Cleve Backster noticed decades ago the similarity between science and religion. The outdated beliefs of mainstream science were/are just as entrained and defended as any fundamentalist religion. One of those working a parallel path to Cleve's work was Olga Worrall. I compose this article because I have read for decades about her and the remarkable work both she and her husband did, basically blowing off the prison doors of the mind of traditional science. But did they emerge? We haven't failed to notice those doors keep getting replaced. Most scientists have to "stumble upon" their own realizations.
Olga Worrall, now passed over, was born November 30, 1906 in Cleveland, OH. She was the wife of the famous "Mr. A" whose healing abilities were phenomenal enough to keep him mostly anonymous. (Yes, even in the 70's healers had to defend themselves from attacks of negativity similar to the inquisition.) Olga was also a healer, and carried on his work after his death. She graciously agreed to be tested by scientists for years. Cleve Backster was acquainted with Olga and her husband Ambrose back then in the 70's.
The following information related to the remarkable difference she made is from three articles, two found online (google Olga Worrall) and the third from a Science of Mind magazine I saved in a dusty file. Notice how the scientists avoid trying to explain how healing works, even though the evidence is piled high and deep. That would be crossing the line. It is daring enough just to run experiments. Enjoy reading Olga's own words as she spells it out for us at the end.
1. From an IONS article 1993
Beverly Rubik is a biophysicist who became interested in bioelectromagnetics in the 1970s after a personal experience with a spiritual healer. She has applied her training in science to a systematic investigation of scientific anomalies, including phenomena associated with "subtle energies." Dr. Rubik is the founding director of the Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University, Philadelphia. This article was adapted by Christian de Quincey from Dr. Rubik's presentation at the Heart of Healing conference.
Fifteen years ago, the field of bioelectromagnetics was virtually unknown; very few people paid attention to the possibilities of a scientific basis for phenomena such as therapeutic touch. In those days I was quite an athlete, but had a lot of knee trouble which interfered with jogging and dancing. I had the good fortune to meet a phenomenal person, Dr. Olga Worrall, who claimed to be a spiritual faith healer. I agreed to a session with her, and within minutes of her placing her hands on my knees I felt a sensation of tingling heat, and experienced a spontaneous decrease in pain in my knees. Being a scientist, I was intrigued both by the empirical evidence of the efficacy of her healing touch, and by the fact that this was not explainable within current scientific or medical theory. As a result, I decided to apply my training in biophysics to investigate this and similar phenomena.
My doctoral dissertation had involved motility in bacteria. I took microphotographs of swimming bacteria using stroboscopic light, enabling me to see successive images of individual bacteria as they moved. Their swimming tracks appeared as gentle curves on the photographs. As part of the experiment, I often added a well-known motility inhibitor to completely paralyze the bacteria, and the tracks would come to a stop. I decided to apply these techniques to test Olga Worrall's healing power. I added a large dose of motility inhibitor to an assay which completely immobilized the bacteria. Worrall then cupped her hands around the microscope slide containing the specimens. Twelve minutes later I examined the slide and discovered that between five and ten percent of the bacteria had recovered motility. The results were surprising because in five years of research, using this same dose of motility inhibitor as a control, I had never seen the bacteria recover motility. Subsequently, I tried this experiment with a naive participant (who claimed no healing power) to control for the possibility that the simple warmth of human hands near the slide might account for the recovery - but it didn't. I tried many naive participants, including myself, and none was able to revive any bacteria in this kind of assay.
Next, I started adding an antibiotic to the bacteria to inhibit their growth. I wanted to see if a healer's laying on of hands could enhance growth - even in the presence of an antibiotic which under normal circumstances thwarts growth. We tried an experiment in which Worrall placed her hands near the rack of test tubes but didn't touch any bacteria directly. At a high dosage of antibiotic, Worrall did not register much effect; but at a lower dose - which slowed down but didn't completely thwart bacterial growth - the results showed a significant difference between Worrall's treated bacteria and the controls handled by a naive participant.
There really is no well-understood explanation of what may be occurring in the interaction between a healer and the biological system of the healee. As a biophysicist, I naturally started thinking about the possibility of electromagnetic fields emanating from healers and impinging on those being healed.
2. Excerpt from an interview with Dr. Beverly Rubik by J. Mishlove in 'Thinking Allowed'
RUBIK: I was raised as a very conventional biophysicist, through the years at Berkeley. Of course the current paradigm in the life sciences is what I would call reductionism. It's taking a living system and dissecting it down into bits and pieces, often with no sense of life anymore. You get down to the biochemical realm and you're just dealing with a bag of biomolecules that was once a living, intact, holistic system, and studying the bits and pieces to try to make sense about the whole -- to try to make some statement about the living state, looking at the essentially dead biomolecules. I was bred on that paradigm. One of the turning points for me in my career was writing my dissertation. I got pneumonia; I called it dissertation disease. It was pretty severe, and I wasn't getting over it, and I remember going deep within and asking myself why was I so sick, and what was the meaning of this illness. And the fact that I was always previously healthy, and suddenly this whopping disease. The answer that came was that somehow this work didn't speak true to me; there was something missing that didn't quite speak to the depths of my soul.
