The phantom leaf effect

A strange turn of events led me to a xeroxed copy of an article on the “phantom leaf effect.” I believe it was first printed in Research in Parapsychology in 1982. In my opinion, this effect has profound indications for healing, and I’d like to share the basic premise with you.

The phantom leaf effect (PLE)was first discovered in Russia in 1966 (Adamenko and Vilenskaya, Technika Molodezhi, 1974), but after its introduction to the Western world, it was widely discounted. Authors P.c. Kejariwal, A. Chattopadhya, and J.K. Choudhurry of Jadavpur University were able to conduct a repeatable PLE experiment in 1979, and this article reports their findings.

Using Kirlian photography, “when a part of a leaf is cut off and removed, the Kirlian photography of the rest of the leaf can show the full leaf, the cut-off portion appearing as the ‘phantom'” (110). Although intricate details are not always seen, an overall outline of the phantom “may be found most of the time.” Additionally, a top cut portion is more likely to produce the phenomenon than a side cut, leading the investigators to deduce “that the PLE is connected with the growth phenomena of the plant leaf.” Additionally, 15-20 % was the maximum extent of the cut area possible for PLE as was previously reported by Soviet scientists” (111).

At the time of this article, the authors had no working hypothesis to explain the phenomenon. They found that the PLE is highly sensitive to magnetic fields and that “it can only be obtained 5 to 10 minutes after the cut and not later.” Most importantly, they add, “It seems that the phenomenon is connected with the life force of the leaf. As long as this force is there, the coordination and organization of the leaf exists, and the phantom is available. As soon as this organization is lost, the power of the leaf to produce the phantom is also lost” (111).

shutterstock_holding a leafAdditionally, a leaf, after being plucked from a plant, loses weight slowly at first, but quickly after a few minutes. “The phantom can be obtained only when the weight loss is slow”, showing “that the phantom leaf effect is connected with the life force of the leaf” (111).

From this short scientific article, I have drawn many personal conclusions. For one, any individual living thing has an innate tendency towards wholeness, and, while the life force is thriving, it will produce that wholeness. Humans who have lost limbs have talked about the phantom limb effect in a similar way. The scientific evidence of the phantom leaf effect is exciting to me, however, in that it proves that the organizing principle of the body is that of wholeness, and that the strength of the life force will push one towards the memory of that wholeness even when a part is disrupted or lost. I believe we have the ability to regain wholeness in the moments soon after a traumatic event has happened, just as the PLE shows that in the few moments after the leaf is torn, the life force of the leaf still envisions and creates the whole leaf. With Reiki, for example, one can heal burns and bruises much more effectively if one applies Reiki immediately after the trauma. If some time goes by, Reiki will still be effective, but not as effective as immediate application. Any being’s instinct after suffering some kind of trauma, is to heal and heal quickly. An animal curls up and licks its wounds, a mother applies her hand to the hurt child, a tree, it seems, sends healing force to its tiniest leaf.

However, after some time has passed from the immediate moment of hurt, the organizing principle, the life force, cuts its losses, so to speak, and works with the remaining body to keep it as strong as is possible. Does the starfish, when it has lost an arm, retain the entire body in its mind’s eye permanently (for their arms do regenerate)? Does the salamander (which can lose its tail to thwart predators) do the same?

Most importantly, this phantom leaf effect happens while the leaf still has its life force – in the moments after it has been plucked from the tree. Would a leaf that is still connected to the tree have the PLE indefinitely, for it would receive its full life force strength via its connection? shutterstock_leavesIn the same way, as long as a human being is breathing, as long as a heart is beating, does our body not project wholeness? I would posit that our energetic body is always whole, regardless of the physical detriments with which we are dealing, and the strength of the energetic body can help the physical back to health and wholeness via its projection (as evidenced by the phantom leaf effect).

In sum, you are whole from the inside out, and you can trust your body to heal itself. Give it rest, nourishment, gratitude, and great love, and let it move to a place of health and wholeness as it is wont to do from birth. We should not need scientific studies to prove this to ourselves, for we can feel it in the dizzying life force that is our essence. Yet the scientific studies are helpful in this age of reason and information. Dylan Thomas, the British poet, described it beautifully in the poem named after this first line: “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower / Drives my green age…”

We – all life forms – are connected.

**Note – please see my comment below as to some new evidence that came to me in July 2014 potentially debunking the phantom leaf effect.   I am not familiar enough with all the experiments out there to know whether or not it has been produced legitimately or not.


6 responses to “The phantom leaf effect

  1. One would expect the “Life Force” (possibly due to electrolytic & metabolic processes) to decay a short time after the leaf is plucked. Have you considered not plucking the leaf at all, which would require a type of plant portable enough to place a leaf from it on the machine, whilst still connected to the whole plant. Also I’ve often wondered if a plant exists that has regenerative properties as far as its leaves are concerned (like the starfish that grows another arm & the arm that grows another starfish). Another possibility is that taking photos during the full moon could enhance the effect, as its been claimed that the polarized light increases the amount of negative Ions in the atmosphere producing more intense kirlian images. Also do you know of R.A. Watters who claimed to take photos of the soul of various creatures killed in a Wilson cloud chamber. Lastly has anyone tried using a multiple wave oscillator that produces the widest range of harmonic frequencies, which may be a factor in the successful production of phantoms, by allowing resonances to occur, even whilst the substance of the leaf is changing due to the high frequency field around it, see “Dark Side of the Brain” by Harry Oldfield

  2. I would like to update this entry on July 14, 2014. Just this past week I had the chance to speak with Dr. Bill Joines, electrical engineering professor at Duke University. The phantom leaf effect came up in discussion, and he mentioned that it piqued his curiosity many years ago – enough that he tried to replicate the experiment in his lab at Duke. He said that he and his fellow experimenters were able to replicate the phantom leaf effect with the Kirlian photography. However, he said that they then did the experiment again, carefully wiping away any moisture that the original, whole leaf, would have left on the plate. With the moisture wiped away, the phantom leaf effect did not occur.
    Because of his experiment, Joines does not believe that the phantom leaf effect occurs.

  3. Thelma Moss claimed that they always cut the leaf fist before putting it in the device & in their very interesting article in “Psychoenergetic Systems” they even used a perspex barrier to prevent droplets spray & which the phantom passed through. See also the work of Ion Dumitrescru & Convertography

    • Thank you for posting this knowledge here. If they cut the leaf fest and used a perspex barrier, then perhaps it is a valid experiment. I am fascinated by it.

  4. Perhaps a bit late to reply, but a note to yourself and/or others.
    I’ve been studying telepathy for 27 months, forming a model of how it works from many related anomalies and successful tests, including Kirlian photography.
    I want to suggest that a few serious psychic healers try to enhance their skill, by adding the output of a Tesla coil as Tesla used his to transfer cancer to and from healthy/cancer-grafted rats in his lab.
    It occurred to me during my studies that Tesla with his brilliant in-mind modelling ability, may have been telepathically willing the missing component, the micro-cellular instructions born possibly of DNA/RNA, and learned/adapted by all living organism through their life. Thus healing, including Tesla medical energy transfers may simply have been his will and intent overwriting the virus-born cancered cells’ natural instructions, with the healthy rats cell instructions he had just observed, coupled with the will, intent and belief the transfer would occur. This may have been why he succeeded and no one else did. The longitudinal, high voltage waves from his apparatus supposedly energizes cells it passes energy into. I propose both his minds eye and the scalar energy he described were necessary.
    Well I hope that wasn’t too painful. Please pass this on, if it seems worthwhile.

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