Season 1: Episode 3

Nikola Tesla: Wizard, Or Genius?

Hosts:

Zoe

Mike

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Episode Transcript

Stories of Strangeness Episode 3: Nikola Tesla

Zoe: [00:00:27] Hello, and welcome to the third episode of Stories of Strangeness.

Mike: [00:00:33] Hello.

Zoe: [00:00:34] We are your hosts. This is Mike. 

Mike: [00:00:37] Hello, again.

Zoe: [00:00:39] And I’m Zoe. Hello! This week. It is a Mike episode, so, 

Mike: [00:00:46] Hello.

Zoe: [00:00:46] Oh goodness. 

Mike: [00:00:47] It’s going to be a good one. You can already tell, can’t you?

Zoe: [00:00:49] Do you want to take it away? 

Mike: [00:00:52] Sure. So episode three is about Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla was a Serbian born scientist, who was an incredible man whose work shaped the world we know today. Most of the technology we use daily and take for granted, was either directly invented or else pioneered by Tesla.

This includes alternating current; the method we use to power our homes and businesses – radar, radio, neon lighting, X rays, hydroelectric power, wireless communications, remote control, the modern electric motor – hence the name of the company, Tesla. Even the development of the transistor, which makes modern computing possible, was based on patents owned by Tesla.

He was also pitching wind, solar, and hydroelectric, renewable energy sources at a time when conservation and reducing carbon footprints weren’t even thought about. And that’s just the non weird stuff.

Born in the village of Smiljan, which if I’m absolutely murdering the pronunciation, you’ll have to excuse me. But born in the village of Smiljan in Croatia at the stroke of midnight, between the 9th and the 10th of July, 1856 to the Reverend Milutin Tesla and his wife,  D-Uka Mandic, or Mandic. I’m not sure which. Nicola was the couple’s fourth child and second boy after Dane or Daniel. He also had three sisters. Milka Angelica and Marica. Tesla credited both his photographic memory and creative genius as being inherited from his mother. He wished he’d lived in a country and at a time when women’s abilities were fairly rewarded. He built a small waterwheel aged five, which was quite unlike the ones he would see on the rivers of his homeland.

Its bladeless design was later mirrored in his unique turbine design. As a child, he was given up on by doctors as a quote, “Hopeless physical wreck,” three times. He almost drowned on several occasions, nearly boiled alive in a vat of hot milk, just missed being cremated and was once entombed, overnight in an old shrine.

He attributed a recovery from one malady to the works of Mark Twain after cataloging the books at the local library. He later became friends with Mark Twain, although the tale is perhaps apocryphal as Mark Twain had not written anything at the time  that should have made its way into a Croatian library.

But apparently when Tesla did meet Mark Twain and told him the story of recovering from a disease because of his works, Mark Twain burst into tears.

Tesla also suffered from malaria while studying in Karlstadt due to the surrounding marshes and contracted cholera upon returning home, leaving him bedridden for nine months, virtually unable to move. Previously bound for the clergy to follow in his father’s footstep, he pleaded with his father to allow him to study engineering if he got better. His father finally relented and Nikola spent a year hiking and camping in the mountains to regain his health, instead of serving in the army. Something even more repugnant to Nikola than the clergy. It’s unclear why he did not serve, but his father’s family included many high ranking officials and it’s possible their influence was used, or else he simply failed the army physical.

He was an engineering genius. He envisaged inventions in his mind first turning them over and making adjustments. He could even tell if a machine was out of balance before ever manufacturing it. Generally most of his inventions once built, nearly always worked. As a young man, he envisaged a tube to be built under the Atlantic to shoot mail between continents.

He worked out the maths involved in building a pumping plant to force water through the tubes, but failed to take into account the frictional resistance of the pipes to the water and due to it being so great, he had to abandon the plan. He did design the Niagara Falls, hydroelectric power plant. He had the idea for his water turbine at Niagara Falls, while still in school, telling his uncle at the time that one day he would go to the US and carry out his vision, which he did some 30 years later.

At his demonstration of a remote control boat, people called it a hoax, and Tesla had to open the boat to prove that there weren’t little people in there. This was the first time remote control had ever been used. Tesla explained how he achieved it, and people still thought he had magical powers or telekinesis. 

Designs from files of his revealed recently include a diagram of what looks to be a flying saucer, with space for two pilots drawn inside, who were looking at screens, reminiscent of iPads. Could our UFO’s actually be terrestrial designs? Tesla also wanted to give the world free power. He built the Wardenclyff tower in New York to give free wireless power by tapping into the abundant energy in the ionosphere.

It was initially bank rolled by JP Morgan who refuse to continue funding it. Rumor says because free energy wouldn’t create profit, but it’s more likely it was just mounting costs. There is some apocryphal stuff about the tower – Some people say that the tower was only ever going to be for wireless communications. Other people said it was to, give away free energy, free electricity through the air that other people would be able to tap into. It’s unclear, which. He built an artificial tidal wave machine, of sorts. Basically, there were things called teleautomatons, which is anything, driven by what we would call remote control.

He envisaged aircraft carrying tons of explosives, which would dive into the sea. The explosion would create a large bubble, which when collapsed would cause a tidal wave that could sink an entire Navy.

He was the first person to record radio signals from outer space, making him the godfather of radio astronomy. He discovered the resonant frequency of the planet long before people were able to actually use instruments to verify it, and it turned out to be correct. He also went on to invent an earthquake machine that worked so well, that it  almost destroyed not only his lab, but the entire surrounding New York neighborhood until he shut it off.

