But the greatest curiosity, upon which the fate of the island depends, is a loadstone of prodigious size, in shape resembling a weaver's shuttle. It is in length six yards, and in the thickest part at least three yards over. This magnet is sustained by a very strong axle of adamant passing through its middle, upon which it plays, and is poised so exactly that the weakest hand can turn it. It is hooped round with an hollow cylinder of adamant, four feet deep, as many thick, and twelve yards in diameter, placed horizontally, and supported by eight adamantine feet, each six yards high. In the middle of the concave side there is a groove twelve inches deep, in which the extremities of the axle are lodged, and turned round as there is occasion.
The stone cannot be moved from its place by any force, because the hoop and its feet are one continued piece with that body of adamant which constitutes the bottom of the island.
By means of this loadstone, the island is made to rise and fall, and
move from one place to another. For, with respect to that part of the earth
over which the monarch presides, the stone is endured at one of its sides
with an attractive power, and at the other with a repulsive. Upon placing
the magnet erect with its attracting end towards the earth, the island
descends; but when the repelling extremity points downward, the island
mounts directly upwards. When the position of the stone is oblique, the
motion of the island is so too. For in this magnet the force always acts
in lines parallel to its direction.
Jonathan Swift in
Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World, 1726
You are seeing the parts of the ship and its mechanism which your mind is capable of grasping. The large drumlike structure just above the central bulkhead is the differential accumulator. It is essentially a storage battery which is capable of being charged from any of a number of natural energy differentials which may be available. By the word 'charged' I merely mean that a potential difference is created between two poles of the accumulator. The material of the poles has available free electrons in quantities beyond anything of which you could conceive. The control mechanism allows these electrons to flow through the two force rings which you see at the top and bottom of the craft. You are familiar enough with electrodynamics to know that a moving electron creates a magnetic field. The tremendous surge of electrons through the force rings produces a very strong magnetic field. Since the direction of and amplitude of flow can be controlled through either ring, and in several paths through a single ring, we can produce a field which is in opposition or in conjunction with any magnetic field
through which we wish to travel. This also gives us control of the attitude of the craft with respect to the given field.
All bodies of matter which are in motion have magnetic fields about
them for the reason just given: that all matter contains electrons and
all electrons in motion produce magnetic fields. The magnetic field of
your Earth is very weak in proportion to its gravitational field and it
may be difficult for you to understand how acceleration against a strong
field can be produced by opposition to a weak one. Just remember what happens
when you bring together the 'like' or opposing poles of two 'permanent'
magnets, how the lines of force are pushed outward almost perpendicular
to their normal position. So the field of the craft fans out until it intersects
sufficient lines of the Earth's field to produce the required propulsion.
Daniel Fry, 1950
Reported in White Sands Incident, 1954,
and several other later books, all by different publishers.
A pillar about two feet thick extended downward from the very top of the dome to the center of the floor. Later I was told that this was the magnetic pole of the ship, by means of which they drew on Nature's forces for propulsion purposes, but they did not explain how this was done.
The top of the pole is normally positive, while the bottom . . . is negative. When necessary, these poles can be reversed merely by pushing a button.
. . . As I alternated between watching the wonders of the sky and the swift Earth flashing beneath us, I noticed four cables which appeared to run through the floor lens (or immediately below it), joining the central pole in the form of a cross.
Three of those cables carry power from the magnetic pole to the three balls under the ship which, as you have seen, are sometimes used as landing-gear. These balls are hollow and, although they can be lowered for emergency landing and retracted in flight, their most important purpose is as condensers for the static electricity sent to them from the magnetic pole. This power is present everywhere in the Universe. One of its natural but concentrated manifestations is seen displayed as lightning.
Inside the Space Ships
I noticed that a good six feet of the central floor was occupied by a clear, round lens through which the magnetic pole was centered. On opposite sides of this huge lens, close to the edge, were two small but comfortable benches curved to follow the circumference. I was invited to sit on one of these and "Firkon" sat beside me to explain what was going on. "Ramu" took a place on the opposite bench, while "Orthon" went to the control panels. These were located against the outer wall between the two benches, directly opposite the now invisible door through which we had entered the Scout.
