PART VII: SECRET SCIENCE
by Anthony Forwood (2011)
64: James Tilly Matthews and the Air Loom Gang
Mind-control technology has become a very controversial subject in recent years. Some people claim that it’s at the point now where people can be completely controlled in their thoughts and actions like computerized robots, while others are in complete denial that such a thing could ever be possible. Those people who claim to hear voices in their head, very often telling them to kill, are simply written off as schizophrenic or psychotic. Others have made claims of being involuntarily implanted with electronic devices, and many of these people have even had x-rays taken that showed evidence of foreign objects in their bodies. Are these people just mentally ill, the natural casualties of modern society, or is there something more to the claims of mind-control?
The very first reported claims of mind-control technology being used on people go back as far as the late eighteenth century. There is a particular case from this time that involved a man named James Tilly Matthews, an English tea merchant who believed that an electromagnetic device had been implanted in his head by a group he called the ‘air loom gang’, and that he was being controlled through an ‘influencing machine’. Matthews claimed that this group was able to do such things as implant thoughts in his head, inhibit his speech, cut his circulation, and alter his reasoning abilities so that what was rational appeared as insanity and truths appeared as lies.
Although the staff at Bedlam Hospital in London where Matthews was eventually interned thought he was insane, two distinguished physicians who were hired by his family (Dr. Birkbeck and Dr. Clutterbuck) declared that he was perfectly sane. Matthews had not been incarcerated on medical grounds, but rather on the orders of Lord Liverpool, the Home Office minister, whom Matthews had incidentally accused of being involved in a plot against him.
Matthews claimed that this gang, which he believed to consist of undercover Jacobin revolutionaries, had a machine that Matthews called an ‘air loom’. He claimed that this machine sent out invisible magnetic rays that affected a magnetic device he believed had been implanted in his head. He even drew up diagrams of the air loom machine, which showed multiple levers that were used to produce modulations of the magnetic waves that were emitted. The fact that this case dates to over two hundred years ago makes his claims sound eerily familiar, yet out of their time. Electromagnetic radiation had not yet been discovered, nor had the electrochemical nature of the human nervous system. The fact that Matthews described these waves as being modulated is even more remarkable, considering that this is exactly the case – electromagnetic waves require specific patterning to effect specific responses in a person targeted with modern-day electronic mind-control technologies.
Matthews claimed that this gang, who he was able to describe very well, would materialize in his dreams in order to gather information to use in assailing him the next day. Matthews believed that there were other groups with similar machines that were being used against various politicians and public figures, including the then Prime Minister, William Pitt. Beyond Britain, air looms were supposedly being used in France, Prussia, and elsewhere. Air loom gangs were believed by Matthews to be lurking everywhere, using a magnetic vapor to put the unsuspecting person under the control of their machine. This is similar to remote-influencing, which is a proven psychic science that is an extension of remote-viewing, and may have been within the repertoire of this Jacobin group that Matthews claimed was targeting him with their mysterious machines.
Matthews was an intelligent man, and although eccentric, was quite sane. In 1793 he had been involved in trying to negotiate a peace treaty with France, and when this failed the French threw him in jail, suspecting him of being an English spy. It was here that Matthews later came to believe he was first ensnared by this air loom gang, through a person by the name of Mr. Chavanay. When Matthews returned to England he tried to warn the Prime Minister of a group of spies who were preparing to use these machines to overthrow the government. In December of 1796 he interrupted a debate in the House of Commons to accuse Lord Liverpool of treason. This only resulted in getting himself incarcerated in Bedlam Hospital, the infamous insane asylum. While there, he took the time to learn architectural drawing, and designed a new hospital building for which he was paid £30 and which came to be used as part of the design of the new Bedlam Hospital. Matthews also kept his own notes on his medical treatment at the hospital, and after his death these notes helped to influence the decision of the committee that investigated Bedlam and ordered that patients be treated more humanely.
In the meantime, Lord Liverpool eventually became Prime Minister, and was involved in a number of nefarious activities that included the attempted murder of the king.
It should be pointed out that much of what we know about Matthews’ claims comes from a booklet that was written by Dr. John Haslam, the resident apothecary at London’s Royal Bethlem Hospital (Bedlam), titled Illustrations of Madness. This booklet was written not just to detail the delusions of a purportedly mad man, but also to prove to Matthews’ family and others who believed him sane that he was indeed mad. Haslam shows definite signs of possible complicity in any real conspiracy that may have been afoot, helping to silence a man that knew too much about a secret group with a lot of power. It is quite likely then that Haslam may have embellished some of his descriptions of Matthews’ more outrageous claims, even though Matthews supposedly read the booklet before publishing and had given it his approval.
In examining the story of James Matthews, it’s hard to believe that such technology existed in his time, especially for those who are unaware of similar technologies existing even today. However, for those who are familiar with today’s mind-control technologies, there is a strong air of realism to what Matthews claimed. Could it be possible that Matthews was a victim of very early attempts to remotely control the minds of men through machinery?
During this same time, Franz Anton Mesmer was making a scene with his notions of ‘animal magnetism’ – a precursor to the discovery of hypnosis – and the effects of magnetic energy on the human body and brain were being seriously studied among certain scientific groups. Pneumatic chemistry, pioneered by Joseph Priestley, was also becoming popular at this time, and this science was also incorporated into the design of the mind-control machines that Matthews claimed were being used.
That some group of men with ambitions to power might have stumbled upon the means to remotely influence a person or inflict discomfort or even harm is not as farfetched as it might seem. Consider the fact that science was wide open to almost any possibility at that time, and so much was begging to be invented or discovered. The popular literature of the times says a lot for this: Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc. This is where many people’s minds were at the time. The darker side of science was already lurking in certain minds when it was still in its infancy. Even if the air loom was nothing more than an imaginary concept, the possibility that it was entirely of Matthews’ own making is far from likely. He was quite possibly involved in political espionage, or at least consorting with people who were involved in it, and may have picked up the idea from parties who were actually attempting to devise such machines, if they didn’t already have them. In any case, it seems that the conceptual reality of such technologies was already fomenting in the minds of certain politically motivated groups that long ago.
It should be pointed out that the Jacobins, who threw Matthews in jail in France where he believed he first came under the control of the air loom gang, were a group that had been founded by prominent Freemasons. It was the time of the French Revolution and much political turmoil was going on, which Matthews seems to have gotten caught up in. Secret societies were very alive and working on their various agendas, their members often having ties with religious, political, and mystical groups through which they could operate or otherwise use to influence others to do their bidding. Perhaps Matthews wasn’t so delusional and this machine actually existed, or perhaps he picked up his ideas about it from secret society members who even back then were at least conceiving of such technologies, even if they didn’t yet have them. Perhaps they were using hypnotism on Matthews, and had convinced him that such a machine and its sinister gang of operators was involved in making him experience things that were actually being induced through post-hypnotic suggestions. Whatever the case, the story of James Tilly Matthews is interesting for its parallels with modern-day equivalents, where we have people coming forward with claims that they’re being targeted with mind-control technologies.
Are such technologies real? If so, how advanced are they? To answer these questions, I’d like to introduce some documented facts on the subject of mind-control research, and let the reader decide.