Nikola Tesla at age 77
By Bill Crawford
One evening during the last summer of the 19th century, an eccentric Serbian inventor steps outside his electrical laboratory. Dressed in a Prince Albert coat and black derby, he looks up at the 200-foot tower
he’s built in the shadow of Pike’s Peak.
“Now! Close the switch!” he shouts to his assistant. Inside the lab, the assistant slams home the switch on a mammoth “magnifying transmitter.” Current surges through the giant electrical coil; the earth vibrates. An eerie blue light fills the lab. Lightning bolts shoot into the Colorado sky. Thunder splits the evening air, turning the heads of ranchers 15 miles away. Townspeople panic as the 12-million-volt surge knocks out the Colorado Springs power station and sets it ablaze. Inventor Nikola Tesla smiles: His newborn electrical forces are nothing compared with the electrical impulses in his own mind.
Tesla was wired differently from most people. By age 12, he could recite logarithmic tables by heart, but his thoughts were frequently interrupted by visions and brilliant flashes of light. To overcome his paralyzing mental storms, the boy trained his mind to create imaginary worlds. At 17, Tesla focused his mind on machines. He imagined a turbine that would transform the energy of Niagara Falls into electricity and revised his designs mentally, at lightning speed.
At the University of Prague, Tesla’s obsession with electric-motor design grew. So did his eccentricity. Before he allowed himself to eat, he calculated the cubic contents of soup plates, cups and pieces of food. A fly landing on a table thudded in his ears. Disturbed by the sensation of the ground trembling beneath him, Tesla supported his bed on rubber cushions. “I am an exceptionally accurate instrument of reception, in other words, a seer,” Tesla wrote. “But such a surtax of the brain is fraught with great danger to life.”
Overtaxed, the young engineer’s mind shut down completely. For therapy, Tesla took to walking through Prague’s City Park, where at sunset, an “idea came like a flash of lightning, and in an instant, the truth was revealed.” With a stick, he drew a diagram of a motor in the sand–one that would use alternating current to change electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Tesla built a model of his electrical motor but was unable to sell it to anyone, including Thomas Edison. The Wizard of Menlo Park had already invested heavily in direct current and had no use for a motor that was based on an entirely incompatible system. Finally, backed by J.P. Morgan, Tesla founded his own company and reached an agreement with George Westinghouse to bring his innovative electrification system to the world.
Twenty-five million visitors at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago stared in awe as 200,000 light bulbs illuminated the fairgrounds–each one powered by alternating current. Many stopped in at the Westinghouse display room to watch as Nikola Tesla, elegant in white tie and tails, demonstrated the dazzling effects of high-frequency equipment in front of neon signs of his own creation. Three years later, Tesla’s electrical generating and transmission systems were installed at Niagara Falls. A high tension line carried electrical power 22 miles to Buffalo–a feat Edison’s direct current system could never accomplish. Tesla’s generating, transmission and power systems transformed electricity from an urban curiosity to the world’s most popular source of energy.
But Tesla would not rest until he could transmit electrical energy without wires. In 1899, he built a laboratory in the mountains outside Colorado Springs and created an enormous resonating trans-former–a Tesla Coil–to send high-voltage, low-frequency transmissions through the earth. “The entire earth will be converted into a huge brain,” Tesla wrote, “capable of response in every one of its parts.”
Man-made lightning bolts were the closest Tesla ever came to wireless energy transmission. After 1905, funding dried up. Though the inventor’s mind never rested, it grew muddled. He spent the final decade of his life residing at the Hotel New Yorker, hanging out with boxers and talking with the pigeons that flocked around him in Manhattan’s parks.
Yet neither Tesla’s poverty nor his addled mind made him bitter. “For many years, my life was little short of continuous rapture,” he stated not long before his death in 1943. “I have thrived on my thoughts.”
According to the Navy and Air Force, HAARP “will be used to introduce a small, known amount of energy into a specific ionospheric layer” anywhere from several miles to several tens of miles in radius. Not surprisingly, Navy and Air Force PR (posted on the official HAARP World Wide Web Internet site, an effort to combat the bad press the project has generated), down-plays both the environmental impacts of the project and purported offensive uses of the technology.
However, a series of patents owned by the defense contractor managing the HAARP project suggests that the Pentagon might indeed have more ambitious designs. In fact, one of those patents was classified by the Navy for several years during the 1980s. The key document in the bunch is U.S. Patent number 4,686,605, considered by HAARP critics to be the “smoking raygun,” so to speak. Held by ARCO Power Technologies, Inc.
(APTI), the ARCO subsidiary contracted to build HAARP, this patent describes an ionospheric heater very similar to the HAARP heater invented by Bernard J. Eastlund, a Texas physicist. In the patent–sub-sequentially published on the Internet by foes of HAARP–Eastlund describes a fantastic offensive and defensive weapon that would do any megalo-maniacal James Bond super villain proud.
