Archive file# e020600a
donated by James Vandale
I developed a skin on my stomach
that of a crocodile
by Nikola Tesla
These are the "vampire" related sections removed from Tesla's autobiography.
Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia (then part of Austria-Hungary) on July 9,
1856, and died . . .
My father had been called one winter night to perform an urgent duty and
while crossing the mountains, infested by wolves, the horse became
frightened and ran away, throwing him violently to the ground. It arrived
home bleeding and exhausted, but after the alarm was sounded, immediately
dashed off again, returning to the spot, and before the searching party
were far on the way they were met by my father, who had recovered
consciousness and remounted, not realising that he had been lying in the
snow for several hours.
I had two old aunts with wrinkled faces, one of them having two teeth
protruding like the tusks of an elephant, which she buried in my cheek
every time she kissed me.
In my boyhood I suffered from a peculiar affliction due to the appearance of images,
often accompanied by strong flashes of light, which marred the sight of real
objects and interfered with my thoughts and action. They were pictures of things
and scenes which i had really seen, never of those imagined. When a word was
spoken to me the image of the object it designated would present itself vividly
to my vision and sometimes I was quite unable to distinguish weather what I saw
was tangible or not.
If my explanation is correct, it should be possible to project on a screen the
image of any object one conceives and make it visible.
Then I instinctively commenced to make excursions beyond the limits of the
small world of which I had knowledge, and I saw new scenes. These
were at first very blurred and indistinct, and would flit away when I tried to
concentrate my attention upon them. They gained in strength and distinctness and
finally assumed the concreteness of real things. I soon discovered that my best
comfort was attained if I simply went on in my vision further and further,
getting new impressions all the time, and so I began to travel; of course, in my
mind. Every night, (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on
my journeys -- see new places, cities and countries; live there, meet people and
make friendships and acquaintances and, however unbelievable, it is a fact that
they were just as dear to me as those in actual life, and not a bit less intense
in their manifestations.
in the course of time it became perfectly evident to me that I was merely an
automation endowed with power OF MOVEMENT RESPONDING TO THE STIMULI OF THE SENSE
ORGANS AND THINKING AND ACTING ACCORDINGLY.
I never had any control over the flashes of light to which I have referred.
They were, perhaps, my strangest and [most] inexplicable
experience. They usually occurred when I found myself in a dangerous or
distressing situations or when i was greatly exhilarated. In some instances I
have seen all the air around me filled with tongues of living flame.
When I close my eyes I invariably observe first, a background of very
dark and uniform blue, not unlike the sky on a clear
but starless night. In a few seconds this field becomes animated with
innumerable scintillating flakes of green, arranged in several layers and
advancing towards me. Then there appears, to the right, a beautiful pattern of
two systems of parallel and closely spaced lines, at right angles to one
another, in all sorts of colours with yellow, green, and gold predominating.
Immediately thereafter, the lines grow brighter and the whole is thickly
sprinkled with dots of twinkling light. This picture moves slowly across the
field of vision and in about ten seconds vanishes on the left, leaving behind a
ground of rather unpleasant and inert grey until the second phase is reached.
Every time, before falling asleep, images of persons or objects flit before my
view. When I see them I know I am about to lose consciousness. If they are
absent and refuse to come, it means a sleepless night.
During that period I contracted many strange likes, dislikes and habits, some
of which I can trace to external impressions while others are unaccountable.
I had a violent aversion against the earing of women, but other ornaments,
as bracelets, pleased me more or less according to design. The sight of a pearl
would almost give me a fit, but I was fascinated with the glitter of crystals or
objects with sharp edges and plane surfaces. I would not touch the hair of other
people except, perhaps at the point of a revolver. I would get a fever by looking
at a peach and if a piece of camphor was anywhere in the house it caused me the
I was oppressed by thoughts of pain in life and death and religious fear. I was
swayed by superstitious belief and lived in constant dread of the spirit of
evil, of ghosts and ogres and other unholy monsters of the dark.
