Originally published by Ives Washburn, New
York, 1944; Published in Great Britain by Neville Spearman Ltd.,
1968; Reprinted in the United States by Angriff Press, Los Angeles,
(C)1994 Brotherhood of Life, Inc., 110 Dartmouth,
SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106 USA
New Typeset Edition - First printing, 1994,
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IT WAS during a period when he was most
busily occupied with his experiments with high-frequency and
high-potential currents, from 1892 to 1894, that Tesla had found
time to give serious thought to yet another type of problem,
matter and energy; and from it he derived what he described as
a new physical principle. This he developed to the point at which
he was able to propound a new dynamic theory of gravity.
While this principle guided much of his
thinking, he did not make any announcements concerning it until
close to the end of his life. Such disclosures as have been made,
however, leave this much obvious: Tesla considered his theory
wholly inconsistent with the theory of relativity, and with the
modern theory concerning the structure of the atom and the mutual
interconversion of matter and energy. Tesla continuously attacked
the validity of Einstein's work; and until two or three years
before his death, he ridiculed the belief that energy could be
obtained from matter.
These antagonisms were most unfortunate,
as they placed Tesla in conXict with modern experimental physics.
This was totally unnecessary, for Tesla could undoubtedly have
adhered to his principle and interpreted it so that it was not
inconsistent with the modern theories. The antagonism was probably
attributable to psychological factors rather than scientiWc inconsistencies.
The only statement Tesla has made concerning
his principle and his theory is that contained in the lecture
he prepared for delivery before the Institute of Immigrant Welfare
(May 12, 1938). In this he stated:
During the succeeding two years [1893
and 1894] of intense concentration I was fortunate enough to
make two far reaching discoveries. The Wrst was a dynamic theory
of gravity, which I have worked out in all details and hope to
give to the world very soon. It explains the causes of this force
and the motions of heavenly bodies under its inXuence so satisfactorily
that it will put an end to idle speculation and false conceptions,
as that of curved space. . . .
Only the existence of a Weld of force
can account for the motions of the bodies as observed, and its
assumption dispenses with space curvature. All literature on
this subject is futile and destined to oblivion. So are all attempts
to explain the workings of the universe without recognizing the
existence of the ether and the indispensable function it plays
in the phenomena.
My second discovery was of a physical
truth of the greatest importance. As I have searched the entire
scientiWc records in more than a half dozen languages for a long
time without Wnding the least anticipation, I consider myself
the original discoverer of this truth, which can be expressed
by the statement: There is no energy in matter other than that
received from the environment.
On my 79th birthday I made a brief reference
to it, but its meaning and signiWcance have become clearer to
me since then. It applies rigorously to molecules and atoms as
well as to the largest heavenly bodies, and to all matter in
the universe in any phase of its existence from its very formation
to its ultimate disintegration
Tesla's mind was inXexible in the matter
of his attitude toward relativity and the modern theories. Had
he published his principle and theory of gravity at the beginning
of the century it would, without doubt, have then received very
serious consideration and perhaps general acceptance, although
it is diYcult to make an intelligent surmise without knowledge
of his postulates. If published, it might have had some inXuence
on Einstein's thinking. The Weld of force which Tesla mentions
as being necessary to explain the movements of the planets might
have been his contribution to eliminating the need for the ether
which was accomplished by Einstein's theory. The two theories
might have been merged, in which case there probably would have
resulted a harmonious development of the thinking of the two
In this latter case Tesla could very
well have shaped his thinking to see a consistency between his
theory that there is no energy in matter other than that received
from its environment, and the modern viewpoint that all matter
consists of energy into which it is convertible; for when matter
is converted to energy, the energy returns to the environment
from whence it came when the particles were formed.
There appears to be a frustration involved
in Tesla's attitude which could have been resolved by early publication
of his theory. If this had taken place, Tesla's powerful intellect
and his strange ability to solve problems would have been brought
to bear on the problems of atomic physics and he, in turn, would
have received tremendous beneWts from the application of the
newer knowledge in the Welds in which he was supreme.
Tesla's ability to generate tremendously
high voltages would have been of great assistance in the task
of ``smashing the atom.'' Other scientists, even today, are struggling
to produce currents with a potential of 5,000,000 volts, whereas
Tesla, forty years ago, had generated potentials of 135,000,000
The inconsistency between Tesla's principle
and the picture of the atom consisting of a small complex nucleus
surrounded by planetary electrons--which inconsistency was more
existent in Tesla's mind than in Nature--caused him to develop
an antagonism to all scientiWc developments which called for
a picture that diVered from the billiard-ball type of atom in
vogue in the eighteen-eighties. To him, a smashed atom was like
a smashed billiard ball.
The electron, however, had a real existence
to Tesla. He accepted it as a kind of sub-atom, a fourth state
of matter, as described by Sir William Crookes, who discovered
it. Tesla visualized it as associated with but not a part of
the atom. The electric charge it carried was entirely distinct
from the electron. Electricity, to him, was a Xuid much more
highly attenuated than any known form of matter, and with highly
speciWc properties of its own for which it was not dependent
upon matter. The charge on the electron was due to a surface
layer of electricity covering it, and it could receive many layers,
giving it multiple charges, all of which could be dissipated.
These statements were similar to those which he had published
a half-century before.
According to the modern theory, on the
other hand, the electrical nature of the electron, described
as its charge, is a characteristic inherent in the nature of
the energy crystallized about a point which gives the electron
its existence, and the electron is one of the particles, or units
of energy, of which the atom is composed.
In discussing articles by scientists
in the Weld of atomic physics, Tesla would register his protests
that their theories were untenable and the claims unfounded;
and he was particularly emphatic when experiments in which energy
emissions from atoms were recorded.
``Atomic power is an illusion,'' he frequently
declared. He furnished several written statements in which he
said that with his currents of several million volts he had,
countless times, smashed uncounted billions of atoms--and he
knew that no emission of energy accompanied the process.
On one occasion Tesla took me to task
rather severely for my failure to publish his statements. I replied:
``I withheld them in order to protect your reputation. You are
making too great a virtue of consistency. It is not necessary
that you adhere to the theories you held as a youth, and I am
convinced that deep down in your heart you hold newer theories
that are in harmony with scientiWc developments in other Welds,
but because you have disagreed with, and attacked some modern
theories, you feel you must be consistent and attack them all.
I am convinced that in the development of your death-ray device
your thinking was along the lines of the modern theory of the
structure of the atom and the nature of matter and energy.''
Tesla thereupon let me know in no uncertain
terms that he held very deWnite ideas concerning eVorts on the
part of others to do his thinking for him. This conversation
took place about 1935; and I did not hear from him for many months.