And again, there’s some apocryphal stuff that’s crept in there. Other accounts have said that he placed it – it’s a small steam powered oscillating device and he placed it on the girder of a building and it vibrates it exactly the frequency you put in. And he matched the frequency to that of the building, and the building started to shake and come apart and windows fell out of, of window holes, whatever you call window holes, window holes. Well, I guess a doorway door is a doorway, so maybe it’s a window way. I don’t know. Yeah, I’m losing the plot. He found a way to transmit electricity, not just wirelessly through the air, but also through the ground, demonstrating this by lighting multiple light bulbs out in a field, some 25 yards from his laboratory with no intervening wires.

He created ball lightning in his laboratory, which is a phenomenon that’s not fully understood by today’s scientists, and as far as I know, no one has ever repeated it. Witnesses say he could create a ball of red flame by apparently snapping his fingers, which he could hold in his hand without being burned and which left no trace wherever it was put, including inside a wooden box. This is still unexplained, but was witnessed by Mark Twain, the actor, Joseph Jefferson, and Chauncey McGovern, a journalist from Pearson’s magazine, amongst others. He had lights in his workshop that were not connected by any wires, allowing him to move them freely about the space.

He was also able to light his lab, but without the source being apparent, a feat he originally performed on stage in Paris, where he illuminated the room seemingly using two large plates at either side of the stage. But no visible source of light was apparent.

He demonstrated electricity flowing through his body at up to 2 million volts, giving him, “A halo of electricity, formed my myriad tongues of flame darting out from every part of his body.” He made Mark Twain almost shit his pants using, using a vibrating platform. This is one of the ones I’ve been waiting for, because I knew you’d love this.

Zoe: [00:09:36] It’s the Brown note!

Mike: [00:09:37] Yeah, absolutely. So, it was apparently a weird mechanical vibrating platform with a rubber bottom, and Tesla warned Mr. Twain not to stay on the platform for too long, but Twain was enjoying the sensation. Apparently it was quite relaxing, 

Zoe: [00:09:52] “Relaxing.” 

Mike: [00:09:53] Yeah. Until its laxative effect, which was well known to Tesla and his assistants, became pronounced and Twain had to excuse himself from the room at a run.

He also invented a particle beam weapon called Teleforce.  This is the commonly called, “Death Ray,” by most people, and Tesla would have absolutely have refuted the name. He hated the name, Death Ray, because to him a ray is something that drops off over time. It attenuates basically. So it’s not as powerful. If it goes a meter and it’s a hundred percent powerful, if it goes two meters, it’s 50% and then 25 and it kind of attenuates, it drops off very quickly. So it was a particle beam, which apparently it could be microscopic or macroscopic particles. So particles like sand or something like that, that could be fired with complete accuracy over 250 miles and would melt the engine of an airplane. 

Zoe: [00:10:53] Wat?

Mike: [00:10:54] Yes.  He had other odd ideas about this Teleforce and the idea was that it was going to bring peace to the world because nobody would be able to invade anybody else. And nobody was, it was kind of mutually assured destruction if anybody fired upon anybody else or anything like that.

And he once said that he saw Teleforce as, as almost like a, the, the quote of the, “Suit of armor around the world,” from Tony Stark. 

Zoe: [00:11:18] I was literally just thinking that.

Mike: [00:11:18] Yeah. That’s literally what he was kind of thinking of back then. And then we get into the even weirder stuff. 

Zoe: [00:11:24] Oh God. 

Mike: [00:11:25] Yeah. Which a lot of it is about Tesla himself. So yeah, he did have some other odd ideas.

He believed that because all of his thoughts stemmed observably from external stimulus that humans were just meat machines, which led to the idea that machines could also be made human, for all intents and purposes, including acting with judgment based on experience, which that’s some pretty forth… thinking, you know, forethought, from a guy in the 1850s. Well, he was born in 1856, but this would have been obviously 20 or so years after that, so 1870s. Yeah, he was thinking about building automatons and Androids back then. 

Zoe: [00:12:08] The Terminator. 

Mike: [00:12:09] Yeah. He was celibate seemingly his whole life. In fact, his closest relationship, and he said this himself was with a pure white pigeon that came to visit him,  while he was living in the new Yorker hotel in New York, and he had a relationship with this pigeon that bordered on… deep friendship, I wanna say, yeah.

Zoe: [00:12:34] Ok, I really, really didn’t know what you were going to say then.

Mike: [00:12:35] No, it wasn’t like that pigeon dating game you can get.

Zoe: [00:12:38] Oh, right.

Mike: [00:12:38] No, he was very kind of germaphobic and things like that. Didn’t like shaking hands often wore gloves , and I’m going to get to some of his other versions in a moment, as well. But yeah, he obsessed over the numbers three, six, and nine. He was germ phobic. He was likely schizophrenic and definitely had compulsive obsessive disorder. He died in room 3327 in the hotel that he died in. And three plus three is six and two plus seven is nine. So you’ve got three, six and nine in the rooms number there for numerologists. And that’s  unlikely to have been a coincidence. That was probably by his choice. He would often walk around buildings three times before entering them as well, and sometimes entire city blocks. He would walk three times around the block before entering a building on the block. He had a gambling addiction at one point, he liked to play cards , and I think there was another, it might’ve been roulette as well at one point. And he only actually got out of that when he went back to his mother, to get some more money, and she basically offered him all the money she had and said, “Here, spend it as quickly as you can – get it out of your system, and then hopefully you’ll be cured!” And he quit forever at that moment. Never gambled again.  He had an eidetic memory, so kind of photographic memory, and he could  remember and recite entire books of poetry, which he was very fond of.

