Professor Alfred De Grazia, the late Prof. Emeritus of Chicago, passed away in July this summer; he was 99 years old.
I’m going to be re-presenting his writings here for you to read, adding my own abstracts made using tools from JKU.
Since even his short books are still long when posted into a blog, I’ll present to you, my readers, a chapter or a part of a chapter at a time. Tonight’s excerpt
is from the Lately Tortured Earth, Chapter 5, Electricty.
“Tertullian, an early Christian apologist, came to the attention of
a contemporary physicist delving into the occult, and he, J.
Ziegler, has supplied us with this quotation which can
introduce this chapter and the next:
The philosophers know the distinction between common
and mysterious fire. The First that serves man’s use is
one thing. The fire that ministers to the judgement of
God is another, whether flashing the thunderbolts from
the heaven or rushing up from the earth through the
mountain tops. For it does not consume what it burns,
but, even while it spends it, repairs the loss. So the
mountains remain, ever burning; and he who is touched
by fire from heaven is safe – no fire shall turn him to ashes.
Lightning expresses only a small fraction of electrical
processes. Electricity is everywhere. It presents itself in the
smallest particle and, some of us believe, commands the
behavior of every remote galaxy of stars. It is part and parcel of
every natural transaction. Perhaps it is the hunger of protons for
electrons that initiates all natural behavior, whatever the scale
Earth scientists have been reluctant to admit electricity to their
domain. There is a confined interest in “hard” lightning, taken
over by metereologists now, and geophysics must trespass
upon nuclear physics in connection with chemical bonding and
radioactivity. Historically, earth scientists have led the parade
of debunkers when meteoroids were reported to fall or when
lightning took unusual forms. Of course, when geologists stood
upon mountain tops and St. Elmo’s fire flowed from their
beards and hammers, they could not well deny this “god’s fire”
of the ancients . But one searches in vain for a treatise on St.
Elmo’s fire, one of the oldest and most fascinating phenomena
In fact, there exists no treatise on the full range of electrical
behaviors related to geology. This universal presence of
electricity in geological events does not excite systematic
attention, no more than it has in astronomical events up to the
present. If one seeks a rational explanation for this neglect, it
may lie in the unreadiness of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and
atmosphere to display their electrical history, letting the
electrical be considered transient and superficial.
If one seeks non-rational explanations of an ideological or
psychiatric sort for such avoidance, it may be in the quixotic or
miraculous appearances of electrical phenomena. Bordering
upon the religious and the occult, these set up psychological
resistances among “hard” scientists. As we shall see, even the
famous subject of lightning, which can hardly be ignored, is
little understood. The latest literature on lightning is still at the
state of trying to survey its extent and intensity, and not even
its forms are classified.
The ancient Etruscans thought that they could discern eleven
different types. So wrote Pliny, but a modern Etruscan expert,
Rilli, says that they recognized thirty kinds of lightning .
Ancient sources that refer to fire often are speaking of
electricity, “god’s fire.” Applying the modern meaning of “fire”
as combustion and conflagration, one cannot comprehend their
outlook. To early theologians and philosophers,”fire” meant a
set of qualities exhibited by the “aether”, loosely translated as
“air”, and when “air” was considered a basic element of
existence, electrical phenomena were deemed to be integral
The large importance given to electrical phenomena in ancient
times, drives us to believe that their manifestations were much
more in evidence. Furthermore, although there are a few
indications that the Egyptians may have employed wire on
occasion to transmit electricity, unquestionably they were
preoccupied with electrostatics, the exploitation of the generous
and ready electrical potentials of the ground atmosphere. This I
have discussed in my study of Moses.
Lately, the ionization of the atmosphere has come to be studied.
Even the ground beneath our feet has come to be conceived as
a conveyor of waves of numerous types, ranging from the gross
seismic tremors that topple whole cities to the delicate motions
of the wire in the hands of dowsers in search of underground
water . Ions are electrified particles; they affect the growth,
fibres and nervous system of plants, animals, and humans in
ways mostly unknown . Many students think that an
abundance of negative ions in the atmosphere produces a sense
of well-being, but that “excessive” positive ions provoke
depression, irritability, and illness.
