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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 22, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta Be kind to our fine-leafed friends Do plants have Most biologists dismiss the question. But as the notion of sentient plants spreads among amateur a few scientists begin to doubt their skepticism. Eminent Russian take the notion seriously. At the very botanists admit that we have scarcely be- gun to know the plant life with which we share the planet. Lie detector expert tests plant perception When Lynn and Joel Rapp talk with parental pride about and they aren't referring to their children. They're talking about indoor plants. Ricky is a Kentia palm who gets a shower every Saturday night. Alvin is a Chinese and Jackie is a Dieffenbachia going on 13. talk to our say the we're sure they can hear Sound Maybe so. The who run an indoor-plafit store and proselytize the way of on not sur- prisingly are dedicated to making plant care fun. Part of their includes encouraging indoor gardeners to get in- volved with their plants showering them with affec- friendly and oc- casional concerts. It stands to after that plants receive better care from peo- ple interested in their welfare. But then take the case of Bob Brower. One day leaving his house for work he glanced at a chronically bedraggled plant and told job is to look A few days later the plant had perked up and stayed that way. Nowadays any number of stories like this one are going the rounds. Greeted with amused skepticism a few years they are being heard more tolerantly. In a small but growing number of people suspect that if plants aren't quite at least they possess something akin to senses and respond to the feelings and emotions of creatures around them. A few of these people are serious researchers although most biologists reject the no- tion out of hand. Because of that the label is being less frequently assigned to gardening enthusiasts who whisper sweet nothings to their plants. Despite the skepticism of noted believers who once suffered they laughed when -1 told them rejection now insist that well- known scientists of the past believed in plant sensibility all along. American Museum of Natural seriously examines the possibility and does not rule it out. While acknowledging that Burbank often pooh-poohed the idea that he talked to the article also shows that he told three reputable visitors about communicating with them. One of the visitors was Helen Keller. Another the well- known 1920's yogi Paramahansa wrote a detailed report of a conversation with Burbank. According to Burbank told I was conducting experiments By FREDERIC HUNTER Christian Science Monitor The cited eminences of yesteryear include Charles Darwin once suggested that the radicle in plants might act like a Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose claimed to discover death spasms in and plant experimenter Luther Bur- bank. The Burbank case arouses considerable curiosity. No solid documentation exists that he actually talked to but the suggestion per- sists that he did. An article in last October's issue of Natural published by New York City's WANTED YWCA RESIDENT SUPERVISOR Responsible Adult Interested In Working With Peoplel SALARY NEGOTIABLE PHONE 327-8221 or 327-2284 Assistant-Secretary-Treasurer LOCATION- Required by the Town of Claresholm POSTION- The incumbent will work closely with the Secretary-Treasurer in communicating with Town Council and administering ihe Town's business affairs QUALIFICATIONS Training related to Business Administration and Ac- counting essential Municipal Government and Accounting experience a definite asset. SALARY- Starting salary 00 per annum with normal fringe benefits. Applications may be submitted in confidence to- D. W. Secretary-Treasurer Town of Claresholm P.O. Box 1000 TOL OTO PROFESSIONAL CAREER OPPORTUNITY SUPERIOR FORD MERCURY LTD. Southern Alberta's Largest Ford Merc Dealership requires 2 Vehicle Sales Representatives to help Increase thler now 850 unit volume 1. per month guarantee 2. All Company Benefits 3. Company Car supplied 4. Paid Vacation 5. A complete Comprehensive Training Program 6. Opportunity for Advancement with in 7. Vehicle sales experience not a necessity Contact General Sales Manager KEN FURGUSON For Interview Appointment Phone 223-3537 to make spineless I often talked with the plants to create a vibration of Whether or not he establish- ed rapport with plants in this Burbank un- questionably possessed a green thumb. In a 50-year working life he created more than 800 new and species of most of them useful. nearly half a century after his the Natural History article one has offered a convincing explanation for many of the things he was able to The current interest in plant sensibility is neither merely historical nor solely a reaction to environmentalism. The man behind much of the renewed fascination in plant sensibility phenomena like not a trained scien- tist. A former CIA polygraph Cleve Backster had an idle thought early one morning in the interrogation room of the polygraph training school he now runs in New York City. He had just watered a potted dracena plant. He wondered if his polygraph equipment measure the rate at which water rose in the plant from