Arrest Gives Pair Fine New Engrams
Date: March 27, 1953
Anything Criminal in Dianetics? It's Up to Police to Find Out
by Louis Cook
The biggest thing that ever happened for dianetics in Detroit is the arrest of Earl Cunard and Mrs. Refa Postel.
The two were turned loose by police Thursday noon after spending a night in jail.
The police were not sure what to charge them with.
The police are not wandering alone in this strage wilderness of new words and ideas. Lots of people have been confused since a California science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, invented dianetics and scientology three years ago.
Recorder's Judge W. McKay Skillman gave the police two weeks to decide whether there is anything criminal in either phrase. He ordered the two dianeticians to come back to court April 9.
In the meantime, of course, thousands of Detroiters are just dying, my dear, to find out what is an engram, and if it is possible to remember having been a clam in the primeval ooze.
"It's all rather silly," said Mrs. Postel, a well-dressed, pleasant-faced woman. "There's nothing secret about dianetics."
"When Mr. Cunard and I went into partnership we registered the whole thing at the County Building. I came to the Recorder's Court building and asked if I needed a license for the school and was told I didn't."
"I would have been glad to tell anybody about our school. All anybody had to do was ask."
Mrs. Postel referred often to Dianetician Hubbard.
Hubbard has decided that part of the mind saves up painful experiences (engrams) which produce illness and unhappiness.
His idea was that if people could be made to recall their engrams the troubles resulting from them would clear up.
Hubbard is convinced engrams are imbedded in all kinds of protoplasm and that an earnest dianetician can dredge up experiences that happened any time during the last 74 trillion years.
Everybody is 74 trillion years old, according to the Hubbard theory, and may have endured experiences as a clam, a brontosaurus, or even a Saturnian pterodactyl that are still troubling him after many eons.
The E-meter is basic to dianetics. It is a primitive form of lie-detector mechanism: Two handgrips hitched up by wires to an ohm-meter to measure electrical resistance.
The idea is that as a person closes in on a troublesome engram his hands perspire and the needle on the "electro-psychometer" gives a leap.
Medical authorities do not regard dianetics as a serious threat to the nation's sanity.
[photo of police officers with an E-meter]
Caption: E-meter is important gadget in dianetics procedure. A primitive form of lie-detector, the "electropsychometer" measures electric resistance of body as subject recalls experiences out of his past. Strong experiences tend to produce high E-meter readings. At controls is Patrolman James Toms, while Sergeant Frank Ponke gets dianeticized. E-meter is one of half-dozen seized Wednesday.