What is Kirlian Photography? The Science and the Myth Revealed

By Rachael Towne / November 14, 2012

Kirlian photography, although the study of which can be traced back to the late 1700s, was officially invented in 1939 by Semyon Davidovitch Kirlian.  The Kirlian photographic process reveals visible “auras” around the objects photographed.  These photographs have been the subject of much myth and controversy over the years.  Interestingly, much of which was initially put forth to explain the Kirlian photography phenomena was put forth by the inventor himself, along with his wife.

The process of taking a Kirlian photo is a fairly simple one and does not even require the use of a camera.  First, a sheet of photographic film is placed on top of a metal plate.  Then, the object that is to be photographed is placed on top of the film.  To create the initial exposure, high voltage current is applied to the metal plate.  The electrical coronal discharge between the object and the metal plate is captured on the film.  The Kirlian photograph, which shows a light, glowing silhouette around the photographed object, becomes visible as a result of developing the film.

Although the Kirlians invented this photographic process in 1939, they didn’t publicly release information about their experiments until 1958, and Kirlian photography wasn’t a well-known phenomenon to the general public until 1970.

quarter3 by nebarnix, on Flickr

The Myth of Kirlian Photography

The first mythical explanations put forth about Kirlian photography were suggested by the Kirlians themselves.  They believed that these photographs were depicting the actual life-force or “aura” that many people believe surrounds all living things.  New Age spiritualists attribute huge importance to the aura and believe that specially trained aura-readers can provide important insights into a person’s spiritual, emotional and physical state.  The Kirlians were convinced that these photos could accurately predict emotional and physical states and could be used to diagnose illnesses.

The assertion that Kirlian photographs could depict emotional and physical states was quickly adopted by energy practitioners.  While the use of Kirlian photography has largely fallen by the wayside as a diagnostic tool these days, there are still alternative practitioners who believe in it as an accurate way to help those who seek their services for healing all kinds of conditions both emotional and physical.

Kirlian photography has been a staple of paranormal research for some time as well.  In the 1960s and 1970s paranormal researchers connected it to many types of unexplained phenomena, one of which was telepathy.  Researchers proposed that telepathy was the result of people's auras communicating together.

The Science of Kirlian Photography

It can be hard to separate the fact versus the fiction when it comes to Kirlian photography, since these photos are very real and do clearly show some phenomenon at work.  However, the fact that these glowing auras are seen around non-living objects as well as living objects in Kirlian photos is often simply ignored by those who want to believe in the supernatural explanation.

fingerprints by nebarnix, on Flickr

So if the glowing auras seen in Kirlian photography aren’t really caused by something spiritual, paranormal or our “life-energy” then what are they caused by? 

The answer is water. 

The high-voltage frequency applied to the metal plate rips the electrons off of atoms.  The air around the photographed object becomes ionized.  If that air contains any water, the resulting image will show the glowing silhouette around the object, which scientists actually call a “corona plasma discharge”.

When a person is sweating more due to being overheated, or excited in some way, Kirlian photographs taken of their hands at that time will show a larger more intense glow due to the increased moisture.  Conversely, cold dry hands will produce an image which shows a weaker glow.  Despite the ready availability of this accurate scientific explanation, New Age proponents of Kirlian photography will still argue that the person whose hands showed a larger, brighter glow is a natural healer when they are really just sweaty.

fingertip by nebarnix, on Flickr

Factors other than humidity which can influence the final image include the pressure and angle of your hand touching the metal plate as well as the amount of voltage.  Kirlian photographs taken of the exact same person can be very different taken only minutes apart due to these variables.

A very well-known Kirlian photography experiment documents a leaf as it slowly dies.  The initial photograph was taken when the leaf was freshly cut and shows a prominent glow.  As the leaf gets older more photos are taken, which show that the glow is starting to weaken.  This was once explained away with the life-force theory.  However, we now know that the weakening of the glow is simply a result of the leaf losing water and drying up over time.

Ivy Leaf by nebarnix, on Flickr

In another experiment involving a leaf, an initial photo is taken which shows the usual strong glow or aura.  Then, part of the leaf is torn away.  Surprisingly, a ghostly glowing trace of the missing part of the leaf showed up on the film.  For years this result was considered more proof of some sort of “life-force”.  In reality though, it was simply a result of some moisture residue left on the glass.  If the residue is completely removed prior to photographing the leaf again, the phantom glow does not appear.

One final scientific observation to point out is that the Kirlian effect simply doesn’t happen in a vacuum since there is no water vapor, which prevents ionization.

In Conclusion

While the mystical and paranormal explanations for the glow in Kirlian photographs have been debunked, the truth may be just as interesting as fiction to the more scientifically minded.  Its potential for studying certain aspects of life are being explored scientifically.

Also, there are a few artists using Kirlian photography to create beautiful images of what has been called “living art”.  Like other forms of artistic expression such as traditional photography, this should and will be explored to its fullest.

life force in a quarter by nebarnix, on Flickr


About the author

Rachael Towne

is a professional photographer and creator of Presets Galore.

  • “It can be hard to separate the fact versus the fiction when it comes to Kirlian photography, since these photos are very real and do clearly show some phenomenon at work.”

    Is it really difficult to separate fact from fiction regarding Kirlian photography? I think you’ve done it well in this post.

    • Fahrertuer says:

      It’s quiet easy to seperate fact from fiction in this case, as the author proved.
      You just have to be willing to accept the truth, do some research and have a basic grasp of physics.

      • I was a Registered Nurse for 45 years. I am also a Healer and I has Kerlian photos taken of my hands. We did 3 photos, before, during, and after Therapeutic Touch treatment. In TT touch I pull energy into my hands and transfer it to a patient working in the Aura. I can also scan the Aura with my hands and find areas of pain, internal bleeding, and many other areas of dis-ease. Anyway the first photo showed a nice aura around my fingers and the palm of my hand. The 2nd one was done during the treatment, the Aura on this was about 2to3 times the size of the first. I did not have sweat or any water on my hands. The 3rd one was after the treatment and I had shut down the energy flow by having cold water wash over my hands. The Aura on this one was almost the same as the 1st. What I do by working in someone’s Aura has nothing to do with whether my hands might have water on them or not.

