Coffee klatch, Food science, Water

30 days of love, hate and indifference: Rice and water experiment #1

Rice and water experiment on the 29th day

See those three jars? They’re part of an experiment the eight-year-old granddaughter and I began on January 1 to see if mere words and actions can make a difference to water and organic matter. We’re calling it: “What’s love got to do with it?”, after the Tina Turner song, because you know, that song was about more than love. It was about bullying and other hurtful behaviors.

We got the idea from a researcher’s experiment shown in the video The Secret of Water. If you haven’t seen it, do watch it just for the amazing images of water crystals. Absolutely incredible.

Perhaps they are incredible. Like New York Times reviewer Ken Jaworowski, I am skeptical of the video’s fascinating claims. While we see several talking heads associated with various universities and research facilities, the videographers offer no links, as far as I can tell, to the researchers’ work or to any published, peer-reviewed articles.  Still, the images captivated, the assertions intrigued, and one experiment caught our attention in a big way.

One of the researchers in the film, Dr. Masaru Emoto, showed us a simple experiment he conducted with water and rice that reveals a possible connection between human emotion and its effect on water and organic substances. Inspired by his on-camera results, we decided to replicate his experiment here at home. The results astonished all of us.

Emoto’s experiment

In the video, Dr. Emoto places equal amounts of rice and water in three beakers. Each day for thirty days, he approaches the jars. To the first one, he says “Thank you.” To the second, he says, “You idiot!” To the third he offers no words, turning his back on it, ignoring it completely.

In the film, at the end of the thirty days, we see that the beaker with the rice and water Dr. Emoto thanked every day is fermenting nicely and appears to have no mold or rotting material. The second beaker, which Emoto assaulted verbally every day, is covered with black mold. The third beaker, which he ignored for thirty days, appears to have even more black crud in it. In fact, Emoto tells us the rice has actually rotted.

His conclusion: That gratitude and loving intentions affect even the most benign of substances–pure water and simple rice grains–in a positive way. Conversely, bullying and indifference create conditions that encourage mold and rot, respectively.

On New Years Day, my granddaughter and I set out to learn what would happen if we tried this experiment at home.

Our experiment

We started with three clean, identical pint canning jars from the cupboard. We did not sterilize them. To each jar, we weighed and added equal amounts of rice, then weighed and added equal amounts of water, enough to cover the rice and add a half inch above.

We set the jars on the dining room buffet. Since our granddaughter cannot visit every day, I would be the one to carry out the daily task of speaking to the rice. Knowing my schedule and myself well, I would not attempt to speak to the rice at the exact same time each day. Instead, I made a decision to speak to it once on each calendar day, no matter the time.

Day 5: Because the rice had absorbed all the water, I added exactly equal amounts to each jar

Day 5: Because the rice had absorbed all the water, I added exactly equal amounts of filtered water to each jar

By the fifth day, the rice had absorbed all the water. Dr. Emoto’s experiment showed jars with water above the rice throughout the experiment. That day, I added exactly the same quantity of filtered water to each jar, enough to raise the water level about an inch above the rice.

By the tenth day, the rice began to stink. Hoo-eee. Boy did it stink. We didn’t want to live with that for twenty more days, so I moved the rice to the unheated back stairwell in our apartment building, where a little extra fetid odor likely would go unnoticed, sitting as it did just a few landings up from the open dumpster.

The first two jars were fermenting nicely, with gassy bubbles. The rice was white and clear. The second jar had a little dark mold growing on the top. As I moved the third jar, I couldn’t help noticing that it too was fermenting but also had a pinkish tinge on top in addition to mold.

We’ve had a cold January for San Francisco. The unheated stairwell is frigid. Fermentation stopped almost immediately. The first jar appeared to remain fairly static throughout the rest of the thirty days, but the mold on the second jar continued to grow. I carefully avoided glancing at the third jar, so couldn’t say what happened to it until now.

Talking to the rice

The first week of the experiment, I found speaking to the rice difficult. Merely saying a curt “Thank you” didn’t seem to arouse enough emotion in me. I experimented with different “nice” things to say, trying to find something that felt comfortable. About a week and a half in, I began to fold my hands in the Namasté gesture, bow, say thank you and “I love you.” That last never felt “right,” but having said it a few days in a row, I decided not to go back and change yet again.

More so with the second jar, I had an extremely difficult time saying negative words and backing them with emotion. I couldn’t bring myself to use Emoto’s phrase, “You idiot!”, as it is a term I especially despise. I tried “Ugh, you’re disgusting,” but the rice wasn’t disgusting, and I hated saying it. I tried just looking at it with narrowed eyes and a wordless “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” but that didn’t seem to fit either. Eventually, I gave in to “You idiot!” and found I could do it with more conviction each day. Scary thought, that.


