I’m reaching the breaking point here. The whole goddamned New Age scene is going to make me age prematurely. I was sitting in a restaurant when the person with whom I was lunching picked up a magazine called “New Age News”. On the cover, among the rest of the cagal, were the words “Aura imaging”. I was dismayed that this intelligent person would be taken in by this nonsense, but there you have it. No amount of rationalization could ever convince her otherwise. Not even a refutation of Kirlian photography and assorted pseudo-scientific claims could make her change her mind.

This is where I am going crazy. This person, along with many others I have met, claims to be able to see auras around the human body. There’s a lot of aura-watchers out there who are absolutely convinced that they can see auras (the more gracious ones admit that they do not see colours).

My questions: are they seeing auras because they have grown up with all sorts of crap in their minds about auras and therefore imagine them? Are they all just lying to me? Or do they really see some kind of luminescence around the human body? Is this possible or is it an optical illusion? I know the human body generates a small electric field, but last time I checked our eyes could only see a small band of the electromagnetic spectrum called visible light. What wavelength are auras supposed to be? Is there a widespread visual disorder that afflicts New Agers and makes them see glows and halos around objects? What in the heck is going on?



“For what is myth, but the deconstructive prose of a missing literary critic who lisps?”
–Harry Harrison

Some of them are undoubtedly lying to you, but others likely do see something. Personally, I’ve been able to do it for a few years now, though I don’t consider myself a New Age wacko, nor do I typically enjoy their company. Those folks are just plain weird.

I grew up with astonishingly little “crap” in my mind about auras, and frankly didn’t believe a word of the tripe I had heard. One day, a friend of mine directed me to a metaphysically-related web site that had a kind of “How-to” text file on Aura seeing. I read it, mostly to humor my friend, and tried it, with the intent of mocking him about the whole thing later.

Imagine my surprise when it worked. Typically, I see a sort of smoky hazy around the edges of an object, which grows larger as I concentrate. Colors then grow from the edges of that haze. This is for pretty much all objects, BTW, though the auras of living things are nearly breath taking. I’ll never forget seeing my grandfather’s aura before one of his surgeries. It was just shining in a way words just can’t describe…

Experience shows that anyone can do it–I once taught a room full of people how to do it as part of a speech class. In reference to one of your questions, though, I suppose it might not have been auras that the room full of people was seeing. I suppose it could have been a shared psychedelic experience.

I’m a little bit old-fashioned so I’d like to be able to either hear solid explanations or replicate events when they border on the fantastic. Do you have the address of the web site you mentioned? Or any other means whereby I can replicate your results, without paying for some crummy new age book filled with charlatanry? I’m afraid that I’m as sceptical as they come.


IDIOT, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.
–Ambrose Bierce

I can’t remember the URL off the top of my head, but I should have the file around here somewhere, or at least be able to dig up a copy of it. Would you mind if I e-mailed it to you?

Never mind, found the file at this URL:

Ignore the background theory, it’s metaphysical fluff anyway. Please follow up with your thoughts.

What a huge steaming pile of utter shite!

That is the biggest load of bollocks I have read in I don’t know how long! If you honestly believe that forcing your eyes to create an optical illusion that appears in reacting to the properties of light and how it interacts with the cones and rods of your eyes is actually reading some sort of life-force energy field, then you are seriously deluding yourself!

Just the simple fact that aura colours are the spectral opposite of the object is the biggest giveaway of them all!

Honestly. I can’t understand how simple scientific principles like the Laws of Physics can be so casually ignored just for the sake of a more mystical exotic explanation.

(My grasp of the physics of light is shaky and simplistic at best, but I’m certain I’m on the right track here - help me out, Gurus)

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A Chinese measure of distance is the li… So if a Chinese person saw someone with an aura about a mile wide, and wanted to communicate to the world… he WOULDN’T be able to use the web. He’d have to communicate aura-li.

Sorry. Really.

I dunno.2 people who didn’t know me very well told me,independantly of each other,that my aura was green. Everyone who knows me,knows that is my favorite color. Was that a good guess? I once took a quiz.It asks you roughly 100 questions,then when you figure out the score,it tells you your color. Well,my score came out to be the exact shade of my favorite color!

Actually,we need to hear from Auraseer

Since very few people would say that their favorite colour is “puce” or “indigo”… and I suspect that black or white would be rare… so you generally got about a 1-in-6 chance of someone guessing your favorite colour, sheer random.

