The Tesla Mystique
Nikola Tesla, The Philadelphia Experiment,
HAARP and Other Folklore
By George B. Trinkaus
© 2008. Republished with permission.
“Despite his obscurity, the greatest genius of all time was Nikola Tesla. Geniuses like Tesla and Einstein come along only every 50 years or so. Tesla was a humanitarian idealist consumed by a passion to save the world from poverty and war. An extraterrestrial from Venus, Tesla was a superhumun inventor who had the uncanny ability to visualize the operation of machines in his head. Tesla, the prodigal genius, the forgotten genius, the sorcerer, the man out of time, the wizard with lightning in his hands. Tesla’s abstruse, esoteric electric technology is best interpreted by experts in quantum physics and scaler electromagnetics.”
“In his old age, forgotten and penniless, Tesla was murdered by agents of the U.S. government in a seedy Manhattan hotel room, his papers confiscated and disappeared by the FBI. Tesla’s technology continues to be undisclosed to the public and instead is directed into black projects, like the Philadelphia Experiment, and HAARP.”
“Antigravitic UFOs are Tesla technology, as are the quantum-vacuum, zero-point energy generators that drive them. Tesla’s technology has brought us the Tesla Scaler Potentizer, the Teslar wristwatch, and the Tesla electric sportscar. It was Tesla’s magnifying transmifrer that caused the devastating Tunguska explosion of 1908. A contemporary black-project version underground in Canada accidentally brought about the East Coast blackout of 2003.”
The preceding will pass as intelligent Tesla-speak on late-night talk radio, on the internet, and at cocktail parties. The italics above contain some direct quotations from the literature: other examples are more periphrastic: all are consistent with the idiom of the Tesla Mystique.
The Mystique sentimentalizes, romanticizes, and mystifies the memory of Nikola Tesla. The Mystique is determined to make Tesla awesome, fantastic, and beyond comprehension. The Mystique is an intellectual fashion wave that distorts biography, history, and science. It is a vogue that has been embraced by fringe media and dabbled wrth by mass media. The Mystique is taking root in the culture as official truth. The Mystique has no critics.
The Mystique must make Tesla a paragon of character in all directions. For example:
Tesla, the Humanitarian
The sentimentalized Tesla becomes the humanitarian idealist fighting the establishment for the benefit of human society. Contrary to the Mystique, Tesla was above all an engineer. Engineering was his education, his consuming passion, his daily practice. Tesla the engineer incidentally might have hoped that his inventions would advance society toward peace, convenience, comfort, and a more efficient use of human energy. Incidentally.
Tesla was indeed an idealist. His idealistic passion was that of the engineer. He insisted that machine possibilities be carried to their ultimate, logical, evolutionary conclusions. He had an incorrigible respect for his own inventive instincts. Let’s respect Tesla for all of that in his character. Is it not enough? But the Mystique requires a saintly paragon.
“The Mystique would give us a
liberal-humanitarian Tesla, politically
correct according to the modern etiquette.”
Tesla’s inventing pushed forward relentlessly, sometimes oblivious to ruling-system interests. That is heroic. Tesla’s dream for the ultimate realiiation of his wireless was a “World System”. His ill-fated tower at Wardencliff (near Shoreham, Long Island) was to be the prototype magnifying transmitter for a global communications network. It was to propagate both broadcast and point-to-point wireless, including telephone, telegraph, stock tickers, teletype, even FAX, as well as voice and music on a global scale, a monopolist’s dream.
The Wardencliff magnifying transmitter also may have had the potential to be a utility that could propagate electric power wirelessly through the earth to industry and homes in the area. But this potential is not pushed in the “World System” brochure which was published to promote the project.
Did Tesla advertise this wireless-power capabilitly to his financier- J.P Morgan? Did a humanitarian Tesla threaten capitalism with free electric power, and thus drive Morgan to halt the project, as the Mystique would have us believe?
Not necessarily. The project’s formidable telecommunications capability in itself may have been enough to induce Morgan to kill Wardencliff. Tesla’s grandoise dream would have taken radio right off the bat into a global centralization not quite achievable even today. No multinational institutional structure, corporate or governmental, existed at the time upon which such a svstem could have been founded. At the turn of the century the J.P. Morgans might have been dreaming globalistically, but it would be thirty years before the moguls could establish radio networks on a national scale.