He excelled at languages. Generally, most people say he spoke eight languages, but he definitely spoke English, French, German, Italian, and several Slavic dialects. Phobias and aversions – He had a violent aversion to earrings on women. He absolutely hated earrings and pearls. Couldn’t stand pearls. Wouldn’t be in the same room with a woman who was wearing pearls or earrings. Didn’t like round shapes – preferred squares and things. And I think that’s partly, we’ll get to that in a minute. Cause that plays into something else.  

He suffered from strong flashes of light and images from his life, which  interfered with his thought and vision, usually happening when he was distressed or elated. Sometimes if someone said a word to him, the object would appear before him so vividly, he sometimes couldn’t tell if it was real or not.  When attempting to sleep, he would see images of persons flit into view.  Images, or persons flit into view. If he had no such visions, it foretold of a sleepless night.

So if he didn’t see anything, he wouldn’t sleep that night. He would calculate the cubic volume of his food. And if he couldn’t, it meant he wouldn’t enjoy his meal, it would taste awful to him. 

Zoe: [00:15:14] Wow. 

Mike: [00:15:14] He had, reportedly incredible senses, particularly hearing and smell. Once reporting that he could hear rumbles of thunder from a storm 250 miles away. He was the literal, “Could hear a pin drop,” kind of thing.

So when he died penniless, I won’t go into the, the current war with Edison and all that kind of thing, but basically he did get cheated several times. People betrayed him and, at one point, he spent a couple of years digging ditches in New York because it was the only work he could get, which he hated and, spoke very poorly of in, in later life, but he also died poor because nothing he did was about the money. It was all about for the betterment of humankind kind of thing. He was a literal idealist. Representatives of the US government’s Office of Alien Property seized many documents relating to his work upon his death in January, 1943.

This was of course at the height of World War two. So it was purportedly to stop technologies, some of which may have been military or martial applications falling into the hands of the enemies of the US. The exact content of many of the files is still unknown. Although the FBI finally declassified around 250 pages of Tesla related documents in 2016 via the freedom of information act. The Bureau released further documents on two more occasions, the most recent one being in March, 2018. Despite this, some of the files are still missing almost 80 years later.

An electrical engineer from MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for those of you not familiar, was tasked with evaluating the papers to see if they contained anything of significant value. And that electrical engineer was Dr. John G. Trump, the uncle of Donald Trump, the current president of the United States. Dr. Trump concluded that, “The papers were mostly of a speculative and philosophical nature and did not include new sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results,”- is a direct quote. At the time the FBI used Dr. Trump’s report to refute the existence of the so called Death Ray, but the Tesla biography, “Wizard: The life and times of Nikola Tesla,” by Mark Seifer or Seifer? Seifer? I’m not sure – states that a group of military personnel at Wright Patterson air force base – which, anybody who’s been into UFO’s for any time knows that air force base name, because it comes up a lot – but a group of million military personnel at Wright Patterson air force base, including Brigadier general L. C. Craigee who was the first person to fly a jet plane for the military, held that the particle beam weapon was real.

So basically you’ve got Donald Trump’s uncle saying there’s nothing to it. 

Zoe: [00:18:11] Sorry, a Trump lying? What?

Mike: [00:18:14] Unheard of, I know. 

Zoe: [00:18:16] Never.

Mike: [00:18:16] But yeah, there’s a group of military personnel, including the first man to fly a jet plane, saying this particle thing is real and there’s something to it. Tesla’s estate was supposed to go to his nephew, Sava Kosanovic, who was the Yugoslav ambassador to the US at the time.

The declassified documents point to an FBI fear that Kosanovic, was trying to get control of Tesla’s technologies in order to make such information available to the enemy, and the Bureau even considered arresting Kosanovic in 1952, a US court determined that Kosanovic, was the legal heir to his uncle’s estate, and Tesla’s files and materials were sent to Belgrade where they are now part of the Nikola Tesla museum. Despite the court order however, there is still the matter of the original catalog of effects recording 80 trunks of materials, and only 60 was sent to Belgrade. 

Zoe: [00:19:12] And you say I’m a hoarder? 

Mike: [00:19:13] Yeah, no kidding.

So did the U S government keep 20 trunks of materials possibly in order to keep their content secret, or did they simply consolidate the contents down, and manage to fit 80 trucks worth of effects into 60? Consider that the US military did try to incorporate particle beam weaponry in the decades following World War two, and inspired the strategic defense initiative or Star Wars program that president Reagan helmed in the 1980s.

If Tesla’s tech was being used in defense projects, that would be reason enough to keep some of the files classified, which they remain to this day. So what do you think. 

Zoe: [00:19:55] Well, I’ve written it here, and that guy who wrote the book, thought the same thing: Wizard.

Mike: [00:20:00] Yeah.

Zoe: [00:20:01] Honestly, possibly the most unlucky wizard, I think I’ve ever come across because…

Mike: [00:20:07] Absolutely! 

Zoe: [00:20:07] What was it? How do you almost boil in hot milk? 

