"Tesla's Death Ray" and the Accelerated Particle Beam Weapon

Embedded in the army field reports and air materiel Command engineering evaluations analyzing the Roswell craft were descriptions of how the spacecraft might have utilized a form of energy known as "directed energy, " powerful beams of excited electrons that could be precisely directed at any target. We didn't know very much about directed energy back in 1947, or more precisely put, we didn't know how much we knew because in reality we knew a lot.


But the information that had been readily available since the 1930s was lying sequestered at a public storage facility, under the authority of the federal government, over on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the notes of the mysterious inventor Nikola Tesla, whose experiments and reputed discoveries have become the stuff of bizarre but exciting legend.

The laser surgical cutting tool found in the Roswell wreckage was one form of directed energy beam device whose ability to fire rapidly and with precision revealed that the extraterrestrials had a potential in weaponry far superior to ours. However, if the craft had been brought down by lightning, itself a directed energy beam of one of the highest magnitudes, then it revealed their vulnerability to bolts of electrons. That stimulated the thinking of army scientists and researchers into the analysis of the potential of a directed energy beam weapon.


Today, fifty years after the crash of the spacecraft at Roswell, these weapons are far more than the device that the Emperor Ming aimed at Earth in the Flash Gordon serials; they are a reality that can be launched on a guided missile, separated from a booster, aimed by an internal computer guidance system at any incoming device, whether an ICBM warhead or a space vehicle, and fired with devastating effect.


This weapon has been a true Army R&D success story.

"The possibilities for benefits to the military are enormous, " I wrote to General Trudeau in my 1962 analysis of the potential for directed energy weapons. "Although, as we have seen, even the most rudimentary of directed energy products, the microwave oven, has more than repaid the initial research and development overhead through consumer product sales, it is the military that will see the greatest benefits from directed energy and is already seeing the potential from it in the applications that are being projected for the laser which is only two years old. "

The concept of a weapon that relied on a directed energy beam, whatever the nature of that beam was, was not a completely new concept to the military community, although its origins were totally shrouded in secrecy. The first test of a directed energy weapon, a particle beam accelerator code named Seesaw whose beam was to be aimed at incoming guided missiles, was first conducted in 1958, two years before the successful demonstration of the laser, by the Advanced Research Projects Agency. Although the test took place the year that I was in Red Canyon, New Mexico, I had known about the project first when I was on the National Security Council at the White House and then again after the successful experiments against a simulated target.

In theory, the particle beam weapon looked like it would work, assuming the technological development of power generators, electrical storage apparatus, and the computer software to aim and fire the weapon. We already had a rough model for the particle beam weapon in nature: the lightning bolt, a pure, intense beam of electrons firing between opposite poles and destroying or incapacitating anything it hit that was not grounded. Scientists from Benjamin Franklin to Nikola Tesla have tried to chain the force of lightning as a power source.


Now the Advanced Research Projects Agency was experimenting with the theory to apply it to a new and deadly weapon. If they could build the hardware and write the software, the developers at ARPA decided they would be able to generate an intense beam of either electrons or neutral hydrogen atoms, aim it at an incoming target, and fire the particle beam impulses that would travel near the speed of light and excite the atoms in the target until they literally blew apart. Whatever didn't blow up would be destroyed electronically and rendered useless.

Officially, the project would remain secret until funding could be acquired and the technological development of the components moved far enough along to allow us to build working prototypes. The great fear of the developers at ARPA was that the Soviets, realizing what we were trying to construct, would maximize their effort to build one before we did, rendering our newly developed Atlas ICBM obsolete before it even got to the launching pad.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency was a highly secretive network of defense scientists, members of the industrial defense contractor R&D community, and university researchers operating either under the formula of a government grant or the tacit acknowledgment of the Defense Department that their research would come under government control at some point. ARPA was founded in1958, in part, I believed, because up to then Army R&D had been a disorganized department barely able to manage the core research necessary to keep us technologically superior to our enemies. This created a gap in research that the Advanced Research Projects Agency was created to fill.


Working on military defense oriented research, many times far in advance of any concrete proposals for the development of a weapons system or a product, ARPA often acted as a forward skirmish line for the development of military weapons or simply facilitated the basic scholarship necessary for the more concrete items to be developed. However, too many times it was in conflict with the military because ARPA had its own separate agenda, especially after General Trudeau had reorganized the entire military R&D apparatus and refocused it so that it ran like a machine.

