Levitation theory


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Levitation theory

How can levitation be possible? What power or agent accomplishes it? The most obvious explanation-the possession of a word of mystical power-is little more than legendary. This appears in an ancient Jewish anti-gospel Toledoth Jeshu: Life of Jesus, composed about the sixth century B.C.E. which G. R. S. Mead quoted in his book Did Jesus Live 100 Years B.C.?:

 ‘‘And there was in the sanctuary a foundation stone-and this is its interpretation: God founded it and this is the stone on which Jacob poured oil-and on it were written the letters of the Shem [Shem Hamephoresch, the ineffable name, of which only the consonants Y.H.V.H. are given to indicate the pronunciation as known to the initiated] and whosoever learned it, could do whatsoever he would. But as the wise feared that the disciples of Israel might learn them and therewith destroy the world, they took measures that no one should do so."

‘‘Brazen dogs were bound to two iron pillars at the entrance of the place of burnt offerings, and whosoever entered in and learned these letters-as soon as he went forth again, the dogs bayed at him; if he then looked at them the letters vanished from his memory." 

‘‘This Jeschu came, learned them, wrote them on parchment, cut into his hip and laid the parchment with the letters therein-so that the cutting of his flesh did not hurt him-then he restored the skin to its place. When he went forth the brazen dogs bayed at him, and the letters vanished from his memory. He went home, cut open his flesh with his knife, took out the writing, learned the letters.’’ 

Queen Helene, being greatly troubled by the miracles of Jesus, sent for the wise men of Israel. They decided to use against Jesus his own medicine and taught Juda Ischariota the secret of learning the letters of the Shem. In the presence of Queen Helene and the wise men, Jesus (says the chronicle) ‘‘raised his hands like unto the wings of an eagle and flew, and the people were amazed because of him: How is he able to fly twixt heaven and earth?’’ 

 ‘‘Then spake the wise men of Israel to Juda Ischariota: ‘Do thou also utter the letters and ascend after him. Forthwith he did so, flew in the air, and the people marvelled: How can they fly like eagles?’ Ischariota acted cleverly, flew in the air, but neither could overpower the other, so as to make him fall by means of the Shem, because the Shem was equally with both of them.’’

The belief expressed in Robert Kirk’s Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies (written 1691, published 1815 etc.), that levitation is accomplished by fairies, explains as little as crediting spirits with the feat or ascribing it to Taoist charms which, when swallowed, have the effect of carrying people to any place they think of. Nevertheless, the legend of the world of power persists alongside with the fairy agency. Writing of the teleportation of Lord Duffus, John Aubrey stated in his Miscellanies (1696 etc.) that the fairies cry ‘‘Horse and Hattock,’’ and whenever a man is moved to repeat the cry he will be caught up. 

At the dawn of the scientific age, early observers of psychic phenomena speculated on ‘‘electric,’’ ‘‘magnetic,’’ ‘‘mesmeric,’’ and ‘‘odic’’ forces. They are all now antiquated notions.

From a theological viewpoint, J. J. von Görres explained nothing when he stated that the source of levitation is in the human organism and is produced by a pathological process or a mystic disposition of the soul. He described the pathological process of somnambules as a ‘‘kind of interior tempest aroused by the mechanical forces of the organism being suddenly upset.’’ He described the mystical disposition as a condition for the reception of the Holy Ghost, with levitation due to this special gift setting the natural mechanism of the body in motion. Von Görres’ idea may be a halfway house between naturalistic and supernatural theories, but it is more satisfactory than the Catholic view, which ascribed the levitation of the saints to a divine marvel and that of ‘‘demoniacs’’ and mediums to diabolic trickery. While the first claim is unacceptable to science, the second is too much in agreement with the extreme Spiritualistic idea that spirits have the power to act on matter directly. 

