Scientology's $5,000 E-meters are surprisingly well-engineered

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Implying that with something else it does… …something… Is that something else “faith”? My gut says it is.


Yes, that is some good ol’ American industrial hardware inside that machine. Also, the injection molded case is impressive. I’d say that it was designed ti a high end spec. But the red barrel crimp terminals on the meter that have been soldered? That’s low-class. They could afford a decent crimper.

It’s interesting that it takes that many trimmers to get it adjusted, given that it does basically one job. I’d have to see the schematic or service manual to really understand what they’re getting at.


Is it surprisingly well-engineered? Or is it actually unsurprisingly over-engineered?


It’s overengineered from a “it should last forever” standpoint, but massively under-designed in that you could build one for like $10 that would work just as well for the purpose.

It’s kind of like the Juicero. Designed by someone fresh out of school who doesn’t have an adult in the room telling him that he’s designing it in a way that is going to be very expensive. He can get away with it because the customers aren’t especially cost conscious and may even view the purchase partially as a donation to the church. Most importantly there are no competitors ready to swoop in and eat his lunch.


Hackaday cracks me up, I have their RSS feed in firefox along with BBS.

The Church of Scientology uses devices called E-Meters to measure Thetans in the body. We’re not going to discuss this further, because we don’t want to be murdered.

I found a link in the comments over there, to “the Internet’s most extensive E-Meter site”, which notes that “E-meters are assembled at ‘Gold Base’, Scientology’s armed compound in Hemet, California.”


In comparison:

They found that the Quadro Tracker contained no electronics whatsoever. It was merely an empty plastic box in which the only metal parts were a couple of wires and the antenna, which were not connected to each other. […] The “locator chip” was shown to be equally fake; one example put on display by the FBI contained dead ants that had been frozen and stuck onto paper with epoxy glue.


Well sure when you have an Operating Thetan doing your quality control you are gonna get that.


Ah, right in my areas of expertise: Scientology and hardware. Lemme go check the article.

eta: Oh poot! It’s an old Mark 7 or so. The new Mark 8 Easybake ones have the fun stuff like the self-destruct clock.


I think that “something” is a hundred thousand dollars and years spent in subjugation to a cult.


I tried using a $200 Bangladeshi knockoff for a month and did not detect a single thetan. NOT ONE.

You get what you pay for.


I have one of the Old School versions! It’s in a mahogany box (the reason I dragged it back to my lair), and has ‘that old tube kind’ aesthetic to the meter and the toggle switches.

I will sell it to the first Happy Mutant who sends me real money - $4,999.00 American cashola - for this vintage quackery! You could turn it into a drinking game! You could tell your kids it’s a lie detector! Oh, the fun you’ll have with a Scientology device in your own home!

Edit: It was faster to find someone else’s pic online than to drag mine out for a photo op:


“by itself [the E-meter] does nothing.”

With an experienced $cientology auditor operating it, however, it has the potential (heh) to help gather a lot of blackmail material.


And also more directly, it has the potential to separate money from suckers.


Dammit, Medievalist, I had been blissfully ignorant of Hackaday. Now, it’s yet another bookmark in my groaning toolbar.


I reckon red LEDs would give it that extra cachet. Or better yet, nixie tubes, or some reasonable equivalent.

Throwing in a Jacob’s Ladder would probably be pushing it.


Expensive toy to gull gullible rich idiots. Well-engineered for this purpose. They wouldn’t donate for a tin can and some old wire, now, would they?

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Not after the third time, by George!

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time, goddamn Thetans!


Seems to me it was designed this way very much on purpose, to make the $5000 not seem like the complete rip-off it is. They could build one that functions identically for $10, but it would look and feel cheap and it wouldn’t be as easy to make a $4900 profit on it.


It does nothing.
For nothing I’ll pay nothing and be ahead.