Day 30: Rice experiment shows no mold or rot on first jar, quite a lot of mold on the second and thick pillows with black stars and pink goo on the third

Day 30: Rice experiment shows no mold or rot on first jar, quite a lot of mold on the second and thick pillows with black stars and pink goo on the third

As you can see, the jar on the left, which received gratitude and love appears free of mold, although it does have what appear to be waxy puddles on top.

Day 30: The water in the

Day 30: The water in the “love” jar is mostly clear, rice grains visible and clean; thin, waxy-appearing circles float on the surface;

The second jar, which received the negative verbiage each day, developed a top layer of chunky material, some of it definitely mold. The black mold is in rectangular cubes.

Day 30: The

Day 30: The “Idiot Jar” has a layer of discolored and fractured waxy-appearing “cells” on most of the perimeter, with colonies of white, orange-brown, grey, and rectangular black mold covering three-fourths of the surface

The third jar, to which I gave neither glance nor notice throughout the experiment, with the exceptions of adding water on the fifth day and moving to the back porch several days later, developed thick, star-shaped pillows that are both moldy and infected with some kind of pink ooze.

Day 30: Thick pink and white pillows with black, star-shaped centers fill most of the surface, surrounded by cloudy, brownish liquid

Day 30: Thick pink and white pillows with black, star-shaped centers fill most of the surface, surrounded by cloudy, brownish liquid

The water in the first jar appears mostly clear. The water in the other two jars appears more fermented and vinegary in color. The rice deep in the jars appears about the same in all three, intact, mostly unchanged. None appears to be decomposing.

Day 30: Nearly clear water in first jar, dark brown with penetrating mold in second, and slightly lighter brown with slightly less penetrating mold in third; rice appears normal in all three jars;

Day 30: Nearly clear water in first jar, dark brown with penetrating mold in second, and slightly lighter brown with slightly less penetrating mold in third; rice appears normal in all three jars;

What’s next

We’re so intrigued, the granddaughter and I, that we’ve decided to conduct the experiment again, beginning March 1, when we can do thirty days in a calendar month.

During February, I’m going to carry on with this experiment, but in a new way. I’m interested in seeing if kind thoughts can change the rice and water in these jars. I’ve settled on using the peaceful Namasté, gesture and word, which I will offer to each of the three jars every morning. I’m curious–and a little hopeful–to see what happens.

I’ll keep a photo journal of the experiment, whenever I can get sufficient lighting on the landing, and share the results with you all next month.

What do you think?

We were all blown away here, at Chez Grace, to see the differences in the three jars. Is it possible, as New Agers have been saying for decades, and that poets and philosophers have said for millennia, that loving intentions can alter our world? Anyone who’s ever been bullied or had a punitive parent or teacher knows how negative words can affect us. Likewise, anyone who has spent a good deal of time in life feeling invisible knows what being ignored can do to the psyche.

Is it possible, do you think, to actually change the world, or at least our part of it, with loving intention as we go about our day? What, after all, has love got to do with it?

? ? ?

This post shared on Organic 4 Green Livings: Real food Fridays #175.


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  3. Bill says

    I loved the idea of teaching the power of words to my daughter (turns 4 soon). However, when we did this experiment using proper scientific controls, 4 separate attempts yielded the same result: words have no effect on rice.

    Fortunately, we have many other ways of teaching the power of words without relying on pseudoscience that fails under proper controls. I was, however, able to teach her the importance of questioning things you see on the internet and how to be appropriately skeptical of things that sound contrary to common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent lesson for your daughter. I’m impressed that you, as we did, performed the experiment four times. If you followed all four of my experiments, you will have seen that only the first one got the result we see in the video, although that first jar of rice, the one I refer to as the Love jar, never did rot and turn to goo. In fact, it still has not.

      While ours certainly was not a carefully controlled lab experiment, it did appear that Dr. Emoto’s was. I’m curious whether you believe that he, and the other scientists who discuss his experiments, is/are doing pseudoscience. As I mentioned in Experiment #1, while the video shows us a number of scientists with impressive-sounding credentials, it doesn’t actually provide us any links that would help us verify the claims.

      Thank you for sharing your experience. A good dose of skepticism is entirely appropriate.


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  5. Jose says


    What you did is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
    I am trying to reproduce this experiment. In your experiment did you use tap water, of mineral water?