In 1969, during the era of large main frame computers, under a contract to develop a network of networks linking universities, defense contractors, and the military, the ARPANET was born. And in the 1970s after the Advanced Research Projects Agency changed its name to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, it instituted a project to create an "internetting" of all the existing computers on its system, instituting the software protocols that would link networks running on different operating systems.


By1974, the Transmitting Control Protocol/Internet Protocol was born and the ARPANET became the Internet. In the late 1980s, the European laboratory for Particle Physics launched a hypertext language, originally conceived of by Vannevar Bush, as a search mechanism on the Internet and by 1990 married it to a graphics user Interface that combined hypertext and graphics. The World Wide Web was born.

In 1958, when it was first developing the concepts behind the particle beam weapon, ARPA was only a year old. It was formed in1957, when I was still at the White House, in response to the Soviet Union's successful launch of Sputnik because the government realized that the United States needed an independent research organization to marshal the resources of the academic, scientific, and industrial communities. ARPA was formed to fund basic research, and even though it didn't have a military orientation at the outset, it quickly became associated with military projects because that was where the government saw the greatest need for basic research into scientific and technical areas.

There was another reason for the formation of ARPA that, at least in theory, had a lot to do with the perceived threats facing the United States and the need for basic research to respond to them. ARPA, because it was a network deep inside the government and ultimately the Department of Defense, could engage in research ostensibly far afield from the immediate needs of the military services whose research and development organizations were part of the command structure. ARPA wasn't. Although it reported to its own higherups in the Defense Department and at the White House, it was not part of a command structure and didn't have to confine itself to the agendas of the heads of the various special military corps.

ARPA didn't just come into existence out of nowhere. Its ancestor, the National Research Council, had been formed under President Wilson to organize and marshal scientific research for defense purposes and as a rival to the Naval Consulting Board, which was run by Thomas Edison, who had gone on record as saying that the country didn't need a Naval Consulting Board at all. He invited scientists he called a bunch of "perfessers" down to his laboratory in New Jersey to walk around the "scrap heap" to see how real inventions were created.

University researchers and corporate heads of research and development were naturally appalled at what Edison thought about government sponsored research for the war effort and rallied around the NRC. If there were government grants to be handed our for basic defense research, the scientists who worked for corporations, who needed help in basic research no matter what its primary purpose was, were anxious to become associated with this new organization.

University researchers argued, through the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, that the National Research Council should be an "arsenal of science" to protect the United States through the application of its great brain trust in academia and industrial contractors to issues of national defense through technology. President Wilson agreed, and the NRC was born. One of the first tasks given to the National Research Council was the development of a submarine defense. Aircraft had not yet made a decisive appearance on the battlefield at the outset of World War I, but the German U-boats were ravaging the Atlantic fleets.


The navy was desperately searching for a way to detect submarines, and although Nikola Tesla had submitted his plans for an energy beam detector that would send low frequency waves through the water to reflect off any hidden objects, the National Research Council thought the idea too esoteric and looked for a more conventional technology. Tesla's low energy wave didn't work well in water anyway, but years later Tesla's description of his invention was the basis for one of the most important devices to come out of World War II, "radar. "

The National Research Council had established a pattern of government support for basic research when it had an aspect to it that could be developed for military purposes. It was the first time that research scientists from the private sector, corporations, academicians, bureaucrats, and the military were brought together to solve mutual problems. Therefore, the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, son of ARPA, were natural outgrowths of an ongoing government relationship.

The problem with ARPA was that it was political and had its own agenda. It was not uncommon for conflicts to arise between the Office of the Chief of Research and Development, General Trudeau, who was operating within the military command structure, and ARPA over money and the policy issues that arose between them. The staffs at ARPA and in the Pentagon crossed swords on a number of occasions, and more than once ARPA tried to lay the blame for its own shortcomings and mistakes on the military. During the early years of the Vietnam War, for example, ARPA tried to blame General Trudeau for mistakes in the deployment of Agent Orange.