the root area into the leaf. He attached a pair of electrodes to a leaf and waited to see what happened. The results were startling. Contrary to his the polygraph did not pick up lowered electrical resistance when moisture entered the leaf. it recorded a con- tour strikingly similar to a reaction pattern typical of a human being experiencing emotional stimulation. Questions immediately jumped to Mr. Backster's Was the plant relieved to have Did it feel Wondering how the plant would react to a Mr. Backster decided to burn a leaf. Another startling result. UNDER THREAT The polygraph recorded a pattern similar to that of a human under threat. ac- cording to the it recorded the pattern at the split second the image of fire entered his mind. In a in other the dracena his thoughts. That was Feb. In the almost eight years Mr. Backster has carried out thousands of observations designed to test perception capabilities in fresh fresh fruits and tissue and mold cultures. These observations led Mr. Backster to believe that plants possess the capacity to read and react to the emotions of other creatures. As he continued to work with Mr. Backster made other startling obser- vations. One came to light while he was showing his plants to Pearl a visiting Canadian physiologist. To his great sur- nrica KA fstnnH that in the presence of this his laboratory galvanometer picked up no reaction from the plants at all. He asked the visitor if her research ever involved harm- ing plants. it turned the physiologist all plants she worked with and roasted them in an oven to determine their dry weight. FAINTING This encounter caused Mr. Backster to believe that under something like extreme emotional stress plants can react defensively by fainting. In conversation the researcher is quick to dis- tinguish between what may be inferred from his observations and what can be experimen- tally tested. he thousand observations don't make even one poor ex- periment In the one experiment Mr. Backster has published the winter 1968 edition of the Jour- nal of plants were polygraphically monitored while an automated device in another room of his laboratory ran- domly selected cups contain- ing brine shrimp. The experi- ment showed that the plants reacted instantaneously when the living brine shrimp were dumped in boiling water. Discussing the results of his Mr. Backster is willing to suggest the conclusions toward which they appear to be pointing. They Cellular certainly have observed a great deal that would give me the impression that each cell has an individual con- In the observations suggest to him that individual cells somehow communicate with each other. Intercommunication between plants and other I've touched in the last going-on eight years certainly points in that he states. we've got hundreds of only problem in this kind of he ex- that Mother Nature doesn't want to jump through the hoop 10 times in a row merely because someone wants her to. It's difficult to structure repeatable ex- periments something that's going to harm its well-being is about to Mr. Backster plant goes into a protective stance very much like a state of shock or fainting in a person where there's just no reaction whatever. For this we've had to get the experimenters' consciousness out of the to com- pletely automate the Long distance intercom- Mr. Backster told of an occasion when a plant in his office reacted with a of relief as reflected in polygraph readings when the then attending a wedding reception 15 miles decided to return to his laboratory. Mr. who lacks a university has found it difficult to arouse the interest of America's scientific com- munity. Most in what they themselves term remain thoroughly skeptical about the Backster observations. a waste of says Harvard biologist Dr. Otto Solbrig. work is not go- ing to advance science very much. We know enough already about plants so that when someone comes up with something like we say it's quackery. You might say we're he adds. we But Mr. Backster has some low-key supporters in the scientific community. don't regard Backster's work as says Dr. Harold a Stanford Research Institute physicist. way he conducts his experiments is pretty good. It's not the sloppy thing that most people believe who think we said container recycling would work. bottles 8 cans you proved us Thanks to about 300 million beverage bottles and cans from every walk of life didn't get the old heave-ho last year. The cans are being sold back to industry lor re-use and bottles are being stockpiled pending sale to industry. And more than 140 free-enterprise container depots proved that recycling doesn't have to be a tax burden. In container recycling is doing very thank you. So keep it up. And here are a couple of hints for getting faster service at depots. Avoid Saturdays. Try mid-morning or mid-afternoon. And pre-sort containers by kind and size for even faster service. Three hundred million containers that didn't go to waste makes a lot of doesn't PRESENT REFUND PRICES 12 oz. to 80 oz. liquor or wine 5C soft drink 10 oz refillable 5e soft cans and 10 oz non-refillnble 2c 26oz to 40 oz soft drink bottles IOC xllbcna ENVIRONMENT Green's Pop 544 13th Street North Alberta. Phone 328-6177 Ed's Dairy Picture Alberta. 732-4233 Economy Tom Alberta. Phone 345-3455 ;