"... Once a man has flown in the air, he can never be quite the same man again." - Reynard Beck... August, 1890 during a press conference.
In the 1986 film "The Boy Who Could Fly," actor Jay Underwood portrayed an autistic teen who unbeknownst to everyone except the girl next door could literally fly at will... no gadgetry involved. Over the centuries, there have been a few theorists who for one reason or another believe that one day all men would be able to fly at will. Presented here is the case of Reynard Beck an ordinary American farmer who according to history did in fact fly.
Reynard Beck was a common farmer who lived in Dexter, Missouri. He and his elder brother Samuel worked a small farm near the Mississippi River for their widowed mother. Times were tough and the family had hardship making ends meet. On a June morning in 1884, Reynard woke from sleep as usual to the smell of his mother's fine cooking. As he sat up and was about to get up from bed, the 200 pound man found himself slowly floating up towards the ceiling of his room. At first he thought he was dreaming but quickly realized that he would be straddling the ceiling forever if he did not try to get down. He managed to press the soles of his bare feet against the ceiling pushing hard and propelling himself downward so he could grab the headboard and touch the mattress. Next he managed to grab a chair and clutch it to his chest which gave him enough grounding to make it over to a dresser. There he found a leather belt he used for fishing that had enough lead weights attached to it to keep his feet on the ground. Reynard was a superstitious individual and believing that this might be the work of the devil he put a loose shirt on over the belt and said nothing.
Later that evening while alone in his room he experimented with his weightlessness with the same results. Suddenly his brother Sam came into the room and watching the spectacle, figured Reynard was doing "tricks." When it became apparent that it was no trick, Sam convinced his mother and brother that there was a great potential to make money out of Reynard's new gift. The two men decided to go on the road with their new exhibit they named "The Floating Wonder."
The act was very popular with thousands of people standing in awe as Reynard undid his belt and made his way steadily up through the air until he reached the roof of the canvas tent and then remained there suspended while he held onto a support frame. Skeptics, scientists, doctors, and even hired hooligans and a reporter from the Kansas Star tried to expose Reynard as a fraud over the years but none were successful - if anything all the attempts did was to prove that Reynard had a strange gift. He was a "gravity resistant man."
After six years of road shows, the Beck brothers had netted over one million dollars and then suddenly in 1890, they announced that they were closing down the exhibition and returning to their farm in Dexter. Rumors stated that Reynard had suddenly lost his ability to defy gravity but the real truth never became known. Reynard became a recluse saddened by the loss of his privacy. In September, 1890, more rumors spread that Reynard had taken off his belt and flown up to sky and certain death from asphyxiation. Newshounds flooded the Beck farm where the only thing they found was a teary-eyed Mrs. Beck being comforted by her son Sam. The only thing they would say was that Reynard had been missing for three days and that his weighted belt had been found abandoned in a field near the Tennessee border.
Reynard Beck was never seen again and the questions regarding whether the Floating Wonder was a grand hoax or a super human will never be answered.
"Madame," the Count said smiling, "I am very old."
"But then you must be nearly 100 years old," exclaimed the Countess.
The Count St. Germain is mainly known in esoteric circles as the Ascended Master of the Uranian 7th Ray of Ceremonial Order and Magic. In some religious apocryphal circles he is believed to be the ever living embodiment of Cartaphilus the man who mocked Christ as he dragged his cross through the streets on the way to Calvary and was sentenced to walk the Earth until the Second Coming. Whatever the background belief, the stories surrounding St. Germain speak of a man with extraordinary abilities and talents.
Pictured to the left is the only known portrait (engraving circa 1783) of the man who called himself the Count St. Germain. He was or is according to all accounts both a mystery man and a Renaissance man. Housing a plethora of talents he was brilliant alchemist (chemist), a fine artist, knowledgeable historian, a philosopher, a political diplomat, an extraordinary jeweler, and accomplished pianist, violinist and singer, AND an astonishing linguist who was fluent in Spanish, Greek, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Sanskrit, English, Dutch, German, Hindu, Persian and French. He had a reputation as a healer, prophet and a magician but his most amazing claim was that he was over 1000 years old.
The tale of Cartaphilus, the Wandering Jew was handed down through European folklore until the thirteenth century when travelers returning to England from the continent spoke of an encounter with a strange man who blasphemously claimed to be around in the time of Christ. During the following centuries, more encounters with the strange man occurred and it seemed that they were taking place closer and closer to Western Europe. Then one day in 1740, a mysterious man dressed in black appeared in Paris. The fashion conscious Parisians were shocked at the man in black yet could not help but admire his many diamond rings and diamond shoe buckles. This led the Parisians to believe the handsome and obviously Jewish man to be an aristocrat of great wealth and he was welcomed into Parisian society. They could not identify the man but the superstitious citizens of Paris believed him to none other than the Wandering Jew.
