What is Kirlian photography?
We often talk about a person's aura. You don't need to necessarily be spiritual to know about aura, but it is believed to be a form of energy surrounding a person or object. Over the last century or so, a form of photography was developed and experimented with, that claimed to show the aura surrounding an object caught on film. Is this finding spiritual or is it science?
Where does Kirlian photography come from?
In 1939, a gentleman by the name of Semyon Kirlian accidently discovered this form of photography. While working to repair an electrotherapy machine, he found that when it touched the patient's skin, a glow would be emitted between the person and the machine. Taking this idea further, he invented a process where if you connected a photographic plate to a high voltage source (aka power) that an image would be produced on the photographic plate. This process is also known as Electrography and has potentially been around since the 1800's in similar forms. This form of photography however was officially 'discovered' by Kirlian who along with his wife did a lot of research and experimenting with this form of photography and hence how it got its name. It wasn't until 1958 that they actually went public with their work and findings. It was still relatively unknown until the 1970's when a book "Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain" was published with their findings and theories.
How does Kirlian photography work?
It is a very simple process and doesn't even need a camera. The first step is to put a piece of photography film on a metal plate. The object that you want to photograph is then placed on top of the film. A high voltage current is then applied to the metal plate. The electronic corona discharge between the object and the plate is caught on the film which is considered to be 'aura'. It is seen as a silhouette of light surrounding the object.
What exactly is this 'aura'? Is it spiritual or is it science?
The Kirlians who worked with and 'discovered' this technology, claimed that the silhouette of light that appeared as a result of the electrical discharge was in fact the life force or aura of that person or object. They even believed that by 'reading' this aura as New Age spiritualists do that they could tell what kind of emotional and mental state a person was in. Though not used as much in this form today for obvious reasons, it was also used by some New Age Healers to diagnose illness in those seeking healings. On the scientific side of things, it doesn’t matter if the object used was a living thing (it is common for people to use their fingerprint or place their hand on the plate) or an inanimate object, it would produce this aura or light effect. Scientifically it is thought that water is what is causing this area of light around the object. When the voltage is applied, the air surrounding the object sitting on the plate becomes ionized. If there is any moisture in the air, this area of light will appear around the object which is known as "corona plasma discharge". Even a person who is using their hand can get different results each time they do it just depending on how sweaty their hand is. The sweatier the hand, the brighter the glow will be because of the higher content of water. A simple experiment which was often used would be to take Kirlian photographs of a dying leaf. As the leaf itself was dying, the glow surrounding it became dimmer which was originally interpreted as it's 'life force' dying. Scientifically the leaf was just drying up with less water so therefore the more it dried up or more it died, it lost it's intensity of light. It is up to you to decide if you think it is spiritual or science.
Kirlian photography and the paranormal
This process was taken further in the 1990's and devices were invented called Gas Discharge Visualisation devices were invented which can essentially take a photograph of a person and show their aura. These are quite popular at psychic conventions. A lot of people that work with auras claim that this technology is not as reliable as spirtual workers who can see and read auras. Those who can see the auras with their own eyes say that they can see more colours and that a photo alone will not give a true reading. Some people have also used this during paranormal investigations. Some believe that negative entities can infiltrate a person's aura and this can present itself in an aura photo. It is also claimed that telepathy or ESP can be seen through these photos and you can see the energy being transferred between two people. Orbs are also detected by this and interpreted by their colours. You guys know my stance on orbs so I will leave it at that.
It is certainly an intriguing idea, and I would be all for trying it out on an investigation for example just to see what results came through but going as far as using it to diagnose illness or a person's mental state etc, I hope that people are not just relying on this kind of technology and would be seeking the opinion of a trained medical professional. I have never had an aura reading done but it would be something I would do as a bit of fun and nothing more. It is almost like the mood rings we used to have as kids. Mine was always blue. I did want it to be black like Vada from My Girl because growing up we all loved that movie but mine always stayed the same colour no matter what mood I was in. I feel it was a waste of my $2. So, what do you think? Is this spiritual proof on paper of our aura or is it a result of science? I do believe that people do have a life force or an aura around them as we do feel someone's energy and we can feel when someone is pissed off or happy and you can get a general feeling of the mood of a room. When you take it further into paranormal investigating, when you are communicating, you can feel if it is a positive energy or something negative. We as living beings have energy. Is this technology proof of that? I personally don't believe so. The fact that I could put my can of coke on the bed and get an aura of light around it potentially brighter than what my hand can emit shows me that this is a result of science. You only have to look at the results of the photos and the water correlation makes sense and you can see it within the photos. It does not mean I do not believe in auras because I do, I am just not convinced that this is capturing a person's aura on film. I would be willing to try it and see what results came through, but that would be about it. Tell me your experiences with this have you tried it?
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