Mike: [00:20:10] Not sure. 

Zoe: [00:20:11] And cremated? What, he just crawled in there to get warm, or… ? 

Mike: [00:20:14] Again, not sure. This was all listed fairly quickly in one of his autobiographies that I was reading. It wasn’t the wizard one actually, it was, “Nikola Tesla: A Man Out of Time,” and the author’s name eludes me at the minute, but it will be in the show notes.

Zoe: [00:20:25] Yeah, just… madness. 

Mike: [00:20:27] Yeah. 

Zoe: [00:20:29] How did all of that stuff happen? 

Mike: [00:20:30] He nearly died so many times. 

Zoe: [00:20:33] Do you think it’s because he had such a weird grip on reality that he just didn’t take other things into account – they weren’t important?

Mike: [00:20:40] It’s possible. Yeah. He was the real kind of, “genius with a touch of madness.” It gave him this amazing ability to literally think about a design for a machine and turn that machine over in his head, and look at it, and balance it better, and strip parts out and put new parts in, and figure out how it worked, so that by the time it came to making the thing, he’d already done months of testing on it in his head, and it would nearly always work right.

Zoe: [00:21:09] When you were saying that, all I could see was Tony Stark with his little kind of… 

Mike: [00:21:14] Yeah!

Zoe: [00:21:14] And the more you spoke, the more I thought,

Mike: [00:21:16] That’s kind of what I imagined, yeah.

Zoe: [00:21:17] Actually, I think they’ve based Tony Stark on him.

Mike: [00:21:20] It could be possible. That’s an interesting bit of Marvel trivia I’m not aware of actually, I don’t know if that’s the case, but it could well be, 

Zoe: [00:21:28] This is it, it’s like the way he…

Mike: [00:21:29] He’s got that little trim beard and

Zoe: [00:21:31] He’s got the little robots. He’s created all of these things for himself to, you know, imagine if Tesla was around now. And another thing I wrote was imagine if he’d have lived longer and had worked further towards his eco-friendly power, we could be living like…

Mike: [00:21:52] But also, half the reason we’re not living like that now is because of industrialists like JP Morgan. 

Zoe: [00:21:58] The money.

Mike: [00:21:59] It was all about the money for him. Absolutely it was. Yeah. 

Zoe: [00:22:02] Which is again, madness. 

Mike: [00:22:04] Yup. 

Zoe: [00:22:05] Another thing that just stood out for me, that people were more likely to believe it was magic, than actual science.

Mike: [00:22:13] Yeah. Then remote control then technology. Yeah, that speaks a lot about the age that they were in. 

Zoe: [00:22:18] Yeah, I was gonna say it does speak a lot about the the age they were in, but also… what?

Mike: [00:22:21] We’re talking about a time before electric lights in houses for the most part. I mean the war of the currents between, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, there were a couple of other runners as well, and it was something Tesla was completely caught up in. 

Zoe: [00:22:35] Yeah. 

Mike: [00:22:36] But that was an age where they were literally trying to bid for contracts to put electricity into cities. And primarily it was businesses first. This is one of Tesla’s biggest achievements, was he completely re-envisaged. an electric motor so that it could run on alternating current, which at the time couldn’t be done.

And the way he did it was so revolutionary. There was one year where he applied for a hundred patents, and apparently they were all so simple, but beautifully done and everything. And they worked so well, that he got the patents back almost immediately. There was like literally no delay, which normally these things take, you know, they have to be tested, but they could just see this thing was completely revolutionary, brand new, never been done before, and it worked like a charm. 

We watched “The War of the Currents,” didn’t we as a little prep thing.  Which was okay. It’s not an amazing movie, it kind of meanders a little bit here and there. 

Zoe: [00:23:35] I think if you don’t know anything about it, which I didn’t, it gave me a good basis, like grounding for this episode to kind of know, to sort of set the scene.

Mike: [00:23:46] You kind of have an idea of who the characters were and kind of what they were like.

Zoe: [00:23:50] What was going on in the world at that time, that kind of gave a bit of grounding, 

Mike: [00:23:56] But yeah. Yeah. But he, pioneered the use of x-rays. Took the first x-ray photograph. And just to kind of show you the kind of people he was dealing with, Thomas Edison actually fired x-rays into his own eyes to do tests and things like that. And in his later life, somebody asked him about x-rays and he said, “Do not talk to me of X rays. I am afraid of them.” 

Zoe: [00:24:18] Well, that’s not surprising!

Mike: [00:24:20] Well, yeah, but I mean, a lot of times in science, these things happen don’t they? 

Zoe: [00:24:23] I suppose.

Mike: [00:24:23] But it was interesting that Tesla had the kind of wherewithall to know that there was a dangerous element to it and not to mess with it kind of thing. But yeah, Edison was awful. Edison got local kids near to where the AC productions were going on, to steal cats and dogs and gave them 25 cents for a cat or a dog, which he then publicly electrocuted to show how bad alternating current was, how dangerous it was. And direct current is actually more dangerous in some ways, but really if you get electrocuted, but there are ways you can make it safe.

Zoe: [00:25:01] Electricity is electricity. Used in the wrong way, it’s gonna hurt. 

Mike: [00:25:06] Yeah, but, radio, is a Tesla thing. Remote control is a Tesla thing. He was one of the first men to really work with the electromagnetic spectrum ,  in the way that he did. 

