Vicia americana is a species of legume in the vetch genus known by the common names American vetch and purple vetch. It includes a subspecies known as mat vetch. It is a climbing perennial forb that grows from both taproot and rhizome. The leaves are each made up of oblong leaflets and have tendrils for climbing. It bears showy pea-like flowers in shades of lavender and fuchsia. The fruit is a hairless pod about 3 centimeters long that contains usually two light brown peas. American vetch is widespread across North America.

It is a common understory plant in many types of forest and other habitats such as chaparral and it provides forage for wild and domesticated animals. This vetch is used to reclaim burned or disturbed land, such as that which has been cleared by wildfire or altered by human activities such as mining or construction. It is drought-tolerant and thrives in both dry and moist habitats.

Although some species of Vicia are edible, many vetches contain compounds that produce hydrocyanic acid and cause cyanide poisoning. Never eat a vetch unless you are certain it is not poisonous. The name vetch is from the Latin vicia, which is thought to be derived from the Latin verb vincio, ‘to blind’, in reference to the climbing habit of these plants.


Walter John Kilner was a medical electrician at St. Thomas Hospital in London. From 1879 to 1893 he was in charge of electrotherapy. He wrote papers on a range of subjects but is today best remembered for his study The Human Atmosphere. In his spare time he was a keen chess player.

In 1911 he published one of the first western medical studies of the Human Atmosphere or Aura, proposing its existence, nature and possible use in medical diagnosis and prognosis. Kilner attempted to invent devices by which the naked eye might be trained to observe auric activity which, he hypothesised, was probably ultraviolet radiation, stating that the phenomena he saw were not affected by electromagnets.

Glass slides or “Kilner Screens” containing alcoholic solutions of variously coloured dyes, including a blue dye called dicyanin, were used as filters in “Kilner Goggles” which, together with lights, were held to train the eyes to perceive electromagnetic radiation outside the normal spectrum of visible light. After being so trained, one could dispense with the apparatus. Kilner did not recommend merely viewing the subject through these lenses.

According to his study, Kilner and his associates were able to perceive auric formations which he called the Etheric Double, the Inner Aura and the Outer Aura, extending several inches from patients’ naked bodies, and his book gave instructions by which the reader might construct and use similar goggles.

The only drawbacks to Kilner’s method are the scarcity and toxicity of the chemicals he recommended. Later, Oscar Bagnall recommended substituting the dye pinacyanol (dissolved in triethanolamine) but this dye is also not easy to obtain. Lindgren states that cobalt blue and purple glass may be substituted for the dyes used by Kilner and Bagnall.

Kilner’s book was greeted with scepticism as well as enthusiasm. In 1920 a revised edition of his book was published and sympathetically reviewed. Kilner’s work was well-timed for the heyday of Theosophy and his findings were incorporated into Arthur E. Powell’s book The Etheric Double. Powell rightly made clear that Kilner had expressly differentiated between his own work and the clairvoyance and eastern systems of spiritualism.


Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means “having no specific semantic content”.

All writing does not just contain semantic information. It also contains aesthetic information when seen as a shape or image, and emotional information such as a graphologist would analyze. Because it eliminates the semantic information, asemic writing brings the emotional and aesthetic content to the foreground.

By contrast, email is writing almost devoid of aesthetic and emotional content apart from what the words contain. Asemic works play with our minds, enticing us to attempt to read them. Some asemic works make the viewer hover between reading as a text and looking as a picture.

Illegible, invented, or primal scripts (cave paintings, doodles, children’s drawings, etc.) are all influences upon asemic writing. But instead of being thought of as mimicry of preliterate expression, asemic writing can be considered as a postliterate style of writing that uses all forms of creativity for inspiration.

Some asemic writing has pictograms or ideograms, which suggest a meaning through their shape. Other forms are shapeless and exist as pure conception.

Asemic writing has no verbal sense, though it may have clear textual sense. Through its formatting and structure, asemic writing may suggest a type of document and, thereby, suggest a meaning. The form of art is still writing, often calligraphic in form, and either depends on a reader’s sense and knowledge of writing systems for it to make sense, or can be understood through aesthetic intuition.