I observed, however, that in his later conversations he was much
less dogmatic concerning modern theories, and a few years later
he stated that he was planning an apparatus which would make
possible a deWnite testing of the modern theory of atomic structure,
with the expectation that his new power system and energy beam
would release atomic energy more eVectively than any device then
in use by physicists.
Having endorsed, Wnally, the belief that
man will be able to smash, transmute, create or destroy atoms,
and control vast amounts of energy, he waxed poetic on the subject.
He extended man's control over atoms and energy to a cosmic scale,
and saw him shaping the universe according to our desires. In
an unpublished article, entitled ``Man's Greatest Achievement,''
There manifests itself in the fully developed
being--Man--a desire mysterious, inscrutable and irresistible:
to imitate nature, to create, to work himself the wonders he
perceives. Inspired to this task he searches, discovers and invents,
designs and constructs, and covers with monuments of beauty,
grandeur and awe, the star of his birth. He descends into the
bowels of the globe to bring forth its hidden treasures and to
unlock its immense imprisoned energies for his use. He invades
the dark depths of the ocean and the azure regions of the sky.
He peers into the innermost nooks and recesses of molecular structure
and lays bare to his gaze worlds inWnitely remote. He subdues
and puts to his service the Werce, devastating spark of Prometheus,
the titanic forces of the waterfall, the wind and the tide. He
tames the thundering bolt of Jove and annihilates time and space.
He makes the great Sun itself his obedient toiling slave. Such
is his power and might that the heavens reverberate and the whole
earth trembles by the mere sound of his voice.
What has the future in store for this
strange being, born of a breath, of perishable tissue, yet immortal,
with his powers fearful and divine? What magic will be wrought
by him in the end? What is to be his greatest deed, his crowning
Long ago he recognized that all perceptible
matter comes from a primary substance, or a tenuity beyond conception,
Wlling all space, the Akasa or luminiferous ether, which is acted
upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into
existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena.
The primary substance, thrown into inWnitesimal whirls of prodigious
velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion
ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.
Can Man control this grandest, most awe-inspiring
of all processes in nature? Can he harness her inexhaustible
energies to perform all their functions at his bidding, more
still cause them to operate simply by the force of his will?
If he could do this, he would have powers
almost unlimited and supernatural. At his command, with but a
slight eVort on his part, old worlds would disappear and new
ones of his planning would spring into being. He could Wx, solidify
and preserve the ethereal shapes of his imagining, the Xeeting
visions of his dreams. He could express all the creations of
his mind on any scale, in forms concrete and imperishable. He
could alter the size of this planet, control its seasons, guide
it along any path he might choose through the depths of the Universe.
He could cause planets to collide and produce his suns and stars,
his heat and light. He could originate and develop life in all
its inWnite forms.
To create and to annihilate material
substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire,
would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man's mind,
his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning
achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him
fulWll his ultimate destiny.
Tesla, in his eighties, was still manifesting
the superman complex, and on even more elaborate a scale than
when in his twenties. In his earlier dreams his visions were
terrestrial, but in later life they were extended to embrace
the entire universe.
Even on the cosmic scale, however, Tesla
spoke in terms of matter and energy. These two entities, according
to his reasoning, were suYcient to explain all observed phenomena,
a situation which militated against the discovery of any new
The civilizations of the ancient world
knew nothing of electricity and magnetism; the controlled manifestations
of these two phases of a single force-entity have provided us
with a new civilization and a new cultural outlook on life, as
well as broadened horizons within the life sphere. There is no
reason why we should not look forward to the discovery of new
forces which are as diVerent from electricity as electricity
is from the winds of the air and the waves of the ocean. If inadequate
explanations of vital phenomena are accepted as satisfactory,
embracing extravagant extensions of known forces, the way is
closed to the discovery of unknown forces and the opening of
any new realms of knowledge. This was the limitation which the
science of the last quarter of the past century placed upon itself;
and Tesla's philosophy was a product of that period. It was diYcult
for him to reshape it in his later years.
The memory departments of most individuals'
brains are like oYce Wling systems, an excellent dumping ground
for everything that comes along--but try to Wnd a Wled item later.
Tesla's powers of memorizing were prodigious. A quick reading
of a page gave him a permanent record of it; he could always
recall before his eyes a photographic record of it to be read,
and could study at his convenience. Study, for Tesla, was a far
diVerent process than for the average person. He had no need
for a reference library; he could consult in his mind any page
of any textbook he had read, any formula, equation, or item in
a table of logarithms, and it would Xash before his eyes. He
could recite scores of books, complete from memory. The saving
in time which this made possible in research work was tremendous.
This strange faculty of vision was supernormal
but entirely natural and was due, probably, to a structural characteristic
in his brain which provided a direct channel between the memory
and the visual areas of his cerebral hemispheres. It provided
him with a very useful new sense.
The human brain is made up of two sections,
the right and left sides, each of which, in some of its phases,
is a complete brain; and both halves function together as a single
unit. There are many layers in the brain parallel with its surface,
each connected to the others by complex nerve Wbers, like threads
sewing together the layers of an onion. The outer layer seems
to be directly associated with our consciousness. The surface
is divided into specialized areas, There is a band across the
mid-section of each hemisphere from ear to ear over the top of
the brain, devoted to the senses, and here are separate areas
for the sensory faculties--sight, hearing, taste, smell--while
near by are regions for the motor or muscular activities of the
various parts of the body. The back lobe of the brain appears
to be the home of the memory and the front lobe of some higher
faculties of integration, the nature of which we do not as yet
In normal processes of seeing, the eye
forms a picture of an object on the retina, a screen on the back
of the eyeball. The retina is supplied with thousands of nerve
endings all packed together like stalks of asparagus in a bunch.
The tip ends are provided with photosensitive processes, and
when light strikes any one of them it transmits over the optic
nerve a signal to the brain which is recorded as a visual response
in the sight area of each half of the brain. By cooperation of
all the nerve endings, the complete picture seen is transmitted.
The actual seeing, then, is done in the brain and not in the
eye. When an object is seen by the brain, a record of that visual
experience is transmitted from the sight area of the brain to
the memory center in the back part of the brain; and similar
records are sent by all other sensory centers. Ordinarily this
is a one-way process, the stimuli going in the direction of the
memory and nothing coming back to the sensory area. If this were
not so, our sense areas of the brain would be continuously reenacting
old experiences and mixing them with the new, incoming experiences,
causing annoying confusion.
