Thomas E. Bearden is a legend in Tesla circles and the Free Energy pseudoscience community, including its (inevitably, given their revisionary views on the laws of physics) conspiracy theories, and he is – truth to be told – one of the most intensely unhinged crackpots to have walked the face of the earth.
Bearden is a “physicist” with no formal training, though he claims to have received a doctorate for “life experience and for life accomplishment.” That doctorate is from Trinity College and University, a British institution with no building, campus, faculty, or president, and is run from a post office box in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Bearden is well known as an inventor, and was the guy behind the “Motionless electromagnetic generator”, a device that claims over-unity operation, which would violate the first law of thermodynamics (the purported mechanism is based on the theory of electromagnetic fields, which Bearden evidently does not understand). Allegedly, the device could eventually sustain its operation in addition to powering a load without application of external electrical power, by extraction of vacuum energy from the immediate environment. No prototype has (unsurprisingly) been produced, even though Bearden predicted it would roll off the production lines in 2002. He has also invented a cure for all major diseases, but this is kept hidden from the public by the strenuous efforts of corporations and governments.
As for the conspiracies, Bearden has written extensively on a number of free energy technologies which he claims have been available for some time but are actively suppressed by government or private interests, including “the Japanese”, J.P. Morgan, and “a nuclear power plant consortium”. This one seems pertinent. Judging from his website, Bearden is also into HIV denalism, magical woo healing devices, and post-Soviet KGB collaborations with the Japanese government to shoot down American planes and manipulate weather and so on.
His most important discovery, apparently, is a hole in the theory of relativity: the viewpoint change represented by a shift of a reference-frame has real physical implications, Bearden thinks: by simply switching reference frames to one in which there is more energy, we can get energy (it is, of course, dressed up in fancier-sounding gobbledygook). So free energy is abundantly available: just shift perspectives. The idea is critically evaluated here.
Guess whether Bearden is fond of the Galileo gambit.
Bearden’s fanbase is enormous, including (as a small sample) Richard Hoagland, Xavier Borg (to be covered), Jeane Manning, Sara Summers & Vic Taylor, and one Billy Morgan. Indeed, you won’t walk the strange abysses of pseudoscience long before you encounter Bearden’s name.
Diagnosis: Possibly the ultimate crackpot, the every-element-of-critical-thinking-shortcomings and Dunning-Kruger rolled into one, the kind who – as opposed to creationists – actually test their ideas and exclaims “it works” when it fails miserably. Bearden has plenty influence among a particular group of people, but is probably relatively harmless even so.