[Editor's Note: I found this poignant story while searching through John O'Neill's Prodigal Genius book for references to George Scherff Sr, Tesla's secretary and assistant, who may be the same person that history records as Prescott Sheldon Bush, the father of George Bush Sr.. It's disheartening and tragic to now understand that the great genius and tender respecter of life, Nikola Tesla, was murdered by Nazi/CIA operativesOtto Skorzeny and Reinhard Gehlen on January 6, 1943 after posing as "government agents" who had debriefed Tesla for two days prior to killing him. The evidence is also mounting that George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, and George Scherff Jr., son of George Scherff Sr (a.k.a. Prescott Sheldon Bush)., a German national, are the same person. If that is true, then GHW Bush and his father, Prescott Bush, played a signifigant and determinant role in setting up Tesla to be murdered by their Nazi cohorts. ...Ken Adachi].
By John J. O'Neill
Excerpt from Chapter 18 of Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J. O'Neill
After midnight one night in the fall of 1937, Tesla started out from the Hotel New Yorker to make his regular pilgrimage to the Cathedral and the Library to feed the pigeons. In crossing a street a couple of blocks from the hotel, an accident happened, how is unknown. In spite of his agility, he was unable to avoid contact with a moving taxicab, and was thrown heavily to the ground. He raised no question as to who was at fault, refused medical aid, and asked merely to be taken to his hotel in another cab.
Arriving at the hotel, he went to bed and had scarcely got under the covers when he telephoned for his favorite messenger boy, Kerrigan, from a near-by Western Union office, gave him the package of bird seed and directed him to complete the task which he had started and the accident interrupted.
The next day, when it was apparent that he would be unable to take his usual daily walks for some time to come, he hired the messenger for six months to feed the pigeons every day. Tesla's back had been severely wrenched in the accident, and three ribs broken, but the full extent of his injuries will never be known for, in keeping with his almost lifelong custom, he refused to consult a doctor. Pneumonia developed but for this he also refused medical aid. He was bedridden for some months, and was unable to carry on his practice of feeding pigeons from his window; and soon they failed to come.
In the spring of 1938 he was able to get up. He at once resumed his pigeon-feeding walks on a much more limited scale, but frequently had a messenger act for him.
This devotion to his pigeon-feeding task seemed to everyone who knew him like nothing more than the hobby of an eccentric scientist, but if they could have looked into Tesla's heart, or read his mind, they would have discovered that they were witnessing the world's most fantastic, yet tender and pathetic love affair.
Tesla, as a self-made superman, suffered from the limitations of his maker. Endowed with an intelligence above the average in both quality and quantity, and with some supernormal faculties, he was able to erect a superman higher in stature than himself; but the greater height was attained by sacrificing other dimensions, and in this diminution of breadth and thickness existed a deficiency.
When he was a youth and his mind was in its most plastic and formative stage, he adopted, as we have seen, the then prevalent agnostic and materialistic view of life. Today science has emancipated itself from slavery to either an antagonistic mysticism or materialism, and is willing to consider both as harmonious parts of a comprehensive approach to the understanding of Nature, but is conscious that it has not yet learned how to manipulate or control the more intangible factors upon which the mystics have builded their structures of knowledge. Vast realms of human experience have been rejected in all ages by scientists, of whatever name, who failed to fit them in logical arrangement in their inadequate and too simplified natural philosophies. By rejecting the phenomena that lay beyond their intellectual abilities, the scientists and philosophers did not eliminate them nor prevent their manifestations. The phenomena so rejected, however, were given an academic home by the ecclesiasts, who accepted them without understanding, or hope of understanding, and thus incarcerated them in the foundation of the religious mysteries where they served a useful purpose, for upon an unknown it is possible to build a greater unknown.
The mystical experiences of the saints, of whatever faith, are demonstrations of forces which are natural functions of the phenomenon of life, expressed in varying degree in step with the expanding unfoldment of the individual toward an advanced state of evolution.
Tesla was an individual in an advanced state of development, and there came to him experiences which he refused to accept as experiments; accepting the benefits which came to him but which transported them. This was true, for example, in the case of the burst of revelation which came to him revealing scores of tremendously valuable inventions--while he strolled in the park at Budapest, and which differed only in degree and type, but not in fundamental nature, from the blinding light which came to Saul on the road to Damascus, and to others to whom illumination has come by similar processes.
