Randall Fontes

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Randall G. Fontes, M.A.
Randall fontes play of light.jpg
Randall Fontes works with the Play of Light Meditation Mandala and Resonant Light Projector
Born (1945-10-20)October 20, 1945
Hayward, California
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Psychology
Altered States of Consciousness
Alma mater Sonoma State University
Known for Organic Biofield Sensor Report
Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory
S.R.I Project 3194 (Task 3) November 1975 by
H.E. Puthoff and
R. Fontes
Influences Dr. Harold E. Puthoff
Dr. David Van Nuys
Dr. Norman Goldstein

Randall G. Fontes (born October 20, 1945) is an American psychology professional known particularly for his research in the fields of parapsychology and psychophysics. He received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and India Studies in 1973 and in 1977 he was awarded a Master's degree (M.A.) in Psychology from Sonoma State University.[1]

When he spent a semester studying Eastern Philosophy in India in 1971[2] he met an Indian astrologer who told him that in the future he would be conducting scientific research in the field of consciousness.

Upon returning home in Spring of 1972 he was introduced to an IBM chemist named Marcel Vogel.[3] After spending several hours of conversation Marcel said, "You are the person who will carry on my research into plants sensitivity and human consciousness." Marcel gave Fontes all the equipment he needed to begin the work.

Research Begins[edit]

Fontes began his research at Sonoma State University[4] with help from his adviser Professor Dr. David Van Nuys.[5][6] In June 1973 he was invited to California State University, East Bay (California State University Hayward)[7] as a guest researcher in the Biology Department by Professor Dr. Norman Goldstein. The project was to research action potential in the Algae Nitella, and the parenchama cells of the Mimosa pudica to determine their sensitivity to various external stimuli.

The Secret Life of Plants[edit]

Fontes’ research was highlighted in the bestselling book The Secret Life of Plants[8] Fontes and author Peter Tompkins promoted the book on radio and television shows such as The David Susskind Show,[9] The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson[10] and the Encyclopædia Britannica "Wild Science" documentary series.[11]

Fontes was featured in a documentary film, The Secret Life of Plants (1979), directed by Walon Green, with a musical sound track - later released as Stevie Wonder's Journey Through "The Secret Life of Plants" by Stevie Wonder.

Stanford Research Institute (SRI)[edit]

In the Fall of 1972 Dr. Harold E. Puthoff and Russell Targ began research at SRI for the CIA-Initiated U.S. Government program to investigate paranormal abilities;.[12] which eventually became, code name "Stargate Project" a Remote Viewing program. They applied for and received a research grant to probe plant sensitivity. In Fall of 1973 they brought Fontes to Stanford Research Institute (SRI) to conduct Plant and Human Consciousness Research, also known as "Primary Perception" or the "Backster Effect" discovered by Cleve Backster a polygraph expert who had worked for the CIA.

Fontes worked with Remote Viewers Ingo Swann, Hella Hammid[13] and Pat Price. The product of this work culminated in a final report "Organic Biofield Sensor" by H. E. Puthoff and R. Fontes;.[14][15] dated November 1975.

Organic Biofield Sensor[edit]

Organic Biofield Sensor
Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory
S.R.I Project 3194 (Task 3) November 1975
by H. E. Puthoff and R. Fontes

VI Summary and Conclusions

"The purpose of the investigation reported here was to assess the feasibility of the use of a special class of device (organic sensor) for real-time contactless measurement of psychological stress or other psychological or physiological state in a human subject being monitored. To this end special detectors were developed so that the electrical activity and micromovements of plants (Philodendron oxycardium, Mimosa pudica) and algae (Nitella) could be monitored. The activity of these sensors while in close proximity to a human subject viewing slides of varying emotional content was then examined. The sensors were located inside Faraday cage electrical shielding to eliminate trivial electrical artifacts. To provide an objective indicator of emotional response during viewing, the subject's GSR (galvanic skin response) was recorded to provide a signal to cross-correlate with the organic sensor output."

"Pilot experiments with the algae Nitella indicated that they were nonresponsive to the activity of human subjects in close proximity, and therefore experimentation with Nitella was terminated early in the program. With regard to plant sensors, however, experimental findings with twelve subjects indicated that the electrical activity of plants in close proximity to a human subject viewing slides of putative emotional content, although not in one-to-one correspondence with subject GSR, nevertheless did show in some cases (20%) statistically significant evidence of correlation with subject GSR.* Furthermore, such electrical activity is found not to be an artifact of plant micromotion, the latter being uncorrelated with either subject GSR or plant potential, nor is it a system artifact due to slide tray activity signals in the GSR channel. Thus, although we must reject the hypothesis that subject GSR and plant potential fluctuations of a nearby electrically shielded plant are in general correlated, there is evidence for a degree of correlation beyond that expected by chance."

  • Subject S-3: p < 4.2 X 10-4; p < 0.024, replication experiment.
    Subject S-4: p < 0.038.

This Report supports the possibility that plants may respond to human consciousness as contended by Cleve Backster.

