11 - laser mountain
Composition: Thobey Campion

Is the Earth a Giant Crystal?

Bruce Cathie's valiant quest to correlate every UFO sighting (and everything else, ever), in something called the Harmonic Grid.

In 1973, Chemistry and Life, a journal issued by the USSR Academy of Sciences, published a report with a curious title: “Is The Earth a Large Crystal?” 

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Assorted Diagrams From  Is Earth a Giant Crystal? By: N.F. Goncharova, B.A. Makarova and V.S. Morozova.

The report’s inquiry goes pretty deep. Here’s a run at it: Pythagoras was obsessed with a hybrid geometrical figure called a pentadodecahedron. The Greek philosopher referred to it as the “sphere of the universe.” Plato was similarly enamored with the shape, calling it the “true earth.” They both regarded the shape as the building block of the universe. Pythagoras, Plato, generations of their intellectual descendants and many strands of mysticism all insisted the pentadodecahedron’s true powers be kept secret. The Russian report claimed that Earth’s formation began as a large crystal with the angular dimensions of a pentadodecahedron. The planet eventually wore down into a spherical ball. The report theorized that “the Earth projects from within itself a dual geometrically regularized grid.” The first grid consists of 12 pentagonal slabs, the second by 20 equilateral triangles.

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A clear quartz pentadodecahedron. Sculpture: Lawrence Stoller

The Russian study took great pains to pinpoint locations where this crystal grid coincided with active risings and depressions on Earth’s ocean floors, core faults and mid-oceanic ridges. Intriguingly, one of the triangles’ vertices falls at the center of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Same goes for Ancient Peru, Easter Island, and the Giza pyramid complex. The report noted other anomalous behavior at these intersections including seismic/volcanic activity, acute natural selection patterns, extreme atmospheric pressure, concentrations of mineral ore and iron deposits, and higher-than-usual magnetism. “Man, as an element of the earth’s biosphere,” the report held, “can not escape the influence of the Earth Crystal.”

The Russians geologists weren't alone. Half a world away, a New Zealand man named Bruce Cathie was working on a similar grid theory that he believed could explain, well, almost everything.

A Pattern of UFO Activity

In 1968, Cathie, a New Zealand airline pilot, novice mathematician and outspoken UFO proponent, made a curious observation. After pouring over UFO sighting reports across the world, Cathie became convinced he detected a geographic pattern. At first, the cases were "so scattered around the surface of our planet that it was quite impossible to fit them together into any semblance of order," he wrote in his seminal book The Energy Grid, Harmonic 695, The Pulse of the Universe. But Cathie was sure one existed nonetheless. So he began to kick the tires on his hypothesis. His hope was that inside a geometric constellation of points  sat an underlying reason for UFO activity.

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Bruce Cathie. Image: IMDB/Wikimedia Commons

Cathie developed a tidy strategy for processing the sightings without the aid of modern computational firepower. First, he’d establish a pattern in one specific region of the world. With this key in-hand, Cathie could then “solve the rest by using duplication and inference.” To really begin though, he needed even more data.

According to The Energy Grid, in April, 1965, Cathie struck a UFO reports goldmine. He spotted an ad in the local paper seeking members for a UFO organization called New Zealand Scientific and Space Research. He contacted the organization and found that “a vast amount of information had been very efficiently compiled.” The information had been collected from “25 different countries over the course of a 12-year period,” and Cathie was invited to study it at his leisure.

Cathie swiftly honed in on a cluster of reports all describing a similar UFO flying over several different localities around New Zealand. He cropped the data even tighter by identifying a maximum 15-minute variation in sighting times, all occurring around 9:45 pm (NZST). With these data points at hand, Cathie spent weeks running exhaustive UFO track line calculations, cross-referencing his math with other research from around the world. Pages of many of his books are devoted to dizzying walls of formulae from this period. He barely slept. Then, a breakthrough.


Cathie superimposed a grid over a map of New Zealand. The grid was spaced in increments of 30 minutes arc latitude in north-south and east-west directions. That is, the distance covered if you were to travel for 30 minutes in a trajectory that parallels the curvature of the Earth’s surface. He was astounded to discover that the 16 stationary and 17 moving UFOs in his data set all snapped tightly to the grid’s intersections.

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Map: Bruce Cathie

One might chalk this up to a regional curiosity and move on. But Cathie’s aims were far more ambitious. His goal was to prove that this grid could be extended over the entire globe and track with every UFO sighting in history. 

