|Born||Grover Cleveland "Cleve" Backster, Jr
February 27, 1924
|Known for||Theory of "primary perception"|
Grover Cleveland "Cleve" Backster, Jr. (born February 27, 1924) is a best known for his experiments with biocommunication in plant and animal cells using a polygraph machine in the 1960s which led to his theory of "primary perception." Backster began his career as an Interrogation Specialist with the CIA, and went on to become Chairman of the Research and Instrument Committee of the Academy for Scientific Interrogation. He is currently director of the Backster School of Lie Detection in San Diego, California. He was born in Lafayette, New Jersey.
Primary perception 
His study of plants began in the 1960s, when he reported observing that a polygraph instrument attached to a plant leaf registered a change in electrical resistance when the plant was harmed or even threatened with harm. He argued that plants perceived human intentions, and as Backster began to investigate further, he also reported a finding that other human thoughts and emotions caused reactions in plants that could be recorded by a polygraph instrument. His work was in part inspired by the research of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, who claimed to have discovered that playing certain kinds of music in the area where plants grew caused them to grow faster.
He termed the plants' sensitivity to thoughts "primary perception," and published his findings from the experiments in the International Journal of Parapsychology. The article was met with wide criticism of his research methods. However Backster gained the interest of other researchers and expanded his experimental range to test for primary perceptions in other life forms such as yogurt, bacteria and human cells.
Since then Backster has presented his work at numerous scientific meetings including those of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA.
Backster School of Lie Detection 
The Backster School of Lie Detection is located in San Diego, California, and is the longest running polygraph school in the world. The school was originally founded in New York City in 1960, shortly after Mr. Backster left his position with the Central Intelligence Agency. Backster founded the CIA's polygraph unit shortly after World War II.
Popular culture 
Backster's biocommunications work is most famously discussed in The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. His work is discussed in his book, published in 2003, titled Primary Perception. The book was translated into Chinese in 2006 and Japanese in 2007.
He was a guest on June 27, 2007 on the popular evening radio show, "Coast To Coast AM", during which he discussed with host George Noory and with callers to the program his experiments with primary perception and findings of an interconnection between all living cells. He had been a guest several times before on Art Bell's Coast to Coast, as well as on Jeff Rense's radio shows, and has presented papers at many international conferences and meetings as well as those in the U.S.A.
Backster's "Primary Perception" theory was a subject of the Discovery Channel television show MythBusters. The team attempted to reproduce Backster's experiments using a polygraph and an EEG machine. It reproduced the plant experiment and initially got the polygraph reaction predicted by Backster's work. The team was unable to coax any measurable response out of yogurt cultures, white blood cells or eggs and the EEG test was also negative. Backster responded on a 2008 radio broadcast of "Coast to Coast AM". Italian public television RAI produced, in 1975, a four parts serial based on Backster's work and titled "La traccia verde" (the green trace).
- U.S. Public Records Index Vol 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- Forensic Psychophysiology Using the Polygraph: Scientific Truth Verification ... - James Allan Matté - Google Books. Books.google.ca. 1948-04-12. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
- William F. Williams, Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, 2000 publ. Fitzory Dearborn Publishers, ISBN 1-57958-207-9
- International Journal of Parapsychology: "Evidence of a Primary Perception in Plant Life," vol. 10, no. 4, Winter 1968, pp. 329-348
- Cleve Backster, Primary Perception: Biocommunication with plants, living foods, and human cells (2003) White Rose Millennium Press, ISBN 0-9664354-3-5, Website
- TV Recap - Retrieved Aug 2011
- Primary Perception Theory
- Primary Perception
- Backster School of Lie Detection Website
- Mythbusters test Primary Perception
- 1996 Interview with Backster
- "Coast To Coast AM" show with Cleve Backster
- The Straight Dope: Do plants have ESP?
- Randall Fontes - From the Secret Life of Plants to The Play of Light