Posted on

Spheres of Influence


Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, and despite mainstream efforts to counter them, unexplained anomalies persist, and that could be a problem. That, at least, is the view of Popular Mechanics reporter Caroline Delbert, who in December 2020 took on the long-running mystery of the ‘Betz sphere,’ promising in her blog headline to deliver the “Truth” about the “Conspiracy Theory.” ( “Most of the world’s conspiracy theories are hard to disprove,” she said, “which,” she added, “is part of what makes them so alluring … and so dangerous.” Of course, similar things could be said of conventional wisdom itself, which like Delbert’s reporting, leaves us knowing somewhat less about the actual facts of the story, than we might prefer.

In 1974, in the aftermath of a brushfire near their Ft. George, Florida home, Antoine and Gerri Betz, with their pre-med-student son Terry, found a mysterious bowling-ball-sized metal sphere. Except for a tiny triangular figure stamped upon it, it was unmarked. Terry took it and kept it in his bedroom. Later the sphere began to exhibit behavior that famously would mystify both reporters and ‘experts,’ worldwide. According to Terry, it was, “vibrating on its own, like a tuning fork,” while emitting a weird, throbbing sound in response to certain notes on his electric guitar. The family dog was reportedly disturbed enough to put paws over his ears. Subsequent measurements with a magnetometer, suggested the presence of some kind of forcefield, and when rolled on a level surface, the ball moved unpredictably. There were other odd effects, and U.S. Navy defense experts, as well as independent scientists—including celebrated UFO investigator J. Allen Hynek—were called in to study the mystery. Though no clear findings ever emerged, most such experts remained confident that the sphere was actually of this world—not some other—and were content to leave the matter there. (“The Betz Sphere Mystery,” by Frank Joseph, Atlantis Rising #125, September/October, 2017) But the question remained: what could it be?

UFO conspiracies aside, a fact unmentioned by writer Delbert was that the Betz case was not the first reported example of a resonating metal sphere utilized by a weird, seemingly other-worldly, technology. Though no direct connection can be made with the Betz story, it is worth noting that over a century ago maverick American inventor John Worrell Keely claimed to have developed an  energy-producing science based on “sympathetic vibrations” and using metal spheres like the Betz example. In “Future Science Emerges from the Past,” columnist Jeane Manning, wrote for Atlantis Rising Magazine #69 (May/June, 2008), Keely could, according to legend, set one of his machines in motion by playing the right note on his violin. Before the turn of the twentieth century, his ‘new’ energy, which he promised would eventually power everything from ships to spacecraft, drew considerable attention. Even now—though declared “fraudulent” by Wikipedia and other establishment venues—Keely’s ‘sympathetic’ energy still boasts passionate believers.

While, strangely, all of Keely’s writings, except for a few fragments, have disappeared, intriguing photographs of some of his devices have survived. A few years ago the late researcher, Dale Pond attempted to recreate some of the inventor’s lost machines. Yet, while the results were very interesting, elegant, and even beautiful, no useful technology ever resulted. Nevertheless, central to each Keely machine were polished metal spheres, surrounded by geometric arrays of strings and pipes that Pond could tune and play like an instrument. He wrote several books analyzing Keely’s theories.

After Keely died in 1898, his house and laboratory in Philadelphia, PA were revealed to be sitting atop a buried, carefully constructed, 3-ton metal sphere. The question was begged: might lesser spheres have been inspired by the inventor’s devices, including, perhaps, the Betz family’s—no ET technology required?

Below are articles from our back issues that connect very directly to this content.
Available for purchase and download.

Issue #125
The Betz Sphere Mystery

from the Member’s Archive
The Betz Sphere Mystery