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Mondegreens; new words for old.

jimi hendrix - scuse me while I kiss this guy

Many, many years ago in my infant school days, Miss Evans, my RI (religious instruction; no tiresome PC hand-wringing about the place of religion in schools in those days) teacher overheard me expressing the Trinitarian formula – The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost – as The Father, The Son, in the hole he goes. I wasn’t trying to be funny. I had just attended the funeral of an elderly great uncle, and I honestly thought that these were the words the vicar used as they lowered the old boy into the trench.

Miss Evans thought otherwise, and temporarily banished me to the Dull Boys Bench, which I had to share with Snotty Jarvis and Tubby Potter, permanent occupants and the two dimmist kids in the world. Snotty was so thick that he thought Snotty was his real name and refused to believe that it was really Cyril – and, I suppose, who can blame him? Tubby is still there I think, being totally incapable of ever finding his way off the bench.

Anyway, the shame, indignity and unfairness of my short exile on the numpty table never left me. That it was caused by my RI teacher coloured my attitude towards all things ecclesiastical for life, and even today I get a nervous twitch when I find myself in the vicinity of a vicar.

I didn’t know it then, but I had become the victim of a “mondegreen”.

Introducing the Mondegreen.

A mondegreen is a word or phrase that results from the mishearing or misinterpretation of a statement or song lyric, often with an amusing result.

American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in 1954, in an article for Harper’s Magazine. She explained how, as a girl, her mother used to read aloud to her from Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, which contained a poem called The Bonny Earl of Murray. She was fond of this poem, but was bemused by a character called Lady Mondegreen, who is mentioned just once and never appears again.

As she recalled it the verse went:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

Years later, on seeing the ballad in print, she realised that the poem actually read:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh where have you been?
They have slain the Earl o’ Moray
And layd him on the green.

As she wrote in Harper’s Magazine “The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.”

(Incidentally, she makes no mention of the appalling mental damage which she must have suffered, having poetry read aloud to her at a very young age. Poor thing. No wonder she became a writer.)

As a result of her Harpers article the term gained traction and although not widely used it was adopted by the literary pretentious, who like to display their linguistic one-upmanship by, for example, calling people “quadragenarians” instead of “forty somethings.”

Mondegreens are all around us. Most of us have fallen victim to them and they are a common feature of popular culture, where masses of people have the opportunity to miss-hear a song lyric or a phrase from a film.

One of the best known examples from popular music occurs in the Jimi Hendrix song Purple Haze, where the line “S’cuse me while I kiss the sky” is commonly misheard as “s’cuse me while I kiss this guy.” This mondegreen became so well known that Jimi himself sometimes sang it in place of the original line.

The obscure lyrics of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody are another rich source of mondegreens, especially in my own family. My youngest daughter used to sing “Beelzebub has a devil for a sideboard me” instead of the correct line “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me” whilst I, instead of singing “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all” was convinced the words were “I sometimes wish I’d never been boiled in oil”. I still think that my version is better.

But mondegreens are not just a modern phenomenon.

We’ve all sung the Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to have wondered about the line “Four calling birds”. Calling birds? And why would anyone think they’d make a nice present, whatever they are?

It turns out that the line should actually read “Four colly birds.” The word colly is an old English term literally meaning “black as coal,” and thus “colly birds” would be blackbirds. Blackbirds were a great delicacy in earlier times and would have made a suitable gift. However, as the song travelled around the world, listeners, unfamiliar with the English word colly (and presumably with the practice of actually eating blackbirds) changed it to calling, and so the line became not only one of the earliest mondegreens, but also one where the mondegreen supplanted the original line to become the “official” version.

Often we don’t have to look too far to find a rich source of mondegreens.

In a village not five miles from where I live resides an old farmer who has a rich repertoire of homespun mondegreens. He is one of that breed and generation who enjoyed only a basic education before starting work on the farm at 14. Not that he is lacking in intelligence mind you; he is as sharp as a pin and can get the better of any of us townies in any transaction you care to mention. However, as he rarely reads anything that isn’t a farm calender, there are many words he hears which he has never seen written down. Consequently he is in the habit of replacing any unfamiliar word with something he is more at home with, which of course, leads to some classic mondegreens.

