What Is An E-Meter?

Today would be L. Ron Hubbard 100th birthday. Who is L. Ron Hubbard? He's the dude who invented Scientology. Yup, that same kooky scientology that turned Tom Cruise into a joke.

Do you know how to start becoming a scientology member though? You have to pass an auditing process and go through this e-meter, a lie detector that Scientologists believe can "see thoughts". But what is it?

Officially, it's called an electroencephaloneuromentimograph and measures the galvanic skin response of a person. Which sounds a lot like science! Which makes it believable! Which makes it Scientology! The E-Meter induces a electrical current through the body and back into the device to measures the changes in the electrical resistance of the human body.

But what the hell for? Well, Scientology members treat the E-Meter as a device that can see the 'static field' surrounding the body. Basically, for Scientologists, it's supposed to tell the auditor whether or not the person has been "relieved from spiritual impediment of past experiences" or in layman's, ready for bullshit, er I mean, Scientology.

How's it used? During the auditing process, a person holds cans attached to the E-Meter and is asked a series of questions. When answering back, the auditor will note the activity on the meter (needle movement basically) with each movement holding a unique significance in the Scientology world. The auditor reads the results and interprets it as he so chooses. Think of it as a lie detector, only shrouded in mystery and faux science. Or a high tech tarot card, I guess.

Here's what a judge had to say about the E-Meter:

Hubbard and his fellow Scientologists developed the notion of using an E-Meter to aid auditing. Substantial fees were charged for the meter and for auditing sessions using the meter. They repeatedly and explicitly represented that such auditing effectuated cures of many physical and mental illnesses. An individual processed with the aid of the E-Meter was said to reach the intended goal of 'clear' and was led to believe that there was reliable scientific proof that once cleared many, indeed most, illnesses would successfully be cured. Auditing was guaranteed to be successful. All this was and is false.

It's treated as a religious artifact by Scientologists but in reality is their money printing machine. E-meter tests are terribly expensive and can only be handled by "trained professionals" and used to answer a lot of practicing Scientologists problems. Here's to hoping none of you ever run into one of these in your life.



    Several years ago on George st, Sydney. They were doing e-meter tests on the street for free! I guess it wasn't big enough in Aus for them to charge for it yet. I remember thinking, that thing just measures the electrical resistance of your skin. I bet no Scientologists have chronically sweaty palms.

    "..but in reality is their money printing machine" So *it is* a religious artifact to them

    I have several 'E meters' They are my multimeters which I can use as an ohm meter. Which I have amused my kids with to measure their sex appeal whatever. I could do readings for anyone for say $100 a session, cheap.
    Brian Robb

    Shame on you, Gizmodo. So much BS in one article, that's disgusting. You can have your personal opinion as much as you want, Casey Chan, but don't lie to your readers like that. You obviously have never seen an e-meter, or talked to a Scientologist. Ugly.

      Because we don't want to. You've ruined enough people's lives already, even if they don't know it yet.

        Louanne is the Scientology Office of Special Affairs "internet handler" sent here to "handle" this article and comments, google her name and Scientology.

        you can build one $5 in parts from Radio Shack and 2 campbells soup cans.

      And the backlash begins.

      Casey I'm sure you'll be copping a load of flack from the very vocal minority. And I'm actually surprised Gizmodo would be willing to jump into the fray considering the histroy Scientology has of silencing the people who speak out against them.

      And just to keep it honest - Here's a nice site with some serious history on the E Meter - http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/E-Meter/

        Some student on drugs writing a blog post 15 years ago = "scientific". Right.

          He he. I was hoping you pull that one...

          David S. Touretzky is actually a research professor in Comp Sci and Centre for the Neural basis of cognition at Carnegie Mellon. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/

      They'd say the same if a Catholic was selling holy water that was blessed by the Pope himself that could cure AIDs. Religious artifact or no, it's bullshit scientifically speaking. If you think it works, Randi has a $1 million prize if you can prove it.

      LOL you can see one of these cheap trinkets taken apart on Youtube. It's really funny because the components are so old and basic. It's basically a very cheap lie detector. And it's a cash cow for this malignant corporation, um I mean religion. Imagine if someone said, "you need to say the lord's prayer, and it will cost you $200 each time."

