by Joseph Goodavage
Analog Science Fiction
(Original found here: www.svpvril.com/Hier.html)
Nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Georgia are the electronic workshops, laboratory, and home of a lively, witty octogenarian engineer, inventor, and philosopher named T. Galen Hieronymus, the Big Daddy of American psionics. More than any other pioneer in the field, Hieronymus name is as familiar to psionics as Nixon’s to politics. The inventor first came to the attention of John W. Campbell, Jr., in the early 1950s when the late editor of Analog began his investigation and subsequent experimentation with scientifically “impossible” devices — instruments so strange and bizarre that he suppressed his natural skepticism and performed experiments with psionics devices personally. Result: A series of articles in Astounding, kicked off by a typical Campbell editorial — hard-nosed, logical — followed by years of controversy, testing, experimentation, more investigation and even official scientific/military interest in the seemingly endless potentialities of quasi-electronic instruments that could (a) analyze the component elements of an ore sample without spectroscopic, chemical or other orthodox methods and, most surprising of all, (b) influence (even kill) living organisms, even from vast distances, with no scientifically understandable mechanism at the other end.
Campbell investigated. He obtained copies of the patents and constructed his own psionic machines. He experimented extensively and inveigled just about every visitor to his Mountainside, New Jersey home workshop/lab to do the same.
Campbell became a believer.
So did thousands of his readers, many of whom are now themselves experts in the art and/or science of psionics. I have tried to follow in his footsteps: tracking down the patents, talking to the inventors, tracing the history of psionics, examining and photographing the instruments — even going to Oxford to investigate the De La Warr Camera.
The power and impact of Campbell’s personality and intellect profoundly influenced the history and trend of science fiction and was a major factor in shaping the careers of the vast majority of the best-known writers of the genre around today. It was difficult not to be overwhelmed by Campbell. This is why it came as a surprise to me when — after lengthy contacts by letter and telephone with Hieronymus — during the ensuing series of tape-recorded interviews, I began to perceive that the John Campbell I knew had been himself profoundly influenced by the character and personality of T. Galen Hieronymus.
So was I. I was also impressed by his tremendous vigor, good humor and wit:
J.G.: Twenty years ago in the pages of Astounding, John Campbell wrote that psionics would come into its own when a theory explaining how it works was formulated. It’s now almost two decades later. How much has psionics advanced?
Hieronymus: Real progress has been made, of course. But I’d like to quote Wernher von Braun about that: “Old scientists never accept new concepts; they just die. But young scientists grow up in the environment of the new concept and accept it automatically.” For the most part, unfortunately, people who are trained in research of the bioelectric or biomagnetic sort just aren’t being paid to do any. As a result, we’re a little behind Campbell’s chronology, but not much.
J.G.: I understand that you have an honorary degree — a Ph.D., in fact, in physics — why is it that until recently you’ve never publicly used your title? Wouldn’t it have made life easier?
Hieronymus: (laughs) Because like many other inventors, I suppose, Ph.D.s have been the bane of my life. For years I’ve had people trying — in one way or another — to capitalize on the work I’ve done. Right now there’s a new chap with a degree and a tremendous amount of determination who strongly persuaded me to allow him to duplicate all my laboratory experiments. He’s enthusiastic; in fact he’s living right in the lab and workshop going over everything I’ve done during the past 25 years or more, but he’s not generating an original idea. In my estimation this characterizes too many of our Ph.D.s. I know it seems eccentric to some people that I don’t advertise my honorary Ph.D.s, but at my age I’m entitled to a few eccentricities.
J.G.: But surely over the years you must have met many scientists capable of understanding what you’re doing?
Hieronymus: Well sure, a lot can grasp it, but the poor guys can’t help themselves; they’re caught in their own particular binds. The minute they deviate from the beaten path — even by a small margin — they face criticism, even ridicule or ostracism by their peers. This is still a very real and powerful social force. I once put on a successful demonstration of psionics in the office of Dr. Arthur Compton, a university chancellor and Nobel Prize winner in physics. After the experiment, I offered to donate one of my instruments, and even to help train a couple of young, talented scientists to carry on the same line of research I’d been doing. He turned me down flat. I could hardly believe my ears when he told me, “I couldn’t do that. This sort of thing just doesn’t fit in with any of our research programs.”
