OBITUARY: CHRISTOPHER BIRD
© June 1996 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
Christopher Bird, best-selling author and sometime contributor to this newsletter, died on 5/2/96 at the age of 68. Chris suffered a stroke at his home in Blairsville, GA. Chris Bird was best-known to our readers as the author of The Trial and Persecution of Gaston Naessens (originally: The Galileo of the Microscope).
With this book, he Þrst brought to public attention the incredible work of Québec microscopist, Gaston Naessens, and his Somatoscope. Chris attended Naessens¹s June 1989 trial in Sherbrooke. Luckily for the world, he was not only an open-minded interpreter of strange scientiÞc phenomena, but a gifted linguist as well. His knowledge of French (as well as Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Serbo-Croatian) stood him in good stead on this occasion.
He produced a book that conveys a novelistic feeling of the trial and its many personalities. It is thus not just a book about somatids, but about the clash of conflicting ways of looking at biology--and life.
Christopher Bird was himself an unlikely rebel. He was born in 1928 to one of Massachusetts' oldest families, and attended Milton Academy and Harvard College, where he took a degree in Botany with a minor in Chinese. He learned Russian by living with an emigré family and after leaving Harvard earned a Master's degree in Eastern European studies from American University in Washington, DC. In 1952, he was recruited by the CIA and in 1955 was among the Þrst 50 Special Forces troops sent to Vietnam.
Leaving the army, he became head of the Washington, DC ofÞce of the Rand Corporation. In 1966, he became foreign correspondence in Yugoslavia for Time magazine. He also translated Russian novels into English.
With Peter Tompkins (a former US government spy), he explored the world of unconventional scientiÞc phenomena. Together, they wrote The Secret Life of Plants, which became a New York Times bestseller and has had an enormous impact on public thinking about botanical topics. (It is still in print.) The book's thesis is that plants have some measure of consciousness and an awareness of the world around them. Because of Chris Bird people all over the world now talk to their plants.
This book gave Chris his Þrst experiences with the vituperativeness of some conventional scientists. This led to a growing interest in various persecuted Þgures in science, such as Wilhelm Reich, Royal Rife, and Gaston Naessens. He also was a world expert on dowsing and was writing a book about water at the time of his death.
For the Cancer Chronicles newsletter, he co-authored an article on a 1991 conference at Naessens's laboratory.