its use in clocks and watches.

From these properties one can see that, though some of the claims made for quartz crystals may at first sight test credibility, yet there is scope in some of the attributes for a possible methodology behind these claims.
The scientific uses of crystals, apart from those in clocks and electrical measuring instruments, include semiconductors made of pure silicon and used in computers and as a part of electronic circuits. Other common uses include silicon solar cells for generating electricity from light, piezoelectricity, crystal diodes and other electronic uses, lasers (mainly using synthetic rubies) and applications using the hardness of diamonds. [It is worth noting that crystals appear on a scale of hardness from 1 to 10, each material able to scratch the next lower on the scale. Diamonds at 10 represent the hardest substance and Quartz Hardness of 7 on this scale.]

Beyond the scientific uses there are a group of attributes and applications relating to health, to emotions and to psionics. Some of these are self evidently genuine. For example, in the New Age canon the semiprecious stone. Carnelian gives courage, while Rose Quartz makes the wearer more loveable. If one believes firmly in the power of gems and has a piece of Carnelian, one is likely to believe oneself braver - which is, of course, to be braver. Likewise, having a piece of Rose Quartz and believing in its efficacy in making the bearer more loveable will probably make one behave in ways that encourage love.

The next group of applications may well work through what medical science refers to as a placebo effect. In the testing of modern drugs, up to 60% or more of the result may be due to this placebo effect. Mainstream medical studies have failed to explain why it occurs - giving it a name does not explain it - but they have shown that the status of the individual prescribing the drug and other factors, even including the colour of the placebo pill, make a huge difference to the effectiveness. of a scientifically neutral substance like sugar or salt. There is a certain amount of evidence that this effect may be a phenomenon related to what is called vibrational medicine, though mainstream medicine does not like this idea.

To sum up:
a) Some attributes of crystals are bound by their very nature to, though that does not rule out other causal relationships;
b) Some attributes may be due to the actions of vibrational medicine or the placebo effect;
c) Some scientific properties exist, from which we can hypothesise why other claims might also be justified;
d) A few claims do not seem to relate in any obvious way to groups a), b) or c).

I need, perhaps, to explain briefly the term 'vibrational medicine'. This is related to our conception of reality. If you turn on a radio and a TV set at the same time, you receive two programmes, the different tuning of the receivers decoding two different signals which exist in the same space. Both these wave patterns are, of course, in the space occupied in another wavelength by light. It is a fact of science so widely accepted that we do not think about it, that things - and radio and waves can be considered things for this purpose - can exist in the same space without conflict, providing their vibratory rates are different. If one bombards the area occupied by the human body electronically and then photographs it, the body becomes dimly visible and there are several other electronic devices from which it can be inferred. It appears to occupy the same space as the physical body, but at a different vibratory level. Let me quote:

"We live in an ocean of frequencies as a fish lives in the water. The fish is unaware of the many possibilities of the medium in which he moves. So man has been totally unaware of the possibilities of the vast ocean of frequencies in which he lives. The many energy frequencies move in geometric patterns. When the geometrical patterns are altered, their manifestation is altered. Crystals are those substances which alter the geometric pattern of frequencies..."

I should, for those unable to read my last article, define 'psionic'. This is the name given to the science of mind machines, though not all mind machines really warrant the label 'psionic'. It is in this area that I conducted the short series of experiments which are the real subject of this article.

For the purposes of this paper and experiments we can ignore group (a) applications, though there is an otherwise pointless photograph of some of a few New Age items I took to the Study Group meeting just out of interest. Although we discussed group (b) attributes, much experimentation into this area calls for larger numbers, longer periods and far greater resources than are available to us (then or now).

Falling into group (d) are a couple of related claims I wanted to test experimentally. I have read several times that a piece of quartz in the water helps to preserve cut flowers and that pot flowers grow better with a piece of quartz in the soil. One of my daughters assures me that both are true.

Experiment day was fixed for 16th January. Two months before 'E' day I bought two sets of 3 approximately equal pots plants. I labelled one set 'A', 'B' and 'C' and gave them to the study group secretary, Peter Dudley, with a piece of quartz. After I had left he placed the quartz in one pot and made a note on a card which he placed in an envelope and sealed it. I labelled the second set of plants 'M', 'N' and 'O'. One plant was watered over the two months with water I had 'charged' with a crystal, the other two with ordinary tap water. Again a note was made on a card and sealed away. For the 3rd experiment, 17 days before 'E' day I bought 3 approximately equal bunches of daffodils. They were placed in 3 identical vases marked 'X', 'Y' and 'Z' and a piece of quartz placed in the water of one. Here again a note was made on a card placed in an envelope and sealed.

There were 17 people present, but not all voted: I did not take part, nor did the chairman, the secretary or Andrew Stevenson. This left 13 people. 1 choice from 3 makes the chance figure 4.33 and anything over 6 significant - though, as I explain, this was not sufficiently objective to decide anything scientifically.

In the 1st experiment, everyone studied the plants and 9 people correctly identified the pot with the quartz. In the 2nd experiment most people could not make up their minds, so there were no incorrect answers but only 5 correct ones - within the range of chance. In the 3rd experiment there were 7 correct answers, the rest being mainly undecided. The number of correct answers was just 'significant', but one would want to repeat the experiment many times before drawing any scientific conclusions.