When we were seated, a small flexible bar fell into place across our middles. This bar was either composed of, or merely
covered with, a kind of soft rubberized material. Its purpose was obvious – a simple safety device to prevent falling forward or losing balance.
Beyond this (corridor in larger disk craft) there seemed to be a central chamber in which I could see a large magnetic pole placed through the center of the ship.
Inside the Space Ships
This (room) was oval in shape, lit in the same manner as the preceding one, and had the same silvery polished metal walls. I believe this room must have been in the center of the machine, for there was a metal bar running from floor to ceiling right in the middle of it, and it was thick at both ends, much narrower in the middle. It was well-rounded and looked solid. I do not believe its only purpose was decorative; perhaps it was holding up the weight of the roof.
Testimony of Antonio Villas-Boas
Given to Dr. Olavo Fontes, M.D.
In the presense of Jaoa Martins, journalist
Consulting room of Dr. Fontes, afternoon of Feb 22, 1958
(Dr. Fontes was Professor of Medicine at the National School of Medicine, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil)
Published by Carol and Jim Lorenzen in
Flying Saucer Occupants
. . . So how far do you go?
Not very far. I start walking across the room. I think I walked out of the door and into another area.
Well, they were close on my heels, but I was trying to move fast.
You were calling the shots, though.
Pretty much. And I was in another area, another control kind of
area where they had the window and the machinery. And there was something in the middle of the room. It was like a big round thing sticking up that was luminous.
It was lit up. And there was a little bar that went around it. A couple of them had left their area in the examining room, and they started cornering
me, like you corner a cat or a rabbit. . . . But I got my back up against it. . . . And I just got my shoulders pinned up
me, like you corner a cat or a rabbit. . . . But I got my back up against it. . . . And I just got my shoulders pinned up against it.
You say it had a rail around it.
Yeah, but that wasn't far away from it, and that pressed into the small of my back, kind of like it was drawing me toward it, pulling me back. Maybe it's magnetic or something, but I guess there wasn't any metal on me. But I pulled away from it, I felt like it shocked me or burnt me or something. I kept inching around the rail, but they kept moving in. . . . I kept inching around the rail because they were coming at me from one side, but then they just surrounded the thing. They came up, and somehow I felt like something just came over me and I was sitting on the ground by it. I wasn't touching it, but my head was where the rail was. And there was one of them doing something to my head again.
David Jacobs through hypnotic regression.
Date of event: 1980
White female attempted to escape confinement in examination room.
Anonymity of subject preserved through alias identity.
Secret Life, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992.
Adamski's first description was from aboard a small circular disk craft; then a large disk. The description produced by David Jacobs' hypnotic recall of a white female was of a large disk craft, again with a central pillar. Such large disks were described by Adamski and Fry. Adamski details the corridor arrangement of the larger disks. This corridor arrangement was also mentioned by Betty Hill.
The "window" referred to by the white female above probably was the clear central lens in the floor and the ceiling of the disk.
The magnetic properties were noted by Swift, Adamski, Fry, and this white female through hypnotic regression. But the idea of "magnetic" may have been a simplified explanation for convenience of the human mind.
Although the "pulling" power of the "pole" was remembered as "magnetic" it may have involved anti-gravity power. This is where
the grave danger lay. It may be that close proximity to the central pillar or pole would produce a disastrous affect on the the white female if she had not been prevented from "falling" into it by the rail. The "power" of the pole created "burns" because of her proximity. Adamski was unaware of this danger, or at least did not report it.
In another case David Jacobs reports a married couple who were in an examining room and also made an effort to escape. Note that the wall "bending back" parallels the corridor in a large disk craft described by Adamski. This corridor then led to the control room with the central pillar. Will and his wife Nancy (again use of alias by Jacobs) ran to that room. This is where the danger existed. Had he decided to turn toward the center of the room, rather than sliding along the wall, he and his wife "would be no more."
I just grabbed Nancy, turned, and went out the door.
Does Nancy say anything to you?