But General Trudeau and R&D weren't responsible at all for Agent Orange. It was ARPA's baby from the start. But when the field reports started coming in on the casualties Agent Orange was causing among our own troops and ARPA said that it would testify before Congress that General Trudeau was responsible, I hit the ceiling. I let the ARPA staff people know that, protocol be damned, I would storm into the congressional committees on military and veterans affairs and raise the roof of the Capitol Building until everyone knew that ARPA was trying to duck responsibility for negligence in the deployment of a bad chemical. ARPA backed down, but the bad blood between us remained.

When the concept of an ARPA was first discussed at the White House, I saw the potential as well as the problem, but I also knew that a secret agenda driving everything was the policy of the UFO working group. ARPA was an asset to them because they could network through the university community and find out who had any information about UFOs that they weren't disclosing to the military, what technology was being developed that had any relation to the problem of UFOs or EBEs, and who in the academic or scientific community were coming up with theories about the existence or intentions of EBEs. In other words, in addition to being a conduit for research and research grants that fit certain government/military profiles, ARPA was another intelligence gathering agency, but dedicated to the academic and scientific communities. If information was out there, ARPA was going to find it and pay for its development.

Therefore, when the urgency of coming up with a technological challenge to the Soviet space program arose in 1957, it was no surprise to anyone who understood the requirements of a space defense that it would be an organization like ARPA that would be given the mandate to develop that military response. And given the challenge posed by the Soviet satellite program, a particle beam weapon was the logical direction such a response would take.

The United States had to develop a weapon that theoretically could knock out the Soviet satellites or blind them so they couldn't take any surveillance photos. They had to gather resources in the academic research community to see whether a talent pool existed for the development of such a weapon. At the same time they didn't want to divert military research into exotic weapons while the military was still trying to get its own satellites into orbit.


But rather than putting the plan directly into the hands of the military R&D organizations, they followed a course probably initially laid out for them by the protocols of the UFO working group and went outside the formal military to an adhoc research organization that was not supposed to be involved in direct military research. When I was at the White House, I could see the hand of the CIA behind this, which immediately sent up a red flag for me because I knew that the government was only creating another budget and research grant bureaucracy the CIA would ultimately control.

It was also no surprise that the first type of weapon whose mission was directed against space vehicles and vehicles reentering Earth's atmosphere from space was a directed energy weapon, an accelerated particle beam, because even though it may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, it had a history that stretched back all the way to the early twentieth century. It's original creator was Nikola Tesla, some of whose papers were still in my own files when I took over the Foreign Technology desk in 1961.

Tesla was theorizing about directed energy beams, including particle beam weapons, even before the beginning of the twentieth century. His now famous "death ray" was essentially a version of a particle beam weapon that he believed would bring peace to the entire world because it could destroy entire cities anywhere in the world, instantly, and render squadrons of airplanes, naval fleets, and even entire armies completely useless. But even before his announcement of his death ray, Tesla was making news and a fortune through his experiments with the wireless transmission of electricity and his directed beam of electrons, which would strip the electrons of specimen material inside a light globe.


In the 1890s, Tesla was experimenting with a device that would become the twentieth-century cyclotron, another device that would become television, and he formulated the ideas for what today are the worldwide television and radio networks. Tesla, his background and his history, are important to any history of twentieth century science and weapons because his thinking was well advanced beyond that of any scientist of his day, including Thomas Edison, and the political implications of what Tesla discovered mixed in with the furious attempts to manage the government cover up about UFOs and their technological potential in the days and months after the Roswell crash.

Nikola Tesla, the son of a Serbian Orthodox minister, came to the United States from Paris in 1884 to meet and work for the acknowledged genius of his day, Thomas Edison. Although the two men would eventually clash like titans over the advantages of alternating current over direct current, Tesla did manage to get a job at the Edison offices and laboratory on what is now West Broadway, south of West Houston Street in New York City.

The two men were also very different in the way they approached their inventions. Edison was a tinkerer who would come up with an idea, experiment, build and rebuild, and experiment again until it worked. Often, as in the case of his incandescent bulb, he would go through thousands of experiments, discarding each one after it failed, until he finally succeeded.


This was Edison's example of initial inspiration and then lots of perspiration until the thing worked and he believed he'd gotten it right.

Tesla, on the other hand, laid the entire project out in his brain, visualizing it in its completeness, and then assembled it from the vision in his mind. It was unnerving to Edison, who often commented to his former assistant Charles Batchelor that Tesla's ability to build something from what amounted to a set of schematics in his own mind was unnatural. Tesla was also a fastidious, formally trained academician who loved to discuss theory while Edison was mostly a self taught workbench inventor who often worked and slept in the same clothes for days.