  6. Steph says


    What you did is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
    I am trying to reproduce this experiment. In your experiment did you use tap water, of mineral water?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent question. I used water straight from the tap. Like many municipalities, San Francisco adds Chloramine to its tap water, so it would have had that in it.


      • Thanks Karthryn! I am doing this in the country side of Budapest (: . Sorry for the duplicate question as I asked the same question with my grandpa’s account (I thought the former message was not sent).

        Let me ask you, what distance did you put between each jar during the 30 day experiment?

        Liked by 1 person

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  10. I would love to know what happened with the 2nd experiment. Did the rice and water clear? Did you do a 2nd post with follow up results and is there a link to it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, I did three more experiments. The second is here: <a href=”//“ rel=”nofollow”>Namaste and the three jars of rice and water: Experiment #2. You’ll also find links on that page to experiments three and four in the “Related” section just above the comments.


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    • I am excited to see someone else trying the love-hate rice and water experiment and I’m curious to know how yours worked out. You don’t say much about your process, other than that you used cooked rice.

      Also, I see you used some of my photos. I am grateful that you linked to the page from which you took them, and I would very much have appreciated your taking the time to ask permission to use them. Please refer to my Copyright Notice page at

      Two questions: Since your method of using cooked rice is so very different from the one I used, I wonder how photos of my method, given no explanation, helps your readers? Might you consider explaining the difference to your readers between your experiment and mine, since you are using my photos?


  13. Kari Bankard says

    Did you close off the jars when you did this experiment? Or did you just leave them open? I am wanting to recreate this experiment and want to make sure I do it the right way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kari. I did not seal the jars. To prevent flies and dust falling in them, I did lay flat canning lids on top, without adding the rings. You can see the lids in a couple of the photos.


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  15. Rosie says

    I did this with cooked rice for one week. So incredible. My love rice is still white. My idiot rice is yellowish and brown. My ignored rice is a grosser brown and molding. I believe this is an example of how true intention/believing in X actually manifests X or some form thereof! The folks who had undefined results perhaps didn’t truly “believe”. Just my humble speculation. 😉 try again folks, but this time, truly believe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so glad to hear it worked for you too! I have to admit, I didn’t expect the experiment to turn out the way it did. We were surprised! So I’m not sure that belief had an impact in our case. I am working on a follow-up, though, including a theory that perhaps it’s what in our hearts that makes a difference. Thank you so much for sharing your experiment and your results and thoughts.


  16. kumadog says

    Hi my first experiment failed, but I think it was because I used old cooked rise…all the jars went moldy the second day. I am going to try again with raw rice and water. My six year old is going through a phase where he calls me names. I am hoping this experiment will show how words and thought effect energy. Xoxoox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that you tried it with cooked rice. I’ll be glad to hear what happens with raw rice. I have one more experiment to share, which didn’t turn out at all like the first. Coming next month.


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  19. Thanks, Kathryn. This seems impossible, but your experiment seems pretty conclusive. I have a lot to think about after reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. HI Kathryn Grace,
    I’m not sure what to think about the rice but am interesting to see what happens in next experiment. I do believe that emotions can alter the world in many different ways – to what extend I haven’t figured out, since it hard to control what others do.

    . I watch Dr Phil show and he always says when it comes to people especially children – That it takes a 1000 at boys! to make up for 1 nasty word said, I believe that is very true. The words of people affect other people and bullying is so destructive – just look at how many suicides have happened over cyber bullying in schools.

    I do believe in the power of music – I find that soothing music can help relax me and help me destress. It reminds me of when I was a child my uncle had a diary farm and he was told that if your use radio with soothing music in your barn around they cows that they will produce more milk and it tried it. Believe it or not it really seemed to work..

    Talking to your plants with positive attributions I really believe will grow help them grow much better.

    Good to see you are blogging again.

    Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marla. It’s good to be back. My dad played music in the milk barn as well, when I was a little girl, as did other farmers we knew. When he taught me how to milk a cow, he taught me something for which there were no words. Today I realize that he taught me how to achieve a meditative state while milking the cow, so she would let down her milk. I remember putting my forehead on her flank, feeling and hearing her breathing, and relaxing into her, totally at peace. That moment when the first strong spurts of milk squirted into the pail filled me with intense wonder and joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Seeking Joyful Simplicity says

    I used to have Masuto’s book “The Secret of Water” with all the beautiful images of water influenced with positive thoughts or words taped to the side of the bottle, and of course the beautiful music. Which was contrasted with the twisted, broken, deformed looking crystals subjected to hateful words, thoughts, or aggressive music. If these experiments are valid (which yours seems to indicate), then consider that our bodies are 80% water and the energy we carry and surround ourselves with has the potential to affect us in profound ways at a deep level. Thanks for reminding me of all this Kathryn, as I move through my days in a sometimes hostile work place. I will strive to carry compassion and joy with me – both as protection for myself, and to hopefully pass along to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Joyful. I haven’t read his book yet, but it’s on my list. I’m deeply interested in finding whatever empirical data has been published on these theories; something about them resonates deep within.

