Plants, Psychic Aspects of
Plant life has always been of interest to mankind. Plants have
provided food, medicine, and hallucinogenic substances. However,
beginning in the 1970s, there was more, public interest
in the behavior and psychic aspects of plant life. Evidence was
presented suggesting plants may diagnose disease, react to
music and human emotions, and act as lie detectors.
Legends told of the power of sound to influence plants. In
Hindu mythology, the flute music of Shri Krishna made flowers
bloom. Reportedly the musician Tansen, during the era of
Moghul Emperor Akbar could cause the flowers to blossom by
singing a particular musical raga or mode. Tamil literature described
how sugarcane grew in response to the musical sounds
of beetles, wasps, and bees.
Plants, Psychic Aspects of Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Scientific interest in the sensitivities of plants dates from the
experiments of Charles Darwin, who attempted to stimulate
Mimosa pudica by playing a bassoon in close proximity, hoping
to bring about movements of the pinnae. There was no measurable
response and twenty years later in 1877 the German plant
physiologist Wilhelm Pfeffer reported in his book Physiology of
Plants (translated into English 1900) another unsuccessful experiment
he hoped would stimulate the stamens of Cynararae
by sound.
In 1903, the Indian scientist, Jagadis Chunder Bose, reported
in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Britain,
his results from experiments with plants. He concluded ‘‘all
characteristics of the responses exhibited by the animal tissues,
were also found in those of the plant.’’ Bose devised an apparatus
to demonstrate plant reactions, many of which resembled
nervous responses in animal or human life. He also measured
the electrical forces released in the ‘‘death-spasms’’ of vegetables.
The American scientist George Crile also conducted experiments
to measure the vital response of plant life.
Following Bose, T. C. N. Singh at Annamalai University,
India, continued experiments on plants from 1950 and reported
plants respond measurably to music, dance, and prayer.
After publication of his papers, similar experiments were also
conducted in Canada and the United States.
From 1966 onward, Cleve Backster, an American polygraph
specialist, conducted experiments in plant extrasensory
perception, using polygraph techniques. His experiments, as
reported in the International Journal of Parapsychology, (vol. 10,
1968), supported the thesis that plants were sensitive to human
thoughts. Backster’s conclusions have been independently confirmed
by other experimenters, including research chemist
Marcel Vogel, who claimed plants and human beings shared a
common energy field and may affect each other in a manner
he could record with instruments. Vogel recorded the ability of
Debbie Sapp, who claimed to ‘‘enter the consciousness of a
Other experimenters have shown plants may be used to trigger
electric relays and open doors, stimulated by emotional
suggestions from human operators. Many owners of garden
plots and window boxes take it for granted their plant life may
be favorably affected by human feelings and talk regularly to
their plants.
Bolton, Brett L. The Secret Powers of Plants. New York Berkley,
1974. Reprint, London Abacus, 1974.
Bose, J. C. Plant Autographs and Their Revelations. London
Longmans Green, 1927.
Crile, George. The Phenomena of Life A Radio-Electric Interpretation.
London, 1936.
Loehr, Franklin. The Power of Prayer on Plants. New York
New American Library, 1969.
Tompkins, Peter, and Christopher Bird. The Secret Life of
Plants. New York Harper & Row, 1973. Reprint, New York
Avon, 1974.
Whitman, John. The Psychic Power of Plants. New York New
American Library, 1974. Reprint, London W. H. Allen, 1974.

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