Charlotte King is best known for her accurate prediction of the major
eruption of Washington's Mt. St. Helens, May 18, 1980.
She was a mere 12 minutes off.
This prediction threw her into the limelight and attracted the
attention of scientists and journalists alike, names like Human
Seismograph and Incredible Ears soon found their way into print and
soon she was seen on network and independent television shows, like
"That's Incredible," "In Search Of," "PM Magazine," "Merv Griffin,"
and in later years shows like "Sightings," "Encounters," and "The
Other Side." Doctors as well as the military were perplexed by her
unusual ability to hear sounds in the ULF, VLF, and ELF ranges. She
began hearing these sounds in mid-May 1976.
Charlotte was tested in four states by the scientific and medical
communities, and the tests revealed that she could hear in the under
10hz range. Further tests revealed specifically below 2-7hz. Thus was
born what the doctors and the scientists who tested her coined "The
Charlotte King Effect."
In 1979 Charlotte noticed that the sounds would sometimes change in
pitch or rhythm, and then a earthquake over 5.0 would be reported in
As time went on she found that sometimes the sound had a
vibrational quality and the quake would hit in the water. In June 1979
there was a change that woke her from a sound sleep and she called the
local ABC TV station and asked if anything was happening, she was told
all was quiet. Several hours later there was a beaching of Sperm
Whales that lasted the most part of 2 days. That beaching was catalyst
that Charlotte needed to put it all together. The whales heard what
Charlotte heard, and they became confused and beached. Charlotte
shared this theory with the mammalogist in the area and they said it
was not likely. They believed that the whales probably had parasites
in the ears and/or they followed a dominant male who was sick. As far
as the sound being involved with the beaching, they did not consider
it as a possibility.
Then, within 72 hours of the beaching, there were reports of three
quakes in Big Bear California. It all made sense to Charlotte, and
again she contacted the local mammalogist. Again she was not taken
seriously. A year later the Oregon Statesman carried a story about the
whale beaching and the most likely theory that they quoted was that
the whales became confused and their sonar must have been jammed by
earthquakes being recorded the same day. Once again, Charlotte's name
was not mentioned.
In August 1979 the sounds changed and it began to vibrate and
Charlotte knew this time the quake was closer and that it was time to
call the USGS (US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY). After speaking to Rick Lester at
USGS Menlo Park in California, the news carried the story of another
beaching of whales.
These were pilot whales and they were beaching on
the East Coast. She called Rick a second time and told him "Now I know
it is going to happen and the beaching confirms it." 72 hours later
there was a quake measuring a magnitude of 6.2 in Hollister
California. It was felt strongly in Menlo Park, the home of USGS.
Three days later Charlotte again called and talked to Rick and told
him to expect the largest aftershock of the quakes that had followed
the 6.2 main shock. Several hours after Charlotte called the quake, it
too hit, and was the largest of the aftershocks to rock the area since
the 6.2 three days earlier.
All was pretty quiet after that, except that she began to have
headaches on a regular basis, and she also was having mild chest pain.
Tests revealed that the heart was OK, and the headaches were of the
migraine variety, possibly stress related.
Daily headaches and many quakes later Charlotte noticed a difference
in the pain she was feeling and began calling the local ABC TV station
in Portland, and started giving quake predictions. Although she was
not able to give the location in most cases, she was able to give the
time, magnitude and whether the quakes were water or land based.
If Charlotte had to pick a date that changed her life, she says it
would be the 16th of March, 1980. The headache that was now a daily
part of her life gave the word migraine a new meaning. That afternoon
the television programming was interrupted by the announcer saying
that the University of Washington had recorded the first quake under
the surface of the mountain, the quake registered a magnitude of 4.2.
When Charlotte heard about it, warning bells set off immediately. Why,
she did not know. On March 27th a newsman came to interview her, and
they went to the park to get some local shots of Charlotte in the
great outdoors. The photographer was trying to make her grimace or
make a face, and she refused, when all the sudden she was sitting
there with tears rolling down her face in pain.