It can also be seen as a relative perception, whereby unknown languages and forgotten scripts provide templates and platforms for new modes of expression. Asemic writing occurs in avant-garde literature and art with strong roots in the earliest forms of writing.



Maize, primarily known as corn in North America, is a cereal grain domesticated in Mesoamerica and subsequently spread throughout the American continents. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, maize spread to the rest of the world.

It is the most widely grown crop in the Americas, with 332 million tons grown annually in the United States alone. Hybrid maize is preferred by farmers over conventional varieties. While some maize varieties grow up to 23 feet tall, most commercially grown maize has been bred for a standardized height of 8 feet. Sweet corn is usually shorter than field-corn varieties.

Maize stems resemble bamboo canes and the internodes can reach 12 inches. It has a very distinct growth form. The lower leaves are like broad flags and the stems are erect, casting off flag-leaves at every node. Under these leaves, close to the stem, grow the ears. They grow about 3 milimetres a day.

The ears are female flowers, tightly covered over by several layers of leaves, and so closed-in by them to the stem that they do not show themselves easily until the emergence of the pale yellow silks from the leaf whorl at the end of the ear. The silks are elongated stigmas that look like tufts of hair, at first green, and later red or yellow. Certain varieties of maize have been bred to produce many additional developed ears, and these are the source of the baby corn that is used as a vegetable in Asian cuisine.

The apex of the stem ends in the tassel, an inflorescence of male flowers. Each silk may become pollinated to produce one kernel of corn. Young ears can be consumed raw, with the cob and silk, but as the plant matures the cob becomes tougher and the silk dries to inedibility. By the end of the growing season, the kernels dry out and become difficult to chew without cooking them tender first in boiling water. Modern farming techniques in developed countries usually rely on dense planting, which produces on average only about 1 ear per stalk because it stresses the plants.

The kernel of corn has a pericarp of the fruit fused with the seed coat, typical of the grasses. It is close to a multiple fruit in structure, except that the individual fruits (the kernels) never fuse into a single mass. The grains are about the size of peas, and adhere in regular rows round a white pithy substance, which forms the ear. An ear contains from 200 to 400 kernels. When ground into flour, maize yields more flour, with much less bran, than wheat does. However, it lacks the protein gluten of wheat and, therefore, makes baked goods with poor rising capability and coherence.

Maize contains lipid transfer protein, an undigestable protein which survives cooking. This protein has been linked to a rare and understudied allergy to maize in humans. The allergic reaction can cause skin rash, swelling or itching of mucus membranes, diarrhoea, vomiting, asthma and, in severe cases, anaphylactic shock. It has been noted that those with corn allergy almost always have peach allergy as well. It is unclear how common this allergy is in the general populace.


Magnetoception is the ability to detect a magnetic field to perceive direction, altitude or location. This sense plays a role in the navigational abilities of several animal species and has been postulated as a method for animals to develop regional maps.

It is most commonly observed in birds, where sensing of the Earth’s magnetic field is important to the navigational abilities during migration. In pigeons and other birds, researchers have identified a small heavily innervated region of the upper beak which contains biological magnetite and is believed to be involved in magnetoception.

Evidence has also been found that the light-sensitive molecule cryptochrome in the photoreceptor cells of the eyes is involved in magnetoception. According to one model, cryptochrome when exposed to blue light gets activated and forms a pair of two radicals where the spins of the two unpaired electrons are correlated. The surrounding magnetic field affects the type of correlation (parallel or anti-parallel), and this in turn affects the length of time cryptochrome remains in its activated state. Activation of cryptochrome may affect the light-sensitivity of retinal neurons, with the overall result that the bird can “see” the magnetic field. Cryptochromes are also essential for the light-dependent ability of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to sense magnetic fields.

It is believed that birds use both the magnetite-based and the radical pair-based approach, with the radical pair mechanism in the eyes providing directional information and a magnetite-based mechanism in the upper beak providing information on position as component of the ‘map’.