Zoe: [00:25:18] Another thing that I just, from my little notes – ball lightning and you said fire came out of every orifice, or something?

Mike: [00:25:27] No, he could. He could, snap is 

Zoe: [00:25:28] Am Ijust making  things up here?  

Mike: [00:25:32] Yeah, the, “every orifice,” thing, you are. No, he could snap his fingers and apparently conjure a ball of red flame that wouldn’t burn him and could be put inside a wooden box. Close the lid, open it again, take it out. Nothing was scorched, it never left a mark. 

Zoe: [00:25:46] I’m sorry, he’s a wizard. 

Mike: [00:25:48] Yeah, it does make you kind of think that doesn’t it. 

Zoe: [00:25:50] Because I don’t understand how, I mean, even if you had like, you know, flints on his fingers…

Mike: [00:25:57] I think… 

Zoe: [00:25:57] …really sharp nails, I dunno. You know, 

Mike: [00:26:00] When you read the description, um, it makes me think it was something more like some kind of plasma. That could maybe cause I mean, fire technically is plasma isn’t it? I think. Isn’t it? I don’t know. It’s ionized gas, which yeah. 

Zoe: [00:26:15] I’m not a scientist. 

Mike: [00:26:16] That’s what plasma normally is.

Zoe: [00:26:17] What if he had like two different things on his fingers? So when he put them together, it created a reaction.

Could 

Mike: [00:26:24] be, yeah. Yeah, but yeah, I don’t know that, but like I say that that one was,  witnessed by Mark Twain, a reporter from a magazine that had come to do an interview with him.

Zoe: [00:26:35] Yeah.

Mike: [00:26:36] There were reports of him. I mean, there’s photographs of him sitting with lightning, arking all around him and that kind of thing, 

Zoe: [00:26:42] I think I’ve seen something like that.

Mike: [00:26:44] Which, one of the things I watched recently on YouTube, which again, you know, pinch of salt, it’s YouTube, but they, they were saying that’s possibly a faked photograph.

I’m not sure it’s faked. The lightning will only strike the outside, on the metal cage. So he’s perfectly safe sitting where he sitting, as long as he doesn’t come into contact with other things. 

Zoe: [00:27:01] And he would know that, because,

Mike: [00:27:03] Exactly. 

Zoe: [00:27:04] to him, that’s like, you know, really basic.

Mike: [00:27:05] And it looks like a crazy amount of strikes all coming at once, but probably what it was, it was a long exposure because back in those days you needed to do long exposures.

Zoe: [00:27:13] Yeah, back then it took a long time, didn’t it?

Mike: [00:27:14] Yeah.  it may have been quite a dark room. They may have gotten maybe two minutes worth of jolts, which there might have just been the odd one here or there, but in the photograph it looks like there’s lots.

Zoe: [00:27:23] Yeah, taking them all into account. 

Mike: [00:27:24] Having a background in photography actually helped there for a second. 

Zoe: [00:27:27] I’ve also written down, the uh, the whole trunk scenario, which is, it was 80 trunks of stuff.

Mike: [00:27:34] 80 Trunks, now…

Zoe: [00:27:35] And they got 60 back. Now, I mean, I’m a massive fan of storage, you know, I am, I’m a massive hoarder. So if you gave me 80 trunks, there’s a good chance. I could condense those down into…

Mike: [00:27:48] Re-Tetris it down into, yeah. 

Zoe: [00:27:50] To Tetris the living shit out of it. Possibly could get it down to 60, but, there is no way I trust a Trump to go, “Oh no, there’s nothing of any interest in that. Oh no. I came in with this big sack of paperwork. Oh no, don’t mind me.” 

Mike: [00:28:07] There was something I watched this morning,  that was a kind of a conspiracy type channel that was talking about Tesla and he said 45 trunks. Now the thing that I initially quoted, that he had 45 trucks worth of effects and notes and documents and whatever else.

Zoe: [00:28:24] So then how can you get 60 back? 

Mike: [00:28:25] Exactly. So the, the bit I, so this, this guy was just a guy and he’s got a channel on YouTube or whatever, but  the thing that I was quoting that said 80 trunks of effects, that only 60 went to Belgrade was an article by the History channel. 

Zoe: [00:28:41] Okay. 

Mike: [00:28:41] So I kind of trust that a little bit more, but that’s not to say it could, you know, I mean, again, who knows when this stuff was written down, but I would think that if there have been, I mean, there have been declassified files. The history channel did make reference to things in the files, noting that Dr. John G. Trump was the head of looking out for it and blah, blah, blah. So if they noted 80 trunks and 60 trunks got back, then I’m guessing that somewhere in the documentation. 

Zoe: [00:29:13] So, he was born in 1850. Did you say? 

Mike: [00:29:19] 1856? Yeah. 

Zoe: [00:29:21] So this was all happening before the turn of the century ish. 

When did you say the stuff was given back? Was it you say, 

Mike: [00:29:33] I didn’t. 

Zoe: [00:29:34] But it was around the war time thing.  Basically what I’m thinking is the stuff that went missing, and I know you said there was some bits in there that kind of could have looked like flying saucers, et cetera. Do you think like, you know, Roswell? Do you think area 51 is just the Tesla shed?

Mike: [00:29:53] The thing that I watched that showed the, the UFO, it did look very much like the kind of classical UFO shape, the kind of round bumps on the bottom and all that kind of thing. And he had a cross section and it was basically, it looked like about the size of a Mini for the main central area. And then obviously about the same distance again for, so,

Zoe: [00:30:17] The disc.

