Davidson on Keely - 07/20/01

09/10/89 - This document is graciously provided by Dan A. Davidson from his book "A Breakthrough to New Free Energy Sources". We of VANGUARD SCIENCES wish to publicly thank Dan for his willingness to share the result of his researches on John Keely.

Chapter 3 - KEELY "In questions of Science the Authority of a Thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."

The "Scientific American" in their January 28, 1899, and February 4, 1899, issues spent four pages debunking Keely and his experiments. However, they would have spent even more time and pages debunking our current semiconductors and other now-common scientific inventions if someone had been able to come up with any of them at that time--science and technology were not advanced enough then to understand the sophisticated functioning of such items.

Now, in light of our advances and our greater understanding and hopefully our more broadened outlook in the field of science, I think it behooves us to look again at John Keely, the man and his experiments, and see if perhaps he was just ahead of his time and that now there may be premises we can utilize or lines of research we can pursue to our great advantage.

The entire thesis of the "Scientific American" articles was that Keely's scientific career had been nothing but a series of frauds perpetrated on gullible, unthinking people who were incapable of understand ng enough science to disprove his wild claims. (1,2,3)

This in spite of the fact that many noted men of science, including such as Joseph M. Leidy, M.D., of Pennsylvania University, James M. Wilcox, M.D., author and noted physician, and many others, thoroughly examined Keely's inventions, his laboratory, and the scientific demonstrations performed by Keely and could find no fraud of any kind.

In fact they were completely convinced as to the validity of Keely's achievements and his competence in the scientific method. (4)


The basis for the cries of fraud centered around the finding of a large hollow iron sphere "hidden" under the floor boards of Keely's laboratory. After Keely's untimely death several investigators from "Scientific American" went to Keely's old laboratory looking for evidence to support their fraud thesis. (2)

They thought they had found what they were looking for when they lifted a couple of floorboards and found a large (four feet in diameter) cast iron sphere from which protruded pieces of broken pipe. The sphere was estimated to weigh 6,625 pounds and have a bursting strength of 28,000 pounds per square inch.

This event revived the charge brought against him during his lifetime of using compressed air to perform his miraculous feats which if true could have earned Keely a fortune from compressed air inventions.

A newspaper article written while Keely was still living tells the story of the iron sphere. It seems that the newshound who wrote the article had gone to see Keely for possible newsworthy information. He found the inventor in his laboratory tearing a large hole in the floor.

Keely greeted the reporter but did not seem to be in a talkative mood as he appeared quite busy. After enlarging the hole, Keely attached a strange belt with several mechanisms built into it to his waist. He then attached a thin wire leading from the belt to a large sphere resting in the corner of the laboratory.

After a few moments of intense concentration by Keely the ponderous globe slowly lifted a few inches from the floor. Keely then "floated" the iron sphere over to the hole in the floorboards and allowed the huge mass to settle gently to the ground below the floor level.

After a few adjustments to the belt mechanism Keely again seemed lost in rapt concentration. This time the globe slowly but inexorably settled itself into the earth, buried by the opposite of levitation; namely, supergravity. Keely had evidently caused the apparent mass of the sphere to increase to such an extent that it sank into the firm earth much as a heavy rock sinks into mud.

The inventor told the reporter that he was merely making room in his lab and clearing away outmoded equipment. This demonstration of Keely's control of gravity should have put to bed forever the humbug about compressed air but people believe pretty much as they want or are told to believe.

Keely had used the sphere many years previous as a storage reservoir for etheric vapor but improvements in force generation obsoleted the necessity for storage. (4) He was by then able to conduct the force through specially treated wires made of precious metals. (4)

While Major Ricarde-Seaver, F.R.S., was in Philadelphia, he witnessed this same gravity belt in operation. The Major saw Keely move a large 500 horsepower vibratory engine from one part of his lab to another. The astounded engineer pronounced the feat impossible without the aid of a crane which would have meant the removal of the roof of the laboratory.

