He Talks to Water

Last spring, a thousand people streamed into a church in a leafy
lakeside suburb west of Minneapolis to hear a lecture called ‘The
Hidden Messages of Water.’ The pews were brimming and the lecturer
himself was surprised at the overflow crowd: After he was
introduced, he paused to take pictures of the audience, who cheered
and waved.

Who was this conservatively dressed, tousled, middle-aged
Japanese man, and why did all these people — mostly women — fill
the parking lots with their luxury cars and pay $25 each to see

It was Dr. Masaru Emoto, a half-scientist, half-evangelist whose
books have sold more than half a million copies. Trained in
alternative medicine (his title refers to a degree he received in
1992 from the Open International University in India, which opened
in 1991 and confers such degrees for under $500), Emoto fills
bottles with water, exposes them to words, music, or prayer, and
then freezes them. He then photographs the resulting crystals. The
images are either ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly.’ Many of them, as he noted
with his laser pointer on a huge screen, appear to reveal images
created as the crystals formed. In one experiment, he ‘showed’ a
picture of Niagara Falls to the water and the water responded by
producing a crystal that resembled, according to Emoto, the eye on
a dollar bill. The word war produced a fuzzy, irregular crystal
that suggested a jet flying into the World Trade Center, while the
Japanese word for ‘mother’s cooking’ generated a brilliant,
symmetrical crystal.

The audience oohed and aahed at each picture, as if they’d never
seen a snowflake before. (They also oohed and aahed at the spinning
graphics of his PowerPoint presentation.) Emoto played music to the
water. Beethoven and Tchaikovsky were among water’s favorites. For
some reason, he then led the crowd in a karaoke sing-along of ‘Red
River Valley,’ though the PowerPoint text was so tiny the lyrics
were unreadable. ‘Someday,’ he said, ‘our pharmacies will be filled
with CDs, not drugs.’

Emoto then pronounced the three steps to personal and global
health: First, drink good water. Though he didn’t say what
constitutes good water, there were small bottles of grocery-store
water for sale in the lobby that presumably fit the bill, along
with a vendor selling a water purification pump. Second, said
Emoto, listen to good music. Fortunately, there were also CDs for
sale in the lobby from the opening act, a piano-and-recorder duo.
Third, and probably hardest to copyright, ‘keep consciousness to be

Emoto talked about atoms and solar systems and elementary
particles. He said that our bodies are like miniature solar
systems. He said that the vibrational energy produced by MRIs is
the technology with which breast cancer could be cured. He said
that water could pick up messages from outer space, that groups of
people who held their hands in prayer formed better crystals than
groups who merely held hands. He said that the world’s major
viruses like AIDS, SARS, and the ‘chicken flu’ were each released
soon after a major war.

The most precious moment may have come when the sun started to
set in the airy space and Emoto, reduced to a dim silhouette,
recited a verse, projected on the screen, in his halting, robotic
English: ‘Imagine. There’s. No. Heaven. It’s. Easy. If. You. Try.
No. Hell. Below. Us. Above. Us. Only. Sky. Imagine. All. The.
People. Living. For. Today.’ Domo arigato, Dr. Emoto.

Reprinted from The Rake (June 2004), a monthly
magazine devoted to life and pop culture in the Twin Cities area.
Free locally. Subscriptions: $14.95/yr. (12 issues) from 800 N.
Washington Ave., Suite 504, Minneapolis, MN 55401;

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.