For instance after watching a TV programme about sea life he announced to everyone in the bar of his local pub that octopussys, as he called them, have eight testicles.

On another occasion he informed us that a singer he’d seen at a charity concert had enjoyed a standing ovulation.

But perhaps my favourite – albeit tragic– mondegreen was when he notified us that his nephew had caught cystic vibrator, and complained that it was disgraceful that scientists had not yet found a way of ejaculating people against it.

And that is the power of mondegreens. They can make even a terrible disease sound less horrible, and bring a smile to the lips even in dark times..

So let’s hear it for the mondegreen. Let’s use them whenever we can. And let’s make the world a happier, if slightly more puzzling place.


Nature Doesn’t Need People. . .!

Check out this short but powerful video from Conservation International, one of a series on the same theme called Nature is Speaking.

Moving away from the familiar,emotionally charged images of endangered snow leopards and chopped down rain forests, this and the rest of the series takes an altogther harder line;

Nature doesn’t need people . . . but people need nature.

Julia Roberts speaks as Mother Earth, and one line in particular is especially brutal, socking you in the stomach with a dose of awful reality:

“I have fed species greater than you, and I have starved species greater than you. My oceans. My soil. My flowing streams. My forests. They all can take you, or leave you.”

A must-see for everyone who cares about out planet. And even more so for those who don’t.

Grounding and The Schumann Resonance

The Schumann Resonance is a natural phenomenon that is vital to the well being of all life on this planet. Since time began it has maintained a steady frequency. Recently the eons old modulation has started changing. We have no idea what this will mean for life on earth.

Schumann Resonance diagramSince my book Grounding Therapy: Nature’s Most Powerful Natural Health Secretwas first published I’ve received a lot of feedback, thankfully most of it positive. However, one subject that comes up time and time again is the changing Schumann resonance and whether or not grounding therapy can counter its effect.

Coincidentally the Schumann resonance and geopathic stress is a topic that I’ve been exploring for a future book. However, because it’s clearly something that interests readers right now, and for the benefit of those who have not yet come across this particular phenomenon, I’ve written this blog post. It’s not fully researched; it’s a work in progress to be fully developed in a future book, but it reflects my opinions and findings at the moment. And it is timely and relevant, because if grounding is real earth magic, then the Schumann resonance is the very pulse of the Earth—and it too, may be falling victim to those same bothersome electromagnetic fields that so concerned us in my Grounding Therapy book.

The Schumann Resonance: the science

Like the theory of grounding itself, the Schumann resonance is another very complex area that is not easy for a techno-dunce like me to get to grips with. However, the following is my best interpretation based upon my research so far. I’m sure that any errors or gaps in my knowledge will soon be pointed out to me.

The Schumann resonance was first postulated in 1953 when the German physicist Professor W O Schumann, building on the pioneering discoveries of Nikola Tesla and others, theorised the existence of naturally occurring electromagnetic pulsations or resonances around the earth which were induced by lightning strikes.

According to his theory, lightning hitting the earth discharges electromagnetic energy into the space between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere (a layer of charged particles that surrounds the Earth from a height of about 50km), which acts as a closed waveguide and causes it to vibrate or resonate at extremely low frequencies. These electromagnetic waves created by the lightning travel around the Earth at the speed of light, reflecting and bouncing from the ionosphere to earth and back again in cyclical fashion.

The hypothesis was confirmed in 1954 when measurements by Schumann and his students detected resonances at an average frequency of 7.83 Hz.

When Schumann’s test results were published, a physician named Dr Ankermueller immediately pointed out the connection between Schumann resonance of 7.83 Hz and the frequency of brain waves. Amazingly, a frequency of 7.83Hz is precisely the resonance of human brainwaves in the Alpha state.

