To us, Johann Bessler’s thoughts and actions seems to suggest he was slightly paranoid, but given that his invention of the amazing gravity wheel, or perpetual motion machine, was the end result of more than ten years of intensive research, experimentation and trial and error, it’s not surprising. He was obsessively determined to keep the secret of its construction to himself until he had been paid in full by anyone who wished to buy his machine.
But the negotiation was fraught with difficulty. He told prospective buyers to put the cash on the table and they could take the machine away. They insisted on checking that the machine was genuine by viewing the interior. Bessler could not allow this because they could note the design and then walk away and build their own. Despite the evidence of the only person ever allowed to see inside the wheel, the highly respected Karl, Landgrave of Hesse, who validated his claims, no sale was ever finalised. Bessler designed a number of tests which he hoped would prove his claims and even though we cannot imagine how he would have managed to fake it, without an internal inspection no one accepted the evidence presented.
Bessler would not have wanted to die without having sold his machine; and thus his claims dismissed and his books forgotten. But....he implies more than once that if he fails to sell the secret he would rather die than give his secret away. He also says that if the reader has questions he should study ‘this little book’, Apologia Poetica. His suggestion on the front of Maschinen Tractate to study ‘more than one drawing’ which will eventually lead to the answer. He says he was given much information of an esoteric nature and was taught, for instance ‘the language of angels’, which was an occult language used by John Dee in the 16th century in Prague, where Bessler lived for a time.
This led me to conclude many years ago, that Bessler intended right from the beginning, probably before he even found the solution to his wheel, to plant information about his wheel in future publications and had already learned about a number of ways of hiding it. So once I suspected that there might be information to be found, it became obvious that it was there but disguised behind a veil of innocent looking, uninteresting and easily dismissed pages of text and drawings.
Bessler’s first clue was the strange pseudonym, Orffyreus, achieved through use of an ancient and well-known cipher. This simple code was so obvious that one might wonder why he used it. It led one to look for other different codes but also equally well-known. This feature was developed extensively throughout his books and letters but the significant fact about all of them is that none of them seem to be helpful towards understanding his secret, which begs the question why?
The work done by Øystein reveals additional layers of mystery, Rosicrucian and Masonic codes. I have my own ideas about why this was done. If we accept that Bessler planned to hide instructions for building his gravity wheel in his publications, but deliberately hid it within an exceedingly complex code, so that it was very unlikely that anyone would manage to decipher it during his life, how could he be sure that someone would eventually find the code and decipher it? The answer would seem to be that only those people steeped in the subject of codes, such as the practitioners of Øystein’s Rosicrucian and Masonic codes, and perhaps some acquaintances of the Jesuit priest and the Rabbi, in Prague. They would be attracted into studying his books by the presence of apparently purposeless codes, recognise and decipher them. The knowledge that the more complex codes might be heralded by the simpler more obvious codes would attract the attention of certain members of semi-secret societies, the acknowledged experts on ancient codes.
Aside from the many graphic codes to be found in the Apologia Poetica book, there are the 600 plus ‘etc’s, previously identified as ‘x’s, but later revealed to mean ‘etc’ in Fraktur font. There are far too many of them to make sense other than being part of a code and there are none in his subsequent books. Then there are the 55 rhyming couplets in chapter 55 of Apologia Poetica, containing 141 Bible references, the same number as used in the Toys page, also numbered 141. Some Bible references are repeated, others cannot be found. Bessler also exhibited an apparent obsession with chronograms, providing numerous examples both in his private documents as well as his annual panegyrics to Karl. All of this suggestive of hidden information.
Bessler sought and received permission to build a tomb for himself and his family in the garden of the house he occupied during his final years in Karlshafen. It was an unusual request at the time and it is interesting to speculate on the possible reasons why. If we accept the two kinds of coded information I have surmised is buried within his publications, then it could be that Bessler left additional clues on his tomb. I think there might be some curious people who would like to visit his tomb and there they might read an inscription giving some extra information either about the wheel or the codes which lead to a description. Sadly the tomb has long since been destroyed. There is now a tarmac carpark covering what used to be part of his garden.
There is so much more, too much to go into here, but plenty to occupy the mind of a cipher expert. Perhaps we need the help of the Bletchley group from the Second World War, or better still, some modern equivalent.
I think this explains the reasons for the simple codes as well as the more complex ones.