Sobel not only discovered these two effects, but he demonstrated, by means of transillumination an effect in the capillaries of the ears and webs of the fingers; by direct observation, variation in the calibre of the veins on the back of the hand; by means of the fluoroscope, alteration in amplitude of the heart-pulsations; by direct observation, movements in the fine reticulations of the skin and changes of shade of coloured pigments when they are rubbed on the skin.


The Committee which was appointed by the I.H.A. in 1922 to investigate the claims of Abrams verified certain effects produced when vials of potentised remedies were brought in contact with a person. We of the Committee concluded that these effects were due to an energy which caused a reaction through the autonomic nervous system. When, in 1926, I demonstrated to Doctor Samuel Sobel that, if an individual is touched with a vial of medicine, a dielectric rod rubbed on his skin is impeded, Doctor Sobel came to the same conclusion. Wishing to test the theory, Sobel requested that no other effects should be described to him, in order that he himself might experiment without prejudice or pre-knowledge, for the purpose of finding in how many other ways the autonomic functions would respond. Somebody had already observed that, when a suitable drug is touched to a person, both his pulse and his pupils are affected.

Sobel not only discovered these two effects, but he demonstrated, by means of transillumination an effect in the capillaries of the ears and webs of the fingers; by direct observation, variation in the calibre of the veins on the back of the hand; by means of the fluoroscope, alteration in amplitude of the heart-pulsations; by direct observation, movements in the fine reticulations of the skin and changes of shade of coloured pigments when they are rubbed on the skin.

I do not know who first observed the effects on the pupil and on the pulse but, amongst all of the effects, these two are the most easily observed and they are reliable for determining the value of any remedy as a similimum. The reason for this is obvious because the pulse and pupils are wholly under autonomic control and, as all curative impulses originate in the autonomic system, a remedy, in order to be curative, must have specific relation to the same mechanism. The important fact in these phenomena is that medicinal substances cause effects through the walls of their containers. Not every drug will cause these effects on every person but every person will respond to certain drugs.


To observe the pupil-effect, one must first find a drug to which the person under observation is sensitive. The homoeopathist can see the effect by using a patients similimum. If he be in doubt between two or more medicines, he can ascertain which is best by comparing their effects on the patients pupils. By testing a large number of drugs, one can be found for any individual.

When making the test, remember the following essential factors: A somewhat darkened room is best but any room can be used, provided light does not shine in the patients eyes from more than one direction.

The subject should be comfortably seated in an armchair facing the least light side of the room and, during the test, he should relax his accommodation by looking toward but not at the opposite wall.

The experimenter should sit close in front of the subject and a little to one side nearby and have some sort of artificial light to be used for contracting the pupils. A goose-neck electric lamp with opaque shade is suitable. The drugs to be used must be near at hand, where they can be readily picked up. When ready, the experimenter holds the lamp about two feet to one side of the subject and turns it so that the light is reflected into the subjects eyes. The pupils will contract and then will expand slightly and come to rest.

When they do come to rest, pick up a vial of medicine and touch it to the subjects hand. If an assistant handle the remedies, he should stand near the subject and, when he picks up the vial, should immediately touch it to the subject. If the patient is sensitive to the remedy, his pupils will dilate. In rare instances, they will first contract and then dilate.

Some subjects have very sensitive pupils which are continually dilating and contracting under the influence of the light. With them it is not as easy to demonstrate the effect but, with perseverance, the drug-effect can be separated from the random fluctuation. Crude drugs, as well as drugs in the highest potencies, cause the effects.

It is an interesting fact that a drug may be lying close by the subject without affecting him but, the moment it is picked up, the effect occurs. If an assistant bring it from several feet away before touching the subject, the pupils will have reacted by the time he reaches the subject and the effect will not be observed unless the experimenter has been alertly watching the pupils from the start. It is really not necessary to touch the vial to the subject at all, but it is essential to move the vial quickly, once the procedure is begun. The effect will be as great if the motion suddenly stops a short distance away. If the assistant holds the remedy behind his back, so that his body shields it from the subject, the energy is apparently blocked and the effect does not occur.