The photographer said
"Oh that's just what we were looking for." Charlotte told him that it
wasn't want she was looking for (and a few other choice words) and
then she said, "Its the mountain!" She grabbed the car keys and ran
for the car, once inside the car she turned on the radio and the local
Portland radio station KGW was playing a song. Suddenly the song was
interrupted by the DJ, and he said, "We just had confirmation that the
volcano, we can call it that now, Mt. St. Helens has had its first ash
eruption and a large fracture can clearly be seen across its snowy
slopes." For Charlotte from that moment on the volcano carried a
special meaning. She "heard" earthquakes, and now she understood that
she could "feel" volcanoes. For the next weeks and months the volcano
continued to shake and rattle - not only the mountain, but the nerves
of nearby residents as well.
Charlotte was working at a local YMCA in April of 1980 and the
mountain was also taking its toll on her as well. On the morning of
April 30th her now daily migraine was taking on an added dimension
and she was having a lot of trouble walking without leaning to the
left. She went to the restroom during her break and looked in the
mirror and noticed the her face was spotty, and there seemed to be
small broken blood vessels under the skin, a new symptom. Later at her
desk she was typing when she noticed that the backs of her hands were
also spotty like her cheeks. Later in the day she began to have
trouble doing her work, between the migraine, and the balance problems
and vertigo. The mountain was taking its toll. Just prior to the end
of the day she was taking some reports to her supervisor and, instead
of walking to her desk on her right, she walked into the wall across
the room. At this point Charlotte knew that she was not able to do the
job she was hired to do and gave her resignation at the end of the
business day. Later that night, Mt. St. Helens, had a 5.2 magnitude
earthquake and the ash shot thousands of feet into the air.
Now at home, Charlotte was finding it more and more difficult to care
for her family as well as her own needs. The mountain showed no signs
of letting up and that was when Charlotte sought the help of the
medical profession in dealing with the pain, she went to the
University of Oregon Health Sciences Center and saw the Chief of
Neurology, Dr. Frank Yatsu. Dr. Yatsu did a series of tests and
ordered a CAT Scan and all the tests were negative and Inderal was
prescribed as a beta blocker, for the pain associated with the
On Thursday, May 15, a man she had been talking to came to see her
from the USEPA in Las Vegas to measure the sounds and vibrations that
she could hear and feel. During the meeting it became very dark and
all the sudden there was a severe hail storm, and later Charlotte
looked back on that instant and realized that the volcano was capable
of creating its own weather. Nearly all the eruptions of 1980 were
proceeded by hail in West Salem.
On Friday Charlotte had an appointment at KATU ABC in Portland, and
had lunch with Sandy Poole from the station. Sandy noted that
Charlotte was walking at a angle and that her hands were spotty and
that she seemed to be in a lot of pain. Charlotte had to leave by
2:00PM as she had one more stop to make on the way home - she had to
stop by Lake Oswego High School as a student had called her and made
her their science project! At the school, Charlotte told the class
that she was very ill and that the furniture in the room was carrying
a vibration - and that something major was going to happen on the
mountain in less than 48 hours.
After arriving back in Salem, she fixed dinner and started to feel a
little better. The next morning her husband and sons were going to go
camping & fishing, and her daughter had a friend come over. It looked
to be a peaceful weekend.
All was OK till the headache picked up about
6:00PM and then it was all downhill from there. At 8:00PM she
remembers that she got up to change the channel on the TV, which was
in the opposite corner of the room. She started across the room and
ended up going directly to the left wall, walking into the fireplace.
At this point all she could do was sit down and laugh, but the
laughing soon turned to tears of pain, frustration and an
uncontrollable fear and sadness. She waited about 15 minutes and
called the KATU news room and talked to her old friend Tom Brown, an
editor who was one of her greatest supporters. After telling Tom
something BIG was going to happen, she talked to Stan Wilson, the
night news anchor.