Schumann was intrigued and asked a doctorate candidate, Herbert König, to investigate further. König’s work demonstrated that there was indeed a correlation between the so-called Schumann resonance and brain rhythms. He compared human EEG recordings with natural environmental electromagnetic fields and found that the mean frequency produced by Schumann oscillations is indeed almost identical to the frequency of the human brain the alpha state.

Such a happy symmetry captured the imagination of everyone from NASA scientists and CIA spooks to new-age seekers, feng shui practitioners, conspiracy theorists and heaven knows who else, and each has a different take on just what, if anything, this means for humanity. Depending on the point of view, living beings either evolved in this natural electromagnetic environment or were created by some divine intelligence to live in harmony with it.

The new-agers see the frequency as a sort of Mother Earth pulse, a unifying worldwide energy that demonstrates the principle of yin and yang and explains, amongst many other things, how dowsing works. Others incorporate it into earth energy and feng shui work. NASA scientists use it to better understand lightning. The US Department of the Navy has investigated it in relation to communication with submarines. It has been explored as a tool for measuring climate change and weather patterns. More alarmingly, according to conspiracy theorists the US government’s HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program ) is alleged to have used it in an attempt to create a weather weapon!

It may not have escaped your notice that most of the serious research carried out into the Schumann resonance has been for military or government purposes, whilst investigations into its impact upon the well-being of humanity and the planet has been left to more fringe elements, who although well meaning and capable are lacking the serious financial clout of dear old Uncle Sam. Somethings never change.

We’re all Schumann Beings

What we do know is that the Schumann resonance seems to have been surrounding all living things with this natural frequency pulsation since time began. There is also growing evidence that exposure to it is necessary to our well-being. For instance, the late Dr Bob Beck ( asserts that recorded dips in the earth’s Schumann resonances have had strong correlation to the incidences of heart attacks, car accidents, and a general increase in the death rate.

Professor R.Wever from the Max Planck Institute for Behavioural Physiology in Erling-Andechs, built a hermetically sealed underground bunker which completely screened out magnetic fields. Student volunteers lived there for four weeks, during which time Professor Wever noted that the student’s circadian rhythms became disordered and that they suffered emotional distress and migraine headaches. After only a brief exposure to 7.8 Hz (the Schumann resonance, which had been screened out,) the volunteer’s health rapidly stabilized again.

Similar health problems were apparently reported by the first astronauts and cosmonauts, who were no longer exposed to the Schumann waves whilst in space. To counter this, modern spacecraft are said to contain a device which simulates the Schumann waves of 7.8hz, although as far as I know this has never been confirmed by NASA.

Not for the first time it seems that the alternative fringe could be right, and that humankind, indeed every living thing on the planet, depends upon the unfailing, steady, reassuring electromagnetic heartbeat known as the Schumann resonance.

Which makes it slightly worrying to learn that, after eons of time, the frequency of the Schumann resonance is increasing rapidly.

Increasing Frequency

For many years – probably since the beginning of time – this frequency has remained steady at about 7.83 Hz, with only slight fluctuations. But then, in June 2014 scientists at the Russian Space Observing System recorded a sudden spike in frequency to around 8.5 Hz. This led to much scratching of heads. Since then, they have recorded days where the Schumann accelerated as fast as 16.5 Hz. This has got the boffins completely baffled and at first they thought their equipment was malfunctioning, but stringent checks proved that the data was accurate. At the time of writing the frequency is holding at around 13Hz. No one knows what’s causing this intermittent spiking activity, or what the implications are.

The Theories

The causes of this dramatic increase are not understood but there are several theories.

Some scientist believe that climate change is the culprit. They suspect that global warming induces increased lightning activity worldwide, and more lightning generates a stronger Schumann resonance.

Others blame the USA’s HAARP programme, (officially now shut down, but unofficially- who knows?) which was alleged to have been punching holes in the ionosphere.