It is ironic that the rivalry between the two men who, by the time each of them died, had patented inventions upon which most of modern technological industry is built, spawned two great competing companies - General Electric and Westinghouse - whose own rivalries extend to the present day. The rivalry between Edison and Tesla helped define the nature of the electrical power industry in the United States, the electrical appliance and entertainment industries, and sustained itself from the 1890s through the 1930s when Edison finally died. Tesla himself died in New York in 1943.

Tesla was an acknowledged genius, a prodigy whose predictions and patents marked him to be a man way ahead of his time. Even before Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the word "robot" in his play R.U.R. and American science fiction writer Isaac Asimov invented the term "robotics" in his book of short stories I Robot, Nikola Tesla had created the first "automaton" or mechanical soldier and a robotically controlled model boat before the turn of the century. Yet Tesla, a tall, dark, brooding, but well-educated and cultured Serbian, often times turned out to be his own worst enemy.


He became a millionaire when he was only thirty-two but ran through enormous sums of money put up by some of the great industrialists and financiers of his day, including George Westinghouse, J. Pierpont Morgan, A. Stanford White, and John Jacob Astor, only to die destitute and penniless in his room at the New Yorker Hotel. This was the man, however, whose ideas the scientists at ARPA turned to when faced not only with the threat of the first Soviet Sputnik orbiting the earth, but the even worse threat that the EBEs, seeing and hearing the Russian satellite, would be convinced that if colonization of the Earth was their goal, it was the Russians who would help them accomplish it. What was Tesla's idea?

Consistently, throughout the 1890s, Tesla wrote and lectured about his theory of the wireless transmission of electrical current. Like Marconi's wireless radio, which revolutionized communication, Tesla's wireless electrical power supply would revolutionize the growth and development of entire cities. Not just as an extrapolation of wireless power but as a theory in its own right, Tesla reported that he had experimented with a beam of electrical energy, directed without wires, that could excite the atoms in a substance to the point where the substance, even though it could resist heat in conventional ovens, would break down. Such a beam weapon, Tesla said, would revolutionize warfare. In theory at least, it was a very similar device, the laser cutting tool, that the Army retrieval team picked out of the scrub at the Roswell crash site.

One of the astounding aspects about the life and career of Nikola Tesla isn't just that he theorized about these projects, he actually experimented with them, many times succeeding in very intriguing ways, and then patented the important inventions that derived from his experiments. But his ideas were so radical for the time, so far ahead of anything his contemporaries were thinking, that they were dismissed as either the uncontrolled ravings of a mad scientist or so wildly impractical that they amounted to nothing.


Yet, when you review the patents in his name, his descriptions of the systems he designed, and actual results of the public experiments or exhibitions he conducted, you find that even the most lunatic sounding ideas like his turn of the century plans for a vertical takeoff and landing bomber actually looked as though they should work. In some cases, like his atom smasher, they worked better and more efficiently than the modern equivalents of these machines when they first appeared.


When I realized that at the turn of the century Tesla had actually demonstrated a model of a remotely piloted boat that could be controlled by radio from a distance and deliver torpedoes right into the heart of an enemy fleet, I was amazed that the navy hadn't jumped on the idea in advance of World War I and even more amazed that we hadn't ordered the design from Tesla in World War II when we knew the Germans were already experimenting with one. Yet today, we're spending hundreds of millions of dollars to develop remotely piloted vehicle similar in concept to the one Tesla had designed almost a hundred years ago at less than a thousandth of today's cost.

And in 1915, Tesla had written the U.S. War Department that in addition to his remotely piloted boat, they should urgently consider his remotely piloted "aerial machines devoid of sustaining planes [wings], ailerons, propellers, and other eternal attachments, which will be capable of immense speeds, and are very likely to furnish powerful arguments for peace in the near future. Such a machine, sustained and propelled entirely by reaction [thrust rocket engines], can be controlled either mechanically or by wireless energy [radio controlled]. "


Tesla's description of the remote controlled rocket powered guided missile, which was even more advanced than the German V2, is the forerunner of today's modern ICBMs whose targeting information can be relayed to them after they're in flight. As a tactical weapon, Tesla had described, over half a century earlier, the army's remotely piloted TOW antitank missile that destroyed Saddam's armored divisions in the Persian Gulf.

