January 18, 2004

Is this man the inspiration for Adam Rove?
Blagdon, who died in 1986 at 78, made "healing machines": ornate thickets of wire, aluminum-foil strips and wood scraps that he also called "my pretties." He was 48 when he began making these peculiar constructions, which grew to fill an 800-square-foot shed. Living in isolation, Blagdon devoted the rest of his life to his "machines." He believed they generated electromagnetic energy that could help cure arthritis and other ailments of people who stood near them. …

"We classified the wire pieces according to their shapes … . They identified groups of "cascades," in which necklacelike strings of wire objects dangle in vertical strips; "chandeliers," which resemble hanging lampshades or fluffy, daffy hats; and "balances," whose extended arms sport clusters of assorted wire elements like oversize charm bracelets.

…[Asked] to explain how his constructions generated energy. Like a Beckett character, Blagdon replied tersely: "I can't."

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