John Keeley’s Mystery Motor

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

pis of a random machine shopas 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.



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


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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

the wound.

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

the time.

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.

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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

Vangard Sciences