The Mystique would give us a liberal-humanitarian Tesla, politically correct according to the modern etiquette. Unfortunately, he does not fit the template. Pure technologists like Tesla tend toward a mechanistic social view. To Tesla, human society was a machine, and it needed perfecting. Tesla saw his World System as a civilizing force. He wrote, “It will be very efficient in enlightening the masses, particularly in uncivilized countries and less accessible regions.”
What did Tesla mean by “civilization?” He said, “No community can exist and prosper without rigid discipline.” He said, “Law and order absolutely require the maintenance of organized force.” Tesla, a believer in organized military force, invented weapons of war (robotic boats and submarines, death rays, etc.) which he tried to sell to the US Navy and to the Department of War.
The Mystique would make Tesla a pacifist, because the inventor idealized a mechanized, automated, robotic warfare which would replace human participants entirely with machines (a misunderstanding of the institution of war, which depends upon human destruction and terror). Tesla foresaw weapons of mass destruction and the possibility of a lasting world peace based on mutually-assured-destruction, but this is a Kissinger pacifism.
Tesla, the inventor of wireless and remote control, foresaw the “teleautomatic” warfare of today in which robotic Predator aircraft, controlled from a bunker in Nevada, deliver bombs and missiles upon Afghanistan. Sorry, but if we credit Tesla with remote control, this insidious connection can be made.
Tesla, the purist engineer, advocated a social engineering that included eugenic cleansing. He said government “should prevent the breeding of the unfit by sterilization and the deliberate guidance of the mating instinct.”
Humanitarian or totalitarian? You decide.
Tesla, the Genius
Granted, if the word genius has any meaning, it would apply to a Nikola Tesla. The issue is, how much meaning can any word have when it becomes cliché? When you utter “Tesla” in conversation, if vou don’t hear “who?” you will get back “genius” within five seconds. Try it.
Tesla could visualize machines working in his head! But can’t any mechanical thinker? Yet one hears this all the time.
Is there a Tesla biographv with a title that has in it no “genius” or variation thereof? A magazine journalist of the l940s, John O’Neill, authored a panegyric called Prodigal Genius (1946), which has become institutionalized as the standard. O’Neill’s enthusiasm may have been genuine, his biography eloquent and respectably researched, but his spin is an echo of the newspaper hype of Tesla’s heyday. O’Neal’s biography (still reprinted today) set precedent for the obligatory promotional idiom that permeates almost all of Tesla biography as well as almost all other discourse on the man and his work.
“Tesla, the great mathematical and physics genius, came up with an idea called zero-point energy,” quacks Michio Kaku. the string theorist, who has been declared a genius himself.
“Would the electrical age ever
have happened without Nikola Tesla?
Perish the thought, says the Mystique.”
In his heyday, Tesla was exploited as the poster-boy for the emerging electric-power utility industry that was exploiting his AC inventions. Far from obscure, Tesla circa 1900 was as famous as Thomas Edison. The press romanced a genius Tesla to the public in the process of promoting this industry, which would develop into the omnipotent monopolies of Samuel Insull, the modern grid, and Enron. Of course, later, the media would turn on their pet genius and try to render him invisible, limiting his exposure to an annual birthday press conference.
The Tesla brand was used by the system and then abruptly disposed. But the brand has seen a revival today in various products, including the Tesla sportscar (which does have a plausible claim in that today’s electric cars use AC motors derived from Tesla’s).
Would the modern electrical age never have happened without Nikola Tesla? Perish the thought, says the Mystique. Tesla’s alternating-current meshed with the needs of an industrial system which could not have expanded nationally into today’s expansive grid on Edison’s puny direct- current system. But it’s arguable that the alternators, motors, and transformers which the system needed in order to progress might have been invented by one or more “geniuses” other than Tesla. The Mystique shudders at the thought.
Tesla inherited a pre-modernist physics that allowed him exceptional latitude for exploring technological possibility, which may be one reason modernists, in their envy, feel they must ostracize him from humanity as a special case, a genius. Some differentiate Tesla as so exceptional that he must have come from another planet.
The mad-scientist cliché is another instance of the differentiated, special-case Tesla. That genius Tesla was so weird, possibly insane. The scary spark streamers in horror films issue from the coils of that mad scientist, Tesla. Biographers dwell on the eccentricities of their genius: the hand-washing, the stack of napkins at Delmonico’s, the refusal to shake hands. Wrapping Tesla in cliche’ is a way not to see him.