According to the patent, Eastlund’s invention would heat plumes of charged particles in the ionosphere, making it possible to, for starters, selectively “disrupt microwave transmissions of satellites” and “cause interference with or even total disruption of communi-cations over a large portion of the earth.” But like his hopped up ions, Eastlund was just warming up. Per the patent text, the physicist’s “method and apparatus for altering a region in the earth’s atmosphere” would also:
• “cause confusion of or interference with or even complete disruption of guid-ance systems employed by even the most sophisticated of air-planes and missiles”;
• “not only…interfere with third-party communi-cations, but [also] take advantage of one or more such beams to carry out a communications network at the
same time. Put another way, what is used to disrupt another’s communications can be employed by one knowledgeable of this invention as a communications network at the same time”;
• “pick up communi-cation signals of others for intelligence purposes”;
• facilitate “missile or aircraft destruction, deflection, or confusion” by lifting large regions of the atmosphere “to
an unexpectedly high altitude so that missiles encounter unexpected and unplanned drag forces with resultant destruction or deflection of same.”
If Eastlund’s brainchild sounds like a recipe for that onetime Cold War panacea, the Strategic Defense Initiative (AKA “Star Wars” ), it’s probably no
coincidence. The APTI/-Eastlund patent was filed during the final days of the Reagan administration, when plans for high-tech missile defense systems were still all the rage. But Eastlund’s blue-sky vision went far beyond the usual Star Wars prescriptions of the day and suggested even more unusual uses for his patented ionospheric heater.
the patent states, “is possible by….altering upper atmospheric wind patterns or altering solar absorption patterns by con-structing one or more plumes of particles which will act as a lens or focusing device.” As a result, and artificially heated could focus a “vast amount of sunlight on selected portions of the earth.”
HAARP officials deny any link to Eastlund’s patents or plans. But several key details suggest otherwise. For starters, APTI, holder of the Eastlund patents, continues to manage the HAARP project. During the summer of 1994, ARCO sold APTI to E-Systems, a defense contractor known for counter-surveillance projects. E-Systems, in turn, is currently owned by Raytheon, one of the world’s largest defense contractors and maker of the SCUD-busting Patriot missile. All of which suggests that more than just simple atmospheric science is going on in the HAARP compound.
What’s more, one of the APTI / Eastlund patents singles out Alaska as the ideal site for a high frequency ionospheric heater because “magnetic field lines… which extend to desirable altitudes for this invention, intersect the earth in Alaska.” APTI also rates Alaska as an ideal location given its close proximity to an ample source of fuel to power the project: the vast reserves of natural gas in the North Slope region–reserves owned by APTI parent company ARCO. Eastlund also contradicts the official military line. He told National Public Radio that a secret military project to develop his work was launched during the late 1980s.
And in the May/June 1994 issue of Microwave News, Eastlund suggested that “The HAARP project obviously looks a lot like the first step” toward the designs outlined in his patents.
Eastlund’s patent really trips into conspiratorial territory in its “References Cited” section. Two of the sources documented by Eastlund are New York Times articles from 1915 and 1940 profiling Nikola Tesla, a giant in the annals of Con-spiratorial History. Tesla, a brilliant inventor and contemp-orary of Edison, developed hundreds of patents during his lifetime, and is often credited with developing radio before Marconi, among a host of other firsts. Of course, mainstream science has never fully acknowledged Tesla’s contri-butions, and his later pronoun-cements (he vowed that he had developed a technology that could split the earth asunder) have left him straddling that familiar historical territory where genius meets crackpot. Not surprisingly, fringe science and conspiracy theory have made Tesla something of a patron saint. Whenever, talk radio buzz or Internet discussion turns to alleged government experiments to cause earth-quakes or modify weather, references to government-suppressed “Tesla Technology” are sure to follow.
Of course, mainstream science has never fully acknowledged Tesla’s contri-butions, and his later pro-nouncements (he vowed that he had developed a technology that could split the earth asunder) have left him straddling that familiar historical territory where genius meets crackpot. Not surprisingly, fringe science and conspiracy theory have made Tesla something of a patron saint. Whenever, talk radio buzz or Internet discussion turns to alleged government experiments to cause earth-quakes or modify weather, references to govern-ment-suppressed “Tesla Technology” are sure to follow.
Judging from the APTI patent, Tesla was a major inspiration for Eastlund ionos-pheric heater. The first New York Times article, dated September 22, 1940, reports that Tesla, then 84 years old, “stands ready to divulge to the United States Government the secret of his ‘teleforce,’ with which, he said, airplane motors would be melted at a distance of 250 miles, so that an invisible Chinese Wall of Defense would be built around the country.” Quoting Tesla, the Times story continues: “This new type of force, Mr. Tesla said, would operate through a beam one hundred-millionth of a square centimeter in diameter, and could be generated from a special plant that would cost no more than $2,000,000 and would take only about three months to construct.”
The second New York Times story, dated December 8, 1915, describes one of Tesla’s more well known patents, a transmitter that would “project electrical energy in any amount to any distance and apply it for innumerable purposes, both in war and peace.”
The similarity of Tesla’s ideas to Eastlund’s invention are remarkable, and by extension the overlap between Tesla and HAARP technology is downright intriguing. Apparently, APTI and the Pentagon are taking Eastlund’s–and by extension, Tesla’s–ideas seriously.
Eastlund seems to agree As he told one journalist-/conspiracy pathfinder: “HAARP is the perfect first step towards a plan like mine.
…The government will say it isn’t so, but if it quacks like a duck and it looks like a duck, there’s a good chance it is a duck.”
© 1996 by Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen Conspiracy Currents Number 4: