Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Nikola Tesla is a popular figure in conspiracy culture. A lone genius who apparently invented everything we use today, and who was on the brink of discovering free energy when his work was brutally suppressed by the government.

    It's not even just a conspiracy culture thing, the cult of Tesla extends into mainstream geek culture (which I'm a part of myself, being a computer games programmer). That same lone genius myth appeals to them in a similar way:


    And yet, much of the Tesla Worship is based on misconceptions.
    It goes on to debunk the claims that Tesla invented the transformer, the induction coil, the loudspeaker, radar, fluorescent lamps, microwave transmitters and commercial hydroelectric power. All with references to the actual inventors.

    What Tesla WAS, and why he is such a popular figure today, is an excellent self-publicist. He did not invent AC, he was just one of many people working on it, but he, being a showman, helped popularized its use. He was so good at this that eventually he just had to mention that he had developed free energy, or some kind of directed energy death ray, and people would believe him and proceed to invent an entire mythology around it.

    Of course he was not JUST a showman, he was also a scientist and a businessman. But the persistence of the Tesla myth come mostly from the legacy of his showmanship promoting his science and business interest.

    Tesla did very little science after 1928, and after his death in 1943, aged 86, the FBI, perhaps taken in by his mythology, seized his papers to look for evidence of his "Death Ray"
    Of course the conspiracy theories will tell you this is all lies. That the FBI took his papers because there WAS a death ray, and the FBI took it and issues the above cover story.

    But that's just mythology. That's just the result of Tesla's storytelling. He was a great scientist, but there were many other great scientists who were simply less great (or less inclined) than Tesla in the art of self promotion.

    And if you think Oatmeal is excessively fawning over Tesla, has a look at what Tesla Fans wrote back in 1944, in the book that was perhaps responsible for starting the cult of Tesla:
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
    • Like Like x 4
  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Here's another bit of The Oatmeal's over-the-top Tesla worship cartoon:


    And what he actually said:
    So he had a cool idea for detecting if submarines were nearby, which would not actually work. This is not the same thing as inventing radar. Again, Tesla WAS a great scientist. But he was not the only scientist. The history of electricity is not just Tesla vs. Edison. Many people had similar ideas for using electrical waves for remote detection.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
    • Like Like x 4
  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    LOL. Hardly anyone has heard of Tesla. History makes much of Edison whilst Tesla is kept in the background despite the fact that Edison championed Direct Current and poo poohed A/C as much as possible.

    Why start on poor old Tesla, who was such a 'businessman' that he gave away his patents which would have made him one of the wealthiest men on earth.

    There seems much in Tesla's assertion that energy is 'freely' available just by tapping into it. The movement of Earth's iron core is recognised by science as a huge and complex dynamo responsible for many things including protection from solar winds and plate tectonics. Is it in the interests of big business to recognise this tho?

    Still, if you want to have a go at him, I'm sure he will not be bothered.

    BTW, I cannot work out how to start a new thread. If you wouldn't mind clarifying how to I would appreciate it as I wanted to get some thoughts on why Felix Baumgartner didn't need a heatshield.
  4. Fourthmeal

    Fourthmeal New Member

    Surprise, I do not agree with you on most of this. Did you bring this up after I made my comments about him?

    First thing first, when you say "debunked", you act like you are correct. Like debunking something ends the discussion/debate. My belief is, unless you were present at the time personally, it simply is not possible to do this. As time passes, time erodes truth and myth/legend/conspiracy takes its place. I'm sure you'll agree with me on that one. The thing is, Tesla was engaged against VERY powerful people and they were largely successful in obliteration of his legacy and deeds to humanity. I relate his strife similar to the one against the Native Americans vs. the White Man. Over time the Natives were, for a time, demonized in stories and fables, and literally history was re-written to deface them. Some of this has now been corrected. A similar demonizing and history-wiping occurred with the Christian vs. Zoroastrian faith. History is largely written by the "winners". Tesla's legacy took the same hit.

