meter face

*NOTE from Administrator: This article was published a few years ago, and is being republished here as many have never seen it. It often brings relief to those who have been unable to understand why they are so beefed up on the subject of floating needles. It is of considerable length, but gives the exact details of how floating needle technology has been altered and corrupted.

By Jim Logan

The subject of Floating Needles has undergone some “fine drubbings” in the Church of Miscavige.  Much like “disconnection”, “security checking” and “fair game”.  However, the drubbing of this one meter phenomenon, the “free needle” is an egregious attack on the technology of auditing that in some ways outstrips any other single alteration, perversion and outright reversal of L. Ron Hubbard’s body of work that has been perpetrated by David Miscavige in the past three decades.  That is because this hits at the heart of results.  For any person familiar (or not) with the policy Keeping Scientology Working, this assault on results is essential to subvert the entire subject.

I am not attempting in this article to present every single piece of information on the meter or its manifestations and their use in Dianetics and Scientology. This is not a substitute for a full study of and practice with the meter.

I will present the several issues that define and describe the manifestation of a Floating Needle.  They are few and the topic was completely covered by LRH with no need of interpretation or refinement by David Miscavige.


The first thing I’d like to do is provide some clear definitions of terms used to describe the meter manifestation of an FN.

Float: to drift on or through or as on or through a fluid. Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.

Drift: to move or float smoothly and effortlessly. Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary.

The first instance I have found where this term appears in a Hubbard authored issue is HCOB 30 June 1960 CREATE AGAIN with this section of that Bulletin: “I would advise help and not help on creations until the needle is floating with no reaction to questions of any kind on them.”

Prior to this occurrence of the term “floating” and subsequent to it, to this day in fact, the needle manifestation of a “float” was referred to as “free” and the earliest description of it was “idle”.

Free: not obstructed, restricted or impeded; not hampered or restricted in its normal operation. Merriam Webster’s Online.

Idle: as an adjective; not filled with activity. As a verb; to move slowly or aimlessly. Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition.

And in context from the original E-Meter Essentials of 1961; “The needle just idles around and yawns at your questions on the subject.”

The first description I found of this type of needle phenomena is from Journal of Scn Issue 1-G ca. mid-Aug 1952, Electronics Gives Life to Freud’s Theory:

“An idle needle, one which is drifting slightly to the right and slightly to the left very easily and gently, denotes a comfortable status of mind on the part of the patient, and tells the practitioner that he is nowhere near any subject that distresses him, or, if it follows an emotional outburst, tells him that the outburst itself is spent, and that the subject now can be abandoned for the moment.”


“If the meter is “Stage Four” [idle swing, not clear but pc can’t affect meter, which only swings up, sticks, falls and so forth on same pattern—a Stage Four needle has a stick in the top of its oscillation, a clear needle doesn’t]…”

(Note: this is an instance of a “free” needle being referred to as a “clear” needle. LRH compares a Stage 4 needle to a free needle again in HCOB 19 July 62 CLEARING – FREE NEEDLES “A free needle is not a stage 4 needle or an inverted stage 4. It is floating and free.”)

On 21 October 1968 the Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin (the main means of communication in written form of technical data authored or approved by LRH) FLOATING NEEDLES was published. This bulletin was revised on 9 July 1977 however the revision did not include any changes to the description of a Floating Needle. In fact, that description is completely valid to this day, having never been changed, cancelled, limited or altered, by any LRH authored or approved bulletin up until his death in January 1986. A brief excerpt, to include the description of the needle in a “float” is as follows:

“It is the idle uninfluenced movement of the needle on the dial without any patterns or reactions in it. It can be as small as 1” or as large as dial wide. It does not fall or drop to the right of the dial. It moves to the left at the same speed as it moves to the right.”

One year later, on 21 July 1978 another issue describing and defining a Floating Needle was issued over LRH’s name, with the title WHAT IS A FLOATING NEEDLE? This was two paragraphs long, consisting in its entirety as follows:

“A floating needle is a rhythmic sweep of the dial at a slow, even pace of the needle.