Tesla's experiments with particle beam generation and direction were well under way during the 1890s when he was invited to set up an experimental station that would prove that he could transmit electrical power using the earth's atmosphere as the medium instead of a heavy cable. If power could be so directed, Tesla's backers, who included industrialist George Westinghouse and financier J. P.Morgan, agreed, it would revolutionize the infant electrical power industry and make whoever controlled the source of power rich beyond anyone's imagination. Tesla believed he could control that power and, with about $60,000 from his backers, traveled to Colorado Springs, not coincidentally today's home of the Air Force North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Army's Space Command, to build and demonstrate his power transmission station.

Tesla described his experiments in an article he wrote for the thirtieth anniversary edition of the Electrical World and Engineer in1904. He said,

"Not only was it practicable to send telegraphic messages any distances without wires, as I recognized long ago, but also able to impress upon the entire globe the faint modulations of the human voice, far more still, to transmit power, in unlimited amounts, to any terrestrial distance and almost without any loss. "

In Tesla's vision, electrical transmission stations would circle the planet, storing and relaying power from station to station so as to provide electrical power to the entire planet without the use of above or below the ground power lines, feeder cables, and transmission lines. He also saw that a network of relay stations could receive and retransmit the world's breaking news stories instantly around the globe to pocket receivers, "a cheap and simple device which might be carried in one's pocket, " which would record special messages sent to it.


Tesla had described a modern microwave cellular telephone and remote pager system. He also said that with relay stations like this, " the entire Earth will be converted into a huge brain, as it were capable of response in every one of its parts, " in other words, an Internet. During his time, Tesla truly made history by showing that energy could be directed as a beam without wires.

In 1899, it was rumored that Tesla was experimenting with a "death ray" in Colorado Springs. But Tesla never owned up to it, and in fact remained uncommunicative about any experiments he had conducted with rays even when English, German, Russian, and American scientists in the 1920s were applying for patents on the invention. In the 1930s, however, Tesla wrote in his monograph that he had made a new discovery that would make war obsolete because every nation would have the same power to destroy each other's military weapons. It would require a large facility to generate the power, but such a facility would be able to stop entire armies and their machines as far away as two hundred miles in all directions.

"It will, " he wrote, "provide a wall of power offering an insuperable obstacle against any effective aggression. "

But it was not at all a death "ray," he said, because, as scientists working as recently as the 1970s realized, rays tend to diffuse over distance and something is necessary to maintain the intensity of the focus.


Rather, he said,

"My apparatus projects particles which may be relatively large or of microscopic dimensions, enabling us to convey to a small area at a great distance trillions of times more energy than is possible with rays of any kind. Many thousands of horse power can thus be transmitted by a stream thinner than a hair, so that nothing can resist. "

Although Tesla went on to describe how this beam will improve television transmission and the projection of images, he was really describing a directed, accelerated particle beam weapon that the folks at ARPA were struggling to develop over twenty-five years after Tesla first wrote about it and eleven years after the charred fragments of a directed-energy apparatus as well as the laser tool were discovered in the wreckage of the spacecraft at Roswell, written up by the engineers at the Air Materiel Command, and sequestered for years in my nut file. We were still trying to develop a workable beam when I was in the Pentagon in 1962 and only barely developed a working model in the Reagan administration as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative program.

But for Tesla, his world in the 1930s rushed toward war. Writing J. P. Morgan about his vision of an H. G. Wells nightmare of the destruction of the civilized world through aerial bombardment, Tesla said that his particle beam weapon could shoot down airplanes in flight and so protect cities. He made proposals to the Russians to develop such a weapon because Stalin was afraid of an invasion from Japan. He also wrote to the British prime minister about the ability of his beam to protect London from attacks by the Germans. But no one thought his energy beam weapon practical, not even the Westinghouse Company, which, if they had advanced him the money to file for the patents they would probably have controlled, might have been able to develop the weapon before World War II had Tesla been able to complete it.

As it was, Tesla's death ray, his accelerated particle beam in which subatomic particles were excited by an energy field and directed toward a specific target at speeds close to the speed of light, was never developed during his lifetime. However, the mere hint that Tesla's theories might have found their way to the Germans or the Russians so concerned the federal government, especially the FBI, that when Tesla died in January 1943, the FBI immediately seized all his papers, schematics, writings, and designs and turned them over to the Office of Alien Property, where they were officially sealed until released to the Yugoslavian ambassador, who was a representative of Tesla's estate.


