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Turnips in Terror?

Jun 13, 1998 01:50 AM
by Kym Smith

Thoa wrote:

>Anyway, I never heard a
>turnip scream.

Hmmm. . .maybe turnips don't scream. . .but then again, maybe they do and we
just can't hear them.  And if they actually do. . .well. . .my only recourse
is to go stark-raving mad. . .I can barely walk on grass without feeling
guilty about all the damage I am doing to the inhabitants of such
walked-upon grass.

I found the following on the "Theosophy Company" website:


Roots Of "Emotion

The man who, in 1966, was the first to actually measure an "emotion" like
response in plants, is interviewed in "The Sun" magazine for July, 1997.
Cleve Backster recounts the story of the discovery that raised a number of
eyebrows and caused more than a few frowns of disbelief in the scientific
community. His experience is worth retelling. When asked what brought him to
take note of electrochemical reactions in plants, he recalls:

"The initial observation involved a dracaena cane plant I had in my lab in
Manhattan. I had done a saturation watering of these plants - putting them
under the faucet until the water ran out the bottom of the pots - and was
curious to see how long it would take the moisture to get to the top. I was
especially interested in the dracaena, because the water had to climb up a
long trunk, then out to the end of the long leaves. I thought that if I put
the galvanic-skin-response detector of the polygraph at the end of a leaf, a
drop in resistance would be recorded on the paper as the moisture arrived
between the electrodes.

That, at least, was my cover story. I'm not sure whether there was another,
more profound, reason for my action. It could be that my subconscious was
nudging me into doing this - I don't know. In any case, I noticed something
on the chart that resembled a human response on a polygraph: not at all what
I would have expected from water entering a leaf. Lie detectors work on the
principle that when people perceive a threat to their well-being, they
respond physiologically in predictable ways.

Bizarre Response - Fear Of Fire

So I began to think of ways to threaten the well-being of the plant. First,
I tried dipping one of its leaves into a cup of warm coffee. The plant, if
anything, showed boredom - the line on the chart just kept tending downward.
Then, at thirteen minutes, fifty-five seconds chart time, the thought
entered my mind to burn the leaf. I didn't verbalize the idea; I didn't
touch the plant; I didn't touch the equipment. Yet the plant went wild. The
pen jumped right off the top of the chart. The only thing it could have been
reacting to was the mental image. Next, I got some matches from my
secretary's desk and, lighting one, made a few passes at the leaf. I
realized, though, that I was already seeing such an extreme reaction that
any increase wouldn't be noticeable. So I tried a different approach: I
removed the threat by returning the matches to the secretary's desk. The
plant calmed right down. I immediately understood something important was
going on. I could think of no conventional scientific explanation. From that
moment on my consciousness hasn't been the same. My whole life has been
devoted to looking into this phenomenon."

Baxter's comments speak for themselves. Students may note that his work
bears on some of the major points given consideration by H.P.B. in "Psychic
and Noetic Action."



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