    I don't have time to go toe to toe with you but I'll point out something:

    No, he was a horrible publicist. He was an introvert and had many disorders, such as OCD. He was easily duped by Edison, and again by JP Morgan, which led to hard lessons of who to trust in life. He was very successful in some ways but in others (such as with women and a love life) he was a total failure.

    Tesla had a very unique skill/ability. Purely in his mind, he could run a machine he envisioned. He could simulate wear and tear in his mind, and visualize what needed improvement before it was made. A very good example of the result of this would be the Tesla Turbine. One moving part, high efficiency, great versatility, and pretty much unknown.

    There's a ton more. Remember that he was vilified by Elites back then and they swore that he would be wiped from history. With the exception of just a few remaining journals, most of the legacy was lost. Meanwhile people like Edison (who was an Elitist douche, know this) have continued through history as really important people. IMO Tesla has not been praised enough.
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Debunked means removing the bunk. So when I say "Tesla Debunked" that means I'm addressing specific claims made about Tesla, like him having invented the Radar or Transformers.

    Why do you say he was a horrible self-publicist? It seems like he was very popular in the press, who covered his vague ideas as if they were full formed inventions,a and accepted his stories as fact.

    Edison being a dick does not automatically make Tesla the inventor of everything.
    • Like Like x 5
  6. Fourthmeal

    Fourthmeal New Member

    Acknowledged that he's not the inventor of everything. I've never seen those Oatmeal pages but I don't think many people believe he invented AC. At least all my research I've done has never said that. His "magnetic vortex motors" were just the first successful run at making AC viable. made me laugh. I've not seen so much propaganda in a long time.

    Views of Tesla don't get along with hardcore skeptics. Why? My theory is that they don't like the guy for his beliefs and experiences. Especially those dealing with ET. But, that's another chapter.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2014
  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The thing is though that's just the mythology of Tesla. Sure, he foolishly gave away some patents - but does that somehow validate the other claims made about him?

    Tesla was a great inventor, that's for sure, just not the demigod that popular culture (and conspiracy culture) has made him out to be.

    You need to be registered . But Baumgartner did not need a heat shield because that's only required when slowing from orbital velocity. The orbital velocity of the Space Shuttle is 17,580 mph. Baumgartner started at speed zero and only briefly got as fast as 834 mph, which is not fast enough to generate much heat in the thin cold air of the upper atmosphere. In fact a much bigger problem was staying warm enough.
    • Like Like x 3
  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  9. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Sorry, meant to say thanks for above explanation.
  10. Fourthmeal

    Fourthmeal New Member

    The biggest trouble I'm going to have here is that the sources claim that its a myth he invented things. Most people know the timeline, and understand that Tesla didn't invent everything, he invented a WORKING version that was suitable for continuous use.

    Let's be honest here, the Oatmeal is a satirical site. They are swinging through generalizations and yes, making shit up. But the raw facts remain, the guy has the patents on WORKING, functional, and efficient models of the A/C motor and generator, phosphorescent lamp. When it is said that he invented something, yes it remains that there are people who came up with the raw idea first, and actually all my sources show that he did not hide the fact he was working on someone else's invention. What he should remain famous for is making working versions for everyday use.
  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Sure, but what I'm debunking is the "making shit up" things. There are many people in the conspiracy culture that will verbatim believe everything in that Oatmeal comic.

    And while it's just a comic, the author just raised $1.3 million to build a Tesla museum, and he links to his comic as a source of facts about Tesla.


    So he's perpetuating the myths in a very big way.

    The Wikipedia article on Tesla is much more reasonable:
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  12. Fourthmeal

    Fourthmeal New Member

    I'll give you that. "The Oatmeal" is making shit up. It is cool that money was raised for a museum but I'm against the part where lies were used to do it. The truth of his inventions and impact on daily life could very well stand up on their own.

