When impoverished inventor Nikola Tesla died in New York City, the U.S. government confiscated his notes. Why? Were they trying to steal his technology?
“The distinction between the past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” –Albert Einstein
These days, even respected physicists like Stephen Hawking are being forced to admit that time travel may be possible. But has it already happened? These people say it has.
10 • A Visit To Mars With Barack Obama
Seattle attorney Andrew Basiago says that when he was a child, he and William Stillings were “chrononauts” in a secret United States government time travel program called Project Pegasus. The purpose of the program was threefold—to protect Earth from threats from space, to establish territorial sovereignty over Mars, and to acclimate Martian humanoids and animals to our presence.
The best part of Basiago’s and Stillings’ claim, however, is that one of their fellow time travelers was none other than a 19-year-old Barack Obama, who went by the name “Barry Soetero.” In 1980, the three men and seven other youths from their “Mars training class” at California’s College of the Siskiyous (a real institution) traveled to Mars via a top-secret teleportation “jump room” modeled on technical papers found in Nikola Tesla’s apartment after his death. They jumped through a field of radiant energy into a tunnel, and when the tunnel closed, found themselves at their destination.
The White House has officially denied that Obama ever went to Mars.
9 • An American Soldier From The Future
In late 2000, posts began appearing on the Internet from someone claiming to be an American soldier from the year 2036. John Titor, as he called himself, was on his way back to 1975—using a device installed in a 1987 Chevy Suburban, naturally—to obtain an IBM 5100 computer to fight a computer virus destined to destroy the world. Titor hinted at a world beset by conflicts, culminating in a series of Russian nuclear strikes in 2015 that would kill almost three billion people.
Titor’s posts abruptly ceased in 2001, but Titormania continued. In 2003, a bound edition of Titor’s 151 message board posts was released under the title John Titor: A Time Traveler’s Tale. Though no longer in print, one can still buy a new copy for an eye-popping $1,775, or a used one at a more modest $150. The book was published by the John Titor Foundation, a for-profit corporation run by Florida entertainment attorney Lawrence Haber. The Foundation also owns the copyright to the purported insignia of Titor’s military unit, the Fighting Diamondbacks, which is inscribed with a quote from Ovid: tempus edax rerum, meaning “time devours all things.”
Except, it would seem, the myth of John Titor.
8 • Christ’s Personal Photographer
Father Pellegrino Ernetti was a Benedictine monk and respected authority on archaic music. He also claimed to have co-invented—as part of a team that included Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi and German rocket scientist Werner von Braun—the “chronovisor,” a device that looked like a television but could tune in to events from the past.
According to Ernetti, he had observed the last supper and Christ’s crucifixion, as well as Napoleon and Cicero. The team had later voluntarily dismantled the device, because in the wrong hands, it could create “the most fearsome dictatorship the world has ever seen.” It had been inspired, he said, by Nostradamus—who had personally related to him the device’s possibilities.
When pressed for evidence, Ernetti produced a picture of Christ on the cross reportedly photographed through the chronovisor. After the photo’s resemblance to a carving by Cullot Valera was noticed, however, Ernetti was forced to admit the photo was a fake. Nevertheless, Ernetti insisted the chronovisor was real.
7 • The Pilot Who Entered A Parallel Dimension
In 1935, a wing commander with Britain’s Royal Air Force named Sir Victor Goddard flew his open-cockpit biplane from Scotland to England on weekend leave. On the way, he passed over Drem Airfield near Edinburgh, which had been constructed during World War I. The tarmac and four hangars were in disrepair and barbed wire divided the field into numerous pastures filled with grazing cattle. Returning home a day later, Goddard ran into a violent storm and lost control of his plane. When he finally recovered from a downward spiral that should have resulted in his death, he was just several feet above a stony beach.
As Goddard climbed back up through the rain and fog, the sky suddenly filled with sunlight. Below him was the Drem Airfield—only the farm had disappeared, and the hangars were no longer decrepit. At the end of the restored tarmac stood four bright yellow planes, one an unfamiliar monoplane. These were surrounded by mechanics in blue overalls, notable to Goddard since RAF mechanics only ever wore brown.
Had Goddard—considered one of the founders of the RAF—simply been confused about his location, as some skeptics suggest? Or had he traveled forward in time? Goddard died in 1987, so we may never know the truth. Unless, of course, he returns from the past to tell us.