        • serge says:

          I am puzzled how as a RN you can ignore the fact that you cannot (while still living) rid the moisture totally from your hands or any other body part. As a RN you must also be aware of powerful the placebo effect is. The most comprehensive studies I’ve seen, in this case of Acupuncture, showed that treatment of Rhinitus and Arthritis by Acu achieved only a 5% better result than the Placebo. The slightly superior result being due most likely to the administrtors of the ‘fake’ Acu treatment not displaying the confidence and professionalism of the ‘real Acu practitioners. I would put it you that if u achieve any success in yr healing work, then you using a powerful placebo. (Depending on the application, Placebos can produce good effects of some degree to anywhere between 40% and close to 100%.) So good luck to you ‘mam, you are doing good, but I suspect not for the reasons you may think.

          • bili says:

            And how placebo works exactly? What process is hasppenning to the body?

          • Cindy Czocher says:

            Ok. Explain this.
            I had a friend who had tremendous ongoing and worsening pain in his foot due to circulatory failure. Reiki traverses time and space with the use of certain kanji symbols on a surrogate (hon sha ze sho nen) , and can be “sent”. My friend had no idea that I was sending Reiki, as I did it late at night before I went to sleep. He lives in a different part of the state. So, in the morning, he went to work, pain-free. The freedom from the pain lasted a couple weeks, and he did not have to take any narcotics, either.
            Also, explain the following: A coworker’s grandbaby was born early with life-threatening problems. I did not ever meet the baby, nor the mother. I knew the location and the baby’s name. I did a surrogate treatment in which the energy field of the baby surrounds the surrogate (in this case, teddy bear). During my assessment of the baby’s energy field, I felt a denser energy in the throat and over the stomach region. I sent the baby calming energy. Two days later, I learned from my co-worker that the baby had great distress from the feeding tube down her throat, to the stomach.
            I am not a nurse. I happen to be a PT.

        • BronzeOceans says:

          You might want to read the entire article again.

          Several times.

        • jebus says:

          This is why the internet is great, people love to lie through their teeth about having magical powers, sorry but if you did you wouldn’t be an RN but some healer in a palace in India or something. To be frank how about instead of “telling us stories” about your super powers, you end the debate and take on James Randis 1million dollar challange to anyone that can prove anything metaphysical and or supernatural… this challenge exists because of ppl like this RN who seem to have no scruples claiming things science has yet to detect or prove totally exit and they can do it… Because since its inception 30 years ago despite many attempts not one person got the prize, in fact usually by very emberassingly realizing that they are delusional when the experiment would be set up in such a way that there was actual measurements instead of speculative analysis of things getting better or worse based on opinions instead of facts.

          • Denise says:

            oh my we have a skeptic lol…

          • Anonymous says:

            James randi James randi blah blah blah blah. What makes you remotely think that he is actually ready to give that money away for anyone? His entire fame and fortune rests on disproving people. Do you think he’s going to actually take psychics seriously with all of that baggage behind him? Did you know they have basically stopped testing people now? did you know about that? of course not because he is your God right?

            Randi is famous for altering data to fit his own propaganda, there was a research done on the ESP present in dogs when they can sense the arrival of their owners before they open the door. Randi had basically “lost” all the data for this experiment and basically said it doesn’t work.

            there is nothing remotely scientific about James Randi, he is simply a sleight of hand magician making money of the failures of real psychics. It’s a real sad story really.

          • Michael says:

            Science is actually forbidden from studying the non physical.

          • Cindy Czocher says:

            jebus, plz explain why when I do off the body work, the person feels intense heat, but only over the body part being irradiated.

            Also, during my initiation of Reiki, several years ago, the person doing Reiki with his palms surrounding my head, had a resonance of his palms with my head such that the heat was much more intense, searing as a matter of fact, when the hands were inches away from my head, NO Skin Contact.
            Then, go ahead an explain, how another Reiki teacher sent half of us in the other room to lie down, and had the first half of the class “send Reiki” when we were ready, after 5 min. Our partners did so for about 10 min. None of us could see when our partner in the other room actually began to send Reiki, and yet we each discerned when the treatment arrived and changes in where we felt the Reiki energy as the person changed hand positions. I knew exactly when that partner entered my field with the Time Distance symbol and Master symbol.
            Yeah, I thought so. because you can’t!

        • Anonymous says:

          great comment….the above article is not scientific enough and I believe that this should be studied much more. we all have a life energy force people that has be proven.

          • DigitalCosmos says:

            If it has been proven then where is the evidence for “life energy”?

          • Nat says:

            yeah, i dont think they cover everything. they never even mentioned the explanation of why different colors are shown. if is just water, then why all the different colors? is it just random? *narrows eyes* they could say its other chemical compunds in the body, but if so wouldnt those differentiation in chemicals /elements have an effect on ones health? therefore..? using your discernment with these things is paramount, I dont doubt the above story with this james randi guy happened. some of the most famous discoveries have been covered up for centuries only to be accepted after several people came to the same conclusion xD just because science doesnt prove it doesn’t mean it isn’t real, we cant be too closed minded about the possibilities, because that in itself won’t make us good scientists 🙂 its a while pefore all this paranormal stuff is accepted by science. we dont have to wait for. once they develop the tools for ‘concrete proof’ to believe it. perhaps, there are the tools, yet lack of comphrehension, such as the case with Mendel’s Work. i dont know about you guys, but im just sticking to my intuition 😉

          • Rick says:

            How can you write this whole article trying to make kirlian photogrophy a joke when you dont even mentioning the case study by Dr. Pradeep B. Deshpande? I highly reccomend you read it over and tell me what you think. Also, there were even more case studies done behind the iron curtain why is there no mention of this? This article seems really misguided and lacks a lot of information to back up claims.

