Perhaps one of the best descriptions of the E-Meter is set forth in the court decision entitled Founding Church of Scientology v. United States, 409 F.2d 1146 (D.C. Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 963, 90 S.Ct. 434, 24 L.Ed.2d 427 (1969):
"The E-meter is a skin galvanometer, similar to those used in giving lie detector tests. The subject or "preclear" holds in his hands two tin soup cans, which are linked to the electrical apparatus. A needle on the apparatus registers changes in the electrical resistance of the subject's skin. The auditor asks questions of the subject, and the movement of the needle is apparently used as a check of the emotional reaction to the questions. According to complex rules and procedures set out in Scientology publications, the auditor can interpret the movements of the needle after certain prescribed questions are asked, and use them in diagnosing the mental and spiritual condition of the subject."In Understanding the E-Meter, L. Ron Hubbard clearly set forth his theory explaining the changes in resistance measured by the E-Meter:"For the meter to be read, the tiny flow of electrical energy through the preclear has to remain constant. When this tiny flow is reduced due to increased resistance, the needle of the E-Meter movement moves off the dial to the left. This happens because the preclear pulls in mass. This is actual mental mass (condensed energy), and this mass acts as a resistance to the flow of electrical energy from the E-Meter. The tiny carrier wave becomes partially blocked." -- Understanding the E-Meter, page 74.L. Ron Hubbard makes it clear that this "actual mental mass" has the same physical characteristics, including weight, as mass as commonly defined and understood by both physicists and lay persons. L. Ron Hubbard explained:"In Scientology it has been discovered that mental energy is simply a finer, higher level of physical energy. The test of this is conclusive in that a thetan "mocking up" (creating) mental image pictures and thrusting them into the body can increase the body mass and by casting them away again can decrease the body mass. This test has actually been made and an increase of as much as thirty pounds, actually measured on scales, has been added to, and subtracted from, a body by creating "mental energy." Energy is energy. Matter is condensed energy." -- Understanding the E-Meter, page 50.This text is accompanied by three pictures. The first shows a man standing calmly on a scale, which reflects a weight of "150." The next shows the man on the same scale, bent over, holding his head under the burden of (illustrated) "Mental Image Pictures," and the scale indicates a weight of "180." The last picture shows the man standing upright on the scale, again unburdened by "Mental Image Pictures," his arms widespread, with a smile on his face, and the scale again indicates a weight of "150."
Unfortunately, nowhere in Understanding the E-Meter does Hubbard reference any controlled experiments that have "actually been made" which confirm that the weight of a person who has created "mental image pictures" increases by "as much as thirty pounds." Perhaps the Scientologists who contribute to alt.religion.scientology can provide such references.