If you do a Google search on lifters today, what you see is a bunch of mechanical contraptions such as pallet stackers, disability aids, and cooking utensils. When you finally find something of interest on page 4 of the search results, it’s a Wikipedia disambiguation page saying “Lifter may refer to an ion-propelled aircraft, a device that can generate thrust using ionised air with no moving parts”. The ion-propelled aircraft article then refers to Thomas Townsend Brown in a rather negative way. It says he spent much of his life working on the principle, under the mistaken impression that it was an anti-gravity effect, which he named the Biefeld–Brown effect:

Thomas Townsend Brown image from

The Wikipedia article also said “Since his devices produced thrust in the direction of the field gradient, regardless of the direction of gravity, and did not work in a vacuum, other workers realized that the effect was due to EHD”. EHD is an acronym for electrohydrodynamics, which is nicely explained on You contrive a big voltage across two electrodes, one rounded, one pointy. There’s a high field gradient around the latter which strips electrons off atoms in the air, and the resultant ions are attracted to the rounded electrode. However for some reason the author doesn’t want to be identified. An ICANN lookup gives a Reykjavik address and not much else. Perhaps he’s an Icelandic physicist. Or perhaps not, because he seemed to be fixated on antigravity as the opposite of gravity, and his page on Gravity Theories, Theories on how gravity actually works doesn’t say much. He doesn’t know how gravity works.

How gravity works

Einstein explained most aspects of how gravity works. Think of space as a block of gin-clear ghostly elastic jelly. Slide a hypodermic needle into the centre of the block, and inject more jelly to represents a concentration of energy bound up as the matter of the Earth. This creates a stress-energy gradient in the surrounding jelly, which is now neither homogeneous nor isotropic. As a result, the speed of light is spatially variable, so the horizontal light beam undergoes a gravitational-lensing refraction, and bends downwards. The wave nature of matter plus spin means an electron is essentially light in a closed path¹, the horizontal component of which bends downwards. Hence the electron is displaced downwards. In other words, it falls down. The positron has the opposite chirality but again the horizontal component bends downwards, so the positron falls down too:

Simplified drawing of an electron and positron falling by me

The wave nature of matter is ubiquitous, so the same applies to protons and antiprotons, and to neutrons and antineutrons. In all cases only the horizontal component bends downwards, so the Newtonian deflection of matter is half the deflection of light. It’s quite straightforward. Do note that light doesn’t curve because it follows the curvature of spacetime. That’s a popscience myth.

Things don’t fall down

Our Icelandic friend is not the only one who doesn’t know how gravity works. The guys at How Stuff Works don’t have a clue. They don’t even know that Newton spoke about the gravitational refraction of light in Opticks query 20. Such ignorance is widespread. For example the Wikipedia Anti-gravity article says “Anti-gravity is often used to refer to devices that look as if they reverse gravity even though they operate through other means, such as lifters, which fly in the air by moving air with electromagnetic fields”. Oh come on. Antigravity is antigravity. For example you create an artificial gravitational field, then when it’s vertical and it balances the Earth’s gravitational field, things don’t fall down:

cc-by-4.0 image by Mike Winkelmann, see Wikimedia Commons. Description: a building-sized box-shaped vehicle floating in a desert with seven human figurines beneath it.

If your artificial gravitational field is stronger than the Earth’s gravitational field, things don’t fall down, they fall up instead, in an inertia-free, free-fall fashion. It’s the same if you then create an artificial gravitational field in front of your craft. It falls forwards. And so on. The Wikipedia article also irritated me with a useless section on historical attempts at understanding gravity. It said Albert Einstein in 1915 considered the physical interaction between matter and space, where gravity occurs as a consequence of matter causing a geometric deformation of space which is otherwise flat”. Who writes this rubbish? Has anybody actually read the Einstein digital papers? There’s no mention of space being neither homogeneous nor isotropic, or the speed of light being spatially variable, or the refraction of light in a gravitational field. There’s no mention of the wave nature of matter either. They also conflate curved spacetime with curved space. Not only that, but they then witter on about quantum gravity and the graviton, saying “various theoretical explanations of quantum gravity have been created, including superstring theoryloop quantum gravityE8 theory and asymptotic safety theory amongst many others”. After that, they start talking about negative geometry and negative mass and negative energy. It’s your typical cargo-cult bullshit, from people who don’t understand the physics but are scathing about gyroscopic devices, Townsend Brown, Gravitoelectric coupling, and Eugene Podkletnov.