A short time ago I was returning to my hotel. It was a bitter cold night, the
ground slippery, and no taxi to be had. Half a block behind me followed another
man, evidently as anxious as myself to get under cover. Suddenly my legs went up
in the air. At the same instant there was a flash in my brain. The nerves
responded, the muscles contracted. I swung 180 degrees and landed on my hands. I
resumed my walk as though nothing had happened when the stranger caught up with
me. "How old are you?" he asked, surveying me critically.
"Oh, about fifty-nine," I replied, "What of it?"
"Well," said he, "I have seen a cat do this but never a man."
About a month ago I wanted to order new eye glasses and went to an oculist who
put me through the usual tests. He looked at me incredulously as I read off with
ease the smallest print at considerable distance. But when I told him I was past
sixty he gasped in astonishment.
I had hair-breadth escapes from mad dogs, hogs, and other wild animals.
I passed through dreadful diseases and met with all kinds of odd
mishaps and that I am whole and hearty today seems like a miracle. But
as I recall these incidents to my mind I feel convinced that my preservation
was not altogether accidental, but was indeed the work of divine power.
But my hardest trial came on Sunday when I
had to dress up and attend the service. There I met with an accident, the mere
thought of which made my blood curdle like sour milk for years afterwards. It
was my second adventure in a church. Not long before, I was entombed for a night
in an old chapel on an inaccessible mountain which was visited only once a year.
It was an awful experience . . .
When we left the forest, thousands of crows had gathered making a frightful racket.
In a few minutes they rose in pursuit and soon enveloped us. The fun lasted until
all of a sudden I received a blow on the back of my head which knocked me down.
Then they attacked me viciously.
Through the continuous tightening of the bows I developed a skin on my stomach
that of a crocodile and I am often wondering whether it is due to this exercise
that I am able even now to digest cobble-stones! Nor can I pass in silence my
performances with the sling which would have enabled me to give a stunning
exhibit at the Hippodrome.
I was to hurl a stone to meet the fish, press its body against the rock, and cut
it in two. It was no sooner said than done. My uncle looked at me almost scared
out of his wits and exclaimed "Vade retra Satanae!" and it was a few days
before he spoke to me again.
Mechanical flight was the one thing I wanted to accomplish although still
under the discouraging recollection of a bad fall I
sustained by jumping with an umbrella from the top of a building. Every day I
used to transport myself through the air to distant regions but could not
understand just how I managed to do it. Now I had something concrete, a flying
machine with nothing more than a rotating shaft, flapping wings, and; - a vacuum
of unlimited power! From that time on I made my daily aerial excursions in a
vehicle of comfort and luxury as might have befitted King Solomon.
My energy was completely exhausted and for the second time I found myself at
Death's door . . .
My sight and hearing were always extraordinary. I could clearly discern
objects in the distance when others saw no trace of them. Several times in my
boyhood I saved the houses of our neighbours from fire by hearing the faint
crackling sounds which did not disturb their sleep, and calling for help. In
1899, when I was past forty and carrying on my experiments in Colorado, I could
hear very distinctly thunderclaps at a distance of 550 miles. My ear was thus
over thirteen times more sensitive, yet at that time I was, so to speak, stone
deaf in comparison with the acuteness of my hearing while under the nervous
In Budapest I could hear the ticking of a watch with three rooms between me and
the time-piece. A fly alighting on a table in the room would cause a dull thud
in my ear. A carriage passing at a distance of a few miles fairly shook my whole
body. The whistle of a locomotive twenty or thirty miles away made the bench or
chair on which I sat, vibrate so strongly that the pain was unbearable. The
ground under my feet trembled continuously. I had to support my bed on rubber
cushions to get any rest at all. The roaring noises from near and far often
produced the effect of spoken words which would have frightened me had I not
been able to resolve them into their accumulated components. The sun rays, when
periodically intercepted, would cause blows of such force on my brain that they
would stun me. I had to summon all my will power to pass under a bridge or other
structure, as I experienced the crushing pressure on the skull. In the dark I
had the sense of a bat, and could detect the presence of an object at a distance
of twelve feet by a peculiar creepy sensation on the forehead. My pulse varied
from a few to two hundred and sixty beats and all the tissues of my body with
twitchings and tremors . . .
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