Science in Society Archive

I-SIS miniseries "Water, Water, Everywhere"

  1. Molecules Clump on Dilution
  2. Homeopathy Enters the Mainstream
  3. The Strangeness of Water & Homeopathic 'Memory'
  4. Crystal Clear - Messages from Water

Crystal Clear - Messages from Water

Could crystals of water be the answer to all our problems? Dr. Mae-Wan Ho reviews the amazing work of Japanese water scientist.

What if water, the medium of all life, were sensitive to our thoughts? Does that mean human consciousness has shaped evolution, and can still do so?

Masaru Emoto first started studying water in the 1990s, when he met Dr. Lee Lorenzen, a biochemist in University of California Berkeley, who has since become a water researcher, developing 'micro-cluster water'. Lorenzen introduced Emoto to a Magnetic Resonance Analyzer, which was developed to study homeopathy.

In the course of his studies, Emoto began to wonder about the quality of the water he was working with, and how it could affect health. While he was thinking about the problem, he came across a book entitled, "The day the lightning chased the housewife", which contained about 50 questions. One question stood out: "Are there any snow crystals of the same shape?" The answer was no. Snow has been falling on earth for possibly hundreds of millions of years, and yet each snowflake is distinct.

"And that was when it hit me", he wrote, "That's it!"

From then on, he began to make water crystals and to photograph them under the microscope. And he was richly rewarded, as the publication of a book [1] containing hundreds of photographs of water crystals, all different, from the most sublimely beautiful to the most mundane, or even 'ugly', each with a legend that captures quite precisely the feeling evoked by the crystal. As I followed the pictures from one to another, I began to try to decipher the meaning of the crystals. They were indeed like faces, expressing emotions that reflect the history and the character of the landscapes they flowed through, and the creatures that live on those lands or in the waters.

Tap water in cities subjected to chlorine treatment or heavily polluted failed to form crystals at all, with no sign of the characteristic hexagonal (6-fold) symmetry of snowflakes. Partial crystals sometimes appeared, as if "trying desperately hard to be a clean water". Whenever the quality of water was good, complete crystals formed, each distinctive in detailed pattern and colour. Some of the loveliest, most perfect crystals were from natural, unpolluted water sources, such as the Sanbu-ichi Spring in Nagasaka, and the spring water of Saijo, a town locted in the highlands 500 to 700 metres above the sea, famous for its sake.

A stunningly beautiful, asymmetric crystal came from the fountain of Lourdes in France

A stunningly beautiful, asymmetric crystal came from the fountain of Lourdes in France. It was described as, "A mysterious crystal that gives off the feeling of mystical glory."

In certain rivers, such as the Shinano in the Niigata and Nagano prefectures, perfect crystals were formed from the water upstream, but not from the contaminated downstream waters.

The effects of acid rain were abundantly clear in the poor crystallisation of most rain water. The crystals do carry messages, and crystal reading is as much art as science.

One question that came to my sceptical mind was how reproducible were the crystals? And to what extent is the single crystal featured characteristic of the sample?

Emoto's method is to place the same small amount of a single sample of water in 100 petri-dishes, and then to allow them to crystallise in the freezer under well-controlled conditions. He then examines all the replicates. No two will show exactly the same crystals. Despite that, however, one can see that the replicates (nine from each of two samples shown on p.74) were crystals of the same kind, they were definitely variations on a specific theme.

Now comes the part of the book that really begins to take one's breath away. One can understand how pollutants in water can affect crystal structure, though it by no means explain the specific appearance of crystals from the different sources. But one can rationalise that in terms of minute quantities of unknown dissolved substances, perhaps.

Bach's Air for the G String gives the impression that the crystal is dancing merrily

However, Emoto's group showed that starting from distilled water, which failed to crystallise, it was possible to generate crystals specific to the music to which the water has been exposed. My favourite is Bach's Air for the G String, which "gives the impression that the crystal is dancing merrily, and the Tibet Sutra, which "talks to people's souls and has a strong positive energy that can heal people's feelings". Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel, gave three kinds of crystals, one which looked like "a picture of a heart broken into two", the second which shows "the two parts trying to fuse together, and a third that shows "a newly formed heart that overcame the difficult period". Or do you think "this idea is too sentimental?"

Well, perhaps it is not so strange that water should be sensitive to sound, which is a physical, energetic entity, and that the quality of the sound should affect its structure, thereby influencing the crystallisation process.

But now, for the real stunner; Emoto's group showed that water can even respond to words. The same distilled water to start with, one tube had the message, "Thank you" written on it, while the other one had, "You fool!" The one with "Thank you" gave nice crystals, whereas the one with "You fool!" gave no crystals at all, and was very similar to the results produced by exposing the water to heavy metal music. And it did not matter which language was used: Japanese, Korean or English. The results were very similar.

"Love/Appreciation" gave a most elaborate, decorous crystal, so did "Soul". "Demon" (removing the left part from the Chinese character for soul) led to something that looks like a disintegration of the soul crystal. "Angel" made the crystal burst forth in a multitude of flowers, while "Devil" looked distinctly sinister.