Experiment 4 was into the field of psionics. In particular, into whether crystals made any difference to dowsing performance. Two different volunteers tried once with and once without a crystal headband to find with the aid of a pendulum, a 1p coin hidden be-neath one of five ESP cards. All the cards were the same symbol (a + sign) and pla-ced face down. Both vo-lunteers held the pendulum over the coin to test the resulting swing and then both left the room while the coin was placed beneath the card by the chairman. Each then came in separately to try without the headband, after which the same procedure was repeated with the headband. (There was one headband each.)

Both volunteers failed the 1st attempt. The second attempt was more interesting: the 1st volunteer again selected the wrong card. However, I was watching from a distance - I set up the experiment but took no part - and I thought there was a reaction over the correct card. I did not say anything, which is important, in view of the fact thast several people on the front row, the chairman and the secretary, all commented that they thought the swinging of the pendulum began over the correct card, although the 2nd volunteer picked the one next to it.

Clearly there would have had to be 5 attempts each without the headband and 5 more with, before even the most tentative conclusions could be drawn, 20 in all. (Because there is a 1 in5 chance of being correct by chance.) However, I do feel able to comment that such a result would not tell you in any event whether the headband made no difference to an above average performer or was helping a poor one. This leads a consideration of why there might be positive results and what factors might impact on the results and therefore need to be considered.

To take the second first, there are a number of factors needing consideration.

While the Stanford Research Centre findings suggest that psychic powers are latent in most people, it is clear that the degree of natural talent, spontaneously available without training, varies widely from person to person. The potential for abnormal findings are further increased because some people here have developed their latent abilities in one direction or another. It will be obvious (as mentioned above) that the wearing of a crystal headband may not make much difference to someone either very talented already or whose talents have been inadvertently developed through meditation or other psychic work or, of course, those with no psychic potential. Incidentally, I charged the water in the second of the pot plant experiments, so those reservations hold true there too.

As to why group (c) applications might work, I refer the reader to a paper on 'The Holographic Universe', which I delivered in January 1998 to the Metropolitan Study group of the Societas Rosicruciana (If you are interested in receiving a copy, see the note at the end of the article). For those who have not had the chance to see it, I made the point that the negative of a hologram is not a picture, but consists only of 'interference patterns' and that, moreover every part of the negative contains every part of the picture. This is vital to comprehending my point - cut off the corner of the negative of a photograph of a banana and you get a tiny part of a banana; cut off the corner of the negative of a holograph of a banana and you get a whole banana, but a bit fuzzy. The psychologist Karl Pribram established beyond doubt that we remember holographically - that no matter what part or how much of a rat's brain he cut away, it still remembered all it had learned. Professor of Quantum Physics, David Bohm, on the other hand, thought that the whole of reality could be considered as a holographic projection from a higher level. In practice, as the universe is dynamic and changes from moment to moment, perhaps we need imagine something more like a holographic video tape.

If reality is a holographic projection in the mind of the Creator, then we are part of that hologram. But every part of a negative of a hologram contains the whole image. This explains the concept "As above, so below..." - it also explains why dowsing and medical diagnosis by psionic means function: we already have the knowledge within us and need only to find a way of accessing it.

At another level, and turning to telepathy and remote viewing, we know that quartz responds to the tiniest changes in electromagnetic fields (hence its use in watches). We know that brain waves can be measured in clinics and hospitals by an electroencephalo-graph (EEG). Therefore we can be sure that quartz would respond to brain waves if it were placed closely enough. Now we come to an area of speculation; five hypothetical steps:
(i) Brain waves are on the same electromagnetic spectrum as radio and light waves, and;
(ii) Our brains are not 'US' - we reside somewhere outside our physical bodies, and;
(iii) We must be in constant communication with our bodies, and;
(iv) As every other contact is in the form of waves on the same spectrum, this is probably true of 'thought waves' too, and;
(v) Quartz appears to respond to every other wave on this spectrum, so it probably responds to these waves too.

This is, let me emphasise, a series of hypotheses. It is not proved as fact. I do not claim it as fact. I set it out as a possible mechanism by way of which quartz may help telepathic communication - and we didn't prove that either ! (Though I'd like to explore the issue further, given time and money and interested volunteers.)

To extend the sphere of reasoning and hypothesising, let me continue with the quotation started earlier:
"...Crystals are those substances which alter the geometric pattern of frequencies. We must realise that these frequencies are more or less stable, but crystals because of their strength of geometrical pattern can modify and reform the frequency pattern. In doing so energy can be released and directed to Man's purposes.
Crystals are orderly arranged molecularly and magnets have an orderly arrangement of molecules which makes possible the magnetic lines of force. The magnet represents the most orderly form of what we may call 'Matter Polarity': The crystal represents the most orderly focus of what we may call 'Spirit Polarity". The orderly arrangement of molecules in a magnet produces a magnetic field; the orderly arrangement of molecules in crystals produces an etheric field... Just as the magnetic field is the key to electricity, so the etheric field is the key to magnetoelectrity or di-electric energy."

Di-electric energy of magnetoelectricity is a difficult concept to explain, and an explanation doesn't belong here, except to say that it is related to negative matter and Einstein's formula that E = MC2 over the square root of 1 - V2/C2. The editor permitting I may pursue this in another article. For now it is enough pointed out that crystals do create energy (piezoelectricity) and do convert energy of one vibratory length (light) to another (electricity) as in solar cells and that there are other, equally scientifically established, examples of this facility.