The underestimated magnetic sensitivity of humans

A new study has been published this month that reports “a strong, specific human brain response to ecologically-relevant rotations of Earth-strength magnetic fields”. This study from Caltech “Transduction of the Geomagnetic Field as Evidenced from Alpha-band Activity in the Human Brain” (contributors and link below) continues:

“Following geomagnetic stimulation, a drop in amplitude of EEG alpha oscillations (8-13 Hz) occurred in a repeatable manner. Termed alpha event-related desynchronization (alpha-ERD), such a response has been associated previously with sensory and cognitive processing of external stimuli including vision, auditory and somatosensory cues”.

Although long assumed (if somewhat naively, in my opinion) that humans are somehow left behind in the ability to detect the earth’s magnetic field, it is (to quote the above study) “a sensory modality well-established across all major groups of vertebrates and some invertebrates”. Thus it has been reasonably well reported that “bacteria, sharks, honey bees, and homing pigeons as well as other organisms seem to detect the direction of the earth’s magnetic field” (Biogenic magnetite as a basis for magnetic field detection in animals – Kirschvink JL, Gould JL) and yet very little has been done to study this ability in humans.

This seems like such a bizarre oversight, as though walking around a sizeable elephant in the room except, perhaps, when you consider that those who conduct, or invest in, such studies are probably the least-likely to pay attention to such anomalous sensations (being so hard to classify, describe or prove using the traditional five senses). The link between the magnetic field and human brain waves is a red flag to me since this is a topic I have explored for some time (see my post “Brain” waves and consciousness: the evolutionary imperative). I also suspect that these unexplored sensory abilities are of far more relevance to us than “just”  in terms of our super-ability to navigate (which holds no sway in an era when we have outsourced the need for such innate abilities to our computers and a world full of signposts…). Yet, until those other incentives to explore our natural-born super-sensory skills arise, perhaps because of some future survival requirement (most scientific humans seem so bizarrely contented with their basic five senses…), there is very little interest in studying this topic further, which is exactly why I was so heartened to discover this new study today.

The new study summarises the impasse that had been reached on this topic until now, being the choice of two assumptions; “either we have lost a shared, ancestral magnetosensory system, or the system lacks a conscious component with detectable neural activity but no apparent perceptual awareness by us”. In other words, we are either devoid of this ability or, if we have it, our nerves are aware yet we remain oblivious.

The conclusion of the study’s findings is that, given “strong, specific and repeatable effects on human brainwave activity” can now be reported (assumed to be “the presence of a ferromagnetic transduction element, such as biologically-precipitated crystals of magnetite (Fe3O4)” since other known explanations have been ruled out) then we are down to the one possibility, being that we have this ability but have simply lost our awareness of this. In other words, we have become unconscious of something which, perhaps like the birds and other migratory species, was something we knowingly made use of in times gone by. This is precisely my own thought on the matter; also that sensing our magnetic environment is not a burden or ailment but a skill (albeit a challenging one to revive in the present day environment).

My awareness of the magnetic field or, more precisely, of disruptions to it such as GM storms or notable variables in the Schumann Resonance, came upon me slowly but surely over the same timeframe that I was dealing with somewhat bizarre chronic health issues that took the form of what people refer to as autoimmunities (I dislike the term) and fibromyalgia. Thus I was leading a life that was withdrawn from the typical distractions and interference of the outside world whilst minutely focused on my health plus my awareness of everything that was going on in and around me. To me, there is no accident that these events coincided with the period that I consider to be my awakening, in a spiritual sense, since it was during that time that I was able to soften all my preconceptions around what I perceived as “real” and “unreal” (which, until then, had been largely determined by the left-hemispherical “logical” aspect of my brain) in order to perceive the more level playing field of all the sensory data that was available to me, whatever its source (in other words, not always so reliant on the classic five senses). My very need to work out what was happening in the perplexing circumstances of my health predisposed me to consider things that I might otherwise have brushed off as nonsense.

