A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies

reader comments: E-rays

18 Sep 1998
The claims about Erdstrahlen are closely related to the claims of Wasseradern, which could be translated as "water veins". Water veins are said to be the paths that groundwater runs in. They are said to be responsible for cancer, insomnia, and several other illnesses, especially when they cross under your bed. Wasseradern emit E-rays. Roads where accidents occur more often than elsewhere are found to be strongly "E-ray emitting". Certain animals can "feel" these E-rays. Cats for instance would never lie down where E-rays occur; bees are attracted to these places. And so on.

The claims about Erdstrahlen and Wasseradern are indeed very popular in Germany and the German-speaking countries like Austria and Switzerland. "Wasseradern" have a tradition of some hundred years, whereas "Erdstrahlen" seem to be connected to the 20th century. At least I found no older source.

It is interesting that almost everybody [in Germany] knows about things that do not exist. Ask anybody about Wasseradern and Erdstrahlen, everybody has heard about it and accepts it as a fact. Ask them about what groundwater really does in the ground, and no one will be able to tell you.
Heiko Diekmann, Hamburg, Germany

reply: There are many people everywhere who know about things that do not exist. Psychologist Thomas Gilovich wrote a book about them called How We Know What Isn't' So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life (New York: The Free Press, 1993).  I highly recommend it.

larrow.gif (1051 bytes) E-rays


All Reader Comments

This page was designed by Cristian Popa.