J.G.: An incident — unpleasant, disheartening perhaps. But, hell — is it all that typical? Do you have some kind of vendetta against academia?
Hieronymus: Not at all. Most researchers are involved in their own little groove and are — quite literally — afraid to look at something real — even when they actually peer over the brink of the physical universe and begin to grasp some of the concepts we’ve found. They’re intensely interested, but are deadly afraid of the opinions of their colleagues — their peers.
J.G.: I think you’ll find more of the less hidebound minds among scientists now than ever before. But lets get down to the nitty-gritty — something really precise and specific. In one of your psionic experiments, you claimed you were actually able to transmit sunlight through a wire to a plant in a darkened room — a basement, I think. What sort of instrument did you use — assuming this is true?
Hieronymus: Not my patented one; this was different. Moreover, you don’t mean the transmission of photons, exactly, either. This was a fundamental energy coming from the sun. I didn’t claim it was light.
J.G.: Doesn’t virtually all energy come from the sun?
J.G.: Come now, doesn’t all terrestrial life owe its existence to the sun?
Hieronymus: No, I wouldn’t say so.
J.G.: All right, have it your way; my job is to try to understand your work and theories — to listen to what you have to say.
Hieronymus: It isn’t necessarily true that Earth sprang from the sun, either. Consider an atom of helium — with two protons and two neutrons in the nucleus and two planetary electrons going around . . .
J.G.: That seems rather simplistic.
Hieronymus: Wait. This gives you three particle building blocks. Would you say that the nucleus was created first and the electrons put in afterward?
J.G.: I don’t know and I doubt if anybody else does.
Hieronymus: Well, there’s not a good reason to think they were made at different times.
J.G.: Possibly, possibly not. Lets get back to your experiment in transmitting solar energy in a darkened room by wire. Exactly what did you do and what happened?
Hieronymus: All right. I made eight small boxes: two-by-two-by-four inches long, without tops or bottoms. Before tacking on the base, I put in pieces of aluminum foil slightly larger than the bottom and did the same for the top, except that the lid was raised about a half inch above the box. The top and bottom on the inside was covered by aluminum foil. In my basement workshop, which was lightproofed, I connected the bottom plate to a water pipe with copper wire and ran another wire from the top plate to the outside of the basement where I’d built two shelves. Seven of the boxes were wired to metal plates outside in the sunlight — also on shelves built onto the house. The eighth was a control, not connected to anything. On the first wire I soldered a plate two-by-two inches, the second to a metal plate four-by-four inches, the next to a plate eight-by-eight inches, and another one to a plate sixteen inches square. To the next three grounded wires I soldered two-by-two, four-by-four and eight-by-eight inch copper screening — to see whether there’d be any difference in the results from the solid plates than from the screen mesh . . .
J.G.: Was there . . .?
Hieronymus: Don’t get ahead of me now. I sifted and mixed some soil and put an equal amount in each box, then planted ten oat seeds in each box– two rows of five each, so that I knew exactly where they were and could tell which were growing and by how much. Each of the eight boxes were identical, with exactly one-half inch of soil over the seeds. The only difference was in the size and texture of the plates outside connected by wire to the aluminum sheets inside the tops of the boxes. I watered each box daily with exactly the same amount of water, which I applied with a salt shaker. As the plants grew inside these dark boxes, I raised the lids to allow them more headroom, but still kept them lightproof, and kept exact records of when the plants broke through the soil . . . Remember now, these plants were in absolutely dark boxes which were located inside dark shelves in a dark basement. The oat seedlings were totally divorced from light.
J.G.: But you had one control — a box of seeds with aluminum foil at the top and bottom that wasn’t wired or connected to anything, right? What happened?
Hieronymus: They all sprouted at the same time and were about the same degree of sturdiness. But then something entirely different and, as far as I was concerned, unexpected actually started happening. There was chlorophyll in every plant that was wired to the outside plates, but the control box plants remained a pale yellow — almost white.
J.G.: Fascinating. Has this experiment been duplicated by others?
Hieronymus: Yes, although when it was first published, one of the early experimenters deviated from my explanation in two serious ways: first, he didn’t light-seal several big windows in his basement and second he laid his plates on the ground instead of elevating them six feet on outdoor shelves, so he got no potential differential, or antenna effect. This was corrected in later experiments and in each case the results coincided with my own.
