Claim: Spanish flu caused by radio waves


Senior Member.
In light of a number of conspiracy theories linking Covid-19 with the rolling out of 5G, some have also begun to repeat the notion that previous pandemics, epidemics and plagues were linked to changes in technology and the Earth's magnetic field.

From what I can tell, one of the main sources for some of these ideas is Dr Thomas S. Cowan, who is on record stating that the Spanish flu of 1918 was caused by the introduction of radiowaves:

So some of his ideas come from Austrian anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner, and some from anti-cell phone activist Arthur Firstenberg, who may be the primary source for these ideas:

The book he mentions is called 'The Invisible Rainbow'. I haven't yet found a copy of this, but there is a summary of what he says about Spanish flu and radio here:

Firstenberg also links the 1957 Asian flu outbreak with the building of radar stations on the west coast of North America and the 1968 Hong Kong flu with a "doubling of the number of satellites" going into space.

All this is seen as supporting evidence for the link between coronavirus and 5G.

There are a few angles this could be approached from, and the first one that occurs to me is to check some of the claims associated with the 1918 Spanish flu, such as:
  1. In the late fall of 1917 there was an introduction of radiowaves around the world
  2. The first victims of Spanish flu were 1,127 radio operators stationed at Camp Funston, Kansas
  3. The installation of a 50,000-watt alternator in New Jersey in September 1918 coincided with the Spanish flu becoming "most deadly"
  4. Rudolf Steiner said some things about viruses and the Spanish flu that have merit
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Senior Member.
The easiest claim to debunk/look at it is probably #2, claiming that "the first victims of Spanish flu were 1,127 radio operators stationed at Camp Funston, Kansas."

The US is noted at wikipedia as being one possible location for the source of Spanish flu, along with France and China, and it does look to me that this is the case, making its way to Camp Funston from Haskell County, Kansas, where many flu cases and several deaths were noted in the months preceding the first case at the army camp. From Funston, via troop movement, it then spread to other camps and to Europe. Historian John M. Barry, who wrote the book 'The Great Influenza' (inspiration for George W. Bush's introduction of a federal influenza pandemic plan in 2005) notes newspaper reports from Haskell County that detail a severe outbreak of flu in January and February 2018, as well as news of soldiers and Haskell locals returning to and visiting Funston at the end of February, presumably taking the virus with them (the first Funston case was recorded on March 4th).


Were the eleven hundred soldiers who became infected all radio operators? While I haven't yet found any evidence to either validate or invalidate this, it seems that the common sense answer has to be "no". Barry notes that "the camp held an average of 56,222 troops"; I think someone would have noticed if an illness which affected 1 in 50 men only affected those with the same job. Plus, I imagine, eleven hundred would have been an unusually large number of radio operators in one camp in 1917.

Note: In the OP Firstenberg is recorded as saying "Spanish influenza began in American bases in this country, where soldiers were trained in the use of radio waves." While the claim that it began in bases plural is unsubstantiated, and that it began in any particular base at all probably doubtful - as is the notion those infected "were trained in the use of radio waves" - it's only in the summary of his book that it's claimed the infected were all "radio operators". That he did state this, I need to confirm.
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Senior Member.
The book [written by Firstenberg] is called 'The Invisible Rainbow'. I haven't yet found a copy.

While looking for a pdf of the book, I came across a more detailed summary. In that, it is stated that:
In reality, however, Spanish flu didn't reach Massachusetts until August 2018, when troops returning from Europe brought it to Commonwealth Pier, then Chelsea Naval Hospital, then the wider environs, including Harvard Radio School in Cambridge, which recorded its first case on September 4th and entered quarantine four days later.

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Senior Member.
"In 1918 after the biggest pandemic, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, [Rudolf] Steiner was asked what was all this about. And he said, 'Well, viruses are simply excretions of a toxic cell. Viruses are pieces of DNA or RNA with a few other proteins they brought out from the cell. They happen when the cell is poisoned. They are not the cause of anything.'

Every pandemic in the last 150 years there was a quantum leap in the electrification of the earth. In 1918, late fall of 1917, there was the introduction of radio waves around the world. Whenever you expose any biological system to a new electromagnetic field you poison it, you kill some and the rest go into a kind of suspended animation so that interestingly they live a little bit longer and sicker."
Content from external source​
The "cell poison" idea neglects to identify what poisons the cell; it's other specimens of the same viruses that got transmitted from other humans. As you already outlined for the Spanish flu, human transmission caused it to spread, and we can find these epidemiological links.

The same goes for Covid-19, the epidemiological links have been well documented for the first German cluster , it is why contact tracing works, and it has been documented in other countries as well (e.g. the "super-spreader" in South Korea, or the choir in Washington.) If this was caused by radio, we wouldn't have epidemiological links to people who have been infected before.

I looked at "history of radio", and I'd be hard-pressed to identify "quantum leaps" in the technlogy. Since the proliferation of radio has been a continuous development, what they do here is simply pick some things that happened around when they saw an event they can't explain, and claim that these things were more important than others. Now where are the epidemics assciated with the imtroduction of FM radio, television, or the GSM phone network?
Correlation is not causation.
And even the correlation is nonexistent.

Why is Iran suffering badly from Covid-19 when they don't even have 5G yet?
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