In bees, it has been observed that magnetite is embedded across the cellular membrane of a small group of neurons. It is thought that when the magnetite aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field, induction causes a current to cross the membrane which depolarizes the cell.

Crocodiles are believed to have magnetoception, which allows them to find their native area even after being moved hundreds of miles away. Some have been strapped with magnets to disorient them and keep them out of residential areas.

In 2008, a researcher team led by Hynek Burda using Google Earth accidentally discovered that magnetic fields affect the body orientation of cows and deer during grazing or resting. In a followup study in 2009, Burda and Sabine Begall observed that magnetic fields generated by power lines disrupted the orientation of cows from the Earth’s magnetic field.

Humans have magnetite deposits in the bones of the nose, specifically the sphenoidal/ethmoid sinuses. Beginning in the late 1970s the group of Robin Baker at the University of Manchester began to conduct experiments that purported to exhibit magnetoception in humans. People were purposely disoriented and then asked about directions to a specific place. Their answers were more accurate if there was no magnet attached to their head. These results could not be reproduced by other groups and the evidence remains ambiguous. Recently, other evidence for human magnetoception has been put forward as low-frequency magnetic fields can produce an evoked response in the brains of human subjects.

Certain types of bacteria and fungi are also known to sense the magnetic flux direction. They have organelles known as magnetosomes containing magnetic crystals for this purpose.


The L-field is a name proposed by the Yale Professor of Anatomy Harold Saxton Burr for the electromagnetic field of any organism. Burr held that the study of this field offered great promise for medicine since it exhibited measurable qualities that might be used in prognosis of disease, mood and viability. The voltage measurements he used are not in doubt but the scientific community has all but ignored Burr’s term and his interpretation of the field as a blueprint-like mold for all life. However, progress is currently being made in the use of electromagnetic therapy to aid the healing of broken bones.

Beginning in the 1930s H.S. Burr’s seminal work at Yale aimed at a gradual accumulation of hard data to support the hypothesis of the bio-electric field as having emergent, unexplained qualities and acting as a causal agent in development, healing, mood and health. Burr set up a series of experiments, later repeated by other researchers, which demonstrated some properties of these EM fields which he called Life-fields (L-fields).

He showed that changes in the electrical potential of the L-field were associated with changes in the health of the organism. By leaving some trees hooked up to his L-field detectors for decades he found correlations between such things as the phases of the moon, sunspot activity, and thunderstorms. He found the axis of EM polarity in a frog’s egg could predict the spinal axis of foetal development, which he interpreted as suggesting that the L-field was the organizing matrix for the body. His insistence that the L-field has primacy over the physical aspects of the organism eventually resulted in Burr being accused of “wishful vitalism”.

In his work with humans, he wrote papers detailing his successes in charting and predict the ovulation cycles of women, locating internal scar tissue, and diagnosing potential physical ailments through the reading of the individual’s L-field. As there was little interest in Burr’s work, few other scientists even attempted to duplicate Burr’s result.

Student and colleague Leonard Ravitz carried Burr’s work forward. Ravitz focused on the human dimension, beginning with an investigation of the effects of the lunar cycle on the human L-field. He concluded that the human L-field reaches a peak of activity at the full moon. Through work with hypnosis he became convinced that changes in the L-field directly relate to changes in a person’s mental and emotional states. Most intriguingly, Ravitz showed that the L-field as a whole disappears before physical death.


Organicism is a philosophical orientation that asserts reality is best understood as an organic whole. It is also a biological doctrine that stresses the organization rather than the composition of organisms.

As a doctrine it rejects mechanism and reductionism, the doctrines that claim the smallest parts by themselves explain the behavior of larger organized systems of which they are a part. However, organicism also rejects vitalism, the doctrine that there is a vital force different from physical forces that accounts for living things.

A number of biologists in the early to mid-twentieth century embraced organicism. They wished to reject earlier vitalisms but to stress that whole organism biology was not fully explainable by atomic mechanism. The larger organization of an organic system has features that must be taken into account to explain its behavior.

