Students of the physical sciences are well acquainted with the illustrious name of Sir Oliver Lodge. This one name not only conjures up images of Victorian England and the ivy-covered walls of British Academia but far, far more. Like Baron von Reichenbach in his time, Sir Oliver Lodge was one of those academicians who dared delve into the paraphysical worlds. He was possessed of sufficient personal force, regional respect, and positional power to make his researches serious enough to be considered by his peers. The companions of Baron von Reichenbach would not be quite so kind with their illustrious colleague in Germany, but Sir Oliver ever held the distinction of respect among his contemporaries. It is in this very text, so long unobtainable, that Sir Oliver Lodge actually begins the jump from the material world into the aetheric and astral worlds. His researches are herein chronicled in a superbly British style. The atmosphere of the volume is artfully Victorian, covering that magnificent time of the 1890′s. It is a fitting tribute to these predecessors that Borderland is making such excellent works available at out own century’s turn.
Sir Oliver Lodge was one of those theoretician-experimenters, sufficiently versed in the most important frontiers of physics in his day. Awash in an ocean of new and stunning possibilities afforded the scientists of his time, he was quick to grasp the singular importance of all varieties of experiments having to do with the Aetheric Continuum. He himself had designed, built, and tested his own “aether machines” in hopes of discovering some knowledge concerning spatial realities and dynamics. Though his initial discoveries actually gave strongly positive results, we shall see that the sufficiently powerful pressures of certain academic groups would force him to so alter his views and experimental procedures, that no detection of aetheric drifts could he reported. One feels, intuitively in all these reports of his (throughout the text) that Dr. Lodge remained truly disappointed and aesthetically unable to accept the explanations of all the many “negative results” found. We also become aware of the numerous researchers (world-wide) who performed different kinds of tests directly upon the aetheric continuum. These tests were made in order to determine very specific aspects and qualities of the aether.
Each such experiment was performed from an inertialistic viewpoint, discounting all subjective sensation or participation in the aetheric sensual presence. The inertialists were predictably destined to remain alienated amid the aetheric worlds, being quite incapable of detecting any but the inertial effects of light beams upon the aethers. This base of flawed axioms was responsible, in total, for the many failed readings and falsely assumed means of performing aether tests. In spite of these varieties of failures, we yet find numerous examples of positive readings amid the garden. We remain awestruck over the many varieties of ether examinations, and are genuinely devoted to such flowing gems of endeavor; they stand forth against the blackness of space as rare flowers.
Though underground researchers are aware of the detection experiments which had given strong positive reactions to a drifting aether, we find Dr. Lodge speaking between the lines to us at every turn. All too capable of handling the rigors of mathematical explanations and the mind-distorting twists of the relativists, Sir Oliver has let us know that the Victorian views of Aether and Space yielded a more potent and fruitful legacy than that which was to follow (relativity theory). The text, originally presented as a series of lectures, should be required reading by everyone in the underground scientific academy. It is, I believe, the most thoroughly comprehensive notation of the state-of-affairs at that pivotal time period in science history. The text deals almost entirely with the opto-mechanical species of inertial aether-reading devices.
His first chapter leads us into the ancient waters of time; the history of “aether” and “aetherion” has timelessly archaic roots. Allowing us to glimpse clearly into the true nature of aether as “dreamy, mythical space” he takes us into the growing inertialistic view which climaxed during his day. The analogies given by his predecessors, through which attempts were made to isolate the geometro-ponderant effects of aethereal substance, is recounted to us. Dr. Lodge retells his own mathematical examinations of the incomprehensibly multiple aspects of the (inertial) aether. Its seeming tensile strength in excess of any known metal, its unbelievable transparency and near-vacuous gossamer-like quality, its ability of supporting magneto-electric and gravitic fields, its ability of conducting varieties of wave phenomena, as well as other inconsistent aspects – all these are thoroughly discussed. We found his analogies between gravitation and steel columns especially fascinating. We know that he was to delve into paraphysical research, even as Sir William Crookes had done; we sense that he is on the verge of uttering the inner conviction that aether is far more than “ultra-substance” – something possibly incapable of being measured by mere physical device.
