Hackers and the Occult – Wizards of Technology

Hackers – heroes of the computer revolution
Steven Levy
page 224-225


But Les Solomon had more magic to transmit. One of the stories he would tell, stories so outrageous that only a penny pincher of the imagination would complain of their improbability, was of the time he was exploring in pursuit of one of his “hobbies,” pre-Columbian archeology. This required much time in jungles, “running around with Indians diging, pitching around in dirt . . . you know, finding things. It was from those Indians, Les Solomon insisted, that he learned the vital principle of vril, a power that allows you to move huge objects with very little force. . . . .

(Perhaps vril was the power that Ed Roberts was talking about when he realized that his Altair would give people the power of ten thousand pyramid-building Egyptians.) According to his story, Solomon met a venerable Brujo and asked if he might learn this power. Could the brujo teach him? And the brujo complied. . . .

Outside of SLAC were huge picnic tables with concrete bases. Solomon had the Homebrew people touch their hands on one of the tables, and he touched i, too. They simply had to think it would rise.

Lee Felsenstein later described the scene: “He’d said, ‘Hey let me show you . . .’ We were hanging on his every word, we’d do anything. So about six people surrounded the table, put their hands on. He put his hand on top, squinted his eyes and said, ‘Let’s go.’

And the table raised about a foot. It rose like a harmonic motion, [as elegant as] a sine wave. It didn’t feel heavy. It just happened.”

Afterward even the participants, save Solomon, were not sure that it had really happened. . . . Homebrew Club was sitting atop the power of vril.