The memory area contains a complete record
of all sensory experiences we have had. In our thinking processes
we use some little-understood mechanism for connecting together
items stored in the memory area to produce useful combinations
or relationships, or, in other words, new ideas. The memory appears
to function on a subconscious level but we seem to be able to
activate Wbers that reach down to the desired strata at the right
point to connect the memory level with the consciousness level.
In this way we can recall experiences, but this experience of
memory is far diVerent from the original experience of sight
out of which the original memory record was made.
If, however, in this process of recollection,
the nerve Wber linking the sight area of the brain and the memory
area were to be activated, then we would see again by the sharp
processes of vision the object which caused the memory record
we are trying to recollect.
The act of creative thinking seems to
consist of assembling two or more memory records of sensory experiences
into a combination which possesses entirely new characteristics
that were not apparent in the component parts. If the nerve linkage
just referred to were to operate in a two-way process with the
visual area, then we would be able to see the new creation as
if it were a really existing object seen by the eye, although
the whole operation was limited to the brain.
This process is hypothetically the one
which took place in Tesla's brain and gave him tremendously greater
powers of creative work than are possible to the ordinary individual.
Was this conceivably a new in-vention made by Mother Nature and
tried out by her on Tesla?
Tesla himself never understood the neurological,
or physiological, processes underlying this strange faculty.
To him it was an absolutely real experience to see in front of
him as solid objects the subjects of his creative thoughts. He
believed that the image of the thing he saw was sent back from
the brain along the optic nerve to the eye, and that it existed
as a picture on the retina where, by some suitable means, it
could be seen by others--or that by means of adequate amplifying
devices, such as are used in television, it could be projected
on a screen. He even proposed such devices. (The apparent Xaw
in his reasoning followed on his mistake in thinking that he
was doing this supernormal seeing with his eye, whereas the process
was conWned to his brain; and the reXex action from the memory
centers stopped at the visual centers instead of, as he believed,
being continued forward through the optical nerve to the retina.)
Tesla described his experience with this
strange faculty in an interview with M. K. Wisehart, published
under the title ``Making Your Imagination Work for You'' in the
American Magazine, April, 1921. He stated:
During my boyhood I had suVered from
a peculiar aZiction due to the appearance of images, which were
often accompanied by strong Xashes of light. When a word was
spoken, the image of the object designated would present itself
so vividly to my vision that I could not tell whether what I
saw was real or not. . . . Even though I reached out and passed
my hand through it, the image would remain Wxed in space.
In trying to free myself from these tormenting
appearances, I tried to concentrate my thoughts on some peaceful,
quieting scene I had witnessed. This would give me momentary
relief; but when I had done it two or three times the remedy
would begin to lose its force. Then I began to take mental excursions
beyond the small world of my actual knowledge. Day and night,
in imagination, I went on journeys--saw new places, cities, countries,
and all the time I tried hard to make these imaginary things
very sharp and clear in my mind. I imagined myself living in
countries I had never seen, and I made imaginary friends, who
were very dear to me and really seemed alive.
This I did constantly until I was seventeen,
when my thoughts turned seriously to invention. Then, to my delight,
I found I could visualize with the greatest facility. I needed
no models, drawings, or experiments. I could picture them all
in my mind. . . .
By that faculty of visualizing, which
I learned in my boyish eVorts to rid myself of annoying images,
I have evolved what is, I believe, a new method of materializing
inventive ideas and conceptions. It is a method which may be
of great usefulness to any imaginative man, whether he is an
inventor, businessman or artist.
Some people, the moment they have a device
to construct or any piece of work to perform, rush at it without
adequate preparation, and immediately become engrossed in details,
instead of the central idea. They may get results, but they sacriWce
Here, in brief, is my own method: After
experiencing a desire to invent a particular thing, I may go
on for months or years with the idea in the back of my head.
Whenever I feel like it, I roam around in my imagination and
think about the problem without any deliberate concentration.
This is a period of incubation.
Then follows a period of direct eVort.
I choose carefully the possible solutions of the problem. I am
considering, and gradually center my mind on a narrowed Weld
of investigation. Now, when I am deliberately thinking of the
problem in its speciWc features, I may begin to feel that I am
going to get the solution. And the wonderful thing is, that if
I do feel this way, then I know I have really solved the problem
and shall get what I am after.
The feeling is as convincing to me as
though I already had solved it. I have come to the conclusion
that at this stage the actual solution is in my mind subconsciously,
though it may be a long time before I am aware of it consciously.
Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole
idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction,
make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever
having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts
to workmen, and when completed all these parts will Wt, just
as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is
immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test
it in my shop.
The inventions I have conceived in this
way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a
single exception. My Wrst electric motor, the vacuum tube wireless
light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been
developed in exactly this way.
That Tesla believed his mental visualizations
brought images from his brain to the back of his eye is indicated
by some statements he made in his famous lecture before the National
Electric Light Association convention at St. Louis, in March,
1893, when announcing his discovery of radio. These statements
about vision had no relationship to the subject of the lecture,
and the fact that he interjected them indicated that his experiences
with this strange power had a powerful inXuence on his inventive
thinking. He said:
It can be taken as a fact, which the
theory of the action of the eye implies, that for each external
impression, that is for each image produced on the retina, the
ends of the visual nerves, concerned in the conveyance of the
impressions to the mind, must be under a peculiar stress or in
a vibratory state. It now does not seem improbable that, when
by the power of thought an image is evoked, a distinct reXex
action, no matter how weak, is exerted upon certain ends of the
visual nerves, and therefore upon the retina. Will it ever be
within human power to analyze the condition of the retina, when
disturbed by thought or reXex action, by the help of some optical
or other means of such sensitiveness that a clear idea of its
state might be obtained? If this were possible, then the problem
of reading one's thoughts with precision, like the characters
of an open book, might be much easier to solve than many problems
belonging to the domain of positive physical science, in the
solution of which many, if not the majority, of scientiWc men
Helmholtz has shown that the fundi of
the eye are themselves luminous, and he was able to see in total
darkness the movements of his arm by the light of his own eyes.
This is one of the most remarkable experiments recorded in the
history of science, and probably only a few men could satisfactorily
repeat it, for it is very likely that the luminosity of the eyes
is associated with uncommon activity of the brain and great imaginative
power. It is Xuorescence of brain action, as it were.
Another fact having a bearing on this
subject, which has probably been noted by many, since it is stated
in popular expressions, but which I cannot recollect to have
found chronicled as a positive result of observation is that,
at times, when a sudden idea or image presents itself to the
intellect, there is a painful sensation of luminosity produced
in the eye observed even in broad daylight.