Anti-Gravity Phenomena

Scientific interest in anti-gravity effect - phenomena goes back many years. Documentation about variations of the gravitational field of the Earth were noted as early as 1672 by Jean Richer, and the first practical gravity meter was invented in 1833 by Sir John Herschel.

 The repulsion effect of aluminum to electromagnetism is well known, and in 1914 the French inventor M. Bachelet demonstrated a working model of his Levitated Railway system. A Bachelet Levitated Railway Syndicate was formed to promote a full-scale layout, but the development was abandoned at the outbreak of World War I.

Scientists in various countries have conducted secret researches in ‘‘electro-gravities,’’ the science of anti-gravity effects, and some devices have been constructed in which levitation of disk-like forms has been achieved in laboratory tests. Little has so far been published on such work, and conjecture exists that some UFO reports may concern such levitated devices. The Gravity Research Foundation of New Boston, New Hampshire, which was founded by Roger W. Babson, investigated various aspects of scientific inquiry into gravity and its anomalies. Recently the principle of magnetic levitation has been revived in novelty advertising displays. In Germany and Japan, researchers have investigated the feasibility of creating high-speed magnetic levitation railroads, while in Britain, a section of magnetic levitation railroad is operating at Birmingham International Airport. 

The Cantilever Levitation theory

Some investigators have attempted to explain human levitation on the same basis as movement of objects by psychic force(telekinesis or psychokinesis). Between 1917 and 1920, Dr. W. J. Crawford of Belfast, Ireland, investigated the phenomena of the Goligher Circle. He studied alteration in weight of the medium Kathleen Goligher during levitation of a table, and claimed that the levitation was effected by ‘‘psychic rods’’ of ectoplasm emanating from the medium, which found leverage in the medium’s body, acting as cantilevers. He obtained flashlight photographs of these psychic structures. 

The parapsychologist René Sudre believed that Crawford’s cantilever theory accounted for the movement of distant objects by the extrusion of elastic and resisting pseudopods from the body of the medium and thus sufficiently explained levitation:

‘‘From a theoretical point of view, the levitation of a person is as easy to understand as that of an object. The teleplastic levers have naturally their fulcrum on the floor. Their shape is not definite; it may be that of a simple stay, of a cloudy cushion, or even a complete human materialization. The force of gravity is not eluded, but simply opposed by a contrary upward power. The spent amount of energy is not above that required for the production of the phenomenon of telekinesis.’’

According to Crawford, however, the sphere of action of pseudopods was limited to about 7 feet, the extreme mobility of the levitated body had to be accounted for, and the cantilever structure was very sensitive to light. Therefore such ectoplasm hardly lent itself as a mechanism for daylight levitation as in the case of Home or saints and stigmatics. (Later Crawford’s observations were called into question due to fraud in the Goligher Circle.)

The Effect of Willpower

The possibility of the effect of willpower on levitation was suggested by Capt. J. Alleyne Bartlett in a lecture before the London Spiritualist Alliance on May 3, 1931. He often had the feeling that he could lighten his weight at will. He stepped on a scale and willed that his weight should be reduced, and the scale indicated, in fact, a loss of several pounds. To make such observations unobjectionable, the possible pressure of cantilever structures on the floor around the weighing machine ought to be made a matter of control.

 The loss of weight in the levitated body may be an appearance due to the effect of a force which lifts or, if internally applied, makes the body buoyant. The best evidence as to the alleged extraordinary lightness of the bodies of saints and ecstatics is furnished in a case quoted by Col. Rochas of an ecstatic who lived in a convent near Grenoble. Three eyewitnesses, a parish priest, a university professor, and a student of the polytechnic school, stated that ‘‘her body would sometimes become stiff and so light that it was possible to lift her up like a feather by holding her by the elbow.’’ According to some hypnotists, the phenomenon could be accomplished by simple hypnotic suggestion. During the early 1980s the question of possible paranormal changes of weight was the subject of experiments by parapsychologists John B. Hasted, David Robertson, and Ernesto Spinelli.

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