Air Looms

James Tilly Matthews was committed to London’s Bedlam Asylum in 1797. He complained of an international conspiracy of persons using ‘influencing machines’ to produce illness and control the actions of others and called some of these devices ‘Air Looms.’ His case is considered the first possible documented case of paranoid schizophrenia. Matthews was apparently at turns perfectly lucid, intelligent and charismatic, but, later in life, he behaved in bizarre ways, uttered strange things and would behave erratically. Matthews claimed that during these periods, he was under control of an ‘air loom,’ a machine operated by criminals which used various gasses and other substances to control him. Mathews claimed that there was a wider ‘air loom’ conspiracy and members of Parliament were controlled by the gang.

But the ‘air loom’ is an example of an ‘influencing machine.’ These are devices that are believed to ‘control the mind’ of the subject. People believe in radio transmitters being inserted into their brains or mind control devices in the fillings of their teeth; perhaps belief in ‘influencing machines’ is an attempt by the patient to explain the voices and compulsions that they hear or feel. Consider Richard Shaver and his Deroconspiracy; Shaver believed the Dero  used ‘Telaug’ mind control devices to cause people to commit crimes and murders.  I find this stuff fascinating.
(The above fantastic illustration is by a psychiatric patient,  Jakob Mohr, circa 1910. It illustrates the manner in which he is being controlled by people using some sort of electronic/magnetic devices.)

Does anyone else find it strange that an Australian technology and networking company have named themselves ‘Airloom’? From their website: Airloom is a leading mobile technology services firm providing strategy, development, systems integration and managed services. The company builds strategy-driven mobile technology solutions that deliver measurable business results. “Yes, we have named our company after mind control devices imagined by an 18th century paranoid schizophrenic. Is there something problematic with our business paradigm?”

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