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E-rays: Erdestrahlen or Earth Rays

Part of “Pseudoscience A to Z”, a series of articles in the Skeptics Canada newsletter about topics that have not been subjected to much critical thinking by their promoters.

Erdestrahlen, Earth Rays, or E-rays are a type of energy that is apparently only visible to dowsers, those typically tweed-suited gentlemen who wander through fields with twigs attempting to discover all manner of resources. Scientists, and we poor souls who are not tuned to such energies, are not privy to the locations of the ‘hot spots’ produced by them. This is a pity, as it does not allow us to avoid the cancer-causing effects of these evil radiations. Since we therefore have to take their word for the very existence of E-rays, let alone their effects, it seems that dowsers have us at their mercy.

Searching for information is not easy, at least not on World’s Biggest Library (the internet). There are, you see, other types of e-rays, genuine articles discovered and verified by real scientists, which only serves to muddy the waters. They exist in such realms as optics and biology, but as far as is known they are not malevolent. How unexciting.

The word erdestrahlen is a German word that means, well, Earth Rays. In Germany there is a thriving business in black plastic sheets, placed under one’s bed, that are supposed to protect sleepers from the effects of these agents, and some will even go to the trouble of rearranging the placement of their beds to avoid e-rays. Some impertinent wags have wondered if such a practise may negatively affect the feng shui of the room, but the jury is still out on that. Apparently federal employees have had their desks rearranged on the advice of government hired dowsers, and hospital beds are regularly shuffled to protect patients from these silent killers. The profession of the ever-vigilant twig wavers seems to be fairly institutionalised in Germany, perhaps a holdover from pre-war days when such pseudosciences as “cosmic ice theory” and racial stereotyping held sway.

How much will it cost you to detect these strange emanations? A company called MartriX will sell you what is called on their web site a TranceDucer (L-Rod), described as “…hand made of wood, bamboo, silver and thin but sturdy messing wires, bent at a right angle to form a (sic) L-shape. The L-rods are perceiving tools believed to deflect when encountering an energy field, be it the human aura, the biomagnetic field of a plant, E-rays from cracks in the ground, or any other hypothetical field not measurable by common means.” (Emphasis added) I wrote to them and received an e-mail which changed the product name to “transducers” and gives a price of 45 Euros plus shipping. They’re currently backlogged, which may indicate a thriving business in such stuff. The reason? Here’s a quote from their letter: “We ordered a series of new L-Rods, using the same means of production and cleaning rituals. The products are partly made on Bali and since the Balinese have a ritual for each different part or material, it takes time.” I am certainly glad of that. My mother always told me to put on clean underwear and never go out with bamboo and wires that haven’t undergone the proper cleansing rituals.

You might expect that a company called would be dedicated to the latest findings about Quarks, Gravitons, and perhaps warp drive theory. Nope. They are more concerned with flogging products and services that will protect you from all manner of phantoms, and one that is highly recommended by feng shui practitioners is the Energia 2300. Looking like a standard electrical power bar without the sockets, it comes with glowing reviews from one David R. Cowan, who refers to E-rays as Tulleric Radiation and explains them in these riveting terms: “If you have a black spiral of tulleric energies like this in your bed, you will be susceptible to geopathic stress and ill health. An unhealthy ley line (a stream of individual waves) radiates into the spiral.”

Sounds familiar. I found a black spiral in my bed once, but it turns out the kids were snacking on Twizzlers.

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