Auras by Polaroid

At the Festival of Possibilities in Nelson, all the usual New Age paraphernalia were on display. A current vogue is “pulsing” which is already available in at least two varieties, holistic and Tibetan. (I later experienced a pulsing; it’s a variety of massage involving having different parts rocked or shaken, quite pleasant.) People at one stand tried to sell me Matol, a mixture of herbal extracts “that works at the molecular level” to increase the uptake of oxygen by my blood. I told them I trusted my body to take up just the right amount of oxygen.

New was “Aura Vision Photography”. On a tripod was a locked black box the size of an upright shoebox, containing a Polaroid camera with the filmpack sticking out the back and the lens visible through a hole in the front. From it came a flat grey cable about 40 wires wide, leading to another locked black box about the size of two stacked shoeboxes beside the subject’s chair, with a mains power connection and about 12 electrodes on top in the shape of a hand. Subjects laid their right hand on these while their picture was taken. (What if the subject was left-handed?)

The pictures showed the subjects dimly, with blobs of coloured light beside and above their heads — white, fading to saturated colour at the edges. Several pictures showed the same subject with different coloured lights. An attendant told me the apparatus had been designed by a scientist, with some assistance channelled through a clergyman when the scientist got stuck.

Unsurprisingly, the information supplied is unhelpful:

Surrounding the physical body is an electromagnetic energy field which vibrates and fluctuates at different levels. The frequency at which your energy field is vibrating is a direct reflection of your inner state of being and often affects the well-being of others around you….

This prototype camera is the world’s first and only patented electromagnetic field photographic system. Our electronic equipment measure [sic] then maps your personal energy vibration which is then analysed and translated into the colour vibration that corresponds to your unique energy levels.

Note that it does not say that the lights shown actually originate in the space around the person. It was not explained why or how electrodes on the hand could cause lights to appear in the picture (or whether they are the same shape and colour as those that appear to people who can see such things), but LEDs fitted inside the camera suggest themselves.

Another handout shows the colour interpretations:

Blood red: life force fed into the body to keep them [sic] physically strong.

Crimson red: around head and hands of Male, balanced emotionally and physically.

What if it is elsewhere, or around Female?

Green: healing vitality to be fed into the body to keep it going. Natural Healer gifts could be massage, reflexology, some form of natural healing.

Dark leaf green: indication of a healer. Healing could come through Counselling, Reflexology, etc.

Blue: indicates a person who could use colour healing.

Sky blue: indicates Healers. Special gift of laying on of hands. Massage, Aura Healing, Reflexology.

The other handout says “The colours in your electro-magnetic energy field can change from moment to moment” — so do the gifts come and go?

But the big whammy is:

White: indicates degree of spiritual level within the soul.

White glowing light — shows the divinity of a highly evolved soul that shines and radiates brightly.

White auric energy is a magnetic life force lead into the body through the crown chakra.

Christ light or Life force.

I suppose it’s a silly question to ask how these interpretations were reached — who was their test subject for white light…?

All the indications were positive: no colours were assigned to criminals or psychopaths or just rather dull people. The price to have your picture taken was $20 with interpretation or $25 for two subjects. People were queuing up to hand over their money and have their pictures taken.