Edgar L. Hollingshead

From Kook Science

Edgar L. Hollingshead
Edgar L. Hollingshead - portrait (c. 1915).jpg
As pictured in Men of Minnesota (1915)
Born 28 November 1871(1871-11-28)
Lapeer, Michigan
Died 25 February 1948 (76)
Los Angeles, California
Known for Odic-Activity

Edgar Lewis Hollingshead (November 28, 1871 - February 25, 1948) was an American engineer and inventor who received attention during the early 1920s for his reputed discovery of what he called Odic-Activity ("odic rays") and for his novel hypothesis that there is one universal substance moving at different atomic speed under the influence of one universal force, such that even gravitation, magnetism, and electricity can be seen as substance in motion rather than forces in their own right, all capable of being manipulated by changing the rate of speed.


Hollingshead on "One Substance, One Force"

As quoted in Henry Miller Porter's Universal Problems: A Busy Man's Theory of the Operations of Nature (Denver, Col.: The World Press, 1929).

"I have arrived at the demonstrable proposition that the universe was and is, with all its varied phenomena, created and continuously kept in motion by two primal force principles. The facts are, that a one substance and a one dynamic energy can account for all things else. One substance acted upon by one dynamic energy gives rise to all forms of matter. It assumes many forms under the action of variant degrees of primordial forces. All physical elements are but different degrees of speed and character of the atomic and electronic formations of the one substance. Likewise all of the so-called laws of nature, gravitation, magnetism, electricity, light, heat, sound and cohesion, are in reality the one substance in motion under different degrees of speed."

"One cannot conceive of force unless there is something moving, and if there is something moving it must be substance in some form, not necessarily physical matter. This substance forming the body of force must be governed and controlled by the same principle that governs all matter throughout the universe. The substance forming the body of force, such as the amperage of electricity, must be made up of eddies of force which corresponds to the molecules in solids; with this important difference, that the speed of the particles making up the eddies of force in the amperage of electricity are traveling in their minute orbits in an infinitely faster rate of speed than in the case of the particles or atoms forming the molecules of matter. Therefore, when scientists tell us that all matter is made up of minute eddies of force which are called molecules, atoms and electrons, it must be true. These eddies of force have been proven to be perfect counterparts of solar systems, their orbits or circles in which the particles revolve being so small and the speed so high, that matter appears to the senses of man as solids. We have it proven that all matter is created from one and the same substance; that the apparent difference in the character of matter is not due to the different physical elements, but is due solely to the difference in the speed and polarity of the atomic and electronic formation of the one substance."

"There are three phases of energy in every molecule, known as positive, negative and dominant. These manifest energy as follows: The Positive gives hardness; the Negative gives solidification, and the Dominant gives strength to matter; that weight is caused by the resistance set up by the atomic speed of matter to the flow or pull of gravitation, and by increasing the speed the weight is lessened."

It is per the above described physics that Hollingshead claimed that his odic-activity ray could be used to "increase the speed of the electron," producing an anti-gravity effect, among other useful innovations.

