Astronomer Percy Seymour explains to Alan Thomson the link between the earth's magnetic field and our genes.
When Hamlet told Horatio that there were more things in heaven and earth than man could get his head round he was referring to the sort of twilight zone that interests astronomer Percy Seymour.
Unfortunately for Dr Seymour, not everyone shares the Prince of Denmark's preoccupations. For Seymour, principal lecturer in astronomy at the University of Plymouth, has highly unorthodox views regarding possible magnetic links between the planets, the sun, and, ultimately, man - views regarded with some scepticism by his colleagues.
Seymour claims that his theory is so contrary to current scientific thought that he has great difficulty having his work published. He says: "If I am wrong then I have a right to be wrong but no one gets anywhere unless they put up a theory. The censorship that the scientific community operates is hard to break out of. Censorship is as deadly to science as the Inquisition was to the theories of Galileo."
So is Seymour lending academic credibility to astrology and the improbable world of Mystic Meg? The South African-born astronomer says: "My theory does not underpin most of what astrology says but rather explains that there might be a grain of scientific truth buried deep down.
"I am more interested in how astrology could have arisen in ancient societies than with the modern version of it." It emerges that Seymour's theory of magnetic resonance operates in much the same way as the enormously dilute substances in homeopathic medicine: affecting man in a subtle, yet potent, way across space. His starting point is that all planetary bodies are magnetised and create magnetic fields. He points to the obvious example of the the moon's influence on the tides.
From there he goes on to argue that bodies, from planets to man, have specific magnetic resonant frequencies: the analogy is that of a radio receiver scanning the airwaves and only producing coherent sound on tuning into certain wave bands. When two or more magnetic fields interact they can, says Seymour, if the "frequency" is right, combine and their cumulative magnetic force is increased beyond their individual strengths.
Seymour says: "The equilibrium theory of the tide allows for a total range of only two metres but observations in certain parts of the world show that tides can be far higher.
"Certain waters have a natural resonance and move with a natural period or frequency. You get a big tidal resonance when the moon 'tunes into' the frequency of that natural resonance."
On a cosmic level, Seymour says that planets exert their own latent resonance and at certain times, in certain alignments, can interact. These in-phase magnetic forces affect the sun, which has the biggest magnetic field in the solar system, sometimes causing periods of violent solar activity such as sunspots and flares.
Seymour points out that the effects upon the earth of violent solar activity are well documented, ranging from brighter and more extensively visible displays of the auroras borealis and australis to power surges and interference on short wave radio.
But it is Seymour's theories of how these forces react with and affect life, and humans in particular, that begin to stretch the imagination - in particular his belief that cosmic magnetic resonance can determine times of birth. "There is evidence from biology that all sorts of organisms find direction by and react to the earth's magnetic field and to believe that humans are aloof from that is sheer arrogance."
Seymour adds that genetic inheritance determines the way our nervous systems are "wired up" and that the way they are constructed makes us more or less susceptible to certain frequencies within the range of fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field caused, of course, by the sun and the interaction between, or alignment of, the planets.
In a neat manoeuvre, however, Seymour says that it is not the alignment of the planets that influences the way a person is "wired up" but rather that a baby in the womb, having had the layout of its nervous system determined by inherited genes, will tune into a particular set of frequencies and effectively decide when it is born. By implication this means that certain types of people will tend to "choose" to be born at roughly the same time of the day or week, probably coinciding with the rising of a particular planet in the sky when, presumably they "recognise" and respond to a particular frequency.
Seymour says: "In other words the position of the planets label the innate characteristics of people and do not affect or create them."
He also says that our ancestors were probably more tuned into these frequencies, if only due to the lack of "interference" which is created by the modern world, and that their awareness of planetary movements and how they affected primitive practices of dowsing and direction finding, may have led to the development of astrology. Astrology is therefore an inversion and, says Seymour, latterly a corruption of the natural human response to magneto tidal resonance.
Despite academic criticism, Seymour stands by his theory. "What I am arguing for is respect for the ethos of science. When people say you ought not to question the orthodoxy then they effectively opt out of science," he says.