    I guess the part I disagree with is that he's overrated. The other part I disagree with is regarding the FBI raid. Reality is that this guy had the secrets to radiant energy, FREE energy. This can't be given to the masses, of course (in a world of enslavement.)
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Other than that not being something the elite would want out there, where's the evidence he had these secrets?

    I find that whole thing rather bamboozling that people would think that when you consider two things:

    A) How much was known about energy then
    B) How much is known now.

    I mean, we are talking this:

    vs. this:


    The advances in science and technology since then are astonishing. Sure he was handy with AC, transformers, and radio waves. But was he really more knowledgeable than the 100,000 people with Phds in electrical engineering since then?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    I thought FBI raid, in the middle of WW2, was more along the lines of "we can't let the enemy have this, and let's make sure we get hold of it to help win the war....WHADAYAMEAN HE WAS B-ESSING????"
  15. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member


    However it seems like it was the Office of Alien Property who took the files, but they were eventually all turned over to Tesla's estate.

    The FMB got a constant stream of requests about this, and had a form response:
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  16. Fourthmeal

    Fourthmeal New Member

    It wasn't that he was more knowledgeable. Indeed there are a lot bright people working today. He would be considered an outcast today though. Imagine, an inventor that goes rigid in front of groups, catatonic, and then snaps out of it and claims he's seen the future and knows how to make the world a better place. That's crazy. Bat-shit nuts, actually. But that's exactly the type of guy Tesla was. He was crazy and he made it work to his advantage. Remember I was talking about his ability to run something in his head, and take it apart (in his head) and inspect it for wear and tear, and create a working product from his own mind's solutions. Sure, as we discussed he didn't invent AC power. He just invented (and patented) a workable version.

    Let's be honest, his goal was unlimited free energy for all, and he was an advocate of extra-terrestrials (in fact he claimed to have picked up transmissions from a relatively local source), and he worked with an impassioned heart instead of by what made profit. These views were frowned upon by then-modern society. But today, these days, these "better world" views have a place, though not within the government sector, at this time.. Everything has a proper time and place though.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I don't agree that Tesla is 'over rated'. He was undoubtedly a genius and a philanthropist. J.P Morgan used him capriciously and despicably and to the detriment of mankind IMO. J.P. Morgan deliberately sidelined/marginalised him.

    TPTB have virtually erased him from history up until recently when the internet allowed people to find out more about him and his place in history. Power to the people.

    Even if it is accepted to date he was wrong on some things, (which may in the future be revisited and found correct), his legacy is enduring and massive and unacknowledged showing that if anything, he was underrated.

    Mythbusters tested his quake machine and deemed it 'busted'. I see it as being entirely vindicated. A 5lb oscillator set at the correct frequency managed to shake thousands of tons of bridge. Ok, it didn't bring it down but if it the principle was vindicated.

    Death rays are fact nowadays so another bullseye
  18. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Can you back that up? You might want to tell J. Edgar Hoover, who was getting daily letters asking what the FBI did with Tesla's files.

    Or do a Newspaper Archive Search for Nikola Tesla, and see how many newspaper stories there are in each decade.


    Tesla's popularity only faded slightly after his death, and was revived in popular culture in the 1970's. Hardly "erased from history"

    Wild speculation about Tesla's work has continued basically unabated for 100 years:


    And there was no need for the internet to "allow people to find out more about him", there's over a hundred books about him currently in print, and many more from the last 70 years.

