Article by our guest writer M. Christian (from "Meine kleine fabrik").
M. Christian writes about odd, weird, and wonderful things - most of them are, just like life itself, as unexpected as possible

Few things are as strange as the tale of the The New Motor:

A locomotive "god" from the Victorian times, that was supposed to be "The Physical Saviour" of the race.

Illustrated by the wicked cyberpunk creations by artists Vladimir Tsesler & Sergei Voichenko, Belarus and Andrey Severinko, Kiev, Ukraine.

(art by Vladimir Tsesler & Sergei Voichenko, Belorus)

1854, America, the Northeast. The time, particularly, is important. Think about it: 1854.
- Years before even the civil war, a time of technological innovation.
- No electric lights.
- The safety match was even a year away.
- No elevators.
- The hypodermic syringe and spinal anesthesia was either just developed (the former) or just a little ways away (the latter). So don’t even THINK of getting sick.
- Think coal, wool coats, the Crimean War, legal slavery, and Sir Richard Burton in Mecca and Medina.

Also John Murray Spear.

Go ahead, look him up. If you’re lucky, you might find him as a footnote, a side-thought in the spiritualist movement of the time. You know: ghosts, table-turning, trances, automatic writing, levitations ... in other words, spirits. Spear was part of that world, a medium-temperature medium.

Then sometime during that year of 1854 Spear was elevated from mediocrity to the domain of the truly, magnificently ... unusual.

(image credit: Fortean Times)

Contacted by a bunch of spirits, with an “apparent mechanical turn of mind”

See in 1854 Spear was contacted by a bunch of spirits, with an “apparent mechanical turn of mind” (to quote A.J. Davis) that included the ghost of Benjamin Franklin: the Association of Electricizers, who commanded him to go forth unto this world and build The New Motor

(art by Andrey Severinko, Kiev, Ukraine)

“The Physical Savior of the race,” was how Spear described the Motor. As to its mysterious workings he said it was to be powered by “power from the magnetic store of nature, and therefore to be as independent of artificial sources of energy as was the human body.”

What the hell the New Motor looked like anyone’s guess. A clockwork Jesus? A steam-powered messiah? A rubber-band savior? A locomotive God? The fact that we haven’t the foggiest idea of what his “The Physical Savior of the race” looked like doesn’t diminish the fact that Spear and his spiritual mechanical gizmo really existed -- at least according to the eminent Lewis Spence in his An Encyclopedia of Occultism.

Birth Pangs as a "Jump Start" to a cult of followers

Slowly, Spear collected quite a little cult of followers … who did just that: Trail behind him and the New Motor, which they worshipped as a god, on tours throughout the Northeast. Eventually, this little band ended up in the lovely little town of Lynn, Massachusetts. There a certain lady received a vision of the New Motor and, while in its presence, suffered “birth pangs” for over two hours.

After this certain lady went through her “pangs” it was said that “it was averred that pulsations were apparent in the Motor”. After learning of this wonderful bit of unusual (okay, weird) history, the term “jump start” has not meant the same to me ….

(art by Andrey Severinko, Kiev, Ukraine)

Outraged citizenry smashed the Motor to bits

I really wish this story had a better ending: like maybe Spear vanishing one day with the Motor, or that it ascended into some kind engineering nirvana, or was lost only to be discovered to our fascination and delight in some farmhouse in Connecticut. But, sadly, real life is too often stuffed with clichés: I can only hope that the “outraged” citizenry of Randolph, New York, who smashed the Motor to bits, had been carrying torches.

Still, who knows? Maybe someone someday will discovered a twisted bit of spring and cylinder, a crumpled mixture of glass and copper, a wind-up collection of gears and pendulums in a old barn, at the bottom of a filled well, on a dusty shelf somewhere and, to his surprise and shock, he will notice certain ... movements ....

No, that’s not quite right. Not movements, rather: “pulsations” …. And so maybe The New Motor of John Murray Spear will tick and tock, and live again.

(art by Vladimir Tsesler & Sergei Voichenko, Belorus)


Today's technology is advanced enough not to employ a steam power, or any motor at all - you can start believing in God instantly by means of this miraculous breathspray! -

Sources and further reading: The Further Adventures of Ben Franklin's Ghost, The God Machine


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Category: History,Weird, Technology
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Blogger Derek C. F. Pegritz said...

I call dibs on writing a New Weird novel on this guy! Or...something related to him! Tough luck, Jeff Van Der Meer. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The illustrations attributed to "Mikolka-Parovoz" is actually by Vladimir Tsesler & Sergei Voichenko
See here for more info:

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you, credits updated

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! This rare tale reads like a lost Ray Bradbury novel, complete with electric bodies, spooks, robot gods, torchlit mobs, and charismatic vagabonds roaming 'Winesberg, Ohio'.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Steve - couldn't agree more with this, a perfect Ray Bradbury story... or maybe some new writer like China Mieville or Jay Lake could pick this up?

Anonymous Stan Mott said...

Blessed is he who contributes of Freakdom.


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