Leonard Cheney

From Kook Science

Leonard W. Cheney (c. 1822 - November 30, 1895) was an American carpenter, harbour pilot, and sometime inventor who was interested in such eccentric pursuits as perpetual motion and astrological prediction. Newspaper accounts published in relation to an adultery charge brought against him in 1860, for which he served a year in prison, disparaged Cheney as "a miserable crack-brained vagabond" who had "spent most of his unprofitable life in trying to invent perpetual motion," while a 1887 report on his prophecies of catastrophic upheaval and claims to have proof that the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are populated by a "much higher type" of humanity, based on a brief interview given from his seclusion at a run-down farm in Grafton County, New Hampshire, found him treated somewhat more generously, being described as "a strange man" and "a hard student, spending all his time, summer and winter, indoors, over his books and inventions."

Press Coverage


  • "ARREST OF FREE LOVERS — LAW OPPOSED TO AFFINITY.", Cincinnati Daily Press (Cincinnati, OH): 4, 6 Apr. 1860, 
  • "LETTER FROM BOSTON.", Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, CA): 8, 30 Apr. 1860,, "Mrs. Abigail Pratt, a noted spiritual medium, who has practiced the healing art quite successfully for some years past, was arraigned before one of our Justices the other day, on the charge of scandalizing the good people of Chelsea by unlawfully taking to her bosom, in the absence of her husband, a miserable crack-brained vagabond, named Leonard Cheney, who aped the eccentricities of Diogenes by living as a hermit in a tenement not half so respectable as a tub, and who has, spent most of his unprofitable life in trying to invent perpetual motion. Mrs. Pratt candidly owned up to the soft impeachment, but declared it was the result of her spiritual affinity, which was the recognized law of the celestial spheres. The magistrate, however, gravely informed her that that was not the code embraced in the statutes, and proceeded to bind over this interesting pair of freelovers for trial on the charge of adultery."