E-meter Designed for Psychiatrists
The E-meter is a device that has been used in Scientology auditing since the early 1950’s. In effect, it is a crude lie-detector. The meter is attached with wires to two ordinary soup cans which are held by the person being audited. A small electrical charge is sent through the body while a needle on the meter registers the electrical resistance in the body.
While Scientology claims that the meter is detecting engrams (recordings of past events stored in your mind) or Body Thetans (disembodied spirits of alien beings who were blown up in a volcanic explosion 75 million years ago) in reality the meter is reading small changes in skin moisture and the pressure applied to the cans.
For many Scientologists, the e-meter gives “scientific proof” that Hubbard’s technology works. This expensive electronic device has become virtually indispensible to the rank and file members of Scientology. Purchasing your own meter can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Many believe that L. Ron Hubbard invented the e-meter. The very name is short for Hubbard Electropsychometer.
But the earliest e-meter used by Hubbard were Mathison e-meters named after the man who actually invented the device, Volney Mathison. Hubbard licensed the e-meters from Mathison in the early 50’s.
Scientologists might be surprised to learn that the e-meter was originally designed for use by psychiatrists, a group which L Ron Hubbard taught his followers to abhor.
In this magazine ad, Dr. Claude Wm. Chamberlain, MD, proclaims “What the electrocardiograph is to the heart specialist and the x-ray to the surgeon, the electropsychometer is to the psychoanalyst.”
In a related article in the California newsmagazine, Fortnight, it was disclosed that inventor Volney Mathison’s earliest e-meters used ordinary kitchen scouring pads in place of soup cans.
In 1963, the Food and Drug Administration raided Scientology’s headquarters and confiscated all of Scientology’s e-meters, charging Scientology with practicing medicine without a license. Later they were returned with the caveat that Scientology place a label on them which explicitly stated they were not to be used for medical purposes.
Since then, Scientology has referred to the e-meter a “religious artifact.”