Mike Marcum: The man who created the time machine and mysteriously disappeared

In early 1995, Mike “Madman” Marcum attempted to construct a time machine on the porch of his house in Stanberry, Missouri, in the United States. He started working on a contraption called the Jacobs Ladder.

Mike Marcum
Mike “Madman” Marcum © Image Credit: 4plebs.org

It reduces air resistance between two poles by using a modified Compact Disc laser. The result will be a continuous arc. When he turned on the device, he saw something unusual.

There was a heat mark, similar to what you’d see on hot pavement, except it was in the shape of a vortex and was circular. So he decided to test the effect by throwing a sheet metal screw through the vortex to see what would happen. According to him, it vanished for half of a second before reappearing a few feet away a second later.

At that time he was only 21 years old and he was a student majoring in electricity. When compared to his friends, Marcum can be said to be quite intelligent. Apparently, Marcum tried to build a time machine because he wanted to get the winning lottery numbers from the future. However, he had one problem that he needed a lot of power to make it work.

After a few more tests, the CD laser caught on fire. He figured if he was going to rebuild the machine again, he might as well use larger transformers.

His original plan was to purchase the transformers, but they are quite expensive. He resorted to the alternative. At the local power station, there were 6 old transformers. Marcum stole six 300-plus pound transformers from a St. Joseph Light and Power generating station in King City, Mo.

While testing his experiments, he caused a mass blackout several blocks throughout his neighborhood. A few moments later, Gentry County Sheriff Eugene Lupfer arrest him with a warrant inside his house on January 29, 1995, for stealing the transformers.

After several months in prison, Marcum was released. And then he was invited to become a guest for Art Bell on Coast to Coast Radio. He tells the story of the screw and his plans to build a time machine. He vows that from now on he will do it legally.

Marcum told Art that he is still wanted to create another experiment but had neither money nor spare parts. During the interview, he gave his phone number and received non-stop calls for 3 days. The show helped Marcum a lot because many listeners shared him with ideas, funding, and spare parts.

With his listeners’ help and donations, his next time machine project was more powerful and much bigger than the previous one. While the original engine ran at the kilowatt rate, this time it was designed for 3 megawatts. Because he wanted to test the machine on himself.

Also, Marcum installs a rotating magnetic field similar to the one that the US military used in the Philadelphia Experiment. He said that rotating magnetic fields are more effective and efficient.

Art Bell had Mike Marcum as a guest again about a year later. Marcum claimed to be experimenting with a more sophisticated time machine. The electromagnetic vortex was big enough for a man to walk into.

Mike Marcum
Plan of Mike Marcum’s Lager Machine © Image Source: scanned copy of Mike Marcum’s notebook

The interview ended with Marcum claiming to be on the cusp of generating the desired amount of voltage to run the machine. When asked what he would take with him, he replied just his cell phone. At the end of the show, Mike decided to give his address instead of his phone number. Anyone interested can search his house on Google Earth.

During Marcum’s second, and last, appearance on Bell’s show in 1996, he said he was 30 days away from completing his “legal” time machine.

Mike Marcum vanished in 1997 and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Shortly after Marcum disappeared a listener called the Art Bell show to talk about a strange story he had found. In the 1930s police found a dead man on a beach in California.

He was crushed to death in a strange metal tube, the man was unrecognizable and a mysterious device was found near his body. The caller said the device looked like a cell phone.