However many experts now believe that the most likely cause is the increasing level of artificial man-made electromagnetic radiation, which helps to interfere with and mask the natural beneficial 7.8 frequency of the Earth, as part of a wider field interference known as geopathic stress. Geopathic stress is the name given to the disruption of the Earth’s energy fields caused by underground streams, mineral formations, and tectonic faults. It has always been present, but until recently the background distortion caused by such naturally occurring features didn’t pose too much of a threat to the natural frequency.

More recently however geopathic stress has been increasing as our modern civilisation continues to ‘develop’. Sewer pipes, underground services, water and electrical lines, tunnelling and, most insidious of all, our old friends electromagnetic fields (emfs), are all factors which contribute to geopathic stress, and as they continue to proliferate across the globe geopathic stress levels are reaching a point where they seem to be having a significant impact upon the Schumann resonance.

In reality though, no-one has come up with a conclusive reason why the Schumann Frequency has reached such elevated levels in such a short time.

Even more worryingly, no one has any idea what, if anything, the sudden rise means for mankind.

The End of the World – or just a blip?

The fact that we are clueless as to the real cause of the Schumann jump hasn’t stopped every man and his dog from pitching in with theories about what the consequences will be.

They range from the purely down-to-earth (that the SR is just so much static which has no effect on us), to the apocalyptic (that we’re reaching something called ‘zero point’ and the earth’s magnetic poles are about to flip, bringing death and destruction on a massive scale [not so fantastical. Check out this article]), to the metaphysical (that time itself is speeding up, heralding our transition to higher states of being), to the just plain bonkers (that the frequency has been manipulated by aliens to make our brains explode.)

So it seems you pays your money and you takes your choice. We don’t know what’s happening or why, or if it’s going to be good, bad or hardly noticeable.

It may be useful at this stage to pause a while and summarise what we’ve discovered so far.

  • Schumann resonances are natural waves propagated by lightning strikes in the cavity between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere. They are named after German physicist Professor W O Schumann.
  • These pulses circle the earth at an average frequency of 7.83hz, and as far as we know have done so since the dawn of time.
  • 7.83hz is also the frequency of the human brain in the Alpha state.
  • This remarkable correspondence has spawned much speculation about the relationship between the SR and humanity. Some see the hand of the divine, others see evolution at work, others view it as just coincidence.
  • It has been studied and exploited by various government and scientific agencies, not always for purely benign purposes. It has also been incorporated into the work and beliefs of more alternative groups.
  • Whether or not divinely inspired, evidence indicates that exposure to the SR of 7.83 is necessary for optimal human health. When humans are shielded from this resonance their health suffers.
  • Increasing levels of electromagnetic pollution from radio communicationscordless phones, wireless devices, cell phones and cell phone towersas well as electrical wiring, electrical outlets, extension cords, lamps, and other electricity sources mask out the natural SR frequency with probable negative implications for our health.
  • Rising electromagnetic pollution also adds to geopathic stress, which is a combination of man-made and natural frequency interruptions which increasingly disrupt the earth’s natural frequencies.
  • The Schumann resonance, which has for aeons resonated in harmony with human alpha brainwaves at a frequency of about 7.83 has in recent years accelerated way beyond this and at the time of writing stands at about 13hz. Despite many colourful theories, no one has any idea why this happened or, more importantly what it means for life on this planet.

What should you do?

But something is happening. So what, if anything, should we do about it? Unfortunately, bearing in mind the amount of unknowns that surround the Schumann Resonance, good, informed advice is as rare as a good hair day for Donald Trump. But let’s throw around a few thoughts and examine some of the ideas already out there.

You might well decide that as no-one really understands the effects of the Schumann resonance anyway you might as well just ignore the whole thing and get on with something useful. And who could blame you?

You might take the wilder theories seriously and put yourself in a state of grace in readiness for your elevation to a higher state of being, or make yourself a stylish tinfoil hat to prevent the aliens boiling your head. You might even write a strongly worded letter to The President of The United States demanding that he stops tinkering about with our weather. I wouldn’t bet on any of these outcomes being too successful though.

A little less fantastically you might invest in a ‘harmonizer’ such as the qwave, which is said to restore the Schumann resonance in your home by ‘flooding your environment with two healing frequency energies: the Scalar Field and the Schumann resonance.’ Alternatively you could listen to some of the many Cd’s and MP3 tracks which allow you to tune in to the Schumann resonance using obscure musical concepts like ‘binaural beats’ and ‘isochronic tones’.

These devices seem to be popular, but I haven’t tried or investigated them and so can’t endorse them or otherwise. However, they are expensive, and it’s difficult to see how you can protect yourself against a specific threat that might not yet be a threat, and might even turn out to be a blessing. Until we have more information my advice would be to save your money and, if you haven’t already, invest in a good grounding system.

Keep Calm and Stay Grounded

If you’ve already done as much as you possibly can to protect yourself against electromagnetic pollution, then grounding is the only other response that makes sense, given our present knowledge of the Schumann resonance and its effects. If the changing frequency of the Schumann response is harmful, and if electromagnetic pollution is partially or wholly responsible, and because we know that grounding helps protect you against electromagnetic pollution, then grounding yourself is just common sense, especially as we already know that it will also help protect you against the effects of free radical damage, oxidative stress and inflammation.

Anything else at this stage is just pure speculation and guesswork.

Extraordinary Folk

Just spent a wonderful weekend at The Upton Folk Festival held in the lovely little town of Upton on Severn in Worcestershire. So many great acts, all for free.
The highlight of the weekend for me? Take a look at the video of the Beltane Border Morris. As they say on their Facebook pageThink Morris dancing is all bells and hankies and tea with the vicar? Think again. Welcome to the Dark Side of Folk;”
The dark side of folk indeed. As someone else remarked, These guys are like pixies, only scarier. With electrifying music, pulsating, hypnotic percussion, wild shouting, clashing sticks, scary male dancers, high stepping short-skirted female dancers and enough fishnet to supply the Brixham trawler fleet, the performance was more than exciting; it was positively abandoned. The video gives some idea of the unrestrained pagan energy these guys give out, but you really had to be there.
Can’t wait to see them again.
Or indeed for the Upton Blues Festival, the best free blues festival in the UK( 21st to 23 July 2017). I’ll be there. Why don’t you check it out?

Amazon’s Research Assistant

Research imageResearching a new book is not my favorite part of the publishing process. Which is why I am delighted to have found a
little wheeze that makes the job a bit easier. It has actually been around for years, but I’ve only just discovered it, which I suppose enhances my techno-thicko credentials but I don’t care. It doesn’t pay to be too cutting edge; you’re always the first up against the wall in a revolution. Just look at what happened in Cambodia.
Anyway, this concerns the downloading of pdf files from my computor to my Kindle.
When you’re trawling all over the internet during the course of research, you will very often come across a paper or report in pdf. format which contains plenty of interesting information. Being a pdf file makes it easily downloadable, which is great if you want to read it later, at your convenience.
Now, even more convenient is the fact that you can transfer this file from your computor to your Kindle device, so that not only can you read it at your convenience, but you can read it IN your convenience if you want to, as well as in bed, in the shed, on the plane or when you’re driving (just joking!)
In case you don’t already know, in order to do this you connect the Kindle to the computer using a USB cable. The Kindle then appears as a removable drive. Click on its icon to open and you’ll see a set of folders. All you have to do is drag and drop or copy and paste your pdf file into the Kindle’s Documents folder and it appears as an item on the Home page.
The problem is, though, that very often pdfs transfered this way don’t display properly. Usually on my machine the font size is so miniscule that it looks like a series of lines and even at maximum resolution I have to squint like Mr Magoo in order to read anything at all. This is because the pdf is not in a proper Kindle format.