Forty years later Tesla was still interested
in the possibility of capturing a photographic record of thoughts.
He stated in interviews that if his theory were correct--that
thoughts are recorded on the retina--it should be possible to
photograph what is revealed on this screen in the eye, and project
enlarged images of it.
There is nothing illogical about Tesla's
reasoning concerning his strange faculty of visualizing and the
possibility of Wnding a corresponding image on the retina. There
is a bare possibility that in an extreme case, as was his, a
reXex arc may have extended from the brain to the retina; but
the probability that it did not is stronger. If he had possessed
the ability to take others into his conWdence in his experiments,
he would have been able to stage some simple tests in the laboratory
of an ophthalmologist which would have given him some deWnite
experimental evidence to support or dispose of his theories,
as far as photographic thought images were concerned.
About 1920 tesla had prepared, although
he never published, an announcement of what he declared was ``An
Astounding Discovery.'' It involved factors which he called ``cosmic'';
but it likewise presented situations which the practicers of
voodoo in Haiti, and other intellectually unveneered portions
of the human race, would receive with perfect understanding.
Since Tesla, one of the most highly civilized individuals, could
evolve this conception, it is probable that other supercultured
individuals or groups could Wnd it in harmony with their ideas
It involves, however, a situation in
which the soulless ``matter and energy'' automaton (to which
status we have seen Tesla relegate human beings) is able to judge
ethical values, and, like a pontiV presiding over a court of
morals, inXict punishment for transgressions.
Here is Tesla's description of his ``astounding
While I have failed to obtain any evidence
in support of the contentions of psychologists and spiritualists,
I have proved to my complete satisfaction the automatism of life,
not only through continuous observation of individual actions,
but even more conclusively, through certain generalizations.
These amount to a discovery which I consider of the greatest
moment to human society and on which I shall brieXy dwell.
I got the Wrst inkling of this astounding
truth when I was still a very young man, but for many years I
interpreted what I noted simply as coincidences. Namely, whenever
either myself or a person to whom I was attached, or a cause
to which I was devoted, was hurt by others in a particular way,
which might be best popularly characterized as the most unfair
imaginable, I experienced a singular and undeWnable pain which,
for want of a better term, I have qualiWed as ``cosmic,'' and
shortly thereafter, and invariably, those who have inXicted it
came to grief. After many such cases I conWded this to a number
of friends, who had the opportunity to convince themselves of
the truth of the theory which I have gradually formulated and
which may be stated in the following words.
Our bodies are of similar construction
and exposed to the same external inXuences. This results in likeness
of response and concordance of the general activities on which
all our social and other rules and laws are based. We are automata
entirely controlled by the forces of the medium, being tossed
about like corks on the surface of the water, but mistaking the
resultant of the impulses from the outside for free will.
The movements and other actions we perform
are always life-preservative and though seemingly quite independent
from one another, we are connected by invisible links. So long
as the organism is in perfect order it responds accurately to
the agents that prompt it, but the moment there is some derangement
in any individual, his self-preservative power is impaired.
Everybody understands, of course, that
if one becomes deaf, has his eyesight weakened, or his limbs
injured, the chances for his continued existence are lessened.
But this is also true, and perhaps more so, of certain defects
in the brain which deprive the automaton, more or less, of that
vital quality and cause it to rush into destruction.
A very sensitive and observant being,
with his highly developed mechanism all intact, and acting with
precision in obedience to the changing conditions of the environment,
is endowed with a transcending mechanical sense, enabling him
to evade perils too subtle to be directly perceived. When he
comes in contact with others whose controlling organs are radically
faulty, the sense asserts itself and he feels the ``cosmic''
The truth of this has been borne out
in hundreds of instances and I am inviting other students of
nature to devote attention to this subject, believing that, through
combined and systematic eVort, results of incalculable value
to the world will be attained.
Tesla's uncommunicative nature concerning
his own intimate experiences has undoubtedly deprived the world
of many interesting stories. He was unquestionably an abnormal
individual, and of a type that does have what are known as ``psychic
experiences.'' He was emphatic in his denial that he ever had
experiences of that sort; yet he has related incidents that clearly
belong in the psychic category. He seemed to be fearful that
an admission of psychic experiences would cause him to be misunderstood
as supporting spiritualism, or theories that something operates
in life other than matter and energy.
Whenever he was asked for his philosophy
of life, he would elaborate a theory that the human body is a
meat machine which responds to external forces.
One evening in New York, as Tesla and
the author sat in the lobby of the Hotel Governor Clinton, the
inventor discussed his meat-machine theory. It was a materialistic
philosophy typical of the Victorian era. We are, he held, composed
of only those things which are identiWed in the test tube and
weighed in the balance. We have only those properties which we
receive from the atoms of which our bodies are constructed. Our
experiences, which we call life, are a complex mixture of the
responses of our component atoms to the external forces of our
Such a philosophy has the virtue of simplicity
and brevity of presentation; and it lends itself readily to being
propounded with a positiveness that reacts on the propounder,
and transforms his attitude into one of dogmatism in which emphatically
expressed opinion is often confused with and substituted for
``I don't believe a word of your theory,''
I replied to Tesla's exposition, ``and, thank God, I am convinced
you don't believe a word of it either. The strongest proof I
have that your theory is totally inadequate is that Tesla exists.
Under your theory we could not have a Tesla. Tesla possesses
a creative mind and, in his accomplishments, stands high above
all other men. If your theory were correct, we would either all
be geniuses like Tesla or we would all be mental mediocrities
living in these meat machines you describe, all responding in
the same way to the uniform, inanimate and uncreative external
``But we are all meat machines,'' replied
Tesla, ``and it happens that I am a much more sensitive machine
than other people and I receive impressions to which they are
inert, and I can both understand and interpret these impressions.
I am simply a Wner automaton than others,'' he insisted.
``This diVerence, which you admit between
yourself and others, Dr. Tesla, completely disproves your theory,
from my viewpoint,'' I responded. ``Your sensitiveness would
be a purely random incident. In the integration of this randomness,
with respect to all individuals, all of us would probably once,
possibly very much more frequently, rise to the height of manifesting
genius as you have done all your life. Even though the strokes
of genius would manifest intermittently, all such individuals
would receive the permanent rating as geniuses. Genius does not
manifest, even intermittently, in all of us, so your meat-machine
theory appears, to me, untenable, If you were really frank with
me, you would tell me of many experiences you have had, strange
experiences, that you could not explain, that do not Wt into
your meat-machine theory, and which you have been afraid to discuss
with anyone for fear they would misunderstand you and perhaps
ridicule you. I, however, will not Wnd these experiences strange
and beyond understanding, and one of these days you will open
up and tell me about them.''