6 • The Sole Survivor Of The Philadelphia Experiment
In the fall of 1943, the USS Eldridge was allegedly made invisible and teleported from Pennsylvania to Virginia in an incident that came to be known as the Philadelphia Experiment. Of course, the incident never occurred—but that didn’t stop Alfred Bielek from achieving notoriety as Eldridge’s reputed lone survivor. His memories were “buried” until he saw the movie The Philadelphia Experiment in 1988, at which time he “remembered” that he was born in 1916 as Ed Cameron.
As Cameron, he’d been recruited in 1940 for an alleged Navy Project called Project Rainbow, whose purpose was to figure out how to make ships invisible. For reasons not entirely clear, “black ops” soldiers later sent Cameron through a portal at the Pentagon to Alpha Centauri One, where aliens interrogated him and then “physically regressed” him into one-year-old Al Bielek in 1927. Bialek claimed he later became director of mind control for the Montauk Project, whose members in the ‘80s traveled through a time vortex and changed the outcomes of various wars. When they returned to their own time, they would decide if they’d changed things for the better. If not, they would simply restore the status quo.
Read transcript below or listen Here
It’s time again to open the mailbag and respond to some listener feedback, this time focusing on conspiracy theory episodes. But before addressing any specific emails today, I want to respond to the argument that’s far and away the most common regarding conspiracies. That argument is that real conspiracies do exist, therefore conspiracy theories are plausible. Julius Caesar was killed by a conspiracy. The Watergate scandal was executed by a conspiracy. The Iran-Contra affair was a conspiracy. Since conspiracies do exist and have been confirmed, how can I say that no conspiracy theory has ever been proven true? And, just so there’s no ambiguity, I do say that: No conspiracy theory has ever been proven true. I stand by this statement as fact, given the distinction between a real conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. So let’s define that distinction clearly.
Conspiracies, as we refer to them, are crimes or schemes carried out in secret by a group of conspirators. Sometimes they are discovered, like the three I just mentioned; and others have undoubtedly successfully remained undetected. These clearly exist. But they are quite distinct from what we colloquially call a conspiracy theory, which is claimed knowledge of a conspiracy that has not yet been discovered by law enforcement or Congress or the newspapers or the general public. They are, in fact, future predictions. They are the beliefs or conclusions of the theorist that they predict will eventually come true or be discovered. Here are three examples. For decades, some conspiracy theorists have claimed prescient knowledge that the North American nations will merge into a single police state using a currency called the Amero; that has never come true. Many conspiracy theorists claim that 9/11 was conducted by the American government; that has never been discovered. They’ve claimed a huge number of alternate hypotheses of who killed John F. Kennedy, and none of those have ever been discovered. The list goes on, and on, and on. Unlike a Julius Caesar conspiracy discovered when or after it took place, a conspiracy theory is of a discovery that has yet to take place.
I maintain my claim that a real conspiracy is very distinct from a hypothesized conspiracy; and I maintain my claim that no hypothesized conspiracy, believed within the conspiracy theory community, has ever subsequently been discovered to be true.
So with that stated, in what I hope are no uncertain terms, let’s proceed to some feedback. Keith from Johannesburg commented on the episode about free energy machines, aka perpetual motion:
Greedy companies suppressing miraculous technologies has long been a mainstay of the conspiracy theory community. The idea’s only problems are that it’s patently illogical and demonstrably untrue. There is not a single concept for any type of perpetual motion machine that you can’t freely purchase or even download from the Internet. YouTube is peppered with perpetual motion guys, which is hard to reconcile with the existence of a suppression conspiracy.
Similarly, you can’t find a single example of a theoretically plausible energy source not under development by some company somewhere. Naive investors even get snookered into funding implausible energy sources, such as perpetual motion, and it happens every day. Again, hardly indicative of suppression.
To address Keith’s specific example, Tesla’s tower at Wardenclyffe was not a free energy machine. It was a radio tower. Tesla described it himself in his own words:
As soon as it is completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant.
J. P. Morgan had been one of the tower’s financiers, and had given Tesla $150,000, an incredible sum in 1902. Morgan and the other investors backed out not because they were trying to suppress it, but because Tesla’s system had already become obsolete before it was finished. Marconi had already beaten him to the market, selling successful radio equipment with no need for Tesla’s absurdly elaborate, and unproven, tower. As we’ve discussed before on Skeptoid, nothing about Tesla’s work was magical, miraculous, or remains unknown to today’s engineers.
Bob from Canada offered this in response to the episode about the conspiracy theories swarming around the Rothschild banking family:
That Mayer (Rothschild)’s original sentiment about control of money still thrives against the interests of the 99% is an important truth Brian Dunning would apparently prefer we didn’t think about. Take one sleeping pill a day is the message of Skeptoid. Till when?