Genius cliche’ aside, can we responsibly describe Tesla as having exceptional insight, that he was a sensitive, meaning one who has retained the original insight into nature of the child? That is certainly supportable when argued from the borderland by a Gerry Vassilatos.
One work that provides relief from the pervasive genius cliché (although the title does have that ring) is Enigma Fantastique by W. Gordon Allen (Health Research) The book parallels Tesla’s life with that of Rudolf Steiner. It was Tesla’s distinctive education that made him special, says Allen. Jesuit instructors played apart, as did various mystical schools circulating in Eastern Europe when Tesla studied at Gruz. These stressed an unusual self-discipline of both mind and body, and the development of powers of rigorous self-application. Tesla’s distinctive strengths are these. The genius sentimentality is a disfavor to Tesla and to the concept of human potential in general.
Tesla, the Victim
The victim cliché dovetails with the genius one, and it feeds upon inventors (as it does writers, musicians, and artists). Thus the Mystique would have our genius dying in poverty. His death by murder is sometimes in the script (by government agents), and the myth has all of his work stolen and suppressed.
It’s true that, after being dumped by J.P. Morgan, Tesla suffered economic humiliations. For example, there is evidence that he was forced to pawn his interest in Wardencliff to the Waldorf Hotel in an attempt to cover his debt. But the Mystique fails to appreciate that Tesla died at age 87 of natural causes, not in poverty, but in his rooms at the New Yorker, a commodious midtown hotel, which is not quite the Waldorf but a nice situation for a senior citizen, being a little city unto itself with restaurants, shops, and services, (a nifty habitat, testifies this writer, who stayed at the New Yorker more than once in his college days, fifteen years after Tesla’s death). The New Yorker Hotel was a very decent place for a venerable inventor to live out his last days.
The Mystique celebrates Tesla as the Serbian immigrant who made good, but culturally the cosmopolitan Tesla over the years had become a New Yorker.
Tesla’s papers and belongings at the Hotel New Yorker indeed were confiscated by the government, not by the FBI, but by a department that once existed within Immigration called the Division of Alien Property. It may be true that many of Tesla’s New Yorker notes got disappeared, and we may yearn to see them, but it is a distortion to dwell lugubriously on this, for we have so much of Tesla’s technology raw – in a hundred or so US patents in print for years and now easily accessed on the Internet. Also in printed volumes have been Tesla’s collected Lectures, Patents, Articles and a rich and copious document on radio technology called Colorado Springs Notes. Tesla, a gifted writer, wrote his own little autobiography called My Inventions. This writer has edited and published Tesla’s The True Wireless.
Consider also all the material unearthed by Leland Anderson, John Ratzlaff, Gerry Vassilatos and others. Vassilatos mined Tesla’s notes in archives found in the annex of the New York Central Library. Biographer Marc Seiffer mined the National Archives in Washington, DC, and in the Tesla Museum in Belgrade. By no means has the available wealth of Tesla material been totally explored and digested. Those who are demanding government “disclosure” of free energy and antigravitics, have thev exhausted the government’s open patent archives? Also, a lot of accessible Tesla has been ignored because it is just too nonconforming and deep.
“How many who have ventured into the
uncertain profession of inventing can
claim such good fortune?”
Many accounts tell of Tesla being the victim, not just of J.P. Morgan., but also of George Westinghouse. It’s true that Westinghouse signed that dollar-per-horsepower contract with Tesla, from which he might have made millions in royalties on the alternators, motors, and transformers Westinghouse manufactured. It is true that Westinghouse tore up that generous contract. But it is generally unappreciated that J.P. Morgan was standing behind Westinghouse with a pistol to his back, so to speak, for Morgan then was financing Westinghouse, as he financed Tesla, Edison, and other US industrial pioneers. J.P. Morgan was the banking link between New York and the London House of Morgan. Such pipelines of capital from Europe drove the US industrial revolution.
It is true that Tesla’s later work invited suppression, but so many of his inventions did make it into patent. The system tried to delete the Tesla name, but it nevertheless persistently did live on, underground, floating on the inventor’s former fame, until resurrected in the 1980′s, albeit unofficially, and Tesla’s fame has been growing ever since.