Over time, and partially inspired by the Russian report, Cathie gathered a tremendous collection of natural phenomena he said was caused by his grid. His work is fringe—it's even fringe in parts of the UFO community. But his story shows how reports like the Russian study can influence researchers within the science community and outside of it. His work also illustrates how some of the most out-there science can contain surprising nuggets of truth.

A curious oceanic discovery would give Cathie a very important clue on how to proceed.

On August 29th, 1964, an American ship called The Eltanin was carrying out a routine sweep of the sea-bed off the coast of South America. During the tour, a series of underwater photographs were taken and developed. In one photograph stood a “perfectly symmetrical precisely engineered” antenna with an array of crossbars. The object’s position was latitude 59°08' south, longitude 105° west. According to Cathie, this “bit of ironmongery” sat at 13,500 feet below surface, ruling out the possibility that a human engineer had planted it there. The New Zealand Herald dubbed it ‘The Eltanin Antenna’ and the name stuck.

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A rendering of The Eltanin Antenna. Art: Emily Stepp

Of note here, the Eltanin Antenna bears a striking resemblance to Cladorhiza concrescens, a rare species of carnivorous sponge. Cathie himself acknowledged the likeness but remained vehement until his death in 2013 that the comparison was an attempt at a cover-up.

Energized by the discovery, as recounted in The Energy Grid, Cathie set out to establish a linkage between The Eltanin Antenna’s coordinates, global UFO sightings and his ever-growing grid. Word spread of his efforts, and Cathie began to receive correspondence from around the world. A major portion of this outreach came from other pilots in New Zealand, Australia, France and the US. The pilots were reporting unfamiliar land-based radio transmitters with the same dimensions as The Eltanin. The unknown transmitters shared a lattice structure and spheres at each arm’s extremity. Cathie then populated his sightings map of New Zealand with these unidentifiable antennae. Joining the UFO activity were now the man-made transmitting stations, unclassified stations, and American scientific bases.

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Map: Bruce Cathie

While Cathie was able to match the growing network of antenna reports with each region’s Ham Radio Yearbook, he could not for the life of him get an answer from government officials on the transmitters’ purpose, nor their arrangement. “At this point,” he wrote “I was faced with the obvious conclusion that a group of electronics experts knew far more than I did about the grid system.” For Cathie the message was coming in crystal clear: a small clandestine group had already stumbled on the grid and was using it for unknown means. He wasn’t entirely wrong.


Earth as a Crystal Pentadodecahedron

Cathie left no stone unturned in his pursuit of parallel research into grid systems that might be contributing to unexplainable planetary phenomenon. Of particular interest was the Russian report, specifically a “node” on the crystal grid coinciding with a “natural atomic reactor” discovered in the Oklo region, near the city of Francesville in Gabon. The 1973 discovery by French physicist Francis Perrin was carried out by measuring subterranean isotope ratios. Oklo is indeed home to 16 sites at which self-sustaining nuclear fission reactions took place 1.7 billion years ago, and continued for a few-hundred thousand years thereafter. It remains the only known naturally occurring nuclear reactor in the world.

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Left: Spontaneous nuclear reactor sites in Oklo; Right: Radioactive mineral Francevillite on a matrix. Composition: Thobey Campion.

The Oklo natural reactor discovery and the Russian report’s corroboration of the grid would push Cathie to venture to an even more out-there branch of his research—predicting nuclear detonation activity.

Cathie is adamant throughout his work that due to “the relative motions of the atomic particles” nuclear detonations can only be achieved “on, under, or over a specific geometric point related to the Earth’s surface at a specific time.” Cathie maintains that “the relative motions of the Earth and sun, at this instant of time, cause the disruption of the unstable particles of uranium, plutonium, cobalt or whatever unstable matter is used to trigger the explosion.”


Cathie utilized his methodology for identifying the optimal atomic detonation conditions to predict future test sites with early success. In August 1968, he was invited to present his UFO research at the Royal Aeronautical Society in Auckland. The night before his presentation, he joined a dinner with the president and secretary of the society. Late in the evening, the conversation turned to Cathie’s nuclear bomb test theory. Cathie’s dining companions were skeptical of his calculations. As a challenge, they invited him to predict the date of the next French atomic test. Cathie ran the math at the table and predicted the 24th of that month. Sure enough, on August 24th, 1968, the Pacific Carrier Battle Group carried out Opération Canopus, making France the fifth country to test a thermonuclear device.