“That’s what an F/N is. No other definition is correct.”

Eight months later, on 21 Feb 1979, with the final correction and re-issue on 6 May 79, E-Meter Essentials Errata, an HCO Bulletin over LRH’s name added more description to a the section on Free Needles:


Page 17, Section 41:

Delete: “It means an idle, uninfluenced motion, no matter what you say about the goal or terminal. It isn’t just null, it’s uninfluenced by anything (except body reactions).”

The entire section is replaced by: “It means the same as a Floating Needle, which is a rhythmic sweep of the dial at a slow, even pace of the needle, back and forth, back and forth, without change in the width of the swing except perhaps to widen as the pc gets off the last small bits of charge. Note that it can get so wide that you have to shift the Tone Arm back and forth, back and forth, to keep the needle on the dial in which case you have a floating tone arm.”

In case it appears that the description “idle, uninfluenced” for a Floating Needle is somehow or other “cancelled” or nullified by the above E-Meter Essentials Errata, it is to be noted that an LRH HCOB written on 3 May 1980, titled PC INDICATORS, refers to HCOB 21 October 1968R (revised on 9 July 77) FLOATING NEEDLES, mentioned above, and that the Oct 68 definition of an FN, Floating Needle, Free Needle, is still valid.  THE DESCRIPTION HAS NEVER BEEN CANCELLED OR ANNULLED BY L. RON HUBBARD.

A subsequent issue, HCOB 2 Dec 80 FLOATING NEEDLE AND TA POSITION, reiterates the validity of the Oct 68 issue as follows:

“modifies but does not cancel all HCOBs that mention having to have the TA between 2.0 and 3.0 before the F/N can be considered valid, including: HCOB 21 Oct. 68R FLOATING NEEDLE”

(Note: for non-Scientologists or those unfamiliar with a meter, “TA” refers to the “Tone Arm” one of the operational parts of the meter, on its face, that is a small “arm” or lever, that is adjusted by the auditor to move the needle when it is displaced from a “set” position by a reaction, body or mental, of the preclear. A reading between the marked numbers between which this Tone Arm is moved,  of between 2.0 and 3.0 was up to that time thought to be necessary for a valid Floating Needle. That was found to be an arbitrary requirement and hence is changed in all issues that mentioned it).

There are many issues that have “definitions” of a Floating Needle in them, none of which are cancelled, and all of which describe in various ways, the needle manifestation of a “free” or “floating” needle.  For example, one issue HCOB 10 AUGUST 1976R REVISED 5 SEPTEMBER 1978, R/Ses, WHAT THEY MEAN states the following:

“…the ‘slam’ is a description of the needle violence, meaning it ‘slams’ back and forth. For a time all left-right motions of the needle were considered and called ‘rock slams’ until it was found that a smooth left-right flow was a symptom of release or key-out and this became the ‘floating needle’.”

By defining clearly in the 21 July 78 issue WHAT IS A FLOATING NEEDLE?, a Floating Needle, LRH did not state that every other description or piece of valid data relative to the needle manifestation was cancelled or invalid. Indeed, he refers to various other references, describing the Floating Needle, following this 21 July definition and none of these valid LRH issues cancel or nullify these various descriptions. They remain valid. They ARE valid. In fact, LRH wrote every one of them.

There is however one issue he DID NOT WRITE on this subject.


“HCOB” 21 July 78R, (revised and rewritten) was compiled by Sue Koon of LRH Research and Compilations, a division of the senior management organization of Scientology, Commodore’s Messenger Organization International, for David Miscavige, who was the final authorization for its publication.  This issue was put out on 8 October 2000, some 14 years after LRH died, and some 9 years after the same David Miscavige issued the final collection of all LRH authored bulletins, the Technical Volumes of 1991.