As happened whenever I disagreed with
him, after that evening I did not see Tesla for a while. In due
time, however, I had a great many telephone conversations with
him. Our discussion seemed to have brought about a change in
his attitude toward me; and the next time I saw him he conWded,
``Mr. O'Neill, you understand me better than anyone else in the
world.'' I mention this to indicate the correctness of my belief
that there was another Tesla hidden within that synthetic individual,
the superman, which Tesla sought to pass oV on the public as
his real self.
I did not, at this time, know about Tesla's
``astounding discovery,'' or of some of his experiences about
which I later learned. Had I known of these, my discussion with
him could have been more speciWc.
ALTHOUGH Tesla thoroughly disbelieved
in psychical phenomena, as previously indicated, he had many
experiences which belong in this category; and he neither discredited
nor disavowed their reality. Such paradoxes were common in all
matters concerning him.
Tesla, for example, completely rejected
telepathy as a phase of psychical phenomena, but he was Wrmly
convinced that mind could communicate directly with mind. When
asked about his belief in telepathy by a newspaper reporter in
the early nineties, Tesla replied: ``What is usually taken as
evidence of the existence of telepathy is mere coincidence. But
the working of the human mind through observation and reason
interests and amazes me. And then he added the paradoxical statement:
``Suppose I make up my mind to murder you. In an instant you
would know it. Now, isn't that wonderful enough? By what process
does the mind get at all this?''
Reduced to its simplest terms, this interview
states: Psychical telepathy does not exist as a reality; but
the transmission of thought from mind directly to mind is a wonderful
phenomenon, worthy of scientiWc study.
The paradox here is due to the fact that,
at the period in which Tesla was speaking, all psychical phenomena
were supposed to be mediated by the intervention of spirits,
or souls of the departed. Such a theory had no place in Tesla's
philosophy, since he did not believe in immortality and felt
that he could explain all phenomena in terms of matter and energy;
and the spirit was supposed to lie beyond both of these categories.
Thinking, however, was, according to Tesla's theories, something
which resulted from the interaction of matter and energy in the
brain; and as this process probably produced waves in the ether,
there was no reason why the waves sent out by one mind should
not be received by another, with resulting transfer of thought.
Tesla would not discuss anything bordering
on psychical experiences outside the circle of his relatives,
however. On one occasion, though, he probably saved the lives
of three of his friends through a premonition; and he related
the incident to his nephew, Sava N. Kosanovich, who thus retells
``I heard from Tesla that he had premonitions.
He explained his in a mechanical way, saying he was a sensitive
receiver that registers any disturbance. He declared that each
man is like an automaton which reacts to external impressions.
``He told me of one instance in which
he had held a big party here in New York for some of his friends
who planned to take a certain train for Philadelphia. He felt
a powerful urge not to let the friends depart as planned and
forcibly detained them so that they missed the train on which
they had planned to travel. This train met with an accident in
which there were a large number of casualties. This happened
sometime in the 90's.
``When his sister Angelina was ill, and
died, he sent a telegram in which he said: ``I had a vision that
Angelina was arising and disappearing. I sensed all is not well.''
Tesla himself tells a most remarkable
story of two supernormal events, in an unpublished manuscript.
It records a situation in which, owing to overwork, his strange
phenomenon of visualization disappeared, or died, and was reborn.
In coming back, it grew up quickly by repeating the visualization
of events of earliest childhood and successively re-enacting
later events, until it brought him to the actual moment and capped
the climax by then presenting a visualization of an event that
had not yet taken place.
The story of this experience, as told
I will tell of an extraordinary experience
which may be of interest to students of psychology. I had produced
a striking phenomenon with my grounded transmitter and was endeavoring
to ascertain its true signiWcance in relation to the currents
propagated through the earth. It seemed a hopeless undertaking
and for more than a year I worked unremittingly but in vain.
This profound study so entirely absorbed me that I became forgetful
of everything else, even of my undermined health. At last, as
I was on the point of breaking down, nature applied the preservative,
inducing lethal sleep.
Regaining my senses, I realized with
consternation that I was unable to visualize scenes from my life
except those of infancy, the very Wrst ones that had entered
my consciousness. Curiously enough, these appeared before my
vision with startling distinctness and aVorded me welcome relief.
Night after night, when retiring, I would think of them and more
and more of my previous existence was revealed. The image of
my mother was always the principal Wgure in the spectacle that
slowly unfolded, and a consuming desire to see her again gradually
took possession of me.
This feeling grew so strong that I resolved
to drop all work and satisfy my longing. But I found it too hard
to break away from the laboratory and several months elapsed
during which I succeeded in reviving all the impressions of my
past life up to the spring of 1892.
In the next picture that came out of
the mist of oblivion, I saw myself at the Hotel de la Paix in
Paris just coming to from one of my peculiar sleeping spells
caused by prolonged exertion of the brain. Imagine the pain and
distress I felt when it Xashed upon my mind that a dispatch was
handed to me at that very moment bearing the sad news that my
mother was dying.
It was especially remarkable that all
during this period of partially obliterated memory I was fully
alive to everything touching on the subject of my research. I
could recall the smallest details and the least insigniWcant
observations in my experiments and even recite pages of texts
and complex mathematical formulæ.
This was a prevision of the event which
took place immediately after his Paris lecture, as described
in an earlier chapter, in which he rushed home in time to see
his mother just before she died.
The second incident also concerns the
death of his mother, and is told in another connection in the
same manuscript. He states:
For many years I have endeavored to solve
the enigma of death and watched eagerly for every kind of spiritual
indication. But only once in the course of my existence have
I had an experience which, momentarily, impressed me as supernatural.
It was at the time of my mother's death.
I had become completely exhausted by
pain and long vigilance and one night was carried to a building
about two blocks from our home. As I lay helpless there, I thought
that if my mother died while I was away from her bedside she
would surely give me a sign.
Two or three months before I was in London
in company with my late friend, Sir William Crookes, when spiritualism
was discussed and I was under full sway of these thoughts. I
might not have paid attention to other men but was susceptible
to his arguments as it was his epochal work on radiant matter,
which I had read as a student, that made me embrace the electrical
I reXected that the conditions for a
look into the beyond were most favorable, for my mother was a
woman of genius and particularly excelling in the powers of intuition.
