home    contact    impressum
deutsch    español    polski   

Cleve Backster's
plant experiments

The discovery that plants can communicate with each other and with us, that they have feelings and something like a memory, is largely due to Cleve Backster. What natural peoples and their shamans have always known - and the reason why they are still mocked frequently today - has now become a tangible part of our 'civilised' world, through the results of Backster's research.
And yet, to start with, his life never gave the impression that the study of plants could ever become its focal point. In the early 1950s, Cleve Backster had actually founded a lie-detector school that was a part of the CIA, whose agents and employees he trained in the use of these appliances. Backster later taught police and security officials from abroad in his own school and continued to develop the technology of the lie detector more and more. Not exactly the esoteric environment that would seem likely to produce the man who was later described as the 'Father of plant communication'. How did it all happen Dagny and Imre Kerner, a married couple from Hungary who are both journalists, visited him and interviewed him in his laboratory in the USA. They tell his story in their book 'The call of the rose'.

"He had just developed a new lie detector process for the American army when, in the middle of the night, or more accurately in the early hours of the morning, on 2nd of February 1966 he looked at the Dracaena in his office and hit upon the idea of connecting the plant up to the device to check how long it would take for the water to reach the leaves every time he watered it. The leaves of Dracaena are large and firm enough not to be immediately damaged by electrodes. He expected the transcriber of his lie detector to show a curve indicating a smaller electrical resistance because of the improved conductivity of the plant when it had been freshly watered. To his amazement, the plant showed a completely different reaction: the transcriber produced the typical curve that he knew from endless interrogations, when people are positively excited in the short term. Did the plant have feelings Was it showing him that it was 'pleased' to have been given fresh water How could he check whether the Dracaena actually had feelings
Backster though about it - people show the strongest reactions when they are threatened. And so he had to threaten his plant. He had the idea of scorching the leaves. At the moment that he thought of scorching the leaf to which the electrodes were connected, the plant reacted violently, the transcriber moved and recorded a dramatic curve. Everything was quiet in the house, it was three o'clock in the morning, he hadn't moved, he had not touched the plant - he had only thought of burning the plant. Did the plant feel threatened just by his thoughts Was it able to pick them up He went into another room to find matches. When he came back, the transcriber had recorded another fear curve, obviously at the moment when he had decided to put his idea into action. He took a match and hesitantly began to singe the leaf. The recorder once again draw a swing, although this one was weaker. Backster liked plants, he didn't seriously want to 'hurt' his Dracaena plant. When he later just pretended that he was going to burn the leaf, the plant did not react at all. Could the plant really tell the difference between a serious threat, as at the beginning of the test when he first had the idea of burning the leaf, or whether he was just pretending, as now, that he was going to burn it Backster worked all night long, and kept on trying out new tests with his Dracaena plant. When his partner arrived at work next day, the papers with the lines drawn by the lie detector were hanging all over the wall. "Who have you been testing there all night" he asked. "That one over there", answered Backster pointing to the Dracaena. "You're crazy - a plant".

In the time following the 2nd of February 1966, Cleve Backster gradually forfeited the whole basis of his existence. In the eyes of the relevant government departments, his plant experiments and his first publications on this topic had made him an unsuitable head of a lie detector college, which, after all, trained mainly agents, police and security officers from all over the world, and he began to get fewer and fewer students.

It is simply not possible to communicate with plants and train CIA employees at the same time. These people thought that Backster had simply flipped. The fact that this topic still would not let him go, even though it had ultimately cost him his existence, throws some light on his true interests, on his honest intents - and on the conviction that he was onto something that really existed and whose existence he was able to prove. And that it was not his imagination, as his critics - or rather his mockers - kept saying it was.


© 2013 by QUANTEC GmbH