As I am also a handwriting expert, I noticed in the letters two things in particular about Tesla's handwriting that stood out. The first was Tesla's constantly changing self-image, from one of inferiority, where the N in Nikola is minuscule, to one of superiority, where the N is large and broad. I also noticed that in 1906 his handwriting completely fell apart. By clocking Tesla's life, I was able to conclude that 1906 was the year that Morgan put the final dagger through the heart of Wardenclyffe, and so I hypothesized that Tesla suffered a heretofore unreported emotional collapse at that time.
In 1986, I completed my doctoral dissertation at Saybrook Institute on Tesla's life. This treatise attempted to ascertain the exact reasons why Tesla's name is generally unknown by the public at large. I came up with three important reasons. This, of course, was before the heavy metal band, "Tesla," adopted the inventor's name.
(1) Once Tesla had sold his patents of the induction motor and AC power distribution system to Westinghouse, the invention became known as the Westinghouse invention. Further, competitors, such as General Electric, promoted their own inventors instead of Tesla, and even sponsored textbooks on the AC polyphase system without even mentioning the inventor of the system's name!
(2) Tesla's failure with Morgan in trying to harness Wardenclyffe and Marconi's corresponding success in transmitting a wireless Morse coded message across the Atlantic in 1901. People tend to remember individuals that come in first, not second; and further, Marconi was awarded the Nobel prize for the invention of the radio even though he was using pirated Tesla oscillators to achieve his success.
(3) Tesla's ties to the occult. In 1899, while stationed in Colorado Springs in his experimental laboratory, Tesla was sending wireless energy around the earth and also measuring electrical activity such as thunderstorms in attempts to identify the resonant frequency of the planet. One night, which I believe may have been July 28th, he received three beated signals on his equipment. These, Tesla guessed, came from the planet Mars. I have hypothesized that the signals were actually experiments being conducted by Marconi about 5,000 miles away on the high seas off the coast of England, as Marconi liked to transmit the Morse code letter S, dot dot dot, which corresponds to the Three beats Tesla said he received. Other researchers, on the other hand, have suggested that the signals were natural geomagnetic pulses from another planet, or a pulsar. Numerous critics of the day, however, simply did not believe the event, and stated that Tesla had gone off the deep end. His credibility was severely injured, and reputable scientists began and continued to distance themselves from him.
It is predominantly for these reasons that Tesla's name dropped into obscurity. Tesla, himself, continued to espouse the extraterrestrial hypothesis all the way through the 1930's during the time he received a fan letter from a young electrician from Canada by the name of Arthur Matthews, discussed above.
Tesla's life is astonishingly complex, and thus, there are numerous other reasons why his name became little known. For instance, Tesla had a secret particle beam weapon which was sought by numerous governments including the U.S. War Department in the years slightly before and during WWII. After Tesla's death during the midst of WWII in January of 1943, all of his papers and inventions were impounded by the US government, and kept under lock and key for nearly a decade because his most powerful heir was ambassador from Yugoslavia, which was then a communist country. And when the ambassador finally succeeded in freeing Tesla's estate, it was shipped to Belgrade, which, for many years was, essentially (though not technically), behind the Iron Curtain. Some saw this move as a communist conspiracy to obtain Tesla's secret technology. Coupled with the McCarthy era, Tesla's contributions were further obscured. In fact, it is my belief, that had it not been for O'Neill's inspired biography very few individuals would have ever remembered him and his contributions would have essentially completely disappeared.
WIZARD: THE LIFE & TIMES OF NIKOLA TESLA has been called the definitive biography on the inventor's fantastic life. The story begins with Tesla's heritage, follows childhood and early life through his school years in Graz and Budapest to his first jobs in Europe and then to his acclaimed work in America.
PUBLISHER: Citadel Press 540 pages illustrations, index $19.95
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For Autographed copy of WIZARD
Soft cover $35.00 post paid
Hard cover $200.00 (very rare)