Mike: [00:30:18] Yeah, so probably all in,  a couple of small car lengths, you know . 

Zoe: [00:30:23] Six meters, something like that. Five, six meters? 

Mike: [00:30:26] Maybe. Yeah. Something like that 

Zoe: [00:30:29] In a disc shape. 

Mike: [00:30:30] Yeah. I’m basically, there were two, there were two pilots in there that had screens that were on,  like boom, arms, like the one that’s holding your microphone right at the moment, that they could obviously move and tilt and, and it looked very much like a kind of an iPad in a case with an arm on it.

Zoe: [00:30:44] So kind of a bit like Max in flight of the navigator. 

Mike: [00:30:47] Yeah. 

Zoe: [00:30:47] Okay. 

Mike: [00:30:48] Yeah, like that,  but with an iPad for a face.

Zoe: [00:30:50] Rather than a crystal ball. 

Mike: [00:30:51] But there was literally just enough room for these two guys in there, and that was it. 

Zoe: [00:30:55] So he designed that like a hundred years before the kind of, you know, massive burst of UFO-ness.

Mike: [00:31:06] Yeeees…

Zoe: [00:31:07] Roughly.

Mike: [00:31:09] I don’t know. Well, that’s the thing. I don’t know when that was designed. I didn’t, I don’t know when he…

Zoe: [00:31:14] How old was he when he died?

Mike: [00:31:14] He was 86 and he died in 1943 and Roswell was 1947 or 52. I can’t remember which, for some reason, both of those dates jump out at me. 

Zoe: [00:31:27] We watched it on Futurama just recently, didn’t we? But I can’t remember either, but that seems like, you know, he dies and let’s say a handful of years later, suddenly there’s all these things popping up. It seems a little bit of a coincidence. 

Mike: [00:31:44] Well, that’s what made me think, I mean, is the big secret that the UFO’s that people see – is the big secret that, that they’re not extraterrestrial is, is the big secret that they’re terrestrial secret, modes of transportation that only the highest of power use or the most wealthy or whatever, or something like that, who knows?

But then why would they keep that secret? Why wouldn’t they flout it? Like lots of other things. 

Zoe: [00:32:08] Think of all the things that are kept secret from us lowly beings love. 

Mike: [00:32:13] Yeah. Well, this is the thing on the one hand you’ve got people saying, “Oh, conspiracy theories of rubbish, because you’d never be able to get that many people to keep silent, on a large project.” And they often quote things like, Oh, you know, if you’ve ever seen like a bunch, a bunch of parishioners trying to organize a raffle it’s absolute chaos. Imagine trying to get like 400 people not to tell the world the UFO’s are real, but on the other side of it, you’ve got real conspiracies that actually happened and have been documented like,  MK Ultra the mind control thing. Operation Paperclip, where America  recruited, Nazi scientists and things like that.

And then you’ve also got the, Manhattan project, which was the, project to design the atomic bomb. And that only went public four days before Nagasaki and Hiroshima were bombed apparently. So they managed to keep an awful lot of people who worked on a very large bomb and who then had to take training lessons of how to fly the plane, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, air crew, ground crew, an awful lot of people managed to keep that secret because those sorts of people who were working for things like the military, they have orders! 

Zoe: [00:33:26] They do, but also it’s about compartmentalizing things, like if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing – you make this part. 

Mike: [00:33:34] Yeah. Oh absolutely. 

Zoe: [00:33:36] You’re not allowed to talk about that part…

Mike: [00:33:37] Nobody knew the full –  very few people knew the full story. There’s only like, a handful, 

Zoe: [00:33:41] But you don’t know what that part goes on to do, but you’re still not allowed to talk about it, but then you’re like, well, why would I want to talk about making this one little thing?

Mike: [00:33:47] The argument is that people say, Oh, well, conspiracy theories couldn’t happen because you’d never managed to keep that many people quiet. You would, if they’re military, because that’s what they’re ordered to do. I know you’re used to having things that in their lives that they can’t talk to their partners about. They can’t talk to people about, you know, they have to maintain secrecy. 

Zoe: [00:34:05] There’s also the aspect of telling someone the truth, but telling someone who no one’s going to believe like: The crazy farmer, the town drunk.

Mike: [00:34:14] Travis Walton.

Zoe: [00:34:16] Yeah. Basically you just tell them everything and then they go and they tell everybody the truth and it seems so fantastical. 

Mike: [00:34:23] And it discredits it.

Zoe: [00:34:24] And they just go, but why on earth would they tell you? 

Mike: [00:34:26] It’s true. 

Zoe: [00:34:28] It’s rubbish

Mike: [00:34:29] Fallacy, yeah. 

Zoe: [00:34:30] So then people go, Oh yeah. And then things get seen and they’re just like, Oh yeah, it’s just what he said, isn’t it. So then no one wants to say, Oh yeah, I saw that too, because they don’t want to be ridiculed in the way that 

Mike: [00:34:40] That’s it.

Zoe: [00:34:40] The scapegoat was. 

Mike: [00:34:42] Yeah. You have to wonder, there’s an old saying that says, “If you want to know who’s in power or who rules over you – find out who you’re not allowed to make fun of.” And it’s kind of the opposite. It kind of works in reverse. It’s like, if you want to discredit something, make it a laughing stock because then people won’t do it.

