This was a short story that was in a book called `Stranger Than
Science’. The book was written by Frank Edwards. There was no date
as to when the book was written. It appears as if the book was
written in the early 1960’s. Also the author did not give the source
of his information.
JOHN KEELY’S MYSTERY MOTOR
The Powerful engine shook the building … but it shook the existing
understanding of energy even harder.
Twenty-three men were crowded into the same small room which housed
the controversial motor. Many of them were engineers, others were
professional men or bankers – and all of them were investors. They
were skeptics, too; and they had waited years for John Keely to make
good on his claims.
Time after time they had poured their money into his endless
research and profitless development of the engine that now stood
before them. Today he had promised them that he would show what it
could do. Was he fraud or genius? They should soon know.
John Keely never even glanced at the hard faces of the men who were
packed into the room with him and his engine. If he was aware of
their presence he gave no hint – just as he apparently ignored the
ear-shattering noise that was rattling the small window panes.
From the heavy steel machine, bolted to the massive stone base, came
the screech of metal in travail. A deep hum changed to a moan – the
moan to a whine. Wilder danced the window frames – as though they
were eager to flee this unearthly din.
Keely knew he was master of the situation, because he, and he alone,
was master of the machine before them. These irate investors were
demanding proof that their money had gone into something practical?
Very well-they would soon have their proof! He lightly tapped a
button, and the roar jarred the bones of every man present.
When the faint blue fog cleared away, the committee members could
see that the one-inch lead ball had been expelled from the machine
with such incredible force that it had shot completely through two
heavy oak planks and buried itself in a sandbox against the wall.
Most Impressive, the committee agreed; but when could they expect to
put this latent power to work in a fashion that would reimburse the
For John Keely this session with the stockholders’ committee in
November 1879 was an old, old story. He gave them performance – they
insisted on profits. Over and over again, as the stockholders came
and went, he endured their criticism and calumny.
Through the years of ambivalence that surged about him, John Keely
never lost his temper. Neither did he lose his ability to find new
financial backers to replace those who had given and gone.
For a mechanical inventive genius, John had an unusual background.
Born in Philadelphia in 1827, he worked as a carpenter, a violinist,
a magician who specialized in card tricks; and finally he trudged to
the Rocky Mountains as a trapper. Badly wounded by an Indian arrow,
he mode his way back to Philadelphia and eventually recovered from
It was an age when the need for controllable power was great. Water
power could not meet the demands of growing industry. Steam power
was not the answer – there must be some new cheap source of energy
that could be harnessed to turn the wheels of the mills and
John Keely first attracted attention by announcing, in 1871, that he
had tapped a great new source of energy – as he put it with
exasperating vagueness – “a device which disintegrates the etheric
force that controls the atomic constitution of matter.” Some
scientists challenged him, some ignored him – all were skeptical of
Keely claimed that his engine operated on “harmonic vibrations.” His
detractors promptly retorted that the motivating force was hot air,
generated by Mr. Keely.
Whatever it was, it had enough power to bend steel rails and to tear
giant hawsers into shreds, a force beyond anything in common use at
In December, 1882, the angry investors demanded a showdown… and
got it. Keely agred to reveal the secret of his mystery motor to
any scientist the committee named. They selected Edward Bakel…
who saw and was convinced.
He reported to the unhappy investors that, while he did not
understand all that he had seen, he understood enough to know that
Keely had discovered all he had claimed.
Keely’s luck ran out in 1888, and the stockholders had him sent to
jail for ignoring a court order to reveal his secret. A wealthy
widow financed him for the next ten years, to the end of his life in
The stockholders wrecked his shop, finally came upon a huge steel
ball which contained compressed air. There was nothing new about
that; for Keely had often shown the sphere to interested parties,
and its pipes were inadequate to have operated at the pressures
indicated by the performance of the machine.
Vangard Notes >>>
This steel sphere weighed over 6000 pounds and was buried under
the floor of Keely’s lab. The fact that it was in such a place
and obviously had compressed air led many to believe this to be
the force which Keely used in his demonstrations.
Other accusers of fraud have specified hydraulics in the form of
water to create Keely’s force. That force is said to have
reached upward of 30,000 PSI and this achieved from the
dissociation of 3 to 6 drops of water.
If Keely could create such tremendous pressures using either air
or hydraulics, he would have been a millionaire many times over.
The interesting thing about all his detractors is that NO ONE
could even begin to duplicate his demonstrations using ANY KNOWN
principle of physics at that time.
Our researches indicate that the sphere was used by Keely in his
early days as a holder for the etheric force which took on the
form of a highly compressible vapor. Refer to other files in
the file 9 section for more information relating to this and
other Keely information.
One of the most disgusting things about the Keely literature is
how all the vultures descended on his lab ONLY AFTER HIS DEATH
to find what they were sure was fraud. No credible scientists
would investigate him during his life, nor endorse his work
The secret of Keely’s mystery motor died with him. Scientists could
never agree on how it had operated. The witnesses agreed on only one
thing; the engine made a humming sound.
The question remains: Were they hearing the birth pangs of a great
discovery … or merely the persuasive hum of a humbug?
Submitted by; Ronald Barker