Chapter 2 and 3 bring us into and through the pertinent theories of his day. The aether as “interstellar medium” is broadly discussed in strictly physical terms. All the astrophysical observations made up to that date are clearly presented in a thorough discussion. This includes certain optical principles, aberrations of light in space, light beams through the interstellar medium, and the critically important concepts of Fizeau and Fresnel: to prove the mutual effects of material, aether, Space-viscosity and inertiality. Nearly every possible aspect of interactions between aether and materials, or aether and light beams, is presented for the reader. This is, perhaps, the best textbook for retracing the very steps which led to the brink of relativity theory, and the subsequent misdirection science had decided to accept wholeheartedly. Theories of light, aberration, effects of media, refraction – indeed, all the phenomena associated with fundamental (inertial) light principles are brought together under one chapter heading. There is possibly no other text which I have found to be so direct and comprehensive in such historical matters.
The fourth chapter portrays all the designs for mechanical aether-detecting machines. The engraving which show us these almost forgotten alternative experiments are truly wonderful. We are given the marvelous sense of his time; days of private invention, free-enterprise cottage industry, and empirical experiment. In these drawings and their intended purpose, described by our eloquent narrator, we are made to understand the very great difficulty of designing mechanical aether-sensitive machines. Sir Oliver, a true professor of the academic world, explains in summary fashion the theoretical reasons for choosing certain designs. The accompanying optical requirements, degrees of accuracy, and expected findings are presented to us. Of course, one feels the weight of concern and embarrassment in this lecturer’s words at every mention of a “negative” result. The very structure of the scientific paradigm was “balanced upon a pinpoint” in Space, and these aether machines were far more than mere measuring devices. As the inertialists conceived the ethers, limiting and defining them in the absence of personal participation, so they proceed in their determinations.
Dr. Lodge has presented the case held by the community of his day concerning the many reasons for seeking certain aether-drifts. He also mentions other aetheric drifts believed to exist; recounting the history preceding the choice of specific materio-aetheric interactions. It is here that we are made to understand exactly why certain aether-machines were designed. The inertial physics, invariable conclusions of the “realism” which took hold of academic circles, led all the eyes of science to these aethero-physic devices (we will describe this aspect in a subsequent article). The quest of the inertialists was destined to failure by spectator-scientists and their flawed logic. What can only be known through participational experience, what can rarely be (inertially) measured, was sought. To find the Very Absolute remains the aim of all science. It is at such edges of perception that the participant realized the true experience of mind-expansion. The reactions of Space during such expansion, and the intelligent astral regions explored and adored by more (archaic) sensitive races, must he rediscovered and developed. When each age seeks to determine the foundations of Absolute experience, it is then that new technology appears. As each questing group extends the borderlands of understanding so we reach new exposed heights. Dr. Lodge has gone into great detail concerning the aether-drift sought, and the various means of measuring those drifts, we see this important text as increasingly vital in tracing out clues to our present academic positions. Realizing errors, omissions, and successes of the quest (for identifying the aetheric continuum), we will personally ask strangely new and potent question.
Each Victorian device is explained with sufficient brevity as to permit a rapid acquisition of “Victorian” understanding. We are shown the simplicity of certain schemes made to measure the various aether-drifts, and the strangeness of the (supposed) “negative effects”. Of course Lodge was perplexed, searching for answers to this powerful paradox. Though he knows more than he says, he shows us the utter frustrations involved with the experiments. Some used specially treated optical paths.
A thorough examination of expected opto-aetheric mutations is given (shifts in light frequency, velocity, persistence of ray-linearity, and mode of propagation). He gives reasons why optical paths were chosen in the very first place. He finally recounts the Michelson interferometer as detector of infinitesimal movements, and its importance as a diagnostic tool in possibly detecting drifts in a static aether.[Curiously enough, none of these inertial aether-explorers questioned their negative results as powerful confirmations of the geocentric theory of reality. It was always assumed that both earth-rotation and earth-revolution would be revealed as fringe-shifts in optical aether detectors. But such motions were never to he found. Each positive effect was always one which revealed a “cosmical” motion: one whose specific angularity of effect seemed to descend from Space. No earth motion has ever been found. Sir Oliver’s findings always involved gliding fringes across the field of view.] Fizeau used running water to slur the aether. Hook, Mascart, and Jamin used stagnant water as a medium for amplifying the aether “slur effect” upon light beams. Fresnel discussed the effects of very thick glass upon aether and light.
