In the early 1920's Ed Leedskalnin, a 5-foot, 100-pound Latvian immigrant with a 4th-grade education, began his work on what he called "Rock Gate Park" and is now known as Coral Castle, in Florida. You may have seen it on television. It is made out of 1,100 tons of coral that he quarried, moved, and sculpted all by himself. Then, in the late 1930's, he moved the whole thing to a new location ten miles from the original location.
Almost no credible witness saw him build it. He worked at night by lantern, with no help. No one knows how he moved stone blocks of many tons from one place to another, or how he placed one on top of another. The chains, levers, and pulleys, that photographs suggest he used, could not support the weight.
Leedskalnin himself wouldn't explain his engineering achievement, though he claims no magical powers. But he did claim that he knew the secrets of the ancient wonders such as the pyramids of Egypt. He said that modern science is wrong and that nature is quite simple to understand. He also published pamphlets on magnetism, which suggested a perpetual-motion device could be constructed.
The Amazing Randi has for years offered $1,000,000 "to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power."
If I had a billion dollars, I'd propose a more interesting offer: all expenses paid, and $10,000,000, to any person who, using no more than tools and technology available in the 1920s-30s, can reconstruct even a portion of Coral Castle by him- or herself. Applicants would have to explain their theory and method, and the one with the best explanation will receive a good salary, all expenses paid, and ten million dollars upon successful completion within a reasonable deadline. But I'd reserve the offer only to professors and other members of the respected Scientific Community. Lone eccentrics, fired professors, and "pseudo-scientists" would be disqualified. I would, instead, give just them a $5 million-dollar prize, because they would have no reputation to lose.
And then I would dare respectable scientists and scholars to come up with a convincing theory for these ten archeological anomalies that challenge the accepted time-table of history. I'd give a prize to the best scientific/historical explanation from academics, and an equal prize to the best "alternative" theory from pseudo-scientists and supposed cranks, and release them both to the public to let the people decide which is most convincing.
Now let's say I earn my billion and attempt to follow through on these plans. Would anyone wanna bet that "men in black" will appear at my door and "persuade" me to cancel these offers?
If I were a member of Congress and proposed legislation to offer these prizes - with a total cost of no more than a hundred million dollars and which could increase our understanding of the universe by several magnitudes - would anyone wanna bet the bill would never get out of committee?
Corporations would oppose the bill, because the theories offered may have interesting implications for propulsion technology and health. After all, marijuana and industrial hemp have near-infinite practical uses, yet the government suppresses cannabis because, unlike oil and complex pharmaceuticals, corporations can't control its distribution. A persuasive theory that changes the way we understand energy and the universe will have technological implications that the Corporations and the State can't control.
But I suspect that Church would also oppose the bill. The Church, of course, isn't as monolithic as it was 600 years ago. But influential individuals throughout the denominations of Christianity have an awful lot riding on the status quo. Some thrive on the evolution/creation debate, or atheism/Christianity, and any theory that threatens the contemporary Christian worldview is better ignored than acknowledged. Others focus on "social justice" issues, and enlarging the power and scope of the State is essential to their agenda. In any case, if someone could duplicate Leedskalnin's technology and cause stones to levitate (if that is indeed what the technology involved), maybe he could learn to walk on water. If even Jesus's miracles have a scientific explanation, that could be an even greater threat to the faith than those who doubt God's existence. Better to ignore the issue and accept things on faith.
Academia would also oppose it. The eccentrics like Leedskalnin are best left ignored, as are any artifacts or theories that challenge that status quo. After all, universities are beholden to State funding. And this causes faculty to make conclusions that are in line with State interests. For example, most university economists are from schools of thought that imagine what the State can do for the economy, while economists who explain what the State can't do are in the minority. So if someone comes along with a theory that disproves all the respectable assumptions regarding the natural world, and proves that scarcity can be abolished with the appropriate technology, modern science would be discredited and the State would be exposed as unnecessary.
Those who have power and prestige can't imagine life without them. There are signs - not proofs, but signs - that the natural world and history as they really are, are not what we've been taught. And a new understanding may alter human consciousness, if it is determined that what passed for "human nature" was really perceptions and desires based on myths instead of reality.
If Leedskalnin and/or others really did have the an understanding of the universe that made a perpetual-motion machine possible, by all means we should try to discover it. The reason we don't is that too many self-interested parties fear what the discoveries might lead to. And that's one reason to distrust offices of power and those who hold them.