During the whole night every Wber of my brain was strained in
expectancy, but nothing happened until early in the morning when
I fell into a sleep or perhaps a swoon, and saw a cloud carrying
angelic Wgures of marvelous beauty, one of whom gazed upon me
lovingly and gradually assumed the features of my mother. The
apparition slowly Xoated across the room and vanished and I was
awakened by an indescribably sweet song of many voices. In that
instant a certitude, which no words can express, came upon me
that my mother had just died. And that was true.
I was unable to understand the tremendous
weight of the painful knowledge I received in advance and wrote
a letter to Sir William Crookes while still under the domination
of these impressions and in poor bodily health.
When I recovered I sought for a long
time the external cause of this strange manifestation and to
my great relief, I succeeded after many months of fruitless eVort.
I had seen the painting of a celebrated artist, representing
allegorically one of the seasons in the form of a cloud with
a group of angels which seem to actually Xoat in the air, and
this had struck me forcibly. It was exactly the same that appeared
in my dream with the exception of my mother's likeness. The music
came from the choir in the church nearby at the early mass of
Easter morning, explaining everything satisfactorily in conformity
to scientiWc facts.
This ``scientiWc'' explanation by Tesla
is, of course, totally unscientiWc. It ignores the three principal
facts: one, that he had what he identiWed at the time as a supernormal
experience that brought with it a certitude that words could
not describe; two, that this experience conveyed a revelation
of his mother's death, which he understood as such; and, three,
that the event took place at the exact time of her death. The
mechanism by which the phenomenon was produced utilized the memories
stored in Tesla's mind (of the painting, for example) as the
vehicle by which the information could be presented to him in
understandable, though symbolic, form. In addition, there was
the premonition given several months previously as the climax
of an extended phenomenon involving his mother.
Tesla's eVorts to explain away ``scientiWcally''
everything of a psychical or spiritual nature, and the inadequate
explanations which were satisfactory to him for this purpose,
are an indication of a conXict that was taking place within him
in an eVort to reconcile the purely materialistic ``matter and
energy'' superman, into which he fashioned himself, with the
underlying individual into which was born a great capacity for
manifesting a deep spiritual insight into life, but which he
One of the strangest luncheon parties
Tesla ever staged was that given by him to a prize Wghter, Fritzie
Zivic. It was served in one of the private dining rooms of the
Hotel New Yorker in 1940. Fritzie Zivic was scheduled to take
part in a prize Wght at Madison Square Garden for the welterweight
championship, and the luncheon was held at noon on the day of
Fritzie was one of six brothers, all
of whom were either professional prize Wghters or wrestlers.
They lived at Pittsburgh where their father conducted a beer
saloon. They were all born in Pittsburgh, but were the sons of
parents, natives of Yugoslavia, whose diYcult-to-pronounce Slavonic
name was shortened to Zivic by the brothers for their professional
Tesla had all six of the brothers as
his guests. The only other guests were William L. Laurence, science
writer of the New York Times, and the author.
Three very diVerent types of individuals
were gathered around the table. The six Wghting brothers were
all Wne physical specimens. They averaged medium height but their
powerful, chunky bodies, deep chests and broad shoulders made
them seem rather short. All were clear eyed, had clear complexions
and clean-cut features, were conservatively dressed in sack suits,
and wore white linen collars. The two newspapermen presented
an appearance in strong contrast with the Wghters, and in contrast
with all the others was Tesla. Laurence, with his great mop of
jet black hair combed straight back, looked more like a musician.
Tesla was seated at the head of the table.
At his right sat Fritzie and next to him ranged three of his
brothers. Opposite them sat two other brothers and Mr. Laurence.
The author sat at the far end of the table.
Tesla did not arrange one of his famous
duck dinners for this occasion--he had other plans. As soon as
the party was seated, Tesla stood up. The broad, stocky Fritzie
looked like a pygmy by comparison. Tesla was attired in a light-weight,
tight-Wtting, black, single-breasted sack suit which made him
look more slender than usual. He had lost considerable weight
in the preceding year, and this accentuated the sharp, bony contour
which his face had taken on in his latter years. His face, of
the ascetic type, now was crowned with thinning locks of silvery
white hair. His long slender hands, delicately shaped, started
to wave over the seated prize Wghter, who smiled up at the strange
Wgure towering above him.
``I am ordering for you a nice thick
beefsteak, two inches thick, so that you will have plenty of
strength tonight to win the championship by a . . . ``
The Wghter had both hands up, trying
to interrupt the gesticulating Wgure of the scientist.
``No,'' protested Fritzie, ``I am in
training and I cannot eat a steak today.''
``You listen to me,'' shouted the insistent
voice of Tesla, whose swinging arms and swaying body made him
appear to be going through the antics of a cheer leader at a
football game. ``I'll tell you how to train. You will train on
beefsteak. I am going to get you a beefsteak two inches thick
and dripping with blood so that you will be able to . . .''
The Wve brothers now joined Fritzie in
``He can't eat beefsteak today. He would
lose the Wght, Dr. Tesla,'' they chorused.
``No, he won't lose the Wght,'' shot
back Tesla. ``You must think of the heroes of our national Serbian
poetry. They were redblooded men and mighty Wghters. You too
must Wght for the glory of Serbia, and you need beefsteak dripping
in blood to do it!''
Tesla had worked himself into a Wne frenzy
and was waving his arms and punching his palms as if he were
at the ringside at an exciting moment in the battle. His frenzy
was lost on Fritzie and his brother pugilists. They were unmoved.
``I will win, Dr. Tesla. I will Wght
for the glory of Yugoslavia and when the referee gives me the
decision and I speak into the microphone I will also say I fought
for Dr. Tesla--but no beefsteak today, Dr. Tesla, please.''
``All right, Fritzie, you can have whatever
you want,'' Tesla agreed, ``but your brothers will have their
``No, Dr. Tesla,'' replied the eldest
brother, ``if Fritzie cannot have beefsteak neither will we.
We will eat whatever he eats.''
Fritzie ordered scrambled eggs on toast,
with bacon, and a glass of milk. The Wve brothers gave duplicate
orders and the two newspapermen did likewise.
Tesla laughed heartily. ``So that is
what you do your Wghting on today,'' he said between chuckles.
For himself, the blood-thirsty 83-year-old
scientist ordered ``A dish of hot milk''; and on this diet he
managed to summon a tremendous amount of energy during the meal
which he directed toward urging Fritzie to give his opponent
``everything you've got'' and ``make it a knockout in the Wrst
It was a strange dinner. Despite the
greatly outnumbering pugilists with their hard set faces and
chunky powerful bodies, the thin, bony faced, sharp featured,
almost emaciated scientist with his sunken eyes, and his thin,
silky silver hair, easily dominated the scene. Everyone was at
ease despite the brothers' anticipation of Fritzie's impending
battle and Tesla's enthusiasm. Yet, in spite of the fact that
everyone was relaxed, there was an eerie kind of tenseness linking
the peculiar assemblage. Once I became conscious of the situation,
I watched developments with interest. I had experienced such
conditions previously but never under such circumstances as these.