The man identified himself as the Count of St. Germain - an accomplished man who had traveled widely and learned much about the world including many arcane lessons of the occult. He spoke freely about his travels and his great age claiming to have known many historical celebrities. Historical skeptics often tried to trip him up by questioning him about historical details that were trivial and not well known but the Count always replied with astonishing accuracy. If a conversation turned to religious matters, he would become somber and tearful while movingly describing Christ as if he had known him personally. No matter what the subject, the Count left his audience quite perplexed.
The Count's claim to be much older than he looked was actually put to the test when he met the elderly Countess von Georgy who recognized him as the same person she had met 50 years earlier in Venice. The countess was in a state of disbelief that the man she met so long ago did not look a day over 45. When the Count proved to her that he was the same man she said that if it was true he must be "a devil." The Count took great offense to this remark raising his voice stating, "For pity's sake! No such names!" With that he turned his back on the astounded Countess and left the room.
Another oddity about the Count was noticed during the time he spent in the court of Louis XV, King of France. At the numerous banquets he attended it was noticed that he would abstain from food and wine occasionally sipping only mineral water. The courtiers noted that if the Count did eat it was always in private. They also assumed that he was a vegetarian.
In 1745, the Count St. Germain turned up in London. It was the time of the Jacobite Rebellion in Britain and the Count somehow managed to get himself arrested for spying. He was described as a mad man going by the name Count St. Germain who played the violin and sang wonderfully. He was also said to have used the power of hypnotic suggestion to persuade his captors that he was innocent. The latter allegation was verified by Anton Mesmer, the creator of Hypnotism who claimed to have taught the Count the art of hypnotism. He claimed that the Count, "possessed a vast understanding of the human mind."
The Count was seen in many places over the years:
1756 - the Count was spotted in India by Sir Robert Clive.
1760 - history records that King Louis XV sent a Monsieur St. Germain to Hague to assist with the treaty between Prussia and Austria.
1762 - the Count took part in the deposition of Peter III of Russia and took an active role in helping to bring Catherine the Great to the throne.
1769 -the Count opened a mass production factory in Venice where he developed a synthetic form of silk.
1770 - the Count engaged Russian politics and was seen in the uniform of a Russian general.
1774 - after the death of King Louis XV, the Count appeared in Paris to warn the new King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie Antoinette of the approaching danger of the French Revolution.
1784 - Prince Charles of Hesse-Cassel, Germany announces that the Count is dead and will be buried in a local church cemetery.
1785 - after his alleged death and burial the Count shows up at the Congress of Freemasons.
1867 - the Count is briefly seen in Milan at a meeting for the Grand Lodge of Freemasons.
1869 - Theosophist Annie Besant claims she met the Count and Theosophist Helena Blavatsky claims he had been in contact with her.
1914 - during the early days of World War I, two Bavarian soldiers capture a Jewish-looking Frenchman in Alsace. After an all night interrogation, the man still refuses to give his name and warns them that the war is futile and that it will end in 1918 with defeat for the Germans. He goes on to tell them that in 1939 the "anti-Christ" will lead Germany into another war but will be defeated after committing "inhuman, unspeakable things" in six years. After the prophecy, the man begins to sing and sob and the soldiers thinking him quite mad let him go.
Historically, the only surviving manuscript penned by the Count St. Germain, La Tres Sainte Trinosophie, is kept in the library at Troyes, France. To date it has resisted every attempt to decipher or translate it with the exception of the following passage:
"We moved through space at a speed that can be compared with nothing but itself. Within a fraction of a second the plains below us were out of sight and the earth had become a faint nebula."
Undecipherable works seemed to be his forte - there are some who believe St. Germain had a variety of embodiments including that of Roger Bacon. Bacon is often considered the author of the Voynich Manuscript a strange composition that to date cannot be deciphered. (For more on the Voynich Manuscript please visit World of the Weird on the website.)
Who was or IS St. Germain - the "Wonderman of Europe" ... a hoaxer or a supernatural time travelling being with alchemical skills?
As a metaphysician he was skilled in the healing arts and herbology. Some believe that his use of herbal elixirs combined with good eating habits prolonged his life and the life of others. The Countess von Georgy is said to have lived an incredibly long life never looking her true age due to the herbal intervention of St. Germain. It was believed that he was also an Eastern adept who employed yoga and meditation and that he could communicate with animals. King Louis XV of France was so taken with his alchemical skills that he provided the Count with a laboratory and residence at the royal castle of Chambord after the Count magically removed the flaw in one of the King's diamonds. In another European court, the Count asked for some deer bones and some boughs from a tree for a demonstration. He retreated to a large empty room and after a short time alone invited the guests into the room. They were greeted by a room that was transformed into a lush forest with grazing deer. He was a philanthropist who gave away valuable paintings, jewels and money. He secretly helped the poor and aided charitable institutions. He was a patron of science and technology and its progressive role in the spiritual awareness of mankind.
In metaphysical circles, Saint Germain is an Ascended Master - a light being who has earned the right not to reincarnate. The concept of the Ascended Masters was brought into the limelight by the Grand Dame of Theosophy Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891). Blavatsky's Theosophical movement was based upon teachings she claimed to have received from a group of living adepts she called ‘Mahatmas' or ‘Masters.' Various organizations, past and present, have incorporated the Ascended Masters into their belief systems but to date skepticism still exists as to whether she perpetrated fraud and if the Masters were merely real persons who were ‘fictionalized.'