If repeated tests be made with a hundred remedies, the small group which causes the reaction will differ with each test but, if there be one remedy to which an individual is very sensitive, it will come through each time.

In the first crucial test which I made, twelve hundred remedies were used. One test a day was made and about one hundred were tested each time. The pupils responded to an average of six drugs in each test, and these were mixed with the hundred used in next days test.

Thirteen tests were made and the thirteenth test included only the remedies which had come out in each of the previous twelve. In the first twelve tests, half a dozen drugs had repeated themselves three or four times in succession and then dropped out but one particular drug appeared in all thirteen tests. These seeming inconsistencies are not inconsistencies at all. A living thing is not like an inanimate apparatus. It is constantly varying in its responses to external conditions and the energy with which we are dealing is extremely elusive. If the effect is to be produced at all, just the right person from a large number of people and just the right drug from a large number of drugs must be brought together.


At the time the pupils dilate, the colour of the iris changes, usually becoming lighter. It is difficult to see accurately two things at the same instant, so do not undertake to observe the colour-change at the same time that you see the pupil-change; first observe the pupil-change and then repeat the experiment for the colour-effect.

When using the pupil-effect for finding the similimum, retest the small number which come through first. Most of these will not cause the effect the second time. Continue eliminating by retesting until only one is left. Retest the best two or three by means of the pulse.


Both the rate and the quality of the pulse will be affected by the drugs which are most active on the pupils. A remedy which is homoeopathic to an individual will always cause the greatest effect and a nearly homoeopathic remedy will act to a lesser degree. If a patient with a healthy heart has fever with increased pulse-rate, a remedy which is homoeopathic will lower it. If the rate is unnaturally slow, the remedy will increase it. To observe the effect, first note the rate and character of the pulse for purpose of control-data; then touch the remedies, one at a time, to the patients hand and count the pulse for a quarter-minute for each remedy. If the effect be at all pronounced, it will cause a variation of two or three pulse-beats in this period and a change in character of the pulsation. The vial need not be in contact with the patient for longer than a second or two. Often the effect will last as long as forty-five seconds.

Another way to observe the effect on a pulse is to have the drug brought suddenly close to the individual while the pulse is being felt. The one who does this should stand behind the subject where he cannot be seen, with the drug held behind his own body so that it shall be screamed from the subject. When everything is ready bring it up toward the subjects back with a swift swing, stopping suddenly when a few inches away. At the instant the drug is brought near, the pulse will hesitate, sometimes for a half- beat, and then there is a stronger beat, followed by a perceptible change of character, lasting from a few seconds to almost a minute. The effect can be plainly distinguished with the stethoscope or with the fluoroscope. Where the heart is arythmic, it may be difficult to observe the reaction.

The foregoing effects are so definite, so easily observed, that no especial training is required to master the technique for utilising them practically; just a modicum of experimentation.


Another type of effect is revealed by percussion. Anyone who can percuss skillfully for diagnostic purpose can easily adapt his technique to this purpose. These effects are among the most interesting of all. Seat the subject, facing East or West, in an armchair, as described in the pupil-experiment. The experimenter sits in front and at the left side, so that he can easily percuss the upper and outer section of the subjects chest, or he may stand behind, so as to reach over the subjects right shoulder and percuss in front. The assistant stands about five or six feet away, with the vials of remedies on a chair. The experimenter begins to percuss the outer upper chest at the exact point where the percussion-note is between flatness and resonance, the percussion-strokes being continuous.

The assistant now picks up a remedy, steps three or four feet away from the rest of the vials and then lifts it until he has reached up the full length of his arm. During this upward movement, the percussion-note, with an occasional exception, suddenly becomes higher in pitch, the change taking place at different heights for different drugs. The only important drugs in this test are the occasional exceptions where there is no change in the percussion-note. These are always the drugs which cause the pupil and pulse-effects.

