On a warm July evening 1958 a telephone call from a friend and business associate startled me. The gentleman, an orthodox scientist, Dr. X to protect his identity, who had obtained his Doctorate at Columbia University, asked me to see a free-energy device in which he had just invested considerable capital for a three month option to buy a 50% interest.

After signing a secrecy agreement, I met with Lester J. Hendershot and saw the Hendershot Motor. Dr. X chose to rename it the Hendershot Fuelless Generator, which was more descriptive of the device.

Les Hendershot in his sixties was a simple, sincere individual, with a lovely wife and four wonderful children. I had expected to meet a fast talking con man who, I thought, was about to take my friend for his money.

The story of the Hendershot Motor as it was called in the late 20s can be found in Charles Fort's book "Wild Talents" and in the files of the Detroit "Free Press" and the New York "Times". "FATE" Magazine carried an article on it by Associate Gaston Burridge in January 1950. The Fate article renewed interest in the unusual device, much to Hendershot's sorrow, as he was plagued by all sorts of people, from business investors to weirdo religious fanatics who accused Les of causing earthquakes, floods and famine.

The unit that Dr. X had seen operate with a power output of 300 watts was partially disabled when I first saw it, due to Dr X's insistence on seeing the manner in which the coils were assembled. My part in the program was to duplicate the unit and attempt to produce power in the same manner. To save time we were to rebuild the disassembled coil and try to get it working again as well as build a duplicate model. My only interest was academic so there was nothing to lose but my sanity.

Several days later, after much sweat and frustration, the original working model and the duplicate unit were assembled and wired to the schematic drawing I made from the original wiring. Strangely enough, I learned that I was the first to make a true schematic using electronic symbols rather than picture diagrams.

Les Hendershot was a clever man with his hands but was not an electronic technician. His knowledge in the field of electronics was learned by tinkering with radios, and either he did not know how to construct an original diagram or he didn't choose to, due to his desire to maintain secrecy. Dr. X and I attempted to get the original unit working in my lab without success. We returned to Hendershot's [2] home for further consultation and experimentation. Several hours after arriving at Hendershot's home at about 2 a.m. the 75 watt light bulb we had placed as an output load flashed once. This incident encouraged me onward and it was a lucky chance that it did flash as I would have left the project and filed it away as a hoax. It was not until October 26, 1958, four months later, that I saw a real demonstration of electrical phenomena. Many tests were made between July and October of that year and much investigation to determine the principle involved in the circuitry was carried out. To make a long story short and to save retelling of countless details involved in my experience since 1958, I can say that I know of no one person other than Lester Hendershot who has been able to make a Hendershot generator produce power. Many people have seen demonstrations in many places and at many times, including Mexico City. All have failed to duplicate Hendershot's electrical phenomena.

I have my own pet theories on what principle is involved but have been unable to accept the theory of many who feel that Hendershot was an undeveloped psychic who under certain conditions could produce this ability. My conclusion was reached by means of logical analysis.

Many times in the past and certainly in 1958 while Hendershot was away from his home working, his children were able to turn the unit on and operate a floor lamp and television set in the family living room without Hendershot's conscious knowledge that the device was producing power.

Until it can be proved otherwise, I shall continue to investigate and experiment with ideas based upon my own conclusions. Lester Hendershot died in April 1961, and if there was any known secret to his ability he could not tell us directly.

I have never read or heard tell of any gainful results obtained by means of contacting the departed through mediumship. Much philosophy but little useful technical information can be had in this manner, at least in this writer's opinion. For what it is worth to technically inclined Associates, the details of construction will be revealed now to BSRA. I'm sure others can obtain some results such as occasional shocks from charge build-up in the unit and minute indications of power which is all I could produce. It may be that some one can duplicate Hendershot's ability.

* * *

We are certainly glad to have Mr. Skilling's personal story of his experiences with Hendershot and his "fuelless generator". The schematic diagram and technical explanation will be in the next Journal. We'll still string along with H.P. Blavatsky's opinion that the power for Keeley's fuelless motor was his own ectoplasm, and that Hendershot, like Keeley, was a natural magician. But that's an opinion after all, and the facts, I hope, will be brought out by further research. Another Associate, the late J. Gilbert E. Wright detailed his efforts to get technical information through mediums in the BSRA brochure "Two Inventors Return" - Edison and Steinmetz, 31 pages, $1.00, mimeo.

Continue with "A Story of Free Energy" (Part II, Conclusion)

The Hendershot Motor Mystery

Seeking to further investigate the secrets of the Hendershot Fuelless Motor? Our original 55-page research compilation, "The Hendershot Motor Mystery", has all you need to begin your reading, including extensive technical notes by Jerry Gallimore, co-founder of the U.S. Psychotronics Association, who reported generating several watts of power from his design.

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  1. Fort, Charles. Wild Talents. New York: Ace Books, 1932. Print. <http://amzn.to/1nutlR3> [Reprint, 1975: "The Complete Books of Charles Fort", <http://amzn.to/WcoLLW>; Digital: <http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/22472>]
  2. "Noted Flyers Try Out New Motor at Selfridge Field - Fuelless Motor Shown; Gets Current From Air." Detroit Free Press 25 Feb. 1928: n. pag. Print.
  3. "FUELLESS MOTOR IMPRESSES EXPERTS; W. B. Stout Says Invention Works Uncannily--Washington Thinks It Important. BUILT ON A RADIO PRINCIPLE Armature Winding New--Inventor Inspired by Young Son--Lindbergh Flies Here. Calls Demonstration Uncanny. Corporation Being Formed. FUELLESS MOTOR IMPRESSES EXPERTS INVENTION RESULT OF DREAM. Hendershot Made First Fuelless Motor for His Son's Toy Plane. First Model Worked Toy Plane. Still Wants to See 'How They Work.' Works on Principle of Compass." New York Times 26 Feb. 1928: n. pag. Print. <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C01E0D61E39E133A25755C2A9649C946995D6CF> [Follow-up stories: "Fuelless Motor Is A Generator." New York Times 27 Feb. 1928; "Explains Magnet In Fuelless Motor." New York Times 28 Feb. 1928]
  4. "BANDIT'S BULLET, BOY'S SMILE HELP NEW MOTOR DEVELOPMENT; Hendershot, Wounded, Perfects Invention That Startles World." Pittsburgh Press 27 Feb. 1928: 1, 4. Print. <http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=CvoaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=L0oEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4857%2C6707>
  5. Free, E.E. "The Truth about Fuelless Motors: An Illuminating View of the Latest Claims of Power Out of Nothing - The History of Perpetual Motion Hoaxes." Popular Science 1 July 1928: 25-26. Print. <http://books.google.com/books?id=oycDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA25>
  6. Fleming, F.D. [Gaston Burridge] "The Hendershot Motor Mystery." FATE Jan. 1950: 8-12. Print. <http://fatemag.com/store/product/1950-01/>
  7. Wright, J. Gilbert E. Two Inventors Return. Vista, CA: Borderland Sciences, 19??. Print. [Re-ed. bundled with "Project Hermes", available from BSRF in our wondrous xerographic format: <#B0084, "Two Inventors Return & Project Hermes">]