        • Alexandrius says:

          On a quantum level, anything is possible with intent/action. H2o seems to be the common denominator. water = life #NoDAPL

      • tonyspiers says:

        Well, I can’t see she’s provided any proof. Beyond mere assertion, I’d like to see the experimental evidence for her assertion that “In reality though, it was simply a result of some moisture residue left on the glass”.

        Without evidence, this “disproof” should also be treated as conjecture, an alternative theory (albeit very plausible) no more valid than the “aura” hypothesis.

  • Very interesting article. If I understand it well for taking shoot of fingertips with this method there have to flew an electric current from a hand to the metal plate below photographic paper. What did you mean by high voltage current? Maybe more details will be helpful. High voltage for me is over 1kV so there you need really limit the current and the time otherwise it can be too dangerous.
    I’d like to try it so it’s here a good start point? Thans

  • Curios Mind says:

    I have seen images of Kirlian photography using fruit and vegetables. two images side by side showing the first as a raw fruit or vegetable and the second image of the same subject but had been cooked for say 3 minutes, resulting in a considerable energy lose. After reading this article, seems to be due to the lose of water, I’m curious to how these vegetables or fruits were cooked, baked yes would back the evidence of losing moisture but if boiled surely they would gain liquid. Just a rant, curious mind would like to see controlled experiments to prove this.

    • KGlyphics says:

      I agree. The author just seems to use the water example since it fits the bill. I did this photography for a senior art project for college (I was an art major) and noticed things that had nothing to do with water as well as a fellow art professor who was sensitive to subtle energy see the energy patterns from the photographs.

      • JackH says:

        Ah yes, of course that professor was “sensitive to subtle energy.” Only people “sensitive to subtle energy” can see certain things in the photographs.

        I’m so glad art majors are around to debunk science with anecdotes about paranormally observant professors.

        • BronzeOceans says:


          Reading some of the comments people are leaving here…

          Wow, just wow.

          • jonchang says:

            There is actually subtle energy known as holographic coherence which is emitted by the pineal gland which transfers energy through the vagus nerve. That’s the supernatural phenomenon of telepathy seen in some animals too but through lightwaves. There are peer-reviewed studies proving “chi” to be a real healing phenomenon even for HIV lol, tell me that is a placebo hahaha.

        • Liz DiBiasio says:


    • Chibiabos says:

      That’s because things tend to dry out when you cook them.

      The science is a hell of a lot weirder than the mysticism. The only problem is that you can’t describe 99% of it in conversational language and a statement about how the world works ends up looking like soap opera written in Martian.

      • Isy says:

        Good one! Trying to turn them into everyday conversation makes for highly entertaining after-dinner subjects though and brings out out all the wannabe know-it-all professors. Hilarious!

    • Ana says:

      I was wondering exactly the same. If all is made of energy ultimately, inanimate objects will show energy too (like the coin), but if you boil a vegetable, the result seems to me very watery!!

  • Dorian says:

    Very good explanation of the ‘kirlian effect’. One problem with the explanation of the ‘phantom leaf’ experiment is that generally the leaf is cut prior to ever making contact with the discharge plate. Consequently, there is no precedent contact to leave behind moisture residue. Something to think about I guess.

    • Karim says:

      Actually, it did touch a plate. Kirlian did his leaf experiments with the photographic and metal plates above the leaf so that he can replace the photographic plates over time without disturbing the leaf.

      The surface the leaf was laying on would have residual water from the torn piece. If the plate the leaf was on was thoroughly wiped clean before the photography paper, glass and metal plate were replaced, then no “phantom leaf” image. If the leaf was entirely replaced by a blank piece of tracing paper without cleaning the glass, a weak image would appear.

      Something to think about.

      • Alex says:

        Interesting that the article (and you) talk about the cut leaf, but nobody talks about the phantom pain effect after they remove the leg. Very similar phenomena.

        Dr. Thelma Moss, a prof and researcher at UCCLA has a detailed discussion of Kirlian photography in her book, THE PROBABILITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE.

  • Ted says:

    Interesting article. I’ve known for a long time that the photographs people can get at the new age fairs with their auras (the Kirlian Effect) require the subject to place their hand on a plate with metal nodes, and it’s that ‘aura’ being ‘photographed’ than the subject him/herself. This article reinforces what I’ve always thought was a trick of one effect being superimposed over another.

    However, I’m more interested in learning how an aura can be photographed (if it can) when the subject/object is not required to touch a surface.

    • ro says:

      A kirlian photo does not have nodes on the plate, that is the aura camera which works on galvanic skin resistance, the colours being put in my man according to the gsr. The Kirlian image can be a flat hand/foot, finger tips or objects. The angle of the finger tip is relevant . Peter Mandels work in Bruchsal Germany is probably the best long term application and study available.
      Unfortunately the exhibnition work is frequently not properly applied and the atmosphere not the best to do anything; also the level of curiosity and glamour of the environment can , repeat, can distort the information or need of the client.

  • Wolf says:

    Science has already proven that everything in the entire universe is made of energy. Everything, including inanimate objects like coins or rocks, are made of energy, even you and I; so why is it a surprise to you all when someone discovers a way of photographing that energy?

    Your idea that water is the cause of these phenomena is absurd. However I’ll concur that the addition or the increase of water on an object will increase the glow of the energy.

    I am not religious nor am I a scientist but I know about both. It just frustrates me when people try to explain something when they do not take into account the entire spectrum; the bigger picture so to speak, like you have with this article.

    Did you even consider the fact that all material, no matter how solid it appears to us with our limited senses, is really just vibrating energy?

    Go to the core of any atom in any object and you will discover the energy that connects all things. We are all in reality energy beings; our physical bodies are comprised of atoms which are made of energy and the only thing that prevents us from all reconnecting into a big confused mass of chaos is the different vibrations of the energy mixed with time and space. It’s basic stuff that the majority of people are ignorant to, which is really sad.

