Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


On the Road Again
by Michaele Jordan

A Prince of Blood and Spit
by Guy Stewart

by Brandon L. Summers

Little Ships
by Harold R. Thompson

Road Rage on the Hypertime Expressway
by Ken Altabef

Bug Out
by Cas Blomberg

By His Jockstrap
by Eamonn Murphy

Tamera’s Engagement
by John Hegenberger

Shorter Stories

From the Other Side of the Rubicon
by Sean Mulroy

To Be Carved
by David Steffen

Final Frames of the Eldrisil
by J. Daniel Batt


About That Colony
by John McCormick

Tesla and Newton
by Eric M. Jones



Comic Strips





Tesla and Newton

By Eric M. Jones

“Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

THE LUMPENPROLETARIAT ARE comforted to believe that genius and insanity are separated by a very fine line. But generally brilliant people do not lose their sanity with increased regularity. Early on, geniuses are advised to go into teaching or writing in their later years—it’s hard to come up with the energy to keep pace with those young squirts, but old geniuses are hardly insane. The absent-minded professor just has more important stuff on her mind.

Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla were both brilliant thinkers gone mad in their later years. They were probably both Aspergers sufferers, were both absolutely terrified of women, and I hypothesize that they both suffered from chronic chemical poisoning. But there was one important difference, too—

Isaac Newton’s madness was hidden from the public by the Newton family, the English royal family and the executors of his estate, at least up until 1936 when a large collection of his writings went to auction. Thus, even today only very few people know of Newton’s work in Alchemy, whacko religious studies, pyramid interpretation, bible-code studies and his never-ending attempt to discover the “secrets” of the ancients: eternal life, the transmutation of elements, The Philosopher’s Stone. (Alchemy should not be confused with early chemistry, for alchemy was not what we can call a scientific pursuit. Although it preceded chemistry, it had completely different goals.)

Tesla was a great genius who, when he got older, used his fortunes accumulated from licensing his patents and inventions to embark on dozens of slightly or completely mad projects. Not only did he refuse to hide his light under a bushel as Newton had, but he blazed it across the sky for all to see. Tesla was a technical genius and a great showman.

First, Isaac (or Isaak) Newton:

Five months after the death of Galileo Galilei in 1642, elder Isaac Newton Sr., an illiterate farmer, and his wife Hannah Ayscough welcomed premature baby Isaac into the world ... so small he could fit into a pint mug. Survival of premature infants was rare in those days. He was not expected to survive. The life expectancy at birth in England was then less than thirty-six years.

Newton’s early life was not pleasant. His mother abandoned him when he was three into the care of his maternal grandmother, to run off and marry a well-to-do minister. Newton did extremely well in school, but his mother, upon the death of her minister husband returned with some new children and pulled Isaac out of school and unsuccessfully tried to turn him into a farmer. Things didn’t go at all well.

The period of low solar activity which lasted from about 1645 to 1715 is now called the Maunder Minimum, or “Little Ice Age.” It left Europe rainy, cold, and hungry. It coincided closely with Newton’s entire life (1642 to 1727). The church was still torturing and burning witches, but thankfully fewer. Wars were fought for shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings, and more nebulous reasons now long forgotten.

England was in the time of Cromwell and the Plague. The death rate was soaring and Cambridge and other cities were nearly abandoned for a time. In 1665, when Newton was twenty-three, most of London was evacuated due to the Black Plague. Nevertheless over 70,000 died of the disease in seven days. The last of the great Plagues swept Europe around 1720. Some say this gave Newton lots of time for study in seclusion. There’s probably some truth to that.

Eventually, Newton’s schooling lead him to become a professor. He was without a doubt one of the most brilliant minds of the 17th century. His accomplishments were such that he is rightfully viewed as the founder of modern science, especially physics. Newton’s studies of gravity, astronomy, optics (optiks), mathematics (his invention of “The Calculus”), the reflecting telescope, the Laws of Motion, and his work on other subjects marks him as a great genius.

In 1686 Isaac Newton presented “Principia, Book I,” to the Royal Society. It would be easy to underestimate the importance of this book to anyone who has never read it. “Principia Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) is viewed as the seminal book that describes how physics and science quantitatively works. Newton changed how people saw the world, replacing the magic of the gods with an understanding of gravity, inertia and physical force. It is still read today, although many properties of conic sections, which were assumed trivial by Newton (and geometrists in Newton’s time) are now a puzzle. Physicists also debate how Newton virtually ignored concepts of energy.

