John Keely was, depending on who you ask, either the most brilliant inventor of the 19th century, or just your average dime-store crackpot. He was known for making machines that appeared to be powered by nothing, but still worked! He has since become the patron saint of the free energy movement.

Near as I can tell, here's the story : in 1874, Keely burst on the scene witha demonstration of his machines to select Philadelphia businessmen. The machines were motors that could generate 25 horsepower and could lift heavy objects. Keely called it the Hydro-pneumatic-pulsating-vacue-engine. The businessmen were wowed - they decided to back him and his creations, and bankrolled him with five million dollars (an incredible sum back then). Keely demanded to work in complete secrecy.

Eight years and no results later, the businessmen did some looking into Keely's machines. They always appeared to work when Keely was around, but not for anyone else. The Keely Motor Company was disbanded, even though published reports were fanatically in Keely's favor (although they never went into detail on how the machines worked). The five million dollars disappeared. Keely left, continuing to build his machines, until his death in 1898.

After his death, Popular Science published a report stating that Keely was a charlatan, and that all sorts of pneumatic tubes and fakery was imbedded cleverly in his machines. Keely was denounced as a fraud and was forgotten about. Most of his documents vanished, and no one has any real clue about what his work was.

The free energy movement's point of view : Keely was a genius. His machines were buried by Big Business who saw him as a definite threat to their profits. His discoveries on what are called 'sympathetic vibrations' are just now being discovered by scientists, validating his work.

The standard scientist's view : Keely appears to be a fraud. Why did he not ever reveal how his machines worked, especially if he was working 'for the good of all mankind'? How did he get bankrolled if Big Business tried to bury him? Why does Keely appear to be your standard con-man, working people over with barrages of big words like 'Hydro-pneumatic-pulsating-vacue-engine'?

For more information, do your standard Google search for John Keely or hit up a center of the free energy movement, the Keelynet at

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