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Opération Canopus

Cathie delivers his predictions with a signature blend of alarmism and reassurance. The very “solar geometries” necessary to detonate a bomb “would not be possible at any unspecified time for any Soviet target,” Cathie maintained. “It could take hours, days or weeks for a major target in Russia to match the harmonic geometries of the sun position in order for a missile to be successfully launched towards that point with any certainty of detonation,” Cathie wrote.

For Cathie, the atomic bomb was a “spacetime geometric device,” the successful detonation of which is determined by a series of frankly bewildering calculations encompassing cartography, physics and trigonometry. Rather than drag you through the math, and there’s a lot of math, I’ll give the stage over to Cathie himself.


If you’ve made it this far, you’ve no doubt picked up on Cathie’s persistent reference to Harmonics. The deciding factor enabling these nuclear detonations, according to Cathie, is ultimately a location’s “harmonic value.” For Cathie, Harmonics held the key not only to understanding nuclear activity, but pretty much every other unexplained planetary occurrence.

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Collection of books by Bruce Cathie

The Harmonic Grid

According to Cathie, UFO propulsion and every successful nuclear detonation are governed by a series of frequencies criss-crossing the planet called The Harmonic Grid. These frequencies are calculated by the variegation in light, gravity and mass at any specific point in space-time. So, every unique position on the planet at a specific time possesses a unique vibrational signature, aka a Harmonic.

Cathie spends hundreds of pages quantifying Harmonic Grid values. His mathematical outcomes are a bit of a hot topic on the forums, but the origin point of his thinking is fairly evident. Cathie is primarily interested in single number outputs from formulae containing many disparate measurement formats - rates, ratios, distances et al. Pulling the speed of light, the power of gravity and mass ratios together into one unified calculation is no mean feat…or, erm, is! The most convenient, albeit least common, way to fit all these wildly disparate values into an average is by employing the Harmonic Mean. In its simplest expression, the Harmonic Mean is the reciprocal of the average of the reciprocals. It looks like this:


Harmonic mean = n / (∑1/x_i)

So, let’s say you travel 10 km at 60 km/h, then another 10 km at 20 km/h, your Harmonic mean speed looks like this:

2 / (1 / 60 + 1 / 20) = 30 km/h

The 10 km at 60 km/h takes 10 minutes, the 10 km at 20 km/h takes 30 minutes, so the total 20 km takes 40 minutes, which is 30 km per hour. Simple enough.

Cathie was roping in swarms of inputs and spitting out Harmonic means (basically). According to Cathie, the Harmonic of light is 14,399; the Harmonic of the Earth’s magnetic field is 2,545.5; the Harmonic of Earth’s mass is 17,025.

The magic happens, according to Cathie, at key Harmonic intersections. At these meeting points:

1) Mass can move from one point to another in space-time;

2) Mass can change from more to a less tangible state;

3) With the right tech, the contraction and expansion of time can be controlled.

Not too shabby, Harmonic Grid! But wait, this is just the tip of the GTFOberg.

Negative Reality

Cathie claims that each one of these Harmonic convergence points are loading docks for negative reality. To get parallel with this one, we need to come to terms with Cathie's position on anti-matter. Matter and anti-matter are formed by the same electron wave motions in space. Waves travel through this space in a spiral motion, passing through positive and negative stages. In the positive stage, also known as a pulse, matter is formed. During the negative pulse, anti-matter is formed.

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Graph: Bruce Cathie

Cathie employs a movie analogy to elucidate the relationship between our consciousness and matter verses anti-matter. Each static picture on a film strip is comparable to a single pulse of physical existence, he maintained. The division between two frames represents a pulse of anti-matter. When the film is fed through a projector, we obtain the illusion of motion and the passage of time. The divisions between the static pictures are not detected by our senses because of the frequency of each projection on the movie screen. But by speeding up or slowing down the projector, we can alter the apparent time rate of the actions shown by the film. In this analogy, our consciousness is the film projector. If the analogy is to be accepted then we have a “twin stream of consciousness,” Cathie posited.

According to Cathie, at Harmonic Grid intersections the frequency of electronic pulses change fractionally. This is enough though to have major impacts on our space-time experience. Put another way, our awareness of reality shifts from one point to another. “We would travel from one point in space to another without being aware that we had traversed distance in the physical sense,” Cathie writes.