Newton’s life is fairly well documented by contemporary historians, and of course his letter writing seems well preserved. In Newton’s time, many generally believed in “Sacred Ancient Wisdom.” What was called higher education was chiefly accomisaac newtonplished by learning Latin and Greek and reading the writings of Greek and Roman philosophers, poets and historians, as well as their writings about earlier cultures. This concept, termed prisca sapientia (sacred wisdom), was a common belief of many scholars during Newton’s lifetime. There were hundreds of these secret societies, such as the Templars Rosicrucians, Hermetics, Asiatic Brethrens, Freemasons, Aristotelians, Alchemists, etc. The Rosicrucians later claimed Newton as one of their own, but Newton never claimed to be one. He was, however, a devout believer in the same ideas and principles. As is common today, it’s not what you know but who you know in these secret societies that formed the power structures of politics, society and wealth. Anyone who was anyone was usually part of one or another secret society. The writings of the ancients were mostly hidden from common people in dusty vaults. The church and nobility ruled humanity with their own brand of worship, ceremony, terrorism and secrets. Much knowledge was not for the commoners. People only needed Faith ...

The first few decades of the 18th century saw the beginnings of the Enlightenment. People began to cast off these old ghosts and began to see that modern science could elevate them into a new period of accomplishment. Historically, the reasons for the Enlightenment probably had to do with a rise in temperature and the repopulating of the cities, the end of the Black Death, as well as the broadening of education and collapse of these secret societies when people emigrated to the “Colonies.” Few of the American settlers cared a wit about religion, royalty, or the old secret societies of Europe.

Newton was hailed in his own time as a great “Natural Philosopher” (which we now call a physicist). His acknowledged accomplishments and publications gave him much acclaim. But there were indications that things were not perfect. When Newton was fifty-one, he had a mental breakdown which was characterized by sending wild accusatory letters to his friends. His note to John Locke included the charge that Locke “endeavoured to embroil me with women.”

Newton recovered from his illness in less than a year, but his interest in science seemed nearly gone. Contemporaries note—and seemed quite concerned—that he began to write almost exclusively about spiritual, alchemic, and biblical prophecy. He wrote 650,000 words on alchemy, and more than a million on Christian religious topics, spread over many volumes. Probably fifty volumes of work!

In his later life he probably suffered from mercury poisoning which would have contributed to his numerous books of religious interpretations, and alchemy. But his earlier accomplishments were so great that they erased from the public’s mind, his mad writings and religious studies of later years.

Mercury poisoning is more of a problem today than it was in Newton’s time. Mercury then was used industrially and in alchemy in centuries past, but today the public gets its mercury toxicity from eating fish and from the atmospheric discharges of coal-fired power plants. Bio-magnification concentrates this mercury up the food chain into fish and whales ... and people.

In the late 1600s, mercuric nitrate was used in hat making. It soon became apparent that hatters were suffering debilitating illnesses from working with the solution. (“Mad as a hatter.”) Nevertheless it was used in Europe, England, and the U.S. for several centuries until it was finally outlawed prior to WWI.

Mercury has the chemical symbol Hg, which stands for Hydragyrum; that’s Greek for “dancing water.” Mercuric chemical compounds are often easily absorbed, Elemental mercury is not particularly dangerous to touch because it is absorbed through the skin poorly. But elemental liquid mercury has found its way into all sort of important devices such as thermometers, thermostats, switches, barometers, blood-pressure meters, fluorescent lamps, arc lamps, and hundreds of other products. If the mercury stayed put, it wouldn’t be a problem, but the mercury ultimately finds its way to the scrapper, or worse yet, the carpet or the floor.

When elemental mercury gets into the environment, it slowly turns to vapor and can be breathed in. Mercury vapor is deadly. It causes a wide variety of cognitive, personality, and sensory-motor disturbances. The symptoms include tremors of the hands (in Connecticut, once called Danbury Shakes), emotional irritability, shyness, loss of confidence, nervousness, insomnia, memory loss, muscle weakness, headaches, madness, and all sorts of pernicious debilitating, circulatory, and neurotoxic illnesses.

