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Volney Mathison – Inventor of the electropsychometer

The Internet is a great help for someone trying to recreate history from the sanitized version that is passed on to us by those who should know better.

I was active  in Scientology for at least twenty years and this is the image I remember from books and promotion on the history of the e-meter.

I always admired Ron’s calm and  compassionate expression and wondered who the subject was. What I didn’t know was that this was a complete fraud may have been an early “Photoshop” job.

If you look at the next picture, it appears that a photo of Ron had been carefully pasted over the image of Volney Mathison! (On the other hand, a very close inspection of some online images suggests that it might have been the other way around.) These images represent contrary facts, which always bear looking into.

Volney Mathison was demonstrating his Electropsychometer before his students and he had developed a significant body of work using this instrument before LRH ever entered the scene. This image can be found at http://www.lermanet.com/image/mathison.jpg

Ron Hubbard gave Volney Mathison credit for inventing an electropsychometer in the early days of Scientology as these letters to Matthison show Page 1, Page 2.

But it appears that Ron or his people appropriated some of Volney’s promotional material and did some early “photoshopping” to show Ron doing a demonstration that never occurred.

I have seen Volney mentioned as the developer of the early e-meters, but I had never seen any mention until now that Volney had already developed fairly detailed therapeutic techniques before LRH adopted the e-meter for scientology.

See this reprint from Fortnight. http://www.lermanet.com/exit/volney/Fortnight-Mathison-reprint.jpg

The Table of Contents for this two volume manual of Electropsychometry is also quite revealing as much of the material seems to have found its way into what we know as scientology technology.  http://www.lermanet.com/exit/volney/Electropsychometry-4%231AF837.jpg

Volney also developed and promoted Creative Image Therapy in 1954 as can be seen in this manual. http://www.lermanet.com/exit/volney/Creative-Image-Therapy-2.jpg

And it seems that Volney had developed a poor opinion of Scientology and of Ron according to this extract from the manual shown in the previous link.
http://www.lermanet2.com/exit/hubbard-the-hypnotist4.htm

There is an entire page of links on Lermanet.com devoted to Volney Mathison and his correspondence from LRH.  http://www.lermanet.com/exit/volney/

There is no question that Ron made the e-meter into a legendary marketing tool and found uses for it that Volney might not have considered. But it is also apparent that sharing of credit was not one of Ron’s strong points.

My interest is in getting down to the true history of the e-meter,  and seeing if anything useful was missed along the way.

Most of this research would not have been possible if it were not for the efforts of Arnie Lerma who has been battling the CoS for many years. There is a wealth of information on his website and every independent or ex-scientologist owes it to themselves to visit lermanet.com

(The above entry was modified on 3/18/10 to add more links and to be more precise about what information was found.)

5 Comments

Paul Adams  on March 18th, 2010

It is always tricky to discover who is plagiarizing who when reliable publication dates are either missing or overlapping.

Paul

OldAuditor  on March 18th, 2010

I imagine that Volney learned things from LRH as well as vice versa. I am sure that there was an exchange of useful information while they had a business relationship.

I am not saying that Volney was righter or wronger. :) But it does not appear that Ron gave him the ideas and Volney merely built a meter.

I am sure that there must be more people who had knowledge of that period and in time we will have some more information to add to what we have now.

Volney was into many different ventures. His crystal pendulum and Creative Image Therapy are just the ones I found so far.

He certainly had the viewpoint that some of Ron’s Objective processes were a form of hypnotism, although in my experience they actually ran out the effects of hynotism when properly run.

If anyone has any information on the relative integrity of the two images, I would be happy to post it here for all to see. A photographic image of Volney doing the demonstration would probably clear up any mystery on which image came first. What we can see from the images is that they present contrary data so one of them is a lie.

lunamoth  on March 18th, 2010

This kind of willingness to examine the data, wherever it takes you, is how you arrive at the truth. Thanks, David, for the research you’re doing,and for putting the quest for the truth above any ideology or the chance to be “right” and make others wrong.

By posting what you find, such as this photograph, you also enable and encourage others to engage in the search for answers, which is what this loosely associated network of individuals is all about. It’s something a hierarchy of power, an institution cannot afford to do, invested as they are in controlling information in order to preserve their own power.

As to the photograph itself, it’s truly intriguing. I’m very interested to know if there are other related shots available anywhere, and if so, when did the one containing LRH appear, and who was responsible for “finding”/creating it?

Paul Adams  on March 18th, 2010

This was discussed at length on ESMB on this thread: http://forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?t=3182

No firm conclusion was drawn. I’m inclined to think the Mathieson one is fake, based on his posture being one of standing rather than sitting, but this is hardly conclusive reasoning.

Paul

Marta  on March 18th, 2010

Lunamoth said it for me, to a tee. Looking, with “fresh eyes”, at the tech, policy, and the lore is a continual practice that we need each other to help with. thanks for this, Old Auditor.

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