Michael Riversong: International Tesla Society in Review: People, Politics and Technology



People, Politics, and Technology

(c)2002 by Michael Riversong

1984 was the 100th anniversary of Nikola Tesla's arrival in America. To mark that, the first Tesla Symposium was organized and produced by a small, dedicated group of scientists and community leaders in Colorado Springs. This began fourteen years of progress in advanced technology research that could possibly impact our planet for the next thousand years. The International Tesla Society went bankrupt late in 1998 due to internal political struggles. Many of its assets were sold off, but the videos, documents, and personal experiences developed through its activities will prove valuable for years to come.

I got involved with the Tesla Society at that first Symposium, being brought in by Toby Grotz, an engineer who was making great strides in several areas of research. I was asked to be Master of Ceremonies, and performed in that capacity at each subsequent Symposium through 1998. I also performed music at all the Symposia. This position provided a unique view of the presenters and their technology. My job involved interviewing each speaker, helping set up the stage, keeping the event on schedule, and between events, doing publicity and investigating potential speakers. This article is a short summary of technological insights gained from this work during those years.

Nikola Tesla is most well known as the inventor of AC electrical power, along with the electrical motors used by all industry. Not as well known is the fact that he also invented radio, a mechanical turbine, and several other devices. At one time he had designed and partially built a system which potentially could have provided nearly free power to the whole world. Several lines of his research were never fully implemented, which created a lot of the basis for research presented at the Symposia and conferences.

Symposia were produced in even numbered years from 1984 through 1998. The intention was scientific, but the atmosphere was electric. Proceedings were edited by Steve Elswick and published through 1992, and some of these volumes may still be found. Starting in 1989, "Extraordinary Science" conferences were produced in odd numbered years. These were more informal and engineering oriented. Almost all the events were produced in Colorado Springs. Many working devices of various kinds were demonstrated at all the Symposia and conferences. Videos of almost every presentation were made and archived. Also, many journals and papers were published, including Tesla magazine and Extraordinary Science magazine. Most of these issues were ably edited and produced by Steve Elswick.

The Society had its headquarters in Colorado Springs, where it ran a museum featuring many photos of Tesla's facilities, a number of interesting research devices, and a laboratory full of spectacular electrical and mechanical constructions. Many tourists, students, and local residents toured this museum over the years, and found out about the possibilities.

Several important ideas emerged from all this activity. First, it is clear that there is some form of energy existing in this universe which has not yet been adequately defined by conventional physics. Another is that even forms of energy which we currently use in many applications are not fully understood, and could probably be used in new types of devices which will be more efficient.

As in any field of research, specialized terminology evolved. In order to assist in understanding among researchers, Tesla Society president J.W. McGinnis and I co-authored a dictionary which was published by the society in 1996. Although this dictionary is currently out of print, it is available for free at the web site http://www.studytech.com and on this web site.


One common pursuit of many researchers is the idea that energy can be derived from presently unknown sources. This is often referred to as "free energy" or "over unity". While perpetual motion or getting more out of a motor than is put in may not actually be possible, there are likely to be unknown forms of energy available which can be efficiently converted into useful power.

Unfortunately, this particular area is too easily contaminated by fraud. Several presenters appeared to be quite fraudulent. Most obvious was the fellow who used plenty of religious jargon in his presentations, brought a modified car (with interesting chrome tubing on top of an ordinary engine) which never actually ran -- it always needed "just one more part." Another gave a great show, with a truck full of attractive models, but only sold the potential of investing in his company. To our knowledge, he still has not actually shipped a product, four years after his last presentation at a Tesla Society event.

A few motors were demonstrated which might eventually be developed into workable technologies. One was called the "NMachine", built by the late Bruce dePalma. Like many motors of this type, it was based on the idea that magnetic fields could be made to resonate in such a way that each turn of the motor produces a sort of kick which makes it produce power on its own.


Each Symposium included several presentations on this particular invention of Tesla's. Often, fantastic shows were mounted, when the dramatic sparks from large coils lit up romms and even the outdoors.

