Riley Davis

From Kook Science

Riley "Limpy" Davis (b. c. 1880) was an American burglary convict and explosives expert who escaped custody in 1923 while being transported to the University of Missouri to have his perpetual motion machine examined by experts, having convinced his guards to visit a spot he alleged was the burial spot of some $40,000 in stolen gold.

Press Coverage

Perpetual Motion Escape (1923)

  • "Wings On His Feet Are Perpetual Motion; Prisoner Going Yet", El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX): 2, 25 Apr. 1923,, "Jefferson City, Mo. — Riley Davis, an inmate of Missouri state penitentiary, was an inventor of perpetual motion machines. Davis was so ardent in his belief of perpetual motion that he persuaded penitentiary officials to allow him to go to Columbia, accompanied by another prisoner and two guards, to have a university specialist examine his invention. Perpetual motion worked well for Davis and his companions, for they continued on 100 miles beyond Columbia. Davis escaped by leaping from a motor car, and, according to the latest reports, is still in perpetual motion. His companion was held by the guards." 
  • "ESCAPED CONVICT IS RECAPTURED. Riley Davis, Inventor of 'Perpetual Motion' Machine, to Be Brought Back From Texas.", Moberly Monitor-Index (Moberly, MO): 2, 23 May 1923,, "Last April Davis persuaded prison authorities to grant him permission to go to the University of Missouri at guards, to submit his perpetual motion invention to experts at the University. While on the road Davis persuaded the prison guards to drive to a place near Marceline, Mo., where he declared that he knew that $40,000 in gold stolen from a bank in Linn County, had been hidden. When the car neared the spot where the gold was alleged to be buried, Davis leaped from the car and escaped. Gary Martin, another convict who was being taken on the trip, was prevented from escaping by the guards. Davis was sentenced to the penitentiary from Linn County, December 22, 1920, to serve fourteen years for burglary and larceny." 

Nitroglycerin Escape Plot (1927)

Paroled (1931)