Organicism is distinguished from holism to avoid what is seen as the vitalistic of spritualistic connotations of holism. Holism contains a continuum of degrees of top-down control of an organization. With holism there is monism, the doctrine that the only complete object is the whole universe, or that there is only one entity, the universe. Organicism allows relatively more independence of the parts from the whole, despite the whole being more than the sum of the parts, or the whole exerting some control on the behavior of the parts.

More independence is present in relational holism. This doctrine does not assert top-down control of the whole over its parts, but does claim that the relations of the parts are essential to explanation of behavior of the system. Aristotle and early modern philosophers and scientists tended to describe reality as made of substances and their qualities, and to neglect relations. Twentieth century philosophy has been characterized by the introduction of and emphasis on the importance of relations,whether in symbolic logic or in metaphysics.

Organicism has some intellectually and politically controversial associations. Holism, the doctrine that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, is often used synonymously with organicism or as a broader category under which organicism falls, and has been coopted in recent decades by holistic medicine and by New Age Thought.

It has also been used to characterize notions put forth by various late 19th-century social scientists who considered human society to be analogous to an organism, and individual humans to be analogous to the cells of an organism.


Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. Originally cultivated by Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican peoples, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes is credited with introducing both the spice and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s. Attempts to cultivate the vanilla plant outside Mexico and Central America proved futile because of the symbiotic relationship between the tlilxochitl vine that produced the vanilla orchid and the local species of Melipona bee. In 1841, a 12-year-old French-owned slave by the name of Edmond Albius discovered the plant could be hand pollinated, allowing global cultivation of the plant.

The first to cultivate vanilla were the Totonac people, who inhabit the Mazantla Valley on the Gulf Coast of Mexico in the present-day state of Veracruz. According to Totonac mythology, the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew.

Vanilla was completely unknown in the Old World before Columbus. Spanish explorers who arrived on the Gulf Coast of Mexico in the early sixteenth century gave vanilla its name. The Spanish and Portuguese sailors and explorers brought vanilla into Africa and Asia in the 16th century. They called it vainilla, or little pod.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, due the extensive labor required to grow the seed pods used in its manufacture. Despite the expense, it is highly valued for its flavor and is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture and aroma therapy.

A major use of vanilla is in flavoring ice cream. The most common flavor of ice cream is vanilla, and thus most people consider it to be the default flavor. By analogy, the term vanilla is sometimes used as a synonym for plain. Although vanilla is a prized flavoring agent on its own, it is also used to enhance the flavor of other substances, to which its own flavor is often complementary, such as chocolate, custard, caramel, coffee etc.

The food industry uses methyl and ethyl vanillin. Ethyl vanillin is more expensive, but has a stronger note. Cook’s Illustrated ran several taste tests pitting vanilla against vanillin in baked goods and other applications, and to the consternation of the magazine editors, tasters could not differentiate the flavor of vanillin from vanilla. However, for the case of vanilla ice cream, natural vanilla won out.

In old medicinal literature, vanilla is described as an aphrodisiac and a remedy for fevers. These purported uses have never been scientifically proven, but it has been shown that vanilla does increase levels of catecholamines including epinephrine, more commonly known as adrenaline, and as such can also be considered mildly addictive.


Polarity therapy is a synthesis of ancient Eastern and alternative medicine health care ideas, centered on the concept of a human energy field. Using touch, verbal interaction, exercise, nutrition and other methods, practitioners of polarity therapy seek to balance and restore the natural flow of energy which flows from the universe and into the body. The aim is to re-establish balance. In addition to polarity bodywork, specific polarity yoga exercises, positive thinking, and nutritional recommendations enhance vitality.

Practitioners of polarity therapy use a subtle, invisible and intangible energetic system as the substrate for all phenomena. According to proponents, if the energetic flow is corrected and restored to its original design, the form will follow. Further, they claim that blockages in the flow of energy lead to pain and disease, or are experienced as stuck emotions and lack of vitality. They claim that this is similar to the measurable and quantifiable electromagnetic bond between electron and proton that forms atoms.