Could Newton have suffered from mercury poisoning? Certainly. After his death, Newton’s hair was examined and found to contain high levels of mercury. It logically seems likely as well, as Newton practiced alchemy in his lab and chronic mercury poisoning was extremely common among those who did so. Newton did so.

Newton died at the remarkably-old age of eighty-four.


Nikola Tesla:

Both Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla had something else in common—they most probably died virgins, having a pathological fear of women. Newton was quite secretive on the subject, but Tesla’s predilections, or lack of one regarding women, was splashed all over the press. He wrote a substantial body of work where he praised women but proclaimed that he wanted nothing to do with them. It might be that Newton and Tesla were homosexuals, and there is some evidence to indicate it. Tesla was movie-star handsome and attracted many women whom he rebuffed. It is harder to know if Newton was attractive to women, but it is clear that his relationships with women were almost nonexistent. Now if one thinks being homosexual is unlikely ... well, there certainly were millions of homosexuals (of both sexes) in history, and they probably had more time to spare for scientific, artful, and significant pursuits, so why not?

Tesla was born and educated in Smiljian, Serbia-Croatia 10-July-1856, the fourth of five children. He was educated at the Technological University of Graz, but dropped out. In 1882, then twenty-six, he was introduced to and hired by the Continental Edison Company in France, making improvements in electrical devices, and soon transferred to the U.S.

Tesla then left Edison, found his own financing, and established his own R&D Labs, Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing in the early days of the electrification of the U.S., inventing and producing many electrical devices, particularly arc-light systems. Business problems and maybe a little cheating by his partners lead him into bankruptcy.

Later he started another firm which led to a partnership with George Westinghouse for a while in the great AC-DC wars. Tesla made a fortune. Tesla was an alternating-current advocate; 60-cycle AC was his invention. He invented and developed the induction motor, especially polyphase systems, transformers, the Tesla coil, many important radio contributions, the well-known “Violet Ray” device, The Tesla turbine, and other clever, often valuable inventions. The unit of magnetic flux is named a “Tesla” in his honor.

But as Tesla got older, he became more eccentric. In May 1899, Tesla moved to Colorado Springs, CO, where he would have room for his high-voltage, high-frequency experiments. Tesla believed that he could make a system to provide free electrical power for everyone on Earth using giant transmitting towers. His lighting systems had consistently lighted up fluorescent lamps remotely.

He experimented with radio and in a few years was “Talking with Planets.” He insisted he was hearing “intelligently controlled signals” from Mars, Venus, or other planets. For a time Tesla experimented with running high frequency electrical currents through his pupils’ classroom to increase their intelligence. Tesla also experimented with “directed energy weapons” which he claimed would knock down enemy airplanes:

“... Send concentrated beams of particles through the free air, of such tremendous energy that they will bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles from a defending nation’s border and will cause armies to drop dead in their tracks.”

Tesla also experimented with x-rays, strange vibration devices that could “destroy the Earth.” Tesla claimed he invented the Thought Camera, which would photograph thoughts. By the 1930s Tesla was honored, but thoroughly divorced from the mainstream of science.

On 7-January-1943, Tesla, eighty-six years old, died alone in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel. The FBI, concerned that important information was in Tesla’s possession, confiscated all his papers. The FBI report on Tesla is available online.

It is highly likely that Nikola Tesla suffered from chronic ozone poisoning. I state categorically that if anyone, anywhere, ever suffered from ozone poisoning ... then it was Tesla.

Ozone poisoning is poorly understood even today. Many people like the pungent smell of ozone in the air after a lightning storm. Big sparks and various UV and electrical generators throw off great quantities of ozone. Even so, the concentration of ozone that will kill you is less than you can detect. Ozone, or O3, would seem to be a perfectly healthy gas to breathe. In fact ozone is a vicious oxidizer and kills all organic materials and tissues, especially red blood cells. Thenikola tesla EPA is just coming to terms with this and has copied California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards for the most part. What will ozone do to you? Ground level ozone damages lung function and irritates the respiratory system. Exposure to ozone is linked to premature death, asthma, bronchitis, heart attack, and other cardiopulmonary problems. Because Los Angeles has a pollution problem with ozone, it was easy to tease out statistical relevance from the population health data.

