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Okay everyone, if you’ll just follow me down this way, please. Have no fear, there will be plenty of time for questions at the end of the tour. I can see some of you are already antsy to check out our next exhibit.
To your right, you’ll notice a portrait of a friendly-looking middle-aged man with long white hair. That is infamous spiritualist Samuel Dee Hoover. Born in 1804 in Boston, Massachusetts, he was by all accounts originally a well-regarded clergyman within his community.
In his early years, Hoover built himself a loving family and a distinguished reputation as an ordained minister. He despised slavery and was a vocal supporter of women’s rights, ending capital punishment and advocating union rights for workers. These causes were all dwarfed in comparison by his fascination with spiritualism or in his words “the magnetic life in all of nature.”
It was in 1851 that trouble began to surface. You see, Hoover had developed this funny habit of telling people that he was in psychic communication with luminous beings from a higher plane of existence he referred to as “The Gleaming.” These other-worldly entities were beyond our primitive human understanding and Hoover was their designated “agent on earth.”
According to Hoover, The Gleaming wanted to revolutionize the mortal realm through electrical spiritual energy. They believed in uniting mankind with a global telepathic communication system similar to a mental Internet. It all sounded pretty legitimate, though not everyone thought so.
To the unanimous eye-rolling of his former peers, Hoover left the clergy and became a professional medium. Whispers from The Gleaming led him to the locations of the sick and the dying where he introduced his controversial “magnetic healing.” This involved placing his hands on the sickly and mentally directing magnetic forces to drive the pain out of their bodies.
If that doesn’t sound crazy enough, some of these cases of magnetic healing worked! Perhaps it was some form of psychosomatic behavior or freak coincidence. Regardless, the successful cases of magnetic healing attracted a sort of cult following to Hoover and his teachings that saw significant growth in only a few years.
Then in 1854, Hoover received a prophetic vision of The Gleaming’s master-stoke. The new spiritual priority of his growing organization was to create a device that would serve as their new God; a man-made savior. It was the Golden Calf all over again, but this time Moses wasn’t around to stop them.
The ultimate purpose of this machine-god, much like Hoover himself, was notably vague. The device was designed to function as some kind of “electric thinking machine”, working like how a modern-day computer may be expected to function only on a cosmic scale. It would produce all the free energy the world would ever need, powering all other machines endlessly.
The mechanism would not only harness spiritual electricity but also house an as-yet-unborn soul set to remake the world, ushering the luminous plane into the mortal realm. The activation of the mechanism would strip away the last of humanity’s limitations and signify the fulfillment of their new God-like abilities.
You know, that old chestnut.
So like the rational people they were, Hoover and his gaggle of magnetic spiritualists followed The Gleaming’s instructions and built their new 6-foot tall God out of $2,000 worth of zinc batteries, metal balls, and thousands of copper wires, encasing it in a wooden frame.
That brings us to our exhibit over here. Do you understand now? That’s what you’ve all been staring at for the past few minutes. Behind me is the actual God-Machine built by Samuel Dee Hoover and his followers.
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