Featured Level B Unit 6

Intriguing Stories of a Madman

Intriguing Stories of a Madman
by Ella S., age 14

Nikola Tesla is almost universally considered to have a mind transcendent to that of the average human. He was spontaneous and dramatic. Equally childlike and futuristic, he had a sense of humor and a mind of genius, which served both his inventions and his reputation as a slightly insane man. Because of his photographic memory, he was able to recollect nearly everything he read. He could also envision his inventions in his mind from start to finish before he created them, and they would work every single time. Often, however, he would not have the actual demonstrable product because it would be too difficult or expensive to make, and because of his lack of proof, many people would call him a mad scientist. He also claimed that he could vaticinate, which he wrote about in his autobiography. Some of his vaguely described inventions have sparked conspiracy theories that are hardly more fantastical than the truth. No matter the rumors, Tesla’s mind surpassed what most people could ever experience.
The matter of Tesla’s hypothetical weapon is one of his most mysterious legacies. It was a particle beam designed to be so destructive that it would end war because no one would use it, but all would fear it. Dramatically, the Times dubbed it a “Death Ray,” and theories began to circulate about the nature of the weapon. It was scientifically classified as a Directed Energy Weapon or DEW. Within Tesla’s bold claims about the weapon was the fact that it could instantaneously vaporize a fleet of ten thousand planes up to 250 miles away, which was an unheard of amount of destruction at that time. Once Tesla received a receipt for a transfer of military goods from the Amtorg Trading Corporation, it was practically confirmed that his weapon was working and ready for war although no one had ever witnessed it in operation. After a scare about a ransacked room and stolen plans, Tesla revealed that there had never been any blueprints for it. They were in his memory. Tesla’s enigmatic descriptions of his weapon and the stories that made the rounds about it are some of the things that make Tesla’s tale so intriguing.


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