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No. 77: Sep-Oct 1991

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Water's memory or benveniste strikes back

J. Benveniste has broken a two-year drought in the "water-memory" or "infinite-dilution" saga.

"Working with colleagues at INSERM, the French medical research council, in Paris, Benveniste has completed fresh experiments to test his assertion that solutions of antibody diluted to the point where they no longer contain any antibody molecules continue to evoke a response from whole white blood cells, as if they possess 'ghosts' of the original molecules. If proven, this would shatter the laws of chemistry and vindicate homeopaths, who say that extremely dilute drugs can have a physical effect."

Benveniste's latest scientific paper was published in Comptes Rendus after being rejected by both Nature and Science. Benveniste states that he has corrected the flaws in his original research that evoked passionate responses from the scientific world. However, Benveniste's latest paper prompted one of Nature's reviewers to charge that Benveniste was "throwing out data because they don't fit the conclusion."

This story is not yet finished, because Benveniste promises to reveal new research that demonstrates that a solution of histamine, from which all traces of histamine were subsequently diluted out, can still affect blood flow in the hearts of quinea pigs! Furthermore, this phenomenon can be inhibited by the application of weak magnetic fields!!

(Concar, David; "Ghost Molecules' Theory Back from the Dead," New Scientist, p. 10, March 16, 1991.)

From Science Frontiers #77, SEP-OCT 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987