    I think you should go back to the drawing board with this article. Carry out some experiments of your own and then rewrite the article along with your findings.

    • JackH says:

      “Science has already proven that everything in the entire universe is made of energy.”

      No, it hasn’t. Science has done nothing of the sort.

      “Go to the core of any atom in any object and you will discover the energy that connects all things.”
      Actually, you will discover protons and neutrons, and within them, quarks and gluons.

      “the only thing that prevents us from all reconnecting into a big confused mass of chaos is the different vibrations of the energy mixed with time and space. It’s basic stuff that the majority of people are ignorant to, which is really sad.”
      Speaking from personal experience, I see.

        • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

          You are the most accurate in your reply.
          I am a Seer…I see energy fields without cameras…and although this type of photography does capture a great deal of the energy field…the electricity used does effect the rate of vibration and so the colors are not accurate..nor does the camera capture all of the layers…(there are 7)

          All that aside..you are absolutely correct in that ALL things have an energy field….just that some are more complicated…for example a coin doesnt have all the same layers as a leaf or a person.

          And yes, sensitives can easily feel energy fields..along with other types of energy.

          By use of the Light-fibers (those little straight, hair-like lines) we can touch anyone anywhere on the planet. I often use them in long distance healing work. Headaches are the easiest thing for me to heal long distance….and I am happy to help people when requested. I never do any healing work without permission as to manipulate another for any reason without permission is black magic…a negative use of a spiritual gift.

          And as to it only being moisture….it does not explain the physical objects filmed as they cannot all be wet.
          Yoga’s have used these energy fields as do martial art Masters and as did Christ.
          The little bubbles kirlian captures in the energy fields are bubbles of Prana as the Yoga’s call it or Chi as the Martial Art Masters call it..they are bubbles of life-force energy. Prana is found in all things and is in it’s loosest form in the air we breath..which is one of the reasons breathing is so important to the Yoga and Martial Art Masters…
          However now day, science is catching up with the true Mysitc…and even ordinary cameras now days can also capture parts of the energy fields of people etc….including the tints of thoughts…

          I agree its sad that the majority of people have no idea of the science of physics….or even of who and what they themselves truly are…

          There is a book by Bob Toben written in conversations with Physicists Jack Sarfatti and Fred wolf that is easy for the lay-person to understand..
          The author of this article might wish to do some research on advanced physics before writing articles about science they clearly do not understand.

          Another book everyone should read is called “14 lessons in Yoga Philosophy” by Yoga Ramacharaka….its an ancient book now free to read on line by the Yoga Publishing Society…

      • Isy says:

        This subject is certainly bringing out all the wannabe professors. I dare not comment because I know too little about the subject and will certainly delve deeper, but I have certainly been entertained by others’ comments. Comments like yours though get the little grey cells working and give me places to start my delving. Thank you.

      • Kaldrax says:

        If I may… the only thing science has proven about the nature of the universe is that we don’t understand it at all. Sometimes, we think we’ve figured it out, but then something comes along and shows us that we don’t. I would very much like to perform my own experiments with the Kirlian effect, because theories and ideas are fun, but testing them is even more fun XD

      • Anonomous says:

        Oh dear you really do need to check your facts on this … EVERYTHING is made of vibrating energy nothing is solid… it has been proven

        • Rozz says:

          Anonymous- spot on, it is the speed of which the particles are vibrating is which determines the classifications. As Wallis wrote in his electric universe book. X

          And everyone is prattling on about science…proof…science fact!
          When you actually study science, evidence only suggests, it never proves, there are no facts, they are only ever theories. And FYI, if you were to use words like that in a science essay, you would fail. X

          I enjoyed all those who chose to not notice a slight contradiction.
          In the article it was suggested that many use this tool for art, yet ALL images provided were pieces of art by an artist called Nebarix. Why did the author chose to only use art pieces and not use ACTUAL pics from the 50’s from the Kirlan team? Where are the Sorces to all this postulating? Where are the references? X

          And science is just the baby brother of majik…imo…X
          Science was originally practiced and written about by men, as they were allowed education before women. Thus being a very patriarchal environment, the boys club for want of a better term. X. (History is classed as factual because men wrote it, because they had been educated. Whereas hearsay, stems from her say, classifying the woman’s education as null and void, thus nonsense). X
          In past “Scientists also said the world was flat, until, they were able to devise new methods of repeatable, empirical testing and measuring, experiments, etc. X

          Majik has never required empirical testing, just like faith, eventhough, a few peeps in this comments section like to believe paranormal research is not a science. It is. There are many devices that can empirically test paranormal happenings, go look at liverpool university paranormal SCIENCE department. There research is very interesting. X

          So for all want to be scientists, who are adamant that science proves fact only, you are wrong. Science only puts forth evidence that suggests a hypothesis is either correct or incorrect or null. Not fact, not fiction, evidence only ever suggests. X

          I study science and practice healing, if some people can’t get thier mind round this that’s fine, as thier belief is not a requisite for my belief. However, I am quite astounded that people assume you can be only one or other, how bizarre to restrict others with ones own limitations. But I am fine and happy to merge my personal research with my scientific research by bringing both paradigms together, as there are many ways to intermingle topics and find new ways to measure them. X

          What is important to me as a scientist is the repeatability, reliability and validity of my data collection AND analysis, etc. No matter which method of research I choose to use. For example lab experiment, observation, etc. Not fact. X

          So short answer, just because the world has not yet made devices that can measure all type of behaviours and actions. Does not mean they don’t possibly exist. X

    • Chibiabos says:

      No. There’s a mass-energy equivalence that comes out of relativity but that’s very different from what you have in mind. I’d go more in depth about it but I need to study my particle physics more before I can do much else besides confuse you.

      Energy isn’t a life force and it’s not an extension of Eastern religion. It’s a mathematical concept that’s really useful for describing the properties of a physical system. Same with entropy.