J.G.: What about differences in size and texture of the outdoor plates? What results?
Hieronymus: That’s the interesting thing. The amount of sunlight falling on any given area is measurable. For analogy, you can use an optic lens to concentrate sunlight to scorch or burn paper; well sir, the plants connected to the largest plates outside in the sunlight not only generated green coloring, they also gave every appearance of having been subjected to scorching sunlight — as if they’d been singed or burned! The next largest plate yielded better plants and the next was about what you’d expect normally from normal exposure to sunlight. The others especially the ones connected to the screening, were less green, and the one connected to the smallest piece of screen was yellowish.
J.G.: It seems inconceivable that photons can be transmitted through a wire.
Hieronymus: Oh, I doubt that the energy is visible sunlight; in fact I suspect we’re dealing with a form of energy from the sun that is probably non-electromagnetic in nature. This concept represents the entire thrust of the work I’ve been doing most of my life.
J.G.: Are there others who’ve independently discovered the same energies?
Hieronymus: Oh sure, there are dozens of patented devices from all over the world. There are also scores of copies of the John Campbell version of my own instruments. When you stop to think about it, we’re dealing with a certain type of energy that is conductible over certain types of conductors and insulatable with certain others. When John asked me whether paper was a conductor of this energy, I told him no. Well, how about India ink? I said yes, India ink is a conductor, so he drew a diagram of the circuitry of my device in India ink — a printed circuitry of my device in India ink — a printed circuit — and it worked!
J.G.: Isn’t that because it contains carbon and silver nitrate which are conductors of electricity?
Hieronymus I can’t tell you why. In fact I never had any occasion to find out whether there was silver nitrate in India ink. The point is that it is a conductor, not very good maybe, but good enough — and the paper was a good enough insulator.
J.G.: I’m interested in the life-affecting properties of psionic devices. Didn’t you once kill corn ear worms with the energy focused through your instruments?
Hieronymus: On many occasions, but what most people are unaware of is that there are ways to shield against this energy and one of the shields is, of all things, simple transparent plastic. In one very important experiment I actually dissolved corn ear worms, but because of the life-affecting danger of such experiments, I haven’t said much about the process.
J.G.: All right, you needn’t go into details . . .
Hieronymus: Some years ago when I was at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, the farmers, who used no sprays, gave me some just-formed ears of corn, twelve of which had worms inside. I chose six as being almost identical in worm-size and activity. With my instruments I measured the vitality of the worms (in test tubes) and we searched until we found a chemical reagent that, when applied to the worms environment — poisoned it — reduced its vitality to zero, and killed it. We picked out six ears and cut off some of the husk with scissors from the outside of three ears and put these three in a deep plastic bag. So I had a resonant contact with those three ears of corn by what is called the Aka thread — not a religious concept, but a direct electrical conductor between a piece of the corn shuck and the ear itself. Its a natural phenomenon among living things that can easily be proved.
J.G.: Has this anything to do with the philosophical concept of the Akashic thread or record?
Hieronymus: Exactly the same root word. Well, the other plastic bag wasn’t as deep as the first, so I put the next three ears inside, with the tassel tops downward and the ends stuck out. I packed the spaces between the ears with cotton so that when I put the bag down and tied a string around it, the worms couldn’t crawl out. This turned out to be an important difference. Using the corn shucks from each three ears, I set my devices on automatic timers so that the essence of the reagent was tuned to each bag at alternate ten-minute intervals — first the corn in the bag that was completely enclosed and tied with a rubber band and then the other that had the ends of the corn sticking out. With this set on automatic instruments, I left for the weekend for Chesapeake Bay. When we returned on Sunday night, one of the first things I did was to open the large plastic bag that had completely enclosed the corn and worm.
