Do 'gravity waves' transmit "the nervous system of the universe"?

Gravity Waves – Is This What Townsend Brown Knew All Along? 

Gravity waves are in the news again.

Did Townsend Brown know – early in the 2oth century –  what scientists in the 21st century are just figuring out?

This isn’t how I figured to start my Friday, but when this item crossed my transom this morning, whatever plan I had for the day took a sharp left turn:

Scientists on Wednesday unveiled evidence that gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago, are permeating the universe at a low-frequency hum…

…Einstein in 1916 proposed the existence of gravitational waves as an outgrowth of his ground-breaking general theory of relativity, which depicted gravity as the distortion of space and time by matter. Until their detection in 2016, scientists had found only indirect evidence of their existence, beginning in the 1970s.

I don’t know what to say exactly about the ‘low-frequency hum’ part – OK, everything is…a… vibration!* – but every time I read that some Nobel-aspiring scientist has landed on some new ‘discovery’ about gravity waves, I come back to what Townsend Brown called ‘sidereal radiation.’  The Man Who Mastered Gravity touches on this subject several times without getting very specific about what it means or what Brown was trying to understand or discover.

This morning I ran a search through the whole manuscript and found the several times ‘sidereal radiation’ is mentioned – staring right there in the…


Townsend and Josephine – his wife of more than 50 years – lived with Linda, her husband George and their daughter, the five of then sharing a weather-beaten, World War II-vintage Quonset hut on the island of Santa Catalina, off the southern California coast. Father and daughter argued in a tiny bedroom cluttered with electronic instruments and sensors, the last vestiges of his life’s work, investigating the mysterious, cosmic force he called ‘sidereal radiation. 

…and sprinkled  throughout:

Chapter 19 – Cosmic Energy:

The Enquirer article then addresses one of the themes that would preoccupy Townsend Brown for the rest of his life, his determination to find the source of the fluctuations in the ‘cosmic force’ his apparatus released that he called ‘sidereal radiation.’ He wanted to use his invention to…

…measure changes in the gravitational field caused by the motion of the earth and the relationship to the earth of the sun, moon and planets. 

The greatest distortion in the gravitational field comes when the sun and moon are in the line of horizontal action of his gravitational cells – that is, at the time of the rising or setting sun or moon. The exception to this is when sun and moon are opposite and therefore neutralize each other in part. The maximum distortion comes when the sun and moon rise or set together, thus acting in conjunction. It is the effect of these varying factors that Brown calls “distortion of the gravitational field.” 

Chapter 23 – Vague and Unscientific: 

The “field distortions” Brown wrote about – the phenomenon he called ‘sidereal radiation’ – is the curiosity that would occupy him until the last weeks of his life.  His interest in taking readings from alternate locations may indicate that he believed his experiments were manifesting something more than an ability to control gravity.  Brown was starting to believe that the fluctuations he observed bore some resemblance to radio waves, and might be suitable for transmitting Morse code or audio signals through the ether. He was looking for evidence that in addition to a new means of conveyance, he had also discovered a new means of communication. 

Chapter 41 – Shadow Trails: 

Elsewhere in those shadows, The University’s Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics became home to the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Research Foundation, which since 1929 has awarded fellowships “for adventurous and innovative research in structural biology.” 

Corroboration is found in Brown’s Annual Fitness Report, filed June 10, 1939:

Since being detached USS Nashville on Sept 30 1938, I have been engaged in building and installing a new sidereal radiation recorder in the Physics Department University of Pennsylvania, and in computing the records for 1937 and 1938.

Little more is known of what became of the equipment, or the data it generated. When he did refer to it, Morgan would only speak of ‘stuff,’ and say that ‘stuff’ went in a couple of different directions once it left the University. 

Chapter 63 – The Browns of Ka Lae Hau:

Townsend purchased an old tractor, plowed up a field and began experiments with ‘electroculture’ – investigating the effect of electricity on plants. A document in the family archives shows that he was working as a consultant for the Grove Farm, one the island’s largest sugar plantations, conducting…

…biological studies on the growth and flowering of sugar cane. Development of electroculture methods. Biological effects of radiations – including the use of high voltages, etc. and the natural variations in growth produced by sidereal radiation (changes in the gravitational component). 

(That last note reminds us that his interest in ‘sidereal radiation’ was never far from the center of this thoughts. Note also yet another reference to ‘high voltages.’)

Chapter 92 – Avalon:

In his final years, Townsend returned to the phenomenon he first observed in the 1920s: fluctuations in the Biefeld-Brown effect caused by what he called ‘sidereal radiation.’  He established monitoring stations at locations around the world, including Hawaii and Mexico.  Despite his age and declining health, Linda says he was traveling “all over the map.  His first stay on Catalina was the longest we lived anywhere, and he was spending six months at a time either in Hawaii or the Yucatan.”

The article that triggered this post ends with…

“The most vanilla explanation of these gravitational waves is an ensemble of supermassive black hole binaries (black holes orbiting each other) in our cosmic neighborhood. Other explanations include interesting new physics from near the Big Bang,” Hazboun added, referring to the event that marked the origin of the universe about 13.8 billion years ago.

I get that lettered scientist types have to be very conservative and express the most ‘vanilla’ interpretations of what they’ve stumbled on, but I, fortunately, am not an actual scientist. I just play one on the internet.  So I can go out on a limb here and reiterate what Townsend Brown thought he had stumbled on to: “the nervous system of the universe.”

Townsend Brown in his final years, monitoring his instruments in a corner of the Quonset hut he shared with his daughter and her family on Catalina Island.
Townsend Brown in his final years, monitoring his instruments in a corner of the Quonset hut he shared with his daughter and her family on Catalina Island, communing with “the nervous system of the universe.”

And what did Elizabeth Gilbert say in the second epigraph that opens the book?

“I will tell you why we have these extraordinary minds and souls, Miss Whittaker,” he continued, as though he had not heard her. “We have them because there is a supreme intelligence in the universe, which wishes for communion with us. This supreme intelligence longs to be known. It calls out to us. It draws us close to its mystery, and grants us these remarkable minds, in order that we try to reach for it. It wants us to find it. It wants union with us, more than anything.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

Anybody know Elizabeth Gilbert?  I think she should know about Townsend Brown.

Care to discuss?  Take it up in the forums.

And if all of this is completely new to you and you are wondering WTF?, then you’ll just wanna run right over to your nearest online bookstore and get a copy of The Man Who Mastered Gravity.  If any of the preceding ads up, then that title just go a bit more believable.


*Does anybody else remember the 1979 film The China Syndrome?  There is a moment early in the film, just after the reactor starts acting up, where Michael Douglas says, “there was a….. vibration…!”  Funny, the things that stick in my brain.

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