MISHLOVE: You mean, there was something in effect about your very research that was sick, and that expressed itself in your body.
RUBIK: Right, exactly. My body was an expression of my deepest self, and it was saying, this work is not truest to you. And I had to make a decision whether to finish -- I mean, after six or seven years it was sizable hunk of one's life and life energy and time, etcetera -- whether to seriously continue with it, or just simply drop it, I was so sick. I decided to continue with it, and I remember writing poetry, which helped me get over my disease. I was really focusing on that inner process of the disorder and what it meant, and the poems became part of the dissertation, in fact.
MISHLOVE: They must have loved that in the biophysics department.
RUBIK: Something I slipped in after it was approved, you know, just to be sure. So I vowed at that time in my life never to do more of that type of science, and consequently did not go on to Harvard to a position I had arranged, but instead took the position over at San Francisco State University at that time, doing teaching where I could be pretty much my own boss and look at the gentler aspects of the universe such as healing and holism, interconnectedness and relationship. Because San Francisco State University is primarily a teaching school and not a research institution, I would have a little bit of time to devote to research, and didn't think much attention would be paid to that realm over there.
MISHLOVE: So as a teacher, you're almost getting, really, into the humanities, because of the human relationship that you have to have with your students. So you began to move away from the reductionistic paradigm which is so implicit in physical science and biological science today.
RUBIK: That's right. Well, another way I saw that break down, in fact, was in some of my experiments with the psychic healers. I recall some experiments just simply did not manifest with so-called positive results. We couldn't seem to replicate from session to session or day to day some of the results we saw with Olga. That was disturbing, and then I later realized, well, the days that things didn't work, that we didn't get the effects that she somehow apparently had manifested on other occasions, were days that her breakfast didn't agree with her. And on another occasion some intruder came and popped in and tried to disrupt the whole experiment, and there was definitely a difference in the psychology, the psychological makeup, of both the psychic participant and the experimenters, myself. We were all agitated, and under those circumstances we did not manifest those results. And I began to see it -- it was really pushing the limits of the scientific methodology, because of course science demands replicability and reproducibility of experiments, by any observer at any time point, if there's true objectivity here. And I began to realize that was a serious limitation for so-called parapsychological experiments.
MISHLOVE: The very notion of objectivity, when we're measuring the direct effects of the mind itself on a physical system, seems to be a paradox. Paradox - a statement contrary to common belief; a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd, but that may actually be true in fact.
3. Science of Mind (SM), April 1983
Olga Worrall: All evidence suggest that there's a close relationship between science and religion. In fact I think they're now engaged and just waiting for the marriage. Because I think science must support religion I went into the laboratory to prove there's an energy flowing from those people who are known as "healers," an energy so powerful that it accelerates the normal healing processes of the physical body. Until lately religion was asking people to accept on faith that the effects of healing energy could be demonstrated. But because of my successes in the laboratory, we now have concerted proof that what we knew intuitively can now be accepted as fact. Science and religion therefore have all the more reason to work hand-in-hand.
Science can help religion move from being regarded superstitiously, to the place where, in our scientific culture, it can once again be used on a practical, day to day basis. Nor more will religion be for Sunday only, and for only an hour. When science and religion work together harmoniously, the jealousy between scientists and religionists will be eliminated, and the world will have a beautiful religion-science-philosophy to guide its course.
SM: Do you know what the healing energy is, or how it works?
Worrall: My husband, Ambrose), who was an engineer, labeled it paraelectricity. Easterners call it prana, while others call it life force or subtle energy. More than sixty years ago, my husband maintained that this energy, which surrounds all people, can be tapped into to accelerate healing processes and a return to original patterns of perfection. He claimed it has electrical properties. And even now when I heal people, they say that an electric current passes through them.
God created us from a perfect pattern, a perfect mold, so to speak. When we fall out of balance or harmony with that perfection our energies don't behave right. This causes illness, and so the healing energy, the paraelectric current, returns us to our original pattern. We are surrounded by this natural healing energy all the time, without it we would decompose into nothingness. This energy field activates the body during life and when we die, it withdraws and carries us to the next dimension of existence. This energy, which is the power of God, has innate intelligence and when I as a person get out of the way, it flows through me and heals people in the most precise and individualized way possible.
Thank you, Olga Worrall!