Dr. Drown's Homo-Vibra Ray

Dr. Abrams

“The physician is only allowed to think he knows it all, but the quack, ungoverned by conscience, is permitted to know he knows it all; and with a fertile mental field for humbuggery, truth can never successfully compete with untruth.”

Dr. Albert Abrams

The history of radionics begins with the discoveries of Dr. Albert Abrams around the beginning of the 20th Century. Abrams was a respectable physician who began to pursue his theories of diseases having specific vibratory rates that could be detected by tapping on the patient’s abdomen or spine.

He refined his diagnostic techniques with invented devices such as the “dynamizer.” According to Martin Gardiner, in his book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science:

It was a box containing an insane jungle of wires. One wire ran to an electrical source, and another was attached to the forehead of a healthy person. A drop of blood was obtained from the patient, on a piece of filter paper, and placed inside the box. Abrams would then percuss (tap) the abdomen of a healthy person, who was stripped to the waist and always — for a reason never made too clear — facing west. By listening to the sounds, the doctor was able to diagnose the ills of the patient…

Not only that, but without the patient even being present, Abrams could tell the patient’s age, sex and religion. If a drop of blood from the patient was not available, a lock of hair or even a handwriting sample was enough (he diagnosed ills of long-dead historical personalities in this manner).


Dr. Abrams demonstrates his diagnostic technique.

After the dynamizer came the “oscilloclast” and the “reflexophone.” His disciples were never permitted to examine the wiring in the boxes, which were rented to trained practitioners. Gardner again:

Shortly before the doctor’s death, however, a committee of scientists opened one of the magic boxes and issued a report on what they found. It contained an ohm-meter, rheostat, condenser, and other electrical gadgets all wired together without rhyme or reason.

Since patients did not have to be physically present to be diagnosed by the devices, a thriving industry was created in which people could send in blood samples and receive diagnoses through the mail. Some sceptics took advantage of this anonymity. Blood from a rooster was sent to Abrams, who diagnosed “malaria, cancer, diabetes, and two venereal diseases.”

Among Dr. Abrams’ converts was author Upton Sinclair, who wrote that Abrams “has made the most revolutionary discovery of this or any other age. I venture to stake whatever reputation I ever hope to have that he has discovered the great secret of the diagnosis and cure of all major diseases.” Further, Abrams had treated “over fifteen thousand people, and my investigation convinces me he has cured over ninety-five percent.”

Gardiner sums up Sinclair’s many apologetics for Abrams as a “clinically perfect statement of the persistence of irrational belief on the part of a convert to a totally worthless set of theories hatched in the brain of a brilliant paranoid.” High critical praise, indeed.

Dr. Ruth Drown took things a step further, able to not only diagnose but to cure from a distance — any distance — as long as the operator of her Homo-Vibra Ray mechanism had a blood sample from the patient on-hand. Not only that, but the device could create X-Ray-like pictures of the patient remotely.

In 1950, the University of Chicago formed a committee to investigate Dr. Drown’s methods at work — she had been having remarkable success in finding enthusiastic promoters, including… well, read between the lines in the university’s announcement:

On the face of it, the Drown claims appear to be totally unworthy of serious consideration by anyone, least of all a university. However, certain friends who are members of lay boards that have been of great assistance to the university have urged that the Drown claims be investigated so that they may be repudiated if found unworthy or adapted to the benefit of mankind if they should prove to be worthy.


This radiograph was made using a blood crystal from a patient. It allegedly showed a patient’s abdomen, complete with evidence of a recent surgery.

It wasn’t even close. In her first test, Dr. Drown took six photographs using her machine on blood samples. None were clear enough for her to base a diagnosis on. The testing committee decided that

the film images which have intrigued Mrs. Drown and her disciples are simple fog patterns produced by exposure of the film to white light before it has been fixed adequately. These images are significantly identical regardless of whether or not the film is placed in Mrs. Drown’s machine before being submitted to the highly unorthodox processing which has been devised by her. In the numerous old films shown us by Mrs. Drown we can see no resemblance to the anatomical structures, appliances, bacteria, etc., that Mrs. Drown professes to see.

Radionic Camera

Dr. Drown’s radionic camera

Test two, a diagnostic test using blood samples was equally disastrous. Healthy patients and ones with obvious medical problems were remotely diagnosed by Dr. Drown as suffering from a motley assortment of maladies. After badly misdiagnosing three patients, the remaining seven tests were abandoned. According to the testing committee:

The machine is a sort of Ouija board. It is our belief that her alleged successes rest solely on the noncritical attitude of her followers. Her technic is to find so much trouble in so many organs that usually she can say ‘I told you so’ when she registers an occasional lucky positive guess. In these particular tests, even this luck deserted her.

Test three tested the healing powers of Dr. Drown’s machines. Drown had claimed to have treated the hemorrhaging of a traffic accident victim in Italy by using her machine in California. She was confident she’d be able to stop the bleeding of two lab animals from one room over. Two dogs had their arteries perforated; two dogs bled to death; the committee report:

In the opinion of all observers, including herself, Mrs. Drown failed completely to control or modify hemorrhage.