Victim? How many who have ventured into the uncertain profession of inventing can claim such good fortune? Given the fate of inventors generally, Tesla, the victim, fared very well. Compare the innumerable inventors whose work goes forever unknown, including so many who did make it into patent, whom you might run across in a subject search, find just as clever as that genius Nikola Tesla, but who will remain forever in obscurity never to be celebrated by any mystique.
The Philadelphia Experiment and Other Folklore
Did Tesla have anything to do with an item of folklore called “The Philadelphia Experiment?” This sci-fi fantasy, widely circulated as serious history, tells of a Navy experiment in making warships invisible. The experiment went haywire, goes the story, dematerializing a vessel in Philadelphia only to have it rematerialize, crew and all, in Norfolk. The Philadelphia Experiment has become a major fixture in the Tesla Mystique. “Tesla technology” is vaguely imputed to the phenomenon, and the story (evidently a tavern yarn that got into book and out of control) has Tesla on board as a technical participant.
The story is set in the year 1944. However, Tesla died in 1943 (January). A review by the Department of Naval Research found no evidence to support the tale, and an independent military historian has searched in vain in all imaginable Naval records for any clue that would corroborate this incredible event (see footnote).
Does Tesla’s peculiar radio technology really have anything to do with another govemment experiment called HAARP? This notorious black project indeed exists on some acrmge in Alaska and is indeed an experimental project in radio, which Tesla invented. But Tesla’s radio is longwave, and HAARP is shortwave, a band of frequencies (3 – 30 megacycles) that Tesla may have never explored and that he assumed were relatively ineffective compared to the low-frequency band (under 500 kilocycles). Also HAARP’s alleged experiment is said to be the stimulating and heating of an ionosphere, which Tesla insisted does not exist and would have absolutely no effect on radio propagation if it did (The True Wireless).
That a Siberian forest near Tungusta rvas leveled in 1908 by a 15-kiloton blast from Tesla’s magnifying transmitter sited at the opposite side of the earth is a bizarre rumor that will not die. Never mind that Tesla at this time had no magnifying transmitter to play with, assuming this machine could conceivably have any such power.
That a super-size Tesla coil secreted underground in Canada accidentally created the summer 2003 East Coast electric-grid blackout is a story that played on Art Bell one night but never gained traction.
“Patents may be the only sound footing
in the mythic world of Tesla.”
UFOs, antigravity? Both are associated with Tesla. But there are just a few speculative notes, and his few aircraft patents use conventional air-flow lift. Some antigravity experimenters employ the Tesla-coil as a high-voltage power supply. Some UFO researchers speculate that flying saucers use dual out-of-phase Tesla coils in the levitation drive.
Compounding the Tesla Mystique is the inventor’s anticipation of technologies unknown to the general public until the 1960′s, like fluidics, cryogenics, and computer logic. That Tesla is original and has priority in these arts is assumed by enthusiasts, but confirmation would require extensive searches among patents filed by other inventors of the period. So much innovation gets lost in the patent archives.
Tesla is celebrated for an interesting electric-ray device which he introduced to the press as a death ray. He explored this clever vacuum invention in laboratory prototypes, and drawings exist in the literature, but he never put it into patent. Because of one cavalier utterance by Tesla at a birthday press conference, the death ray was sensationalized by the media and given disproportionate prominence compared to many other newsworthy Tesla inventions that did get into patent but which the press ignored. All of Tesla’s other fascinating work in electric-ray technology is generally ignored and unappreciated even today.
So much fantasy, folklore, and disinformation swim around Tesla that a writer venturing into these waters has difficulty finding any secure footing. This writer, had the good fortune of first encountering Tesla solely in patents (having stumbled upon a complete set that someone had photocopied at the National Archives, prior to these becoming available in book). Surveying the field, even as the literature was developed back then in the early eighties, this writer soon concluded that the patents may be the only sound footing in the slippery mythic world of Tesla.
It’s a good idea for any writer on Tesla to ground himself in some hands-on experimental Tesla circuit-building projects, such as the Tesla coil, before he claims to know his subject. Such grounding can help protect a writer from being consumed by the Mystique. To focus on Tesla’s life instead of on his work opens a door into the Mystique, and a special objectivity and discipline is required. It may be safer to start with the technology and work outward. Almost all of contemporary biography has been hopelessly infected by the Mystique.
