This myth was invented by Jami Lin in her article “Universal Feng Shui: The Roots of Our Nature.” She managed somehow to confuse geomagnetism with radioactivity.
The Earth is naturally radioactive thanks to elements of the Big Bang (primordial radioactivity), what bombards us in the form of cosmic rays (cosmogenic radioactivity), and what humans create (anthropogenic radioactivity, like a cesium clock or the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki). You have radioactive elements (radionuclides) within you, you eat them, you inhale them, and you live surrounded by them. They are natural as rocks, soil, and water. (See the Wikipedia article on ionizing radiation.)
There were nuclear reactors before there were humans. In 1972, a French mining geologist found a natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in the Republic of Gabon, in west Africa. This natural reactor operated at low power over several hundred thousand years, fueled by six tons of uranium at the site. It was in operation approximately 1.75 billion years ago.
Some areas of the world have high concentrations of radioactive minerals in the soil. In Brazil, some black sand beaches have natural radioactivity that is 400 times the normal background radiation in the US. Streets in cities near these beaches have as much as 10 times the normal background radiation of the US. One Brazilian hill is so naturally “hot” that plants living there can produce an x-ray of themselves if you place them on a sheet of photographic paper.
People didn’t understand radioactivity until Becquerel, Roentgen, and Marie Curie, so it is unlikely ancient humans encountering high levels of natural radiation would exceedingly rejoice at their find and take x-rays of themselves until exhaustion. Unless these were ancestors of the type of people who photocopy their buttocks.
Areas of southwest India feature beaches like those of Brazil. China has naturally radioactive areas as well.
People living in these areas are not “overstimulated” by natural radiation, because natural radiation does not have that effect on humans. People who live in these areas do have increases in the frequency of chromosome abnormalities, something which is also seen in people who work with radioactive materials. (There is no increase in cancer rates associated with high levels of natural radiation.)
The US Environmental Protection Agency provides an online calculator to determine your natural dose of radioactivity.
What’s not “hot”
Most life on the planet has a sensitivity to the geomagnetic field in some form. We’re made of materials that make up the planet; coincidentally, we all need iron. Many species have geomagnetic sensitivity and use it to migrate (such as birds) or navigate (such as trout and salmon, honey bees,7 eels, magnetotactic bacteria, loggerhead turtles, whales,1 and dolphins). It is probably more common than we realize.5
Humans have magnetite (Fe3O4 — lodestone)6 throughout their bodies; for example, in the sinus bones, brain, heart, spleen, and liver. Humans cannot sense a magnetic field4 — that is, humans don’t have the ability to “feel when a space is magnetically hot.” The truth is that humans prefer visual cues for navigation.
If we could rely on sensing the geomagnetic field, no one would need to use Google Maps or put GPS in autos. The geomagnetic field does affect humans in subtle ways, such as the incidence of human diseases, the onset of migraines,3 the excretion of melatonin — and possibly large-scale aggression toward fellow humans.8 It is also implicated in commercial jet crashes not resulting from mechanical failure.9
Is this how Gaia talks to us?
One fascinating outcome of research indicates that religious or spiritual impulses — or people simply sensing a presence — can be caused by the geomagnetic field.
Culturally and historically ubiquitous phenomena of sensed presences are generated by right hemispheric processes that, once enhanced by a variety of stimuli, including weak complex magnetic fields, can be encouraged by increased global geomagnetic activity.2
Don’t start believing in weird things
Remember, there is still no evidence that ley lines, black lines, Hartmann grids, etc., are real, although tools now can measure the magnetic fields in your digestive tract and the microclimate of a child’s shoe,10 as well as see through mountains.
- Bauer, G.B., Fuller, M., Perry, A., Dunn, JU.R., & Zoeger, J. (1985). Magnetoreception and biomineralization of magnetite in cetaceans. In J.L. Kirschvink, D.S. Jones, & B.J. McFadden (Eds.) Magnetite Biomineralization and Magnetoreception in Organisms (pp. 489-507). New York: Plenum.
- Booth, JN, Koren, SA, Persinger, MA. (2005). Increased feelings of the sensed presence and increased geomagnetic activity at the time of the experience during exposures to transcerebral weak complex magnetic fields. Int J Neurosci. 7, 115:1053-79 (July 1, 2005)
- De Matteis, G, Vellante, M, Marrelli, A, Villante, U, Santalucia, P, Tuzi, P, Prencipe, M. Geomagnetic activity, humidity, temperature and headache: is there any correlation? (1994) Headache. 1, 34:41-3. January 1, 1994.
- Gould, J.L. Absence of human homing ability as measured by displacementexperiments. In Magnetite Biomineralization and Magnetoreception in Organisms, ed. J.L. KIRSCHVINK, et al. (New York: Plenum) pp. 595-99 (1985).
- Kirschvink J.L. & Hagadorn, J.W. 10. A Grand Unified theory of Biomineralization. in B√§uerlein, E., ed., The Biomineralisation of Nano- and Micro-Structures. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany, pp. 139-150, 2000.
- J L Kirschvink, A Kobayashi-Kirschvink, and B J Woodford. Magnetite biomineralization in the human brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 August 15; 89(16): 7683‚Äì7687.
- KIRSCHVINK, JOSEPH L. and KIRSCHVINK, ATSUKO KOBAYASHI. Is Geomagnetic Sensitivity Real? Replication of the Walker-Bitterman Magnetic Conditioning Experiment in Honey Bees. (1991) Integr. Comp. Biol. 169-186:31
- Persinger, MA. Wars and increased solar-geomagnetic activity: aggression or change in intraspecies dominance? (1999) Percept Mot Skills. 88:1351-5, June 1, 1999.
- Fournier, NM, Persinger, MA. Geophysical variables and behavior: C. Increased geomagnetic activity on days of commercial air crashes attributed to computer or pilot error but not mechanical failure. (2004) Percept Mot Skills. 3, pt 2. 98: 1219-24. June 1, 2004.
- Hanus V, Rovensky J, Toman M. A device for measuring the microclimate inside a child’s shoe. Acta Chir Orthop Traumatol Cech. 1983 Jun;50(3):238-40.