Brown’s scientific credibility crumbled

There are however some good links. See for example the million-Euro Göde Award. Also see the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program. That “was a research project funded by NASA from 1996-2002 to study various proposals for revolutionary methods of spacecraft propulsion that would require breakthroughs in physics before they could be realized”. It was all over before I started getting interested in this sort of stuff, more’s the pity. I could do with some NASA funding so I could give up the day job and get busy in the garage². On top of that there’s the 2003 Wired article on The Antigravity Underground. Note this: “Brown’s scientific credibility crumbled when, obsessed with UFOs and their means of propulsion, he founded the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena to hunt for little green men”. Compare and contrast with the latest news about the UAP hearings. As I said in UFOs and Aliens, I think a lot of the footage is just camera artefacts, but I do not believe that we are the only intelligent beings in the universe. I’ve also seen unexplained aerial phenomena myself. By the by, UAP now stands for “unidentified anomalous phenomena” because the Pentagon and other organizations changed it in December 2022 to represent “submerged and trans-medium objects”. I’m skeptical about the trans-medium stuff myself, so if you don’t mind I’ll stick with UFO.

Search on antigravity lifters for some interesting websites

Anyway, search on antigravity lifters for some interesting websites and videos. There’s Robert33’s HV DC Antigravity Lifter Test³. Love the music. There’s Mr Apol’s Asymmetrical Capacitor Thrusters: the Biefeld-Brown Effect on Instructables. He says “a lot of people maintain the B-B effect is electrogravitic; that is, the electrical current acting on the capacitor somehow counters, or interferes with normal gravity. I do not believe this”. I’m with him on that, but since electromagnetic forces are said to be circa 10³⁶ stronger than the force of gravity, I don’t want to rule anything out. I don’t want to end up saying “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that!”

Lifter images from an internet search

There’s Alexey Chekurkov’s Anti-Gravity Lifter on YouTube. Very nice, though I would have been happier if he had tossed the hoop instead of placing it over the lifter out of shot. There’s a Scientific American article on Podkletnov’s spinning superconducting ring supported in a magnetic field: “objects placed above the ring reportedly lost up to 2 percent of their weight, independently of their composition”. I wonder if it’s possible to stretch the vertical spin component? There’s Ismail Ayık’s lifter – anti gravity on YouTube, which looks like straightforward magnetic repulsion but hey, I’m not picky – let’s not forget that the Earth is a magnet. There’s The “Lifter” Phenomenon: Electrogravitics, Antigravity, and More by Tyler Durden. It’s a good read. There’s Viktor Grebennikov – Anti-Gravity & Levitation narrated by Dan Davidson. It was fun to watch, but rather far-fetched with the levitating beetle wing cases and the 1000mph platform which doesn’t muss up your hair. However at the end he did describe a magnetic field as a vortex in the aether, which is pretty much spot on because it’s a “rotor” field, hence rot. So like I said, I’m not ruling anything out. For all I know there’s a gravitational field in a Halbach array. I also had fun reading Antigravity – Atomic Rockets by Winchell Chung. Then I had a laugh when I noticed it was in his Handwavium section which “flat out violates laws of physics”. LOL!

What’s the truth about antigravity?

However I didn’t laugh when I watched Don Lincoln’s YouTube video on What’s the truth about antigravity? He dissed UFO antigravity as “silly stuff”, and then in the next breath said researchers at CERN are investigating the possibility of real antigravity using antimatter. He said they’re conducting experiments to determine whether antimatter falls up. That’s total horseshit. Antimatter does not fall up. See the Wikipedia antigravity article, which says this: The issue was considered solved in 1960 with the development of CPT symmetry, which demonstrated that antimatter follows the same laws of physics as “normal” matter, and therefore has positive energy content and also causes (and reacts to) gravity like normal matter”. Don Lincoln knows this full well, but he still peddles the particle-physics propaganda and the lies-to-children. Grrr.