They remained in storage in Manhattan until the early1950s, when they were returned to Yugoslavia. Yet even after their return, the Yugoslavian government believed that the FBI had rifled through Tesla's papers when they were in storage and had micro filmed them or photographed them. J. Edgar Hoover denied this, but photostatic copies of photographs of Tesla's papers were in the possession of the Army R&D's Foreign Technology desk when I took over in 1961. How did they get there?

Tesla's property was officially seized by the U.S. government two days after his death. Even though the FBI knew that Tesla had publicly said he'd perfected his death ray - there was no independent verification of this - no steps had been taken by the government to prevent him from transferring his plans for the death ray to a foreign powers. Vice President Henry Wallace, however, told the FBI that the government had a critical interest in whatever papers Tesla had and instructed the FBI to seize them any way they could.

That was why the FBI directed the Office of Alien Property to enter Tesla's hotel room on January 9, 1943, and take possession. Tesla's other papers that were already in a storage warehouse were seized by the OAP as well.

Over the next couple of weeks in January 1943, after a flurry of diplomatic activity between the Yugoslavian embassy and J. Edgar Hoover's office, the FBI turned the entire matter over to the Office of Alien Property, which also wanted to get out from under the diplomatic tug of war between Belgrade and the State Department. The OAP, still reacting to the vice president's instructions that papers that could give aid to the enemy could not leave the country, contacted the chairman of what would become the Office of R&D, the National Defense Research Committee of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Dr. John Trump. Dr. Trump examined the papers, determined that not much of them were useful, but decided to make photocopies of a number of papers Tesla wrote during the years preceding his death.


Trump also wrote abstracts of those papers, which included an undated monograph by Nikola Tesla entitled "New Art of Projecting Concentrated Non-Dispersive Energy through Natural Media, " Tesla's description of how he would generate and direct a high energy beam of electrons at a target. Though dismissed by Trump as unworkable, the paper nevertheless described Tesla's latest thinking about a directed energy weapon, the accelerated particle beam device.

With the OAP's making photographs and abstracts of Tesla's papers, the entire Tesla property remained in storage until it was sent back to Belgrade in the 1950s. That should have put an end to the matter. However, in 1945, just after the war ended, the Air Technical Service Command at Wright Field outside of Dayton, Ohio, sought copies of the Tesla papers from the Office of Alien Property in Washington and sent a military courier to take possession of them and bring them back to Wright. Although there was some correspondence between the OAP and the Air Technical Service Command over the next two years regarding the disposition of the papers, at least one of Gen.


Nathan Twining's officers at the Air Materiel Command contacted the Office of Alien Property in November1947 to tell them that the AMC at Wright Field had possession of the Tesla papers and would maintain possession of them at least until after January 1, 1948. Thereafter, the papers, including Tesla's own monograph on his accelerated particle beam weapon, seem to have completely disappeared - until they appeared in my OCRD files in1961. But that was only one of the copies.

At least one other copy of Tesla's monograph had remained in the possession of the working group under General Twining and had made its way to the Advanced Research Projects Agency in Washington over the course of the next ten years. It was pulled out when the working group realized that upon the launch of Sputnik, the United States had absolutely no defense against war in space being initiated by the Russians, nor against the EBEs. We had one vital clue, however, about the only possible process that could interfere with the electromagnetic field drive we suspected the aliens were using: a directed particle energy beam weapon that could disrupt the electromagnetic wave formation around the spacecraft and penetrate the antigravity field. And we didn't even have to microwave the spacecraft by exciting the molecules in the composite material.

Because the accelerated particle weapon carried with it a powerful electromagnetic pulse, the effect of this EMP - the same effect that EMPs have on any electrical equipment - was to disrupt the antigravity gravity field by destroying the integrity of the electromagnetic wave of the spacecraft. In this way, without exploding the spacecraft, the particle beam could force it to crash by destroying its ability to counter gravity. In its role as a more conventional weapon against incoming warheads or enemy satellites, besides destroying any electronics within the weapon through its electromagnetic pulse, the particle beam excites the atoms in the target, causes them to disperse, and the target explodes. In this way the particle beam has a dual destructive capability.