This is really just a restatement of the old saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Thus Skeptoid is advising you to take a sleeping pill, do nothing, and allow the evil of the Rothschild banking family to have its way with you. Well, that’s a fine saying, and certainly it’s good advice when there is some evil on your horizon. But are the Rothschilds truly the evil you should be worrying about?
- The End of Conspiracy Theories (illuminutti.com)
- Conspiracy theories only create more conspiracy theories (illuminutti.com)
- The 9/11 conspiracy theorist who changed his mind (illuminutti.com)
- The Conspiracy Theory Flowchart “THEY” Don’t Want You To See (illuminutti.com)
- Skeptoid #364: Listener Feedback: Conspiracies (skeptoid.com)
- Glenn Beck claims Obama conspiracy made him a conspiracy theorist (rawstory.com)
Given that Hutchison’s claims are outlandish and his credibility damaged by admitted fakery, it is likely that the effect named for him is complete claptrap. –Alan Bellows
The Hutchison hoax is named after an eccentric Canadian, John Hutchison, a fan of Nikola Tesla and Tesla coils. Hutchison claims to have discovered a number of weird things, such as the levitation of heavy objects and the fusion of metal and wood by forces heretofore undetected by normal scientists. Hutchison calls these weird things “the Hutchison effect.” Some of the things he calls weird seem to be explainable in terms of electromagnetism and other known physical forces, but he has more mysterious explanations, such as zero point energy and electromagnetic fields that cancel out gravity. Unfortunately, he seems to be the only one who can produce the effects, but not even he can replicate them—at least not in the presence of unbiased observers. His evidence consists mainly of his word and his videos.
One suggestion made by skeptics is that Hutchison uses an electromagnet on the ceiling, and places hidden pieces of metal inside objects so they will be attracted to the magnet. He could then film the objects with an upside-down camera as he powers down the electromagnet, making the objects on film appear to float up and out of the shot when in reality they are falling down to the floor. Many of the videos include conspicuous objects in the scene which do not move (such as an old broom), which could be deliberately attached to add to the illusion that the camera is not upside-down. Critics also point out that the videos do not show what happens to the objects after they levitate.*
His laboratory is his garage, kitchen, and other rooms in his apartment. Much of his apparatus seems to have come from military surplus stores.
Hutchison came on the scene around 1979, but he has not been able to convince the scientific community that he is anything more than a crackpot.
No personality in the history of science has been pushed further into the realm of mythology than the Serbian-American electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. He is, without a doubt, one of the true giants in the history of electromagnetic theory. As an inventor he was as prolific as they come, with approximately 300 patents having been discovered in at least 26 countries, but many more inventions as well that stayed within his lab and were never patented. As remarkable as were his talents was his personality: private, eccentric, possessed of extraordinary memory and bizarre habits, and with a headlong descent into mental illness during his later years. Tesla’s unparalleled combination of genius and aberrance have turned him into one of the seminal cult figures of the day. As such, at least as much fiction as fact have swirled around popular accounts of his life, and devotees of conspiracy theories and alternative science hypotheses have hijacked his name more than that of any other figure. Today we’re going to try and separate that fiction from the fact.
First, a very brief outline of his life; but in order to put it in the proper perspective, we have to first clear up a popular misconception. Tesla did not invent alternating current, which is what he’s best remembered for. AC had been around for a quarter century before he was born, which was in 1856 in what’s now Croatia. While Tesla was a young man working as a telephone engineer, other men around Europe were already developing AC transformers and setting up experimental power transmission grids to send alternating current over long distances. Tesla’s greatest early development was in his mind: a rotary magnetic field, which would make possible an electric induction motor that could run directly from AC, unlike all existing electric motors, which were DC. At the time, AC had to be converted to DC to run a motor, at a loss of efficiency. Induction motors had been conceived before his birth, but none had ever been built. Tesla built a working prototype, but only two years after another inventor, Galileo Ferraris, had also independently conceived the rotary magnetic field and built his own working prototype. Rightfully fearing that his own obscurity as a telephone engineer was hampering his efforts as an inventor, Tesla arranged to move to the United States. He did so in 1884, getting his famously ill-fated and short-lived job in Thomas Edison’s laboratory.
The tycoon George Westinghouse, who understood the potential of AC and induction motors and was actively seeking them, gratefully purchased some of Tesla’s patents as soon as he learned about them. Royalties from Westinghouse fattened Tesla’s wallet, and a number of highly public projects on which they collaborated made him a celebrity, including the 1893 illumination of the World’s Fair with alternating current, and the subsequent creation of the Niagara Falls power plant. It was as a result of this windfall that Tesla set up his own laboratories and created his most intriguing inventions. Let’s run through a list of some of the seemingly magical feats attributed to Tesla, beginning with . . .