Mr. Laurence, of the Times, was seated
at my right. He began to act a bit restless while only halfway
through the meal. Several times he looked under the table. He
in turn rubbed his ankle, his knee, his calf. He shifted his
position. He rubbed his elbow and later his forearm. I managed
to catch his eye.
``Anything bothering you, Bill?'' I asked,
knowing full well what was happening.
``There is something strange going on
here,'' he replied.
A couple of minutes later he again reached,
and looked under the table.
``Feel anything?'' I asked.
``Yes,'' he replied, seemingly a bit
worried. ``Something hot is touching me at diVerent spots. I
can feel the heat but I can't see anything that is doing it.
Do you feel it, too?'' he asked.
``Don't worry about it,'' I assured him.
``I know what it is, and will tell you all about it later. Just
make as close observations as you can now.''
The phenomenon continued until the party
broke up. On our way back to our oYces, I explained to Mr. Laurence.
``You have often laughed at me for my
gullibility in accepting the reality of the so-called psychic
experiences,'' I said. ``Now you have had one. As soon as that
luncheon got well under way, after Dr. Tesla's Wery outburst
had quieted down, I sensed a peculiar tenseness in the air around
me. At times the atmosphere seemed webby to my face and hands,
so I suspected something unusual might happen.
``That gathering was a perfect set-up
for a psychic séance, and if it was held in the dark there
is no telling what we might have observed. Here were six powerfully
built men, closely in rapport with each other, all Wlled to the
bursting point with vital energy waiting for an event that would
release an emotional outburst. In addition, we had Dr. Tesla
staging an emotional outburst the like of which he probably never
before exhibited throughout his life. He was supercharged with
a diVerent kind of vital energy. Just visualize Dr. Tesla as
a medium acting as a co-ordinator, in some unknown way, to release
these pent-up stores of vital energy which, again in an unknown
manner, organized channels of conduction through which this energy
was transferred from levels of high potential to levels of lower
``In this case we were the levels of
lower potential, for I had exactly the same experiences you had,
with these energy-transfer channels in space making contact with
various parts of my body and producing areas in which I, too,
experienced a sensation of intense heat.
``You have read reports of séances
in which the sitters reported that they experienced cool breezes.
In these situations the action is the reverse of what we experienced,
for in the séances energy was being drawn from the sitters
to be organized by the so-called medium for the production of
``Some kind of highly attenuated energy-bearing
Xuid was, in our experience today, drawn from the bodies of the
Wghters and fed into our bodies--and in the séances it
is drawn from the bodies of the sitters and fed into that of
the medium, or to a central collecting point. In a report which
I have written on my séance observations, I have called
this substance psynovial Xuid, which is merely a convenient abbreviation
for new psychic Xuid.
``Now that you have had today's experience,
you will understand why a few years ago I risked having Dr. Tesla
Wguratively massacre me when I told him he was using his meat-machine
philosophy of human life to cover up a lot of strange experiences
he has had, and about which he was afraid to talk. . . .''
Another strange supernormal experience
came to Tesla a few days
before he died, but he was probably totally
unaware that the situation had any unusual aspects.
Early one morning he called his favorite
messenger boy, Kerrigan, gave him a sealed envelope, and ordered
him to deliver it as quickly as possible. It was addressed to
``Mr. Samuel Clemens, 35 South Fifth Ave., New York City.''
Kerrigan returned in a short time with
the statement that he could not deliver the message because the
address was incorrect. There is no such street as South Fifth
Ave., the boy reported; and in the neighborhood of that number
on Fifth Ave. no one by the name of Clemens could be located.
Tesla became annoyed. He told Kerrigan:
``Mr. Clemens is a very famous author who writes under the name
Mark Twain, and you should have no trouble locating him at the
address I gave you. He lives there.''
Kerrigan reported to the manager of his
oYce and told him of his diYculty. The manager told him: ``Of
course you couldn't Wnd South Fifth Avenue. Its name was changed
to West Broadway years ago, and you won't be able to deliver
a message to Mark Twain because he has been dead for twenty-Wve
Armed with this information, Kerrigan
returned to Tesla, and the reception accorded his announcements
left him still further confused.
``Don't you dare to tell me that Mark
Twain is dead,'' said Tesla. ``He was in my room, here, last
night. He sat in that chair and talked to me for an hour. He
is having Wnancial diYculties and needs my help. So you go right
back to that address and deliver that envelope--and don't come
back until you have done so.'' (The address to which he sent
the messenger was that of Tesla's Wrst laboratory!)
Kerrigan returned to his oYce. The envelope,
not too well sealed, was opened in the hope it would give some
clue as to how the message could be delivered, The envelope contained
a blank sheet of paper wrapped around twenty $5 bills! When Kerrigan
tried to return the money, Tesla told him, with great annoyance,
either to deliver the money or keep it.
The last two decades of Tesla's life
were Wlled with many embarrassing situations concerning unpaid
hotel bills, and it would seem that by some process of transference
this situation was shifted to his perception of Mark Twain.
In view of Tesla's highly intensiWed
abilities to see the subjects of his thoughts as materialized
objects, the simpler theory would be that by his usual process
he had summoned the vision of Mark Twain, Tesla and Mark Twain
were very good friends, and the inventor had every reason for
knowing that the heavy-thinking humorist was dead, Such being
the case, how was he able to forget his death? An objective theory
can be oVered which may, or may not, contain the correct explanation.
Tesla's memory was Wlled with many recollections
of Mark Twain, dating back to his early youth when he credited
the reading of one of the humorist's books with having brought
him out of a critical illness. Twenty years later, when Tesla
related this incident, the humorist was so deeply aVected he
wept. A close friendship followed, Wlled with many pleasant incidents.
Every incident concerning Mark Twain was laid down in Tesla's
memory. How these records are Wled in the brain we do not know,
but we might assume, for the moment, that the arrangement is
orderly enough, with the system based on a time sequence in which
each successive incident is Wled on an earlier one, the latest
ones being on top. When Tesla started the process of visualizing
Mark Twain in his room (and it probably operated on a subconscious
level), he penetrated through the stack of memory records until
he reached one that was satisfactory, and then concentrated so
heavy a Xow of vital energy in carrying this to the visualization
center of his brain that it burned out, and destroyed, or narcotized,
all later memory records that lay above it. As a result, after
the visualization process was over, there was no record in Tesla's
memory Wles of anything that happened in his relations with Mark
Twain, following the pleasant record he had so strangely relived.