    The mythology of Tesla in part is due to these books, in particular to one book: Prodigal Genius, by John Joseph O'Neill - 1944, which recounts the life of Tesla in an overly-dramatized manner, and is responsible for the popular accounts of many of the myths which have been repeated over the decades until they become accepted as facts. Exceprt:

    It's the cult of Tesla. A cult that The Oatmeal and others continue today.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  20. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  21. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Senior Member

    Here is another good timeline/biography for anyone who is interested. I think what contributed to all the bunk we now see surrounding Tesla is the fact that the man was very much a genius but a terrible businessman. He always found himself in bad business deals. Towards the end of his career he quickly ran out of funding so he began to make weird claims to catch attention and funding from the military. This was when he claimed he could invent death rays, space ships, free energy, and other fantastic things. As far as anyone can tell, none of these claims were based on anything real and he was just trying to get attention and funding. It did not work, however, and his Tesla tower was ultimately dismantled. Now in a time where "green technology" is something everyone is looking for, his claims have made a huge comeback and with them, a lot of bunk.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  22. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    Don't forget David Bowie's appearance as Tesla in The Prestige, adding to the mythic perception...
    the scene...

    and hugh jackman talking about Tesla, continuing the suppresion of genius angle...

    Also, an elephant had to die for Edison to win the battle...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2014
  23. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Senior Member

    mmmm that's good hyperbole.
    Love me some old-style Rabelasian prose.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2014
    • Funny Funny x 1
  24. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  25. lotek

    lotek Active Member

    "his goal was unlimited free energy for all"

    to postulate that this is not the goal of modern researchers is naive and aggressive. its not all about money, not matter how much you want it to be.
    • Like Like x 1
  26. mupty

    mupty New Member

    Even though its very late, I would actually like to add to this because physics just seems to be something that people are afraid of and toss aside, it doesn't really bode well for us if people believe the contrary and neglect the facts.
    We have an SI unit for magnetic fields thats named after Tesla, called Teslas, his name is repeated constantly in the world of electricity and magnetism.... Anyone with any basic knowledge of physics would know of Tesla and his REAL work. Every physics textbook I've had or read has a picture of Tesla, what he did and his accomplishments.
    It just goes to show how physics is just being swept aside here in the western world and how little people actually know about science.
  27. Cairenn

    Cairenn Senior Member

    But most folks don't know Ampere, or Ohm, or any of the other folks with electrical units named for them.

    I don't think anyone was doubting his real contributions just the hero worship by folks that have little science training. They read and promote his 'free energy', without understanding that it doesn't exist.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  28. MikeC

    MikeC Closed Account

    So you are suggesting that teh unit was named after him in order to encourage people to forget him like they mostly have Ohms and Ampere and Faraday????? ;)
  29. Cairenn

    Cairenn Senior Member

    I don't think most folks take the time to think about what units of electricity or most other 'physics' related units of measurement. They remember Watts, because it on packages of light bulbs, 'amps' because they buy fuses for their car, volts because of voltage requirements.
  30. dan theman

    dan theman New Member

    Most likely, edison tech center is biased.
  31. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

    Slightly off topic but I noticed a Facebook comment the other day about Tesla that said "his patents are been hidden from public view". I enquired as to how a patent can be hidden from public view and was informed "he signed the rights away". Now as I understand it an inventor is able to keep some of the details of an invention from public view but I would assume there is still a record of the patent application. Also what happens after the 20 year period. Are all the details disclosed?
  32. NoParty

    NoParty Senior Member

    Gotta say, this almost made me do a spit-take!
    OMG, it seems like I've heard a million legends about Tesla my entire life!

    Hell, I once met a little kid in Oregon, who told me he was named "Tesla."
    I cringed, but asked, do you know if you were named for the band, :eek: or the legendary scientist?"
    The tot shrugged, but headbanger dad quickly chimed in that it was a tribute to the hair band that gave the world Psychotic Supper.

    But then the dad mused…"But, uh, I think maybe the band was named for some science guy."

    Hmmmpff!! "Hardly anyone," indeed.

    Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.50.55 PM.

    …and then of course there's Tesla Motors...
    • Like Like x 3
  33. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    Right near where I live. Pass it often! It's right on Tesla St. :) I have a friend on the board of directors, been inside. Nothing from Tesla in there, however.