The easier way
Which brings me to that little wheeze I was crowing about at the beginning of this article. It seems that those clever folks at Amazon have already thought of this and have come to the rescue by making it easy to convert your pdf into the proper format.
Here’s how it works.
Firstly you have to make sure that your device is registered with Amazon and has its own approved email address (log on to your Amazon account, go to the Manage Your Kindle web page (Manage Your Device > Personal Document Settings) and set it up.
Then all you need to do is send the pdf to the Kindle email address as an email attachment with “convert” in the subject line and it’s automatically reformatted into Kindle format and sent back to your Kindle.
Easy eh?
photo credit: Business still life via photopin (license)

Keep Calm and Carry On Grounding!

Can Grounding be bad for your health? Some people think so.

Whilst grounding naturally outdoors bare skin to the ground is completely safe as long as you watch where you put your feet and the ground itself is clean and uninfected and not electrically charged, grounding indoors whether by wire and rod-in-the-ground or via your home’s electrical system is thought by some people to be unsafe in some circumstances.
In their view, the problem lies with those bothersome emfs again.

Here, in very simple terms, is the argument.

We live in an increasingly wired world, and EMF emissions, also known as electromagnetic radiation, are all around us. Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones, wireless smart meters and even those possibly life-saving wireless baby monitors fill the air with microwave radiation. (According to PowerWatch, a wireless baby monitor positioned less than 1 metre from a baby’s crib was roughly equivalent to the microwave radiation experienced from a cell phone tower only 150 meters away. Just think about that next time you stick that whiz-bang piece of hi-tech gadgetry next to the little loved one’s head.)

Just as—possibly more—troublesome are the frequencies from your home’s electrical wiring and appliances, especially the modern energy saving types. These generate ‘stray electricity’ which spreads throughout a building and even to other buildings via electrical wiring, ground and plumbing currents, and power lines. It radiates into living and work environments, exposing those inside to potentially harmful electromagnetic fields. Mounting evidence suggests that this ‘dirty electricity’, as it’s also called, has an adverse affect on health.

The problem with indoor grounding therapy according to some, is that by artificially grounding yourself by plugging your pad or blanket into an electrical socket you turn yourself into an antenna and actually attract these harmful stray frequencies to you. Worse still, in certain areas the electrical distribution produces ground current and here you may even pick up stray current back up from the ground outside.

In other words, according to this theory, grounding may do you more harm than good.

But do these arguments stack up?

Although I’m a long time grounding fan I barely know my ohm from my ampere, so I decided to put these concerns to the people at Groundology. Here’s what Seb, who has a background in electrical engineering, has to say. I’ll quote his answer in full, and then we’ll see what we make of it.

“First the question of whether it is beneficial to ground the body in an environment where Emfs are present:
The key principle to understand is that grounding has a shielding effect on the body. An analogy would be a coaxial electrical cable which has a central part carrying a sensitive electrical signal, surrounded by an outer sheath that is connected to Earth.
To get a bit more technical about it…
There are two principle mechanisms by which shielding works: reflection and absorption. When an electromagnetic wave travelling through space encounters a shield, firstly much of the energy is reflected and then secondly some of the energy that is not reflected is then absorbed by the shield. In this context ‘absorbed’ means drained away to Earth.
So yes, part of the mechanism of shielding is that very tiny electric currents flow to Earth. However, even in a relatively high EMR domestic environment, these currents are extremely small.
The exception to this is when someone is physically touching a device that has a high voltage present on the outer case. These tend to be things like laptops, tablets and mobile phones, using badly designed ungrounded power supplies. Apple devices (MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, etc.) are notable culprits, but some other manufacturers’ devices also have the same problem.
When using such devices, I recommend either:
(a) Unplug the device from its charger during use, definitely while you are grounded, but preferably at other times too if practical. (The high voltage is only present when such a device is connected to its charger.)
(b) Ground the case of the device itself, rather than your body (e.g. by placing on a grounding mat) – this will drop the voltage right down and prevent it going into your body.
I must stress that this is about direct physical contact with such devices. There is a huge difference in the amount of current that flows to Earth with physical contact to a voltage source, compared to the mechanism of shielding an electromagnetic wave.