These three tests are thus a check on one another and can be used as a check on prescriptions made by means of symptomatology. When using all three tests for remedy-selection, the percussion-method is the most practical to use first and then it can be confirmed by means of the pupils and the pulse.


The foregoing experiments are more like “Alice in Wonderland” experiences then like every-day happenings. Alice awoke from her dream to every-day life, but we wake to find ourselves entangled in these weird phenomena and must attempt to find where they fit into the orderly scheme of nature. Here is an energy with peculiar qualities. What laws govern it? The pupil-effect likens it to light but reveals nothing further. It passes through the glass vials, thus likening it to radiation-phenomena. The pulse- effect indicates that it causes physiological responses but reveals nothing more than its presence.

The percussion-effect is more promising. When the remedy is first picked up by the assistant, the percussion-note has a quality of flatness. As the remedy is lifted, the note becomes higher in pitch. These sounds have been analysed by competent persons. The lower tone is due to a damping effect. The higher pitch when the drug is lifted higher results because that which damped the note is no longer operative. What kind of influence can possibly damp the sound- vibrations caused by percussing the chest when a vial of medicine is picked up and what destroys the influence when the vial is raised three or four feet higher? We must have more data before answering.

Stand the subject at one side of a room, preferably facing East or West; percuss his chest at the point described before. The assistant is at the opposite side of the room with the remedies. When he picks up one, the note (with a few exceptions) is not damped as it was in the previous experiment. Have him move slowly with it toward the subject and the damping suddenly occurs at varying distances, depending upon the drug which is held. In the exceptional cases, the damping effect occurs as soon as the vial is touched or even before, while the hand is several inches above. These exceptions occur with drugs to which a subject is very sensitive. This experiment makes it appear that the one who handles the drug is mixed up with the effect. To settle this question, tie one of the vials to the end of a wooden rod a few feet long. Let the assistant pick up the pole by the other end and move the drug toward the subject. The effect will not occur until the vial is within less than a yard.


The one who handles the remedy apparently functions as a variable condenser. The variable factor occurs in the first experiment when he lifts the hand which holds the remedy and in the second experiment when he moves from across the room toward the subject. In the first, he is close enough to the subject for all of the remedies to cause the damping effect when they are picked up. In the second, he is sufficiently far away to permit only the drugs to which the subject is most sensitive to cause the damping when they are touched.

The subject responds to more remedies when sitting than when standing. After a group of drugs have been tested while he is seated, have him stand and test those which came through and several more will be eliminated. Thus, the distance of the assistant, the position of the assistant and the position of the subject are factors for ascertaining the sensitiveness of the patient to a remedy.

Try this experiment. Take the small group of drugs which have been worked out on the subject; seat the subject at one end of an apartment. While he is being percussed, have the assistant take one of the drugs and walk as far away as he can, through different rooms, always holding the remedy toward the subject. If the remedy is one to which the subject is very sensitive, the percussion-note will remain damped for an indefinite distance, regardless of the walls between. The remedies to which he is less sensitive will lose their damping-effect at a lesser distance. At times, the damping-effect goes but it returns as the assistant gets further away. I have observed the damping-effect to hold when the remedy has been carried as much as two hundred feet away. The effects occur equally with higher or lower dilutions, which leads to the question: “How can we account for the occurrence of such phenomena with dilutions as great as 100th, 200th and higher?” This answer belongs to the future.


The discovery of this energy is not entirely new.

In 1849, Dr. Burk, a French physician, discovered that, when persons with hysterical anaesthesia were touched with certain metals, sensation was restored. He considered the phenomenon highly important and reported it to the faculty in Paris in 1851. For twenty-eight years he importuned the profession to investigate his findings and finally, in 1878, the Societe de Biologie of Paris appointed a Commission who confirmed Dr. Burks observation.

Different patients were affected by different metals and it was found that each patients anaesthesia was permanently cured when a preparation of the appropriate metal was given as a medicine. The observers considered the phenomena to be a peculiarity of the hysterical state instead of a peculiar quality of the metals and the investigation went no further.