The gravity belt was but one step towards Keely's "airship" or "aerial navigator" as he called it. (4) By 1896 Keely had perfected his system to the point where he had built and demonstrated his airship to the press as well as the War Department (now the Department of Defense).

The craft was a circular platform about 6 feet in diameter. (11) Mounted on it was a small stool placed before a keyboard. Attached to the keyboard were a collection of finely tuned resonation plates and vibratory mechanisms. (14) Keely explained that when these plates were polarized with "negative attraction" the craft would rise and float above the ground. (11)

The craft was now under the influence of the etheric polar current. By damping out certain notes Keely caused the airship to accelerate to any desired speed. (11) When the War Department witnessed his demonstration in an open field the airship went from zero velocity to 500 miles per hour within a few seconds. There were NO ACCELERATION EFFECTS TO KEELY who was sitting before the keyboard on the stool in the open air and controlling the airship.

The government officials, although impressed, could see no use for the complex device so did not pursue the matter further. (The Wright brothers did not demonstrate their airplane at Kittyhawk, N.C., until December 17, 1903--7 years later!)

The controlling mechanism consisted of a row of 100 vibratory bars representing the enharmonic and diatonic scales. When half of the bars were damped the craft would move at 500 miles per hour. If all the bars were damped, gravity would resume control and the craft would settle to the earth. (14)

There were no moving parts in the ship's propelling mechanism. It was unaffected by weather as it could rise above any storm. The instrument for guiding the airship was distinctly different from the propelling feature. A vast improvement over greasy automobiles, noisy airplanes, and brute force space rockets which hadn't even been invented yet!!! You might think we have regressed instead of progressed in our so- called "space-age".


John Ernst Worrell Keely may well have been one of the greatest scientists of all time. And it is unfortunate that so few people even know his name, much less the scientific system which he developed. He is listed in the encyclopedia (8) as a fake and imposter who tried to hoodwink the public and scientific establishment of his day.

"KEELY, John Ernest<* Worrell, American adventurer: born - Philadelphia, Pa., September 3, 1837<** died - Philadelphia, Pa., November 18, 1898

In early life he was a carpenter. Prior to 1872 he became interested in music, and afterward claimed that the tuning fork had suggested to him a new motive power. In 1874 a stock company was formed for the purpose of supplying funds for the perfection and promotion of the alleged discovery. Keely built and destroyed many models, gave exhibitions at which numerous remarkable and unexplained effects were produced, but never attained any important result.

Upon his death it was found that the so-called Keely motor was operated by an invisible compressed air apparatus, and that the entire scheme was fraudulent.(8) * (author's note : Ernst is the correct spelling) ** (author's note : 1827 is correct date of birth)

Keely's parents died in an epidemic when he was still a boy and he was raised by grandparents. His grandfather, Ernst, had been a composer who led the Baden-Baden orchestra in Germany before immigrating to Philadelphia. Ernst quickly found that his grandson was a prodigy on the violin and gave him much help in learning the fundamentals of music.

A musical career did not appeal to the adventuresome genius as he found the science of vibrations upon which music is based a much greater attraction. Keely was intrigued with the famous statement by Paganini that he could, given the mass chord of a bridge, destroy it by playing the mass chord on his violin. (4) One interesting (but unverified) story about Keely concerns the time he built his first free-energy motor--while still a young boy. It was a series of 17 conch shells, 8 affixed to a small wheel forming the rotor. The stator consisted of 9 conches affixed around the outer periphery of the wheel but not attached to the rotating wheel. John had ground the shells so that they were all attuned to the same frequency. When the "motor" was put together the wheel slowly rotated on its axis, clunking and clicking because of imbalances, but nevertheless self-operative. John's enterprising nature led him to the idea of putting the entire assembly into a box and charging his neighbor friends a penny to look inside to see the wheel turning.

