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W. Ritchie Benedict


Free Energy Pioneer:John Worrell Keely


Theo Paijmans

IllumiNet Press,
P.O. Box 2808,
Lilburn, GA 30226, U.S.A.


1998, 472 pages, $19.95 (U.S.A.)
(Higher in Canada)
ISBN 1-881532-15-1

Con men have long had an affinity for selling strange utopian machines to a naive public. For many years, John W. Keely, a Philadelphian inventor of the 1870's has had a reputation of being one of these individuals.  Even the redoubtable Charles Fort regarded him as a hoaxer who used a hidden tank of compressed air to accomplish his miracles. But was he really?

Or, was he a man centred on a single purpose - to tap into an inexhaustable energy supply for the benefit of all mankind? Free energy may be thought of as something like "The Force" in all of the Star Wars movies - it has paranormal and spiritual implications, as well as technological implications, and a number of now forgotten inventors and psychics have attempted to harness it.

Theo Paijmans has put together a stunning piece of research that links many pathways to prove that Keely, far from being a fraud, was onto something even he could not quite define. The great innovator of alternating current, Nicola Tesla, grew rather annoyed with Keely for his inability to explain his ideas clearly, saying "It is painful to read his theories. Can he have recognized something and yet be utterly incapable of expressing it?" From around 1870 until his death in 1898, Keely was constantly contructing new and improved versions of his machines, never reaching the point of putting anything on the market, but nevertheless convincing a number of wealthy businessmen (including John Jacob Astor) with his demonstrations- After nearly going bankrupt in 1S81, and seriously contemplating suicide, Keely acquired a patron in the form of Mrs. Clara Bloomfield-Moore, the widow of a paper manufacturer She believed in him  implicitly and supplied him with the means to go on with his work. Keely even wrote to Thomas Edison asking him if he would like to inspect his progress, but Edison curtly refused until a working model was available.

As author John A. Keel points out in his introduction, Paijmans thorouhly demolishes the compressed air theory, which originated with the finding of a giant steel sphere under the floor of Keely's workshop after the inventor's death. It appears to have been a discarded prototype of unknown purpose that was buried there simply because it was too huge to move elsewhere. At the time, doubts were expressed about the compressed air idea, as it was pointed out that the fittings and tubings scattered about were completely inadequate for the pressure needed.

Among other things, Keely may have been experimenting with anti-gravity leading to a radical new method of flight long before the Wright Brothers. A chapter on the mysterious 1897 airship wave (considered today to be the first UFO sightings) leads to the conclusion that perhaps someone was at last putting the Keely motor to work! Another area of experimentation was matter disintegration, as many of the strange machines appeared to employ some sort of sound/vibratory principle. As a child, Keely was fascinated by the manner in which tones from an organ would vibrate the glass in windows. He was not unique however in making technological claims.  Others such as Clemente Figueras and the Russian Michail Filippow, also developed unusual devices. But Keely's spiritual predecessor was likely Johan Ernest Elias Bessler (also known as "Orffyreus) who constructed various self-moving wheels and took his secrets to the grave, back in the early 1700's. He too may have discovered a new source of power, but was never able to give an adequate description of it. Keely may have shared a membership in a little-onown group called the Angelic Society, with the French science-fiction writer Jules Verne.  The question of what happened to many of Keely's motors and his diaries and papers is a mystery unsolved to this day. Amazingly, Paijmans has been able to locate photographs of some of the machines and they resemble elegant and exotic forms of art. Keely's work was supposed to have been completed by a man named Kinraide, but his role seems to have been to disparage Keely's name while hiding some of his papers permanently. Did he do this for Keely so the work did not fall into the wrong hands? Or did he have an agenda of his own? Yet another mystery.

I had the opportunity to speak on the telephone with the author of this book last year. When he mentioned it would be coming out soon, I had no idea it would be this impressive. It is a gargantuan piece of research and likely the definitive work for many years to come.
There are strange linkages that reach to the present day. An awesome book about a 19th Century enigma.

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