by L. G. Lawrence Field Manager, Ecola Institute Reprinted from the July-August, 1973 issue of The Round Robin

The possibility of life beyond Earth tends to evoke partisan emotions denoting two extremes (1) that life is unique to Earth, and (2) that it is ubiquitous and abundant throughout the universe. Hints about life elsewhere have been vague, including “organised elements” in meteorites, Martian infra-red spectra implying organic molecules, and the rare non-random radio signals whose reception was claimed by Tesla and Marconi. Yet a psychological readiness to accept extraterrestrial life has emerged to a most profound degree.

Divorced from its science-fiction background by Project Ozma in the early 1960s, the topic is now formally called “communication with extraterrestrial intelligences” (acronym CETI). It was the subject of a top-level international conference held in September 1971 at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory in Soviet Armenia. The meeting was sponsored by the United States and Soviet Academies of Science. Similar interests prevail in private study groups both here and abroad.

Such programs must be welcomed in behalf of all mankind. For interstellar communication with other, highly advanced cultures might well determine human progress and survival. Thus, by inference , CETI emerges not only as the greatest adventure of mankind, but also poses a colossal challenge to systems engineering.

It remains an unfortunate fact that the majority of ambitious CETI programs continue to be aligned with the somewhat obsolete theories and hardware of radio astronomy. This is a serious drawback for several reasons: (1) local inadequacies in interstellar communications technology and humanness are imposed upon a given extraterrestrial society (prompting it to lose interest in us), and (2) we must be aware of the pre-eminent possibility that Type II or ill civilizations – whose worlds were old when Earth was young-no longer employ electromagnetics-based communication technology due to obsolescence. The latter assumption is defensibly supported by the fact that terrestrial radio astronomy, in its 40-year-long history as an electronics-based science, has failed to detect intelligent, non-Gaussian signals from deep space.

A somewhat better, more promising outlook has emerged as the result of experimental data obtained by our Institute. The inference has been drawn that interstellar communications signals, as presumably are interchanged between peerage groups, are of a biological rather than electromagnetic – nature. If verification tests continue to be affirmative, it will explain the aforementioned failure of traditional radio astronomy.


As one frequently encounters in exploratory research, our CETI-type data was incidental to other work and not sought for. We operate a mobile field laboratory. One of our objectives is the development of non-polluting electronic alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture. Special investigations are directed at behavioral plant electrophysiology and bioelectric phenomena associated therewith. Viable organic transducers have been evolved, profiles of which were given in (1) ELECTRONICS WORLD, New York, October 1969, pp. 25-28, and in (2) ELECTRICAL REVIEW, London,June 2, 1972, pp. 780-81. Composite techniques have been adapted for field research in remote biological sensing (RBS), which allowed discovery of the following phenomena.

On October 29, 1971, 20:30 PDT, while conducting exploratory RBS experiments in Riverside County, California, our field instrumentation’s organic ·transducer complex intercepted a train of apparently intelligent communications signals (tight spacing and discrete pulse intervals) while accidentally allowed to remain pointed at the constellation Ursa Major during a short rest period. The phenomenon prevailed for somewhat over 33 minutes, approximately 30 minutes of which were recorded on tape when the audio monitor drew our attention.

A somewhat similar phenomenon was observed on April 10, 1972, 22:30 PDT, while conducting experiments in the Mojave Desert, California. Other, fragmentary interceptions have been made in the interim. The apparent signals, aside from seemingly growing weaker, appear to be transmitted at great intervals ranging from weeks to months, possibly years. A faint, coherent, binary type phenomenon was noted during aural monitoring’ using equipment such as shown in the accompanying illustration. Intervals between rapid series of pulse trains ranged from approximately 3 to 10 minutes. It is likely that other phenomena have escaped detection, since lack of special facilities and resources precludes routine monitoring at this time.

Because our equipment is impervious to electromagnetic radiation and found free of internal anomalies, the tentative conclusion of biological-type interstellar communications signals has emerged. We also entertain the possibility of an emergency transmission (here directed at peerage societies only), since relatively large power levels of given makeup are required to overcome bioelectric impedances and galvanic network losses inherent in our developmental instrumentation. A two-way transceiving capability has not yet been achieved.

Data contained in our October ’71 tape was accrued via analog DC-to-AC conversion techniques. Here, fluctuating DC signals, as generated by organic semi-conductors in the transducer complex during signal incidence, are made available for direct audio recording by changing DC products into variable-pitch audio patterns. As is customary in analytical telemetry, a local pilot tone was automatically injected into the tape for detecting mechanical tape-speed variations and/or electronic malfunctions, if any. Provisions have been made for synchronous electromagnetic interference monitoring (see illustration).