She said, "OK, you guys wanted to know when the
volcano is going to blow, its going to go in 12 hours or less!" and to
log the call at 8:20 PM. By this time all everyone wanted to do was to
get it over with. No one, not even Charlotte, had any idea what the
mountain was capable of. The girls went to bed about 9:00 PM and all
was quiet. Charlotte made one more call that night, to Dr. Melvin
Kriethen, in Massachusetts, and told him basically the same thing,
that the mountain was going to blow in 12 hours or less, and hung up.
Dr. Kriethen is a scientist who had shown interest in Charlotte King's
ability to perceive what he believed was low frequency
electromagnetic sound/radiation which allowed her to intercept and
After she made the calls to the television station and Dr. Kriethen,
Charlotte's thoughts turned to the safety of the people who lived on
and around the mountain. She was particularly concerned about a troop
of scouts who had chosen that weekend to hike into Spirit Lake and
retrieve some of their gear that was kept at the mountain. At nearly
2:00AM she finally fell into a restless sleep only to be up an hour
later. She made some tea and just sat there and waited. About 5:00AM
she went outside to get the morning paper and glanced up at the sky.
She remembers it was the color of fire or hot lava, and burst into
tears. She knew, she said aloud, "People are going to die." She went
back into the house and turned the television on and watched.
Somewhere about 6:00AM she fell asleep and woke at 8:28AM, not knowing
what woke her up. She lay there on the couch, head throbbing, quietly
listening, and waiting. She said later that it reminded her of when
she would wake up when she was in labor with one of her three
children. and did not know what woke her. Shortly after 8:32 AM the TV
went to the news, and the announcement was made that St. Helens had a
major eruption and they would have more information as soon as it was
Charlotte tried to get up and found she was unable to raise
her head, the pain was so intense. This inability to raise her head
for about 4 hours lead her doctors to believe that she may have
suffered a small stroke when the mountain blew.
The next weekend the scenario was repeated, with a less violent
eruption, but she was just as ill as before. After a year of being
down with what she quickly coined "Seismic Flu" she found that her 18
year marriage had been undermined, partly by the pain and her
inability to care for the children, and partly by the huge telephone
bills that she ran up - trying to find someone, anyone who would help
her understand what was happening to her.
Finally in March 1981 she
made contact with Chris Dodge of the Science Policy Research Division,
of the US Library of Congress, and together they worked out a method
as to how Charlotte would call him, prior to earthquake or volcanic
activity, and tell him the time, magnitude, location and probability
of the event she was feeling, based on symptoms and the audiological
sounds she was hearing. Later in March Charlotte was in Bellevue,
Washington, near Seattle, staying at a friend's home, and she received
a call from her home in Salem, telling her that a scientist from
Germany was in Salem to see her. When he learned that she was a mere
four hours away, he decided to drive up and see her there. When he
arrived she decided to take the opportunity and go to the University
of Washington's Geology Department and meet some of the people she had
been talking to for the better part of a year. Once at the University
she went into the geology department and almost immediately became
ill. Doubling over in pain and suffering from a severe attack of
intestinal flu, she said she was so weak that she was not able to lift
the glass of water that they handed to her. She knew she had to get
out of there FAST, and the chilling words of Dr. Yatsu, "Charlotte do
not go near active volcanoes. You could become a permanent
basket-case, or worse," came back to her. She and her guest went back
to Bellevue, and she went directly to bed. She took her medicine and
asked for hot water bottles, and lay on the bed, shaking and rolling,
from the pain in her stomach. She placed one call to Chris Dodge and
told him what was happening and then she decided she needed to go to
About a half an hour later she asked her hosts to take her to the
hospital, where she was monitored for about 6 hours. She was having
heart pain as well as the stomach and headache pain that was always
present. Her blood pressure, normally low, was dropping and she was in
shock from the pain.