In Harper's Magazine a hypothesis was offered that may explain how this phenomenon could occur:

"Dr. Harold Puthoff, a laser physicist at the Stanford Research Institute, surmises that the subatomic particle known as a tachyon may hold the answer. Tachyons, from the Greek meaning "swift," are supposed to travel faster than light. Postulated in 1967 by Columbia University physicist Gerald Feinberg, they have so far not been experimentally detected."[16]

DeAnza College[edit]

From April 1977 through June 1981 Fontes taught Psychology 7, Introduction to Parapsychology now cataloged as Psychology 57 [17] at DeAnza College in Cupertino, California. This class taught the scientific approach to paranormal phenomena and was fully accredited and transferable to the University of California.[2]

The Exploratorium Science and Art Museum[edit]

In May 1987 Fontes, M.A. joined the staff of the Exploratorium Science and Art Museum. In 1993 he became a "Life Sciences Project Designer" in the Biology department, under National Science Foundation funding. While working at the Exploratorium one program that he designed exhibits for was the Human Genome Project (HGP).[18] This work was funded by the United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Genome Program (DE-FG03-93ER61583).[19]

The founder of the Exploratorium was Physicist Dr. Frank Oppenheimer who believed Science and Art should be experienced together as different views of the same truth; that they should be seen to reinforce each other.

In August 2000 Fontes began to independently focus his full attention to the integration of Science, Art and Spirit and for the last eight years he dedicated himself full-time to the exploration and development of the Play of Light Meditation Experience.

Play of Light Meditation Experience[edit]

 Play of Light Meditation Mandala
The Play of Light Meditation Mandala

Kirby Seid introduced Marti Spiegelman to Fontes. She hosts Awakening Value on The VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network who interviewed him in January 2010. Ms. Spiegelman says of Fontes' work:

"Randall’s current work, Art and Science in the Service of Spirit: A Journey into the Play of Light, rises from his botanical research in the ‘60s and the publication of The Secret Life of Plants. Randall’s research focused on the reaction of plants to human emotions, and expanded to research at the Stanford Research Institute on plant and human consciousness.

As the new millennium began, Randall’s work evolved to the integration of science, art, and spirit with his Play of Light Meditative Experience.[20] As he describes it, ‘The Play of Light is about the beauty of light, of sound, and of form. As each of these is deeply resonant with the other, the underlying unity that they share is revealed within their dance, and can be realized through direct experience. Within this experience, the mind becomes still and spontaneous meditation arises."[21]
Listen Now »

See also[edit]


  1. ^ San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle - Sunday January 6, 1974, Book Review By John White "Relation of Plants and Mankind"
  2. ^ a b The Daily Review - Friday, August 5, 1977, By Glennda Chui "Castro Valley men probe the secret life of plants" Hayward, California
  3. ^ The Press Democrat - Sunday. September 31, 1972, By Staff Writer "talk nice to plants....they may be listening!" Santa Rosa, California
  4. ^ Steven Halpern, Louis M. Savary (1985) "Sound health: the music and sounds that make us whole" Harper & Row, pg. 46
  5. ^ Shrink Rap Radio Dr. David Van Nuys interviews Dr. Dean Radin, Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)
  6. ^ Ocala Star-Banner - Thursday, July 7, 1977, Sixth sense By Dr. Van Nuys "What's This About Plants That Communicate?" Ocala, Florida
  7. ^ San Francisco Examiner - Monday, March 28, 1977, Ivan Sharpe "E. Bay pair prove that plants lead secret lives"
  8. ^ Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird (1973) "The Secret Life of Plants" Harper & Row, Publications pg. 32
  9. ^ David Susskind Show, Part II "The Secret World of Plants" (July 20, 1975) Randall Fontes, Richard Champion, Ralph Snodsmith, Professor Arthur Galston, Peter Tompkins
  10. ^ Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (February 28, 1974) Peter Tompkins, Randall Fontes
  11. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica’s "Wild Science" documentary series on NBC narrated by Peter Falk April 26, 1974
  12. ^ CIA-Initiated Remote Viewing At Stanford Research Institute by Harold E. Puthoff, Ph.D.
  13. ^ Hella Hammid Remonte Viewer, BBC Video Documentary (1983)
  14. ^ "Organic Biofield Sensor" Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory S.R.I Project 3194 (Task 3) November 1975 By: H. E. Puthoff and R. Fontes
  15. ^ Jude Currivan, PH.D. (May 2007) – "The 8th Chakra: What It Is and How It Can Transform Your Life By" Hay House, Inc. pg. 116
  16. ^ Harper's Magazine – November 1972, By Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird "Love Among the Cabbages" bg. 93
  17. ^ http://www.deanza.edu/gov/academicsenate/pdf/socialscience2008-2009.pdf
  18. ^ The Human Genome: Science and the Social Consequences Interactive Exhibits and Programs on Genetics and the Human Genome
  19. ^ DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee Workshop IV, Santa Fe, New Mexico, November 13–17, 1994
  20. ^ San Francisco Chronicle - Monday, December 22, 1997, By Charles Burress "Tinkerer's Paradise in Berkeley "Young old inventors are offered tools techniques and inspiration"
  21. ^ http://www.voiceamerica.com/voiceamerica/vguest.aspx?gid=5588