As a mere audio presentation, the instrumentation tape is unpleasant to listen to. However, as many reviewers concede, a fascinating degree of enchantment tends to emerge after the tape has been played back three or more times, typically over a period of weeks. We ascribe this to psycho-physical adaptation, since individual acuities to the dominant pilot or control tone tend to be attenuated when playbacks are repeated. The audio-frequency envelope peaks out at approximately 5000 Hz and is fairly uniform. The tape contains a short, incremental series of deep, harmonious oscillations resembling nonsense chatter or background modulations. An intelligent character of the overall pulse train is applied by discrete spacing patterns, apparent repetitions of sequences, and highly attenuated Gaussian noise. Arrangements are being made for computer analysis.

Coding formats and nature of signal-emanating domain remain unknown. Reports of similar observations made elsewhere are being solicited.

To preserve physical evidence of what might well be an extremely important historical event for generations yet to be born, a copy of the October ’71 tape has been deposited with the scientific archives of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.


A biodynamic field station designed for interstellar signal interception is shown at bottom of previous page. Principal components are: Organic transducers housed in the TRANSDUCER CHAMBER (4), optical sector recording aids comprised of a NEWTONIAN TELESCOPE (2) and CAMERA (3), excitation and converter systems contained in the ELECTRONICS (9) package, an ELECTROMAGNETIC INTERFERENCE MONITOR (18), a clock-driven SYNCHRONOUS STAR MAP (22) for coordination of signal sources, and the OBSERVER’S NIGHT COT (15).


1.Faraday Tube   2.Newtonian Telescope   3.Camera   4.Transducer Chamber   5,5a. Slow-motion Controls   6. Ascension Drive(s)                       7. Mounting   8. Field Recorder   9. Electronics   10. Tripod   11. Ground Spike   12. Remote Controls   13. Headphones   14. Headrest w/Pillow   15. Observer’s Night Cot   16. Optical/Biodynamic Target Axes   17. Celestial Object;Domain   18. EM Interference Monitor   19. RF Incidence   20. Mounting   21. Connectors   22. Synchronous Star Map w/llluminator   23. Mounting



l. Brophy,JJ. andj.W. Butterey, Organic Semiconductors, Macmillan New York, 1962.

2. Gutman, F. and L. E. Lyons, Organic Semiconductors, Wiley, N.Y., 1967.

3. Hollaender, A. (ed.): Radiation Biology, (Vols. I, II, III), McGrawHill, N.Y., 1959.

4. Jensen, W.A. and L. G. Kavaljian, Plant Biology Today, Re: “Electron transport Systems in Plants”, 2nd ed., Wadsworth, Calif., 1967.

5. Sinyukhin, A.N. and V.V. Gorchakov, “Role of the Vascular Bundles of the Stem in Long Distance Transmission of Bioelectric Impulses,” Sov. Plant Physiology, 15:3, pp. 400-07, May:June, 1968.

6. Backster, C., “Evidence of a Primary Perception in Plant Life,” Int. ]. Parapsychol., 10:4, pp. 329-48, Winter 1968.

7. Audus, LJ., “Magnetotropism: A New Plant Growth Response,” Nature, 185,January 16, 1960, pp. 132-34.

8. Hayden, R.I. et al, “Electrical Impedance Studies on Potato and Alfalfa Tissue,”]. of Experimental Botany 20:63, May, 1969, pp. 177-200.

9. Stem, K., “Die Elektrophysiologie der Pflansen,” Springer, Heidelberg, 1924.

10. Bures, J, et al, “Electrophysiological Methods in Biological Research,” Academic Press, N.Y., 1967.

11. Lawrence, L.G., Electronics and the Living Plant,” Electronics World, October, 1969, pp. 25-28.

12. Cameron, A.G.W. (ed.) “Interstellar Communication,” W.A. Benjamin, N.Y., 1963.

13.Drake,F.D., “ProjectOzma, “Physics Today, 14.4,April, 1961,pp. 40-42, ff. .

14. Kraus,J.D.,”Radio Astronomy,” McGraw-Hill, N.Y., 1966.

15. Ibid, “Extraterrestrial Life: An Anthology and Bibliography,” U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., Wash. D.C., 1966.


This article was sourced from the Journal of Borderlands Research VOL LII, Number 1, First Quarter 1996.

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