No, she's not saying anything to me. She's not talking to me. But I say, "Come on," and I'm pulling her and she's going with me. . . . I turn to my right, I pull her behind me, and we go out the door opening. . . . There's a wall on the right, and then that wall bends back and we're in the big room now. But I keep bending right, like I'm going along the wall there. And there's another opening, we go in there. That's where it's like another room like the first one but there's no bed in it, no counter.
. . .
I ran into the room.
(Will reports that two of the Taller Beings caught up with them in this room and immediately began to exercise control over them.)
Okay, do they come over to you?
Yeah. They, its like I feel myself getting limp, like I'm losing mobility. . . .I'm losing the ability to move out of there, I have the sense that they're not amused.
Do they communicate with you.
I have the sense that they were telling me that I could have caused serious problems if I had gone the wrong way. I'm thinking, "What do you mean? This is serious enough." But they're saying it was very serious if I had not stopped.
They said, "Highly serious." They said, "You would be no more if you had not stopped." And they are not happy at all. They are definitely not very happy about it.
Before entering a detailed comparison of the reports quoted above,
and examination of their technical significance, it may be helpful once
again to consider the assessment of modern scholarship on Swift's
description. Again we will resort to Nicolson and Mohler as the only two
individuals who have given serious study to Swift's Flying Island and its
means of locomotion.
Tracing back through the scientific literature on magnetism and loadstones
they were impressed with the parallels between the descriptions given by
William Gilbert and by Swift. They also considered the immense interest
in electricity and magnetism which prevailed during Swift's lifetime. The
English were proud of their contributions to this field of knowledge, as
indicated by a remark made by John Wallis in a paper read before the Royal
Society in 1701:
Whoever gave the first Hint of this Invention, certain it is, that the great Improvements of the Magnetick Doctrine are due to the English . . . and Mr. Gilbert's Notion (of the Earths whole Body being but one great Magnet; and lesser Magnets being so many Terrella's sympathizing with the whole) is English also.
In the second series of the abridged edition of the Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal Society an entire section is devoted to Magneticks.
There were numerous papers critiquing Gilbert's work, adding
thereto, and expanding upon, although his work remained basic to all future
In light of this widespread interest in magnetics, Nicolson and Mohler
did not find it surprising that Swift would include Gilbert's dipping needle
in his 'moon' ship. They felt that this prodigious central device for locomotion
was merely a magnification and adaptation of Gilbert's needles. Gilbert's
device was a loadstone; so was Swift's. Gilbert's needles could rotate
vertically about a horizontal axis; so could Swift's. Gilbert's delicate
device could easily be moved from place to place; Swift's loadstone was
poised so delicately the weakest hand could turn it.
Gilbert had described how his instrument for indicating direction of magnetic lines of force could be adapted to a device with enormous lifting powers. (See On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies, and on the Great Magnet the Earth, by William Gilbert, translated by P. Fleury Mottelay, London, 1893, Book V, Chapter I, p. 276.) In that description he gives dimensions of an oblong stone which are the same proportion as those given by Swift, six by three yards. Gilbert visualized increasing magnetic bodies to very large sizes for use of their power: "Magnetic bodies in conjunction form one magnetic body; hence, the mass increasing, the magnetic energy increases also." Swift's loadstone was massive.
Nicolson and Mohler continue to draw out other comparisons between Gilbert and Swift. The limitation on movement of the Flying Island to the confines of Balnibarbi finds parallels in Gilbert's remarks on magnetic properties of the earth. Gilbert stated that:
As the globe of earth is at its surface broken and uneven, marred by matters of diverse nature, and hath elevated and convex parts that rise to the height of some miles ...it comes about that this entire earth-energy turns magnetic bodies at its periphery toward stronger massive magnetic parts that are more powerful and that stand above the general level.
In line with this view Gilbert states that islands are more magnetic
than the seas.