Spectacular failures such as these have hardly slowed the radionics industry. Indeed, if the links in the column to the right are any indication, radionics is going strong.

Mark 1 Schematic

The Mark 1 Radionic Camera

The modern radionics expert, with her thousand-dollar medical dowsing rod, her extensive training in the subtleties of homeopathic diagnostic samples and remote healing, her wholesale appropriation of respectable-sounding medical terminology and trendy new-age jargon — what are we to make of her and her practice?

It’s cheap and easy to determine that the apparatus and theory of radionics is complete bunk. The fact is, though, that as a form of faith healing it does heal some people with remarkable success, and a success that medical science might be unable to match with its techniques.

Medicine has long acknowledged that in order to scientifically test the efficacy of a new medicine, for instance, it must be compared to the effects of a placebo administered with equal solemnity, ritual and belief. This is because the solemnity and ritual and belief can themselves heal.

Establishment medicine often seems to treat this as an inconvenient fog that makes the respectable diagnosis of physical ailments with chemical remedies more difficult.

Faith healers, like radionics practitioners, use placebo healing as a technology, intuiting that to master the authoritative trappings of a cure may heal more patients than a conservative and prudent scientific diagnosis and treatment.

An establishment physician diagnoses depression from a checklist of symptoms, represented in a patient’s case history and in interviews with the patient. He knows that scientific, double-blind tests have shown that chemicals that inhibit the “reuptake” of “serotonin” can cause the patients depression-indicative symptoms to lessen or disappear.

The radionics practitioner discovers from the patient, who describes himself as depressed, overworked and struggling with the challenges of raising teenagers, clues as to where disturbances in the “subtle energy fields” that create the multidimensional interference pattern that is the patient’s body and life may be found. She knows from her training and experience that by using her precision instrument, she can influence not only the patient’s bodily health but the very circumstances of his life that are causing him distress.

In some patients, a placebonic cure of their love-lives or their terrible commute or rotten landlord — or perhaps more importantly, the treatment by a medical practitioner who agrees that these environmental irritants are to blame (at least in part) for the problem — may lead to better results for the patient than all the scientifically-proven treatments of scientific medicine.

I happen to believe in the nostrums and rituals of establishment medicine, and I have no patience for a healer who wants to clear my chakras with tachyonic chi-crystals. But, on the other hand, an MD in a white lab coat with a stethiscope can boggle me with equally nonsensical diagnoses and courses of treatment, expressed in a language that I respect (even if I don’t fully understand) and have confidence in, and I’m sold.

So here’s an ethical question for Dr. Reader: If you have no idea what is wrong with a patient and don’t really know how to proceed or know of no therapy that’s likely to promote healing for a particular patient — are you honest with your patient?

Is it better to honestly confess the limitations of medical knowledge and technique, or is it better to put your hard-earned trappings of medical authority to good use in the “theatrapeutical” creation of a potent placebo cure?

Radionics on-line

More about The Incredible Drown Case can be found in this essay from Ralph Lee Smith.

A poem called “The Dynamizer and the Oscilloclast” by Jack Coulehan commemorates the work of Dr. Abrams.

Glen Callender wrote about the spondylotherapy of Dr. Abrams in his essay “Dynamize Me!

Richard Van Vleck did a write-up on The Electronic Reactions of Albert Abrams for American Artifacts: Scientific Medical & Mechanical Antiques, including several diagrams and photos and a good historical overview of the reaction of the scientific establishment to Abrams’s theories and techniques.

The Radionics and Dowsing Institute can also teach you about homeopathy, supersensonics, chakra clearing, and color therapy.

Albert Abrams, A.M., M.D., LL.D, F.R.M.S. was roasted by the American Medical Association in their journal.

Learn about Eugene Crum who not only could cure illness through radionics, but “…administer ‘Financial treatments,’ by means of which money could be put into the hands of his patients… fertilize fields to a distance of 70 miles; kill dandelions over any particular area; and treat golf greens as far from Indianapolis as Decatur, Illinois, so that clover would turn brown and dry up and give the grass a chance to grow.”

A 1923 paper by William Hudgings, called “Sympathetic Vibratory Physics — It’s a Musical Universe!” is a sympathetic investigation of the theories of Albert Abrams, M.D., LLD., F.R.M.S. by way of a gee-whiz look at atomic physics.

At the Moinhos Velhos retreat in Portugal, radionics is used “to detect the various Miasma (inherited cellular memories from our ancestors) which are the fertile breeding ground for diseases.” But don’t call that lawyer! “Although our Radionic test may have the appearance of a medical diagnosis, we want to emphasise that this is not a medical test.”

“The Large Healing Templates affect the chromosome factor which opens a wave factor of a higher color code. This allows it to function simultaneously with many double helixes, in many Light-time zones towards the building of the body of Light which can work directly with multiple physical embodiments of the Over self. Our energy conversion has been prepared and focused through a series of interconnecting geometric pyramidal cones of color and sound to regenerate us throughout the eons of time transition. Sound harmonics are placed in numerical sequences in the Large Healing Templates which correspond to all spheres of manifestation.”