There are so many areas of the paranormal that could be being investigated by scientists now, but scientists won’t touch that kind of topic with a barge pole, because they’re worried about what it will do to their reputation. 

Zoe: [00:35:14] Yeah. 

Mike: [00:35:15] Because it’s been built up as a laughing stock. So people don’t look into it. 

Zoe: [00:35:19] Well, I mean, Most Haunted? I mean, sorry, but I actually thought to myself, you know what it’s got, what are there, like, so many seasons of it? Let’s give it a go. I’m never going to get that time back. 

Mike: [00:35:30] No, it’s not good. 

Zoe: [00:35:31] It’s awful. So bad.

Mike: [00:35:33] Yeah. I saw one episode where they went on about these orbs and, Oh my goodness! The orbs, the orbs, the floating orbs and blah, blah, blah. And they were all just particles of dust that were refracted through a camera lens. 

Zoe: [00:35:46] Do you know what? If I see an orb, I want it to be the size of at least a grapefruit. And actually I do have a weird story about seeing a weird orb. That was almost the size of a grapefruit, but I’m sure that’s for  another time. 

Mike: [00:36:00] That sounds awesome.

See that kind of thing I’ll be up for, but the stuff they were showing on Most Haunted was just flecks of dust. And again, another thing to do with the camera camera optics called Bokeh where things that go out of focus seem bigger than they are. Like when you see lights on films and things like that, when they’re out of focus, they seem to be kind of glowing bigger. There’s nothing there. Yeah. I’m not a big believer in ghosts, which is probably a weird thing for a paranormal podcaster to admit. But I’m, I’m not, I just, don’t get ’em.

Zoe: [00:36:30] I think we’ve been through this before. It’s like, I want to believe…

Mike: [00:36:33] You’re on the cusp. 

Zoe: [00:36:34] Yeah. I still can’t just say yes, I believe. 

Mike: [00:36:40] Yeah. Cause it does kind of tar how people view you. 

Zoe: [00:36:45] No, no, I don’t care what people think of me. 

Mike: [00:36:48] Well that’s true.

Zoe: [00:36:50] It’s more that if I admit it to myself, then I’m almost like I’m opening myself up to far more things like this. Yeah. 

But we have kind of digressed a little bit haven’t we?

Mike: [00:37:04] Yes we have, we’ve kind of gotten off the topic of electricity and Tesla. 

Zoe: [00:37:08] We are electric. 

Mike: [00:37:10] Yeah. Our friends are electric.

Zoe: [00:37:12] P’choo! P’choo!

Okay. So as we have come to the end of that little discussion, I’m going to slip into some new reviews. 

Mike: [00:37:22] Woo!

Zoe: [00:37:22] We have four! 

Mike: [00:37:24] Four!

Zoe: [00:37:25] So please just bear with me. So the first one comes from a Bellasusarella and… “No bad dreams!” Five stars, “No bad dreams from this gem of a podcast. From the opening music I was hooked. Can’t wait to hear more! Looking forward to a possible, dark, more special, including the hairy hands.”

Mike: [00:37:49] Ooh! 

Zoe: [00:37:50] I mean, whose hairy hands?

Mike: [00:37:51] I think that’s something we’re going to have to research. 

Zoe: [00:37:54] Indeed. 

Mike: [00:37:56] “The hairy hands of Dartmore.” Sounds like a really bad Mills and Boon novel. 

Zoe: [00:38:03] Oh, goodness. Oh, but you know what causes hairy hands don’t you? 

Mike: [00:38:06] Well, that’s why he’s out on Dartmoor, trying to fondle people. I don’t know. 

Zoe: [00:38:13] Okay. So another five star review from Jason, “Spooky and fun. Loved listening to episode two about Black Shuck. Living locally, it was fascinating hearing these folk tales of the demon dog of East Anglia. The tone of the podcast is remarkably level headed with Zoe and Mike thoroughly researching their subject and offering up plausible and historical explanations while still leaving the door open for the more supernatural to sneak in. The presenters have a really friendly inviting manner and perhaps not surprisingly, great chemistry. I’m looking forward to this podcast, being a long running series. Well worth a listen.”

 Thank you very much. 

Mike: [00:38:52] Great chemistry. After 10 years of marriage, not bad. 

Zoe: [00:38:56] It’s like when you put vinegar in baking soda.

We have got another five star review. 

Mike: [00:39:05] Woo! 

Zoe: [00:39:05] “Tens across the board,” tens, tens. This one is from GvnHldn, which, you know who you are. And we do too.

Mike: [00:39:15] We know who you are. We know where you live!

Zoe: [00:39:17] “An excellent podcast with some real research behind it, and some fascinating little tidbits sprinkled on top. Well done team!” Boom! 

And another five stars from DoReMing. “Paranormal topics, Zoe and Mike talk about a wide range of paranormal topics that are sure to intrigue their listeners. There’s a lot of unknown in the world, so it’s nice to hear what people are thinking. I’m looking forward to hearing more.” 

Mike: [00:39:46] Yup. That one’s from Ming, who runs a podcast called “Happier With Ming,” which you can find on iTunes, and have a listen to. It’s all kind of positive affirmations and things like that. And it was genuinely uplifting. 

Zoe: [00:39:58] Lovely. 

Mike: [00:39:59] Yeah.

Zoe: [00:40:00] Okay. So that’s all of the new reviews. 