Meet the man building an anti-gravity device

But I digress. Another good read is the debrief article called Meet the Man Building an Anti-Gravity Device, and the Alien God That Inspired Him. It was written by Christopher Plain and it’s about an autodidact called Mark Sokol and his partner Jeremiah Popp. Note this about their warp drive detector: “the idea is to figure out if a warp field is being created, to see if something is changing the speed of light in the vicinity of an experiment”. That’s good. They know about the speed of light varying in a gravitational field. Unfortunately that’s as warm as they get. They mention microwaves but don’t know about the fundamental physics. Instead they talk about the late Dr Fredrick Alzofon who co-authored How to Build a Flying Saucer (And Save the Planet) with his son David. I liked the aim, which exactly matches what I was saying last time:

Book cover by Fredrick and David Alzofon, see Amazon

However I didn’t like the physics, wherein “Alzofon’s Theory of Gravity is based on a thermodynamics model, where the gravitational potential can be ‘cooled’ by Dynamic Nuclear Orientation”. Or where “the residual electric force in the quark model, is just Gravity”. I’m not averse to residual force because when you have two currents going the same way down two parallel wires, those wires attract. It’s only a small residual force because most of the raw Coulomb forces cancel, but not quite. We call it electromagnetism. Then when you stop the currents, the wires still attract, but with an even smaller residual force. About 10³⁶ times smaller. Only now we don’t call it electromagnetism anymore. We call it gravity. Only gravity is not limited to nuclear spin. Moreover gravity is to do with space and energy, not quarks, and not thermodynamics.

Tesla’s Antigravity Technology

However it is somewhat similar to what we see in the Wikipedia article on Ning Li: “she claimed that an anti-gravity effect could be produced by rotating ions creating a gravitomagnetic field”. I feel doubtful about it because gravitomagnetism is so weak. But as ever, since electromagnetic forces are said to be circa 10³⁶ stronger than the force of gravity, I can’t rule anything out. I can’t rule out the Tesla stuff either. See Tesla’s Antigravity Technology by Ivan Petricevic. He tells how in an article called Man’s Greatest Achievement, Nikola Tesla outlined his “dynamic theory of gravity” saying the luminiferous ether fills all space, and is thrown into “infinitesimal whirls” at near the speed of light, becoming ponderable matter. That’s good stuff. There is of course a book by Bill Jones called Nikola Tesla, Man Ahead of His Time (How to Build a UFO):

Image of Tesla’s Space Drive aka anti-electromagnetic field propulsion system

Sadly I can’t find any free details online. There’s lots of hits when you look for Tesla antigravity videos, some of which are great fun. I’m not sure about the anti-gravity levitating rock, but I liked the levitron video by Igor30. I have a levitron, and again let’s not forget that the Earth is a magnet. I also liked impossible antigravity by Mark Striebeck. It’s just gyroscopes, but it reminded me of a short story I wrote called SpinDizzy. But like I said, I couldn’t find any online details of Tesla’s antigravity. Perhaps I’ll have to look harder, or even buy the book. And look for other stuff too. There’s mountains of material out there. Meanwhile, poor old Tesla. He was extremely talented, but ultimately unsuccessful. He was however right about gravity being electromagnetic in nature. Light curves and matter falls down because the speed of light is spatially variable, and the speed of light c = 1/√(ε₀μ₀), where ε₀ is vacuum permittivity and μ₀ is vacuum permeability. These are electromagnetic properties. Make them vary, and you’ve got yourself a gravitational field.

There’s more than one way to skin Schrödinger’s cat

So how do you make them vary? I’m sure there’s more than one way to skin Schrödinger’s cat, but one possible way is to do what nature does. Start by simplifying the electron to a photon in a closed path so you can forget about electrons and focus on photons. Do the same for protons and neutrons. OK, here’s a simplified picture of a photon four-potential, drawn by me. We have positive curvature on the left, and negative curvature on the right:

And here’s a simplified depiction of the gravitational field. Note how it resembles the central section of the photon depiction?

