Monday 25 May 2015

An interesting paradox - what is right?

I have spent most of my life researching the legend of Bessler's wheel and I am convinced that his claims were genuine, But even I, have on occasion wondered if I have been fooled by an accomplished swindler.  Could it be that, despite all the circumstantial evidence that seemed to show that the machine was genuine and nobody lied, actually one or more people did lie?  After all it is being constantly rammed down our throats that Bessler's wheel is and was impossible and we are all fools for being easily deceived.

To get to the truth, only two people need concern us; Johann Bessler himself and Karl the Landgrave of Hesse who saw the inside of the machine and confirmed that it was genuine.  How can we tell if either or both lied?

If Bessler lied then he was taking an almighty risk.   He had engaged the attention of several people of high reputation and standing within three Princedoms. In each case he requested and received official examinations of his machine in front of Ministers, Clerks of the Court and religious leaders and of course the ruling Prince or members of his family. Any hint of duplicity and Bessler would face imprisonment and possibly execution as a deterrent to others.  He stated in his Apologia Poetica that if he was found to have lied he should be beheaded.

To secure their territory against attackers, usurpers and law breakers, the Princes dispensed justice swiftly and violently. Executions were public spectacles involving cruel methods. In addition, capital punishment was not reserved solely for the most serious crimes. Death was the penalty for a variety of minor offenses.  Bessler must have believed that he would be executed if he was found to be lying, so it seems obvious to me that he only told the truth about his machine.

One form of execution popular in Germany was the breaking wheel.  It was also known as the Catherine wheel or simply the wheel.  'It was a torture device used for capital punishment from Antiquity into early modern times for public execution by breaking the criminal's bones/bludgeoning him to death. As a form of execution, it was used from "Classical" times into the 18th century; as a form of post mortem punishment of the criminal, the wheel was still in use into 19th-century Germany.'  I can imagine someone might find that means of execution highly appropriate! See

But if, for the sake of argument, we assumed he lied, how was he expecting to get his financial reward and leave without being arrested and thrown in jail?  He couldn't just run; the deal was that the buyer and the seller sit around a table and the purchaser puts a bag of money on the table and takes the wheel.  It seems to me that it would have been impossible for Bessler to leave without the wheel being opened and inspected and verified.  This thought must have been considered, before he went ahead with the negotiations.

All the above notwithstanding, if Bessler had lied then either he fooled Karl or Karl lied too.  Yet we know from well-documented history that Karl was regarded as an honest man of tremendous integrity.  He was in constant touch with the Kings of England, Sweden and Prussia, acting as an honest broker attempting to negotiate peace between these warring nations.  He was also known for his patronage of the latest scientific experiments.  He supported Dennis Papin in his steam powered experiments for several years and also financed a number of other fields of research.  This man was no fool and would have thoroughly scrutinised Bessler's wheel before giving it his approval.

So we know that Karl did not lie either, but let us again suppose that he did, just for arguments's sake. If Karl lied then he must have foreseen that at some point someone would offer to buy the wheel.  If the machine was a fake that fact would soon emerge and Karl would be found out, along with his accomplice, Bessler.  His reputation would be gone, his status as an honest broker ruined, his family the laughing stock of Europe.  It simply does not make sense.

We are left with a paradox; the wheel worked as Bessler claimed, but the laws of physics as they are currently understood say that it is impossible for a wheel to rotate continuously under the influence of gravity alone.  Bessler told the truth therefore the laws of physics are wrong on this point at least.



Monday 18 May 2015

Bessler's Septagram/ Heptagram

When I described my findings on the MT 137 figure on my website at
I showed how it represented the musical circle of fifths publicised by Johann David Heinichen, 1683-1729, a famous German musician who lived and worked in Weissenfels at the same time as Bessler.  See the first two figures below.  MT 137 on left, modern version of Heinichen's circle of fifths to the right

In part two of the same page of the website at, I showed how Bessler had included a hidden septagram or heptagram, which is a seven-pointed star drawn with seven straight strokes, and sometimes drawn inside a circle.  Deleting the black lines on the original MT 137, or circle of fifths illustration, as in the middle figure below, and redrawing them to skim the edge of the inner black circle produces a heptagram, as shown in the third figure below.   This geometric figure has numerous associations with occult and religious symbolism, but lack of space prevents those discussions here at this moment.