She finally got to go home (back to Bellevue), and again called Chris
Dodge, telling him, "I am sure something major is happening at the
mountain." Chris said he called the University of Washington's geology
department and was told that there was absolutely nothing out of the
ordinary happening at St. Helens, that Charlotte was not picking up
anything to do with the mountain. They were picking up the "normal"
background levels of activity. Again Charlotte stressed the point -
something was happening on the mountain, and it would happen within
The next day Chris got a call from a friend in Washington. The caller
said, "Have you heard the news?" Chris said no, and the friend said,
"They put St. Helens on full eruption alert." Charlotte was
vindicated. That eruption took place about 10 days later and that is
how what was later named "Project Migraine" got its start.
In late December, Charlotte - citing pain, inability to care for her
children or to hold a job, and her family's attitude toward her "gift"
- made what she said was the hardest decision of her life. She filed
for divorce, gave her husband full custody of the kids, and left for
California the next week. She knew that was the only place where she
even had a chance of being taken seriously, and with the amount of
quakes in California she would be able to set a track record.
For the first year in California she made most of her predictions to
OES, State Office of Emergency Services, and they would write down her
predictions when she called. She also would call the Department of
Water Resources and California Mines and Geology where she would talk
to various persons who were willing to listen to her. Chris came to
Sacramento where Charlotte was living and together they spoke to the
Seismic Safety Council and even got a meeting with then Governor Jerry
Brown's associate Jacque Barzoggi, and explained what was happening
and how it could benefit the citizens of California, to be involved.
At different points in time Charlotte would contact one person or
another and tell them that this or that quake was going to happen. She
was a frequent guest in KCRA NBC, Sacramento, both in news stories and
talk show formats. She was also a guest on KOVR ABC, and appeared on
the "PM Magazine" show.
These experiences led Charlotte to the discovery that she was not
alone in feeling the pain. Many people were now having symptoms,
although the sounds were heard by only one or two of the persons who
Although earth activity in California is a daily occurrence, the
intense pain that Charlotte felt from St. Helens and other areas while
living in Salem, Oregon was less intense in California. Although the
larger quakes still took their toll on her, she found she was
especially vulnerable to mountain/volcanic quakes.
One such area to
cause her extreme pain was, and still is, Mammoth Lakes California,
part of the Long Valley Caldera located in the Eastern Sierras. The
quakes from this area would cause Charlotte to immediately double over
with intense stomach pain and dropping blood pressure. One time Chris
was visiting the house where she was living and she became ill. She
thought that now someone would see this happening, and know what to
do. Chris, a biologist, was all scientist. He took her pulse, timed
what had the appearance of contractions, and asked her to relay how
she was feeling.
When she had to go to the hospital, she found that
her blood pressure was dangerously low, a mere 62/55. It was difficult
to breathe, and the specialist on duty was called. Dr. Neville
Pimstone, who will always have a special place in Charlotte's heart,
took one look at her and said, "You are being affected by the
environment, aren't you?" She tried to smile and thank him, but was
only able to ask, "How do you know?" He said, "I am from South Africa,
and I see this all the time from the winds, we have the Swanees and
the Fones and the people who are sensitive react the same way." So
Charlotte knew, given to the right doctors, there were those who took
her symptoms seriously. She also knew that this was not something that
was limited to the United States, that other people in other countries
also could react to the affects of the electromagnetic field radiation.
Many quakes and many trips to the various hospitals filled the next
two years.. if the quake was magnitude 5.0 or greater, she felt it. If
it was 6.0 or greater, she called and logged a prediction. Project
Migraine now had twelve members, and the letters of other possible
sensitives kept pouring in. Charlotte was sent to a total of four
states for medical and scientific testing. She was the only one to be
tested in this manner. She was tested in Hyperbaric Decompression
Chambers, in Anchoic Chambers and Thermographic Research Labs as well
as the State Schools for the Deaf and the US Bureau of Standards. ALL
the tests revealed the same thing - that she could hear in the lower
frequencies not normally heard by humans, and that she had a very high
sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.
