On my morning bike ride there’s this great house among the glimpses of suburbia that I get from the bush track. It looks so bizarrely out of place among the brick veneer and fake Federation that I can’t imagine what its builders were thinking…

Violet Towne doesn’t quite understand why I’m so enamoured of it, but then she doesn’t see it like I do…

WooWoo Beliefs – A TCA Educational Series: Episode #5

NOTE: I have replaced the images in this post after a legal challenge from Dr Emoto’s office, on the basis of intellectual property violation. You can read about it here. I note that images of Dr Emoto and his water crystals appear widely across the internet on sites that are supportive of his ideas. I leave it to you to make a conclusion about why he objects to them on my site…

Water Man

This is Dr Masaru Emoto. You might remember that some time back I had cause to mention Dr Emoto in relation to the improbable H²Om ‘vibrationally charged water’, for whom he may or may not have been some kind of spokesman.* I promised in that post that we’d examine him in more detail at a later date, so here we go.

Dr Emoto believes† that human emotions, through speech or thought, effect the behaviour of water, particularly the way water crystallizes.

To put it in the very simplest of terms (and trust me, there’s not a lot more to it than simple terms): if you think bad thoughts at water while it’s freezing it will make ugly crystals, and if you think good thoughts it will make pretty crystals. Does that sound daft? Yeah, well by any sensible yardstick, it pretty much is.

Dr Emoto has also come to the conclusion that even just the words that we use to convey certain emotions and ideas will affect water! He maintains that simply writing words on the containers used to freeze water will influence the kinds of ice crystals it makes. These are similar to some of the examples to be found on the Hado‡ website (a comprehensive archive of Masaru Emoto’s ideas):


Yes, that’s right – just the written words for the French, Japanese and English language expressions for the concept of ‘thank you’ create crystals as expressively different as those in these pictures. Remarkable! And is it just me, or does the French ice crystal look flamboyant and florid, the Japanese one precise and elegant and the English one ugly, coarse and ill-defined – classic, banal racial stereotypes. I bet ‘danke’ would turn out angular and severe, with no sense of humour.

Dr Emoto, by his own admission, is not a scientist. In his ‘experiments’ with water crystallization, he has suggested that photographers use their aesthetic discretion when choosing examples that endorse his ideas. As far as science goes, then, this is something more akin to an art excursion.

What’s wrong with Dr Emoto having a charming little eccentric idea about water caring what we think about it? Well, the problem is that Emoto’s notions have been picked up by just about every lunatic in existence who has some kind of ‘water therapy’ as their cause, and then been advanced by those people as science, either directly, or just by the omission of salient details. If you were unfortunate enough to have endured the inane ‘What the Bleep Do We Know’ you will have seen exactly how Dr Emoto’s ideas are advocated: breathless slack-jawed wonder, without a shred of critical analysis (or even just common sense) in sight. Merchandizers like H²Om, who are selling nothing more than purified water, are quick to flaunt Emoto’s convictions (if it suits them) and homeopaths from here to Asheville NC, who are now clutching at anything that remotely even looks like a straw, are hitching their implausible beliefs to Emoto’s fantastical star.

And, as eccentric and, well, Japanese, as Dr Emoto comes across, it’s hard not to like him. Reading through his website you get the idea that he’s just a nutty old geezer who’s had way more attention than he should have, for an idea that is childlike and appealing in a very undemanding way. Hado is a cute, wide-eyed, uncomplicated view of the way things work – the ‘Hello Kitty’ of science.

Sadly, credulous people with little grasp of what science is actually about find the allure of Dr Emoto’s magical thinking all too seductive, and without even casually examining his process, take seriously what should properly be viewed as a quirky amusement.

As a parting thought, you might like to read Dr Emoto’s Happiness Poem at Hado. Its innocent pining for a simple solution to everything that seems ‘wrong’ with the world (by ‘fixing our broken relationship with water…’) bespeaks a guileless mind that does not want to concern itself even slightly with the complexities of the way things actually are.

If only it was that easy.


*It was kind of hard to tell. The makers of H²Om seemed to want to simultaneously align themselves with, and distance themselves from, Dr Emoto according to the usefulness of the context. A bet each way, it would appear.

