Image by Flickr user Project BS
In 1897 Charles E. Fisher and Prescott Ford Jernegan presented their ‘gold accumulator’ to a crowd of potential investors at Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine. They claimed it could suck particles of the precious metal out of the swirling currents, making untold fortunes – and they were right.
Some of the onlookers were skeptical and suggested a controlled test run at a site of their choice, suspicious that either of the men might plant gold before the experiment began – a suggestion that was agreed to by Fisher and Jernegan. Hours later the device was lowered into the water before the eyes of the crowd and after some time, hauled back up, to the astonishment of the investors, covered in dazzling gold particles.
Without delay local businessman invested $350, 000 and formed the Electrolytic Marine Salts Company, rewarding Fisher and Jernegan with $200, 000 each for their services.
Not long after, whilst local investors were still sipping their champagne and pulling on their cigars to the sweet thought of the gold mine they had unearthed, Fisher quietly disappeared. The machine promptly failed to recover any gold on its first outing and after several similarly inconclusive attempts the investors approached Jernegan for answers. Promising to track down Fisher, he too set off into the sunset with his newly received wad of cash and both were never seen again.
It emerged some time later that the gold on the machine during the test run had more to do with Fisher’s diving skills than the machine’s accumulative powers. A trained deep sea diver, whilst the crowd watched the device being lowered into the water, he had entered the bay further along the shore before replacing the accumulator with one covered in gold.
Rumors persist that Fisher may have later been caught by an African tribal leader doing the ‘no-pants dance’ with his wife and sentenced to a gruesome death, but one thing is for sure: the gold accumulator did exactly what it promised to do – make money – but unfortunately not for the business men of Passamaquoddy.
We’ll even throw in a free album.