Swift states that the island cannot move beyond the extent of the dominions
below, which are the confines of the island of Balnibarbi. Swift explains
that their astronomers have explained this effect for the reason :
Nicolson and Mohler admit aspects of Swift's description do not tally
with any known source. It was well known that a magnet could not be suspended
in the air because the gravitational pull on the magnetic is far greater
than any repulsive force it may exert on the weak magnetic field of the
earth. Gilbert had made a specific denial of this possibility. Since this
fact would be prominent in the mind of all researchers and the general
public Swift could not have been ignorant of it. Swift also says that "For
in this magnet the forces always act in lines parallel to its direction,"
a statement which does not fit with properties of magnets. Experiments
with iron filings show that the lines of force about a magnet loop from
one pole to the other, and thus would be parallel to the magnet body only
at its midpoint between the two poles. Thus Swift denies the exact parallel
with a magnet. If we were to follow the line that Swift is making a simple
parody on science we could accuse him of simple ignorance. But we know
now that he was well informed and could be precisely scientific when he
Following along with Swift's 'fiction' we find other problems. The loadstone
with its axle rests in a circular hoop of adamant four feet deep. This
circular hoop in turn rests upon eight adamantine feet six yards high.
Therefore the axle rests in a hoop that is twenty-two feet above the floor
of the Astronomer's Cave. How the operators would reach the loadstone is
not described by Swift. It certainly would not be easy. Although one end
of the load stone would extend downward nine feet, half the length of the
stone, the closest approach to the floor of the cave would be thirteen
feet. When resting horizontally in its neutral position both ends of the
stone would be twenty-two feet up.
Refer to the illustration. Note that I gave a copy of Swift's book to an artist and asked him to draw the central chamber as he understood it from Swift's description. The illustration is his interpretation. From the other reports we know the "four adamantine feet" were one solid pillar through the central chamber. Wary of the immense size of this interior chamber, the artist made the human figures larger than man-size. When I queried him about their size he said they were of "heroic" dimensions.
We must consider the contemporary reports Swift may have drawn upon.
They provide insight into the level of technology of his day, and the level
at which explanations were offered by our space visitors. He could not
be given information beyond the range of concepts available to him in the
context of his times. Swift's celestial sources probably drew upon technology
then available to the general public. Naturally we shall find parallels
with the work of Gilbert and others. How can parallels be avoided if Swift
is discussing mechanisms based on magnetics? But Swift himself is not so simple;
he is adroit in his use of earthly sources. He not only uses them to provide an explanation; he also uses them to provide a cover for his secret, a means of allusion which appears satirical while still providing real information.
What better way to suggest borrowing from Gilbert than to use Gilbert's
dimensions for the oblong loadstone?
If Swift was informed about the mode of propulsion, how would it have
been explained to him? The operators could not invoke electronic terms
as we use them today, but they could offer descriptions of the working
of loadstones. The science of magnetics had developed to some extent, was
popular among both scientists and lay people, and was prevalent in literature.
We should expect that Swift, a knowledgeable individual, would have some
idea of the function of magnets, their polarities, their diminishing strength
with distance, and possible interaction with the earth's magnetic field.
These concepts would not have been foreign to him.
Work on electrics was far less advanced, with the notion of electronic
charge still in the future. (Benjamin Franklin was still probing electric charge through the display of lightning nearly a hundred years later.) It would have been difficult for the operators
(astronomers) to explain the propulsion mechanism in terms of magnetic
fields generated from electron flow. It would have been difficult also
to explain how electronic charges could be accumulated in storage devices,
moved from one place to another, and manipulated to control the direction
and strength of a magnetic field.
Consider the description Swift gives:
If the operators wished to impress upon Swift the concept of electronic
storage they might very well have used the analogy of water flow. That
analogy is used prevalently today to explain electron flow to neophytes
in electronic schools. Dew or rain falling upon surfaces would be like
electrons striking collector plates in a vacuum tube, or collector plates
on the surfaces of flying craft. When water droplets come together they
form a trickle of flow in a small rivulet to a basin which serves as a
'water accumulator'. Electrons striking collector plates would flow in
a trickle toward a storage device, 'accumulator', or 'battery'. In fact,
the word trickle is used in the electronics industry today for a 'trickle
charge', and so on.
The remarks by Swift on the dews and the rains suggests the operators
attempted to explain certain features of the propulsion system. Otherwise
he would not have included the remark. They may have presented discussion
which offered an elementary explanation of charge accumulation without
tying it directly to the loadstone.