Mike: [00:40:02] Excellent. 

Zoe: [00:40:03] And so if you’d like to leave us a review, 

Mike: [00:40:05] We might read it out on air. 

Zoe: [00:40:07] Definitely. 

Mike: [00:40:08] Woo! 

Zoe: [00:40:09] Unless it’s really, really horrible, then we might just cry in a corner. 

Mike: [00:40:11] Yeah. 

Zoe: [00:40:12] Well, I might. Mike probably won’t. 

Mike: [00:40:15] I’ll just have a biscuit. 

Zoe: [00:40:17] We have run out of biscuits. 

Mike: [00:40:19] Noooo! 

Zoe: [00:40:19] We’ve got like two hobnobs left. 

 Mike: [00:40:22] Oh, This is a crisis. 

Zoe: [00:40:24] Got to go find that banshee.

Mike: [00:40:26] Yeah, get our biscuits back.

Zoe: [00:40:28] Do you know all the addresses? 

Mike: [00:40:30] Yyyyyyes.

Zoe: [00:40:32] So now you’ve listened to the podcast we’ve… third episode. Pretty good. You can leave us a review. If you want to come and find us, you can find us on Facebook. We have a group which is: 

Mike: [00:40:45] Oh, I don’t know the group. I know the page, 

Zoe: [00:40:46] Oh, you arse!

Mike: [00:40:48] Facebook.com/storiesofstrangeness. If you go there, you can find the Facebook page, and from there, there is a button that says, join the group.

Zoe: [00:40:55] Amazing. That’s handy. Isn’t it. 

Mike: [00:40:57] There you go. 

Zoe: [00:40:58] We’re also on Instagram 

Mike: [00:41:00] @storiesofstrangeness.

Zoe: [00:41:02] And Twitter, 

Mike: [00:41:03] @sostrangepod. 

Zoe: [00:41:05] Amazing. Also there will be some new artwork going up to go with Mike’s episode to go with my Black Shuck from last week.

And you can find us on Redbubble at Zoe and Mike, and yeah, go have a look at that. 

And, uh, is there anything else you want to add? 

Mike: [00:41:27] I like jam. 

Zoe: [00:41:29] I like jam too. What’s next week about, well, that’s me, isn’t it 

Mike: [00:41:34] That’s you! 

Yeah. So what’s next week abobut? Not next week. Next fortnight 

Zoe: [00:41:41] Sorry, the next episode, 

Mike: [00:41:42] The next episode. What’s the next episode about Zoe? 

Zoe: [00:41:45] Mothman and friends. 

Mike: [00:41:48] Wonderful.

Zoe: [00:41:49] I’m so excited. 

Mike: [00:41:51] How much research have you done already? 

Zoe: [00:41:54] Does playing fallout count? I haven’t even done that. None. It’s just all in my head. Actually, no, I lied. There is, I’ve done a little bit of research, but it’s sort of just buzzing around in there, like a moth round a flame.

Mike: [00:42:09] Fantastic. Have you brought out the Mothman Prophecies by John Keel? 

Zoe: [00:42:13] To burn, yes. No, that’s a horrible thing to say. No.

Mike: [00:42:17] It’s not that bad. 

Zoe: [00:42:21] I’m reading the Never Ending Story, and The Golden Thread, and some weird Point Horror novel that I found randomly on the bookshelf, so I’m not going to add in the Mothman Prophecies.

Mike: [00:42:32] But that’s the one you’re supposed to do for research!

Zoe: [00:42:34] I’m not going to read that. I’ve already read some of it anyway. 

Mike: [00:42:39] It’s it’s like THE book on the Mothman. 

Zoe: [00:42:42] I’m gonna watch the Mothman Prophecies, 

Mike: [00:42:44] Nooo!

Zoe: [00:42:45] And it’s all going to be wrong. 

Mike: [00:42:47] Read the fecking book!

Zoe: [00:42:48] No! I’m not going to read the book. I’m going to go online and I’m going to do proper research and I’m going to tap into the actual Mothman museum. Like that. With fingers.

Mike: [00:43:00] You’re incorrigable. I read a Tesla book for this. Some of it. 

Zoe: [00:43:06] Some of it, yeah.

Mike: [00:43:07] I didn’t finish it, if I’m honest. 

Zoe: [00:43:08] I was gonna say, you could not finish a book in two weeks if your life depended on it. 

Mike: [00:43:14] I dunno if I can refute that maybe. So I read the DaVinci code in a day because I found out that the next day, the guy from Time Team who played Baldrick, Tony. Robin… Robbins… Robinson, was doing a program about it the next evening. And I wanted to finish it for that. So I basically, at the time I was working, delivering stuff in a van and luckily I wasn’t the one driving. So I carried on reading all day, 

Zoe: [00:43:41] Oh my goodness!

Mike: [00:43:42] Read on my lunch break, 

Zoe: [00:43:42] You antisocial git!

Mike: [00:43:43] Read all night, read all the next day – finished the book in a day.

Zoe: [00:43:48] Madness. 

Mike: [00:43:49] Yeah. 

Zoe: [00:43:49] I’m still not going to read the Mothman book.

Mike: [00:43:51] Bloody hell.

Zoe: [00:43:53] Can I go now?

Mike: [00:43:54] Yeah. Until next time – try not to have nightmares. Bye! 

Zoe: [00:43:59] Night! Love you!

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