by Erin Shaw
The long-known phenomenon called the corona effect is the subject of new research into the link between consciousness and the material world.
Russian scientist Semyon Kirlian is credited with the 1939 discovery of bioelectrophotography, a method of capturing the electrical fields of objects and people by applying high frequency electric currents to photographic film. He invented the Kirlian camera to photograph and study what he proposed could be the auras of people, plants, and inanimate objects. He later developed the optical filter to observe the corona effect in real time, and suggested that his images could indicate health issues and acupuncture points of the human body. His research garnered support in the 1960s, and later parapsychologists continued to investigate Kirlian photography as evidence of the existence of auras or etheric bodies.
Today, Russian biophysicist Dr. Konstantin Korotkov continues Kirlian’s work using his method of Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) to depict what he prefers to call “energy fields.” While Dr. Korotkov eschews the metaphysical meaning of the term “aura,” he does claim that GDV electrography can assess a person’s physical and emotional well-being and even show the effect of personal energy on the noosphere. Korotkov computerized the Kirlian camera and digitalized the images to make the experiments reproducible and the results quantifiable. He also released for sale a line of GDV cameras and software packages to measure the area, color and fractality or jaggedness of each fingertip’s corona discharge. Some medical facilities use the GDV camera as a diagnostic tool; it has also been used to measure energy in crop circles and to evaluate the use of protective devices against cell phone radiation.
Some have attributed the coronal emanations to moisture on the subject or in the atmosphere, or simply to the “cold emission of electrons,” but skeptical interpretations don’t necessarily negate the cross-section of science and spirit. Kirlian art photography, pioneered by Walter Chappell with his 1980 portfolio of plant “auras” called Metaflora, attempts to bridge scientific, artistic, and mystical qualities of Kirlian images by making visible the invisible. Robert Buelteman expanded on Chappell’s plant photography to “portray the universe as alive and life as purposeful,” and “reveal unrecognized dimensions in the commonplace.” Whether the high voltage glow elicits mysticism or skepticism is still subjective, but exploration continues into extrasensory possibilities of electricity.