S.W. Tromp – Professor of Geology

Psychical Physics

A Scientific Analysis of Dowsing, Radiesthesia and Kindred Divining Phenomena

Few people have heard of Professor Tromp in the Radionic sphere, but I feel that his contribution is of such importance to our subject, that I now give extracts from his book. This will enable a picture to be formed of the depth of his researches and his conclusion that Radionics is not a para-psychological therapy having no basis in physics. In his introduction, only a part of which can be given here, we read:

“The task of this publication is three-fold; first to establish whether the different divining phenomena really exist or are due only to suggestions; secondly, when established, to study all the disturbing factors; thirdly to analyse whether the reactions of diviners (after they have proved to be real) can be used as indicators for certain external physical conditions.

“The author, a geologist, met many dowsers in his work and always was extremely sceptical about their capacities; the results he had seen were not very convincing. Around 1940, however, more and more important data were collected which indicated that divining phenomena were as real as electricity and other physical phenomena. In 1946 and 1947 scientific tests were arranged in the physical and physiological laboratories of Leiden University (Holland) and in the laboratory of Technical Physics at Delft (Holland).

“These experiments with artificial magnetic fields and string-galvanometers indicated:

1. That divining phenomena are not due to charlatanry and suggestion but really exist and that the number of people sensitive to these phenomena is greater than is usually assumed;

2. That a great number of physical and physiological factors might cause errors in the registration of these phenomena by our nerves and muscles; this could explain most of the so-called ‘failures’ of scientific tests on diviners;

3. That these phenomena can be explained by the normal physical and physiological laws: therefore they should not be called para-normal nor do they belong to para-psychology;

4. That many of the so-called para-psychological phenomena might be explained by the same methods of research, bringing para-psychology into the ordinary medical sciences;

5. That a careful analysis of these phenomena might prove to be of great value to future medical science.

“The problem of the physical and physiological causes of divining phenomena and of the influence of external electric fields, magnetic fields or a combination of both on living organisms is extremely complicated, and it is impracticable for one research worker to study the whole problem.

“We have therefore tried to summarise in this publication only the different aspects of the problems of divining, in order to give the scientific reader an idea of the enormous field of research which is required for the solution of these problems. Should this summary stimulate co-operative work in the field of ‘psychical physics’ and remove scientifically unjustified prejudices the author will feel sufficiently rewarded for his work.

“The book is divided into three main chapters. In the first chapter an analysis is given of the electromagnetic fields in and around living organisms. This problem is divided into three parts; the electro-magnetic fields created in the living body (so-called organic fields), those in the upper part of the earth’s crust (geo-physical field), and those in the atmosphere (climatological or meteorological field). The interaction of these three fields is reviewed and the author has endeavoured to demonstrate that the existence of divining phenomena can be expected even on the theoretical grounds. In the second chapter further evidence is gathered to support this theoretical possibility and a summary is given of the different influences of electrostatic, electromagnetic and magnetic fields on living organisms. In the third chapter the divining phenomena are analysed scientifically and the experiments of the author described in detail. This chapter is divided into five parts; Rhabdomancy (water divining etc.), Radiesthesia (pendulum phenomena), Magnetizer phenomena, sensitivity for direction of animals and finally a short review of the possible applications of the previous analyses on other para-psychological phenomena. (Psychical Physics).

Experiments by S.W. Tromp 1947

“From September 1946 to June 1947, a number of experiments were carried out by the author, first in the Physical and the Physiological laboratories in Leiden (Holland), and later in the laboratory of Technical Physics in Delft (Holland).

“The experiments consisted of three main groups:

1. Experiments with artificial magnetic fields (assisted by Van der Starre, Chief Technical Assistant in the Physical laboratory);

2. Experiments with a string galvanometer of Ein-thoven (carried out with the assistance of M.J. De Groot, technical inventor of the string galvanometer of Einthoven);

3. Electro-static experiments (carried out with the assistance of the Physical Engineer, H. de Zeeuw).

“The main purpose of these experiments was to find a method that enables us to prove or disprove convincingly the reality of dowsing reactions.

“The first group of experiments was carried out because the author had noticed during geophysical work that dowsing reactions seem to coincide with magnetometer maps. At that time he was not yet aware that many other physical phenomena, besides the disturbances in the magnetic field of the earth, can be responsible for doswing phenomena.

“The second method was chosen in order to study the fluctuations of skin potentials of dowsers with a continuously self-registering multivolt-meter.

“The third group of experiments was carried out in order to study the influence of electro-static induction on dowsers.

“The author believes that with these experiments it is possible to prove the reality of dowsing phenomena.

“Before we discuss the experiments in detail, a short summary is given of the main results that support the statement that the reality of dowsing phenomena could be proved with at least four different independnet methods:

1. Artificial Magnetic Fields.

2. Experiments with a string galvanometer of Einthoven.

3. Experiments on sensitivity to local disturbances of the earth’s magnetic field.

4. Experiments on sensitivity to electric fields.


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