Tesla coils are used a lot in certain kinds of radio transmitters, and most people have seen the little decorative electric globes which can be placed on desks and pedestals. It does appear that these point the way to other possible technologies, and this was sometimes hinted at during presentations. Besides the obvious sparks coming out the top of the coil, there are other electromagnetic fields always generated by a Tesla coil which may eventually prove useful.

Toby Grotz, Robert Golka, and Jack Couture made great advances in Tesla coil design and operation in the late 1980's. Some of their work is summarized in the Proceedings volumes.

William Wysock was at most of the events, with his large Tesla coils. He builds these in California for the entertainment industry, and he was very good at both operating the show coils and explaining how they work.


Tesla invented a small version of his coil for medical uses. This little apparatus, known as the Violet Ray, has the power to heat tissues inside the body. It was popular during the 1920's, but fell out of usage after that time. Several people brought both antique and new models to the Symposia.

Hal Huggins gave his view of dental technology several times. He found that conventional dental methods often leave mercury in the mouth, which can, over many years, actually poison the body. His straightforward presentations gave several alternatives.

A frequent presenter was Dr. Glen Rein, a biologist. He did a number of experiments concerning the effects of various energy fields on cells. From his work, we learned that it is possible to create both positive and negative effects using small amounts of precisely calibrated electricity. He also discovered that some types of energy which are not recognized by conventional physics will have measureable effects on living beings. He validated that water can hold information in some manner, which in turn is solid scientific proof that homeopathy can work.

It became clear to several researchers and society staff members that the same kind of energy used in some research devices would have the potential to create direct mental effects. From 1994 on, the core staff members discouraged research along these lines, as an ethical principle.


Peter Kulish and a few other presenters developed new uses for magnetism. Most of these were claimed to increase gas mileage or assist in water purification.


Sometime around 1905, Tesla had developed a type of mechanical turbine which was very efficient. Its simple design was based on principles of resonance. This had two useful properties not seen in other turbines used today. Any kind of liquid, with any kind of varying density or contaminants, could flow through easily. An amplification of force in the liquid flow could be obtained. At the turn of the century, materials were not available which could stand up to the forces built up inside the turbine, and the invention was abandoned.

Now, many metal alloys and plastics are strong enough to hold up under the high stresses developed within Tesla turbines. Two companies demonstrated impressive working models at Extraordinary Science conferences in 1991 and 1993. One of these companies, Discflo, built a model out of plastic which was donated to the Tesla Society museum and worked until the day the museum was closed. It did a very good job of moving water with numerous plastic beads through a recirculating system -something which most conventional turbines cannot do.

Another Tesla turbine device was built by a small company in Texas. It created a type of relatively cool steam which could easily put out fires using much less water than ordinarily needed. Unfortunately this company went out of business in 1996.


It became apparent, starting around 1988, that many fundamental assumptions concerning chemistry are probably incomplete. This created some links between Tesla researchers and followers of Walter Russell, an artist who in the 1920s had reconstructed the Periodic Table of the Elements as a spiral. By doing this, he predicted the possible existence of transuranic elements, along with a few simple elements which have yet to be fully validated.

Joe Champion, David Hudson, and George Wiseman gave presentations along these lines. While the works of Champion and Hudson seem inconclusive at best, Wiseman did create a working model of a welding apparatus which he claimed operated on "Brown's Gas" (first discovered and applied by Bulgarian-American inventor Yul Brown). He specifically stated, and many other researchers agreed, that this gas is most likely one of those simple elements predicted by Russell.


Toby Grotz pioneered a system for increasing gas mileage by adding water vapor to gas in the carburetor of a van engine before the Tesla Society was formed. He abandoned this project because of rust developing in the engine.

Dr. Roger Billings has a long-standing reputation as one of the most prolific developers of hydrogen powered engines. In 1991 and 1992 he showed working hydrogen cars, and his pioneering work with fuel cells. Billings said that it would be very easy to set up hydrogen fueling facilities at conventional gas stations, by tapping into natural gas lines.