What Tesla Really Did
These are the contributions of Tesla to the technology of civlization, to the patent archives, to knowledge: Tesla invented the 60-cycle AC power system that runs civilization today, the dynamos, transformers, motors, regulators and arc lamps. This technology established, along with his own wealth and fame, Tesla went on inventing. A turning point was 1891, when Tesla applied for patent 462,418, a Method and Apparatus for Electrical Conversion and Distribution. His first high-frequency lighting patent, the system was powered by a spark-gap oscillator like that which would drive his Tesla coil. In 1891 began a stream of inventing that produced the Tesla coil, radical non-filament lighting devices, electrotherapy, the magnifying transmitter, wireless power, and radio.
Although much of Tesla’s high-frequency work got into patent, most never went into manufacture, and some which did, like radio, did so under another’s name, like Marconi’s. (Tesla’s priority in radio, after decades of litigation, was finally decided by the US Supreme Court in 1944.)
Few of Tesla’s explorations into ray technology got into patent, and this third phase of his experimental life is under-documented considering its
implications. (See the work of Gerry Vassilatos, if you can find it.)
Tesla’s past includes this misty period in Canada in the 1930′s which may have included accomplishments unsung. A reader in rural Quebec, a ham, wrote to me that locals talk of Tesla constructing a practical wireless utility that successfully transrnitted power for 70 miles from Chambord to LaTuque.
Free energy? Tesla did patent a fundamental space-energy-receiver concept in 1901, Patent 685,957. A space-energy receiver collects ambient energy and converts it to a practical electric output. A very crude space-energy receiver is the solar-electric panel. That Tesla ever pursued space-energy into any working prototlpes is very likely but difficult to document.
Tesla’s nephew wrote an account of a 1931 drive in his uncle’s customized Pierce Arrow, which was powered by an 80 hp AC electric motor that was apparently supplied, not by any massive battery-pack, but by a space-energy receiver. Consisting of a circuit having twelve rectifier vacuum tubes, operating cold-cathode, in a box resembling a radio receiver and measuring about 24 by 12 by 6 inches, the device powered the heavy vehicle for a 50-mile drive at speeds of up to 90 mph. Now this would be the ultimate electric vehicle. As he drove, Tesla boasted to his nephew that his free-energy device could supply the electrical needs of any household with power to spare. Hopefully, the story is true, but there is only this one account to go by. It belongs to a period of Tesla’s life about which not much is known.
“Space energy is evident in a lightning bolt,
but it is a most taboo truth.”
Lurking perhaps in Tesla’s confiscated notes are drawings of practical table-top space-energy power plants. Subsequent inventors have demonstrated similar successful devices (Morey, Plauson, Coler, Hendershot, Stubblefield) but they have received more punishment than reward for their efforts.
Tesla said, “Electric power is everywhere present in unlimited quantities and can drive the world’s machinery without the need for coal, oil, gas, or any other fuel.” This truth is a most taboo truth, but it is evident in a lightning bolt (and consider especially the phenomenon of above-cloud lightning).
It’s fashionable to say that the conversion technology required to put free energy into practice is way off in the future or locked up in government files awaiting “disclosure.” Yes, but only if you ignore all of the archived patents and other available literature, which in the aggregate would supply more than enough knowledge to go to the developmental workbench.
If it is true, as Tesla said, that electric energy is everywhere present and can be harnessed for practical use, then energy-scarcity must be all myth. Scarcity, one could argue, is contrived and advertised, not on the basis of any known scientific truth, but upon scientific fictions propagated in order to better control the population. Which is to say that the entire world has been vaccinated wrth a conviction that electric energy is a finite, limited, esoteric resource that must be centrally generated, conserved, controlled, and paid for by the kilowatt hour.
Follow the logic, and you can argue that contrived scarcity is the ruling system’s rule in respect to all energy sources, ether-electric, petroleum, or whatever. Tesla ran afoul of this rule of rules.
The Quantum Tesla
It was inevitable that quantum, which is buzz-word number one in fashionable scientific parlance, would attach itself to buzz-word number two, Tesla. Quantum true-believers are uneasy with Tesla, and think it necessary to invest a huge volume of verbiage and intellectual energy in a misguided effort to reconcile Tesla’s electrics with modern quantum theory. Tesla’s science was premodern, unfortunately, so the quantums must “interpret” Tesla in “correct” modernist terms.
“There is no such thing as an electron.”
