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The Emeter Papers

Introduction: Hubbard Goes To The Carnival... Some History

I don't have the books to quote, but up until the 30's and 40's it was still possible to find "electric shock machines" configured like the drug store scales - "Your weight for a Penny". These devices may have existed at the local drugstore when Hubbard was a kid, consisting of an insulating phenolic platform, with two round balls like the balls on the top of a staircase bannister... 5" in diameter mounted at the top on the right and left of the pedestal that the subject would place his/her hands on.

Scene from the musical "Lili" (c) 1953 MGM, for a photo
of it in use click here

Electric shocks were considered therapeutic, and were quite a novelty for a while and there is no doubt in my mind that the perception of "relief" was accomplished by the induced release of endorphins [the human body's own pain killers, which bind at same sites in the brain as opium, heroin and morphine] from the induced cellular damage. I bet the "Old Man" [as L Ron Hubbard is referred to by members], when he was a child, came across these devices. I bet he stood on one, placed a penny in the slot, and held onto the round electrodes... and noted that he felt better.

Gordon Bell said he recalls those shock machines "being all over carnivals" and Alan Walters recalls seeing them when he was a kid "in railway stations and fun parks". I bet Hubbard remembered this when he met Volney Matheson, the inventor of the E-Meter; and I bet he hoped you would never read these conjectures today. I will try to find a picture of these devices. I recall seeing a drawing in an old ECS Correspondence school course book printed in 1934... Now just where did I place that treasure.....

Acknowlegement: First I want to thank Ralph Hilton, Alan Walters, CBW, and others for posing certain questions, that have caused me to look at this a bit more, and some more details [obvious details] are emerging, inserted below...

Summary of electrical charge given to the human body with the Hubbardian E-Meter:

  • My calculations in Coulombs are at
  • Voltage out from Hubbard's Subliminal Carny Meter ranges up to 5 Volts.
  • This could accurately be described as "Subliminal" Shock - as this results in currents through the body in the 300 uA range using tin cans held in the hand.


  • "ambient currents in the human body are typically less than 1 uA/cm²"
  • "excitable cells (e.g. neurons) can be stimulated by current densities of 10-100 uA/cm² (IRPA, 1990)"
  • There is the possible factor of electrically induced migration of metal ions from the cheap materials in use [soup cans]. Whatever metal coats the cans could also become a factor in creating an induced metal toxicity.
Note on a picture of the control panel of the Shock machine used in the famous Milgram Experiment - the smallest division on the board is 15 volts, so the Hubbardian E-Meter would be placed directly adjacent to "Slight Shock" on the board - thus the term "subliminal shock".
Diagram of Milgrim's Control Panel

My calculations equate 2 shocks of a 200Volt 2 second AC treatment with 2.5 hours spent on an emeter... and the medical docters using ECT use AC current, not DC...

2.2 volts across 5000 ohms end up with at 3600 seconds or 1 hour, that's 2.18 joules per hour.

Coulomb: A unit quantity of electricity. It is the quantity of electricity that must pass through a circuit to deposit 0.0011180 grams of silver from a solution of silver nitrate.

An ampere is one coulomb per second. A coulomb is also the quantity of electricity on the positive plate of a condenser [capacitor] of one farad capacity and the electromotive force is 1 volt.

The practical unit of current is the ampere, a transfer of one coulomb per second.

Definitions and Formulas: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 1962

Bjorn Nordenstrom in Biologically Closed Electric Circuits, page 327:

"In the author's opinion, endogenous activation of BCEC systems, leading to unidirectional flow of current over long time periods, may lead to modification of cells and tissues. Strong currents will destroy cells and tissue. Weak currents, on the other hand, will gently create new internal and external environments for cells. The currents will also directly interfere with cellular metabolism and modify structural elements of cells, damage to structures e.g. the DNA molecule, is evidently one possible effect of such modifications. Cells subjected to the conditions described can be expected to show variable abilities to survive and adapt themselves to the new living conditions."

Nordic Medical Publications, Sweden, 1982

Some Questions by Readers:

Homer says:

Most of this energy from the meter travels in the surface of your skin, as a closed surface such as your arm or body is not capable of holding a charge inside its volume, the electrons all repel each other and go to the surface.

