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Auras and Indigo Children

Mario Mendez-Acosta

February 15, 2006

Beliefs in diverse paranormal phenomena tend to show a cyclical character, just like the width of neckties in vogue. Now resurfaced, with a sort of science-like disguise, is one of the most absurd beliefs, yet, one of the easiest to refute: it’s that idea, that first began to gain acceptance in the early 20th century, that we all project an aura of bright colors around our bodies. According to this idea, the aura is a radiating emission, produced by the energy that supposedly emanates from all living beings and surrounds them. The aura cannot be perceived by ordinary vision, only by means of clairvoyance. There are no tests that may demonstrate its existence; and on the contrary, several experiments reveal that those who claim to be able to observe people’s auras, are incapable, for example, of determining with exactitude if there is a person standing behind a table or barrier that only prevents the vision of the contour of the body, but that leaves the zone in which supposedly the aura could be seen free and unobstructed. Yet, no psychic can guess right, above the expected chance levels, whether the experimentation subject is present there or not.

A self professed “medical intuitive,” Caroline Myss (1997), claims that she can describe the nature of all diseases, of any person, just by reading his or her field of energy, and she makes treatment recommendations, both in the physical as well as in the spiritual domain. She calls this “energetic medicine,” but she has never offered scientific evidence that would prove her alleged powers.

It’s a new fad in México to supposedly record the auras of small children, in accordance to the criteria of a gifted seer, and those that show a bluish hue in their auras are to be considered what they call “indigo children”: mentally superior child prodigies, with psychic powers. A substantial business has been created thus, dedicated to carefully siphoning the money out of the parents of those so-called “indigo” kids.

The self-professed trainers claim that these boys and girls have the capability to see beyond the range of visible light - that is, they can see the ultraviolet and the infrared radiations, can listen to ultrasonic and infrasonic sounds, and can even hear their own blood circulation - something that any person could do - and even show what they claim to be some sort of outstanding tactile hypersensibility.

Maria Dolores Paoli, a specialist in something she calls Psychospirituality, assures us that indigo children, although the name may suggest it, do not have blue hued skins; they are called that because their aura, or power field, tends to reflect bluish —or indigo— colors, that indicate they use their superior power centers more frequently.

Another description of the indigo children, made up by Connie Okelberry, and published at her indigo children website:, assigns them the following traits:

A bunch of really spoiled brats if you ask me!

The exploitation of minors, attributing to them psychic powers, is a common practice; but it can cause them severe psychological damages since, in fact, all it does is teach them to collaborate in a deliberate deceit. This was shown, some twenty years ago, when the belief that it was possible to teach to children dermovision, that is to read and to perceive printed images, with their eyes bandaged, using merely the skin of their hands or faces. Controlled experiments, performed in the School of Psychology of the University of Mexico, by James Randi and by Dr. Serafín Mercado Doménech, back in 1982, showed that the children simply spied through the bandages.

The promoters of this idea also claim that indigo children possess great intuition, something that leads to their development of the telepathy; the power to predict the future, and even the capability to recognize the presence of ethereal beings, like fairies and elves. In addition, some minors arrive at the world with the gift of healing.

Of course, they have never published a controlled study with indigo children, performed by serious Psychologists, working for a scientific research or learning institution. All this is sufficient reason to recommend plenty of prudence to all the parents of such children, and to advise them not to pay for what can be very well be just another swindle.

The human body emits a sort of field, made out of certain radiations, including, heat and weak electromagnetic signals, coming from the electrical activity of the nerves. It also produces chemical emanations, like the corporal scent and some sound waves. Some paranormalists assure us that these emissions are the basis of the aura; nevertheless, they do not explain the reason of its total invisibility, and the fact that only certain people, with some type of mental powers, can perceive them. In fact, the seers never agree about the nature and characteristics of the aura that they claim to observe, with the same individual at the same moment.

In controlled experiments, those aura observers, without any previous connection to each other, never agree in that sense. In some “psychic fairs” in the United States, supposed photos of the human aura can be obtained. In this case the photographers use an intricate procedure that requires first snapping a photo of the subject whose hand is on a sensor plate, something that is done by inducing an electrical current to the hand of the customer. They then take a measurement of the intensity of the current, which is then computer translated to a liquid crystal electronic display screen, enabled to produce colors, located inside the camera. The colors, arbitrarily selected, are then projected to the contour of the body of the subject, in accordance to their acupunctural distribution, and the copy is then printed. An investigation made by Joe Nickell, the expert in fraud detection, showed that the same individual will obtain two very different auras, made just minutes apart with the same camera.

The recommendation then for all parents is to always take all these prodigious affirmations with the traditional grain of salt.


Mario Mendez-Acosta

Mario Mendez-Acosta's photo

Mario Mendez-Acosta Born in México City in 1946. Science Writer, Journalist and Civil Engineer. Head of the Mexican Skeptical Research Society. Writes the skeptical Science column for ”Ciencia y Desarrollo” (Science and Development), journal of the Mexican government science agency. Conductor of “Public Library” a Science radio program of Radio Red AM radio station in Mexico City. Member of the editiorial board of Pensar, CSICOP’s skeptical Spanish language magazine. Author of several books on Science and Skepticism. Head of Journanlists’ Club of Mexico City.