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Hutchison hoax

Given that Hutchison's claims are outlandish and his credibility damaged by admitted fakery, it is likely that the effect named for him is complete claptrap. --Alan Bellows

The Hutchison hoax is named after an eccentric Canadian, John Hutchison, a fan of Nikola Tesla and Tesla coils. Hutchison claims tojohn hutchison have discovered a number of weird things, such as the levitation of heavy objects and the fusion of metal and wood by forces heretofore undetected by normal scientists. Hutchison calls these weird things "the Hutchison effect." Some of the things he calls weird seem to be explainable in terms of electromagnetism and other known physical forces, but he has more mysterious explanations, such as zero point energy and electromagnetic fields that cancel out gravity. Unfortunately, he seems to be the only one who can produce the effects, but not even he can replicate them—at least not in the presence of unbiased observers. His evidence consists mainly of his word and his videos.

One suggestion made by skeptics is that Hutchison uses an electromagnet on the ceiling, and places hidden pieces of metal inside objects so they will be attracted to the magnet. He could then film the objects with an upside-down camera as he powers down the electromagnet, making the objects on film appear to float up and out of the shot when in reality they are falling down to the floor. Many of the videos include conspicuous objects in the scene which do not move (such as an old broom), which could be deliberately attached to add to the illusion that the camera is not upside-down. Critics also point out that the videos do not show what happens to the objects after they levitate.*

His laboratory is his garage, kitchen, and other rooms in his apartment. Much of his apparatus seems to have come from military surplus stores.

Hutchison came on the scene around 1979, but he has not been able to convince the scientific community that he is anything more than a crackpot. The same qualities that repulse the scientific community endear Hutchison to the mass media: the lone wolf genius with no degrees or academic background who shows the world you don't need no education to find a source of unlimited energy that costs nearly nuttin. Of course, it goes without saying that there will always be military persons attracted to claims like those made by Hutchison. What general wouldn't want an army of levitating soldiers with unlimited power packs that cost and weigh next to nothing? Imagine tanks and planes protected by shields like those that protect the Starship Enterprise?

Hutchison has been profiled on The Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, National Geographic Channel (Is It Real?), and Nippon Television. He's also featured and discussed in various fringe science newsletters and websites. There is even a website devoted to his various hoaxes. Of course, some people take Hutchison seriously. For example, Mel Winfield even claims that he came up with the Hutchison effect first. Its proper name, according to Winfield is, "nucleonic energy." According to Wikipedia:

Nucleonic energy is a technological concept developed by Canadian autodidact and inventor Mel Winfield. It is energy obtained from the angular momentum of the nucleons (protons and neutrons) within an atomic nucleus. Whereas gravity dictates that the spin axes of nucleons are oriented towards the center of Earth, nucleonic energy allows for the axes to be reversed, or directed in any desired direction, in order to produce all forms of motion. This allows the Magnus effect to take effect on the nucleon, and presumedly [sic] cause levitation.

Winfield has written a book called The Science of Actuality, which seems to have been self-published and can be purchased from his website for $40, US or Canadian. Price does not include shipping.

Finally, there is a website devoted solely to 9/11 "anomalies" at the World Trade Center [WTC] that are being attributed to the Hutchison effect by Dr. Judy Wood and Hutchison himself. It's quite inventive. Many readers will be surprised to find out that "free energy technology, related to Hutchison Effect technology, was used to destroy the majority of the WTC complex [on 9/11].*

See also 9/11 conspiracies, free energy machine perpetual motion machine, and the Philadelphia experiment, voodoo science.

further reading

reader comments

links to other entries in The Skeptic's Dictionary on frauds and hoaxes


Park, Robert L. Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud (Oxford U. Press, 2000).


The "Hutchison Effect" ("I think it is self-evident from the above analysis that the reason no one else has been able to duplicate the "Hutchison Effect" is because they forgot to attach the string!")

The Discovery Channel is Bogus

Last updated 13-Dec-2015

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