      I know what it is to work in a hostile environment. May you find the strength and compassion you need with every encounter, and may you find ways and places to rest that both renew and give you succor. Most importantly, may you discover you have allies with equally strong, compassionate hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. If the rice jars are all next to each other, how do they know which one you are speaking to? Seems as though they’d all hear you expressing each emotion or lack of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wondered about that too. I focused my intentions very clearly and individually on each of the first two jars, and took care to avoid thinking or noticing the third. As you can see, each has quite different surface contents. Perhaps it’s not so much a matter of “hearing” as it is of intent and the focused energy inherent in that intent.


      • Very interesting. Have you ever been in a space that has very bad energy? Perhaps that is why. Amazing as we get more and more into technology that we also discover more and more of a non-tech communication network. I’ve had evidence of this as well. I think it is wonderful that you are doing these “experiments” along with your granddaughter. She’ll never forget it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • In answer to your question, I think it is more that I have experienced people behaving hatefully in a space than that I experienced a space that itself had “bad energy,” but you’ve got me wondering about that now! Should you share your experiences of non-tech communication on your blog sometime, I hope you’ll come back here and post a link.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m wondering if I already have. It was a very strange experience and some will call my sanity if not my honesty into account, but because you ask, I will if I haven’t already, Kathryn. If I don’t do it within the next few weeks, prod me a bit!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  23. This is a fascinating experiment!

    Just out of curiosity, I wonder if it would yield the same results if you switched round the sequence in how you treated each jar…

    Thanks for sharing and look forward to the results

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I loved your post. I have a strong belief regarding this. Many years ago, I watched a Japanese scientist talking about how water receives negative and positive vibes. I sing in front of my plants and they sway and grow beautifully.And, whenever they feel any negative vibes the leaves start wilting.This is amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. This is so great! I love that you put the time and effort into conducting this experiment with/for your grand. She’s going to learn so much on so many levels from this mad science – it’s fun! It’s exciting! it’s beyond textbook science! Way to go, grandma!

    I am blown away by the results. Truly. I now don’t feel quite so silly for talking to animals. Truly, any animal. I saw hello to cows in passing; they seem interested. I talk to bees in the garden ALL the time. Maybe they actually feel my love when I welcome them and thank them for their work.

    I stopped to hug a giant beech tree the other day. I no longer feel silly for that, either. Thanks.

    One question: did any of your neighbours spot you talking to your rice? I wonder what they thought was going on.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No one came out on the landing while I was out there, although it’s possible our next door neighbor might have seen through their window. If they did, they didn’t mention it. I believe there is considerable research about the effects of human interaction with animals. I have no doubt that my longtime feline companion and I shared a special affinity. Stories about that another day, perhaps. : )

      Liked by 1 person

  26. That was one of the most interesting things I have read in a while. I will see if my tender hearted granddaughter will join me in a repeat at our house. I think I may have to be the meanie. Remember that old song,”I talk to the trees, but they never listen to me?” And I certainly remember the whole talking to plants craze.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Grace, sorry I haven’t been talking with you for ages; we spent 6 months abroad and life was different and hectic so I sort of stopped blogging much
    I love the rice experiment you did with your granddaughter; there was a British sitcom on TV, “The Good Life,” where a young couple tried to live sustainably in their urban suburb. The wife insisted on talking to her plants. So she and the husband had a competition to see whose bean plant would prosper, he not speaking to his, and she greeting hers each morning with “Good morning, Donald.” Hers won of course. We were so enchanted that we named our poinsettia Donald and it re-redded in all its glory for four years. My son calls his grapevine Jeremy and had a bumper harvest though it (sorry, he) is only two years old. So there must be something in it.

    I look forward to seeing how the regeneration experiment works.
    Happy Spring (one of these days)

    Liked by 2 people

    • No problem, Barb. I’ve been away from blogging for several months myself. Love the story from “The Good Life” and hearing about yours and your family’s experiences with talking to plants as well. My mom always talked to her plants too; she had the most beautiful gardens of anyone I know, especially her flowers. Back in the 70s, I had a book about research on talking to plants. I’ll see if I can dig that up. Maybe there’s been some follow-up!

      Liked by 1 person

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