Of utmost importance for Cathie is the harmonic reciprocal of the speed of light in free space. That harmonic value is calculated to be 6944. It’s at this frequency that “spherical bodies are in fact formed by a vortexual resonance which causes precipitation of matter.” And it’s once again, only at these junctures in the Harmonic Grid where this activity can occur.


For those keeping count at home, at this point Cathie has unified UFO sightings, UFO propulsion, our very planet’s crystal undergirding, space-time aberrations, and true space-time travel inside his Harmonic Grid. The list of phenomena continues on, seemingly to infinity, but this article has to end somewhere.

If you want to go deep, here’s a handy link list to Cathie’s greatest hits:


Cathie is not without his detractors, who have grown in number and conviction as the years march on. 

The most consistent criticism comes from the mathematics community who write off Cathie’s work as less physics and more a collection of “mathematical quirks.” Another criticism laments that Cathie’s work is “more provable claim than scientific theory.” A particularly scathing indictment on UFOnet.it reduces Cathie’s harmonics theory to “trivial little number games that signify nothing.”

Cathie’s space-time conditions for successful nuclear detonation have entirely aged into inconsequentiality. At this point, it’s safe to say that geography plays absolutely no determining role in setting off any type of nuclear device.


While left of his claim, if Cathie was alive today, he might point to the curiously uneven global distribution of fissionable ingredients necessary for nuclear fuel around the world. 96% of uranium reserves are found in a mere 10 countries, 71% of which is concentrated in 3 countries. Break out the grid Brucee boy!

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Composition: Thobey Campion

The Long-Term Value of Interdisciplinary Inquiry

So what is to be salvaged from Cathie’s vision? Well, a fair amount we are learning. 

Turns out the furthest we’ve dug below our planet’s crust is a mere .2% of the way to the core. As we learn more about this largely unknown subterranean realm, Cathie and the Russian geologists begin to look less and less wrong. 

Cathie’s insistence that the Earth’s crystal constitution governs planetary energy patterns wasn’t entirely off. A 2010 study by Maurizio Mattesini in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that iron alloys in the solid inner core of the Earth appear to have crystallized in a manner that permits energy to pass on the north-south axis far more easily than on the east-west. Researchers believe this is why seismic waves traveling between Earth's poles move faster than those moving east-west. We’ve since verified that the very structure of atoms looks different in one direction than the other. In an interview with WIRED, CalTech geologist David Stephenson said “The center of the Earth is literally a crystal." Over time, it grew and now is no longer a single crystal but an aggregate of them. Chalk one up for Cathie here.

And then there's the anomalies. University of Tokyo's Professor Kei Hirose recreates the conditions of the earth’s core in his lab at the Spring-8 synchrotron near Osaka, Japan. His research indicates that there are seas of crystal up to 10km in size floating around the earth's outer core. These “crystal forests” are considered indispensable to Earth's magnetic field. That field has been decreasing in strength over the past 180 years. One patch - known as the "South Atlantic Anomaly" - is weakening faster than any other. Sitting over the South Atlantic, it is widely known as a hazard for spacecraft and their magneto-sensitive instrumentation. The crystal forest is also considered responsible for unusual weather patterns, animal migratory patterns and fabulous phenomena like The Northern Lights. 

Cathie was also on to something with his whole grid approach. While his take has yellowed with time, scientists across disciplines have corroborated pieces of Cathie’s grid puzzle, albeit with some refreshed math. Cathie would have been thrilled to discover the work of Mohsen Paul Sarfarazi, a Continuum Mechanics Professor and Researcher at George Washington University and the Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory. Sarfarazi’s paper “On The Mechanics of Physical Dissemination of Consciousness” contends that consciousness is channeled through an Earth Grid via holographic reality software, encoded as a binary language of light, using a time-space continuum server. In a hopeful twist, “the speed of light has been increasing, causing time acceleration, in turn, leading to consciousness expansion,” writes Sarfarazi. There’s more, but for another day perhaps.

It seems Cathie’s true enduring value lies in the imaginative way in which he approached his research. While many of his individual claims have now fallen by the wayside, there is a great deal we can learn from how he approached problems. One might argue, Cathie’s proprietary blend of math, science, geology and biology displays more interoperational dexterity than that of today’s scientific community. 

While some of the threads Cathie was pulling at seem preposterous in 2021, many still lead to a tangle we know exists but have yet to understand.

Thobey Campion is the former Publisher of Motherboard and the Founder of EXO, a decentralized storytelling organization. You can subscribe to his Substack here.