As to the question of whether grounding the body via the mains Earth could actually introduce electrical noise into the body:
This depends a great deal on the quality of the mains Earth and the type of mains system in use. In the US, for example, the mains Earth is a relatively recent introduction and because of the way it has been implemented retrospectively in many buildings, it can carry significant electrical noise. That’s not to say that every house in the US has this issue, but there is a good reason why the US websites selling Earthing products always bundle a grounding rod kit with every Earthing product, as well as the means to connect via the mains Earth.
In the UK however, and other European countries that I am familiar with, the mains Earth is generally of a high quality. By this I mean two things:
(a) it has a low impedance to The Earth, and
(b) it does not carry any return current in the domestic electrical circuit. (Sometimes the electricity supply companies may ground the supply Neutral, but this is always outside of the domestic circuit.)
The only time that the mains Earth may carry a significant voltage is during a fault condition of a connected appliance. This can happen very briefly during the time it takes for the circuit to trip or fuse blow. This is one of the reasons why Earthing products contain a 100KOhm safety resistor – to limit any possible current to a safe level.
One further point which I think is important: while grounding is very effective at mitigating the effects of low frequency EMFs in the environment, it is only partially effective with higher frequency EMFs (such as WiFi, mobile phones, cordless phones, etc.)
While these higher frequency EMFs generally have a lower strength, some people can find them particularly problematic. So it can be beneficial to take practical measures, such as:
– use a wired landline phone, rather than a cordless or mobile, particularly for long calls;
– use a computer connected via a network cable, with WiFi disabled (e.g. ‘Airplane’ mode);
– for devices that can only connect wirelessly, switch to ‘Airplane’ mode when not in use, to avoid the constant WiFi/2G/3G/4G chatter.
Proximity is a significant factor as the EMF strength decays quickly with distance (it’s proportional to the inverse square of the distance). In simple terms, the further you are from the emitting device, the better.  Dense physical obstructions such as walls also attenuate these higher frequency EMFs.

Still with me?  A very comprehensive answer, and one which concurs with the majority of research I’ve done on this subject. Let’s summarise.

Stray (dirty electricity) does not adversely affect the benefits of grounding in a normal domestic environment, and will help protect against it, unless you are actually touching a device that has a high voltage present in the case, in which case you should take the precautions outlined above.

You are unlikely to pick up stray current from the ground outside the house within Europe. There is some risk of this in the US, where the electrical distribution system has developed slightly differently. Therefore the use of grounding rods rather than the domestic wiring system may be preferable, and as I mention elsewhere grounding rods are the favoured option of the purists.

The situation is not quite so clear on the subject of grounding and the higher frequency emfs created by wi-fis, cell phones and cordless phones etc. Indeed, as far as I am aware there has been very little research done on the subject. However the debate over the dangers or otherwise of wireless electromagnetic radiation generally is a long running and wide ranging one which extends far beyond the “grounding” fraternity. The jury is very much out on this issue, and until definitive evidence is produced either way you would be very wise to limit your exposure to this type of radiation as much as possible. My next book “Killing Fields” explores this issue in greater depth.

Until then, take the precautions listed above, and Keep Calm and Carry On Grounding.


Mussolini was a bigoted charlatan who became the dictator of Italy. His arrogance and egoism led his country onto the losing side of World War Two. By the end of that conflict millions were dead, many more were displaced and homeless, Europe was a wasteland and Italy itself was in economic ruin – a situation from which it has never really recovered. Mussolini himself finished his war dangling upside down from a service station roof with a bullet in head, reviled by the public who he had so disastrously mis-led.
This is, of course, history. So why do I mention it now?
Because newsreel footage of Mussolini’s speeches reveals an uncanny resemblance to Donald Trump on the podium. The strutting and preening, the ludicrous facial contortions, the exaggerated hand movements, the alpha-male braggadocio, the ignorance, arrogance, impossible promises, divisive phrases, violent imagery and rabble-rousing xenophobia are characteristics shared by both men, as is the hysterical fanaticism of their supporters.
Let’s hope for all our sakes—including dodgy Donald’s—that the comparisons end there.

