R. James McCabe
1460 Maria Street -|- Flint, MI 48507-5528
Exotic Research Report (V2N4, Oct/Nov/Dec 1998)
In the 1890s, it was Nikola Tesla who devoted a significant amount of time in experimenting and developing high voltage high frequency alternating current. Tesla reported much of his finding by writing patents, articles and lecturing before the elite of the scientific and electrical communities. At that time, Nikola was a tall handsome charismatic speaker who literally held his audience in the palm of his hand.
Nikola Tesla was a first rate showman.2 His audiences witnessed many exciting effects including: light from empty tubes, light from a bulb using a carbon-button instead of a filament, a tube producing phosphorescent light3, a tube that contained a highly sensitive rotating plasma flame4, using his own body as a conductor to make bulbs light up in his hands then shoot small bolts of lightning from his fingertips.5
In a Paris lecture it was reported he used two large plates—each one placed at opposite sides of the stage—to produce light. As of 1980 that particular feat has not been duplicated.
Yet another of Tesla's more spectacular displays was to immerse a person in an electrical flame. Tesla wrote about the stunning visual aspects of this unique, awe inspiring presentation:
The body of a person was subjected to the rapidly alternating pressure of an electrical oscillator of two and one half million volts.... [This] presents a Sight marvelous and unforgettable.
One sees the experimenter standing on a mass of phosphorescent streamers, like the tentacles of a octopus. Bundles of light stick out from his spine. As he stretches out the arms, thus forcing the electrical fluid outwardly, roaring tongues of fire leap from his fingertips.
Objects in his vicinity bristle with rays....At each throb of the electric force, myriads of minute projectiles are shot off from him with velocities as to pass through the adjoining walls. He is in turn being violently bombarded by the surrounding air and dust.7
As he stretches out his arms, thus forcing the electric fluid outwardly, roaring tongues of fire leap from his fingertips Objects in his vicinity bristle with rays, emit musical notes, glow, grow hat. He is in the center of still more curious actions, which are invisible.1
This electrical dry bath is called Cold Fire. His work produced far more than just entertaining parlor tricks. As a direct result of his work many valid therapeutic devices came about, such as diathermy.8 Tesla also worked on X-rays.9 His achievements were recognized with the Certificate of election as honorary Fellow of the American Electro-Therapeutic Association in 1903.10 For a short time the Wardenclyffe Laboratory manufactured and sold a high frequency therapeutic oscillator to the medical community around the country.11
The skin effect is a key part of electricity. Simply stated, electricity conducts on the outside of the conductor. The higher the frequency the more the current will go to the outside of the conductor. The skin effect is the reason why Cold Fire (if done correctly) has no ill effects on the body.
In a 1894 New York Times article, Tesla describes the possible dangers if the voltages and or frequencies are too low:
When such a “streamer” breaks out it produces a sensation like the prickling of a needle. Were the potentials, or pressures, sufficiently high, and the frequency of the vibration, or rapidity Rather low, the skin would probably be ruptured under the tremendous strain and the blood would rush out with great force in the form of a spray or jets so thin as to be invisible.
Tesla first developed the apparatus in the 1890s and chose not to try and market it, due to many concerns including safety and cost13. In the early 1930s Tesla came back to improving the apparatus in hopes of reintroducing this device for general use.
In a 1932 New York Times article, Tesla describes in some detail the effects of Cold Fire:
There is one effect of high-frequency current which may eventually prove of great importance in hygiene and the application of which I have advocated for years, and that is cleaning the body by high-potential and high-frequency current.
It is sufficient to charge the body to a pressure of 1,000,000 volts, which could be borne without discomfort, and all the particles of dust and foreign matter adhering to the body are instantly thrown off and the body cleaned without any danger to the patient. I have performed these experiments very often and always felt a highly beneficial reaction.14
In a 1934 article Tesla described his electric bath as "fun". The required equipment as not taking up very much space. It has a platform where the person stands and when the switch is turned on:
Instantly all foreign material such as dust, dandruff, scales on the skin and microbes is thrown off from the body. The nerves, too, are exhilarated and strengthened. The “bath” is excellent for medical as well as for cleaning purposes.
