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Etidorhpa, by John Uri Lloyd, [1897], at

p. 169



"I partly comprehend that such would be the case," I said.

"If a series of knife blades on pivot ends be set in a frame, and turned edgewise to a rapid current of water, the swiftly moving stream flows through this sieve of metallic edges about as easily as if there were no obstructions. Slowly turn the blades so as to present their oblique sides to the current, and an immediate pressure is apparent upon the frame that holds them; turn the blades so as to shut up the space, and they will be torn from their sockets, or the entire frame will be shattered into pieces."

"I understand; go on."

"The ethereal current that generates the magnetic force passes through material bodies with inconceivable rapidity, and the molecules of a few substances only, present to it the least obstruction. Material molecules are edgewise in it, and meet no retardation in the subtle flood. This force is a disturbance of space energy that is rushing into the earth in one form, and out of it in another. But your mind is not yet in a condition to grasp the subject, for at best there is no method of explaining to men that which their experimental education has failed to prepare them to receive, and for which first absolutely new ideas, and next words with new meaning, must be formed. Now we, (by we I mean those with whom I am connected) have learned to disturb the molecules in matter so as to turn them partly, or entirely, across the path of this magnetic current, and thus interrupt the motion of this ever-present energy. We can retard its velocity without, however, producing either magnetism (as is the case in a bar of steel), electricity, or heat, but motion instead, and thus a portion of this retarded energy springs into its new existence as motion of my boat. It is force changed

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into movement of matter, for the molecules of the boat, as a mass, must move onward as the force disappears as a current. Perhaps you can accept now that instead of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and gravitation being really modifications of force they are disturbances."

"Disturbances of what?"

"Disturbances of motion."

"Motion of what?"

"Motion of itself, pure and simple."

"I can not comprehend, I can not conceive of motion pure and simple."

"I will explain at a future time so that you can comprehend more clearly. Other lessons must come first, but never will you see the end. Truth is infinite."

Continuing, he said:

"Let me ask if there is anything marvelous in this statement. On the earth's surface men arrest the fitful wind; and by so doing divert the energy of its motion into movement of machinery; they induce it to turn mills and propel vessels. This motion of air is a disturbance, mass motion transmitted to the air by heat, heat in turn being a disturbance or interruption of pure motion. When men learn to interrupt this unperceived stream of energy so as to change directly into material motion the spirit that saturates tire universe, and that produces force expressions, as it is constantly rushing from earth into space, and from space back again, they will have at command wherever they may be an endless source of power, light, and heat; mass motion, light and heat being convertible. Motion lies behind heat, light, and electricity, and produces them, and so long as the earth revolves on its axis, and circles in its orbit, man needs no light and heat from such indirect sources as combustion. Men will, however, yet obtain motion of molecules (heat), and material mass motion as well, from earth motion, without the other dangerous intermediate force expressions now deemed necessary in their production."

"Do you wish me to understand that on all parts of the earth's surface there is a continual expenditure of energy, an ever-ready current, that is really distinct from the light and heat of the sun, and also that the imponderable bodies that we

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call heat, light, electricity, and magnetism are not substances at all?"

"Yes," he replied.

"And that this imperceptible something—fluid I will say, for want of a better term—now invisible and unknown to man, is as a medium in which the earth, submerged, floats as a speck of dust in a flood of space?"

"Certainly," he replied.

"Am I to infer from your remarks that, in the course of time, man will be able to economize this force, and adapt it to his wants?"


"Go on with your exposition, I again beg of you; lead me deeper into this expanding study."

"There is but little more that you can comprehend now, as I have said," he answered. "All materials known to man are of coarse texture, and the minds of men are not yet in a condition to comprehend finer exhibitions of force, or of motion modifications. Pure energy, in all its modifications, is absolutely unknown to man. What men call heat, gravitation, light, electricity, and magnetism are the grosser attributes attending alterations in an unknown, attenuated, highly developed force producer. They are results, not causes. The real force, an unreached energy, is now flooding all space, pervading all materials. Everywhere there exists an infinite sea of motion absolute. Since this primeval entity can not now affect matter, as matter is known to man, man's sense can only be influenced by secondary attributes of this energy. Unconscious of its all-pervading presence, however, man is working towards the power that will some day, upon the development of latent senses, open to him this new world. Then at last he will move without muscular exertion, or the use of heat as an agent of motion, and will, as I am now doing, bridle the motion of space. Wherever he may be situated, there will then be warmth to any degree that he wishes, for he will be able to temper the seasons, and mass motion illimitable, also, for this energy, I reiterate, is omnipresent. However, as you will know more of this before long, we will pass the subject for the present."