This issue, NOT WRITTEN AND NOT APPROVED by L. Ron Hubbard, is prefaced with the following:

“(Revised 8 October 2000 to include the full LRH definition of floating needle. LRH originally wrote this HCOB on 21 July 1978. In February of 1979, when updating the book, E-Meter Essentials, he augmented the definition with additional text. The full text, as it appears in E-Meter Essentials, is hereby issued in this HCOB. Revisions in script.)

The text from E-Meter Essentials that is interpolated by Sue Koon/DM, is the description of the needle as it widens in its float during the attainment of what is technically referred to as an End Phenomena of a process or the running of an Engram chain in Dianetics. It is however only part of that specific End Phenomena, and the remainder of the EPs (there are several items to look for when determining a valid EP, and for various processes or actions taken in an auditing session), are covered fully in several applicable LRH authored bulletins.

In other words, a description of an EP is interpolated in a definition of a Floating Needle.  These are two distinct technical points that are NOT the same.  Else, LRH himself would have said so, and he would have written the original HCOB to state as much. He didn’t.

(LRH did write HCOB 20 Feb 1970 FLOATING NEEDLES AND END PHENOMENA which describes in full the complete End Phenomena in Dianetics and Scientology processes along with HCOB 21 March 1974 END PHENOMENA, which further clarifies these EPs and distinguishes clearly the various different EPs of the various actions taken in Dianetics and Scientology.  For instance, the EP of handling an ARC break or Present Time Problem, as addressed at the beginning of an auditing session, or in a Cramming session, is specific and different than the EP of a major Grades process or the running of a Dianetic engram, as is the manifestation of the Floating Needle for each one of these actions relative to its intended result and EP.)

L. Ron Hubbard DID NOT write HCOB 21 July 78R.  He DID NOT ADD the material he wrote to replace the material of the 1961 edition of E-Meter Essentials to the issue he did write and then state: “That’s what an F/N is. No other definition is correct.”

By doing so, placing this data OUT OF CONTEXT, David Miscavige has re-defined a Floating Needle in an issue David Miscavige directed to be written, and approved over L. Ron Hubbard’s name.  LRH did not direct, nor approve any such issue dated 21 July 78, revised/rewritten on 8 Oct 2000.  L. Ron Hubbard NEVER defined a Floating Needle as described in this fraudulent 8 October rewrite of his bulletin.  IT IS NOT LRH’S DEFINITION OF A FLOATING NEEDLE.

It is therefore, by definition, NOT A PART OF VALID SCIENTOLOGY TECHNOLOGY.  To qualify for that it would have to have been written and/or personally approved by LRH.  He categorically did neither on the 8 Oct 2000 issue David Miscavige ordered and approved.


To appreciate just how potentially catastrophic this non-LRH definition of a Floating Needle is it will help to understand WHY the needle floats in terms of mental/spiritual phenomena AND technically in terms of electro-magnetic manifestations. That is, what is happening with the person on the cans and the meter that results in the manifestation of a Floating/Free needle?


“The basic freeing action of auditing depends upon the separation of thought from form,  matter, energy, space and time and other life.

“We see in “science” as currently practised a nearly total identification by the “scientist” of mass with thought. “Man from mud” is a natural conclusion by anyone who has all his thought bound up in mass.

“The reason a clear’s needle is so free (and you’ve seen, certainly, how an E-Meter needle gets sticky, then freer and freer) is that his thought is separated from a matter, energy, space, time consequence.

“The “dead-in-’is-’ead” case is totally associating all thought with mass. Thus he reads peculiarly on the meter. As he is audited he frees his thinkingness so that he can think without mass connotations.

“What auditing is doing is making the preclear think key thoughts until they can be thought without creating or disturbing matter, energy, space and time.”

HCOB 30 April 1960 ACC TRs, which states:

“6. Free Needle: A needle which shows none of the reactions described above. It floats back and forth easily, registering only the body, its breathing, heartbeats, etc. While needle free, no facsimiles are being impinged on the body.

“Note: All movements may vary in amplitude (width of reaction on dial at given sensitivity) and velocity (speed of needle movement — units if dial/instant of time) from pc to pc, or from time to time on the same pc, particularly under processing.”