All subsequent memory records were wiped out, including his memory
of Mark Twain's death. It would then be perfectly logical for
him to reach the conclusion that Mark Twain was still alive!
Several versions of this story are in
circulation. They all have in common Tesla's belief that Mark
Twain was still alive; that he himself had very recently been
in communication with him, and sought to send him money to meet
a diYcult situation.
Pirated, lied about, ignored, (Dr. W.
H. Eccles concludes an obituary memorial, in Nature (London),
February 13, 1943:--``Throughout his long life of 85 years Tesla
seldom directed attention to his own successes, never wrote up
again his old work, and rarely claimed priority though continually
pirated. Such reserve is particularly striking in a mind so rich
in creative thought, so competent in practical achievement.'')
Tesla carried on his work during the latter decades, always hoping
that he would be able to arrange matters so that he would be
able to Wnance all the inventions he was treasuring in his mind.
His pride would not permit him to admit Wnancial embarrassment.
He was forced frequently to leave hotels because of unpaid bills.
His friend, B. A. Behrend, author of the book, The Induction
Motor, which had clariWed Tesla's theory for engineers, when
visiting New York and Wnding the inventor moved from the hotel
where he last found him, in each instance paid his bills, and
caused Tesla's held baggage to be forwarded to him.
In the early thirties, when it seemed
as if Wnancial discouragements would ``have him down,'' Tesla,
however, appeared as optimistic as ever. He declared: ``It is
impossible for anyone to gain any idea of the inspiration I gain
from my applied inventions which have become a matter of history,
and of the force it supplies to urge me forward to greater achievements.
I continually experience an inexpressible satisfaction from the
knowledge that my polyphase system is used throughout the world
to lighten the burdens of mankind and increase comfort and happiness,
and that my wireless system, in all of its essential features,
is employed to render a service to and bring pleasure to people
in all parts of the earth.''
When his wireless-power system was mentioned,
he exhibited no sign of resentment over the collapse of his project
but replied philosophically: ``Perhaps I was a little premature.
We can get along without it as long as my polyphase system continues
to meet our needs. Just as soon as the need arises, however,
I have the system ready to be used with complete success.''
On his eightieth birthday he was asked
if he expected actually to construct and operate his recently
announced inventions, and in reply he quoted, in German, a stanza
from Goethe's Faust:
The God that in my bosom lives
Can move my deepest inmost soul,
Power to all my thought he gives
But outside he has no control.
It had been Tesla's intention to write
his autobiography. He desired to have the story of his work recorded
with a most meticulous regard for accuracy; and this, he felt,
no one but himself could bring to it. He declared that he had
no intention of starting work on this project until he had accomplished
the application of all of his major discoveries. Several persons
who proposed writing his biography received only a refusal of
the requested co-operation. Kenneth Swezey, a writer on scientiWc
subjects, maintained close contact with Tesla for a number of
years, and it was expected that Tesla would co-operate with him
in such a project. Swezey assembled seventy letters from leading
scientists and engineers in all parts of the world as a surprise
for Tesla on his seventy-Wfth birthday, at which time the letters,
bound in a memorial volume, were presented to him. These letters,
reprinted in Yugoslavia, led to the establishment of the Tesla
Institute in that country. Swezey was engaged in war work and
expected, at the time of Tesla's death, to enter the Navy; otherwise
he might have undertaken the task of writing Tesla's biography.
Tesla, even up to his eighty-fourth year, expected to recover
more robust health and to live beyond the century mark. It is
probable, therefore, that he had not started work on his autobiography.
Whether or not any parts of it have been written is impossible
to ascertain at the present time. All Tesla's records were sealed
by the Custodian of Alien Property, although Tesla was a citizen
of the United States.
During the last half-dozen years of his
life, Tesla, happily, was supplied with enough money to meet
his immediate needs, thanks to the payment to him of an honorarium
of $7,200 a year, by the Yugoslav government, as patron of the
Tesla Institute, established in Belgrade. (The Society for the
Foundation of the Tesla Institute at Belgrade was organized as
Tesla neared his eightieth year. It enlisted support from the
scholars, the government, commercial interests and the people
as a whole. From the government and private sources an endowment
was subscribed which was adequate to erect and equip a research
laboratory and maintain it in operation as an institute. The
Institute was opened in 1936, in commemoration of Tesla's eightieth
anniversary. A week of observance was held throughout Yugoslavia
and formal celebrations were held at Belgrade on May 26, 27 and
28, at Zagreb on May 30, and at his native village, Smiljan,
on June 2 and also on July 12.) Even with this income, however,
and with a very limited range of activity (being conWned largely
to his room), during the last two years Tesla still managed to
fall behind in his hotel bill. This was owing to his unlimited
generosity. He was very generous in bestowing tips on all who
performed the slightest service for him, and in responding to
the slightest suggestion that anyone was in need of assistance.
During the latter part of 1942 he spent
most of the time in bed, mentally active but physically weak.
He permitted no visitors to come to his room, not even close
associates of earlier years. He insisted to hotel employees that
he was not ill and refused to listen to questions that he have
a doctor visit him. He gave orders that even hotel employees
were not to enter his room unless he summoned them.
On January 5, Tuesday morning, he permitted
the maid to come to his room, and then gave orders to guard his
room closely so that he would not be disturbed. This was done.
It was not unusual for Tesla to give orders that he was not to
be disturbed for protracted periods. Early Friday morning (January
8) a maid with a premonition, risking his displeasure, entered
Tesla's room and found him dead. He looked peaceful, as if resting,
with a suggestion of a smile on his gaunt bony face. The superman
died as he had lived--alone.
The police were notiWed that Tesla had
died alone and without medical attendance. The coroner declared
his death due to natural causes incident to senility; and that
he had died on the night of Thursday, January 7, 1943, some hours
before the maid entered the room. Operatives from the Federal
Bureau of Investigation came and opened the safe in his room
and took the papers it contained, to examine them for a reported
important secret invention of possible use in the war. The body
was removed to Campbell's Funeral Parlors at Madison Avenue and
Funeral services were held at the Cathedral
of St. John the Divine, on Tuesday, January 12, at 4 pm. Bishop
Manning oVered the opening sentences of the Burial OYce and Final
Prayer. Following the services, the body was removed to FerncliV
Cemetery at Ardsley, N. Y., and was later cremated.
Last Modified: 07:0707 07, October October, October
Uncle Taz Library
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