Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in Smiljan Lika, Croatia. He was the son of a Serbian Orthodox clergyman. Tesla studied engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic School. He worked as an electrical engineer in Budapest and later emigrated to the United States in 1884 to work at the Edison Machine Works. He died in New York City on January 7, 1943.
During his lifetime, Tesla invented fluorescent lighting, the Tesla induction motor, the Tesla Coil , and developed the alternating current (AC) electrical supply system that included a motor and transformer, and 3-phase electricity.
Tesla is now credited with inventing modern radio as well; since the Supreme Court overturned Guglielmo Marconi patent in 1943 in favor of Nikola Tesla's earlier patents. When an engineer (Otis Pond) once said to Tesla, "Looks as if Marconi got the jump on you" regarding Marconi's radio system, Tesla replied, "Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents."
The Tesla coil, invented in 1891, is still used in radio and television sets and other electronic equipment.
Coming to America as a young man from his native country (Austria-Hungary) with only four cents in his pocket, he first worked for Thomas Edison, but the two men were totally unlike one another. Edison slogged away at inventions, trying this and trying that and continuing on until something worked. Tesla got flashes of insight and then worked everything out in his mind. He never fit into the corporate world or wanted to be controlled by people with money, passing up a chance to set up a company financed properly by J.P. Morgan, although Morgan later did provide him with some seed money.
Tesla suffered from many phobias, always deathly afraid of germs and with an obsession about the number three. If he walked around the block, he would feel compelled to do it three times. He was obsessive about food, preferring to dine alone so he could compute the cubic contents on his plate before eating. He saw flashes of light before his eyes sometimes accompanied by a strong visual image of something being discussed. This was disturbing until he learned to control it and the effect seemed to diminish as he grew older. In his later years he spent part of each day feeding pigeons, bringing injured birds back to his apartment to care for them. Despite his fear of germs, he was often seen in the park with pigeons covering his arms. He even had a favorite white pigeon who visited his window at the hotel where he lived
There were other things about him that made some of the science establishment shun him. He once heard a regular pattern of signals coming over his receiving equipment and said he was hearing a message from Mars. This produced its share of ridicule until the famous Lord Kelvin publicly stated that he agreed with Tesla, that the messages were from Mars. Tesla believed there was plenty of other life in the universe and talked often about communicating with other life in the solar system. Throughout his life he disagreed with Einstein’s idea that nothing went faster than light and he never bought into relativity. Tesla believed the universe was filled with “ether” that was the source of matter. He said that matter had no energy within it that it did not get from the ether. It is undoubtedly these ideas that has endeared him to more recent proponents of non-Einsteinian ideas. There are still modern believers in the ether and debunkers of relativity.
Tesla had shown some psychic ability, seeing the death of his mother in his mind before it happened. He had extremely acute hearing and great sensitivity to nature, detecting the resonance of the earth. He felt both the earth and the upper atmosphere could be conductors of power. He would have found ridiculous the notion that his ideas came from Atlantis and never was attracted to occult ideas. On the contrary, he worked at finding mechanical explanations for everything, even his own clairvoyance. Although he had the ability to “see” pictures in vivid detail, he maintained that these were always manifestations of things the viewer had actually seen somewhere. He would have rejected the idea that they came from the spirit world or from a memory of a previous lifetime. That has not stopped others from speculating about his extraordinary powers. It is possible, of course, that the only explanation needed is that Nikola Tesla was simply a whole lot smarter than most people.