Even names were read by water. "Adolph Hitler" looked like "You make me sick" or "I will kill you".

And pictures too were registered. When shown the photograph of an innocent child, the water came back with a crystal that looked to me like pure joy itself.

So, what does it all mean? Emoto believes all that is based on HADO or Chi, a vital energy that comes ultimately from the circulation of electrons around the atomic nucleus. He believes that Chi changes according to the consciousness of the observer, "the way they see things".

How can this HADO be measured? By means of a machine referred to as the MRA (Magnetic Resonance Analyzer), "which measures various states of HADO, encodes the unique energy pattern of each substance and checks whether it resonates or not". It was developed in the United States 12 years ago. Unfortunately, no further details are given.

The same MRA machine is said to be able to "transcribe" information from substances onto water, but again, we are given no details on how it actually works, apart from the following. "The measurement first starts when the MRA puts out a faint resonance magnetic field, which is then transmitted to the subject and substances to be measured. Then the existence of resonance is checked. By amplifying the output of the measuring instrument HADO information can be transcribed." I have to admit this does not make sense to me, which is a pity, because this is where an explanation could have been provided for results that border on the incredible, especially to people who have been thoroughly schooled to the conventional mechanistic perspective.

The same vague explanation is given for the 'micro-cluster water' of Dr. Lee H. Lorenzen. "Water normally is not composed of independent molecules, but rather they are hydrogen bonded to form small water particles called clusters. When you align these water molecules and make them smaller it is called clustering." Do you make the clusters smaller or the molecules smaller?

"Clustered water can easily make sharp turns and subsequently can reach far into the corners of the body," we are told.

This lack of explanatory detail and failure to connect with conventional research findings have severely hampered the development of what may be some of the most important advances in our understanding of nature.

What follows is a remarkable series of crystals resulting from "information" transcribed, presumably with the MRA, into various waters. This includes a dam that stops natural flow, the essence of camomile and fennel onto distilled water, where the crystal appears to take on the form of the flowers themselves.

Could water respond directly to people's consciousness? Apparently yes. Crystals reflected the panic during an earthquake and also the recovery period three months later. Tap water of Tokyo, which was formless, responded to the transmission of "Chi, Soul and Spirit" of 500 people to give a distinctive crystal.

And, certain specially gifted individuals could make the most polluted, formless water respond to the "Chi of love" or to prayer, to give remarkable symmetries of perfection. The Reverend Kato Hoki, chief priest of Jyuhouin Temple, Omiya city, was able to change the six-fold symmetry of the ice crystal to a previously unknown, seven-fold symmetry. "Water is the mirror of the mind".

It is impossible to read this book and see the pictures of the endless variations of water crystals without being affected. One may come away incredulous, yet inspired to look for deeper understanding of the remarkable phenomenon. Particularly so, now that the more conventional physics and chemistry are homing in on the strangeness of water, and of the quantum world.

Take the most incredible hypothesis suggested by Emoto's crystals, that consciousness could influence the structure of water, is that so totally beyond the pale? Perhaps not.

I first presented theoretical arguments and empirical observations to support the idea that organisms are quantum coherent in 1993 [2]. I was inspired by others who have made the same proposal, albeit in different forms. Since then, quantum coherence has been invoked in explaining how the brain might work.

Quantum physicists Del Giudice and Preparata have argued that, in order to account for the anomalous behaviour of water, we need to consider its quantum properties, and especially how quantum coherence could arise in water resulting in long-lasting coherent oscillations (see previous article).

Recently, there have been many experiments demonstrating quantum entanglement of coherent systems that may have applications in quantum computing [3]. The experimental, 'long-lived' entanglement of two 'macroscopic objects' was reported last September [4]. Admittedly, by long-lived, the physicists meant 0.5 milliseconds, and 'macroscopic objects' referred to two samples, each containing about 1012 caesium atoms, not quite the size of a human being. But until a few years ago, this would have been unimaginable.

And so, it would not be beyond the pale to suggest that our 'consciousness'- think of it as our coherent quantum field - could become entangled with that of water, thereby influencing the structure of the water. Some 99% of all the molecules in our body is water in any case.

There is no doubt that these new approaches should be vigorously investigated. They have large implications for the health of human beings and the entire planet earth.

Article first published 01/06/02


  1. Emoto M. Messages from Water, HADO Kyoikusha Co., Ltd., Tokyo, 1999, 2001. ISBN 4-939098-00-1.
  2. Ho MW. The Rainbow and the Worm, The Physics of Organisms, World Scientific Singapore, 1993 (1st ed.); 1998 (2nd ed.).
  3. Monroe C. ; Also Ho MW. Quantum computer? Is it alive? ISIS News 11/12, October 2001.
  4. Julsgaard B, Kozhekin A & Polzik ES. Experimental long-lived entanglement of two macroscopic objects. Nature 2001, 413, 400-3.

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