We have already talked so much about Nikola Tesla, a master of alternating current, inventor of the 20th century and owner of earthquake machines and fake death rays. Surely there are no more electrifying stories? But just like his genius, if you think it is reaching its limits, another strange story of the Serbian scholar emerges. In this case, it ends with a ballet of burning wings and silent insectoid screams.
Thomas Edison should always be remembered as that tail that electrocuted an elephant just to prove a point. But it’s not that Tesla’s love of animals (a deeply romantic one related to pigeons) stands in the way of experimenting with electricity. This was what Colorado Springs people experienced when the only slightly insane scientist released the largest Tesla coil ever made in their backyard in 1
When Tesla experimented with undamped charges, the electric field was so strong that it wriggled the many tiny insects around the lab. The most striking were the butterflies that began to spin in a circle while their wings were immersed in St. Elmo’s fire (not a real fire, but ionized air molecules that turned into blue plasma). For a brief moment, the Colorado Springs fields were lit by tiny blue spheres that passed out of their control … until the electricity from the Tesla coil finally turned them off.
Fortunately for all insects, Tesla quickly gave up his Colorado experiments. After only a year, the laboratory and its massive coil were shut down and then dismantled after Tesla ran out of money – and no more butterflies.
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Above: Dickenson V. Alley