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  Columnist: William B Stoecker

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John Keely and the 1897 airship

Posted on Tuesday, 20 January, 2009 | 5 comments
Columnist: William B Stoecker

UFOs in one form or another have been reported as far back as Biblical times, but in the 1880s there were scattered reports of ufos resembling airships, accompanied by speculation about Martians or other extraterrestrials visiting Earth, and speculation about human inventors developing airships, as in Jules Verne's "Robur the Conqueror." Sacramento, California researcher Frank Warren has published a 6/7/1884 Nebraska newspaper story about a rancher who claimed he saw a flaming airship crash...but no wreckage has ever been produced. In 7/1887 in Georgia the "Quincy Daily Whig" reported the crash of a fiery "meteor" that turned out to be a blue metallic sphere with some kind of writing and pictures on it. The sphere, if it ever existed, vanished from history.

But it was on 11/17/1896 that the famous wave of airship sightings began. One George Scott, assistant to the Secretary of State, and several other people reported seeing from the deck by the Capitol dome a light shining down from the sky. Some of the witnesses reported three lights, and most of them thought they saw a long, dark shape behind the lights. Also in Sacramento, one RL Lowery claimed he saw an airship with side wheels being pedaled (?) by two men and heard a voice saying "Throw her up higher; she'll hit the steeple." It is probable that many of the reports were hoaxes; also, it has long been noted by some researchers that ufos usually appear to represent a technology just a little ahead of the time, which might indicate hoaxes or perhaps some kind of mind game being played on us by the ufo entities. Later the airship was seen over the Cliff House in San Francisco, where its searchlights reportedly frightened the seals in the surf below the cliff.

From there, airship reports spread all across the US in the following months. There were many sightings in Chicago. There were many reports of fully human occupants landing and asking for water. One of these, in Beaumont, Texas, gave his name as "Wilson", and claimed that the craft had been constructed in Iowa and that it had electric motors. In Uvalde, Texas, an occupant calling himself "Wilson" claimed to be from Goshen, New York. In Kuntze, Texas the occupants gave their names as "Wilson" and "Jackson." A Mr. Akers wrote a letter to the "Galveston Daily News" saying that he knew an airship inventor named "Wilson" from the State of New York. Peter Moon, an author who has written about mysterious events in Montauk, Long Island, claims he keeps encountering the name "Wilson" in his investigations. This may or may not be significant.

In the US, prior to the sightings wave, a number of inventors had taken out patents on airships, but none ever flew, and they were designed as powered lighter than air craft, unlikely to be able to perform reliably (even if one or more had been constructed) and fly all over the country, only to vanish as abruptly as they had appeared and never be heard from again.

But could human inventors have designed and built craft of a more advanced nature, perhaps using some form of gravity control? It seems unlikely, but the idea cannot simply be dismissed. We still do not fully understand how ancient people quarried, shaped, transported, and emplaced the immense megaliths found in such places as Sacsahuaman and Baalbek. The ancients certainly knew more about acoustics and magnetism than they are generally credited with knowing. At Tiahuanaco my guide spoke to me in a normal voice when he was perhaps a hundred yards away, but the acoustics of the structure we were in allowed me to hear him easily. At Macchu Picchu I hummed into a trapezoidal niche in a stone wall and the entire structure resonated. On a small, flat topped pyramid in Tiahuanaco I saw a row of black stone monoliths bearing an eery resemblance to the one in the film"2001" and the one in the UN meditation room. Using an ordinary magnetic compass I found that the stones were highly magnetized, with one end a north pole and the other a south pole.

Researcher and writer Christopher Dunn, investigating the Great Pyramid at Giza, says that the King's Chamber emits (at a very low intensity) the chord F sharp, and suggests that this is the harmonic of our entire planet and is focused by the pyramid. Striking the coffer in the King's chamber causes it to emit the note A at about 440 cycles per second, causing the entire chamber to resonate. There have been several unverified reports of sonic levitation being achieved by Tibetan monks. A Swedish man called "Dr. Jarl" claimed he saw the monks levitate a heavy stone using carefully arranged trumpets and drums, and a similar report was made by an Austrian film maker named Linauer. These reports date from the nineteen twenties and nineteen thirties and are a little short on specifics. But could sound cause true levitation? Conventional physics says no, but it is no secret that there are beginning to be serious problems with conventional physics. If there were, after all, a luminiferous aether, and it was composed of a dense network of longditudinal waves traveling in a medium consisting of a matrix of waves (yes, you read that right, a seeming paradox) gravity might be a result of these waves pushing matter, and an object vibrating at the right frequency might conceivably harness this energy. But could a nineteenth century inventor have discovered how to do this, or learned of it from some ancient texts?

The controversial American inventor John Ernst Worrell Keely (9/3/1827-11/18/1898) has a cult following second only to that of Nicola Tesla, and many of his disciples believe that he achieved gravity control and harnessed "free" energy. Keely had a laboratory in Philadelphia, where he experimented with "sympathetic vibratory physics." There have been rumors that he acieved sonoluminescence and made an acoustic refrigerator. He said that he could disintegrate the water molecule with sound waves at 620, 630, or 12,000 cycles per second. Supposedly over twenty witnesses saw him levitate a one ton steam engine. Reportedly, he attached himself to his machines with wires and appeared to concentrate; if so, this hints at some kind of psychokinetic effect, which may explain why others were unable to duplicate his work.

When he died a Boston businessman bought his equipment, and, unable to make it work, pronounced it fraudulent. A team from "Scientific American" claimed to have found tanks and pipes in his basement, and claimed that he had defrauded all of his investors and simply ran his machines with compressed air. His followers claim that the pipes were too small to have produced the effects that so many witnessed.

And some claim that he may very well have been the inventor of the 1896-1897 airship. I must stress the fact that this is only speculation. Ultimately, we don't know if Keely was a fraud or if he had actually discovered how to tap aetheric energy. Even if he did, we don't know if he invented the famous airship. But something was flying over the US for several months; even though some of the confused and contradictory reports were probably fraudulent it is unlikely that all of them were. And so the mystery continues.

William B Stoecker

Article Copyright© William B Stoecker - reproduced with permission.

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