His materialistic concepts made him intellectually blind to the strange phenomenon by which revelation, or illumination, had come to him, but made him more keenly appreciative of the value of that which was revealed. It must not be understood that this revelation was a happenstance phenomenon of the moment, for Tesla, endowed by Nature with an intellect capable of vast unfoldment, had exerted almost superhuman efforts to achieve that which was revealed to him, and the effort was not unassociated with the result.
In a contrary direction, Tesla suppressed a tremendously large or important realm of his life by the planned elimination of love and romance from his thoughts and experience. Just as his efforts to discover the physical secrets of Nature built up forces that penetrated to the plane of revelation, so did his equally tremendous effort to suppress love and romance build up forces, beyond his control, that were operating to express themselves. There was a parallel situation in his philosophy of natural phenomena, in that he suppressed all spiritual aspects of Nature and convined himself to the purely materialistic aspects.
Two forces, one of love and romance in his personal nature, and the other the spiritual aspects of Nature in his philosophy, as applied to his work, were incarcerated in a limbo of his personality, seeking an outlet into the paradise of expression and manifestation. And they obtained that outlet, expressing their nature by the form of the manifestation; but Tesla failed to recognize them. Tesla, rejecting the love of woman and thinking that he had engineered a complete elimination of the problem of love, failed to excise from his nature the capacity to love, and when this capacity expressed itself, it did so by directing its energies through a channel he left unguarded in planning the self-made superman.
The manifestation of these united forces of love and spirituality resulted in a fantastic situation, probably without parallel in human annals. Tesla told me the story; but if I did not have a witness who assured me that he heard exactly what I heard, I would have convinced myself that I had had nothing more tangible than a dream experience. It was the love story of Tesla's life. In the story of his strange romance, I saw instantly the reason for those unremitting daily journeys to feed the pigeons, and those midnight pilgrimages when he wished to be alone. I recalled those occasions when I had happened to meet him on deserted Fifth Avenue and, when I spoke to him, he replied, ``You will now leave me.'' He told his story simply, briefly and without embellishments, but there was still a surging of emotion in his voice.
``I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them, for years; thousands of them, for who can tell--
``But there was one pigeon, a beautiful bird, pure white with light gray tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I would know that pigeon anywhere.
``No matter where I was that pigeon would fnd me; when I wanted her I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. She understood me and I understood her.
``I loved that pigeon.
``Yes,'' he replied to an unasked question. ``Yes, I loved that pigeon, I loved her as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. When she was ill I knew, and understood; she came to my room and I stayed beside her for days. I nursed her back to health. That pigeon was the joy of my life. If she needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I had her, there was a purpose in my life.
``Then one night as I was lying in my bed in the dark, solving problems, as usual, she flew in through the open window and stood on my desk. I knew she wanted me; she wanted to tell me something important so I got up and went to her.
``As I looked at her I knew she wanted to tell me--she was dying. And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes--powerful beams of light.
``Yes,'' he continued, again answering an unasked question, ``it was a real light, a powerful, dazzling, blinding light, a light more intense than I had ever produced by the most powerful lamps in my laboratory.
``When that pigeon died, something went out of my life. Up to that time I knew with a certainty that I would complete my work, no matter how ambitious my program, but when that something went out of my life I knew my life's work was finished.
``Yes, I have fed pigeons for years; I continue to feed them, thousands of them, for after all, who can tell--''
There was nothing more to say. We parted in silence. The talk took place in a corner of the mezzanine in the Hotel New Yorker. I was accompanied by William L. Laurence, science writer of the New York Times. We walked several blocks on Seventh Avenue before we spoke.
No longer was there any mystery to the midnight pilgrimages when he called the pigeons from their niches in the Gothic tracery of the Cathedral, or from under the eaves of the Greek temple that houses the Library--pursuing, among the thousands of them . . . ``For after all, who can tell . . .?''
It is out of phenomena such as Tesla experienced when the dove flew out of the midnight darkness and into the blackness of his room and flooded it with blinding light, and the revelation that came to him out of the dazzling sun in the park at Budapest, that the mysteries of religion are built. But he comprehended them not; for, if he had not suppressed the rich mystical inheritance of his ancestors that would have brought enlightenment, he would have understood the symbolism of the Dove.
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