Wishing machine is an amplifier circuit for wishes. Basic idea is very simple: input of a small amplifier is connected to a copper plate and output is connected to some sort of antenna. Wish is inputted to the copper plate by touching the plate or putting a text or a picture on it. User must think about the wish very intensively, while the machine is amplifying it.
Device was designed by Colonel Henry Gros back in 1946. He started working on it with two gentlemen named Upton and Armston. We do not know much about these gentlemen, except that they had recently both lost their wives to cancer, and the motivation to develop this particular device came from searching new ways to help people whos life science can not save.
Wishing machine was made popular by William S. Burroughs. He found it from Harry G Stine’s book “On the Frontiers of Science: Strange Machines You Can Build yourself” (1985). Stine was a colourful figure, known as a science fiction author, father of the modern rocket hobbyism and for some obscure DIY books.
Burroughs seemed pretty enthusiastic about this particular machine, it does appear in his book “The western lands” (1987) and he gave a whole lecture about the subject titled “The Technology and Ethics of Wishing” at the Naropa University June 1986.
He seemed very confident about the efficiency of the machine, and in his lecture he tries to formulate both best practical ways to use it, and the ethical codes of conduct that should be followed using it.
Stine himself seemed bit perplexed about this particular device, since he could not figure out a proper scientific explanation on how it works, but had strong personal experiences it working in practice.
Particular Wishing machine displayed here was built by KOELSE for a project we did for Wasteland fest in Kouvola 2016. At the festival we were giving different electronic and sound treatments, and wishing machine was one of the machines we used.