It was over this time that the correlation of my health variables with the patterns of the solar cycle (which was at first in the depths of a deep and sustained solar minimum, just at the point when my health “crashed” in 2008-2010, then rising steadily to all the increased activity of solar maximum half a decade later) became steadily more obvious to me. As well as feeling solar events such as growing sunspots and CMEs, I also started noticing anomalous experiences such as flashing lights or other visual/sensory disturbances, including increased nerve pain, when geomagnetic storms were underway, quite distinct sensory ones when corotating interaction regions were reported and so on. Days when there is a “spike” in the Schumann Resonance feel so intense to me, in ways both pleasant and less so depending on how high frequency, sustained or variables the levels. Very low levels of geomagnetic disturbance can feel almost worse of all; as though systemically stagnant, even toxic.  I’ve had to learn to lead my life most comfortably by working with these variables; doing what it takes to restore balance by adhering to these conditions as though they are an integral part of my own physical biosphere.

By tracking one set of circumstances with the other, I reached a point where there was really no denying how minutely sensitive I was to the earth’s magnetic field since I was predicting these events before they were reported, based on symptoms in my inbuilt neurology. Michael A Jawer’s book “The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense” went some of the way towards shedding light on reasons why I might be “hardwired” (from a mixture of genetics and upbringing) to be somewhat more attentive to these kinds of anomalous experiences. Yet the nagging question in my mind has always been, why isn’t everyone aware of this stuff (or, at least, far more people than ever seem prepared to talk about it)?

The answer is that I notice how more and more people are becoming so, increasing over the last half decade, to the point that I now know other people, who are far less exploratory and open-minded than I am, who routinely check for GM events when they experience certain symptoms. Others gather on internet forums or form the audiences of blogs that track space weather events and the Schumann Resonance, leading to disussions in those place. Even in those who only sense these magnetic variables via other symptoms, such as the patterns of their migraines etc. (so, not in any conscious way), I take note of the correlation of one event with the other on their behalf. In my husband’s case, he has become ever more aware of geomagnetic anomalies and with steadily increasing accuracy; reporting symptoms before I have to say anything outloud about what I also feel occurring. Yes, this could be to do with living with me, where these topics are openly discussed, making him much more aware; but that only helps to support the view that it’s a matter of human awareness, not of ability, that underlies the supposed lack of human response to the magnetic field.

We are in an era of such rapid evolution; as a species, waking-up with such speed, that the sheer momentum of our growth is forcing what used to lie in the deep unconscious of ourselves up into the daylight of our awareness, by whatever means necessary. Our magnetic awareness, and other super-skills, have been forced deep underground during what has been a long era of sleep-walking when it comes to the subtle (you could equally call them clairvoyant) senses, which were not considered to be of value, possibly even a liability, during those times yet we are calling them back to ourselves now. Thus (as I have discovered for myself) I suspect it is likely that the subconscious awareness of our magnetic environment will only bang the drum of our physical symptoms all the louder from now on, in order to gain our attention, to the point that we become more consciously aware of how we are, really, this connected to the giant living rock beneath our feet and the vast universe in which it is suspended!


A few days after writing this post, shared an article on the same topic – see Can Human Sense Magnetic Storms here, also you can read an article from Caltech themselves – Evidence for a Human Geomagentic Sense. Its good to see, a few years since I started feeling them, that the posibility is finally entering the conversation!


Transduction of the Geomagnetic Field as Evidenced from Alpha-band Activity in the Human Brain – Connie X. Wang, Isaac A. Hilburn, Daw-An Wu, Yuki Mizuhara, Christopher P. Cousté, Jacob N. H. Abrahams, Sam E. Bernstein, Ayumu Matani, Shinsuke Shimojo and Joseph L. Kirschvink, 18 March 2019.

Biogenic magnetite as a basis for magnetic field detection in animals – Kirschvink JL, Gould JL.

Michael A Jawer – The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense

My related posts:

“Brain” waves and consciousness: the evolutionary imperative

Autonomic nerves and their ceaseless dialogue with the universe

Going gamma

High-sensitivity, synesthesia…and hearing tones, seeing lights or other anomalous experiences


Birds Can See Earth’s Magnetic Fields, And Now We Know How That’s Possible

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