The Earth’s surface contains a charge; it too is unknown in
extent and effects . The charge is called negative originally
because it is of the kind that comes from rubbed resin, and
conventionally because it comes from the ground. On a clear
day an electric potential of about 100 volts per meter of height
occurs. The charge of Earth tends to persist in the absence of
exoterrestrial intrusions, employing the lower atmosphere as an
insulator. The charge in our opinion, will have varied greatly
over the human past. Then its variation, as well as its
constancy, must have had significant effects upon human
behavior and ecology.
The Earth may have presumed once to have been in the grip of
a constant heavy charge, for reasons that will unfold below and
are also treated in Solaria Binaria. It began to lose this charge,
both gradually and in series of catastrophic discharges. Today,
solar flares excite large surges in the flow of charge from upper
atmosphere to ground. Too, thunderstorms may be principally a
method of balancing the atmosphere-lithosphere equation by
releasing ground electricity .
There persist certain phenomena that may reflect this decline of
charge. All over the world there are pathways that were worked
out mysteriously (part instinctively and part deliberately) by
ancient men and that are followed today. Michell has sought
out the English paths especially. He shows that they are often
not the shortest way between two points . Rather they have
seemingly pursued geodetic “power lines” which thereupon
developed as religious routine, ritually followed. As with many
customs, people follow behavior that originally had a perceived
and sound meaning.
Waterlines have been explored successfully by following the
cues provided by traditional water-dowsers. It may well be that
underground water moves along paths which are electrically
distinctive. In other cases, it may emulate the course of
lightning that once travelled along root networks and also
fractures formed by lightning. Seismic fractures also are
important conduits of water.
Lightning has been used as a kind of naturally-provided
instrument for studying the electrical nature of the ground.
Aside from numerous ancient observations along these lines, a
few modern studies exist  to indicate that soils of high
conductivity (e.g. marshes) are lightning-prone; that ironstone
outcrops attract lightning; that strata discontinuties attract
lightning. So do underground springs; so do areas of high
negative ion concentrations. Masts, lightning conductors, and
buried metal pipes invite strokes.
Experiments by Stekolnikov showed that soils attracted sparks
depending upon their conductivity. Certain trees are strokeprone,
the oak, for example. The variety of effects is scarcely
understood – the fancy dendritic patterns sometimes displayed
underground, the killing of flocks of sheep, the escape
unimpaired of a girl enveloped in lightning flames, the
subsequent death of a man seemingly unaffected at the moment
of stroke, and so on.
In 1977 an American physicist, J. Ziegler, published a study of
the knowledge and uses of electrostatics among the ancient
Hebrews and other peoples of the Near East and Greece .
His thesis, elaborated shortly thereafter by the present author in
a book on the period of Moses, maintained that these ancient
peoples possessed devices for inducing and displaying
electrical effects in their religious practices. The most
spectacular of the devices was Moses’ Ark of the Convenant,
which G.C. Lichtenberg, a German Electrician of the 18th
Century, termed a form of Leyden jar.
The Leyden jar is called an electric capacitor. A metal rod
based upon a metal lining within an insulating (e.g. wood)
vessel will store a charge from the air. When the outside of the
vessel is also lined with metal that is in touch with the ground,
an opposite charge is induced. The potential between the two
poles may accumulate to a level at which a spark will jump the
gap between them. The frequency, brilliance, and power of the
spark or arc (Ark = box = Aron in old Hebrew) depend upon
the size of the gap and the voltage differential that is generated.
The condition of the atmosphere and ground are critical factors.
The higher the box and the wetter its grounding contact, the
greater the electrical effects. That is, the effectiveness and
potency of the devices depends upon local conditions that can
to some degree be manipulated. Aside from this, the general
electrical state of the Earth and atmosphere (including
exoterrestrial influences affecting these bodies) determines the
In an atmosphere where electrical and dust turbulence were
prevalent, as in times of Exodus and other periods that I have
identified elsewhere, and the Earth was discharging at an
effectively higher level than it is today, the incitement of
electric displays without motors, pumps, and wires was easy:
large potential differences continuously presented themselves
for exploitation. Electrical effects became essential to political
and religious roles and were subjects of jealous contention
within and between governments. A full social analysis is
presented in my treatise on Moses; what may be stressed here
is that the existence and activity of such devices evidences that
the Earth was then in a state of heightened electrical activity
relative to modern times.
(more to come….)
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