†For a change, I really think that Dr Emoto is someone who genuinely does believe what he says, misguided though he may be. That puts him in a very obvious class of people, in my book – he’s just batty. He’s not as shifty and conniving as Jasmuheen, nor as smugly manipulative as Rael.

‡’Hado’, to rhyme with ‘shadow’ – apparently from two Japanese ideograms that mean wave and move.


Tetherd Cow Ahead Presents: The Baffling Bible
Episode #1: Idle Hands

David Plays with his Hand

Consider the following:

•What was God doing dispatching evil spirits? Could that be considered a demarcation issue?

•How are we to understand Samuel’s second use of the word ‘came’ in the context of the evil spirit and Saul?

•Is the word ‘prophesied’ a euphemism as used here? What might be a more descriptive word?

•What are the possible consequences of prophesying in the midst of the house, as opposed to doing so in a room out the back with a lockable door?

•Who actually ‘prophesied’ – Saul, the evil spirit, or God?

•Whose hand was David playing with – his own or Saul’s. Or the evil spirit’s? Discuss the implication of each option.

•Give examples of ‘other times’ when David has played handsies. Include references.

Stay tuned to Tetherd Cow Ahead for more startling moments of clarity from the Good Book!


*The Bible: King James Version


In Comments on the previous post about Julian Doyles forthcoming ‘Chemical Wedding’, JR made a remark that reminded me of a film that I saw quite some years ago – a cinematic treasure that I feel is my duty to introduce to all my devoted Acowlytes. Running with the tagline A Corpse is Bait in the Trap of Terror!, Michael Findlay’s Shriek of the Mutilated (1974) is a work that makes Plan 9 From Outer Space (a film widely held to be ‘the worst of all time’) look like Citizen Kane. Sure, there are many, many bad films – miles of wasted celluloid that is boring and incompetent and just plain unwatchable – but films like ‘Shriek’ fall into a very special category: Cinema that is so bad that it is entertaining.

I first saw SOTM sometime in the mid ’80s on late night tv, after I’d come home (relatively) early from a dull party and warmed up the tube to see what was on. A scene of a man attacking a woman with a broken gin bottle flickers into view, lots of slashing, lots of very fake-looking blood. Ho-hum. The man makes his way to the bathroom and fills up the tub, inexplicably climbing in fully clothed. Hmmm… I stay my hand from the off switch… Meanwhile, we find that the woman, lying ripped and bloodied on the kitchen floor is not dead. Slowly, painfully, she grabs the cord of the toaster, pulling it from the bench above and with her last remaining strength pushes it with agonizing effort down the corridor and into the bathroom, where she lobs it into the bath thereby electrocuting the man to death.

Awwright!!! I’m hooked! This couple has a toaster on a fifty-foot extension cord! With shameless disregard for the laws of reality like that at the fore, the film was plainly a work of genius! I fired the VHS into record (because my sixth sense told me I was watching a very rare event that might never repeat itself), rustled myself up some toasted cheese sandwiches and sat down for the most entertaining late-night movie fare of my life.

JR’s comment prompted me to see what I could find out about SOTM after all these years, and to my immense excitement I uncovered a YouTube vid of a trailer for the film. And, unlike most trailers of the modern era, it actually does capture a fairly true representation of the film you’re going to see, without giving away the best bits! So, without further ado, let’s crank up the Wurlitzer and give you a little taste of the kind of cinematic genius that they just don’t know how to deliver anymore (by the way, this is one of the very few film trailers where you can play ‘Spot the Armadillo’ – watch carefully, it’s cunningly disguised…):

“Sometimes… it almost sounds like… something human…”


*Just one of countless memorable quotes from the film.



The vine unpruned, and the neglected peach,
Droop’d from the wall with which they used to grapple;
And on the canker’d tree, in easy reach,
Rotted the golden apple.

…and here’s wishes for an unsettling and bump-filled night to all my readers.


From yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Darwin’s lord mayor has been found guilty of using stolen council funds to buy a fridge, underwear and a Darth Vader voice distorter.

It was women’s underwear. Mayor Peter Adams also purchased a punching bag. I swear – in my wildest flights of fancy I couldn’t come up with material as good as this.

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