From the February 2014 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

The Law of Vibration: The Revelation of William D. Gann

The Law of Vibration: The Revelation of William D. Gann
By Tony Plummer
Petersfield, Hamshire (UK), Harriman House
2013, 224 pages, 
Paperback $40.00

Tony Plummer intends his book, The Law of Vibration, “For the global community of independently-minded technical analysts and economists.” Only those who can suspend skepticism long enough to read it, or at least its last two chapters, will qualify despite Plummer’s intelligent, clear prose.   

The Law of Vibration, he writes, can be used to forecast the future.  It “…defines the pattern of rhythmic time cycles and identifies the critical points in these cycles where evolutionary changes can occur…. In its more complex form, The Law describes the pattern of oscillations in collective human behavior” (page 6).

Plummer writes, in painstaking detail, how he came to understand the Law.  The first reference to it is in The New Testament’s Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 12, verses 39-40. He describes his use of gematria, a system of assigning numerical values to letters and words to assist in interpreting text that reveals this law.

The Law was later described cryptically by the Greek-Armenian mystic George Gurdjieff (1866-1949) in his Beelzebub’s Tales first written sometime between 1924 and 1927, but published in 1950. Gurdjieff refers to The Law as The Law of Seven, which may be a more appropriate name for it. 

However, as early as 1909, legendary trader William Gann (1878-1955) made equally cryptic reference to The Law.  Later, in his 1927 novel The Tunnel Thru the Air, Gann made more references to it. 

It may be helpful for this book’s readers to scan a partial summary of Gann’s methods in Perry Kaufman’s Trading Systems and Methods, the fifth edition of which is also reviewed this month.

Plummer notes that Gann never revealed The Law  although it is perhaps a critical underpinning of his analytical methods because he feared the same skepticism that will greet Plummer’s book today.  But as Gann was, Plummer is a leading trader and writer as those familiar with his several excellent books on technical and psychological analysis of trading already know.  Like Gann, Plummer should be taken most seriously. 

Plummer shows how he used gematia, a system of assigning numerical values to letters and words, to interpret the hidden texts within a visible text.  Gematria was often used by ancient writers to reveal information to highly intelligent readers while keeping that information hidden from most other readers.

In Chapter 2, Plummer explains that gematria’s expanded purpose was “…twofold; first to give an harmonic structure to spiritual texts; and second, to ensure that an additional – and higher – form of knowledge was transmitted with those texts.” 

Chapter 3 introduces The Law of Three that purports to reconcile opposing forces of mental energy (active attributes); spiritual energy (passive attributes) and a third force that reconciles the two.  The Law of Three is a supporting factor in understanding The Law of Vibration.

If this is too complicated, readers pressed for time may skip to Chapter 15, “The Law of Vibration in Practice.” Here, Plummer summarizes what he found. He then writes that he does not intend his book “…to show in detail how the pattern of vibration can be used.  This is for each individual to research.”

While Plummer doesn’t show us how to forecast prices using The Law, he does use it to plot phases in five full evolutionary cycles of US Industrial Production – 1801 to 1832; 1834 to 1870; 1875 to 1898; 1911 to 1940, and 1980 to 2012. Severity of changes varies considerably, but The Law shows that each cycle’s phase occurs in more or less equal lengths of time.

Most economists now believe that the business cycle that influences securities prices is aperiodic.  This is because of various influences on land, labor and capital, the three inputs of production, extend or shorten business cycles because of regulations, changing government policies, new technologies, wars, regime changes, and acts of God. 

Thus, even for those of us who are not economists, it is hard to accept that The  Law of Vibration (or Seven) might be useful in predicting the timing of changes in asset prices, despite Plummer’s demonstration using the history of U.S. Industrial Production. 

During most of the 20th century, and certainly so far in the 21st century, business cycles appear not to have occurred in regularly periodic ways. Markets have not been allowed to operate in total freedom because of many forms of government and regulatory interference – as the last five years of extremely low interest rates demonstrates. 

In time, tests with real-time data will reveal the usefulness of The Law. But even if most readers dismiss this book out-of-hand without doing tests, students of the market, especially those intrigued by Gann, will find Tony Plummer’s beautifully written book The Law of Vibration worth studying.

Desmond MacRae is a New York based banking, finance and investment  services writer. Contact: desmondmacrae@nyc.rr.com

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