Can We have a Genetically Modified Cat Please?

evil cats photo: evil angry_cat.jpg

I have made an amazing, previously unsuspected, discovery regarding animal migration.

It’s well known that lots of creatures have inbuilt, primaeval urges to migrate, or travel large distances.
Salmon have a genetic imperative to return every year to their spawning ground.
Swallows fly south for the winter.
Wilderbeest migrate in their millions to the Masai Mara in late summer.
And now, to add to this list, I have discovered that that every cat in the world is born with the instinctive impulse to make their way to my home and poop on my garden.
I think it’s hard-wired into their DNA.
Far be it for me to interfere with one of the wonders of evolution, but I wish it were otherwise.
For, in the course of their feline ablutions, these four-legged poop machines pollute and poison my ground, and make it dangerous for my grandlings to play on my lawn unless I mine-sweep it thoroughly first. I need to make the same preparations before I can walk barefooted on my lawn, which, as a confirmed ‘grounder’ is bloody infuriating.
A tame robin who used to come and feed at the bird table has disappeared, either scared off by the cats, or worse still, now turned into the same poop that revolts me so much.
These brutes cause my whole garden to be pervaded with a disgusting smell. Any newly dug or prepared patch of ground is fouled as soon as I take my eyes off it. They have destroyed a whole bed of fennel, which they scratched up and replaced with the undigested remains of last night’s Meow Mix. They have even crapped on my shed roof, and on top of netting which I put down to keep the cats off!
I’ve tried everything. Lion pooh, cut-out tin cats with glass eyes (the big ginger tom from over the road is best friends with mine), lemon spray (they just lick it off), one of those sonic things (waste of a good battery) – none of ‘em work.
If you go out and shout at the monsters they just stand and stare you down, and will only run off when you chase after them, which of course nearly gives you apoplexy and shortens your life by half-an-hour every time you do it.
The things that do work have major drawbacks. Little spiky sticks stuck in the ground certainly keep the creatures off, but they are hard work to put in place and make it impossible to weed. A well-aimed lump of mud, either thrown or delivered via catapult, or a good splosh of water are effective direct action deterrents, but of course you have to be there to deliver them, and cats do their most dastardly work at night when you’re asleep or drunk.
Since I don’t have time to look after a big barky dog, that option is out of the window. And, to add insult to injury, domestic cats are protected by law and it is an offence to trap, injure or kill them. So I can forget the shotgun then.
It seems hopeless, but I’m not going to give in.
In my wildest imaginings I dream of some boffin breeding a strain of GM cat which would be genetically engineered to poop only in its owner’s garden, but I know that this is just fantasy.
In the meantime I’m working on a solution.
When I find it, you’ll be the first to know.

Grounding therapy Indonesian style. It’s shocking, and it can kill.

Grounding therapy Indonesian style. It’s shocking, and it can kill.

Indonesian villagers are flocking to lie down on the nearest electrified railway line to cure themselves of all manner of ailments.The craze was fuelled by the story of a man who, in unbearable pain and attempting to commit suicide by lying on a railway line found that the electricity cured him.
Health care in Indonesia is expensive, and these poor folks are desperate to find an affordable way to get relief from illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and arthritis, even at the risk of their lives.
The jury is out on whether or not it can cure you, but one thing is for sure; it can kill you. If the electric doesn’t get you, a train might.
As far as we know, there hasn’t yet been any fatalities, but it can only be a matter of time.
The Indonesian authorites are apparently desperate to put a stop to the craze.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to make affordable health care available to everybody?

My Haydays

Looking foward to the Hay Festival which starts today. Some great artists on, and I’ve  got tickets for Tom Jones (discussing his career with Dylan Jones) and the great Flavia Coelho. Luckily for me it’s only half an hour drive away, but if you can get there it’s always worth going, even if it’s just to absorb the atmosphere. And then there’s always the chip shop in Hay. . .!