The RAD 300 Nine Dial Orgone Radionics Device with a Built-in Super Heavy Duty EPU 2200 HDS Welz Chi Generator may run you U.S.$1,195 but it’s “the most powerful radionics device there is.” (“It has the power of nine knobs.”)

“Radionics is a healing art where physics and para-physics, science and religion, meet and merge,” according to this essay from The Light Party. “The scope of Radionics in theory is unlimited; in practice it is limited by the sensitivity, knowledge and expertise of the practitioner.”

Radionics: At the Crossroads of Science & Magic is the title of a page put out by Altered States of New Zealand, which sells a “Vibra-Tune HVR-9 Experimental Radionic Transceiver” (“named the HVR-9 after Ruth Drown’s Homo-Vibra Ray nine dial unit and functions with the same instructions”) for N.Z.$995.

A page with some notes on Radionic Photography once noted that “this technology can also photograph energy patterns, dimensional realms and even thoughts!! For example, by simply tuning into the cruxifiction [sic] of Christ, one can obtain a photograph of the event…. or even a photograph of the thoughts of Christ or others during this event.”

Spectro-Vibratory Imaging Radionics for Healing and Interdimensional Communications Applications isn’t just another line from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s exciting news from Dr. Donald R. Beans. He gives tips of the cap to Drs. Abrams and Drown and then talks about his new (U.S.$825) instrument which “conforms to all the basic tenets of radionics while offering a new paradigm based on light, color, and crystal energetics.”

“[T]he Aetherius Society’s most unique attribute is our ability to potentize such movements [as the Harmonic Convergence] with our radionic equipment” such as a Spiritual Energy Battery and Radiator.

The PanAmerican School of BioEnergetic Medicine discusses magnetism and homeopathy, noting that the fantastic results of radionics are due in part to the fact that they “simply inverted any wave coming into the device from the patient and since the source of the energy is the patient, once the disease energy was nullified, no more will reach the inversion amplifiers and treatment ceases automatically.”

Learn about “a radionic symbol and rate for removing the toxic radiation effects of barcodes on packaging” in the Adelaide Fountain Newsletter.

Etherapy (U.S.$640-950), a program that “changes your PC into a powerful radionic instrument,” diagnoses and cures not just people “but situations as well, by means of wishboxes. In this way we might help the patient the comes along with a severe headache because of the lack of success of his restaurant. The results are frequently astonishing. For instance, in a very dry period where the author lives, he succeded [sic] to attract rain within 5 days.”

L. Ron Hubbard invented the E-Meter for his Scientology leviathan — a device that shares terminology, methods, and bogosity with the various radionics machines.

Golden Age Tours & Exhibitions “perceives its mission as setting up a vibration within cell groups of humans to resonate with the Earth, via this vibration, bringing about deeper integration to the local Earth/human symbiosis. This is a new science, Geomancy, or ‘Earth acupuncture.’ ” In case you were curious, “[t]his is done through precise use of computerized metaphysical models generating resonating thought forms… amplified by radionic carrier waves.”

McGurk Electrical Services sells a line of radionic instruments such as the “MKIV Remedy Maker” which assists in homeopathic pharmacy: “The Remedy and it’s ‘Rate’ are selected in the usual way but the potency is determined by the practitioner ‘tuning’ into the patient and rotating the Q.L. knob until a stiction effect is felt.”

Metaphyiscal Radionics, a U.S.$140 course from the Delphi Center, not only restores “the integrity of the Auric field,” but includes “spirit releasement, removal of negative implants and tracking devices [and] heals the damage done by exposure to harmful electromagnetic fields.” That page has vanished, alas, but you can find out more about auric fields and metaphysical radionics at this page, which notes that “[a]lthough radionic devices contain electronic components, they are powered by the mind of the operator rather than electricity.”

“Information on Energy Levels” (now 404) helps to distinguish the concept of energy level from those of vibratory frequency or potency. Also of interest is that “the amount of energy in people can also be measured, and can be used as a means of assessing their spiritual development (should one want to).” Well, who wouldn’t want to be able to measure whether you or your friends are mere sub-60-unit blind materialists, or 35,000-unit Moseses.

One of the opportunities offered at the Mental & Spiritual Energy Clearing Workshop is a demo of the Life Energy Amplifier (U.S.$2,900–9,980), which can amplify “the energy fields of gemstones, tachyon cells,” etc. and graft them “with its orgone/prana output.” Not only that, but you can also “release cellular memory (traumatic energy signatures) through the use of the LEA’s noble gas electrodes and its scaler [sic] wave output.”

One page once noted ominously that “some radionics researchers have died under mysterious circumstances associated with some as yet unknown noxious form of energy. This would indicate that the radionic ‘carrier’ might be somehow associated with the ‘cold current’ of free energy.”

The Australian Skeptics have published an analysis: Radionics, Good for Everything.

At this Radionic Page, you can see an animated image of how radionics works and learn how to perform your own experiments with radionics at home: “[N]ow that we know that there is no electronic basis to this apparatus, we can free it from hardwiring. It now exists as an html document.”

Home Home email email

snig·gle (v) — To fish for eels by thrusting a baited hook into their hiding places.