Impossible you say?--well a research scientist in Los Angeles, Dr. Ruth Drown, has claimed that a special log spiral (the same curve in a conch shell) gives off a strange energy emanation. (15)

While yet a young man, Keely learned carpentry and used his income to pursue his experiments in sound vibrations. About 1866 while he was pursuing a line of experimentation in sonic vibrations, he discovered a hitherto unknown energy. He was subjecting water to sonic vibrations and had an explosion which wrecked his apparatus. Six years of intensive experiments passed before he was able to produce this energy at will. He found that 42,800 vibrations per second would vaporize water instantly into energy. (11)

He named this energy ETHERIC FORCE. Keely called the process of changing the substance of water into etheric force : DISSOCIATION. (6)


During the course of these experiments Keely had exhausted his resources so he sought financial aid. In 1872 he demonstrated the production of etheric force, by dissociation of water using sound vibration, to a group of Philadelphia businessmen who were interested in the possible use of etheric force to power an engine. (4)

Witnessing the lifting of large masses and the production of pressures up to 20,000 pounds per square inch and reversing to a standard atmospheric pressure of 30 inches of mercury with no heat or cold brought visions of a power to supplant steam that induced the men to organize a company around Keely's discovery. (4)

Its primary goal was to design and develop an engine utilizing etheric force as the motive power. It was called the Keely Motor Company chartered in 1874. The company proved to be nothing but a burden to Keely and practically no financial assistance. He was not a businessman and it did not interest him so the Keely Motor Company was eventually dissolved.

During the Keely Motor Company episode Keely was sustained in his research and personal needs by a few close friends who believed in the value of his work. This enabled him to pursue his beloved research on a sparse budget. Later on Mrs. Clara Jessup Bloomfield Moore, widow of a wealthy paper manufacturer, and well-known writer, came to Keely's rescue and financed his continued research on an expanded scale. During this time Keely lived at 909 Walnut Street in Philadelphia with his wife Anna.

Mrs. Moore payed the mortgage on Keely's house and gave him a personal income so he could work uninterrupted on his discoveries. The only well-known record of Keely and his researches, to this day, is a biography written by Mrs. Moore to acquaint the world with Keely's discoveries. (4)

If one is interested in Keely's system, time spent in researching the references alluded to in KEELY AND HIS DISCOVERIES by Mrs. Moore is very rewarding. (Available from Health Research, PO BOX 70, Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245 about $18)


A recent (1965) possible verification of the frequency Keely used to dissociate water into etheric force was related to me by a scientist when we were discussing certain aspects of free energy. He wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, but his name is on file. I have no other verification of this experiment, however I believe it merits telling.

The scientist, I shall call him Dr. X, was doing experiments with ultrasonic sound in a column of water. The object of the experiments was to devise a means of separating various densities of materials by injecting them into a column of water which was subjected to an ultrasonic standing wave vibration. The experimental setup is sketched in Figure 3-3 (for BBS considerations a description follows). A Barium Titanate ultrasonic transducer was fixed to the bottom of a quartz tube which was closed at the bottom and open at the top. Pure water was poured into the tube and the water column was "tuned" so that a standing wave was produced at 40,000 CPS (cycles per second).

The transducer was powered by a 700 Watt power amplifier which was driven by an ultrasonic frequency generator. Because of the large amount of power put into the column of water a certain amount of evaporation took place at a constant rate when the transducer was energized. Therefore, to maintain a standing wave in the water column a feedback device caused the frequency to be raised as the water evaporated and the temperature changed.

As a test, Dr. X decided to run through the experiment with only water in the tube to insure that a standing wave was maintained as the water evaporated and the frequency rose higher and higher. When the experiment was started everything worked beautifully. Dr. X took periodic readings of his instrumentation and was assured that the standing wave was being maintained. Suddenly, with no warning whatever the water disappeared from the open quartz tube.

He looked up thinking to see the water splashed on the ceiling when to his amazement a clean hole went right through the ceiling. The hole was the same size as the inside of the quartz tube. Further investigation showed the hole continued on through the roof also!