    "Measuring a static field"? What e-meter are you talking about?

    Clueless, check this out:


      "When the person thinks a thought, looks at a picture in their mind, re-experiences an incident or shifts some part of the reactive mind, they are moving and changing actual mental mass and energy."
      Ok, and this is less clueless in what way? Mental mass, wow, yes that makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for that enlightening piece of *cough* factual information.

      "The pictures in the mind contain energy and mass."
      Mass? Great, maybe auditors need bathroom scales rather than E-meters. Gosh my brain feels awfully heavy these days, what with all them pictures with mass.

      The fact that there are people here arguing on behalf of Scientology is worrying. I fear for the future generations of humankind.

        It's there job though, they're Scientology staff and employees.

        Thanks, Jeffrey, for the source information.

          Worth noting that both you and Jeffrey share an IP address, Louanne...

            I'd be fascinated to see how many other comments to this article all come from the same IP.

            Hahahah Well spotted Nick!!

            *high 5s*

            Ohh Snap!!! Well spotted there.. Do you need any more proof that these scientology guys are just full of BS!!!

            bahaha! awesome observation! caught out

    Please, when you mention galvanic skin conductance, can you also point out it exists as a research technique outside of scientology. It just makes my job harder when the general view is that GSC/GSR is bullshit because scientology is bullshit. It is a physiological measure that has been well researched and is the basis of a polygraph test. It is a measure of "excitability" and was around well before scientology.

      It is a well known fact that the polygraph is flawed, hence it's not being allowed for use in courts. There are many countermeasures available for the polygraph, want me to tell some now?

    Scientology only says the E-Meter does nothing *now* because they were forced to admit it does nothing by the US FDA in a number of well documented court cases.

    Prior to that they made up all kinds of bollocks.

    How did this ever pass as a Gizmodo post? Casey, maybe tomorrow you can write an article on the Catholic church who....guess what?....every Sunday eat the body and drink the blood of a man who's been dead for thousands of years! Not for nothing but every religion has their kooky beliefs. They're religions. Get over it.

    Atheists like Casey are the biggest cult members of all. Fanatically bashing everyone else who does not share their "scientific opinion". It's amazing how much effort they use to convince everyone how right they are. Suspicious, actually.

      Oh Jeff you're hilarious.

      Saying that atheists are in a cult is like saying that not playing soccer is a sport.

      And heaven forbid (pun intended) that people use the brain that god gave them (pun also intended) and actually critically think for themselves to realise it's -ALL- BS.

      If someone wants to believe religious dogma that is so obviously far-fetched/ludicrous/unbelievable that goes against every form of credibility/logic/critical thinking, I don't feel any desire to pander to their delusions in case I hurt their feelings. The sooner people come back to reality, the faster humankind can move on with awesomeness.

    The Scientology "internet handler" employees have showed up to attack the author of this post because it's not very helpful to Scientology marketing.

    It was called the electropsychometer when Volney Mathieson invented it, Hubbard just changed a few trivial details and rebranded it as the "e-meter" so he wouldn't have to pay Mathieson anything. One more case of L Ron ripping people off.

    Wow, dump a turd and watch the flies come in!
    These pro delusion arguements read like a primary school playground discussion.

    Newtown Mac - My behaviour should not be examined because someone else has behaved in a similar or worse manner. If you follow this garbage we only need one law: genocide, cause everything else is, like, peanuts man!

    Jeff Smado - I'm not a tool you're a tool! No you're a tool! No you're a tool..... On it goes. A lawyer once told me that (in a court room) you should never argue with an idiot because it makes you look like an idiot. This is that heart of what this arguement is - idiot glue.

    And finally, the award for the most gutless & pathetic arguement goes to:
    Louanne Lee - for the "Some student on drugs" comment. Play the man, don't address the arguement at all. Admittedly this is a popular tatic for adults as well (if you can call Tony Abbot an adult) but still, it's the most openly offensive approach in my humble opinion.

    Can we please get some more of these? I'd like to compile a more complete list of gutter arguements.

