In early 1995, Mike “Madman” Marcum was trying to build a time machine on the porch of his home in Stanberry, Missouri, USA. He began building a device called the Jacobs Ladder.
It uses a modified CD laser to reduce air resistance between two contacts. The result is a continuous arc. When he turned on the device, he saw an unusual result.
A heat trail appeared, the kind you might see on hot asphalt, but it was circular in shape, like a vortex. Then he decided to throw an iron screw into the vortex to see the effect and what would happen. He claims that the propeller disappeared for about half a second and then reappeared a few feet away from him a second later.
He was only 21 years old at the time and was a student majoring in electrical engineering. Compared to his friends, Marcum, you might say, was pretty smart. However, he had one problem – it needed a lot of power to make the machine work.
After a few tests, the CD laser caught fire. He decided that if he was going to build the machine again, he’d better use more powerful transformers.
His original plan was to buy transformers, but they were very expensive. He chose the alternative. The local power plant had six old transformers. Marcum stole six transformers weighing 140-plus pounds from the St. Joseph Light and Power plant in King City, Missouri.
Conducting a new experiment, he caused a massive power outage in several blocks of his neighborhood. Moments later, Gentry County Sheriff Eugene Lupfer arrested him on a warrant at his home on January 29, 1995, for stealing transformers.
After several months in jail, Marcum was released. And then he was invited to be a guest of Art Bell on Coast to Coast radio. He told the story of the disappearance of the iron screw and his plans to build a time machine. He vowed that he would do it legally from now on.
Marcum told Art that he still wanted to do another experiment, but that he didn’t have the money or the necessary parts. During the interview, he gave his phone number and was called nonstop for 3 days. The show really helped Markum a lot because many listeners shared ideas, funding, and the parts he needed.
Thanks to the help and donations from listeners, his next time machine project was more powerful and much larger than the previous one. While the original version of the Time Machine ran on kilowatts, this time it was for 3 megawatts. Because he wanted to test the machine on himself.
Marcum also installed a rotating magnetic field similar to the one used by the U.S. military in the Philadelphia experiment. He said the rotating magnetic field was more efficient and effective.
About a year later, Art Bell invited Mike Marcum back as a guest. Marcum claimed to be experimenting with a more sophisticated time machine. The electromagnetic vortex was large enough for a person to enter.
The interview ended with Marcum stating that he was on the verge of creating the necessary voltage to make the machine work. When asked what he would take with him, he said only his cell phone. At the end of the show, Mike decided to give his address instead of his phone number. Anyone interested could find his house on Google Earth.
During Marcum’s second, and last, appearance on The Bell Show in 1996, he said he had 30 days to complete his “legal” time machine.
In 1997, nothing more was heard of Mike Marcum.
Shortly after Marcum disappeared, a listener called on the Art Bell Show and told him about a strange story he had found. In the 1930s, police found a dead man on a beach in California.
He had been crushed to death in a strange metal pipe, the man was unrecognizable, and a mysterious device was found next to his body. The caller said the device looked like a cell phone.