Richard Hoagland’s FAIL


from “expat”

“Mind-blowing measurements…”   “Stunning technology….”   “Will transform this planet…”

That was Richard Hoagland, a former museum curator, author of one and a half books over more than 40 years, unemployed for most of that time, uneducated in any branch of science, now re-born as “science adviser” to C2C. The occasion was last Thursday night, 23/24 May, top of hour 4.

He’s referring, of course, to his Accutron/MicroSet sensor device, which displays a trace of the exact frequency of a tiny tuning fork over time. He did not build this rig himself, although he likes us to assume that he did. The MicroSet timer was designed by Bryan Mumford, and the computer hookup was engineered for him by Bill Alek. On C2C he brazenly trumpeted his stunning success with this lash-up, conveniently eliding the fact that his last two outings have been notable failures. On Mauna Kea for the recent annular solar eclipse, his battery ran flat several hours before the eclipse began and he got no reading at all. At Chichen Itza for the Grand Galactic Alignment last December (actually two days prior) he was ejected from the site because he lacked a permit to run his equipment. The video of that fiasco is on Youtube — fine entertainment.

The Accutron device is described in this web page

Hoagland leads you to expect that, when an eclipse or a transit happens, the tuning fork frequency changes from a steady 360 Hz to some other number, under the influence of the so-called torsion field generated by the eclipse. However, that’s not what happens. What his displays show, instead, is apparently random short spikes, some of increasing frequency, some decreasing. Some of them happen during the eclipse, some continue when it’s all over. In the most egregious example, at Tikal on April 26th 2009, the spikes oscillated between 14.531 Hz and 949.586 Hz over ten minutes. And that was not even during an eclipse.

Imageimage credit: Richard Hoagland

On the face of it, this is so unimpressive that on my own blog I’ve facetiously called the apparatus the Inaccutron, and the Wacky-Acky. Bryan Mumford wrote last December “I am skeptical that any outside influence caused an Accutron to vary by so much unless it’s broken.”

The idea Hoagland came up with last Thursday, that tornados are also a manifestation of torsion, and therefore might be controlled with some sort of anti-torsion device, is the purest fantasy, devoid of the slightest trace of actual evidence.

He’s roughly correct when he says he has schlepped this equipment to many parts of the world. In fact, for the Venus transit of 5th June 2012, he badly wanted to go to the biggest pyramid of them all, at Giza. He budgeted the expedition at $80,000 and in early 2012 began to solicit cash from his Facebook fans. The fans only came up with about $1500, which was not refunded when the trip was cancelled.

Here are the major objections to Hoagland’s experimental protocol (acknowledgement to James Concannon):

1. He has never published any baselines. What that means is that we don’t know what the normal behavior of this wristwatch is. The last Accutron tuning fork movement was manufactured in 1977, so this one is at least 36 years old, very likely as much as 40. For all we know, it may be so defective that it throws these random spikes all the time. The MicroSet timer might be defective as well. Scientifically, the whole of Hoagland’s data is valueless for that reason alone. But there’s more.

2. He has never run any controls or, if he has, he has kept remarkably quiet about them. A ‘control’ would be at least one other Accutron/Microset apparatus running simultaneously but kept away from whatever influence is supposedly causing the torsion wave. In cases where he’s claiming that a pyramid (or a mountain, or a limestone castle) is amplifying the effect, the absolute minimum control would be a second apparatus far enough away from the pyramid to be unaffected by it, and a third apparatus around the other side of the planet which should not vary at all.

3. Many of his frequency spikes go off-scale, and so cannot be accurately assessed. Lack of containment, as it’s called technically, is a very bad no-no in science and would cause any thesis advisor or experimental supervisor to demand that the experiment be re-staged with an appropriate reduction in sensitivity.

4. In the only explanation of the underlying theory Hoagland has ever written, he states that the inertia of the tuning fork should increase (and therefore its frequency should decrease) if it is positioned parallel to the rotation axis of whatever rotating mass (planet, e.g.) is creating the torsion, but its inertia should decrease if it is orthogonal to the spin axis. It follows that the orientation of the tuning fork is of absolutely prime importance in interpreting the results, and yet Hoagland has not considered that important enough to report for any of the ten “experiments” so far conducted. In the video at Chichen Itza, the watch enclosure can be seen adopting all kinds of positions and neither Hoagland nor his companion (who holds the enclosure some of the time) appear to be controlling the orientation at all.

It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got the math

Now here’s a more theoretical objection, which is possibly more important than any of the above. Self-evidently, Hoagland is not showing us the torsion field itself. At the very best he is showing us a secondary effect of the torsion wave on the frequency of the tuning fork. His claim to have measured the intensity of the torsion field would only be credible if he had stated a mathematical relationship between the strength of the field and the density of the metal of which the fork is made. Why do I insist on the density? Because it’s the only term in the equation defining the frequency of a tuning fork which would conceivably be sensitive to a change in inertia.

The equation is:


where l = prong length, E the Young’s modulus, I the second moment of the cross-section to the fourth power, A is the actual cross-section area, and  ρ is the density.

Therefore I am saying that for Hoagland’s claim to have any credibility he would need to establish a relationship like ρ = f(T) where f = “some function” and T is the intensity of the torsion field. In fact, it gets worse for him, because since he is claiming that the orientation matters, T would need to be a vector quantity.

As things stand, he has not even stated what units the torsion field is measured in, let alone elaborated any such equation or made any statement whatsoever that includes actual data. His failure is comprehensive and irreparable.


4 thoughts on “Richard Hoagland’s FAIL

  1. Pingback: Properly Designing an Experiment to Measure Richard Hoagland’s Torsion Field, If It Were Real | Exposing PseudoAstronomy

  2. Some thoughts
    1. Why there was only one watch setup during these experiments.
    2. What kind of electronic interference the equipment could be picking up
    3. Having a nice Frequency Modulated signal, why they didn’t try to convert it to audio for the fun of it.

  3. No question, the possibility of electrical interference is something Hoagland should have discussed in his texts. The maker of the equipment specifically warns of it.

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