Surviving newspaper accounts and photographs from Dr. Pike’s tour of his facility represent some of the only documentation of his later thought processes and experimentation. He showed reporters what he called the “First Iteration” of the Electro-Mechanical Messiah, which was photographed and described by one witness as “a collection of bizarre brass and steel, partially built into a heavy drawing-room table.”

“The First Iteration is mostly mechanical and electrical, but we intend that each succeeding iteration will add in more biology until it is in perfect balance and harmony,” Pike is recorded as saying. “Instructions to me, relayed through electrically amplified seances from my 23 mentors, have provided all that I need for my Mary to imbue the machine with a spark of life. Then, inhabited by the messiah of the universal consciousness, it will direct us in the next iteration’s construction–possibly building it on its own!”

When one of the reporters asked who the “Mary” was, and how exactly she would imbue the machine with a spark, Pike merely winked and said that it was as simple as giving birth. He refused to divulge any further details. There were several women among the disciples present that day, and the interviewers speculated that the “electro-mechanical Mary” was one of them.

Needless to say, the episode did not have the effect that Dr. Pike intended it to. The articles made him both a laughingstock and an object of intense religious fear, and most of his significant backers withdrew in embarrassment. Deprived of the funds needed to continue, Pike’s followers largely deserted him and his final experiment was attended by only a handful of his most faithful adherents.

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