CARB limits the ozone production of “Air Cleaners” to 0.05 ppm. As the atmosphere itself usually contains 0.05 parts per million on its best day, one can readily see how CARB prefers “Air Cleaners” that do not produce ozone. CARB-approved “Air Cleaners” contain only fans and HEPA filters regardless what their advertising claims ... nothing more.

Nevertheless, ozone treatments can be found on the Internet claiming to be beneficial. Ozone, like mercury, presents us with a paradox. It has some good uses in medicine, kills bacteria, sterilizes; but it kills people slowly nonetheless. Lots of chemicals used in medicine have these characteristics. You can drink ethyl alcohol in a bar, kill bacteria with it, use it for beneficial medical purposes ... or drink it to excess and die drunk like Amy Winehouse and millions of others. So who’s to say ozone can’t be used for its beneficial, if any, effects?

Take a look at this turn of the century letter to the editor from “Popular Science” (once a far more learned and scientific publication than it is today), regarding Tesla:

MR. TESLA’S SCIENCE. “Popular Science,” Feb., 1901, Page 436:

To the Editor: In the “New York Sun” for January 3, Mr. Nikola Tesla has an article that deserves a word. The word is one of warning to all sober-minded readers to remind them that Mr. Tesla’s recently published utterances have discredited him in the eyes of competent judges. In the “Century Magazine” for June 1900, Mr. Tesla printed a long article, superbly illustrated with cuts that had little or nothing to do with his subjects, which dealt with a few electrical matters, and also with philosophic and social problems upon which he freely expressed a jumble of trivial, ignorant, pretentious and erroneous opinions. This article was freely reviewed in the “Popular Science Monthly” for July, 1900, and in “Science” for September 21. These reviews were doubtless seen by Mr. Tesla, but no word of reply has been made public by him. Indeed, he says in the Sun that from adverse criticisms on his work he experiences “a feeling of satisfaction.” Anyone who desire a standing among men of science is called upon to defend his public utterance when they have been seriously questioned in reputable scientific journals. Until an adequate rejoinder is received, Mr. Tesla has no standing among professed men of science. He will have none amongst intelligent readers from the moment that the case is understood by them. It is not profitable to again go over the ground covered by the articles just mentioned, but readers are referred to them in passing.

The article in the Sun of January 3 bears the marks of authenticity. Much of it is printed in quotation marks. It gives an account of Mr. Tesla’s work in Colorado during a part of the year 1899. This work had, he says, three objects: first, to transmit power without wires; and second, to develop apparatus for submarine telegraphy. These two problems have a direct commercial value. When they are solved, by Mr. Tesla or another, we shall hear of them through the Patent Office. As we have not so heard of them it is permissible to wait for results. We wish Mr. Tesla every success in these investigations. He is entitled to all the time he needs—a lifetime if necessary. If his experiments forward our present knowledge in any material degree he will be entitled to the gratitude of all mankind, and he will receive it. Until they do, pronunciamentos from him and comments from us are not required.

The third problem upon which Mr. Tesla was encased “involves,” he says, “a still greater mastery of electrical forces.” He will “make it known in due course.” In the meanwhile, however, he states that he has noted “certain feeble electrical disturbances ... which by their character unmistakably showed that they were neither of solar origin nor produced by any causes known to me on the globe.” These he supposes may have been signals from intelligent beings on Mars or some other of the “twenty or twenty-five planets of the solar system.” Mr. Tesla obviously wants to figure in the newspapers. Everyone would be greatly interested if it were true that signals are being sent from Mars. Unfortunately for Mr. Tesla’s scientific standing, he has not adduced a scrap of evidence to prove it. It is of a piece with the “twenty or twenty-five planets” he ascribes to the solar system. It would be interesting if there were so many. There is no evidence of it save Mr. Tesla’s assertion, and assertions—Mr. Tesla’s or another’s—do not count in science. There is no further space for a notice of Mr. Tesla’s latest extravagant vagary. For men of science no notice at all is needed. Any intelligent reader who will consult the reviews already mentioned and compare them with Mr. Tesla’s own words will see that his vivid writings must be read with extreme caution. His electrical experiments being directed towards commercial use must be judged by proved commercial success. His speculations on science are so reckless as to lose an interest. His philosophizing is so ignorant as to be worthless.

