Sailing the Ley Lines with Dr. Curry


Reading up on some pseudoscientific ideas common among dowsing-rod enthusiasts, I happened upon a funny detail. Many Swedish dowsers believe in the “Curry grid”, consisting of “power lines” across the surface of the Earth, detectable only by dowsing. They were invented (not discovered, as they are entirely fictitious, and never survive blind tests) by German physician Manfred Curry (1899-1953). As it turns out, Curry was far more known during his lifetime as a keen sailor and student of sailboat design, inventor of the cam cleat (Sw. fjädrande skotlås) and contributor to the invention of the Genoa jib (Sw. genuafock). Both of these latter were common and very useful features of the two-sail dinghies I used to sail in my lower teens.

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  1. #1 Dunc
    July 17, 2008

    Ah, ley lines… What a great idea. “We’ve think we’ve detected something, but we can’t find anything that it could be. Since we know dowsing works, it must be something invisible and undetectable by any other means.”

    Of course, the guy who coined the term “ley line” (Alfred Watkins) never said anything of the sort, and never held any weird supernatural beliefs about them – he just thought they were ancient trackways. The woo-woo stuff was pasted on afterwards by dowsers looking to rationalise false positives.

    Do you know when Curry proposed this idea? I’m curious as to whether it pre-dates Watkins…

  2. #2 decrepitoldfool
    July 17, 2008

    And in a Hollywood-driven pareidolia, you see a cam cleat, I see Wall-E. Took me a minute to see it as a cam cleat.

  3. #3 ArchAsa
    July 17, 2008

    Only goes to show you: A man can be brilliant in one respect, and totally bonkers in others.

    For his inventions in sailing equipment I salute him, for making my life miserable by suffering fools looking for curry grids on my excavations – not so much.

    We are quickly approaching our sailing holiday the family and me, fixing the boat and equipment and provisions and what have you. Can’t wait to get away.

  4. #4 Martin R
    July 17, 2008

    Dunc, German Wikipedia refers to a 1952 paper in vol. 19 of the journal Hippokrates, titled “Das Reaktionsliniensystem als krankheitsauslösenden Faktor” (The reaction line system as illness-inducing factor).

  5. #5 Dunc
    July 18, 2008

    Thanks Martin. Watkins’ proposal of ley lines dates from about 1925.

  6. #6 Giles
    July 10, 2011

    Where did Manfred Curry live when he first ‘discovered’ the Curry Grid?
    Is it known by what means he detected and measured the grid?
    (Not his theories about the supposed effects.)

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