Tesla took for granted a science that had served research faithfully for at least 150 years. This Victorian inventor (who was “a man out of time,” according to the Mystique) had no respect for the quantum theory that was becoming fashionable in his own lifetime. Nor did Tesla have any good words for Einstein’s relativity, which he called “A massive deception wrapped in a beautiful mathematical cloak.” Nevertheless, quantum interpreters like to mix in some Einstein with their Tesla. From the same Einsteinian fashion that gives us time-warps and warp-speed comes the likes of: “One way to visualize a Tesla scaler wave is to regard it a pure oscillation of time itself.” What a turn-off is this jargon to the innocent who encounters it in a search for some real knowledge of Tesla technology!
A quantum Tesla? “There is no such thing as an electron,” said Tesla. That item of quantum vocabulary, “electron”, is not to be found anywhere in his writings. Somebody should print this quotation on tee shirts and conduct a campaign to stamp out the fashion that requires such excruciating utterances as: “A Tesla coil is a quantum action device … if the phase of a split quantum particle is changed, its conjugate partner instantly knows …”
Go all the way with the quantum-particle-electron and you’ll eventually get to the glib, buzzy Dr. Kaku, who has his electrons “darting in and out of parallel universes.” (Admit this language into your mind as meaning, and it is your loss.)
Tesla was not a theoretical physicist. Although his writings include some very articulate and suggestive musings in both physics and metaphysics, he asserted no systematic dogma. This is unfortunate, because it left a vacuum to be filled later by quantum-educated Tesla enthusiasts who take Einstein, Star Trek, and Kaku for granted. It becomes another way of suppressing Tesla, by co-option, by obfuscation.
“A tenuity beyond perception.”
Tesla thought science took a wrong turn when it adopted the quantum and Einsteinian. Premodern science is qualitative. Modern science is quantitative. It materializes the immaterial universe, particle-izes it, counts it, mathematizes it, while discounting the qualitative, the immaterial, the subtle, the etheric, the cosmic, the poetic. You may be quantum and Einsteinian, but it is an error to impute any of this constrictive dogma to the expansive, visionary Nikola Tesla.
Tesla came in on the ground floor of experimental particle physics with his exploration of x-rays (co-incident with Roentgen’s explorations). X-rays, he once observed, were “streams of matter.” The vocabulary of particle physics he otherwise avoids. The materialistic philosophy of quantum, which promises to find the universe in a quark, would be completely alien to Tesla’s cosmic view, in which the ether is the universal continuum, immaterial, a field permeating all of matter and all of space, “a tenuity beyond perception.”
Tesla was not straining for a “unified field.” He inherited the concept. The pervasive universal etheric continuum is the medium of all electric phenomena. Charge, potential, polarity, conduction: all can be understood as instances of some stress, or disequilibrium, in the continuum of the ether. Free energy for Tesla would be derived from a disturbed spontaneously energetic continuum, the taboo ether.
Ether theory is unbound by the sacrosanct speed-of-light C-constant of Plank and Einstein, which is used to preclude the possibility of instant action. Ether theory allows for phenomena at “superluminal” velocity. That is, a disturbance of the ether’s equilibrium at one point can create an instantaneous corresponding disturbance elsewhere, like the action of a mechanical lever.
Quantum theory fragmented the continuum into particles, but physics had to call in the clever Dr. Kaku to tie it all back together with “strings.”
A tenuity beyond perception? Way too tenuous, say the modernists, who must materialize this mystery into “a quantum sea of point particles in motion.” This from Moray King, who located his particle motion at a “zero point,” hence “zero-point energy,” or ZPE. It’s amazing how this zippy vocabulary has caught on. Just don’t ask its users to define their terms. Some closet etherists will cloak their theoretical utterances in quantum-speak in order to pass.
Consider the following musing from Tesla regarding the mysterious properties of the human eye: “A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes of nature.” Such an utterance from a proper modern academic is inconceivable. Horrors; it’s almost astrology. However, to the premodernist mind, such reflections were part of science.
Quantum-style interpreters like to mix Tesla with the modernist radio theory of Heinrich Hertz, a theory which Tesla vehemently rejected. To Tesla, wireless was not a light-like, radiation, which is reflective and refractive. Wireless Tesla understood as “compressions and rarefactions of the ether,” an ether disturbance, “like a wave … in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all,” he said.