Nikola Tesla was a delicate and sickly child. He had a history of respiratory problems. Due to overwork and stress, he had both mental and physical breakdowns. The full therapeutic value of this process is not fully known. We do know that coronal discharge does seem to enhance circulation and muscle action.
This process also produces a small amount of ozone. Breathing small amounts or concentrations of ozone can be quite stimulating. When dealing with the human condition and introducing something new, different and “really neat”, a psychosomatic effect(s) is most probably going to be present.
Tesla was sincere in his belief of the beneficial effects of this process. Even in his late 70s, he was very active and energetic until the fall of 1937, while on one of his long walks he was hit by a taxi cab. He was bedridden for months with back problems and broken ribs. As a result pneumonia set in. His health was never the same.17 Nikola Tesla died in January of 1943 at the age of 86.
Tesla claimed that these currents could keep a naked man warm at the North Pole, and its medical uses was only the beginning of its practical applications.18 For the benefit of the adventurous amateurs (of either sex) desirous of experiencing—and for the information of artists desirous of illustrating—this novel effect, it should be stated that the body cannot very well be enveloped in a complete sheet of electro-magnetic flame with the clothes on.19
Is it possible that his electric bath be a source of vitality for the aging inventor? Could Cold Fire be used to help frostbite or hypothermia victims, post operative care after re-attaching limbs, knee surgery, etc... or in aiding paralyzed victims. Could these electrical currents be modified to reduce pain or treat painful conditions such as arthritis? With its warming effect, perhaps the elderly could benefit the most.
Could this process be adapted for other cleaning applications from pots and pans to your dry cleaning? Another possible use could be as a new heat source without bulky clothing for cold weather conditions, perhaps even in space.__RJM
1 Tesla, Nikola. “Tuned Lightning,” English Mechanic and World of Science, March 8, 1907, pp. 107-108.
2 Cheney, Margaret. TESLA: Man Out of Time. Dell Publishing Co., 1983. pp. 39, 76. O’Neill, John, J. Prodigal Genius The Life of Nikola Tesla. Angriff Press., 1944. p. 92.
3 Cheney, pp. 51-59. And O’Neill, pp. 97-100.
4 McCabe, R. James. “The Rotating Brush Coherer.” Extraordinary Science, Jul/Aug/ Sep. 1995, pp. 17-19.
5 Seifer, Marc, WIZARD The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, Birch Lane Press, 1996. p. 71.
6 Cheney, p. 4.
7 Seifer, Marc, J. NIKOLA TESLA: Psychohistory of a Forgotten Inventor, Doctoral Thesis, Saybrook Institute, May 17, 1986, p. 218.
8 Cheney, p. 73.
9 Cheney, pp. 100-101.
10 Hunt, I. Draper, W. Lightning In His Hands: The Life Story of Nikola Tesla, 1964.
11 Cheney, pp. 166, 168.
12 Foord, p. 20.
13 Alsop, Joseph, W. Jr. BEAM TO KILL AT 200 MILES, TESLA’S CLAIM ON 78TH BIRTHDAY, New York Herald Tribune, July 11, 1934, p. 1, col 15. Also in: Ratzlaff, John (Ed). Solutions to Tesla ‘s Secrets. Milbrae, CA: Tesla Book Co., 1981, pp. 110-114.
14 . SAYS CANCERS YIELD TO ELECTROSURGERY. The New York Times. September 7, 1932,p.7.Col.3.
15 Welshire, Helen. “DR. TESLA VISIONS THE END OF AIRCRAFT IN WAR,” Every Week Magazine, October 21, 1934 p. 3. Also in: Ratzlaff, John (Ed.), (1981), Solutions to Tesla’s Secrets. Milbrae, CA: Tesla Book Co, pp. 116-119.
16 Cheney, p. 74.
17 Cheney, pp. 250, 251.
18 Cheney, p. 73.
19 Ford, John. “Nikola Tesla and His Work,” The New York Times, September, 30 1894, p. 20, col 1.
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