Arnie says:

You are ASSUMING facts not in evidence when you state: "Most of this energy from the meter travels in the surface" show me the evidence to support your surface claim, this would only apply ahhh you may be confusing the "Radio Frequency "Skin Effect" that only applies at frequencies above 1 Megahertz - we are dealing with direct current here. So there is no skin effect.. yes that is it...., skin is an insulator, that is WHY large surface area electrodes [CANS} are used in order to place as much SKIN in parallel so that the overall resistance and influence of the skin is reduced. Skin itself is a dielectric, an insulator, it is the outer and first layer of insulation that isolates the internal circuitry of the body the use of large surface area 'cans' bypasses this safety configuration of the human body at low voltages The HIGH voltage of ECT machines applied to a small area also effectively bypasses this safety function - only it does it by brute force instead of subtler hubbardian means of increased surface area....

Skin is famous for being one of the three pathways for sensory information going into the body - Skin, Hearing, eyes [taste and smell are basically skin too...] and certain parts of the human body are famous for having more nerve endings, nerve wiring electrical connections if you will than othersone of the densest nerve areas of human skin, are the finger tips and hands - -

If my purpose, was to induce electric flow into the human nervous system what what I do?

The internal wiring from the left hand the nerve bundles, which are designed as cellular semiconductor transmission lines and are insulated with mylen sheathing except where they TERMINATE! at the sensory tactile cell as well as the target site in the brain. In your fingertips holding those cans, those nerve bundles travel up your arm to your spine to the brain. Then from the other side of the brain, down the other side of the spinal cord to the right arm to the other can/electrode.

Scared yet? I'd prefer to think about something else as this implies a level of sophistication and intent that I find, when I consider it gives me a very ill feeling ...

Arnie Lerma


Although there are a few terms in the above I don't understand it does seem to indicate that the effect is related to unidirectional current flow. Does the research suggest that a.c. would not be dangerous? If so it is not that difficult to electronically reverse the polarity of the cans at a few hundred Hz. Would this eliminate the concerns? I could also lower the voltage across the cans quite a bit. What would be a voltage that is considered safe?

Arnie says:

I cannot determine whether ac instead of dc would be a solution. One would have to know the time constant - of the electrochemical internal changes, - I cant determine this from material I've read. I was hoping that bringing this material to the attention of the net might spur someone more qualified to pursue this. I don't know there is a safe exposure.. when the exposure is repeated, for thousands of hours, over a lifetime..


Neither of the above changes have been tested and I would anticipate that lowering the voltage considerably would increase the effect of spurious reads being produced by electrochemical reactions in the hand.

Arnie says:

The hand interface induced 'noise' would not be so much the problem as would be the shift from steady state hand to hand [whatever path the current is going - ] resistance readings due to reading the body generated currents used to induce muscles to move...


It is possible that using an alternating current across the electrodes would reduce the sensitivity as one would no longer have a polarization of the interstitial fluid which is apparently the main conductor of the current flowing between the electrodes.

Arnie says:

In another section Nordenstrom describes a precipitation effect observable microscopically - of calcium and magnesium [ as in hubbard's cal-mag !! ]precipitating into tiny crystals of apatite [ the stuff teeth are made of ] in the spaces in and around cells - this effect is observed when current flows in one direction for a length of time and then it becomes reversed - as in - happening to pick up the cans the other way around... If the path is towards lowering the applied voltage - be advised that the body itself, and Im taking this only as an example of the fact, creates localized potential differences of a measured 200 microvolts around certain types of cancer tumors.. page 322 Nordenstrom

And then digest this:

"3. Calcifications in tissue The accumulation of calcium in injured tissue is a particularly common and easily recognized manifestation of transport of permeable ions. Deposition of calcium is often seen after traumatic bleeding in skin, muscles, vessels, brain, etc. Calcium is also commonly deposited in tissue after injuries by heat, chemicals and microorganisms."

