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Inventing the Time Machine: Mysterious Disappearance of Mike Marcum

In early 1995, Mike “Madman” Marcum tried to build a time machine on the porch of his home in Stanberry, Missouri, United States. He began creating a device called the Jacobs Ladder.

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It uses a modified Compact Disc laser to reduce air resistance between two poles. This will produce a continuous arc. He saw an unusual result when turning on the device.

There was a heat mark, as you would see on a hot pavement, but it has circular shape like a vortex. So he decided to throw a sheet metal screw through the vortex to see the effect and what would happen. He claims it disappeared for about half a second, then reappeared a few feet away a second later.

At that time he was only 21 years old and he was a student majoring in electricity. When compared to his friends, Marcum can be said to be quite intelligent. Apparently, Marcum tried to build a time machine because he wanted to get the winning lottery numbers from the future. However, he had one problem that he needed a lot of power to make it work.

Jacobs Ladder
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After a few more tests, the CD laser caught on fire. He figured if he was going to rebuild the machine again, he might as well use larger transformers.

His original plan was to purchase the transformers, but they are quiet expensive. He resorted to the alternative. At the local power station there were 6 old transformers. Marcum stole six 300-plus pound transformers from a St. Joseph Light and Power generating station in King City, Mo.

While testing his experiments, he caused a mass blackout several blocks throughout his neighborhood. A few moments later, Gentry County Sheriff Eugene Lupfer arrest him with warrant inside his house on January 29, 1995 for stealing the transformers.

After several months in prison, Marcum was released. And then he was invited to become a guest for Art Bell on Coast to Coast Radio. He tells the story of the screw and his plans to build a time machine. He vows that from now on he will do it legally.

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Marcum told Art that he is still wanted to create another experiment but has neither money nor spareparts. During the interview, he gave his phone number and received non-stop calls for 3 days. The show really helped Marcum a lot because many listeners shared him with ideas, funding, and spareparts.

With his listeners’ help and donations, his next time machine project was more powerful and much bigger than the previous one.

While the original engine ran at the kilowatt rate, this time it was designed for 3 megawatts. Because he wanted to test the machine on himself.

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Also, Marcum installs a rotating magnetic field similar with the one that US military used in the Philadelphia Experiment. He said that the rotating magnetic field are more effective and efficient.

Art Bell had Mike Marcum as a guest again about a year later. Marcum claimed to be experimenting with a more sophisticated time machine. The electromagnetic vortex was big enough for a man to walk into.

Time machine of Mike Marcum

The interview ended with Marcum claiming to be on the cusp of generating the desired amount of voltage to run the machine. When asked what he would take with, he replied just his cell phone. At the end of the show, Mike decided to give his address instead of his phone number. Anyone who is interested can search his house on Google Earth.

During Marcum’s second, and last, appearance on Bell’s show in 1996, he said he was 30 days away from completing his “legal” time machine.

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On 1997 Mike Marcum has never been heard from since.

Shortly after Marcum disappeared a listener called the Art Bell show to talk about a strange story he had found. In the 1930’s police found a dead man on a beach in California.

He was crushed to death in a strange metal tube, the man was unrecognizable and a mysterious device was found near his body. The caller said the device looked like a cell phone.

This is where the story ends in many sources. But after the publication of the article, our colleagues from contacted us and told the real end of this whole story. Here’s what they wrote to us:

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“The last part of the story on Michael Marcum is incorrect. He is a member of my forum and his last known location as of just prior to the pandemic was in Hawaii living homeless on a beach. He was trying to get money raised to return to the mainland. He also had a go fund me about 2 years ago to try and further his experiments.”


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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.