I was surprised to find that the worm in the first ear of corn was twice as big and twice as lively as he had been — in fact he’d eaten the whole length of the ear and already was two-thirds of the way back. The other two ears were just about the same; the worms had glutted themselves. I was so disappointed that I almost threw the other bag in the trash can. But I didn’t. When I untied the string and removed the cotton, I found that in the first ear, which had been sticking out of the shallower plastic bag, the worm that had eaten about two or three inches when I’d tied up the bag had only eaten about a half or three-quarters of an inch. In the trough at the end where the worm should have been there was only a damp spot. I was amazed, but when I checked the second ear — the same thing. The worm in the third ear was still there, but when I touched him with a toothpick, he was absolutely dormant, so I upended him into a test tube and ran a vitality check, which was almost zero. So I laid him back in the trough he’d eaten, covered the ear with its husk and let it treat overnight. When I unpacked the corn in the morning, that worm was just a damp spot. None of those three worms could have crawled away; they couldn’t have gotten through the cotton or eaten a hole in the plastic bag. I ran a test of the plastic and learned that it was an almost perfect insulator against the poisonous energy I was directing at the corn earworms. On the other hand, with the corn sticking out of the other bag, the radiating energy from my instruments had direct contact with it. I’ve done any number of experiments along these lines and they’ve consistently proven the effectiveness of thin plastic sheeting as a radionic shield.
J.G.: That seems strange. As I understand it, this eloptic radiation — this energy — can penetrate anything — dozens of feet of solid steel — hundreds of feet of rock and earth.
Hieronymus: I know, but there are certain things, apparently, that act as insulation against it. Clear plastic happens to be one of them.
J.G.: Could it be that the plastic is a molecular anomaly — perhaps because of its polymer . . .?
Hieronymus: I don’t know and can’t explain the chemistry behind it, but . . . do you know what ordinary black friction tape is, the kind electricians used to use?
J.G.: Sure, its a pretty good electrical insulator.
Hieronymus: Well, I took a roll of that tape and covered an electrode plate — the kind used to pick up the energy from a sample with it. But when I tried to measure and analyze a specimen I’d placed on it, the friction tape had blocked virtually every bit of energy from it. Another uncovered electrode plate connected to the instrument I was using, however, gave me a clear analysis reading. I also found that the old-fashioned thirty percent rubber insulation — the kind that used to be used to insulate wire, but dries out — apparently had a lot of carbon or something in it, that was an excellent insulator of eloptic energy, while even India ink on a piece of paper acts as a conductor.
J.G.: About how many experiments along these lines have you conducted?
Hieronymus: Thousands, thousands — and all kinds.
J.G.: Which one stands out in your mind as being the most important or the most noteworthy experiment that you have conducted? What was the thing that surprised you most?
Hieronymus: The dissolving of the corn earworm was probably the most outstanding one. We have destroyed microorganisms in people, but of course you can’t see those. You take a specimen from a patient and put it in the instrument and they have only a little fever or something that bothers them. You run through your list of stuff and find whichever bug it is. When you put the energy into the machine, that neutralizes it; when its gone they feel better. Well, as far as the patient is concerned, that seems spectacular. They love it! But when you’ve done it over and over, it ceases to be spectacular. I think another spectacular one was when we changed the platelet count, as measured in the laboratory, in the blood of a boy who was the son a of a friend of mine. I just happened to run across his father in an electronics supply place and asked him how things were going. He was terribly depressed. He said “My boy is just about ready to die.” The doctors were giving him two blood transfusions a day and he was just barely existing. I told him what we were doing with psionics and offered to try to help. This was back in the 1930s; we didn’t know as much as we do now, so we had to experiment. We started working on him radionically, and found all kinds of trouble and had to strengthen him up first. He was just a leathery, bony, thin skinned kid, existing on two transfusions a day — couldn’t even take any food. We stimulated him to where the radionic broadcasts began to be effective.
The doctors were quite elated with what was happening. They were just giving him blood transfusions — that was all they were doing. The parents wanted to take the boy home for Easter, he was feeling a lot better and they wanted him to be with the family. One very straight-laced doctor told the father that he knew damn well that what he was seeing was false. He said the platelet count was awfully low and if it came up to where it should be, they could take their son home for Easter. Doctors then knew absolutely no way of changing that platelet count. We’d done a lot of experimental work and observations; there is one organ or part of the body that does affect the platelet count, the formation of platelets in the blood system.
J.G.: Are you referring to the bone marrow or the pineal gland?