Neo-Herzian Tesla enthusiasts claim that, at Colorado Springs, Tesla’s signals propagated by bouncing about inside of a resonant “Schuman cavity,” presumed to exist between the earth and an ionosphere. What ionosphere? Tesla declared there was no such thing, and, if such existed, it would have no effect on wireless propagation. Tesla believed the earth itself was a giant capacity that could be resonated, like the terminal capacity on his Tesla coils.
Herzians and quantumists should at least apologize to Tesla when they step all over his premodernist science in an attempt to reform it in their own dull terms.
My quantum radiometer. A reader sent to me as a gift a radiometer. (Thank you, Craig.) Tesla called the Crookes radiometer the “most beautiful invention ever created” and a new step in motor technology, “the jewel of motors.”
My gift radiometer is a nice little toy from Tedco, but the box copy, written by a quantum true-believer, attributes the rotation to an atomic heat phenomenon. The dark side of the vanes somehow gets more warmth from the light, thus reacting with “freely moving particles of air,” which are assumed to be residual in the vacuum and entirely responsible for the motion imparted. Thus, “when the atoms strike the dark vanes, they kick away at terrific speed,” smugly declares the box copy.
So if this is a heat phenomenon, why do the vanes turn in the cold light of my LED flashlight? And why do they rotate when I take my CB transceiver hand-unit, hold the rubber-ducky aerial to the bulb, and key up? Also the bulb fills with a mysterious milky luminescence, reminding me of Crookes’s high-voltage vacuum-bulb experiments.
The quantum mind cannot handle a dynamic vacuum and must throw in a few residual atomic particles to get some action. Leave it to the quantum believer to destroy a powerful mystery with some stupid materialistic explanation. Also, the box copy says simple “radiometer”, giving no credit anywhere to Sir William Crookes, a man whose rich premodernist work has apparently been forgotten by quantum true-believers.
As an antidote, I dig up a 1996 article about the radiometer from “The Journal of Borderland Sciences” which attributes rotation to an energetic component of light and of electric rays that is black radiance. Crookes observed the phenomenon in the mysterious dark spaces that appeared in his electrified tubes and also in the spark streamers from Tesla’s coils. The quantum believer must materialize dark radiance as “dark matter” or “black holes.” The radiometer, like the electrified Crookes tube, “was designed to peer into astral space beyond the inertial walls,” says the Borderlands writer, who reports that Crookes built a huge demonstration radiometer, electrified it with Tesla currents, and inside one could actually see the dark space pushing the vanes around, until speed resolved the rotor into a whirling darkness.
Etheric science is expansive, cosmic, metaphysical, spiritual, and way more fun than quantum, which is myopic, submicroscopic, matertalistic, atheistic, prosaic, and dull.
The challenge to the Tesla biographer is to transcend the great fog of fashionable folklore obscuring his subject. The challenge to the Tesla physicist is to transcend fashionable theory and to submerge himself in Tesla’s physics, which, fashionable or not, is an occult ether physics. To comprehend Tesla one must dare to cross over into the fringe.
George B. Trinkaus has written several books on Tesla, including Tesla: The Lost Inventions, Tesla Coil, Son of Tesla Coil, and Radio Tesla. Contact him through teslapress.com, by phone (877) 263-1215, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- O'Neill, John J. Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla. New York, N.Y: I. Washburn, 1944. Print. <http://amzn.to/1CODxGm>
- “The Philadelphia Experiment Reconsidered” is a very skeptical inquiry by a military historian, Electric Spacecraft Journal, No. 8 (electricspacecraft.com); the Navy report is at history.navy.mil/faqs/fac21-1.htm
- Tesla's “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy” (Scribner's "The Century", June 1900) is one of Tesla’s rare discourses on social engineering. <Full-text>
- The “Death Ray” can be found at www.hot-streamer.com
- “Tesla’s Pierce Arrow” and his New Yorker Hotel days. Articles can be found in Extraordinary Technology, Vol. 1, No. 2. (teslatech.info)
- “2003 Blackouts”: Trinkaus’s own guess is published in The American Free Press of 10/20/03 (americanfreepress.com)
- “Windmills of Light, A Short History of the Radiometer” by Franklin Ellsworth Clarke, Borderlands Journal, 1st Qtr. 1996
- “The Life of Sir William Crookes” by Gerry Vassilatos, 1st Qtr. 1998; also, Vassalatos’ Vril Compendium IV, Electric Ray Technology
- “The True Wireless” by Nikola Tesla, High Voltage Press (teslapress.com)