So how does nature make a gravitational field? It squishes all the photon together such that the positive and negative curvature cancels out. Imagine you have a long line of photons, then you push them together so they overlap. Like this:

The central section more closely resembles the gravitational field. So, where can you find this sort of thing happening? Cop a load this: “I grew up around the Loran Radar Stations, and from what I know about ‘free electric current’, it does produce density that is definitely noticeable in many different ways. We would jokingly play catch with volcanic rocks close to the radar stations just because it altered the physics of how the rocks flew, not by much, but strangely enough to have fun as a kid. Kodiak Island is full of volcanic or porous rock materials, which makes them prone to electromagnetic influence I guess, and lighter than normal rocks, which seems to help. We just liked lobbing them up into the air and watching them fall. They just tumbled wrong. Not a suspension, not a push, just… slightly off… different. You would see them go up and come down all just the same, but their behaviour for doing so was like watching a professional tumbler jump and have their inner ear flood mid jump and use their training to keep their fall stable, though it now lacked all signs of grace. That’s the best way I can think of to describe it”. The evanescent wave or near field is where the photons are squished together. However if you don’t have megawatt radar transmitter handy, there’s something similar not far from where you’re sitting now. It contains a cavity magnetron, which is the electromagnetic equivalent of a whistle. The electromagnetic waves emitted at the antenna have a wavelength of about 12cm. But before you get busy with the screwdriver you’d better make yourself a tinfoil hat. Because what we’re talking about here, is your microwave cooker.


1 See page 26 of Schrödinger’s paper.
2 before I get kidnapped by the Chinese State Circus.
3 See the comment by paulleftwick: “check some quarter dollar coins were nickel coated hold next to speaker press call on mobile phone the coin when placed under postcard presses against card making coin weightless i done that so i saw it work does that mean a phone could carry its own weight i never tested it away from the speaker maybe oscilating microwaves in time with earth rotation amplifies the power”. Your phone has a near field.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Greg R. Leslie

    MASERS ! That was my first internal correlation to SpinDizzys, cavity magnetrons, Blish, and the other great links you provided John.
    MASERS predates LASERS by 7yrs. They are also on the front lines in Ukraine 🇺🇦 as anti drone devices. Also, something else I gleaned from Wikipedia was Gould’s List of particle weapon nomenclature.
    Lastly, I just lined my Cleveland Browns O.S.H.A. certified construction hard hat with some Alcoa foil as ordered, Sir!!!
    Roger that Roger…….

    1. The Physics Detective

      Of course! I forgot to mention masers! A maser is another place where you have concentrated electromagnetic waves. I was going to talk about a light bulb and add that it’s no use because the wavelength of visible light is only circa 380 to 750 nanometers. Then I was going to talk about lasers and masers. However I accidentally deleted it from the draft, then forgot about it. There are doubtless other ways of concentrating electromagnetism. I shall check out that Gould’s list. Many thanks, as ever.

  2. Greg R. Leslie

    Gordon Gould’s List is at the very end of the Wikipedia article on masers. Also, I hope you get a chance to watch the video I forwarded of an infamous celebrity scientist trying desperately to explain some basic concepts you just covered !
    Since earth is a magnet, if we wrapped enough electromagnetic cables around the equator, then earth would be a ginormous solenoid? Sounds dreadfully cataclysmic.

    1. The Physics Detective

      Greg: thanks. I watch the Neil deGrasse Tyson video. It was super lightweight, and I thought he hesitated too much, as if he didn’t know his subject. But sadly that’s how it is with electromagnetism these days. Maxwell unified electricity and magnetism, but people are taught them separately, with no real understanding of the unification. You hear garbage like “length contraction is what causes magnetism”.

    1. The Physics Detective

      Thanks Steve. That looks interesting. I shall have a peruse of that.
      By the by, I used to write science fiction stories years back. I also had a regular review column in a magazine called Interzone ( I packed in the writing after I found out what a published author was earning.
      By the by 2, I’ve also got about a thousand science fiction books sitting on my bookshelves. I would say they’re worth a fortune, but I’m not sure many people read books any more.