One of the best engine modifications demonstrated at society events was the GEET system developed by Paul Pantone of Utah. At this time, the system is commercially available through a distribution network that Pantone has developed. It markedly reduces fuel consumption. At the time of the final Tesla Symposium in 1998, the system was available on Coleman generator motors and on the common Chevy 357 block.


Nuclear power plants are designed only to boil water. This is a very expensive and dangerous process. Paul Brown developed a way to extract electricity directly from nuclear decay, in a cheap and safe manner. One of the products of nuclear decay is called a "beta particle", which is actually a simple free electron. Paul had the idea that these particles can actually create a flow of electricity in a new type of power cell. As of late 1998, work on this system was progressing and several working models had been built.


Another branch of advanced research originated in Germany during the 1920's. Viktor Schauberger discovered that it was possible to build various technologies based on the fact that vortexes have special properties in nature. Walter Baumgartner presented the basic theories several times, and showed how light can be generated from specially constructed water flow assemblies.

In Europe, several devices have been constructed using these principles. I went on an individual research trip to Europe in January 1992 in order to find some of these. A few notes from the trip are included in my book "Design Ecology", and further notes are available elsewhere on this site.


Overall, the Tesla Society staffers and volunteers tried to stay away from purely theoretical presentations after 1988. However, a number of these were made anyway. Some of these contained extensive mathematical work which few attendees were able to understand. Others got in because the presenters claimed to have built devices, but no staffers or volunteers could verify whether or not these were working as stated. Dennis Lee and Joseph Newman were among the many presenters in this category. Here are a few theoretical ideas which seem significant, and may eventually result in actual engineering.

Huge flaws were often pointed out in conventional electromagnetic theory. Many presenters said that the usual mathematical equations which are the foundation of current understanding of electromagnetism are incomplete. Most intriguing is the idea that electromagnetic waves do not move through a vacuum -- but there are no vacuums anywhere in the Universe anyway. Instead, all space is filled with a medium called "ether", which is what electromagnetic waves (such as light, radio, and X-rays) disturb when they travel. Many early theories had included this concept, but it had been largely abandoned after Tesla's research was interrupted in 1911. I have developed some further theoretical work along these lines, contained in the electronic document "Fundamentals of Harmonic Chemistry."

Gravity is driven by shape. Trying to understand gravity by using conventional electromagnetic theories will not work. This points the way to developing gravity control using constructions in specific shapes. In general, pyramids create stable fields, and geodesic structures can create movable fields. A good reference on this is the book "Shape Power" by Dan Davidson, who made several presentations at Tesla Society events.

Magnetism is an effect of electromagnetic flow. But the existence of this force has deeper implications. Several phenomena connected with this force have been observed by a few researchers but not adequately cataloged. Presentations by Alexis Guy Obolonsky, Paramahansa Tewari, PT Pappas, and others brought out some of these phenomena, which have real potential for engineered applications.

There is something called "Zero-Point Energy" (ZPE). What it is exactly, is not yet known. There seems to be a possibility of engineering this into new power devices. Moray King, George Hathaway, and a few others explored this area in many presentations over the years.


Thanks to the work of the many Tesla Society presenters, researchers, vendors, and staffers, information on new possibilities for medicine, power generation, and transportation is widely available. Two spin-offs of the Tesla Society have emerged, which continue to provide information and networking points.

The International Tesla Institute is headed by former society president J.W. McGinnis in Colorado Springs. His organization puts on small inventor's expositions on occasion, and provides a small catalog.

Exotic Research is headed by former society vice-president and editor Steve Elswick in Arizona. The Exotic Research journal remains in publication at this time, a web site is maintained, and an extensive catalog of materials is provided.

Several Internet mailing lists based on Tesla research are operating. The [email protected] list is a direct descendant of the Tesla Society list, and has around 200 members worldwide. This list includes many former society members. Discussions on the list range over a wide field of topics.

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