    1172631_543430895738883_981539037_o (2).
  34. derrick06

    derrick06 Active Member

    Good information here guys! I agree @Mick West I notice a lot of people use claims that never seem to have a source when speaking of Tesla. He certainly was intelligent, but he was human and wasn't perfect. In an article I once found online it makes all sorts of claims and info such as

    " The method he would use to produce this wireless power was to employ the earth's own resonance with its specific vibrational frequency to conduct AC electricity via a large electric oscillator. When J.P. Morgan agreed to underwrite Tesla's project, a strange structure was begun and almost completed near Wardenclyffe in Long Island, N.Y. Looking like a huge lattice-like, wooden oil derrick with a mushroom cap, it had a total height of 200 feet. Then suddenly, Morgan withdrew his support to the project in 1906, and eventually the structure was dynamited and brought down in 1917."

    But it's just posted in the article. I don't see any source or anything of that nature showing that "It's wireless power employs the earths resonance." I always thought the Werdenclyffe tower was "An early wireless transmission tower designed by Tesla in Shoreham, New York and intended for commercial trans-Atlantic wireless telephony, broadcasting, and proof-of-concept demonstrations of wireless power transmission. It was never fully operational, and the tower was demolished in 1917." According to what I have read in the past. Why the contradicting of view on something that was so well documented?
    • Like Like x 1
  35. wotgorilla

    wotgorilla Member

    Well, the thing of it is, it's not really all that well documented. My feeling is the article below fits the facts the best.

    I'd add the provision that Tesla likely thought he could accomplish both goals. Evidently, he wasn't lacking self confidence. It's entirely possible that in desperation, Tesla revealed to Morgan his plans to transmit electrical power from the tower, in a last ditch effort to secure funding. And, Morgan may have replied that he had no interest in the idea of free energy. So, for a conspiracy theorist, that's all you need. It's a done deal.

    The problem is, although apparently Tesla had some success transmitting energy very short distances, efficiencies were so insanely low there would be no practicable reason to do so. Other then it's application still used a century later, radio transmission.
  36. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    I think for the general mainstream, Tesla has been under rated for a very long time and is far less well known than people like Thomas Edison (who was clearly a colossal dick)

    HOWEVER, it is fair to say that the cult of Tesla has really gone overboard and by those people, and therefore the information seen by the average internet browser, Tesla is WAY over rated, and stuff he sort of invented that didn't work is being blown up into conspiracy circles as suppressed technology.

    Do you have any evidence for this one? It seems to be the facts are A) Tesla said he had various inventions including free energy but most importantly for the US authorities a "Death Ray" b) The FBI confiscated his stuff cos they didn't want it falling into their enemies hands and they The MIT Professors report then subsequently claimed that his death ray didn't exist.
    So they could have stolen and suppressed it, or it might not have existed. Unless you have some really good evidence, why assume one way or the other? The USA could really have done with a death ray on D Day, or during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Cos most of the time these days when you hear something about Tesla, it is BUNK. I have nothing against the guy, just something against bunk people say about the guy.

    funnily enough, I first heard about Tesla's work via the band Tesla, whose album "The Great Radio Controversy" basically talked about how Tesla invented Radio and Marconi basically stole it off him.(It neglected to mention all the many other people around the same time that were also working on wireless telegraphy or telphony)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  37. Steve Funk

    Steve Funk Active Member I missed the screening of this film yesterday, another project from George Ainsworth of "Cloud of Unknowing." Haven't seen any indication that it is on the net.
  38. Balance

    Balance Senior Member

    Do you mean this Death Ray? :p

    The Title "Tesla Overrated, Debunked" Does that mean he was underrated? o_O
  39. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Hmm, That was before I'd formalized the "Debunked: Some Claim". My meaning here was more "Tesla was overrated, and here's some debunking of stuff said about him".
  40. Balance

    Balance Senior Member

    Reading the thread clarified your meaning but the title was a bit confusing initially (for a simpleton like me anyway :D )
    • Informative Informative x 1
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.