Polarity therapists work with the complementary or polarized forces, which they describe with the traditional Chinese words yin and yang. Although the concept of polarity implies two forces in opposition, these dualities are said by some to be mediated by a subtle third neutral factor, leading to the idea that phenomena are essentially triune in nature.

They claim expertise in energetic anatomy and work with energetic patterns similar to acupuncture meridians and marma points. The Caduseus, representative of the ida and pingala, is another aspect of the system that is thought to be manipulated during certain types of polarity treatments. Various esoteric energetic patterns are traced on the body, allegedly to integrate consciousness and fully connect various part of the being.

Polarity therapy is often connected with other forms of alternative medicine, such as Oriental medicine, Ayurveda, craniosacral therapy and osteopathy, which all claim to explore the subtle energetic factors in health conditions from their particular cultural viewpoints. Many chiropractic, osteopathic, and cranial manipulations and naturopathic perspectives and techniques are explored.

Research and testing on polarity therapy has been carried out primarily by advocates or practitioners, and most evidence is anecdotal. There is no scientific evidence for the efficacy of the technique or its underlying ideas. Proponents such as Gary Schwartz claim their ideas about a human energy field to be validated by other believers in the paranormal.


William Branham was a Christian minister, usually credited with founding the post World War II faith healing movement. Whilst many Pentecostal Christians welcomed his evangelistic and healing ministry, and some even considered him to be a Prophet, a minority have accorded him an even higher status, believing that his ministry and teachings were supernaturally vindicated by God.

In May 1946, Branham reported receiving an angelic visitation, commissioning his worldwide ministry of evangelism and faith healing. His first meetings as a full time evangelist were held in St Louis, Missouri. Professor Allan Anderson of the University of Birmingham, has written that Branham’s sensational healing services, which began in 1946, are well documented and he was the pacesetter for those who followed.

U.S. Congressman William Upshaw, crippled for sixty-six years, publicly proclaimed his miraculous healing in a Branham meeting in a leaflet called I’m Standing on the Promises. William Branham also claimed that God’s miraculous intervention healed King George VI of England through his prayers.

Church ministers working with Branham in his meetings testified that he was able to reveal the thoughts, experiences, and needs of individuals who came to the platform for prayer. Branham claimed that this knowledge, which he called discernment, was given to him through visions.

On the night of January 24, 1950, an unusual photograph was taken during a speaking engagement in the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas. A photograph, the only one of its film roll that developed, shows an apparent halo of light appearing above Branham’s head. A copy is held in the Library of Congress photograph collection.

William Branham preached thousands of sermons, of which almost 1,200 have been recorded and transcribed. His sermons dealt not only with the doctrines that would secure his place in modern religious history, but with staples of Pentecostalism such as personal prophecy. There are some that would even go as far to say that he was a judgement prophet like Jonah was in bible days.

Branham also went outside traditional Christian theology in his rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity and in his denunciation of the Oneness concept. From the late 1940s to the early 1950s it appears that Branham did not publicly denounce the Trinity in his campaign meetings, however to his congregation in Jeffersonville he was more open regarding his preference to the Oneness position.

Criticism of Branham’s ministry has focused not only on doctrinal differences, but on an assumption that he supported astrology. This is based on his comment that God wrote three Bibles. He said these were the zodiac, the great pyramid and the Holy Bible. He believed the first two predated any written Scripture, and are not for Christians today.

The followers of William Branham tend to distance themselves from controversial exclusiveness and maintain their homes in their communities. There is no headquarters. These churches have no membership or members and have little, if any, organization. Voice of God Recordings, the major distributor of materials related to William Branham’s ministry, currently produce print, audio, and video materials in more than 60 languages and maintain offices in over forty countries.

The largest concentration of Christians following William Branham is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is estimated that there are up to 2,000,000 followers. There are numerous churches following William Branham’s message in the United States and around the world. Branham’s followers should not be viewed as entirely monolithic as beliefs and interpretations of Branham’s teachings vary somewhat between groups.