Reichenbach, in 1851, claimed that there are emanations from objects such as magnets, crystals, the human body, metallic bodies, etc., which, brought into relation with certain sensitive persons, cause sensory reactions. He called this an odic or odyllic force and believed it to have a negative and a positive phase. Only subjective methods were available to demonstrate this theory so it was accepted by only borderland scientists. In 1867, Dr. Baylies of Brooklyn observed that he had ability to feel the energies of some remedies when the vials containing them were held in his hand and told this to Bernard Fincke; Fincke grasped the reciprocal fact that potentised drugs give off an energy and that some persons have an awareness of this energy.

He sought out such sensitive individuals and made records of the effects upon them caused by drugs held in the hand. He called this “proving by induction”. Neither Baylies nor Fincke had an inkling of any recognized energy with which to compare their observations and their fellow-physicians, although acknowledging these two men to be deep students and careful observers, thought their findings so revolutionary that they lacked the temerity to endeavour to verify them.

A few people have this which we term “awareness” and they can always tell which is the best of several remedies when they hold them in the hand. They all describe the sensation in about these words: “As though the vials were slightly sticky”.

Early in this century, Doctor George Starr White noticed effects when drugs were brought into relation with a person and he showed these effects to Albert Abrams Abrams experimented with the phenomena and evolved his theories and method of diagnosis and treatment.

The above-described tests are the outcome of research which had its inception in the efforts of the Committee appointed in 1922 by the International Hahnemannian Association to investigate Abrams methods. We are only at the threshold of a new science.



CHAIRMAN UNDERHILL: I am sure we have all enjoyed this very interesting and enlightening discussion and I think this type of investigation and study holds great possibilities for the future in regard to new means for selection of the remedy. It is going to be difficult to put homoeopathy in practice for the average person. They dont want to work the old gray matter too hard, but I think the time will come when some mechanical, electrical, or other means will be established to pick out the correct homoeopathic remedy.

We have several members of the Associations who are, I know, informed on this subject and I should like to hear discussion from them. Dr. Grimmer, Dr. Baker, Dr. Olds, Dr. Miller and any others who may wish to speak.

DR. C. R. MILLER: You say that “it will be discovered”. It is discovered. The instrument is made and it is to be had in Chicago. Dr. Ellis has prepared an instrument which we always use in selecting the remedy. I am doing it every day. This method is new to me and new to you, but all the emanations coming from the remedies can be read on a visible scale in front of the instrument. You can see the indicator move back and forth. You put the remedy there and put it near the patient and down goes the scale to normal if you have the right remedy.

It is done by the patients reflexes. The patient is connected with the instrument only on the forehead and in the hand, and the remedy can be put in between the hand and the instrument or it can be brought near the patient. You can poke it at him. You can do it almost any way, or you can take it in one hand and lay the hand on. You can try many remedies, and the indicating finger of the instrument will pick out the right one. Then you can take the concordance and materia medica and satisfy yourself that you have the right remedy. That is the way I am doing it.

CHAIRMAN UNDERHILL: Will this instrument select the potency, too?.

DR. MILLER: It will that is, it wont select the low potency if it is not indicated; if a high one is not indicated, it will select the low one. I have already used the instrument in this way. I have given that medicine and watched in the next day three tests to see whether it was still the right remedy and found that it was not. In some cases it continues to be the right remedy for perhaps two weeks and even longer, and every test you make will still show that that is the right medicine. It will put the vitality up to normal. It will reduce the polarity to its normal condition.

The two tests that we make up are really vitality and the intensity, polarity and intensity. About 40 per cent. of all the people are negative when you put them on the machine. The rest are positive. When you are negative you are not well. I mean by that that you have not sufficient stamina or you are not well enough balanced to be well. You may take a nights rest and you may have a restless night from some cause in your body or from some diseased condition and down goes your polarity, but if you put the patient on the machine and give a treatment for six minutes, the polarity will go back to normal provided you get the right setting from the intensity.

Guy Beckley Stearns