Four paragraphs of dense electrochemical talk follow.... which describe how when there is an area of localized tissue damage - there develops a measurable potential [ voltage ] difference between the center of the damaged area and the surrounding normal tissue - which is thought to induce the precipitation of calcium and magnesium ions as part of the healing process. The voltages developed by the human body are in the 20 to 200 mv range in order to effect these physical changes. this section ends with the following paragraph: [my explanations in brackets] "This concept of the existence of calcium (calcinosis reparativa) in tissues was also tested in vitro [in a test tube on tissue using external current ] in experiments to produce microcalcifications in adipose tissue (Chapter XVI, Section @, Page 259).Unidirectional current [DC in one direction] produced intracellular [inside individual cells!] matrices which, after reversal of the direction of current [ you know, like you picked up the e meter cans the other way ] served as targets for the precipitation of calcium. The resulting calcified structures appear the same as micro calcifications in breast tissue [noted around tumors]."

Is anybody else scared yet?

Monotony and the Trance State

another thought - if a monotonous, repetitive tone, a swinging shiny watch, a ticking metronome... is needed to quickly create a trance...

What is the most monotonous tone of all?

Albeit it's a steady, low, DC current... and that is the source of the trance state in scientology.

One of the strangely familiar characteristics of DC current - and one of the reasons electricity was considered too dangerous to distribute to the public - was that when a person is shocked by direct current, the current itself override the brains electric commands to LET GO... so the person fries quickly... as his muscles lock up... Holding whatever is shocking him...

Alternating current, however, passes through ZERO volts every 120th of a second - so there is a time when the brain's command to let go can operate... An old Navy engineer named Duke told be about this danger of DC when I was working on the Bolivar...

And we all ask, why is it so hard for folks to LET GO of Scientology...

Arnie says:

as far as tech haters, if it produces human betterment great... I want it. If it is merely entrancing me into a state where I think I am better.... no... that is not enough, and if it is merely inducing an addicting pattern of endorphine release which may be clouding the real results that we sought from scientology's tech....

  • Don't you think the affected should know?
  • And the Perpetrators brought to task?
  • And the public be warned?
  • Pick up the cans please, this is the session...
    how many times have you said that?
    or heard those words?
  • Did you know what you were really doing?
    I want to know....
  • That's why we bought into the dream to begin with,
    we wanted to know the truth....

Secrets are the mortar binding bricks as lies together into prisons for the mind.

What really are BT's [body thetans] and Clusters as described in the "secret" upper levels?

The following is a stretch from what I currently have certainty on, however it does offer an explanation to the apparancy of entities found in the secret upper level teachings [which I am enjoined from posting here due to 1.7 million in litigation in RTC vs Lerma].

I have theorized that the apparancy of BT's [Body Thetans, an apparancy of entities that are purportedly dealt with at the upper levels of Scientology, from whence the "space cooties" slogan comes from] are in fact - build ups of the cal mag in crystalline apatite form [as in teeth] from using the e-meter for too long around nerve conduit ends.

Dr. Nordenstrom discusses this precipitation of appatite specifically saying that Ca and Mg form cyrstalline structures in tissue after one has applied low voltage DC for a while in one direction, and then IT IS REVERSED!

This reversal is exactly what often happens when you pick up the emeter cans again after a session break.

One can is POSITIVE and one is NEGATIVE but he never tells you that.

Is this is why in the [secret] upper level stuff, you have to hold the cans for hundreds of hours for them to "appear"....?

Perhaps it's got nothing to do with "awareness level" or "charge off case" as purported in Hubbardian cosmic dogma.

So, these entities might just "appear" if you held the cans long enough...!

I bet they would even read as "charged items" on the lie detector meter used by scientology.

This effect was mentioned by Nordenstrom as specific to "when it is reversed." Referring to this precipitation, I bet a group of inflamed nerve endings would look like a "Cluster".

On sensitive x-ray photographs, these calcified structures should be apparant, the next time someone dies in scientology perhaps authorities will specifically look for these structures... perhaps this is one of the reasons Scientology has dead scientologists they did with Lisa McPherson, or Hubbard himself, purporting that this is part of the "religion" - it is NOT, it is a fabrication to cover up the truth just as the rest of Scientology is.

And Hubbard advocated Cal Mag formula for scientologists...

no wonder they are cremating the bodies...