  3. Steve Powell

    I cleaned house a while back, kept “Limits” and “Green Hills of Earth”
    I had to skip over large chunks of “Foundation” way back when.

    1. The Physics Detective

      Well I’m not getting rid of my science fiction books!
      Ltue noted, Steve: Life, The Universe, & Everything: The Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy originated at Brigham Young University and has grown and changed a lot over the last thirty years. LTUE is a three-day academic symposium on all aspects of science fiction and fantasy. Comprised of panels, presentations and papers on writing, art, literature, film, gaming and other facets of speculative fiction, LTUE is a place to learn all about life, the universe, and everything else you love. It’s in Utah!

  4. Steve Powell

    It’s closer than Oz… You should see if they’ll have you speak. I’ve been to it, very nice group. Much more down to earth (yes I know) than the giant sci-fi fan fests.

  5. Raphaël

    Hello Psychics Detective,

    What a nice blog you have. I’ve read half of it and I kinda get what you mean. But I still don’t understand what gravity is exactly. I find your explanation of matter very elegant. Dancing energy. Seen in this way, isn’t energy always kinetic energy? After all, dancing energy is movement. Isn’t everything movement? Couldn’t gravity be directed kinetic energy? (Yes I think.)


    1. The Physics Detective

      Hello Raphaël. I’m the Physics Detective, not the Psychics Detective. That’s a strange mistake to make, Another strange mistake is your claim that I explained matter as dancing energy. I did not. Nor did I say energy is always kinetic energy. No, everything is not movement. No, gravity is not directed kinetic energy. Are you a chatbot?

  6. Raphaël

    Hello, The Physics Detective
    I am not a chatbot. My name is Raphael.
    Indeed you did not say that, I must say that is my preliminary conclusion, reading this blog.
    I mean, for example, if a photon is energy that is configured according to a certain pattern, continuously spinning and waving, then it seems to me to be a ‘dancing’ energy.
    So everything (viewed at the nano-scale) seems to me to be kinetic energy. Energy in a certain pattern.
    Since English is not my native language, I sometimes make language mistakes. Please forgive me?

    1. The Physics Detective

      I forgive you Raphaël. Re what you said below, no your previous comment isn’t in the spam box. I use Askimet antispam, and it’s usually pretty good. It only tends to put genuine comments into spam if they’re very long with a lot of hyperlinks, or if they contain certain words, usually related to medical matters. I do it very rarely, only when people are abusive, because i believe in free speech in science.
      As for energy, have a read of this: Note that Einstein said “the energy of the gravitational field shall act gravitatively in the same way as any other kind of energy”. A gravitational field is just space. Einstein said it was space that is “neither homogeneous nor isotropic”. It isn’t made up of photons. Whilst a photon is kinetic energy, energy isn’t necessarily kinetic energy. As far as I can tell, at the fundamental level, energy is the same thing as space.

  7. Raphaël

    Is my previous comment in the spam box?

  8. Raphaël

    The Physics Detective,

    I read your summary in What energy is, but for now I still think everything is kinetic energy. Kinetic because everything in the universe is about motion. A proton is an energy packet (in a certain form), a neutron too, an electron too, a photon too. And together these packages determine what the ‘matter’ looks like and how it works.

    Matter is in fact also pure (movement) energy, bound in a certain space. Seen in this way, matter is actually ‘nothing’ and empty, because there is nothing but energy in a certain form of movement.

    Seen in this way, the universe actually seems empty, but it is filled with pure energy in the form of movement in a pattern. So what we call matter is actually not matter but energy, formed by energy packets, which determines what that matter is depending on their shape and strength and form of movement, I think.

    So what matters to me is that everything is movement, and that movement, the patterns of that movement, are everything. There is always that movement. After all, that is the law of conservation of that movement. So the energy is the movement. Sometimes this manifests itself as light, sometimes as radioactivity, sometimes as heat. But in fact these are all forms of movement patterns.