Press Coverage

  • UP (15 Apr. 1921), "CLAIMS NEW RADIO RAY DISCOVERED", Hanford Sentinel (Hanford, Cal.): 5,, "A new radio ray capable, when properly applied, of performing every known feat accomplished by the use of either radium or X-rays, has just been discovered by Edgar L. Hollingshead, scientist conducting extensive research here for several months. The discovery, it is declared, will revolutionize the scientific world in the treatment of certain diseases. The new radioactive ray can be generated at a cost so low as to amount to practically nothing. Prof. Hollingshead claims. At the same time it is superior to radium rays inasmuch as the rate of vibration or speed is far greater than the latter and can be changed or intensified. The polarity also can bo reversed. By a new electrical process the new ray is generated and because of the principles employed in generation, it is called odic activity. Prof. Hollingshead has been assisted In his research by Dr. L. Frank Johnson of Los Angeles, an honorary member of the Academy of Science of France, and C. L. Holton of the University of California. Prof. Hollingshead came to California about three years ago from Minneapolis. Minn., and established a laboratory to conduct researches." 
  • "WONDERFUL RADIUM NOW TAKES A BACK SEAT - Odic Activity Ray to Conquer the Air and Will Make Heavy Steel Ships as Light as a Feather - Used as Medicine Too", Silverton Standard (Silverton, Colo.): 1, 18 June 1921, 
  • "Odic-Activity To Conquer Air, Replace Radium, Discoverer Says", Hilo Daily Tribune (Hilo, Hawaii): 5, 18 June 1921, 
  • "Pasadena Man Has New Theory on Electricity", Riverside Daily Press (Riverside, Cal.): 1, 15 Sept. 1921,, "Today's electrical textbooks may soon be as useless as a 1914 map of Europe, if the new theory of the composition of electricity, just announced by Edgar L. Hollingshead, who recently perfected the 'Odic ray,' which he claims will supplant radium, X-ray and the violet ray, disregards all accepted theories when he states that electricity is substance in motion and not simply an energy or force, as heretofore held. Page Mr. Einstein." 
  • "Are X-Rays Outclassed by Powerful New 'Odic Ray'?", Popular Science Monthly (New York City: D. Appleton) 100 (3): 46, March 1922, 
  • "Anti-Gravity Ray Figment of Imagination", Herald Democrat (Leadville, Colo.): 3, 22 May 1923,, "The 'Odic Ray' that was to usher in an era of wingless, gasless flying machines, steel so light it would float and sure cures for cancer and other ills, has been pronounced a fraud. Dr. J. A. Anderson of the Mount Wllson Observatory and R. W. Sorenson, professor of electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, contradicted the claims of Edgar L. Hollingshead, alleged discoverer of the 'Odic Ray.' Hollingshead, who has obtained wide publicity for his discovery, bases his claims on the theory that for every force there is always an equal force in the opposite direction. Gravity is one of the forces. The 'opposite polarity of gravity,' he says is what keeps the balance. By using it Hollingshead was going to make the apple fall the other way, keep airships up and perform other stunts, all thru the 'Odic Ray.' Furthermore, he claimed, pictures could be made by the ray thru eleven inches of lead. Only a five-second exposure was necessary for the picture, he said. Hollingshead persuaded a number of physicians to provide funds for his investigations. His claim that the 'Odic Ray' was a sure cure for cancer and less dangerous than the X-ray was one of tho arguments that won support by physicians during the past three years. Recently he began further solicitation for funds. Dr. Anderson and Sorenson investigated. Dr. Anderson was taken to the Hollingshead laboratories, where he saw the discoverer take pictures thru lead. Then Dr. Anderson asked to have plates he had brot with him used. Hollingshead consented, but there was no sign of a photograph, it is alleged. Hollingshead declares he has worked fifteen years to perfect the 'Odic Ray,' but at present his laboratory is not open to investigation." 
  • "THE ODIC RAY", Chico Record (Chico, Cal.): 2, 22 May 1923,, "Of all the scientific marvels made known in recent years, surely none is more wonderful than the 'odic ray,' as described by Edgar L. Hollingshead, a physicist of Pasadena, Calif. By the use of this ray, Mr. Hollingshead is quoted as saying, gravity may be overcome and heavy substances made to behave as if they had no weight at all. Thus metal may be made lighter than any gas. And this without changing its strength or other qualities. Moreover, by means of the new ray, photographs similar to X-ray pictures may be taken through a foot of solid lead and half a foot of steel. All this 'odic' business is a complete mystery to most people. The word is from the noun 'od,' which a dictionary delines as 'a hypothetical force formerly supposed by some to pervade all nature.' It has been held responsible for the phenomena of hypnotism, animal magnetism, etc. Belief in it has been generally regarded, in modern times, as unfounded. Now if the scientists are going to take this medieval superstition and use it to look through armor plate and make heavy machinery lighter than air, we can believe almost anything. The odic ray should prove valuable in aviation. Just expose an airplane to the ray, and there will be no more danger of falling. The only difficulty will he in coming down. Men can fly like birds, using only their own leg power for propulsion, as they do on bicycles. If the human body can be freed from its bondage to gravity, a mere waving of the hands may suffice for flying. A pugilist could knock out any opponent without a bit of trouble by first exposing him to the odic ray. Anybody would go up in the air after such exposure." 
  • "Discovers Wonderful Odic Ray", Oak Creek Times (Oak Creek, Colo.): 1, 14 July 1923, 
  • "The Odic Ray", Brass World and Platers' Guide (New York: Brass World Pub. Co.) 19 (7): 208, July 1923,, "Gravity, it is said, can be overcome by the newly discovered odic ray, if Edgar L. Hollingshead, physicist at Pasadena, Cal., is right. The odic ray proves that electricity is an element or substance, just as wood, with a definite atomic speed. He declared that by the use of this any metal can be made to have a lighter weight than any known gas without in any way changing its strength; and that by the use of its radiation a photograph can be taken through 11½ in. of solid lead and 5½ in. of solid steel with five seconds' exposure. The new ray is based on the theory that electricity is an element or substance, with a definite atomic speed." 

Selected Bibliography

Selected Patents

  • US1262585A. Electrical Motor. 9 Apr. 1918, filed 30 Mar. 1916. Assigned to Power Developing Co. "My invention relates to improvements in electric motors of the induction type whose rotor is entirely free from winding, insulated bars, or electrical fittings of any kind the primary object being the production of a motor of maximum efficiency and simplicity and which is free from commutators, collector rings and unprotected insulated parts."