The above clearly describes what occurs with the person on the cans and the meter when the needle “floats” or is “free”.  Read it again.  THAT IS WHY THE NEEDLE FLOATS.

(NOTE: Why does an ARC Break needle float? HCOB 5 OCTOBER 68 ARC BREAK NEEDLES: “A real F/N means the pc is out the top, an ARC Br needle means he’s out the bottom. He ceases to mock up, through grief.”)


If you have clearly understood the foregoing, in particular, why the needle floats, then adding the following LRH authored HCOB should help to point out the fallacy of requiring a specific number of swings back and forth, or any arbitrary number of oscillations of the needle to have a “real FN”.

HCO BULLETIN OF 21 MARCH 1974 END PHENOMENA (Ref: HCO B 20 Feb 1970,“Floating Needles and End Phenomena”):

“Different types of auditing call for different handlings of End Phenomena.

“End Phenomena will also vary depending on what you’re running.

“The definition of END PHENOMENA is “those indicators in the pc and meter which show that a chain or process is ended”. Misapplication of this definition can result in underrun and overrun processes or actions and the pc snarled up with BPC.”

(BPC; by-passed charge. Charge that has been restimulated but not disclosed.)

The issue goes on to state:

“In Dianetics, the EP of a chain is erasure, accompanied by an F/N, cognition and good indicators. You wouldn’t necessarily expect rave indicators on a pc in the middle of an assist, under emotional or physical stress until the full assist was completed though. What you would expect is the chain blown with an F/N. Those two things themselves are good indicators. The cognition could simply be “the chain blew”.

“In Scientology, End Phenomena vary with what you’re auditing. An ARC Broken pc on an L-1C will peel off charge and come uptone gradually as each reading line is handled. Sometimes it comes in a spectacular huge cog and VVGIs and dial F/N, but that’s usually after charge has been taken off on a gradient. What’s expected is an F/N as that charge being handled moves off.

“In Ruds it’s the same idea. When you’ve got your F/N and that charge has moved off, indicate it. Don’t push the pc on and on for some “EP”. You’ve got it.

“Now a major grade process will run to F/N, Cog, VGIs and release. You’ll have An ability regained. But that’s a grade process on a set up flying pc.”

Further the issue says:

“OTs and EPs

“An OT is particularly subject to F/N abuse as he can blow things quite rapidly. If the auditor misses the F/N due to too high a sensitivity setting or doesn’t call it as he’s waiting for an “EP”, overrun occurs. It invalidates an OT’s ability to as-is and causes severe upsets.

“This error can also stem from auditor speed. The auditor, used to auditing lower level pcs or never trained to audit OTs, can’t keep up with the OT and misses his F/Ns or reads.

“Thus overruns occur and charged areas are bypassed.

“This could account for those cases who were flying then fell on their heads with the same problems that blew back again.”

(Note: L1C is a prepared list to handle preclear upsets. Also note, the meaning of “fly” as in “fly a rudiment” is covered in the Tech Dictionary under “flying needle”; “So it’s just a colloquialism; fly a needle, float a needle, F/N, that’s all.” LRH, Class VIII tape #2.)

From HCOB 20 Feb 1970, Floating Needles and End Phenomena, referred to in the above issue one will read:

“The reason this subject of floating needles gets into trouble is that the auditor has not understood a subject called END PHENOMENA.

“END PHENOMENA is defined as “those indicators m the pc and meter which show that a chain or process is ended”. It shows in Dianetics that basic on that chain and flow has been erased, and in Scientology that the pc has been released on that process being run. A new flow or a new process can be embarked upon, of course, when the END PHENOMENA of the previous process is attained.”

“Floating needles are only ONE FOURTH OF THE END PHENOMENA in all Dianetic auditing.”

“If you watch a needle with care and say nothing but your R3R commands, as it begins to float you will find:

1. It starts to float narrowly.

2. The pc cognites (What do you know—so that’s . . .) and the float widens.

3. Very good indicators come in. And the float gets almost full dial, and

4. The picture, if you inquired, has erased and the needle goes full dial.

That is the full End Phenomena of Dianetics.”