Email from an OT:

Dear Arnie,

Thanks for the interesting email regarding bt's. I have done over 1500 hours of auditing out these apparencies. One theory I have been entertaining is that the slow-flow of current through the body in mostly the same direction acts like stroking a magnet across iron filings and aligns the cells to give some aligned effect which could act as a kind of antenna to pull in entities or negative thought masses from the environment which the have to be expensively audited out. When on a program of doing this kind of auditing I felt a strange anxiety very often that I was attracting bt's even when not in session. The auditing with the meter seemed to be adding to my "case" even while getting stuff audited out. Since leaving the cult this has dropped away with not being on the soup cans and I have felt better and better with less and less bt anxiety too.

My theories may or may not be of interest to you, but I thought I would add in my 2 cents.

All the best, [from an OT] who did entire scientology 'bridge'

For Additional Information:

Emeter Legal Cases, Government Reports, and Miscellania
Note: in 1971, when the cited cases were heard, there was no clue about electrical characteristics of the human body.
Calculations for emeter
"Electric Shock, Unsafe at any Voltage"
From: The Handbook for Electronic Safety Procedures
Linking Electrical Currents and Cancer Growth
From: "Cross Currents" by Robert O. Becker, MD
Warnings for use
For a device with a similar current density - instead of using a large surface area [emeter "can" electrode], it solves the skin impedance problem by using a pulsed waveform - though currents used are in the same range as the emeter. Note when looking at this page - the contraindications - presence of topical substances containing metal ions.

This is what the metal electrodes used in scientology are!!

This manufacturer uses carbon rubber electrodes.... no metal ions to migrate into the body.
American Academy of Pain Management
"Pomerantz (1981) has also shown by naloxone blocking studies that endorphins are only released at PRR settings of 8 Hertz or less."
Daniel L. Kirsch, Ph.D. Fred N. Lerner, Ph.D.
Addition information for the CellStim Unit

Please email arnie lermawith opinion and insight re this topic.

From 1998 (c) Newset book by Nordenstrom:

"Electrical or electromagnetic stimulation has been shown to reduce pain."

"The difference between a cell that is alive or healthy and one that is dead or dying, is essentially the amount of ATP energy it can utilize for any purposes it chooses."

"One study showed that a current of 500 Microamperes can raise ATP levels almost 500% as judged by increased protein synthesis and intracellular influx of calcium. In another study of excised tendon tissue, seven microamperes produced a 255% increase in hydroxproline uptake, with microscopic confirmation of accelerated tissue repair and regeneration. The ability of microstimulation to boost ATP levels and influence ionic flux in muscle, nerve, brain, pancreatic, and other cells, could explain such variegated rewards, since the manifestations of ATP deficiency would be difference for each of these."

Exploring BCEC Systems Bjorn Nordenstrom 1998 Nordic Medical Publications, page 102

"It is easy to visualize small peptide peptide messengers fitting into into specialized receptor sites, and scientists have increasingly tried to explain how mood, behavior, cravings, and responses to stress are mediated by neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, nor-epinephrine, and the endorphins. Various clinical states seem to correlate with their levels, or the availability of locks they can open by chemical rather than physical means. However, in the final analysis, all these messages are transmitted by means of infinitesimally weak energy transfers that occur at an atomic level. It is increasingly apparent that the cell wall is more than a protective shield studded with receptor sites for molecules like antibodies and small neuropeptites. Rather, it is emerging as a powerful signal amplifier that provides an interactive window through which the cell senses and responds to its environment. Some substances can pass freely back and forth through specified channels, but for others, it is an impenetrable barrier. A 1991 Nobel Prize was awarded to Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann for demonstrating that cell walls contain "voltage dependent" channels that are selective for different ions. When activated by a specific neurotransmitter, a sudden change in electrical potential between exterior and interior of the cell allows a new channel to open for a few thousands of a second, during which millions of ions can pass back and forth. Their innovative patch clamp technique made it possible to detect currents of a trillionth of an ampere.

Could cell membranes have receptor sites for such weak signals that produce the same effect as molecules? Electrical stimulation of highly specific sites in the pain pathway produces analgesia, as does microinjection of morphine at these same locations.

Combining amounts of morphine or electrical stimulation that alone are too weak to reduce pain has a synergistic effect that does produce analgesia. This implies that the mechanisms responsible are identical..."

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If it were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living." Paul J Rosch M.D. F.A.C.P. President, the American Institute of Stress; Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College, University of Maryland School of Medicine

More about the scame in the EXIT pages Go back to 1st E-Meter Page

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