Nikola Tesla: Inventor, mystic, genius, hero of the counterculture

Author W. Bernard Carlson was in Baltimore Wednesday  at Johns Hopkins University’s Barnes & Noble  to talk about and sign his new book, “Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age.”

For a long period of time, Nikola Tesla’s reputation as a creative inventor in the realm of electrical energy and beyond has been in sharp decline. He was the maker of the important and relevant “Alternate Current (AC) motor,” and he did pioneering work in the area of “electromagnetic waves,” according to the author.

Tesla of Serbian stock was born in Croatia in 1858 and died in poverty in NYC in 1943. His father was a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Unlike other inventors of his era, there was no corporate logo attached to his name. This changed recently with the naming of “Tesla Motors,”which specializes in making electric vehicles.

The fact that Tesla was “an idealist” and not a corporate insider, like Edison, Bell and Marconi, added to his “outsider status–his mystical qualities,” Carlson added. The author underscores that the counterculture has taken to Tesla since the mysteries surrounding his theoretical work, and aspects of his spirituality for better or worse  are associated with “free wireless power, talking to Mars, a race of robots, abolishing war, and death rays.”

Probably, as far as “The New Age” advocates are concerned, Tesla is like “an artist or a poet,” Carlson said. Tesla, the author emphasized, believed his inventions “came from within himself!”