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My Foray into Fringe Science

October 22, 2016

I should have realized when I turned onto Coonpath Road that things were about to get interesting. My father had invited me to the Third Annual Stan Meyer’s conference in Bremen, Ohio. Stan Meyer was a native Ohio inventor that claimed that he could power a car on water. And much like many other fringe science claims, even against better scientific evidence, there is still a whole host of people that believe in his dream of water powered cars.

The conference itself was held in a run-down museum building next to some railroad tracks. Upon arriving, I saw a old Volkswagen engine that had been modified to run on windshield wiper fluid. Inside there was a large amount of displays detailing Stan’s life and inventions. Old newspaper articles, copies of his patents, and photos of Stan occupied much of the room. For sale were numerous reprintings of his manuals, patents and books about the the science of turning water into fuel.

All told there was about 30 people that had turned out early on a Saturday morning to discuss the idea of turning one of the most common substances found on planet Earth into energy. It was a ragtag assortment of mechanics, hobbyists and backyard inventors that dominated the large conference room.

First we were shown several videos of Stan Meyer’s dune buggy, boldly emblazoned with “Jesus Christ is Lord” running on what was supposedly pure water. Then we were invited to discuss the videos. It was a somewhat lively conversation of what I can only describe as a hodgepodge of various people each espousing their own particular viewpoints about exactly how Stan had turned the water into hydrogen to power his dune buggy.

I did notice a particular lack of anyone that I would call classically trained in science or technology participating in the conversation. It seemed most of the discussions quickly devolved into ramblings about cold fusion, over-unity and thermodynamic laws without anyone seeming to have an actual clue what they were talking about. One attendee even posited that this mystical technology could even challenge a belief in God. This was met mostly with jeers from the rest of the crowd.

I will also say that belief in this technology transcended geographical barriers as there were people from all over the world that had traveled to the conference. People from as far away as New Zealand, Great Britain and Texas had all come to discuss Stan and his suppressed technology. For if there was one common bond between these participants, it was that the technology existed to turn common water into limitless power AND that this technology was obviously being suppressed by either the “Arabs”, the government or the big automotive conglomerates- or maybe all three colluding together.

After said discussions, it was then time for the main coordinator of the event to speak. I was not expecting that he would use much of his allotted time to talk about his new “light therapy” device that he claimed would just about cure any ailment known to man. He rambled on for probably a good half hour with a mix of second-hand testimonials where his device, available for the obscenely low price of $150, could be used to cure everything from arthritis to putting leukemia into remission for over 3 months. Oh, and it also could increase men’s libido “if you know what I mean” he said with a wink.

To me, he had essentially built a high priced red LED flashlight that he claimed when held against the skin or the area of pain, would almost instantly relive any medical condition. He spouted anecdotes about how it worked using photons and other science-sounding words and concluded that most people that tried it would feel a slight flushing of the face and perhaps a mild fever and that was how you could know it was working. Often after this the user would feel the need to urinate to help flush out the toxins that were causing the illness.

It was about this time that I decided that I couldn’t stand much more and thankfully his snake oil sales pitch ended. After a brief intermission, it was then that we had the unique honor of hearing from the esteemed director of the now surprisingly defunct Water Fuel Museum that was open for almost an entire year in Kentucky before closing its doors. He gave a rambling speech about “disruptive technologies” and was generally respected for his balanced approach of giving the history of cars that run on water.

Overall, the experience was mostly positive and I must admit that while skeptical of the concept in general, the people were nice. In a way, I think I understood the allure of believing in an almost magical cure for the planet’s ever worsening environmental situation and I could see the camaraderie of the participants play out in their social interactions.

I guess that is the way that it is with most foolish beliefs though. Whether it’s religion or water powered cars, the common belief in secret knowledge, of being in the “know”, of shared tales of persecution and trying to spread that belief united the participants in a way that was strangely compelling. And as much as I thought the general concept was bullshit, I couldn’t help feeling myself rooting for the underdog. The gospel of Stan Meyer’s was spreading, albeit, slowly. It also didn’t hurt that there was a whole belief that Stan was poisoned to stop his innovative technology from ever taking hold. If there is one thing that people can’t resist, it’s a good murder mystery.

 

20161022_123655

All it’s missing is the Flux Capacitor and some time circuits.

 

 

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