John Murray Spear's God Machine found?

MrRING

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JamesWhitehead

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I was getting bored by vampire-hunting kits. I just wish I was the right age to summon up an iota of belief in the authenticity of this gem! :evillaugh:

The bulb-like gizmos are Crookes' Radiometers, which were invented in 1873, a year after Spear is said to have retired from his ministry and two decades after the God Machine debacle. The cups at the front are the tops of silver candlesticks - they helpfully unscrew with threads under the cups. Dates for the telegraph parts, gramophone spares, weighing-scales and timepieces could all be determined quite easily, I think. :thought:

Spear's contraption probably was constructed from ready-made bits and pieces but this is a very eclectic assembly! Great fun, though! A cow-bell takes pride of place in the central cylinder, raising questions of what kind of God was expected to respond!
 
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RaM

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Happen a attempt to contact the spirits by asking them to move some part or make a noise?
it appears to have dishes were you maybe add weights to set the bells on a air trigger, two trumpets
that could maybe amplify noise and what appear to be two Crookes radiometer's . Maybe less of
a God machine and more of a attempt to part believers in spiritualism out of their hard earned.
 

JamesWhitehead

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attempt to part believers in spiritualism out of their hard earned.
It certainly does not follow contemporary accounts of the machine, which was conceived as a kind of generator of endless power, to free mankind from the drudgery of labour.

"The Practical Spiritualist newspaper, The New Era, detailed the construction of the “electrical infant” that May, claiming the device “corresponded” to the human body [PDF]. The machine consisted of a black walnut table with insulated legs, topped by a series of copper, zinc, iron, and magnetic plates. From there, two magnetized struts rose from either side, suspending magnetized balls on copper chains between them. Later descriptions included details such as hair-like antennae to conduct “etheric power” and metal plate “lungs” that would rust as a symbolic form of respiration."

This mentalfloss article is worth a look! :)

I would guess that the newly-discovered device is quite recent.
 

EnolaGaia

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The Schneck article in FT describes the prototype New Motive Power device as follows:

No images of the New Motive Power exist, but apparently it was impressive, sitting on a big dining room table. “From the center of the table rose two metallic uprights connected at the top by a revolving steel shaft. The shaft supported a transverse steel arm from whose extremities were suspended two large steel spheres enclosing magnets. Beneath the spheres there appeared [..] a very curiously constructed fixture, a sort of oval platform, formed of a peculiar combination of magnets and metals. Directly above this were suspended a number of zinc and copper plates, alternately arranged, and said to correspond with the brain as an electric reservoir. These were supplied with lofty metallic conductors, or attractors, reaching upward to an elevated stratum of atmosphere said to draw power directly from the atmosphere. In combination with these principal parts were adjusted various metallic bars, plates, wires, magnets, insulating substances, peculiar chemical compounds, etc… At certain points around the circumference of these structures, and connected with the center, small steel balls enclosing magnets were suspended. A metallic connection with the earth, both positive and negative, corresponding with the two lower limbs, right and left, of the body, was also provided.”

In addition to the “lower limbs”, the motor was equipped with an arrangement for “inhalation and respiration.” A large flywheel gave the motor a professional appearance. ...
Schneck credits this description to:

The Heyday of Spiritualism
Slater Brown
Hawthorn Books, 1970.
 

EnolaGaia

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Today is the 166th anniversary of the day John Murray Spear and his "Mary of the New Dispensation" conducted a ritualized procedure to "birth" his mechanical device touted as (e.g.) "New Motive Power", the "New Messiah", and "Heaven's Last Gift to Man."

That was July 29, 1854 - circa 19 years before the Crookes radiometer was invented. (And, as JamesWhitehead pointed out, 18 years prior to Spear's retirement (flounce?) from the spiritualist movement.

The original New Motive Power incorporated a dining table, so it was considerably larger than the assemblage pictured above.

I strongly agree with RaM that the Colorado device appears to be equipped for signaling rather than the sort of divine communication Spear allegedly envisioned. It strikes me as a device intended to allow spirits to signal their presence during a seance session.

The brass(?) nameplate seems to be a pretty obvious modern addition.
 

EnolaGaia

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It certainly does not follow contemporary accounts of the machine, which was conceived as a kind of generator of endless power, to free mankind from the drudgery of labour. ...
Indeed ... The mystery of Spear's vision for the device's utility or function is even bigger than the mystery of its appearance.

Some accounts describe it as a source of free and / or perpetual power (as JW noted) - a sot of generator to which other machines could be connected by physical links or powertrains (hence the name "New Motive Power"). Other accounts seem to treat it as a sort of avatar or robotic puppet controlled by God or spirits - even to the extent of indicating it was partially or wholly anthropomorphic in appearance. Yet others seem to treat it as a communication link to the other side.
 

EnolaGaia

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I'd recommend that anyone wishing to dig deeper check the PDF links in the Mentalfloss article. This one:

Spiritual Telegraph
June 10, 1854
http://iapsop.com/archive/materials/spiritual_telegraph/spiritual_telegraph_v3_n6_jun_10_1854.pdf

... includes an extended essay by one A. J. (Andrew Jackson) Davis on his visit to view the New Motive Power prototype only a month or so prior to its "birthing."

In what may be construed as (a) unshakeable true belief in spirits and / or (b) cunningly disguised criticism Davis first claims Spear was personally incapable of envisioning the machine on his own, then turns around and declares this must be proof that he was being guided by spirits.

Here are the most relevant passages from Davis' article ...

AJDavis-June1854-A-Small.jpg


AJDavis-June1854-B-Small.jpg

By the time one wades through Mr. Davis' florid prose to its end, it remains unclear whether he regards the "intellectually disqualified" and "phrenologically incapable" Mr. Spear with approval or incredulity.
 
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Kondoru

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Its certainly enticing.

Dont know if it would work.

Or what it might do if it did work?
 

EnolaGaia

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A quite detailed contemporary description of the prototype New Motive Power device is found in one of the PDF files linked from the Mentalfloss article:

New Era
Vol. II, No. 27 (May 3, 1854)
History of the New Motive Power: Number One
p. 106
http://iapsop.com/archive/materials/new_era/new_era_v2_n27_may_3_1854.pdf

This article begins by addressing the overall form of the machine. It notes that reference to correspondence between the machine's components and elements of the human body gave folks the impression the machine was itself anthropomorphic, then explains that this is not the case.

NewEra-II-27-May1854.jpg
 

EnolaGaia

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Continuing with the article in the May 3, 1854, edition of New Era ...

This overview of the device's core structure should be sufficient to demonstrate the artifact pictured above (in the first post) does not conform to the prototype device's description.

NewEra-II-27-May1854-B.jpg

The remainder of the extensive description similarly diverges from the device illustrated in the photo above.
 
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