How very curious that Swift could include a specific item and make it
appear as part of a fiction. But when it is compared against the modern
reports it takes on an altogether different cast. The basins for the dews
and the rains as charge accumulators are an example; the loadstone as a
simulation of a sophisticated magnetic propulsion is another.
The mechanism of propulsion is magnetic, as far as we are able to understand.
A polar device running vertically in the center of the craft appears to
be an integral part of the structure. Swift calls it 'the greatest curiosity.'
The word 'magnet' comes from the ancient Greek 'ho Magnese lithos',
the 'stone of Magnesia.' Magnesia was a town in ancient Anatolia near the
Aegean Sea where iron ores with magnetic properties were commonly found.
Adamski says they draw on Nature's forces for propulsion but they did
not explain how this is done. Fry, on the other hand, says they use any
number of energy sources locally available to develop high density electronic
charge. He called the storage mechanism a differential accumulator, a 'storage
battery.' A control mechanism, not explained to him, permitted flow of
vast quantities of electrons in two rings near the top and bottom of the
pole that runs vertically through the craft. Once again we see Swift using
his satirical ingenuity. Adamski states they can reverse the poles of the
magnetic field merely by pushing a button. Swift says that the loadstone
is so finely balanced that the weakest hand can turn it.
A loadstone of the size he describes would have considerable mass. It
is eighteen feet long, and nine feet across at its widest point. With the
shape of a weaver's shuttle this would constitute a mass of perhaps five
hundred cubic feet. If the loadstone were made of iron its weight would
be in excess of eighty tons. Obviously this considerable mass could not
be turned by the weakest hand, no matter how finely balanced, simply because
of mass inertia. Large flywheels, even if well oiled, are difficult to
start because of the inertia; once started they are difficult to stop.
Therefore, it appears that Swift's is attempting to describe the reversal
of the magnetic field by the 'weakest hand' 'merely by pushing a button.'
Adamski remarks that the 'condensers' accept static electricity sent
to them from the magnetic pole; he does not say the charge goes from the
'condensers' to the pole. Does the magnetic pole pick up charge from the
surrounding environment to send it to the 'differential accumulators?'
If the pole has magnetic polarity it would effect the movement of electrons
in the vicinity of the craft. Relative motion between an electron and a
magnetic field cause the electron to be impelled along a certain path by
well-defined physical laws. If the magnetic field of the craft extends
outward it may cause electrons nearby to be carried around the periphery
of the craft to collector plates, and thence to the charge accumulators.
From there the electrons can be controlled to produce electric currents
and associated magnetic field for control of flight. In this manner the
craft might be self-sufficient, pulling in electronic charge from the atmosphere,
and using the accumulated charge to produce the intense magnetic fields.
However, this is not a perpetual motion device. It acquires energy from
the surrounding atmosphere.
According to Fry the charge accumulator is located internal to the craft.
The electrons picked up from the environment must be brought to this charge
accumulator from the collectors. Adamski's three ball condensers are not
the charge accumulators but the collecting devices. Adamski says there
were three such devices on each disk craft, but the account by Swift suggests
there may be four. Perhaps different designs have either. A photograph
of a disk with four 'cavities' is shown in the accompanying Figure.
As Adamski and Fry both report, the control mechanism for this function
is not explained.
An outstanding feature of many reports, captured on photographs of celestial craft, is a funnel of light which extends below the craft. Witnesses often confuse this light with the craft itself; they see the odd shape as one entity. If intense fields surround the craft the atmosphere in the immediate vicinity might be ionized to produce a glow enveloping the craft. If the vibrating magnetic field is more intense near the poles, toward the center top and bottom, the air immediately above or below
the poles might be ionized farther away from the craft, extending upward and downward to produce the shape of a funnel. Tearing electrons from the atomic orbits of air molecules in the neighborhood of a craft might be one method by which the craft accumulate electronic charge. The ionized molecules then spread out until they return to an equilibrium state in the surrounding atmosphere.
(There is a possibility of lasing action on molecules in the immediate
vicinity of the craft, with electrons being excited out of their normal
orbits, and producing light when they relapse back into those orbits.)