    I don't find myself willing to believe in any religion at this point. Since I was 4 I have asked religious groups to give me some kind of evidence that would make me believe in what ever lies they are pushing.. To this day none have been able to. I do not subscribe to any religion nor non religion. I am just me living my life. I do not force my thoughts onto religious people. I think this article is justified and makes sense to be on this website. This website is devoted to writing stories on gadgets, this 'e-meter' is a gadget. The fact that a group of people decided to lie to the masses using this gadget is also relevant. Now if any other religious group started using a device to charge people for healing like this, I am sure a story would be written about them also. 99% of religions need gimmicks to draw people to them, usually desperate or small minded people. This device was just another gimmick in a long line of things dating back thousands of years..

      You can't learn anything form the sidelines! If you truly want to learn about Scientology, don't take the word of the detractors or the supporters. Go to the library and get a basic book like "Self Analysis". If you find after you are finished it is a waste of time, don't go any further. If you find that it is effective, do some more! Nobody is expected to have 'faith', just do what seems right. Just don't take other's biased opinions, especially those who really don't know what they are talking about.

        Hi Steve, you're the Scientologist who claims that you don't patrol the internet for Scientology, you've said that you just "accidentally stumble" on these Scientology articles, right? We've talked before.

        How's it been going? Not too much entheta, I hope.

    oh please can we have some more articles like this, i get a real kick seeing scientolocrapists getting their knickers in a knot :)

    Gizmodo: the next in the line of semi-serious websites to fall to the "Allure" of tabloid journalism. You guys don't know shYt about an emeter.

    Scientology sucks in idiots. What's the problem? Let them have them.

    A polygraph (popularly referred to as a lie detector) is an instrument that measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions, in the belief that deceptive answers will produce physiological responses that can be differentiated from those associated with non-deceptive answers.

    Polygraphy is widely rejected as being pseudoscience by the scientific community.[1] Nonetheless, polygraphs are in some countries used as an interrogation tool with criminal suspects or candidates for sensitive public or private sector employment. US federal government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA and many police departments such as the LAPD use polygraph examinations to interrogate suspects and screen new employees. Within the US federal government, a polygraph examination is also referred to as a psychophysiological detection of deception (PDD) examination.

    Bring on the flames! Keep up the good work Giz. The shit storm is hilarious!

    AHAHAHAAHH scientology.

    Nice one Gizmodo! Next can we debunk natropathy - that usually brings a few freaks out of the woodworks too

      I think you meant Naturopathy.

      More on the e-meter: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/E-Meter/

    The emeter works, and it helps people, turn into pathological zombie liars. Really, a few decades on the emeter, and most Sciloons wouldn't know the difference between Black Dianetics and the black death. The poor children who grow up in this cult get grilled on it regularly, and are in training to become tomorrow's Charles Mansons. Most of them one wrong colored fruit loop away from drinking Kookaid to meet up with Hubbard's mothership, forgetting completely that that chain smoking weirdo was supposed to COME BACK! I mean they had his cigarettes ready and everything, and he had control over the aging process, here and on Venus.

    This is lame. The history of the device is actually pretty interesting, and the way the technology would up in proper scientific bio-feedback research is as well. Why the poorly researched hack job?

    I get that people want to inoculate themselves against being suckered in by an expensive scam, but that's no excuse for writing what amounts to a high-school grade hit piece about something real gadget lovers would find fascinating.

      "wound up", not "would up"

    Oh scientologists, you so crazy.

    "Think of it as a lie detector, only shrouded in mystery and faux science."
    -What, you mean like a regular lie detector?

    I have no problem with poking fun at Scientology. It is after all an evil money hungry empire,that brainwashes its members into believing ridiculous dogma written by a science fiction author. Let's face it,these people are amongst the gullible in the universe.

    However let's not forget that Scientology is no more stupid than any of the other religious cults out there. Christianity being the most obvious example. Does believing in a 2000 year old zombie that listens to your every prayer, and drinking his blood every Sunday make any more sense? No. No it doesn't.

    Atheism FTW.

    Remember when Scientology was outlawed in 3 states when the Anderson report concluded that "Scientology is a delusional belief system, based on fiction and fallacies and propagated by falsehood and deception." back in the 60's. It was pretty much ruled a cult then and not much had changed since.

    That said I am not a big fan of any religion, but at least the mainstream ones seem to try to do more good than bad, and don't scam their members out of thousands of dollars.

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