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What is Aura Photography? Kirlian Photography Explained

written by: Mayflor Markusic•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/23/2008

Do you believe in auras? Have you tried taking pictures of auras? Some people think that aura photography is possible. Others think that this is just hocus-pocus.

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    Do you believe in auras?

    If you have met or encountered people who believe in the paranormal, then you already know that the existence of auras is a fundamental belief. Supposedly, auras are the life forces of object, both animate and inanimate. Each animal, plant, and person is surrounded by an aura. For human beings, the aura is the combined effect of seven major charkas or energy centers that emit the life force. This means that an aura of a person changes regularly and can be affected by emotions and illnesses.

    The life force, according to paranormal believers, creates a distinct energy field that can be captured by a photography technique. If you were a believer of auras, you would be excited by the possibility of capturing the images of your aura and the auras of other people. If you were not a believer of auras, you would find it extremely difficult to contain your curiosity about the said photography technique.

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    Aura on Camera

    When an aura is photographed, it is supposed to appear as a vague colored halo surrounding the subject of the photograph. The halo is similar to the corona of the sun during a solar eclipse. But photographing a human aura is not the same as photographing the corona of an eclipsed sun. The former involves a photography technique that involves the contact between the subject and the film plate.

    When the subject is placed on the film plate, high-voltage electricity is briefly discharged and the plate receives the imprint of the subject’s aura. The imprint is a lightly colored image that appears to surround the subject. Paranormal believers considered this technique as a gateway into the inner paranormal world. Scientists shrugged this off as the result of the interaction of electricity, moisture, and chemical composition of the film plate. The image is the direct result of ionized gas, which is produced by the high-voltage electricity. After all, if the same technique is carried out in a near-vacuum environment, without ionized gas, no aura-like images will appear.

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    From Kirlian to Coggins

    The photography technique that supposedly captures the images of aura is known as Kirlian photography, named after its discoverer. Semyon Kirlian. In 1939, Semyon Kirlian claimed that he accidentally photographed the aura of an object using such a unique contact photography technique. With the help of his wife, Semyon reported that he perfected the technique and such can be utilized to conduct non-invasive diagnosis of any person’s illness.

    However, Semyon Kirlian was not the first person to attempt aura photography. About three decades earlier, in the 1890s, an officer of the French Army tried to record images of people’s auras but could not consistently produce good results. Kirlian is also not the last person to experiment with aura photography. In 1992, a Californian entrepreneur, named Guy Coggins, demonstrated an aura imaging technique using a camera with sensors. The special camera, which is distributed by a company called Progen, supposedly has the ability to reveal the life force emitted by the chakras.

    Would an investigative photographer take the risk of buying this expensive Aura Camera 6000? Or would it be more sensible and practical, money-wise, to buy a new telephoto lens?