[Signed] X.

Whereas Newton and his contemporaries looked to the past for wisdom and truth, Tesla’s wildly galloping futurism looked forwards to a day when mankind would be in charge of his world without looking back towards the ancient wisdom. Tesla’s natural inclination seemed to relish space travel, Big Science, extraterrestrials, the electromagnetic spectrum and all its wonders. Tesla was not the least interested in recapturing the wisdom and science of the ancients.

But Tesla could never accept the modern age of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. His view of the atom was that it was immutable. All this new science was just crap. Tesla, in his old age, never achieved respect for being anything else but an old-time engineer and a blatant showman full of wild claims and anti-scientific quasi-intellectual blather:

The New York Sun (July 10, 1935): He announced that the theory of relativity is “a mass of error and deceptive ideas and opposed to common sense,” and that “not a single one of the relativity propositions has been proved.”

The New York Times (July 11, 1935): He described relativity as “a beggar, wrapped in purple, whom ignorant people took for a king.” In support of his statement he claimed a number of experiments he had conducted as far back as 1896 on the cosmic ray. He has measured cosmic ray velocities from Antares, he said, which he found to be fifty times greater than the speed of light, thus demolishing, he contended, one of the basic pillars of the structure of relativity, according to which there can be no speed greater than that of light.

New York Herald Tribune (September 11, 1932): “... space cannot be curved, for the simple reason that it can have no properties. It might as well be said that God has properties ... To say that in the presence of large bodies space becomes curved is equivalent to stating that something can act upon nothing.”

From an excellent illustrated article in Popular Science (November 1928), “No rocket will reach the Moon save by a miraculous discovery of an explosive far more energetic than any known ... science conceives the electron as a hollow sphere, a sort of bubble. Now, a bubble can exist in such a medium as a gas or liquid because its internal pressure is not altered by deformation. But if, as supposed, the internal pressure of an electron is due to the repulsion of electric masses, the slightest conceivable deformation must result in the destruction of the bubble!”

Galveston Daily News (March 13, 1932): “As I revolve in my mind the thoughts in answer to your question I find the most wonderful thing is the utter aberration of the scientific mind during the last twenty-five years. In that time, the relativity theory, the electron theory, the quantum theory, the theory of radioactivity, and others have been worked out and developed to an amazing degree. And yet probably not less than ninety per cent of what is thought today to be demonstrable scientific truth is nothing but unrealizable dreams ... What is thought in relativity, for example, is not science, but some kind of metaphysics based on abstract mathematical principles and conceptions which will be forever incomprehensible to beings like ourselves whose whole knowledge is derived from a three-dimensional world ...”

This particular article goes on in a dreamlike fantasy of derision where Tesla is right and everyone else in science is childishly wrong. And it’s too bad. Had Tesla come along four decades later (or QM, four decades sooner), his contributions to Quantum Mechanics and Modern Science might have been great.

The lessons? None. But this article is about how a couple of truly brilliant people did great things and then appeared to have completely lost their minds in their later years. There are certainly these sort of individuals. The mental health of all of us bears watching. There is the Rule of Thirds: one-third of people will die seriously mentally ill in institutions of one sort or another (in the U.S. this often means in prison); one-third will die having suffered at some time in their life from some significant mental illness; only one-third will escape the ravages of mental illness. Geniuses are not immune from mental illnesses, which, after all, are now seen as higher order complications of having just too much neural traffic upstairs ... a penalty of the evolutionary growth in brain size approaching the Gödel Limit. (Now there’s an article for the future!) If the brain grew very much larger, we’d all be crazy as loons. END

Further Reading

Isaac Newton’s Occult Studies.
Rosicrucian Order.
Nikola Tesla.
Sources of Mercury in Industrial Facilities.
Making Nikola Tesla a Saint.
Ozone Therapy.
Hermetic’s Resource Site.
Isaac Newton.

Eric M. Jones is the Associate Editor of “Perihelion.” He is an engineer, designer, consultant, and entrepreneur, working in the experimental aircraft community, NASA, space transportation companies, and the International Space Station.