What I had not appreciated was just how difficult it is to draw a circle with seven equal divisions, and that means that the inclusion of the heptagram in MT 137 cannot be considered as a coincidence, but is deliberate.  A circle divided into seven equal segments has seven interior angles of 51.428571 degrees.  This makes it impossible to get an accurate measured angle and there is no system available using ruler and compass, although you can get an approximation by dividing the circumference by seven and walking a set of compaases around it, or simply dividing the circle into seven angles of 51.5 degrees. I drew a heptagram and tried inscribing a circle within it to match the inner circle in MT 137, it is not at all easy!

The two figures lend themselves to a simple code - draw the connecting lines from one point numbered 1 and then follow the logical progression clockwise or anticlockwise and you get, for instance in the septagram,
1 to 4
4 to 7
7 to 3
3 to 6
6 to 2
2 to 5
5 to 1 .  The same applies to the dodecagram using the numbers 1 to 12.

Curiously the sides of the Great Pyramid is said to have a slope angle which is close to one-seventh of a circle, i.e. 51.4°, so I guess a reasonable approximation could be 51.5 degrees.

The number 51.42857 contains six repeating digits of 1/7, and is the best-known cyclic number in base 10. If it is multiplied by 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, the answer will be a cyclic permutation of itself, and will correspond to the repeating digits of 2/7, 3/7, 4/7, 5/7, or 6/7 respectively.

1 × 142,857 = 142,857
2 × 142,857 = 285,714
3 × 142,857 = 428,571
4 × 142,857 = 571,428
5 × 142,857 = 714,285
6 × 142,857 = 857,142
7 × 142,857 = 999,999

The last one, 7 times, is a surprise..  (found at  )

So another mystery beckons - why did Bessler include a heptagram in MT 137?  5 or 7 mechanisms?



Thursday 14 May 2015


Ok, so I'm not selling up and moving house after all!  We both admitted to each other that we didn't really want to leave this house and we have been unable to find one we like as much, so we've cancelled the sale.  No villa in Spain either, at least not until the wheel works!

My current build incorporates the principle I discovered two or three years ago, and it's proving difficult to get it to perform correctly.  I know it is in the right place and it operates as I think it should but it is not causing the weight to 'shoot up' quickly enough, as Bessler described it.  I feel confident that I will get the configuration right in time but now that I am free of the house-moving troubles I can get on with playing with variations on the leverage to generate enough lift to move the weight upwards quickly.  The speed of the lift will affect the wheel's speed - too slow and it will have a braking effect.
I have always insisted that there are five mechanisms, but it was interesting to learn that the sound of the Kassel wheel was described in a newspaper report as making seven or eight bumping noises.  This fits in with my belief that there have to be an odd number of mechanisms and therefore  includes the possibility of seven as described by me on my web site at

Having said that, according to my own work on deciphering Bessler's clues, there are many more potential sources for various mechanical noises, and the seven or eight reported sounds must either be ignoring the lesser ones, or they have all been silenced in some way.  I note that the early wheels were remarkable for the amount of noise coming from them when they turned.  Bear in mind that Bessler said he had tried to dampen the sounds with felt on some occasions and this seems to lend support to the idea 

And another thing, Karl reported that the design of the wheel was very simple, but I am aware of the principle that permits the force of gravity to drive the wheel without conflicting with the laws of physics and  I do not think he could possibly have understood all of what he was seeing.  It would not have been at all obvious even to someone as intelligent as he was.  I suspect that Bessler showed him the internal workings without pointing out the particular features which make the wheel comply with the principle I mentioned earlier.  It will easily escape attention unless you know what you are looking for.

My wheel is quite complex, in that it has several components which interact with each other and it is this interaction which is causing me problems in finalising one perfect mechanism whose precise configuration I can transfer to the other four to produce an exact copy of Bessler's wheel.  Confidence is high!



Thursday 7 May 2015

How Many Ways might there be to Solve Bessler's wheel? Update.

It has been said many times that even when we solve Bessler's wheel, we won't know for sure whether it will be the same design as his. Perhaps this doesn't matter but it seems an unlikely conclusion to me anyway.  I have known the principle or trick, if you like, to the secret of Bessler's wheel, for  a couple of years and I am certain that the principle I'm referring to is a vital part of the configuration; without its use the wheel will not spin.

