Interview with Marsha Adams
By David Jay Brown
Marsha Adams, at the Time Research Institute in San Francisco, developed sensors that measure low-frequency electromagnetic signals, which, she says, allow her to predict earthquakes with over 90% accuracy. Adams set up a network of electromagnetic sensors along some of the major faultlines in California, and from the input she receives–which Is analyzed by specialized computer software–she issues weekly earthquake forecasts. Adams suspects that low-frequency electromagnetic signals-created by the fracturing of crystalline rock deep In the earth along fault lines can have biological consequences, and that her instruments are picking up the same signals that sensitive animals do.
As a result of this technology–which is supported by private subscription, not public funds–Adams says that her system makes unusual animal behavior observations obsolete. However, since It has not been clearly determined what it Is that the animals are picking up on, complete confidence in the electromagnetic sensors may be premature, and Adams’ 90% accuracy claim hasn’t been confirmed by an Independent study.
As part of my research with Dr. Rupert Sheldrake we subscribed to Adams’
earthquake prediction service for four months. Since there weren’t any earthquakes during this period we can’t confirm her accuracy rating.
However, she didn’t make any false predictions. Adams’ work deserves more serious attention, and further support for her belief Is provided in the section below on electrical field theory.
This interview with Marsha occurred in 1997.
David: How did your career focus switch from biological research to studying earthquakes?
Marsha: When I was doing research at Stanford Medical School I had some experiments that I couldn’t repeat, and some variability in the data that I couldn’t explain. I was using chick embryo hearts– from four day old chick embryos. These embryos were so tiny that had to be dissected under the microscope. We actually had to anchor the hearts with human hairs to string gauges in the basement of the building, because the vibrations from being on the upper floor of the building would swamp the effects that we were looking for, which was the contraction of these little hearts.
At about three to six days a chick embryo is nothing but really a blood spot with a little pumping heart. So, we were looking at how cardio-active drugs work, and we were testing drugs are used on the market today, and were in use then. Some of these drugs were supposed to stimulate the heart, and from time to time we would have days were the drugs didn’t stimulate the heart, and we couldn’t figure out why. I essentially dismantled the laboratory, and put it back together again, thinking, gee, maybe the stock solutions were bad or something of that nature. I even got as far out as thinking that the air solution that we bubbled through-an isolated muscle preparation– to oxygenate the muscle had settled out, and that the heavier carbon dioxide had gone to the bottom.
But that’s really grasping at straws, and nothing I could do would change that. Sometimes they just simply refused to work. But if I sat around long enough they would start to work again. It’s kind of like when your car doesn’t work right, and you take it to the repair shop, and all of a sudden it works fine. It’s the same type of phenomenon. If I sat around long enough the experiment would start to work again.
So after going through several episodes of this I began to wonder what was going on, and I came to the conclusion that there was something in the environment that had a very strong effect on biological processes that we biologists were not accounting for in our experiments. I became very curious as to what that was, began reading up on it, and came to the opinion that the most likely candidate would be low frequency electromagnetic fields. I became more interested in so-called control experiments, looking at the variability that you get when you do nothing to a biological experiment– looking at the variability that just occurs anyway.
David: How did you study that?
Marsha: I studied it in several different ways. I started collecting large data bases, at both the micro and the macro end of things, if you will. One of the other things that I did when I was at Stanford was animal surgery, and I experienced the same things with that basically.
On some days you’d see a lot of bleeding, and other days you’d see like no bleeding at all, even repeating things in the same animals. So I started collecting large databases. I collected 10,000 cases of surgical bleeding. I collected some human behavioral data eventually. I looked at crime statistics. I looked the incidence of deaths. I also looked at something called the humaticrit– which is the percentage of red blood cells in the blood– and looked at day-to-day variability.
While I was collecting these databases my plan was to– and I did-correlate these with a lot of commercial, and not commercially, but federally available data sets of solar terrestrial data. But in the mean time I was giving an in-service at a clinic. I left Stanford and became the research director of a medical clinic. I was giving an in-service to the staff there, and said, gee, you know it’s kind of strange that…
You remember last Thursday, when we had that high amount of bleeding?
This was followed by an earthquake. Isn’t that curious?
And they saw that that wasn’t all that happened. We noticed that the patients were having more allergic reactions to the drugs, and there even seemed to be a lot of chaos in the operating room. The doctors were dropping instruments. The patients were hard to manage. They were emotional. So and so forth. And they said, gee, we think we can predict earthquakes by looking at the behavior of the operating room. So I said, well, if you think you can, you tell me the next time that happens. When it happened again they told me, and sure enough another earthquake followed.
So with that I started to become more interested in looking at earthquakes, and including them in the data that I was screening and collecting at the time. “One of those days” is what would happen. So people became very interested having a place to report when they had some of the symptoms. And these were very clear symptoms. This was not psychic. It wasn’t intuitive or anything of that sort. It was just clear malaise basically. People having headaches and acting irritable. That’s when I started looking at the crime statistics and things like that.
David: What did you notice about the crime statistics?
Marsha: I did a lot of statistics screening. I think it was probably about at least six weather variables, and six geophysical variables. I found that correlations were easy to find. I think there were about twelve crime categories. I was particularly interested in the violent and spontaneous crimes. I found routinely that although the crime levels seemed to correlate with weather variables, the correlations to the geophysical variables, like the geomagnetic index, was stronger. And I found correlations to the geophysical variables more often than with the weather variables, with which we’re more familiar.
And I did look at the incidence of earthquakes with regards to these data sets. Not as thorough as I would have liked to, but there was some indication that there was a connection there too. Seeing that both the medical data bases, and some of the human behavioral data bases, seemed to reflect odd activity at around the times of earthquakes, kind of stoked the fire, as far as my original hypothesis being correct of something electromagnetic in the environment. I came to the idea that there was probably a direct connection between the electromagnetic environment and earthquakes, and that earthquakes might even be contributing to the measurements that people make, which were thought at the time to be just strictly of solar origin.
David: What was the sample of people that you were using then? Was this just the people at this medical clinic, or was there a larger sample?
Marsha: Well, it started out with that, and one day I ended up with much more. I kind of straddled this medical clinic job and SRI at the same time. During the transition I worked at both places for awhile. I was on the governor’s earthquake preparedness task force, and the head of the task force had become familiar with my work. He was impressed by it,