In 1986 Charlotte remarried, and five months later her husband became
ill and was forced to retire. As soon as he was released from the
hospital, they decided to move back to Oregon so she could get the
help she needed from her family. It was decided that they would live
on the Oregon Coast. That year they spent in Newport was one of, if
not the most, uncomfortable years Charlotte can remember. It was
constant head and ear pain with occasional strong stomach pain. Taking
her health into consideration, they decided to move back to the
valley. So in March 1988 they moved back to Salem, and as luck would
have it, she ended up within a couple of miles of where she lived in
West Salem, when St. Helens went active. Probably the most
uncomfortable place she could have chosen to live. Charlotte worked on
and off and did several more television shows like "Sightings,"
"Encounters" and "The Other Side." More and more people contacted her
and asked for her help. Finally, in desperation to help the other
sensitives, Charlotte brought out her records of the quakes and what
lead up to them. Never being one to consider what she did unique, she
was amazed at the list she had been compiling since 1980. She found
that not only did the majority of the sensitives who contacted her
have the same symptoms, but that most of them would experience the
same symptom at the same time in the same part of their body no matter
where they lived. So Charlotte began selling a pamphlet that listed
the symptoms and the locations that the symptoms pertained to. She
also began to lecture and meet with small groups of people in order to
make everyone aware of the amazing ability of the human body to pre
monitor earth changes.
In 1992, 1993, and 1994 the earth shook with a vengeance and the pains
were again felt on a daily basis. These pains were felt not only by
Charlotte, but by people who were calling her from as far away as New
York, Pennsylvania and Alaska, besides the dozens of calls from
California, and even callers from New Zealand and Australia. One of
the worst times was centered around the activity in Southern
California's Yucca Valley, Landers and Joshua Tree. It was discovered
that if a quake were building in these areas that it felt very
volcanic in nature, and the headache was full blown migraine, that
people had vertigo problems and the heart was hurting with small,
sharp electrical-like shocks. The quakes of Landers and Yucca Valley
in 1992 took their toll, and this is was made more painful by the loss
of her father in March 1992. He too was sensitive, and was one of the
people that she could always turn to and get the understanding that
she so needed.
Charlotte was still out there - and still searching for the one person
who could tell her what she was feeling, and even more important, what
she was hearing.
In December of 1994, pains in the area of the heart were really
causing a lot of trouble for Charlotte. In talking to the other
sensitives and concerned citizens of Southern California, she was able
to give them 3-5 days warning, when the pain reached the threshold
where only Charlotte can tell you what it is like with the pain and
other symptoms she feels, to allow her to time it so that she can and
is able to give a 12-72 hour warning for the quake. The animals and
their reactions, the ants and the cats all reacted to allow the quake
prediction to be logged at Caltech, Pasadena Ca.with the duty
person. The alert went out to the network of persons who had kept in
touch with Charlotte and was spread by word of mouth. LA Magazine
confirmed that the information was given to Cal tech prior to the
January 17, 1994, Northridge Quake, as well as the March 20, 1994,
Since the January 1994 Northridge quake, Charlotte has kept her
record for accuracy intact.. she accurately predicted the quakes
in Turkey, her prediction was for the Aegean Sea.. and Taiwan,
Greece, Oaxaca Mexico and most recently her startling accurate prediction
for Jousha Tree California.. Just hours before the quake she put out
a warning to her subscribers and others, to watch Landers, Yucca Valley,
and Joshua Tree.
Chris Dodge rated Charlotte's overall accuracy rate as 85-90+% for
earthquakes measuring over 6.0 magnitude; 100% for Mt. St. Helens; and
near 100% on other volcanoes, time, magnitude and location.
She responds most strongly to the Cascades and the Sierras, Mammoth, and the
area from Los Angeles south into Mexico, as well as Australia,
New Zealand, Paupa New Guinea and Japan.