Did you know that Nikola Tesla claimed to have invented a “death ray” which he conceived after studying the Van de Graaff generator. He tried to sell it to the U.S. and the Soviet Union claiming that it could, ” bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles.”
1. Please explain Tesla’s “Death Ray” machine he spoke about in the 1930’s. Was it a laser or a particle beam accelerator?
Tesla’s work on particle beam weapons can be traced all the way back to 1893 with his invention of a button lamp, and again to 1896 when he replicated the work of William Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays. At that time, Tesla was “shooting” X-rays over considerable distances, creating photographs of skeletons sometimes as far away as 40 feet from the source of the gun. Tesla was also involved in experiments with shooting cathode rays at targets. This and similar work from one of Tesla’s British colleagues, J.J. Thompson, led to the discovery, by Thompson, of the electron. During that period in the mid-1890’s, Tesla conversed often with Thompson, particularly in the electrical journals.
At about the year 1918, Tesla apparently had a laser-like apparatus that he shot at the moon. From studying his great 1893 work THE INVENTIONS, RESEARCHES AND WRITINGS OF NIKOLA TESLA, it is apparent that the button lamp discussed above had all of the components necessary to create a laser beam.
This lamp was so constructed so as to place a piece of matter such as carbon, or a diamond or a ruby, in the center, and bombard this “button” with electrical energy that would bounce off the button onto the inside of the globe and bounce back onto the button. If this were a ruby, and Tesla specifically worked with rubies, then is exactly how a ruby laser is created. Tesla refers in INVENTIONS to a “pencil-thin” line of light that was created with this device. It is my belief that Tesla not only invented the ruby laser in 1893, but he also demonstrated it and published it’s results. The problem with the device was that it was set up so as to “vaporize,” or destroy, the button, so that the laser effects were probably short-lived.
However, if we jump ahead to the 1918 story, which was told to me by Coleman Czito’s grandson’s wife, it is very possible that Tesla used the same or similar kind of apparatus to send laser pulses to the moon.
Now, to get to the particle beam weapon, this is an entirely separate invention and evolved from, all things, a pop gun that he used as a boy. The pop gun works by pumping air into the barrel and causing the cork to come barreling out. This gun could be used to shoot targets and small animals, and Tesla discusses this gun in his autobiography.
What Tesla realized was that a “ray” would not have the energy requirement to be destructive. Also, even if he had a laser, or laser-like ray, it would still disperse somewhat, over long distances. So Tesla came to the conclusion that instead of shooting a ray of light, he would shoot microscopic pellets. The stream could not disperse because, theoretically, it would be one pellet thick.
After studying the Van de Graaff electrostatic generator, which used a cardboard belt to generate the high voltages, Tesla came to utilize the same essential set-up to generate tremendous charges, but he replaced the belt with an ionized stream of air and then used this electrified stream to “repel” the small pellets which were made out of tungsten. These pellets were shot out of an open-ended vacuum tube which was shaped in the form of a cannon.
It is my belief that this device, which was presented to the International Tesla Society by the late Dr. Andrija Puharich at the 1984 Tesla Centennial Symposium (and published in that proceedings as, essentially, Tesla’s 1937 top secret patent application), was designed to be as large as the tower at Wardenclyffe. The shaft, which could have been as tall as 100 feet, would contain the “belt” of ionized stream of air.
The round bulbous part of the tower would continue to circulate the ionized stream and hold the charge, and out the top of the tower there would be the long barrel of the gun. Such a machine, which Tesla tried to sell during World War II to the United States, England, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, would be able to shoot down incoming planes at distances of about 300 miles.
Proof that this device was given to the Soviets has been established by such individuals as Colonel Tom Bearden, who points out that the May 2, 1977 issue of AVIATION WEEK, displays a picture of a Soviet particle beam weapon, (along with the accompanying 7000 word article) that is almost a carbon copy of the picture in Tesla’s 1937 patent application, which, as stated above has been published in the ITS 1984 proceedings.
A question remains as to whether or not Tesla actually constructed a particle beam weapon. I believe that when looks at this question from a historical standpoint, we see that he had been working on this and similar devices for over 30 years. Thus, it is my opinion that Tesla did, indeed, construct a working model. At the age of 81, at a luncheon in his honor, concerning the Death Ray, Tesla stated,
“But it is not an experiment…. I have built, demonstrated and used it. Only a little time will pass before I can give it to the world.”