Dr. X checked his notebook and found the last frequency entry to be 41,300 CPS. It was shortly after this that the water disappeared. Because of the time interval between the last reading and the disappearing water, the frequency sent to the transducer was higher than the last reading and Dr. X said it could well have been very close to 42,800 CPS, the Keely dissociation frequency. (11)

This obviously dangerous event caused Dr. X to dismantle the equipment and try some other approach to his problem. This experiment points the way to the use of our modern technology in conjunction with Keely's laws of dissociation to change matter into energy without the use of radioactive materials or extremely expensive atomic accelerators.


From Keely's first "accidental" dissociation of water, reducing atoms to pure energy or etheric force as Keely called it, in 1866 to his conscious ability to manipulate gravity, magnetism, electricity, and controlled use of etheric force by 1898, when he was killed by a streetcar, all was one long, sustained, herculean effort to bring a humanity a costless motive power which would free man from drudgery. Mrs. Moore described Keely's efforts from 1866 to 1880 as his "dead work". (4)

Every discoverer has to carry on a period of this dead work. In this period the discoverer is building up his ideas, experiments, and knowledge into an intelligible system, working out the basic principles, and establishing a firm foundation upon which to build a completed system. The work is not complete to the point of ceasing experimentation and publishing the work to the world. The work is not known to the world during this time; hence, it is not alive, but dead.

By 1872, Keely had learned the laws of sympathetic vibration to the extent of being able to dissociate water and air into etheric vapor. Roughly translated into modern physics he was able to HARMONIOUSLY change matter into pure energy. He was able to generate pressures of 20,000 pounds per square inch and to use this force to lift huge weights. Keely made the first truly "atomic" cannon. It was a simple, old style mortar using a "charge" of etheric force to send a lead projectile on its course. A refined version of this cannon was demonstrated before members of the War Department in 1884. (2) Their only comment was that it was too complicated for them to understand.

During this dead work period, explosions occurred many times, some harmless, others disabling Keely for weeks at a time. Using sound vibrations to dissociate water, he was able to evolve almost instantly a pressure varying from 10,000 to 20,000 PSI. This force during some demonstrations was discharged into the air without the evolution of heat in its production or cold when released into the air. This showed to the skeptical scientists who observed the demonstrations that the force was not simply compressed air as many tried to claim.

The period from 1872 to 1882 absorbed all Keely's thoughts and energies in developing an engine utilizing etheric force. Two years were lost in efforts to devise automatic arrangements that would enable Keely's machinery to be handled by any operator. During this period Keely was at a loss to explain why he was having so much difficulty in his development of a universally useable motor system.

At this critical juncture, Mrs. J. F. Hughes (grandniece of Charles Darwin) heard of Keely's researches and sent him her book "The Evolutions of Tones and ¼olours". The f llowing statement from that book helped to re-direct Keely's efforts: "The Law which develops and controls harmony, develops and controls the Universe." About the same time Mrs. Moore gave Keely Professor John MacVicar's "Sketch of a Philosophy or Ether the True Protoplasm".

These two definitive books set Keely on a firm philosophical basis and raised the veil that enabled him to manipulate gravity, inertia, cohesion, momentum, electricity, and magnetism, plus many other forces Keely discovered. * (author's note : Einstein's famous equation E=MC squared gives the conversion formula to show the amount of energy in a given mass.)


There are several reasons why Keely's magnificent discoveries are unknown today. Greed and selfishness of the stock manipulators in the Keely Motor Company caused suspicion to be cast on Keely which reduced his effective audience. Greedy investors tried to commercialize Keely's discoveries too soon and hindered his every step of progress.

Pride and jealousy from noted men of science, such as Sir William Thompson and Lord Raleigh, who refused to witness the production of Gther@c force, kept Keely from getting competent supporters. Men of "science" seem to be slowest in recognizing truths after they have been discovered, especially if the discovered does not have recognized professional credentials.

Keely had no such credentials since he did not even finish high school. Two thousand years elapsed between Pythagoras' (497 B.C.) discoveries and their revival by Copernicus (1500 A.D.). Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) the famous Danish astronomer, opposed the Pythagorean system to his deathbed. Galileo (1564-1642) adopted it and demonstrated it in all its purity. His reward was torture by the officials of the Inquisition.

It seems that those who espouse truth do so in the face of possible death at the hands of those who will not see. Keely was continually plagued by those who knew nothing of his science. So-called reputable men of the scientific establishment ridiculed and downgraded his efforts calling him a fraud and a liar when they had not even extended him the courtesy of attending a demonstration.

Keely's worst enemy, however, was himself. He was a poor businessman. He allowed the stock manipulators to exploit his discoveries and leave him penniless. His refusal to allow anyone to touch his equipment caused any to accuse him of fraud. At first when he did try to teach others to use his equipment and produce results he was unsuccessful; but in 1884 he had established a thorough basis for his discoveries and was able to build a Liberator which his lawyer, Mr. Collier, and his lawyer's brother George, could operate to produce etheric vapor. Until then it was required that Keely at least place his hands upon an operator to make the equipment operate. (4)


There were those who did see the truth of Keely's discoveries and were honest enough to admit it to the world. Major Ricarde-Seaver, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, went to visit Keely in Philadelphia to convince himself as to the real nature of Keely's accomplishments. After thoroughly examining his system Ricarde-Seaver returned to England saying that "Keely was working with, and had apparent command over forces, the nature, or even the very existence of which, was absolutely unknown to him, and so far as he is aware to modern science." (4)

Supporters of distinction included Professor Jeseph M. Leidy, M.D., of Pennsylvania University, awarded Lyell Medal in 1884 when in London and the Cuvier Award in 1888 from the French Academy of Science when in France. Also James M. Wilcox, M.D., author of "Rational Cosmology". They witnessed Keely's demonstrations of sending etheric force through wires of gold, silver, and platinum, and running various laboratory apparatus. After the demonstration the wire was cut up and given to them for inspection. The wire was solid; therefore, compressed air was not responsible. (4)

Among those who witnessed Keely's production of energy in 1872 were men who knew the worth of Keely's research and who furnished him with money and encouraged him to persevere. The book Mrs. Moore gave Keely led him to the conviction that he was in another road infinitely more important than invention; namely, the source of life and the connecting link between intelligence, will, and matter. when he changed his goals from invention to pure research his progress was almost uninterrupted.

Keely's original mistake was pursuing invention instead of basic research. For 15 years Keely tried to build an engine using etheric force as a motive power until he discovered that it is impossible to use the ether in any other way than as a medium for other forces. These forces have to do with the polar stream of the earth and are tuned to by Keely's system of "sympathetic vibration" (i.e. by resonance of certain harmonic chords). In following a course of research in resonance phenomenon, Keely achieved a very advanced understanding of the universe.


By 1885 Keely had almost complete command of all the known forces of the phenomenonal universe. With his machinery he could generate magnetism in any substance, levitate any substance by controlling gravity, etherealize (reduce to energy) any substance and accurately explain all the atomic forces known to our modern science but unknown in his time.

Keely was finishing his theory on color and sound and could see the time when he would be able to publish his system and have the proper apparatus for demonstration and analysis of "all the progressive links of transmissive sympathy from the crude molecular to the high etheric." Even the journals had ceased to ridicule and some were stating to publish on the "possibilities lying hidden in the discovery of an unknown force".

After a lifetime of researching the laws governing the vibrations which produce etheric force, Keely believed that the power he tapped was the governing medium of the universe. This force controls the advance and recession of the sum and planets in their movements across the heavens. It reigns in the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms and is the common fore regulating all.

Keely proved in demonstration that matter can be subdivided by different orders of vibration. Each subdivision evolves entirely new and distinct "elements". He was able to analyze seven distinct levels of subdivision. Perhaps this is an affirmation of the occultists who have proclaimed that there are seven levels of universal energy. Present atom smashers with their billion volt power levels have nothing new on Keely's harmonious control and subdivision of matter.

He showed that all sympathetic streams of energy are composed of triple currents of vibratory flows. This applies to magnetic, electric, gravital, and cerebelic (brain and mind) flows. These laws govern all molecular masses from the innermost subdivision of the atom to the galaxies and universe itself. These flows radiate from suns and stars to planets on down the scale to the very core of the atoms. Since these flows are vibrational in nature and tuned to their respective spheres Keely believed this was the basis for the term "music of the spheres".

Gravity is actually a triple connective radiation rather than a flow. It is an eternally existing force entering all forms of matter. Keely believed that gravity is the basic source form which all matter emerges. Keely called the stream of energy coming into the earth at the poles form the sun the polar stream. The three currents of force in this poles stream are magnetism, electricity, and gravity. (4)

From all of Keely's experiments and research he determined and wrote out a system of the vibratory conditions governing the aggregation of energy into molecular structures and their resonance relations to each other. (4)

The bulk of his scientific treatises have been lost to the world. Except for Mrs. Moore's biography on him the world considers his system lost; however, Keely communicated the basic laws of his system to his close friend, William J. Colville, a publisher and student of metaphysics and a well-known author of metaphysical literature. Colville embodied Keely's system into a little-known metaphysical novel entitled Dashed Against the Rock.

It is a romance of a young "establishment" scientist who is led by steps and stages to an acceptance of the laws governing mental science. He is given instruction by a character who represents Keely, Mr. Aldebran, a mystic and scientist who has delved deep into and understanding of nature. The book contains over 40 new laws of physics, Keely's molecule in diagram form as he saw it with his vibratory microscope, plus many other insights into the activities of life. The 40 laws supposedly represent Keely's system laid out in a succinct codified exposition. Many of the laws mentioned were not known at the time of the book's publication; however, they have since been discovered by our modern science.

Dashed Against the Rock was and still is a tribute to a great man who may have achieved a greater understanding of nature and her laws than any man. It is now up to us to re-discover Keely's system of vibratory physics to bring peace and free energy to a world in great need.


1. "Investigations at the Keely Laboratory." Scientific American, February 4, 1899, pg. 72-73.

2. "The Keely Motor Fraud." Scientific American, January 28, 1899, pg. 56-60.

3. "Death of John Keely." Scientific American, December 1898, pg.354.

4. Moore, Clara Bloomfield. Keely and His Discoveries, London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Inc., 1893.

5. Moore, Clara Bloomfield. "Mr. Keely's Etheric Force." Lippincott's, 1887, pg. 249-254.

6. Keely, John Worrel. "Latent Force." Lippincott's, 1891, pg. 639- 644.

7. Moore, Clara Bloomfield. "The Keely Motor Secret." Lippincott's, 1887, pg. 300-309.

8. Encyclopedia Americana, 1973, pg. 333.

9. Moore, Clara Bloomfield. "Who Is The Greatest Genius of Our Age?" Review of Reviews, July 1890, pg. 45.

10. "The Story of the Keely Myth." Review of Reviews, April 1899, pg. 475.

11. Moore, Clara Bloomfield. "Aerial Navigation". The Arena, August 1894, pg. 386-395.

12. Moore, Clara Bloomfield. "Keely's Present Position." Lippincott's, 1891, pg. 797-803.

13. Besant and Leadbeater, "Occult Chemistry". London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1919.

14. "The Propeller Described," New Science Review, Vol. 1, 1895, pg. 46.

15. Day, Langston, "New Worlds Beyond the Atom", London: Vincent Stuart Pub., 1956.

16. Colville, William J., "Dashed Against the Rock", Boston: Colby and Rich, Publishers, 1894.

17. Moritzen, Julius, "The Extraordinary Story of John Worrel Keely", Cosmopolitan, April 1898, pg. 633-640.

Aerial Propeller & Airship file with picture