I also know that if I hadn't found it, I would still suspect that there would only be one way to make gravity able to drive the wheel and therefore whoever solved the problem would still require this particular specific principle to be incorporated in its construction.  So for his wheel to work, Bessler must have known and used the same principle and therefore anyone having to use this same principle would result in a duplication of Bessler's wheel. If you consider that for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, man has sought the answer to this riddle, as far as we know, without success except for the once, there can surely only be one principle involved and therefore only an extremely limited number of ways it can be used - and maybe only one way.

I have give some consideration to potential alternative ways it might be used and I suspect that it might be possible to use it in a reactionless drive.  How this might be achieved using the principle I have in mind is beyond my engineering skills to make, although I have sketched some ideas.  When you consider that in Bessler's wheel you are attempting to convert the downward linear force of gravity into a rotational one, then it doesn't seem too big a jump to assume that you could reverse it and use a rotational drive to create linear thrust.  Of course I am fully aware that to date, no reactionless drive has ever been validated under properly controlled conditions but then neither has a gravity-driven wheel. It seems that a consequence of building either one would conflict with Newton's third law, (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction), however the same principle which I think will work for Bessler's wheel should be available for use in the opposite direction and we are all working to prove Bessler's wheel because we believe it was genuine.  If the consequences of Newton's third law can be circumvented in one direction then it should also be possible in the other.

I guess you are asking, if I know the principle why have I not created a working model by now?  A reasonable question and I shall try to answer it.  I know and understand the principle and the reason why it will work, and I'm confident that everyone will agree with me when I explain it.  But finding out how to use it has proved more difficult than I imagined when I first found it.  I have over the last couple of years, through a combination of hands-on building, trial and error, and successfully teasing out the desired information from Bessler's drawings I have at last arrived at the correct configuration, and I am completing my final construction.  

My intention is to finish this model and - if it works - then I can finally publish the details.  If it doesn't work, I shall also publish the details of the principle and also the extracted information from the particular drawings I used. I'll explain how I arrived at my conclusions and let someone else carry it forward.  I will do this because I am certain that I have everything right, but who knows?  Perhaps the quality of my workmanship might result in a less than continuous motion.

I understand with the utmost clarity that the vast majority of readers here, will think I'm deluded and I don't blame you.  But, I am fed up with constructing endless stationary wheels and I want to share the only bit of real information that I do have, the principle!  But allow me, please to just finish this last attempt to build a working model.

The reason for my belated apparent haste after many years of procrastination, is because we are planning to sell our current home and buy a smaller one here and maybe a small villa in Spain, where we can try and avoid the miserable winters in England.   This means that my current project will suffer an extended hiatus  The house is being tidied up for sale and my workshop is suffering the same fate - being tidied up and all my work hidden away. If this one fails to rotate continuously and drive another device, then I will publish everything as video, digital and printed documents within the next few weeks.



Monday 4 May 2015

What Secret Lies within Bessler's Portraits?

This is an interim blog which I decided to write concerning recent speculation about the Bessler portraits.

There has been much discussion about the two portraits of Johann Bessler.  Do they contain hidden information and what that information might tell us?

In extracting meaning from Bessler's portraits it can sometimes be helpful to try and put yourself in his shoes.  What information was he trying to convey?

Personally, I don't see how he could transmit sufficient information about how to reconstruct his wheel from anything he contrived to hide in his portrait or portraits, so what do all the apparent clues mean? I am expressing my personal opinion here and I have published what I have been able to discover about the portraits at here and
also here

The only facts that we can reliably extract are the quirky finger gesture which seems to point at some hidden meaning and the odd writing below the portrait which contains some alphanumeric clues and some curious font variables, plus the objects within the portraits, some indicating memento mori, and of course there is the pentagon, but all of these details seem to lead us to a dead end.  These vague hints seem to point to some secret knowledge relating to the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians, the Jesuits or some other secret organisation.  They are definitely clues, but with this sketchy information it seems impossible to understand what he is trying to say. 

Approaching the puzzle from a different angle, I think that if Bessler wished to give us the information it, had to be in the form of detailed construction information in a separate place elsewhere, and maybe he designed the portraits to tell us where to look.

So where would we be likely to find the information that Bessler might be trying to point us to?Obviously the most important source would be drawings because a picture is worth a thousand words, but if its textual clues you want then you won't find a better place than his Apologia Poetica.  I have described some of my findings in my web site at 

So somewhere in the design of the portraits lies a series of clues which may lead us to the source of the real secret - how to build a Bessler wheel..



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