NOTE: now compare the above description of the End Phenomena of Dianetics with the material from E-Meter Essentials Errata of Feb 79:

“It means the same as a Floating Needle, which is a rhythmic sweep of the dial at a slow, even pace of the needle, back and forth, back and forth, without change in the width of the swing except perhaps to widen as the pc gets off the last small bits of charge. Note that it can get so wide that you have to shift the Tone Arm back and forth, back and forth, to keep the needle on the dial in which case you have a floating tone arm.”

AND this additional data, from that exact same section of E-Meter Essentials Errata:

“It can occur after a cognition, blowdown of the Tone Arm, at a release point, or on the erasure of a Dianetic chain.”

Each action has its own result. Not all actions have the same result. Not all actions have the same EP. To define a Floating Needle as David Miscavige has defined it in his 8 October 2000 “HCOB” he has collapsed all EPs with all EPs in an A=A=A.

How many swings back and forth does a Floating Needle have to have to be an FN on “flying” or “FNing” a Rudiment such as an ARC Break? Does it have to go “back and forth, back and forth” and “widen as the pc gets off the last small bits of charge”, as described in the LRH authored HCOB of 20 Feb 70 FLOATING NEEDLES AND END PHENOMENA and the EP of a Dianetic chain?

Is a Rudiment the same as a Dianetic chain? Is it the same as a Grade Process in Scientology? Is a Cleared Word, which has an FN that indicates it is clear to the person, the same as a Dianetic chain, a Scientology Grade or a rudiment?

Is there an arbitrary minimum number of back and forths or swings that an FN has to have to be a real Floating Needle? Can this be “derived” from any statement such as “back and forth” as LRH writes in the issue R/Ses, What They Mean above or “back and forth, back and forth” as he describes in the section replaced in E-Meter Essentials and the CONTEXT of that section itself and what it actually replaced? (and that’s a direct suggestion to read the ENTIRE issue E-Meter Essentials Errata to see exactly what it did replace).

I have not found and there does not exist any LRH data or reference in any materials that assigns an arbitrary number of “back and forth” for an FN to BE an FN.

I won’t venture to guess how some people came up with a “three swing” arbitrary minimum for an FN to be an FN any more than I will venture to guess what exact incident David Miscavige is stuck in to qualify him as a Suppressive Person.


There are several references that I did find in my study of FNs that are of interest. These are by no means all of the references that refer to this needle manifestation

HCOB 5 May 1960 HELP

“The first thing to do is to put the preclear on a meter. If you don’t have a good meter, and you don’t know what a meter does, order one fast and get instruction. Discuss help with the preclear, and note the needle reactions. If the needle tended to stiffen and stick on any discussion of help, then you have your work set out for you. If the needle remains free and continues to be free on the subject of help, no matter what you run or how you discuss it, of course the button remains free.”


“I would advise help and not help on creations until the needle is floating with no reaction to questions of any kind on them.”


“And a person’s Cause Level will rise. Their psychosomatics key out (for what is a psychosomatic but an inability to hold life off?). They feel better. They begin to live. Their needles get floppy.”


“People have been unable to define release to their own satisfaction. I find now a RELEASE is a person who has been able to back out of his “bank”. The bank is still there but the person isn’t sunk into it with all its somatics and depressions. The E-Meter reads at the Clear read! The needle of the meter is floppy. This is a simulated clear. We called it a “keyed out clear” quite properly. But it isn’t a clear I know now, it’s a RELEASE. The person has been released from his reactive mind. He still has that reactive mind but he’s not in it. He is just released from it.”


“1. Overrun

The first goof relating to Releases is the one done for 15 years—running past a free, floating needle on any type of process. THIS is the goof that held back all Scientology. And if it continues to be done, known as well as it is now that you mustn’t, one can only consider it suppressive—not just ignorant—as who now doesn’t know you wreck a Release by running past the floating needle?