Hieronymus: Not the bone marrow; the pineal gland has direct relationship to the sun. Solar activity affects the pineal gland. (See Science News on “Solar Readout of Brain,” p. 248, October 18, 1975, which Rene Cartes has called the point of interaction between the spirit and body. Many philosophers since him have maintained that the seat of the soul — of consciousness itself is the tiny pineal gland or third eye.) Solar influence comes through the receptors in the top of the eye (not through the seeing part). I think it goes through the pituitary. Anyway, we worked on it and the day before Easter we insisted that the doctors have the test made the first thing in the morning after the boy had slept all night and before he was transfused. (We checked on the doctors procedure and the boy would always get the blood transfusions and then the doctors would take the sample of blood for the test.) The father was insistent; the doctors finally did it that way. Now, here’s something that really gets you. The technician came to get the blood specimen and ran down to run the test and about a half-hour later the head of the laboratory of this hospital came up and took another specimen and also took it down to analyze it. About two hours later a technician from another hospital took another specimen from the boy. He took it back to their laboratories — they had three verifiable tests there that all showed that the platelets had increased to nearly normal — and they knew it couldn’t be done! So that stands out as one of the spectacular moments.
J.G.: Whats the difference or correlation between the eloptic energy and dowsing, if any?
Hieronymus: A great deal. There is a universal energy called logoital plasma. First you start with the primordial stuff or energy which is the raw material from which everything is made. This is rather philosophical and becomes almost metaphysical. When logoital plasma is moved, you have logoital energy. When this was first used in the creation of physical elements, physical materials, the emanation coming from those physical materials was what I call eloptic energy, and that’s what we are dealing with. When it had to do with a living thing like a person, an animal or a plant, the emanations that come from the various parts of those live organisms — these are called nionic-nerve influencing energy. It is not eloptic because it is coming from the living or life features of the body or shall we say from the live tissues as compared with that which comes from the elements from hydrogen on up to uranium and so on. Well, dowsing is the use of the mind to tune in to this same energy that comes from water, oil, gold, silver, etc.
J.G.: But how does that . . .?
Hieronymus: Look now, you asked the question and I’m trying to answer it. There is an energy that emanates from each isotope of each element which includes oil, gold, silver — anything — and a dowser has to tune in to that and he uses the mind as part of that process. Your lower mental body, which is a very distinct part of you, and your emotional body are two separate and distinct activities which are nevertheless closely allied and related and they work together. Its a kind of travelling pair because when you go to sleep at night and wake up with a vision or something, it is the activity of the combination which is doing it. People who have developed the ability to project that pair at will do the same thing — a dowser is doing it.
Their rods, or their devices, are strictly transducers between their physical senses and the emanations that the mind is concentrated on seeking.
J.G.: Okay, with a little stretching of the imagination, that’s somewhat understandable.
Hieronymus: Fine. The rod itself however, has nothing to do with it. Most of the physics of the divining rod were subjected to a lot of mechanical testing and measuring of the torque, the stresses put into it when its operating and so on. But all that movement is the result of the nervous system and the muscles of the operator. On the other hand, one who can do psychometry, for example, doesn’t need a divining rod. He can actually run his hand over an object and feel the effect. Some interpret it better than others. Peter Hurkos, for instance. Don’t discount the abilities of these people.
J.G.: One psychic or psychometrist named Fran Farrelly who has (I’ve checked this pretty thoroughly) successfully analyzed blood specimens for doctors and laboratories for years, doesn’t use radionic devices or psionic machines. In fact, she claims they’re entirely unnecessary.
Hieronymus: For her. I’ve known Fran for a long, long time. She lived in my home for awhile and used my equipment there and spent a year with another psionic pioneer, an MD named Love. She is an excellent blood technician and until recently worked as a psionic analyst for a group of doctors — in their own laboratory.
J.G.: I understand that when Campbell was editor of Astounding you were approached by the military. What happened?
Hieronymus: The reason I got into that was that the Air Force became interested and sent a couple of high-ranking officers to my place in Hollywood, Florida. They knew almost nothing about psionics or radionics, but we did some biological experiments for them that they found interesting. But they wanted something more factual and substantial. I said, All right, here’s something I know will be of value to you. I want you to take something like a tank or a big truck and run tracks all over the place wherever you want. Then I want several tents, some containing trucks, some with men in them, and some with nothing in them. Then I want aerial photographs taken from heights of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 feet of each of those areas and I will tell you who or what and how many of each are in those tents.
