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12 Surprising Things Not Many People Know About Nikola Tesla

Updated June 14, 2019 158.5k views12 items

In the age of the Internet, Nikola Tesla has enjoyed a posthumous surge in popularity like no deceased scientist before him. Whether its speculating about rumored Tesla inventions, driving the brand of electric car with his name on it, or taking his side in the Nikola Tesla/Thomas Edison rivalry, science nerds just love to geek out about Tesla. After all, the man could (allegedly) master lightning and generate earthquakes, so what’s not to love?

Tesla was born in Austria on July 10, 1856, although he moved to the United States in his late 20s and spent most of his life there. A somewhat secretive man, many of Tesla’s inventions are only known through his descriptions of them, and most of his notes have been lost to time or confiscated by the US Government. In short, there’s as much mystery as substance to Tesla’s story, and that only serves to make him even more intriguing.

  • Tesla Had An Intense Aversion To Pearls

    Most geniuses have their quirks and eccentricities, and Nikola Tesla was certainly no exception. He had an intense and unexplainable aversion to pearls, to the point that he would refuse to speak to any woman who was wearing them. On one occasion, one of his secretaries came in with a new set of pearls, and he made her go home. Tesla was obsessed with aesthetics, but this particular eccentricity seems to go a bit beyond that.

  • Tesla Claimed He Received Visions That Inspired His Inventions

    Nikola Tesla’s brilliant mind conceived of countless amazing inventions, but he claims that much of his inspiration came in the form of unexplainable visions that left him with fully formed ideas and designs. These images would often be accompanied by bright lights and flashes, and Tesla was able to use his eidetic memory to commit these “visions” to paper. This may have been a result of Tesla’s unique mental abilities and his innate talent for spatial conception, but he believed them to be somewhat supernatural.

  • Tesla Firmly Believed In Aliens

    That Nikola Tesla believed in aliens isn’t that surprising, even if such a belief was a little ahead of his time. However, Tesla also believed to have received messages from alien beings. While working on his pioneering innovations in radio, Tesla said he received “signals” that he could not trace the source of. He wrote, “The feeling is constantly growing on me that I had been the first to hear the greeting of one planet to another.” That did not end up being the case, as the signals were a result of normal cosmic activity.

  • A Pigeon Was The Light Of Tesla’s Life

    Tesla swore off intimate relationships and committed to celibacy early on in his career, but he saved a place in his heart for, of all things, pigeons. He kept them at his hotel in New York, and he had a particular affinity for one white female who he claimed to straight-up love. In keeping with his claims of receiving visions, Tesla said that the bird came through his window one night to tell him that she was dying, and then shot beams of light from her eyes. Shortly thereafter, Tesla claims the pigeon died in his arms and, at that very moment, he knew his life’s work was complete.