The report by Villas-Boas presents a more graphic picture of the central
column, with a taper from top and bottom toward a more narrow middle. While
he was an uneducated farmer he recognizes that the central column is more
than decorative; he suggests that it may support the roof. Villas-Boas
did not experience flight of which he was aware; neither were any explanations
offered on the operation of the craft or the function of any of its constituent
The tapering suggests that the central column is one piece with the
shell of the craft. In fact, Swift mentions that the hoop and its feet
are one continued piece with the adamantine bottom of the island.
This shape is like a doughnut, with the central column forming the hole
of the doughnut, and the outside perimeter of the craft forming the exterior
of the doughnut. Technically this is called a toroid. This shape is ideal
for forming a magnetic field, and is used widely in our present electronics
technology. Electrons flowng around the windings of a toroid create a magnetic
field with the poles extending upward and downward from the hole of the
According to Fry's account the electrons do not flow around the perimeter
of the craft, but in two force rings located near the top and bottom of
the craft. This permits changing the attitude of the craft, as well as
the magnitude of its field. Fry sketched the small craft in which he was
a passenger. However, the design of a small remote controlled craft may be different from a large disk.
Other explanations exist of Fry's force rings. The remote controlled
craft may have been designed to avoid placing the force rings at the mid-point
of the craft. Or, they may have been used for refinement of control in
attitude and direction.
Again we should regard the difficulty of informing Swift at higher technical
levels of electron flow and electronic production of magnetic fields. He
would be limited to loadstones as a means of explaining the flight mechanism.
Although there was a limit to Swift's understanding there is also a limit
to our understanding.
Swift was provided with other items of information that can now be compared
against the modern reports. Nicolson and Mohler noted the simple 'exaggeration
of Gilbertian theory' when they described the limitations on movement of
the Flying Island:
This remark is reflected in Adamski:
There are sound technical reasons for limitations on movement. If the
craft is propelled by interaction with the Earth's magnetic field the design
may be useful only where there is sufficient magnetic field available.
Outer space may not have fields strong enough to control flight. As they
ascend into the atmosphere the magnetic field of the Earth weakens, thus
limiting the altitude to which they can control flight.
When Swift says they cannot move beyond the extent of the dominions
below he could easily be referring to the extent of the dominions of the
Earth, although his satirical framework suggests the dominions of Balnibarbi.
Still another limitation may be involved. If air molecules are used
to strip electrons and thus acquire energy the density of the air may be
important. Rarified atmospheres may not provide sufficient energy to rise
above certain heights. Swift says this is four miles.
Following is Swift's description of the motion of the island which shows
a zig-zag, tacking, or flutter motion. Refer to the copy of his illustration.
In the usual manner we can interpret this passage as a satire on scientific
jargon. The technicalities of description are typical of those found in
reports on scientific experiments in Swift's day.
On the other hand the passage describes the flutter motion so often
observed in disk craft. When Bernard Miserey saw a disk drop from a cigar-shaped
craft it swayed or wobbled before it took off in rapid flight.
However, Swift probably had a different idea in mind. Swift says that
by alternate risings and fallings the island is conveyed from one part
of the dominions to the other. Swift stresses the obliquity of motion.
This implies that the disk craft cannot move exactly parallel to the surface
of the earth but must have motion not directly parallel to the magnetic
lines of force of the planet. Thus the passage can be understood also as
an attempt by Swift to provide technical details on the conditions of flight
imposed by interaction with the Earth's magnetic field.
Note that the axle of the loadstone can be moved circularly around the
groove of the adamantine hoop. With freedom to move in both the horizontal
and vertical directions the ends of the loadstone can be made to point
in any direction around a full sphere.
It may help to summarize the parallels among the several reports.
1) A central chamber: Swift, Adamski, Villas-Boas.
2) A central pole: Adamski, Fry, Villas-Boas. Swift does not describe a pole extending from floor to ceiling but his structure is central to the Flying Island.
3) Magnetic control of motion: Swift, Adamski, Fry.
4) Polarity reversals or changes: Swift, Adamski, Fry.
5) Limitations on movement: Swift, Adamski.
6) Collector devices: Swift, Adamski, Fry.
7) Electronic currents for generation and control of magnetic field: Adamski, Fry.
8) No sensation of movement: Swift, Adamski, Fry.