They agreed, but instead of sending me photographs of what I’d asked for, they sent me some photographs of wooded areas. One was of a body of water with boats tied up. It was the only picture that wasn’t of all trees. They didn’t send me what I wanted, but we (my wife Louise and I) decided to do the best we could anyway. I made a pattern graph with a stylus that would go over the photographs with a wire running from that to the instrument and then a pencil that would mark on a sheet of cross-section paper–and we successfully identified our findings. We detected people all over the place in the photographs, and so it didn’t seem to work out at all – – until we used a little logic:
We learned afterwards that a bunch of soldiers had been peeing under those trees for a long time. What they didn’t realize was that those men found it a lot easier to take a leak on a tree than go chasing for the latrine, so these guys left their biological specimens behind and our devices detected traces of human beings all over the place. In one picture in which the boats were tied up, our instruments detected iron where the engines were, but our sensors clearly showed that a man had been in one of the cabins.
J.G.: Didn’t you recently make a derogatory remark about the use of the pendulum, and yet isn’t this a form of radiesthesia?
Hieronymus: No, no. The pendulum is the same as dowsing. What I am trying to say is that one method is not the only way psionics will work.
J.G.: Who convinced you to sell your instruments?
Hieronymus: I have built and researched instruments long before I ever sold them. In fact I never really wanted to sell them . . .
J.G.: Nevertheless, you finally did. Why?
Hieronymus: Oh, I was forced to.
J.G.: Forced? What happened? Did somebody make you an offer you couldn’t refuse?
Hieronymus: Dr. Joe Sewling of St. Louis saw their medical potential and once said, “Let’s get down to business.” At a time when I needed money he wrote out a very large check and said, I want you to build machines according to variations of your own patent. I want something medically useful. So I built his instruments and then started building others. If you’re interested in why some of these instruments worked so well and others didn’t, there are different ways of tuning in to eloptic energy. You can do it if you know how. You don’t actually need devices of any kind. Those who can are mostly people who developed themselves psychically, just as an athlete gets himself in physical shape. They can run their hands over things and actually feel the energy coming from it. On the other hand, one who is not quite so sensitive may use a gadget like a pendulum, or something that will bend or move in their hands; that device, “connected” (so to speak) to the energy, affects the nervous system and the muscles, causing the rods to move — to be tipped one way or another. It’s almost imperceptible but its enough.
In psionics, we amplify it mechanically so that the tiniest little tic of a nerve or muscle gives a much bigger effect, and you have a master dowser, a radionics or psionics expert. These people unconsciously tip the rods and when the rod swings far over, it is the eloptic energy operating on ionic energy through the nervous system and causing the muscles to move almost imperceptibly. You watch a person hold a pendulum — no matter how small the movement, the swinging or circular movement is generated by the hand. However, that doesn’t discount the idea that there is something else there, some other focus or beam of energy.
J.G.: The human brain then, is the transducer?
Hieronymus: I’ll go along with the idea that the human faculties — the brain — is involved, yes, but not directly as conscious thinking. Its a subconscious reaction; its emotional brain activity. Lets say you approach any kind of psionic instrument with a mental or emotional bias such as: I use the reaction plate or you can use the pendulum over that plate or dowsing rods over that plate. The plate has a coil inside and that is where the mental energy emanates and is focused upon — after it has gone through the instrument. If you are such a sensitive you can actually feel the energy by holding your hand near the plate or you can touch it when it is flowing or you can make a rotary motion and notice an apparent change in the surface tension.
J.G.: Then this is how you developed the idea of rubbing a plate on your radionic machine while turning dials to the proper rates of energy. I have the De La Warr diagnostic device and am now experimenting with it with some success. It takes a lot of concentration. Can you do it without the instruments?
Hieronymus: No, I’m not sensitive enough.
J.G.: Do you know anyone who can?