    The question is where that movement comes from and whether that movement may be supplemented. And why that energy occupies the space forms the way it does. Sometimes in a tangle, sometimes in ring-shaped patterns, etc. The shapes and the force therefore determine how the energy expresses itself. And the forms seem to be the source of everything in the universe. In short, I think that the movement (energy) together with the fits (patterns of energy packets) could well be the basis of everything.
    Gravity is then a result of the effect of different movements on each other. Isn’t that logical?

    1. The Physics Detective

      Raphael: I’m awfully sorry, your comment was in the spam folder, and I didn’t check it. I agree with much of what you say, but would take it further and say space is the same thing as energy. Then apart from the expansion of the universe, space itself is static. However I’ve described a photon as a pressure pulse of space moving through space, and I’ve said electrons etc are made of photons, so like I said, I agree with much of what you said.

  9. Raphaël

    And then the movement and the form of the manifestation of the energy would have to take place in a medium, of course. I forgot to mention that. Perhaps that medium is the eather, as defined earlier. (Eather speeds >C etc.)

  10. Raphaël

    I think so too, The Physics Detective .
    I just read Albert Einstein’s lesson given in 1920 in Leiden and came to the same conclusion afterwards: space is ether. (and ether may be (the) energy itself, I think.)
    I would like to write more about my thought experiments in that regard if you like. (I’ve been thinking about this for some time, but as you can see I’m not a physicist and know little about physics but a little bit of everything.)
    With regards, Raphael.

    1. The Physics Detective

      I think it’s dark energy too, Raphaël. And in a way, dark matter. Remember that Einstein quote: “the energy of the gravitational field shall act gravitatively in the same way as any other kind of energy”. Think about a planet. Around it you have a region of “denser” space that causes gravity. But there is no matter in this region. And space, is dark.

  11. Raphaël

    Yes, and Einstein continued that sentence with
    . . . but the strongest reason for the choice of these equations lies in their consequence, that the equations of conservation of momentum and energy, corresponding exactly to equations (49) and (49a), hold good for the components of the total energy.
    . . .
    “the equations of conservation of momentum and energy” (!)
    (Thus there’s no energy used (?))

    By the way, while going through some of Einstein’s texts, I read that he believed in Jesus Christ. That makes me happy.
    (Einstein in “My Opinion on the war:”)
    “But why so many words when I can say it in one sentence, and in a sentence very appropriate for a Jew: Honor your Master Jesus Christ not only in words and songs, but rather foremost by your deeds.”.

    1. The Physics Detective

      Yes, energy is conserved in a gravitational context. Have a read of . See what I say about the ascending photon, and about the mass deficit and the brick. As for Jesus, I’m afraid I’m not particularly religious. However I do think the Christian ethic of co-operation an “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is what built the modern world. Sadly it seems to be in short supply these days, and the world is not a better place for it.

  12. Raphaël

    The Physics Detective ,

    Now I am thinking of a glass plate and so-called refraction. (You can also consider a lens, but for the idea, a flat plate is also good.)
    Why is the light deflected towards the glass plate? (Refraction) Theorem:
    (probably) Because the glass has its own gravitational field that is apparently stronger than the field of, for example, the air? The glass seems to attract the light or the air seems to push the light away, you can barely see it, but refraction occurs.
    The density of glass =+/- 2.4 (kg/m3)
    Density of air =1.29

    A lens is perhaps (?) a good example to make gravity visible and to play with it.
    Moreover, we see the light slowing down due to the higher density. Logical, because a swirl of the passing light is created along the electrons in the glass. The whirling of the electrons from the glass slows down the light, I read.
    What do you think about that, or did you already write about it? (I didn’t read your entire site (yet).)

    (I know there are other theories for refraction, but I don’t know them.)

    1. The Physics Detective

      Raphael: I’m awfully sorry, your comment was in the spam folder, and I didn’t check it. Light is refracted by a glass lens because the speed of light in glass is less than the speed of light in air. Not because the glass has its own gravitational field. Note however that light is refracted in a gravitational field because the speed of light near a planet is less than the speed of light far away from the planet. Einstein spoke of the refraction of light by a gravitational field, and Huygen’s principle.

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