As to different people “seeing” your aura the same colour, I don’t know whether there’s a code in there or not – such as:

  • nerdy looking: green
  • football player type: red
  • way overweight: purple

… etc. If there is such a code (probably expressed in more mumbo-jumbo terms than what I put up there), then of course the “aura-guessing” is not random, but is based on physical description.

So you wouldn’t say “football player type”, you’d say, “Enjoys outdoors, active and energetic…” etc.

All of which is to say that there’s a sucker born every minute.

Cecil on auras and Kirlian photgraphy:

I wonder whether we could predict peoples’ aura colors judging by their hair color-- red/ strawberry blonde-blonde hair: greenish aura; yellowish blonde: blue-ish, brunette-black: very “bright”/white-ish? Punk rockers could get into the red-orange range. Catch my drift, any color theory people?

Wow! I just followed the instructions (from that website) for seeing an aura, using an American flag as the subject. Not only did I see the aura creeping out along the edges as I looked, but when I looked away at the pale wall, the aura WAS STILL THERE!
I’m glad I live in a country whose flag has such a strong aura.

I could never sleep my way to the top/'cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up.

Now that you’ve pre-judged, give it a try.

I’m not about to make any claims about what auras are. All I’m prepared to say is that they look pretty damn cool.

I’ll try to elaborate: I know all about retinal burn-in and spectral opposites. I’ve seen that damnable orange, green, and black flag more times than I’d have liked. The color images that result from aura-viewing are not the same thing.

Spectral ghosting tends to leave the viewer with more or less obvious results. The colors are blatant and easy to distinguish. The auric (is that a word?) colors are much more subtle, more suggestions of color than actual color–tinted air is the best way I can describe it. My descriptions are woefully inadequate, and I suggest you try it yourself to see what I mean. It’ll take less than five minutes, and then you can have a basis for your auric cynicism.


My grandfather had black hair, and his was a very bright yellow.

Your sarcasm, though, is noted.

(Sigh) Sorry about the triplet of posts, folks, but simultaneous postings being what they are and all…


You’re doing it wrong if you’re experiencing burn-in. You have to look past the object, and not directly at it. It’s tricky–you have to almost focus on two things at the same time, the edge of the object and the wall (or what have you) behind it.

It is really simple to convince yourself whether or not this is a real phenomenon or just self-delusion.

Find a situation where you can hide a few friends behind a wall that you can see over. For example, if you work in a cubicle farm you typically can see over the cubes but can’t tell if someone is in them. Look for the aura sticking out over the top of the cube wall. Make sure you don’t fool yourself by knowing which cubes are occupied ahead of time - have your friends roll a die or something to determine their location and not tell you. Repeat a few times and you’ll see if you are seeing a real aura or if you are just feeling good about seeing auras and fooling yourself.

Of course, you can make a much more sophisticated version of the experiment if needed. Be assured that if your experiment succeeds you can win a million dollars from someone who is looking for exactly this type of proof of ‘supernatural’ events and abilities. Good luck.

Just a couple of random thoughts:

If human give off a certain amount of energy, why isn’t it possible that this energy could be visible to some, and not to others? And not due to any “New Age” phenomenon, but simply due to some scientific or biological difference that we haven’t discovered yet? Certain animals see things differently than we humans do; why couldn’t it be possible that some humans see things differently than other humans do?

As for the different colors – flames give off different colors, particularly if there are chemicals in the flame, so why not auras? Each person’s chemistry may be a bit different (isn’t that what sexual attraction is all about? :wink: ), accounting for differences – but not wide differences, since there seems to be a fairly limited range in chemistry and color – in perceived aura color.

And I’m a redhead, and have been told recently that my aura is white, with a gold lining or outline. Never have seen one, myself. Never really tried, either, for that matter.


I tried it and it worked. I have to admit that I was not surprised. “Looking past the object” as SteveCRC put it is kind of like looking at a stereogram. I can’t see anything real clear, but I suppose that will come with practice.

With all this said, GuanoLad, shut-up or try it. Obviously you did not even attempt it. If your belief systems are so rigid that they force you not to try it, don’t think of it as a new age thing. Just think of it as an anomoly of the eye.


Gasoline: As an accompaniement to cereal it made a refreshing change. Glen Baxter

Dang! Meant to add:

People used to make fun of those who theorized that germs existed, too. After all, you couldn’t see 'em!