The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released an additional 64 pages of previously-processed material regarding the scientist Nikola Tesla, including a catalog of his papers seized by the U.S. government after his death in 1943.
These papers and their seizure would be the source of much controversy for the Bureau over the decades. Following an unsubstantiated claim in Tesla’s biography that the FBI held onto Tesla’s most dangerous inventions lest they fall into the wrong hands (they remained the property of the Office of Alien Property Custodian until they mysteriously disappeared after the war), Director J. Edgar Hoover dealt with dozens of letters over the years demanding the papers be made public.
While some of Telsa’s later writings do certainly sound like they’d make for interesting reading …
It was the opinion of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer who evaluated the papers that there was nothing “of significant value to this country” …
And the miscellaneous technical apparatuses found in Tesla’s apartment were not actually prototype death rays but archaic electrical instruments.
So there you have it – while not completely solving the mystery of Tesla’s missing effects, this should at least undercut some of the more outlandish conspiracies surrounding Tesla, right?
Three weeks after the Serbian-American inventor’s death, an electrical engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was tasked with evaluating his papers to determine whether they contained “any ideas of significant value.
” According to the declassified files, Dr. John G. Trump reported that his analysis showed Tesla’s efforts to be “primarily of a speculative, philosophical and promotional character” and said the papers did “not include new sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”
The scientist’s name undoubtedly rings a bell, as John G. Trump was the uncle of the 45th U.S. president, Donald J. Trump. The younger brother of Trump’s father, Fred, he helped design X-ray machines that greatly helped cancer patients and worked on radar research for the Allies during World War II.
Donald Trump himself cited his uncle’s credentials often during his presidential campaign. “My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” he once told an interviewer.
At the time, the FBI pointed to Dr. Trump’s report as evidence that Tesla’s vaunted “Death Ray” particle beam weapon didn’t exist, outside of rumors and speculation. But in fact, the U.S. government itself was split in its response to Tesla’s technology.
Marc Seifer, author of the biography Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla, says a group of military personnel at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, including Brigadier General L.C. Craigee, had a very different opinion of Tesla’s ideas.
“Craigee was the first person to ever fly a jet plane for the military, so he was like the John Glenn of the day,” Seifer says. “He said, ‘there’s something to this—the particle beam weapon is real.’ So you have two different groups, one group dismissing Tesla’s invention, and another group saying there’s really something to it.”