      • bumblechops says:

        Concepts aren’t real things, hence why they’re called ‘concepts’. Concepts are how we measure and summarize things with language. How do you know energy isn’t a “life force”?

    • ro says:

      The article is quite comprehensive and pretty accurate although biased in some aspects of application. Kirlian has been used to monitor the energetic state of an individual for thirty years plus and consistent follow up has shown the state of the individual at any particular time. Yes the environment etc is relevant, do you not respond differently to different circumstances.
      One innaccuracy is it cannot be done in a vacuum, Victor Adamenko presented a paper showing his work in a vacuum. It is the capacity to earth of an object at whatever frequency or voltage is being used. The wave form is also relevant. Photographic paper etc are also a factor. Colour is a distraction as it can be affected by pressure and blue is the basic colour, the others, red especially are frequently light leakage or the gap between the object and the paper if the finger tip is at an angle and the person is pressing. The photographic emulsion has layers and the visible spark is blue.
      Before and after treatment allows one to see the degree of response, withdrawal or relaxation response to how they process their treatment. Blood pressure also changes over a period of five minutes, breathing etc, we aree alive after all. |Inanimate objects are also capable of being photographed by virtue of their content whther metal or tissue, if the appropriate earthing is provided. Work with voltage sensitive liquid crystal is a further development for example with bloods or fluids, a drop being placed with earth wire on a glas slide. first done by Alfred Benjjaminin 1976 funded by Kodak ( see medical photography) repeated in 1983, with cancer patients before and after surgery to see if it had been eradicated.
      The psychic research is frequently as said performed by people who have a set requirement and are unaware of parameter containment. However using it to monitor people in various states, ie hypnosis etc can be co related with other measurements, ie galvanic skin resistance, eeg etc and can lead to other levels of enquiry.

    • ro says:

      are you the Eric Wolf who attended the first IUMAB conference in Pondicherry in 1988?

    • Wendy Grosskopf says:

      Well said, Wolf.

    • Virginia says:

      Your the only one that made sense to me. Thank You.

    • Carrie says:

      I completely agree – the statement in this article that claims Kirlian photography doesn’t truly show an aura is because it also shows light around nonliving objects. The reason for that is because even nonliving objects have energy! We consist of energy, all objects in our environment consist of energy and the Universe consists of energy. There really is no way to disassociate energy from anything because it is everywhere.

  • VAL says:


  • Mary says:

    Very good explanation! Aura photos are fun, but I don’t put a lot of stock them, as a “healing” or “revealing” tool. A group of friends and I went to an aura photo event last night. Most of the group had attended a vigorous dance class right before coming. I had to work late, so did not dance beforehand. All the dancers had very vivid, glowing “auras.” My colors were very subdued. So, sweat, body temperature, etc. seems to have played a part. If I had another $25 I would have had a second photo taken. Very sure it would have been different, as so much in our bodies changes from minute to minute.

    • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

      unfortunately the aura photographs and cameras I have seen have all been fakes…as anyone who actually can see auras can tell you…there is only one color at a time seen as the colors in an aura are caused by the level of thought vibrations. Each thought is a tint of color..seen best against the face as that is where it is the strongest.
      Each though is tinted due to the level of vibration of each level of consciousness it originates from…or in other words…each level of consciousness is governed by a major energy center of the human body….which are called Chakras.
      As with every single thought we change color tints in our energy fields….there are none of these big splotches of color seen by these so called “aura” cameras ..all of which are pre-programed to lay over different blobs of colors on the pictures as they are developed.

  • Byron says:

    Serge- In your humble wisdom, what is the root cause of the effectiveness of the placebo effect? Also, statistically speaking, to achieve 5% more than the placebo, or any other treatment for that matter, is pretty significant in the context of medical/pharmacological experimentation.What I really want to know is why non-scientific forms of therapy raise such ire in folks such as yourself? Why should it bother you or anyone else that accupuncture, massage, roots, herbs, chanting, meditating or any other form of healing actually effect positive changes in some peoples lives? Seems pretty childish, to me.

    • JackH says:

      It’s interesting that you mistake disagreement for “such ire” in a comment dripping with passive-aggressive condescension.

      “Why should it bother you or anyone else that accupuncture, massage, roots, herbs, chanting, meditating or any other form of healing actually effect positive changes in some peoples lives?”
      For one, Christian Scientists (i.e. members of the Christian Science sect) have killed more than a few of their children by denying medical treatment, based on their belief in “non-scientific forms of therapy.”

      The placebo effect is a fascinating and very real phenomenon, but pretending that praying directly causes a specific healing effect based on actual divine appeal is, at best, smarmily deceptive, and at worst, medically dangerous.

      • Ginko says:

        and “scientific” healing has maimed and killed millions! Ever hear of thalidomide? Vioxx? Tuskegee syphilis experiment? frontal lobotomy? Mercury in vaccines? Forced sterilization? etc ad nauseum….. Science is not better or even good. It just is and you have decided to worship it as your religion.

        • HR1 says:

          Absolutely Ginko. It is a fact that the major cause of death in the USA is caused by allopathic medical intervention, whether it be from mis-diagnosis through prescription of inappropriate or incorrect dosage of pharmaceutical drugs to contra-indications and side effects caused by the drugs themselves.

        • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

          hear hear…..wekk saud

          • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

            well sheesh…that should have read…”well said” 🙂 that will teach me to slow down my speed typing and read it before I post it 🙂

  • Chibiabos says:

    Kirlian photography does not show “life energy”, energy in terms of physics is not a bastardized concept that a bunch of acid-heads mistranslated from Chinese and nobody here has a clue about physics.

  • Carol Watson says:

    Can you explain this.i had a kirlian photo taken last week.i sat down and placed my hands on metal plates either side. Then they took a photo of me from the waist up and it came out swathed in colors. No torso contact.also the leaf experiment is incomplete in that they don’t state whether they left the leaf on the plate when they cut it, or put the cut leaf onto a fesh dry plate.so disappointing when people will not do these tests properly

  • Tien says:

    Electrophotography predates the Kirlian process by almost 70 years..

