The Startling Testimony of Plumb-Lines.

by Ulysses Grant Morrow
Ulysses G. Morrow.

This excerpt is from p. 197-201 of Teed, Cyrus R. The Cellular Cosmogony or The Earth a Concave Sphere. The Guiding Star Publishing House, Chicago, 1898, 1905. Reprinted by Porcupine Press, 1975. It appears in the 1905 edition of this book, but is absent from the editions of 1922 and later. Can it be that someone responsible for re-editing the book realized that this account was misleading, and perhaps embarrasing to the cause of the Koreshan Cosmogony?

A number of critics have held that experiments with plumb-lines suspended side by side for the purpose of determining whether the divergence of the lines should be upward or downward, would be a more satisfactory test of the earth's shape than the projection of an air line by mechanical means. The suspension of plumb-lines from the top of the Washington Monument, or from the top of Eifel Tower, has been suggested to us. We have shown repeatedly that neither the Monument nor the Tower is high enough to admit of any appreciable divergence of the lines being manifest; for from an altitude of 500 or 1,000 feet, with the plumb-lines only a few feet apart, the difference of distance between the lines at top and bottom would be so small as to be beyond the possibility of definite and accurate measurement.

Concerning the subject of plumb-line experiments with the view to determining whether the earth's center be 4,000 miles beneath our feet or above our heads, we wrote in THE FLAMING SWORD for July, 1897, an article from which the following quotation is an extract:

"When men of the scientific world awake to the importance of a thorough investigation of the facts and revision of their present conclusions sufficient to suspend plumb-lines * * down the mining shafts a mile in depth at Calumet, Michigan, or into a similar one at Pittsburg, Pa., they will find a measurable divergence indicating that the perpendiculars extend from a central point in the physical heavens down to the earth's concave surface."
The fact that such experiments have been performed is very important; it is with satisfaction that we note them, for they were conducted four years after the article referred to above was written, with the results which we knew to be inevitable. In the Fall of 1901, the engineer at the Tamarack Mines, Calumet, Michigan, undertook to "plumb" a number of the shafts, for the purpose of constructing elevator shafts and ventilators; in the use of two plumb-lines, measuring the distance between the two at top and bottom, he found that they were farther apart at the bottom. He called the attention of Professor McNair, of the Michigan College of Mines, to the strange fact; and Professor McNair assisted the engineer in conducting a number of experiments down several of the shafts, with practically the same results in all. The plumb-lines were 4,250 feet in length; the bobs of lead weighed sixty pounds each, and hung in vessels of oil at the bottom. The wires were of No. 24 piano wire. Concerning the experiments, we quote a paragraph from the Milwaukee Sentinel containing a report of the results:
"At another shaft the same phenomena were noticed, and with very little change, except that the divergence of the lines was even greater. Lead bobs instead of iron were used, but no change resulted. * * Several explanations have been offered for the fact that the wires supposed to hang parallel to each other, were farther apart 4,250 feet below the surface than they were at the surface, but no one has suggested anything that seems to cover the question. * * With no disturbing forces at work, there should be [according to the idea of the earth's convexity] a slight convergence."
The Tamarack Mine experiments attracted considerable attention among the scientists, who offered various explanations of the phenomena observed—and they gave almost every "reason" for the results except the right one, which was perhaps not suggested to their minds at all—that of the earth's concavity. Professor McNair was baffled and has been unable to arrive at any certain and satisfactory conclusion concerning the cause of the unexpected phenomena; he has, however, entertained a number of hypotheses, from the basis of which he, with the assistance of other engineers, repeated the experiments in a number of the Tamarack shafts in the month of February, 1902.

The suggestion that the sides of the shaft attracted the bobs and therefore caused the downward divergence, has been set aside by Professor MeNair as wholly inadequate to explain the results. He estimates that such attraction, if there be such, would amount to only a few hundredths of a grain, and would produce scarcely any sensible or appreciable effect upon the heavy weights suspended. He remarks that the common explanation is without foundation, though offered by many scientists and engineers.

The repulsion theory has been advocated by Professor Hallock, of the Columbia University; this theory, like the idea of side attraction, is rejected. The first hypothesis of Professor McNair was that of magnetic attraction of adjacent iron ventilating pipes; but when lead bobs were substituted for iron bobs, and practically the same results were manifest, the hypothesis was abandoned as inadequate to explain the divergence, though it did seem for a time to explain the torsion of the plane of the wires or the greater azimuth at the bottom. Upon using phosphor-bronze wires instead of steel piano wires, every idea of magnetic or other side attraction or repulsion was forced out of consideration.

Professor McNair's next hypothesis was that the downward divergence of the plumb-lines in the shafts was caused by air currents; and the arguments contained in his article dealing with the subject are designed to prove the theory true; but even this last resort fails to explain the phenomena; for after every precaution was taken to prevent circulation of the air in the shafts by closing up the top and shutting off the air from the pipes as completely as possible, there yet remained, in the final experiment of the series, a divergence of .018 of a foot, .216 of an inch—and this divergence was considerably less and nearer the calculated divergence of gravic rays in the hollow globe, than that obtained when the air in the shaft was in circulation. In order to accept this last attempt to explain the phenomena, one must conclude that the air currents should be constant in their action throughout a period of several months, which is beyond belief. But even today, the scientists differ among themselves as to which theory noted above is the correct one.

If side attraction were the cause of the divergence, then of course repulsion and air currents must be left out of the question; if any one of the three "causes" operated to produce the results, the other two must be set aside. A scientific explanation must of necessity be consistent with itself and with all the facts observed; the lines diverged downward for the simple reason that the earth is concave instead of convex. Those who antagonize this conception should at least agree as to the causes of the results of the Tamarack Mine experiments—otherwise the people will ultimately learn to reject their conflicting conclusions as nothing more than wild and unfounded guesses.

There is yet a possibility of a still more startling series of experiments at the Tamarack Mines. In the foregoing experiments the plumb-lines were 12 to 17 feet apart and showed downward divergences ranging from .018 to .1 of a foot; but the tests we have in mind may be far more accurate, and hence more conclusive to our opponents; but it should be carefully noted by them that the experiments cited above were conducted by men having no relation nor sympathy with the Koreshan System. Neither did the Koreshan Scientists have anything to do with the tests instituted at Calumet in the second series of experiments. The distance between shafts No. 2 and No. 5 is 3,200 feet. It was the intention of the mining engineer to have the twenty-ninth level opened between the two shafts, a line suspended in each shaft, and measurements taken at the top and bottom. The calculated downward divergence of two perpendiculars 3,200 feet apart, is 8.22 inches for the length of 4,250 feet; and we declare with confidence and certainty, that the two plumb-lines in the proposed experiment just outlined, will approximate this divergence.

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