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My guide slowly moved the lever. I sat in deep reflection, beginning to comprehend somewhat of his reasoning, and yet my mind was more than clouded. The several ambiguous repetitions he had made since our journey commenced, each time suggesting the same idea, clothing it in different forms of expression, impressed me vaguely with the conception of a certain something for which I was gradually being prepared, and that I might eventually be educated to grasp, but which he believed my mind was not yet ready to receive. I gathered from what he said that he could have given clearer explanations than he was now doing, and that he clothed his language intentionally in mysticism, and that, for some reason, he preferred to leave my mind in a condition of uncertainty. The velocity of the boat increased as he again and again cautiously touched the lever, and at last the responsive craft rose nearly out of the water, and skimmed like a bird over its surface. There was no object in that lake of pure crystal to govern me in calculating as to the rapidity of our motion, and I studied to evolve a method by which I could time our movements. With this object in view I tore a scrap from my clothing and tossed it into the air. It fell at my feet as if in a calm. There was no breeze. I picked the fragment up, in bewilderment, for I had expected it to fall behind us. Then it occurred to me, as by a flash, that notwithstanding our apparently rapid motion, there was an entire absence of atmospheric resistance. What could explain the paradox? I turned to my guide and again tossed the fragment of cloth upward, and again it settled at my feet. He smiled, and answered my silent inquiry.

"There is a protecting sheet before us, radiating, fan-like, from the bow of our boat as if a large pane of glass were resting on edge, thus shedding the force of the wind. This diaphragm catches the attenuated atmosphere and protects us from its friction."

"But I see no such protecting object," I answered.

"No; it is invisible. You can not see the obstructing power, for it is really a gyrating section of force, and is colorless. That spray of metal on the brow of our boat is the developer of this protecting medium. Imagine a transverse section of an eddy of water on edge before us, and you can form a comparison. Throw the bit of garment as far as you can beyond the side of the boat."

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I did so, and saw it flutter slowly away to a considerable distance parallel with our position in the boat as though in a perfect calm, and then it disappeared. It seemed to have been dissolved. I gazed at my guide in amazement.

"Try again," said he.

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I tore another and a larger fragment from my coat sleeve. I fixed my eyes closely upon it, and cast it from me. The bit of garment fluttered listlessly away to the same distance, and then—vacancy. Wonders of wonderland, mysteries of the mysterious! What would be the end of this marvelous journey? Suspicion again possessed me, and distrust arose. Could not my self-existence be blotted out in like manner? I thought again of my New York home, and the recollection of upper earth, and those broken family ties brought to my heart a flood of bitter emotions. I inwardly cursed the writer of that alchemistic letter, and cursed myself for heeding the contents.

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[paragraph continues] The tears gushed from my eyes and trickled through my fingers as I covered my face with my hands and groaned aloud. Then, with a gentle touch, my guide's hand rested on my shoulder.

"Calm yourself," he said; "this phenomenon is a natural sequence to a deeper study of nature than man has reached. It is simply the result of an exhibition of rapid motion. You are upon a great underground lake, that, on a shelf of earth substance one hundred and fifty miles below the earth's surface, covers an area of many thousand square miles, and which has an average depth of five miles. We are now crossing it diagonally at a rapid rate by the aid of the force that man will yet use in a perfectly natural manner on the rough upper ocean and bleak lands of the earth's coarse surface. The fragments of cloth disappeared from sight when thrown beyond the influence of our protecting diaphragm, because when they struck the outer motionless atmosphere they were instantly left behind; the eye could not catch their sudden change in motion. A period of time is necessary to convey from eye to mind the sensation of sight. The bullet shot from a gun is invisible by reason of the fact that the eye can not discern the momentary interruption to the light. A cannon ball will compass the field of vision of the eye, moving across it without making itself known, and yet the fact does not excite surprise. We are traveling so fast that small, stationary objects outside our track are invisible."

Then in a kind, pathetic tone of voice, he said:

"An important lesson you should learn, I have mentioned it before. Whatever seems to be mysterious, or marvelous, is only so because of the lack of knowledge of associated natural phenomena and connected conditions. All that you have experienced, all that you have yet to meet in your future journey, is as I have endeavored to teach you, in exact accordance with the laws that govern the universe, of which the earth constitutes so small a portion that, were the conditions favorable, it could be blotted from its present existence as quickly as that bit of garment disappeared, and with as little disturbance of the mechanism of the moving universe."

I leaned over, resting my face upon my elbow; my thoughts were immethodically wandering in the midst of multiplying perplexities; I closed my eyes as a weary child, and slept.

Next: Chapter XXVII. Sleep, Dreams, Nightmare.—“Strangle the Life From My Body.”