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Topic: Keely Chronology Stack
Section: Leidy and Wilcox Visit Keely's Lab
Table of Contents to this Topic
Leidy and Wilcox Visit Keely's Lab
On the 28th of May, 1889, Mr. Keely's workshop was visited by several men interested to see and judge for themselves of the nature of his researches. Among them were Professor Leidy, of the University of Pennsylvania, and James M. Willcox, author of "Elemental Philosophy." After seeing the experiments in acoustics, and the production, storage, and discharge of the ether. Mr. Willcox remarked that no one who had witnessed all that they had seen in the line of associative vibration, under the same advantages, could assert any fraud on the part of Keely without convicting himself of the rankest folly. These gentlemen met Mr. Keely with their minds open to conviction, though with strong prejudices against the discovery of any unknown force. They treated him as if he were all that he is, keeping out of sight whatever doubts they may have had of the genuineness of his claims as a discoverer; and, in the end, all who were present expressed their appreciation of his courtesy in answering the questions asked, and their admiration of what he has accomplished on his unknown path. In doing this, they were simply doing justice to him and to themselves,-to that self-respect which leads men to respect the rights of others, and to do unto others as they would be done by. Had they questioned Keely's integrity, or betrayed doubts of his honesty of purpose, he would at once have assumed the defensive, and would have informed them that he has no wish to conduct experiments for scientists who are ready to give their opinions of his theories before having heard them propounded, or of his experiments before witnessing them. When Keely's system of "sympathetic vibration" is made known ("sympathetic seeking" Mr. Willcox would call it), it will be seen how sensitive Mr. Keely's instruments are to the vibrations caused by street-noises, to vibration of air from talking in the operating room, to touch even, as well as why it is that, although he is willing to take apart and explain the construction of his instruments in the presence of investigators, he objects to having them handled by others than himself, after they have been. "harmonized," or "sensitized," or "graduated."
Mr. Keely is his own worst enemy. When suspected of fraud he acts as if he were a fraud; and in breaking up his vibratory microscope and other instruments which he had been years in perfecting, at the time he was committed to prison in 1888, he laid himself open to the suspicion that his instruments are but devices with which he cunningly deceives his patrons. Yet these same instruments he has, since their reconstruction, dissected and explained to those who approached him in the proper spirit. It is only when he has been subjected to insulting suspicious by arrogant scientists that he refuses to explain his theories, and to demonstrate their truth, as far as it is in his power to do so. "Keely may be on the right track, after all," remarked an English scientist, after Prof. Hertz had made known his researches on the structure of ether; "for if we have imprisoned the ether without knowing it, why may not Keely know what he has got a hold of?"