Chapter 5 allows us an in-depth look at some very different experiments performed in the aethereal surroundings. These were the attempts of Dr. Lodge to find aetheric drifts through the use of aethereal viscosity (which none of the others had attempted in free air). These experiments of Lodge were novel, and display his attachment to certain paraphysical concepts. The experimental apparatus of Lodge allowed introduction of electrical and magnetic charges. The significance of these latter experiments, especially in their defined effect upon gravitation, would later be revealed in time by such notables as Nipher, T. Brown, Saxl, and others. Sir Oliver chose a design which incorporated a stack of very heavy metallic discs which were to he rotated rapidly. This device was, essentially, a Tesla turbine. Its massive presence was effective in creating shears within the aether.
His hope of stirring and dragging the viscous aether by such an “aetheric engine” was fulfilled: we find Dr. Lodge making the astounding first report of a positive result. In the light of the subsequent experiments by Michelson and Gale (in which Michelson himself attempted to prove his multiple measurements of a positive effect), and the excellently documented experiments of Miller (in another great publication by Borderland), Lodge himself recounts his astonishment at the initial findings. Yet, we see him believe, doubt, and sink – in that very order! He says that he was “unable to believe” these findings – he “distrusted” the spectacle which was repeatedly witnessed in the eyepiece of his apparatus (pages 73-75); a fascinating recovery of historical significance!
The reader of this text will obtain, first hand, the fascinating description of Dr. Lodge’s “spurious positive effects” made with neutral, electrified, and magnetized whirling discs. Informing us more than he realized, Professor Lodge offers a grand bibliography for further branching studies. It is obvious that Lodge continued to maintain the belief in an aetheric continuum in spite of all criticisms (the results of experimental evidences). Not having seized his positive results, and failing to see them as true records of aetheric driftings, he conceived every other possibly alternative to explain his continued belief in aether.
Chapters 6 & 7 are marvelous sources for those interested in the zero-point dynamics. We are presented with a thorough discussion of the density, material viscosity, energetic equivalences and independent nature of the aetheric medium and its quasi-physical aspects. While we have developed concepts of the aether as forms of Space (and personal resonances of awareness within those spaces), we are shown the steps of Victorian inertialists in their quest toward the astral knowledge, Dr. Lodge brings us into the deep waters of subjects such as aetheric strength, aetheric energy and material substance, material presence and aetheric energies. Students of Moray should read these topics in conjunction with the writings of Dr. Gustav Le Bon, (“Evolution of Matter” and “Evolution of Forces”).
The last chapters of the text are appendices. These excellent discussions of certain problems (essentially, the viscosity, strain, tensions, and potential energies of the aethers) round out the reader’s increasing fund of knowledge. The bibliography excellently serves us in branching outward into other periodically of that time period. Along with this text, we strongly suggest that the reader seek after articles which described electro-aetheric devices. [Phillip Lenard performed several such tests using Plucker discharge tubes, proving that Space conducts charge anisotropically. The works of Sagnac, who also found positive aether-drift results (using rotating tables of mirrors) should be sought out. The recent positive results of Maurice Cooke in Canada (1983), using magnetic fields and inert-gas laser-beams, must be studied closely. One also must begin to realize the all-importance of personal experience with aetheric currents and winds. Such findings have been reported by such notables as W. Reich, T. J. Constable, B. Payne, and H. Meinke in psychotronic applications. The works of others, who have employed devices which conduct aether directly, must be read (G. Hodowanec, T. T. Brown). The legendaries who discovered diurnal and seasonal variations in radionic-aetheric procedures must also be intensely studied: Abrams, S. Rodgers, T. G. Hieronymous, De LaWarr, L. Kolisko, R. Hauschka.] Many of these works are available through Borderland Sciences.
This text is a bibliomancer’s dream. Definitely a must for all aetheric researchers and for developers of new technology.
This article was sourced from The Journal of Borderland Research Vol. XLVII, No. 5 September-October 1991
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