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The Scientific Perspective of Kirlian Photography

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

The scientific community, because of a multitude of reasons, can never accept Kirlian photography. What are the major arguments forwarded by scientists against Kirlian photography?

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    Kirlian photography knocks on the scientific door

    When Semyon Kirlian reported his discovery of a photography technique that supposedly captures the aura of people and other living things, a floodgate opened to allow believers of the paranormal to claim the cape of scientific credibility. According to the paranormal believers, the images produced by Kirlian photography proved that auras exist. And this aura or “life force” can be revealed to the naked eye by using high-voltage electricity.

    Since auras can now be seen using Kirlian photography, it makes sense to utilize the images of auras to determine a person’s state of health or diagnose any illness, or check the effectiveness of a particular treatment for a particular disease. Kirlian photography can also be constructively combined with other esoteric types of healing practices such as acupuncture, ayurveda, and pranic healing. The extensive span of the health benefits of Kirlian photography should make it appealing to the medical and scientific world. But what is the current stand of the scientific community?

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    The answer of the scientific community

    Kirlian photography should remain in the paranormal realm and should never be utilized as a tool in diagnosing or treating diseases. The halo-like appearance around photographed objects could not be accepted as the physical expression of auras but a manifestation of a physical phenomenon.

    Scientists explained that the seemingly eerie color that appears around the photographed objects is the inevitable result of the interaction of humidity, temperature, pressure, electrical grounding, and light waves. The phenomenon is parallel to the mirage effect. For example, a body of water at the center of the road during a hot humid day. There is, of course, no water on the road, even though the eye is convinced of seeing an image of what seems like a body of water.

    Scientists are also dubious about the use of Kirlian photography in the field of medicine. It is not similar to diagnostic tools such as MRI or tomography. And the reason is quite simple: images of so-called auras from Kirlian photography are not reliable. Reliability is a major requirement of all scientific phenomena. Without reliability, no hypothesis can graduate into a scientific theory. This is why scientists value scientific experiments that are carried out under controlled settings.

    Images from Kirlian photography could not produce the same so-called auras. At the same time, the self-proclaimed clairvoyants and supernaturally gifted, could not have a consensus about the color of a particular person’s aura at any given time. How then, can the images of Kirlian photography (if auras are real at all) be used reliably in the field of medicine? Until the arguments of the scientists are answered satisfactorily, the technique of Kirlian photography remains a paranormal hocus-pocus.