Before his death, Nikola Tesla invented a super powerful weapon of mass destruction?

If today the name Tesla brings to mind electric cars or tweets that shake the stock markets, it once embodied a different image: a brilliant and eccentric inventor, the guardian of at least 300 patents related to electricity, radio, radar. , nuclear physics or X-rays. But do we really know the man behind the legend?

Life in alternating current

It is claimed that he was born during a storm. The archetypal mad scientist, full of maniacs and frauds, Tesla devoted his life to science—he was electrocuted with 250,000 volts for a good cause—and anticipated many of the great changes of the coming century, starting with wireless communications. technology or women’s liberation.

At the end of life, genius whims dry up. Its detractors assert that it has interlocking wires; he claims to be working on unimaginable projects, an extraterrestrial communication system, an elixir that allows him to live for over 140 years. Tesla does not deny this. He lives alone in hotel rooms, works on unread sketches until morning, prefers communication with pigeons to his own offspring.

on the 20the A reporter finds him on the floor of the Governor Clinton Hotel in Manhattan “skinny as a ghost”, his pale eyes sunk in their sockets. But what does Nikola Tesla dream about? His only opportunity to share his whims is the press conferences he gives every year on his birthday on July 10.


It was at one of these conferences, in 1934, that the scientist announced that he was working on the design of a weapon. “kill an army of millions on the spot”. The next day, the New York Times headline: “78-year-old Tesla presented the new “Death Ray”; An invention powerful enough to destroy 10,000 aircraft from a distance of 250 miles., he says. In secret, we feel that the public is tired of his eccentricities. Moreover, the inventor does not find investors to finance the development of this weapon – despite the imminent roaring conflict in Europe.

Be careful not to opportunistically tax Tesla. His “high energy particle beam” it is not designed to destroy entire continents – we will have to wait until the start of the Cold War to see that prospect come to fruition – but is primarily a defensive role. Its “teleforce,” stationed on the borders of free countries, would stop missile launches and make war obsolete. So this is above all the work of a pacifist – some would say delirium.

As his reputation deteriorates as fast as his health, Tesla sinks into the solitude characteristic of geniuses. Totally broke, he would pay his hotel bill at the Governor Clinton in Manhattan with a prototype of the “death ray”, ordering the concierge never to open the box… A few months later, greatly diminished by a car accident, he deposited the money. last home – room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel.

In the electric fog

While Tesla never leaves his room, which is permanently sealed off with a “Do Not Disturb” sign, his hotel lobby is filled with admirers—primarily “People interested in UFOs, anti-gravity aircraft, laser beams, time travel and telepathic pigeons”. On January 7, 1943, the maid, defying the inventor’s prohibition, entered his room and discovered his lifeless body. The diagnosis is clear: cardiac arrest. Nikola Tesla was 86 years old.

Even as he remains in poverty and anonymity in his old age, the announcement of the scientist’s death shakes the planet. Do we still give her credit for her latest fashions? Are we to believe that he has found a way to make war obsolete by designing “telepower”? Probably not. But the FBI services prefer not to take any risks: shortly after his death, they ransack room 3327 and took all the documents that the inventor was working on. Any sketches of his famous “death ray” on the lot? We will never know.

Nikola Tesla prepared a final surprise for his contemporaries after his death. After the announcement of his death, it is decided to open the box that he gave to stay at the Governor Clinton hotel. The experts discover that it contains nothing more than a fever, a few fuses and useless mechanical parts… It seems that the secret of the “teleforce” has flown with Tesla in one last genius confusion.

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