August 04, 1977| Credit: Dave Norris

The Mystery Of Sid Hurwich And The Machine That Could Freeze Time

On a night in 1969, Sid Hurwich sat in his home in Toronto as a line of police officers filed in through the front door.  The officers followed Sid into his dining room where they took seats or crowded around the table.  Underneath the table was what the men had come to see – a machine that Sid claimed could freeze time.

Once they were in the room, Sid alerted everyone that the device was active.  He then asked Officer Bolton, one of the officers in charge, to place his service revolver on the table.

Officer Bolton later gave his account of the strange event:

…it was under the table – the device, whatever it was – and there was a bedspread over the table. He froze my service revolver. You couldn’t pull the trigger, you couldn’t lift it up off the table and even on the table you couldn’t pull the trigger.

After Bolton, Sid surprised the group further.  He told them:

“…. Now take a look at your watches.” I remember one of them said, “When did this happen?” and I said, “The minute you walked through that door. You walked in there about 25 minutes ago. Now look at your watches. You’re late about 25 minutes.”’ As the security officers filed out of his home, Sid’s wife overheard one of them suggest that the army should be told about the device. ‘That was the first time it entered my mind for war or army purposes or anything like that.

Sid’s device had seemingly frozen time.  But who was this guy? And what did the device really do?  And why hasn’t everyone heard of it?

August 04, 1977| Credit: Dave Norris

August 04, 1977| Credit: Dave Norris


Sid had always been an inventor and a man good with his hands.  When he was only 9, he was already collecting bicycles and broken appliances to take apart and make into something new.  By 1934, with no training beyond high school, Hurwich had won a reputation as the first private appliance repairmen in Canada – before that only the manufacturers did repairs.

He built up his repair business and started a side company called SidCo, which made electrical parts. After a heart attack in 1950, he sold the business and went into a comfortable retirement at the age of 36.  But he never stopped tinkering.  19 years later, when he heard about a rash of bank robberies in town, he believed that he could help to stop them.

“It just clicked what to do,” Hurwich says.”I picked up the phone to the police – I knew a lot of the boys – and I told them I think I can stop those thieveries in about half an hour.”  Within a week Sid had assembled a working model to test his theory.  That’s when he invited over the officers to show them firsthand.

There isn’t much detail available on what happened to the device directly after this incident, but it pops back into the news into 1977.  According to an article in a British publication called Foreign Report, Sid Hurwich’s time-altering machine ended up in Israel where it was used by the military.

The device sends out electronic rays to alter the natural composition of electronic fields and centres of gravity of weapons, instrument dials and mechanical devices … (using) the Hurwich principle there was no reason why the new beams could not reach and disable tanks, ground-to-ground missiles and complete radar systems. The beams could also be tacked together to form a screen that would make whole zones safe from bombs and missiles”


Newspaper article on the “weapon”. Click to enlarge.

On July 3, 1976, the Israeli military conducted a successful raid to rescue 103 hijack hostages from Entebbe Airport.  Sid’s device reportedly played a role in this raid.  Hurwich was presented with the award of Protectors of the State of Israel in a ceremony in Toronto’s Besh Tzedec synagogue, on behalf of the Zionist Organization of Canada for a secret military device he had given Israel.  Hurwich himself said that he had delivered it to them, saying that “they needed it more than anybody, what with the Arabs saying they’d push everyone into the sea.”

So…why have we never heard of this thing?  Well, maybe for a simple reason.  Based on what Sid has said, it may not be as unique as it seems.  Hurwich has insisted that his device is not really an invention. He says that he simply “took one of the oldest basic principles of electricity and put it to a different use.”  While he also specified that “it can be aimed and its range depends on its power source” and “it will only work on objects that carry a current”, he won’t specify which principle or get into details in just how the device works.

Any magnet will stop a watch,” explains Dr. Howard White, a Toronto consulting engineer. “It sounds to me like a very high-intensity electromagnetic field that he is able to project, but I don’t know how he is generating it.  From jamming a few guns to jamming electronic equipment at long range is a very large leap. But anything’s possible.”

Hurwich never patented the device.  “It’s so easy to copy,” he says. “I’ve copied things from patents. Just make a few minor changes where they’d have a tough time in court proving I’d broken the patent.”

The time-freezing device seems destined to drift off to complete obscurity, but its too bad – it would have at the very least made for a pretty cool parlor trick.