“5. Not Recognizing a Floating Needle

Floating needle, free needle are the same thing. What does one look like? Once you’ve seen one you’ll never make a mistake on one again. For it floats. It ceases to register on the pc’s bank. It just idly floats about or won’t stand up even at low sensitivity.”


“An F/N speeds up or slows down or does different things while still remaining an F/N…”


I suppose I couldn’t leave this topic without a comment or two on the apparent interpretation that abounds of the LRH definition of a Floating Needle.  Again, this simple statement is one sentence long: “A floating needle is a rhythmic sweep of the dial at a slow, even pace of the needle.”

What about this meaning of “rhythmic”?

The American Heritage Dictionary online defines “rhythm” as: Movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions.

“Rhythmic” is defined as: Of, relating to, or having rhythm.

If the needle moves in one direction and alternates its direction, it, by the above definition has “rhythm” and is “rhythmic”.  The direction is a “quantity or condition”.

In order to grasp this fully, one would have to study and understand the references given herein. I can’t for the life of me understand how anybody can interpret the above definition to require an arbitrary number of swings to be “rhythmic”.

In that light, the following reference by L. Ron Hubbard, in full.


Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex


Class VIII


Any arbitrary entered into any line is a way to stop that line.

An auditor doing a job of auditing suddenly enters an arbitrary such as “The pc now has a grief charge so he must have a withhold as I’ve just cleaned up ARC breaks.” Or any such wild think. This arbitrary would stop that pc’s case right now.

You get all there is to know about tech from HCOBs, tapes, books.

This is all.

Here’s one—when the needle on an E-Meter read in the response to an auditor’s question, all you know is that the needle on the E-Meter read. That’s all you know. Now in the next few seconds you will prove out, as to whether the read was to the question or to something else like a protest. To assume anything else in regard to meter reads is an arbitrary and will close up that pc with a bang.

That’s the data. Knock off all the arbitraries NOW.

Punch in hard standard tech. Standard tech is that tech which has absolutely no arbitraries.





Using a section from HCO POLICY LETTER OF l0 FEBRUARY 1966R, ISSUE II, REVISED 22 FEBRUARY 1979 TECH RECOVERY revisions in script, (Ref: HCOB 7 Feb 79R, E-METER DRILL 5RA—CAN SQUEEZE), there is a drill any person can do to aid them to see the character of the needle when it is floating.

Note that a meter run with too high a sensitivity setting does not give a marked change when the needle floats. A meter cranked up to 128 sensitivity looks like a floating needle all of the time at a casual glance on most pcs. On the other hand, if the sensitivity is set too low then the free needle may not be seen. Thus the sensitivity must be set for 1/3 of a dial drop on the can squeeze for each session. Then a free needle will be plainly visible.”

The Book of E-Meter Drills also has material on applicable drilling to ‘spot an FN’.

ALSO, as mentioned by LRH in HCOB 2 Aug 65 RELEASE GOOFS : “Floating needle, free needle are the same thing. What does one look like? Once you’ve seen one you’ll never make a mistake on one again. For it floats. It ceases to register on the pc’s bank. It just idly floats about or won’t stand up even at low sensitivity.”

6 thoughts on “Tech corruption on FNs

  1. Stupendous article! I’m chuckling right now remembering a Returning from Mission Sec Check I had after the unauthorized F/N tech came out. The auditor could get no reads and no F/Ns and I believe I red-tagged at examiner six consecutive times. Finally Bruce Hines came down and took me in session. He got one read, F/Ned everything else and we were done with the sec check in a half hour. He was a smooth as silk auditor. Those other poor auditors were so confused about F/Ns, they couldn’t see the forest for the trees!

  2. Thanks for this scholarly piece of research, which should settle all doubts about the definition of an F/N. My perception, if this of use to anyone, is that an F/N always looks as if ‘something has gone’ – whether this thing had been pushing the needle or holding it still.

    Is there any truth to the rumour that the Mark VIIIs really do play Dixie if you watch the F/N long enough?

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