Hieronymus: Sure, lots of them. As far as tuning goes though, if the operator really wants that instrument to give information, by the dial setting, by whats coming from the finger measure, the unknown, he can. The question is, how does it work, precisely? A great novelist has a secretary or wife who types out the exact sentences and paragraphs he uses in his manuscripts, but who can’t string words together the way he can. Same thing with the printer who sets those words in cold– or hot– type. Can you honestly say to that secretary or that printer, Damn! If you can turn out the book why can’t you write it? We’re talking about concepts here. For example, another man and his wife — he can design and build a piano, so he constructs a fine device and gets to the point where he can thump out a tune with one finger. His wife comes along, tries it, and discovers that she has a natural dexterity and musical ability and eventually trains herself to become a fine pianist. But she’s totally incapable of creating the idea or building a piano. Likewise, I come up with the ideas and I can build extremely complex devices to do these things and observe the reactions of people and phenomena and all that sort of thing, but I’m not nearly as good as some of the people I’ve trained. I thought I was — and had considerable success in the beginning — but compared to others I’ve seen I was never much good at it.
J.G.: What kind of affiliation did you have as an electrical engineer? Did you work for a large corporation as a consultant, or what?
Hieronymus: I was with The Municipal Power Company as a practical engineer in Kansas City, and retired at the end of thirty years, but I had gotten into psionics long before that.
J.G.: You’ve moved around a lot since you retired, haven’t you?
Hieronymus: Yes, quite a bit. I took a years leave of absence at the end of twenty-nine years, with full pay because of the thirty year tenure, and began building instruments which I had already been doing in my workshop. I opened a factory, hired some people and spent my final year making the transition from one business to another. A close business friend wanted me to develop a new device called the Pathoclast. We needed more power so I built an amplifier and we tried it out. He was elated because we could get results in fifteen minutes where it used to take hours.
J.G.: How is it that you first got in contact with John Campbell?
Hieronymus: Well, sir, I got a telephone call . . .
J.G.: How did he find out about you?
Hieronymus: I don’t know. He wrote the patent office and got my patent.
J.G.: You don’t know how or where he had heard about it?
Hieronymus: I don’t think I asked him. If I did, it didn’t stick in my memory. Well anyhow, the phone rang and he said, “This is John Campbell, I’m the editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine in New York”, that was long before they put the Fact on, you know. I’ve written an article about your work. I said that’s interesting. He said there was one paragraph that he wanted to put on the end of this article: that anyone was welcome to build such a device and use it. I said no, lets modify that. This is a patented proposition, anyone that cares to build this instrument for experimental purposes is welcome to do it, but it is not to be used commercially. He agreed, reworded the article and sent me a copy. That was the beginning. Then he invited me to come to New York and meet the president of Astounding’s parent company, then from time to time he’d take a months vacation and visit us. We received him almost every summer.
J.G.: Well, get back to Campbell, please. We sort of got sidetracked again.
Hieronymus: You asked me how he happened to get in the picture. Well, that was how we first met.
J.G.: How many contacts have you had with him personally?
Hieronymus: Oh, I have a file thick of correspondence.
J.G.: Sure, correspondence, but how many . . .
Hieronymus: Oh, I was in his home, met his wife and two daughters and then he dropped down to spending only a couple to three days a week in New York. He spent the rest of his time at Mountainside, and he had a big basement workshop there. That’s where he built his operators. He was a radio ham. I know his daughter was the first operator of the instrument that he built there.
J.G.: Did you know Ed Hermann when he was a McGraw-Hill engineer at that time?
Hieronymus: No, I got acquainted with Ed through Gross. Did you know that Colonel — now General — Gross was almost a father to Ed Hermann?
Hieronymus: Yeah, they were very close. Ed asked General Gross if he could do anything about his wild cherry trees, particularly the big one in his yard that was sheathed in worms every spring. Gross asked me and I said tell him to take a photograph of his tree, then take a box, put some holes in it small enough that worms can’t get through, but big enough so they can get air. I want a half-dozen freshly picked leaves. Have him do this first thing in the morning. Put the leaves and a half-dozen worms in this box and send it to Colonel Gross airmail special delivery. I was at a hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania when Gross received the package, so I went and got it. The worms were still alive. We ran our usual analyses on them and with our psionic analyzer came up with the right reagent — we painted the photograph of that tree with the reagent — oil of cedar I think it was — put the photo on the sensor plate, set the dials and just forgot about it. Three days later when Ed turned into his driveway while returning from work (he has his own company now, you know), he hit his brakes and stared as his kids were stamping on caterpillars swarming in all directions away from the tree. A carpet of dead caterpillars was directly under its limbs and they were still falling off when he arrived.