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The Attractometer


Hank Smith, a former resident of Lakota, sat in his room in Minneapolis and watched a broom straw suspended by a string from the ceiling swing wildly. He knew bad weather was on its way, despite the clear skies outside. Thirty-six hours later, Minneapolis had the worst storm in years.

The straw was part of an invention Smith called an Attractometer. The Lakota American reported on his invention today in 1925. Smith claimed the Attractometer measured gravity’s power and the sun’s energy. He found this by recording the movement of this straw. Each morning the straw would move toward the western limit of a 240 degree arc, and then travel to the eastern limit in the evening. Its movement was “as certain as the rising and the setting of the sun itself,” said Smith, and the University of Minnesota’s science department confirmed the Attractometer’s consistency.

Smith believes the sun’s energy, or “black rays” is responsible for the straw’s movement. Smith says tides are created by the pushing of black rays, and not the pulling of the moon. U of M agreed that the Attractometer’s records probably compared to those of the tide. The only time the straw does not follow this consistent arc is before a powerful windstorm, as Smith saw that afternoon in Minneapolis.

By Tessa Sandstrom


“Has former Lakota man upset Law of Gravity?” The Lakota American. August 13, 1925: 1, 4.