History makes one thing clear about Helena Blavatsky and that was her concern that the concept of the Masters would fall victim to ‘pretended agents' who would use the teachings for commercial gain. This certainly has become a fulfilled prophecy. Despite all of the controversy, in an unpublished article written in the last year of her life, Blavatsky stated that she felt that the publicizing of the Masters had done more good than harm even she herself felt entrapped by the myth she had created in an attempt to keep the identities of the men she called Masters hidden and protected.
In Metaphysics, Saint Germain is connected to the 7th RAY of Ceremonial Order and Magic. As part of the White Brotherhood he works with the Archangel Zadkiel and he teaches that the highest form of alchemy is the transformation of one's consciousness into the Divinity of the Higher Self. He is the sponsor of the United States and the hierarch of the Age of Aquarius, who comes bearing the gift of the violet flame for world change.
Aside from the Wonderman of Europe it is generally believed by metaphysicians that Saint Germain's other Earthly personas and incarnations include Francis Bacon, Samuel the Prophet, Christopher Columbus, Roger Bacon, Alban, Merlin, and a High Priest of Atlantis.Will the Count appear again? Not everyone believes that the Count is dead. In 1972, a Parisian named Richard Chanfray appeared on French television claiming to be St. Germain. On live TV he successfully turned lead into gold using nothing more than a camping stove.
What do you believe?
"I am a moisture accelerator." - Charles Hatfield
Charles Mallory Hatfield (1875-1958) was an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent... he could make it rain. To this day it has not been proven if Hatfield truly held a secret formula to make it rain or if his success can be attributed to meteorological skill and good timing.
Hatfield didn't rely on a rain dance to perform his aquatic miracles but rather a secret mixture of 23 chemicals that he kept in a galvanized vat. Hatfield worked for the New Home Sewing Machine Company as a salesman but in his spare time he studied "pluviculture" and began devising his own formula for rain making. He claimed 500 successes. His home base site of operation was a tower built on the grounds of the Esperanza Sanitarium in Altadena, near Rubio Canyon in California.
Hatfield's business started in Los Angeles, CA where he assisted farmers by "making rain" for $50 a session. The farmers often paid him $100 because they were so pleased with the results.
It did not take long for his reputation to grow and soon Hatfield was traveling out of state to spread his skill. After successfully producing rain 18 inches of rain for in Los Angeles for $1000, he was invited to Alaska in 1906 where he agreed to make rain for $10,000. This attempt was a failure but Hatfield still managed to leave with his reputation in tact and his expenses paid.
Hatfield's most well known foray into rainmaking occurred in 1915 when he struck a deal with the San Diego City Council to produce enough rain to fill the Morena Dam reservoir. Hatfield offered to produce rain for free, then charge $1,000 per inch ($393.7 per centimeter) for between forty to fifty inches and free again over fifty inches. He said he would accept no fee if no rain fell. The council voted for a $10,000 fee, payable when the reservoir was filled. They felt it was a sure bet since the reservoir held 15 billion gallons and had never been more than one-third filled since its construction. Hatfield, with his brother, built a 20-foot tower beside Lake Morena topped with galvanizing trays containing his moisture mixture and got to work. Hatfield watched as the process of chemical evaporation ensued as he coaxed nature along.
On January 5, 1916 it began to rain heavily and grew gradually heavier day by day. Riverbeds overflowed and the flooding destroyed bridges, ruined train connections, cut cable and phone cables, destroyed highways and flooded homes and farms. Two other dams, the Sweetwater Dam and one at Lower Otay Lake, overflowed. The rain stopped on January 20 but resumed two days later. On January 27, the Lower Otay Dam broke increasing reportedly causing about 20 deaths. At the Morena Dam, the rising water stopped short of five inches from the top of the dam. Had it overflowed a disaster of massive scale would have ensued. Altogether, about 50 lives were lost, 200 bridges were washed away, train service was halted for 32 days because miles of track were destroyed and the landscape bore permanent scars.
In a press conference on February 4, Hatfield claimed the devastation was not his fault and that the City Council should have prepared better and taken precautions for the rain he produced according to the verbal contract. The City Council refused to pay him unless he accepted liability for damages that totaled over $3.5 million dollars. They further claimed that since there was no written contract they were not obligated to pay. Hatfield tried to settle for $4000 and then sued the Council. After two trials, the case was ruled "an act of God" and finally in 1938 it was thrown out of court. Hatfield however, was never forgotten and later in 1948 when the City Council sought the help of a "cloud seeder" they took out substantial damage insurance.
The media circus only enhanced Hatfield's reputation and he was dubbed "King of the Cloud Compellers." In 1929 he moved onto to other ventures until the Great Depression forced him back into the role of sewing machine salesman. To this day no one knows what kind of formula he used to make it rain.