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False facts about Tesla giving him more credit than he deserves.
In today’s world of Infotainment, web pages and documentaries have popped up proclaiming Nikola (Nicola) Tesla of being the inventor of practically everything. The more sites that pop up, the more reinforced false facts become. This is wrong because it denies respect for the true inventors of the technology, as well as oversimplifies history. Just as people incorrectly understood what Edison actually did and believed in a simplified idolization, Tesla seems to have taken his populist place in the 21st century. Tesla suffered from narcissism through much of his life, and this throws many of his claims of being “the first” into question. We can only believe patent information, and proven written records.
Didn’t your mother tell you not to believe everything you read on the internet? So before you go back to the Tesla mania pages we suggest you go to a library and dig up some facts from books and patent applications, just as real historians have.
Sorry to debunk your inner conspiracy theorist yearnings, but here are the facts:
Myth 1: Tesla invented polyphase AC power: FALSE. First there was a hand-cranked AC generator developed by Hippolyte Pixii in 1832. Single phase AC power was being used more in Europe by many inventors in the early 1880s. As early as the late 1870’s Germany had developed a 2 phase AC generator. In New York City Tesla had approached investors in 1886 with his AC system and did not have success. So in the United States in New York there was little confidence in AC power systems. From a world wide perspective there was many working on AC systems. August Haselwander and C.S. Bradley(a former Edison employee) created the first 3 phase AC generators(1887). Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovsky built the first full 3 phase AC generation and distribution system in the 1888-1891 period. Tesla continued to be stuck in his two-phase system which proved to be less effective than three.
Myth 2: Tesla invented the transformer: FALSE. The Ganz company in Budapest was the first to create and use transformers in AC systems in the late 1870s. Tesla was still in school then and hadn’t even began his first job in the field of telephony. His first job was in Budapest in 1880, this is where he possibly observed/stole ideas, and was convinced by the Hungarians that AC was viable and worth pursuing while the west was still 5 years behind. William Stanley invented the first modern transformer in 1885. His design was based Gaulard and Gibbs design. Gaulard had used his transformer in the 1884 Lanzo to Turin AC power demonstration. Also credit goes to the Z.B.D Transformer in Hungary The Z.B.D. Transformer was not practical in the system that Stanley set up in Great Barrington, MA so he designed his own. This is backed up by information at the Smithsonian and IEEE. It was in 1885 that Tesla actually joined the minority of inventors working with AC in trying to pitch his system. There is no proof that Tesla had any mature AC systems designed and ready before then. (Tesla claims to have envisioned his own full AC system in 1882 but there are no written documents of any kind to prove this)
Myth 3: Tesla invented the induction coil: FALSE. Absolutely false… Induction was discovered by Michael Faraday, and the induction coil was invented by Nicholas Callan in 1836, long before Tesla was born.
Myth 4: Tesla invented the loudspeaker: FALSE. The loudspeaker as we know it was invented by C.W. Rice and Edward Kellogg with a working prototype in 1921, and patent in 1925. Decades before this final success, Werner Von Siemens had toyed with the idea of a magnetically controlled speaker while Tesla was in grade school.
Myth 5: Tesla invented radar in 1917: FALSE. This one is a real can of worms, radar was made possible due to the work of Christian Hulsmeyer (German)1903, Lee De Forest 1918, Edwin Armstrong 1918, Ernst Alexanderson, Marconi, Albert Hull, Edward Victor Appleton, and Russians who developed a radar system to detect German planes in 1934. Sir Robert Watson-Watt demonstrated the first HF radar system in 1935 which operated at 6 MHz and had a range of 8 miles. There are many books on this subject.
Myth 6: Tesla invented the fluorescent lamp: FALSE. Alexandre E. Becquerel first examined the phenomena of fluorescence in 1857. Some say Edison invented the lamps. Others say George Inman developed the modern fluorescent lamp in 1934. It is tough to say who was first since there was a legal dispute. There is a possibility that the German Edmund Germer preceded both of them. Many people worked on the concept, Inman deserve the credit for building the first successful and practical design. Even if Telsa had played with the theories, he was not alone at any time, and didn’t do squat compared to others who had actually worked out the difficulties into a real working product. Daniel McFarlan Moore developed the Moore Tube which was the first commercial ancestor of the fluorescent lamp.
Myth 7: Tesla invented microwave transmitters: FALSE. Albert W. Hull invented the magnetron which lead to many inventions, including today’s microwave oven, the microwave communications link, and radar. You can dig deeper on this and find many early pioneers.
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