    Report user
  • Anonymous says:

    Superconductivity of monoatomic and diatomic elements is involved in any “aura” or whatever else you may want to call it. This is the stuff a human body runs on(what did you think, you have copper wires running through your nerves?). This is the same stuff the rest of the planet runs on, it’s present anywhere a molecule exists that could house a monoatomic or diatomic element. People who don’t know what monoatomic means call it “prana, chi, zhiva, manna, ki etc.”. People who don’t know how the “spiritual/intent” world works call it “nothing” because they can’t detect it(yet), and in some lab tests of certain materials there is a certain percentage of “absolutely nothing”.
    The mistake most people make is separating the “new age quackery” too harshly from “solid proven science”. There are seriously downfalls of both, historically and presently. They tie in somewhere, otherwise one of them wouldn’t exist and the other would have reached perfection. Finding the Boson was one good step towards some real progress. Do your research. For a long time.

    • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

      those who didnt know what Prana, Chi, manna, ki, meant made up a new “scientific” name and called it momatomic….

  • james heonakos says:

    Jaime Hoagland at the Center For The New Age in Sedona Arizona can ‘see’ peoples auras & has a $10,000 digital Kirlian camera that has duo hand feeds to measure energy in & out & is the most credible place to get a photo complete with a card explaining your colors..
    The photos taken at the new age fairs are done using a single hand feed & are not as good & will not capture your full aura.
    I caught the lady at the Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles running her thumb over her ancient Polaroid Kirilian Camera’s Instamatic film & just after she peeled it back said “oh look here is your angel” at that particular spot.
    So my suggestion is to see Jaime as she can certainly ‘read’ you before taking photo.
    My aura photo is next to my name.

  • Karim says:

    Table with small conductor through the middle of it, connected to an electrical source.

    leaf placed on top of small conductor on table.

    Photographic plate (A) placed over leaf.

    Glass plate (B) placed over plate (A).

    conducting plate (C), grounded, placed over plate (B).

    After the first Kirlianograph, plates (A), (B) and (C) are removed. Over time, a fresh plate (A) is prepared and the experiment is repeated.

    The leaf may be torn between Kirlianographs. If the table is not cleaned, then a ‘phantom leaf’ is seen. If the table is cleaned, then no ‘phantom leaf’ is seen. If the leaf is replaced with tracing paper without the table being cleaned, a weak ‘phantom leaf’ is seen.

  • pete says:

    Well I shouldn’t expect all people at a kirlian photography site to be rational…but “super conductivity
    of monoatomic elements?…give me a break. Pineal gland energy eminations??? Where do you folks get this claptrap? Neither of these have ANY scientific validity. And science is not a religion. It’s a method of enquiry and discovery. Note: we don’t use thalidomide anymore. Please folks, base your thinking on reality, not “All matter is energy” nonsense. Not at all surprising that you should be able to detect a discharge when applying a high voltage to any object. No matter how cool it looks.

    • Realist says:

      E = mc2 , so yeah science does say all matter is energy. Science is only able to make laws out of things that will be absolutely true for every human. It doesnt take into account that every human has different levels of sensitivity. Actual spirtuality(work on yourself) makes you more sensitive so you are able to understand subtler energies that are manifesting around you but somewhere you are unaware about them.

      Neither a believer or a sceptic. Have just seen things deeply from both sides.

  • Rudy says:

    Anything that conducts electricity will produce an image on film. Most materials are not perfect insulators, especially since they can absorb moisture from the air. Even in a vacuum, current can flow if the voltage is A.C. Your skin varies in conductivity depending on your thoughts – this is the basis of the lie detector. Also your state of hydration, thickness and age of the skin, calluses, etc. make a difference. But no, tell me instead about how a coin has a life force aura.

    Holographic coherence? You know that is about optical use of lasers, right? How do new-age PS whackos get ESP out of that? Now excuse me while I go sit in my orgone generator.

  • shari says:

    I’ve never had one of these photos taken but I’m curious about any technology that can portray images of energy projections no matter what causes those emanations. I ‘m also fascinated by technology that captures the patterns created by sound waves. ( check out the world of cymatics)
    Clearly there will be people disagreeing with each other as to the existence of the human energy. But I don’t know why. Science is well aware of the existence of the Human energy field.

  • shari says:

    Also, it’s not difficult at all to sense your own energy field and to see it as well. I’m not sure why some people express such non-belief about it’s existence. Most people can see very clearly a hazy blue energy around their hands and this energy can extend from a couple of centimetres to quite a few inches and beyond. The hazy blue energy of the field is easiest to see. But with a little practice it’s not difficult to see fluctuating colours around your hands and around other people. Don’t mock others and accuse them of talking nonsense because they can perceive something you yourself have not perceived yourself.

    • Bob Higgs says:

      Okay then. How would a skeptic go about seeing such… energetic fields? What’s the method, how does one teach it?

      • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

        go outside when its a very dark night..and turn on your porch light. Get the light behind you and face the darkness…making sure your hands are lite by the light coming over your shoulder..

        hold your hands with the palms towards you and the finger tips about 2 inches apart. pick ONE spot to focus on in the middle of the aprox 2 inch space between your finger tips .
        Holding one hand still SLOWLY move the other hand up and down in a small arch…aprox 4-5 inches…

        Stay focused on the ONE spot and let your peripheral vision see the air around your finger tips….

        the bluish mist or glow is the physical layer…which actually extends quite a ways out but beginners usually only see a few inches of it…
        The strongest glow (which can also be seen in kirilian photograhy) that lays closes to your fingers is the energy layer…without that layer you would be dead.
        and the fine lines much like a dog’s hairs you will see in the air…are the Light-fibers.
        Do it several times and then…still focused on the ONE spot…pull your hands apart and you will see a trail in the air….also caused by your energy field and the Light-fibers…

  • Efrom says:

    Not a defender of the assertions of auras of life force here but, as this article professes to scientifically explain the true cause of these colour coronas, I feel need for an explanation: if it’s the moisture in the object photographed that causes the “aura”, why do these metal coins have such flambouyant coronas? Surely there is no moisture somehow trapped within them. Also, if the writer is an expert in physics, why does he state that “high voltage current” is applied to the plate? Voltage and current are two different things (Ohm’s Law anyone?). Don’t try to debunk pseudoscience with more pseudoscience.

    • Joe says:

      What moisture does is increase the conductivity of skin, leaves, etc. This allows increased corona discharge current, which shows on the photographic film. Metal coins show good corona discharge because they are very good conductors anyway.

  • Christina Licona says:

    Question….. does the coin have water on it? Meaning, the explanation is that moisture on the hand, leaf etc is the reason for the image. What is the reason for that image on a coin?

    • HR1 says:

      From what I have read around the subject what is actually being photographed is a stimulated electro-photonic glow of the emissions which surround not only the human body but other objects whether animate or inanimate.

      The Russians have perfected a different way of recording and interpreting this phenomenon using machinery which uses gas discharge visualisation (GDV). The images they obtain can be read to ascertain both the physiological and psychological state of the human. The use of this system has been approved in Russia by the health authorities since 1999 and is in general clinical use there as a diagnostic tool and has proved to be up to 98% effective.

      Bio-electrography is capable of showing malfunctions (homeostatic imbalances) of body & mind before the actual appearance of physiological symptoms. But then the Russians are the scientists who perfected the pain genie and the medical diagnostic tool for astronauts and have a far better integrated approach to medicine as a whole.

      • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

        um er..oops…they may have gotten their start ion that from me…back in the late 80’s I did a video on human auras….and a Russian scientist bought one of my videos…he said he was starting a project to study human energy fields at that time…

    • Me says:

      The coin doesn’t need water on it; the metal used in coins is a conductor. Pure water is not, however sweat contains salt, and other impurities, which makes it conductive. Fascinating and polarising as the subject may be, it does have quite a logical explaination capable of being modelled and accurately repeated in controlled experimentation. As an article, this does a great job of explaining things in a simple manner, much like a BBC Horizon documentary describing quantum mechanics to the layman, and I for one found this article very informative. Sorry. Discussions of the soul are purely philosophical (chicken and egg discussions), and come down to the belief of the individual and should not be argued here. Belief does not equal fact in any universe, and we would all be wrong to assert our belief system on any other individual.

  • Wendy Grosskopf says:

    I have had my picture taken with a Kirlian camera three times, and all three times my heart showed up as a bright red glow. Hard to explain this away as a mere contamination of moisture.

  • angus says:

    The explanation of the phantom leaf experiment in this article is in contradiction with other explanations such as this documentary which clearly states and shows that the leaf was cut before ever touching the glass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no0wI9ue9rw

  • angus says:

    And here another link describing how you may have been confused ‘before the 1970’s there was a practice of cutting the leaf while on the glass plate but that has been discontinued…’ http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01074166

  • Larry says:

    I attended a conference at UCSB in the mid 1970s where Dr Thelma Moss, from UCLA, gave a talk with Kirlian photos she had taken. Seemed pretty convincing to me. Healers did their thing on the film and had discharges looping off their fingers that I would not attribute to sweating. Her work with the Russians seemed to be early diagnosis of plant diseases for increasing agriculture productivity.

  • Krismagi says:

    To all those skeptics in this thread, I offer you this:

    “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble”

    Albert Einstein who challenged and overthrew the rationale behind Newtonian physics, which all scientists at the time believed to be the scientific truth.

    • Thomas says:

      I will not accept this run of the mill explanation …there is immediate failure on behalf of the antithesis on simple lack of presented photographs on the webpage for the before and after of this so called cleaned up residue i highly doubt that a numerable ammount of photos were just by happenstance placed exactly on the metallic sheet in the exact same fashion they were placed initially when these leafs were photographed before being cut so to speak….you can speak of ions and water and persperation but indeed i argue that milk is not without a cow and so no organism can live or maintain life without water….observe also the dendritic property of how the light disperses around these objects by other words how the visible light therein the photos branches out in a very un-uniformed pattern ….not much explanation is given here either….i would be curious to see if this kirlian method could be used in conjuction with x-ray or infra-red Imaging if these same images could be over-layed and then compared to be consistent in appearance with one another then i believe we would have some serious trace of a phenomena unexplained by current scientific methodology….Science is Nothing but a tool to approach the Truth by intermedium of emperical evidence….when it fails to factor in all natural parameters of experimentation (WHICH IT ALWAYS HAS AND ALWAYS WILL) It by default becomes flawed and limited……WE ARE NOT MEANT TO ACCEPT TRUTH AS A STATIC MODEL OF OUR REALITY BUT RATHER WE MUST STRIVE TO DISPROVE THE ACCEPTED EVIDENCE ……THAT IS HOW KNOWLEDGE GROWS…..

  • Steve says:

    THE LIFE FORCE is extremely interesting, especially when you begin to see its REAL potential towards the human diet and the actual food you eat! What is REAL food & what is supposed to be non-edible to the human body, but we eat it daily anyway, is MOST interesting!!
    Well done to the author and producer & director of this website.
    Peace & God bless!!

  • Antoinette says:

    The observer affect…..

  • Mohit Ramle says:

    Why people dont think of the fact that even Water is a life force(amongst one of the vital 5 elements of nature) rather provides force to every life to sustain!!!! Naturally water drying out of the object (eg. a leaf) means the leaf is getting dried up since the Water force within it is getting exhausted.Hence, the kirlian photo shows the faded light emissions unlike the fresh leaf full of Water force.

  • Dhammika says:

    Dear All, It was very interesting interaction on “Kirilian” photography. But no one getting closer to the truth in it. We know very well that within a day or an hour or a minute or a second , how many times your mood change from sober,angry,lethargy,lust n many more.What this will do to your body,it will change accordingly.It is well visible in your face n eyes and in many other parts in your body. So to make these changes what you need , it is an energy needed. How did this created, it is you yourself did. How? It is your MIND Nothing else. It is the human mind which the creator or the only source of universal energy. Mind is the fastest,hardest,strongest n brutal energy creator of universe. So all objects you see in your eyes, hear in your ear, smell in your nose,taste in your tongue n feel in your body is created or developed with an energy only. Nothing in this world will exist without some kind of energy. Also there are 4 basic elements need to create every thing Earth,SUN,AIR N WATER similar to calmness(Earth),aggressiveness(Sun),volatile(Air) n greedy(water) in your mind.So all what you see in Kirilian photography is an energy released by all living or created by human or by nature. Pls continue this reserch

    • Winyan Staz Wakien says:

      close …but wrong…
      our mind is a tool used by Spirit…as is the brain, our eyes and the body etc. We are not our bodies…we are not our minds…we are all an attribute of God/The One….or in simpler terms..we are all Children of the Universe…Seed of the Stars, a Child of Creation/ Baby Gods and Goddesses…..
      Here to learn how to think correctly and to learn Unconditional Love.
      This plane is SCHOOL for us and we get our lessons until we get them right.
      There is no playing “hooky” or checking out early. If we do so..we only have to come back again and again until we get it right….
      We are energy beings/Souls….and we are experiencing ourselves on the physical plane where all is slowed down and we can see the results of our thoughts, our actions and our in-actions.
      Once we learn the lessons we chose to learn by coming here…we no longer have to learn them again…however…there are always more lessons….

      The “sin” is not in falling down. Its in failing to get back up ~ OmenZ

  • henry deli says:

    THOSE WHOM BELIEVE MUST EQUAL THE AMOUNT OF NON BELIEVERS FOR THE TECHNICIANS TO ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING TANGIBLE TO WORK WITH . A candle in a tall narrow jar glued inside a wider mouth not as tall jar or crystal , fill the larger jar or crystal with water / coal-extract solution after lighting the candle in the inner taller jar . turn off all light or go outside at night and gaze at all to see what is not there will train your vision to understand and see whats REALLY HERE!!!

  • David Waterman says:

    The photo of a quarter disproves the ‘water’ theory.
    Unless that quarter somehow absorbed water !!

    • GT says:

      It doesn’t need water to conduct electrons. It’s metal.

      • court says:

        Yeah but they are specifically using an example of a quarter to show how water is the reason the images show… not great.

    • Fat Albert says:

      Hey hey hey. It sure is funny how these “septics” can screw up their own examples and evidence with something as trivial as a QUARTER!!!
      Being metal, a quarter CAN’T be saturated with moisture!!!

    • court says:

      Ummmm EXACTLY hahaha i kept waiting for the explanation of how a quarter retains water and therefore proves this theory. This was a nice try at being all “science over celestial” but hard fail.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a genius. So, hundreds of researches, PhD level, in Russia, USA and Europe (and Asia too) , with institutes tied up to the phenomena that consider this technology secret enough USA and/or Russian agencies would not let competing group to see the equipment – all of them, apparently, missed simple moisture. Wow, how easy it was.

    Or maybe this is a paid for article to keep the sheep docile – we don’t want them to know the potential of these technologies, don’t we.

  • Sampad says:

    I’m sure the Kirlian photography or the Aura thing is a lie. You have explained pretty well. It would be great for a skeptic person like me if you add photographs or make a video of your experiments. Good work though 🙂

  • Wow, this one really brings out the commenters!

  • Pamela Grace says:

    Hi Rachel

    The life force of the human body can be easily felt; can be easily manipulated; and can be easily demonstrated to others once you have felt it.

    The life force, chi, energy , prana when expanded around the body can also be pushed, and pulled from its interconnectednsss with those making contact with it.

    The life force can generate individual and distinct energetic patterns, peculiar to each person. People like Judith Collins in Australia, and Barbara Anne Brennan in America have been known to describe those patterns and read them.

    An empathetic person exploring energy can experience other people’s life force connect to their own.

    Mediums can feel non-physical sensations from people they are bringing through with spiritual messages.

    I have heard that some people believe the life force is a type of matter, and we do not have equipment to measure it.

    The life force is measurable through another persons own life force. Call it moisture, call it what you like. I have measured an expansion of about 24” around a human body, after some magnetic passing with a group of people. I am happy to show any person how to do this.

  • David Loxley says:

    All the comments that I have read regarding the experiment with the quarter say, correctly, that being metal it can not have a water content. Other comments say, correctly, that being a metal it is a good conductor of electricity and will generate a strong induced electric field around itself. So far so good. The question is then asked why, if the corona is displayed because of ionisation of water, is there a corona at all ( the metal coin containing no water ). Simple the water is in the air surrounding the coin, relative humidity 60+%. If the experiment was tried in a ‘hard’ vacuum would the outcome be any different? Someone must try this.

  • Anonymous says:

    The camera giving off auras for “unliving things,” ought to give someone pause about what the word “living” means. It shows up it new wood and in rocks and stones. Perhaps there is something we don’t know about what constitutes “existence.” It could actually prove that rather than debunking it. I haven’t got any deep beliefs about Kirlian photography, but it proves one thing just as much as the other. And your person with the healing hands . . . maybe he’s a sweaty healer. Maybe that is a prerequisite. I know these articles have a word limit, but you have jumped to some big conclusions that could easily mean something else.

  • Jen says:

    I am a scientist. Curiously, I can see my own chakra energy and that of others who are interacting with me. I have since I was a child. In fact, I thought that most people could see this around themselves at certain times (e.g. during massage). I was surprised to learn that not all humans can see this. The reason the energy field is more enhanced and more visible with more water present is because water is a great conductor of electricity. The reason that other objects show up is because most objects also have innate energy. All things in our environment have energy or energy potential regardless if they are living beings or not.

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