08 August 2012

George Speake - a travelling "preacher-scientist"

Electricity flashes from the thimble-topped fingers of traveling “preacher-scientist” George Speake. From the 1940s into the ’60s, he was one in a series of men affiliated with Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute who demonstrated religious faith by demonstrating scientific principles. To create the lightning effect, Speake would stand atop an electric transformer coil. The room would darken. Then, at his command, a brief high-frequency current would travel over his skin, up from his feet and out of his fingertips.
Photo credit Margaret G. Zackowitz (National Geographic, July 2010), via Fresh Photons.


  1. The gentleman was definitely Not much of a "scientist" if he was subjecting himself to these kinds of static electrical discharges, and he probably died from the neurological damage done.
    Look up the very rapid decline in Nikola Tesla’s mental condition toward the end of his career. You might also investigate the neurological carnage caused by wi-fi, cell phone, and dirty electricity. Exposure to EMF (electromagnetic energy) causes serious DNA damage to biological systems and human health. Just sayin’

    1. "Investigate the neurological carnage caused by wi-fi, cell phone, and dirty electricity..."

      I am doomed.

    2. Dr Speake live a good healthy life and passed away Dec 7th,2012 in his 90's. He was a brilliant man and the electrical shocks never affected his brain!

    3. He died in his 90's...he was very active until the past few years. His brain was not damaged. He was a man of God who shared his Faith with everyone.

    4. George Speake, my uncle, died at the age of 97. Keep in mind that these electrical demonstrations were done over 60 years ago when the world knew so much less about science than today. His purpose in presenting these demonstrations, mostly to servicemen, was to share his belief of the connection between science and religion.

  2. Although skin effect limits Tesla currents to the outer fraction of an inch in metal conductors, the 'skin depth' of human flesh at typical Tesla coil frequencies is still of the order of 60 inches (150 cm) or more. This means that high frequency currents will still preferentially flow through deeper, better conducting, portions of an experimenter's body such as the circulatory and nervous systems. The reason for the lack of pain is that a human being's nervous system does not sense the flow of potentially dangerous electrical currents above 15–20 kHz; essentially, in order for nerves to be activated, a significant number of ions must cross their membrane before the current (and hence voltage) reverses. Since the body no longer provides a warning 'shock', novices may touch the output streamers of small Tesla coils without feeling painful shocks. However, there is anecdotal evidence among Tesla coil experimenters that temporary tissue damage may still occur and be observed as muscle pain, joint pain, or tingling for hours or even days afterwards.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...