Tesla understood that the particle beam weapon was just like a bolt of lightning, with very much the same destructive power only much more controlled. A lightning bolt is a massive beam of electrons. Scientists have theorized that you can achieve the same destructive force with a beam of protons. Still other scientists have argued that because electrons carry a negative charge and protons a positive charge, they are vulnerable to distortion within the earth's magnetic field because the beam will either be attracted to the opposite charge or repelled by the same charge. In addition, a beam of like particles will contain a natural dispersive force because the like charges in the beam will repel each other.


Entire hydrogen atoms are electrically neutral, however, and make a workable beam for any weapon designed to be used outside of the earth's atmosphere because neutral beams can be directed over the very long distances that the beam from a space weapon will have to travel. Also, a neutral beam doesn't require the energy overhead to control dispersion because within a neutral beam the particles are not charged and will not repel each other.

Research and experiments on prototype models of a particle beam weapon conducted after 1980 defined two basic types of weapons : those that would be used exclusively in space, or exo-atmospheric weapons, and those that would be deployed on Earth against targets like incoming missile warheads. These are called endo-atmospheric weapons. Each has enough different characteristics to make them separate weapons, but the similarities of a particle beam weapon are common to both types.


For example, as I began work on the development of basic research into particle beam weapons, my scientists told me that the weapon has to have six basic characteristics that allow it to kill the target.

  • First, the beam must travel at such a high velocity - near the speed of light - that targets cannot evade it. Even UFOs travel slower than the speed of light so that in a chase, the particle beam will always win. At the same time, the faster the beam travels, the shorter the burst you have to have in order for it to disrupt the target.


  • Second, the beam has to stay on the target long enough for it to do its damage. We estimated that if we were bringing down an incoming enemy warhead, a powerful beam would disrupt the warhead's ability to detonate almost immediately and destroy it within a few seconds. In space, where distances are greater, the beam would have to stay on the target for a longer period of time, but it, too, would disrupt the wave propagation of the spacecraft after a very short interval. Even if it didn't destroy the spacecraft, it would certainly render it incapable of carrying out any offensive mission.


  • Third, you have to be able to aim the beam immediately for it to have any effectiveness, especially if you're targeting an incoming multiple reentry warhead vehicle such as the type deployed by the Russians and us. Unless you took out the bus, the vehicle that carries and aims the separate warheads while still in orbit, you'd have to fire the beam at each of the separate vehicles very quickly in succession after they've split up in orbit and begun their separate reentry trajectories. Thus, you'd have to aim and fire, aim and fire, aim and fire, all within a matter of seconds and making sure each target was destroyed.


    A single fifty-kiloton detonation over New York City, for example, would paralyze the entire American financial industry and immediately change life as we know it for a considerable period of time. A multiple reentry vehicle launching four 60-kiloton warheads from orbit on separate trajectories for detonation over Boston, New York, Washington, and Miami would cripple the United States for the ensuing five to seven years. And the Russians wouldn't have to launch such a missile; it could easily come from China, North Korea, or even one of the Middle East fanatic terrorist countries like Libya with lots of oil money to spend. A particle beam weapon that could rapidly aim and fire to take out all four warheads either before or immediately upon reentry would effectively protect the United States and deter any country or terrorist group.


  • Fourth, the beam must penetrate the surface of the target in order for it to cause any real damage to the mechanism inside the warhead. Therefore, once the beam lands on the skin of the target, its excitation of the target's molecules must take place not just on the outer hull or skin but deep inside the vehicle's electronics. Therefore, even if it doesn't explode, it may either break apart into larger pieces or simply seize up and fall to earth as a dud.


  • Fifth, the particle beam must also be able to kill through its electromagnetic pulse, which will render the target's electronics inoperable by either throwing off its navigation or destroying its detonation program and turning it into a dud. Used as a space weapon, the electromagnetic pulse will have a similar effect on enemy satellites, killing their control programs and rendering their computer guidance and orientation programs inoperable and blinding them completely. Upon enemy spaceships, the pulse would act as a purely defensive weapon that forces the ship to withdraw because its wave propagation device is rendered inoperable.


  • And sixth, a particle beam, unlike a laser, can operate in any weather and under any atmospheric conditions. Lasers bounce off clouds and fog and are weakened by anything less than perfectly clear weather. Particle beams penetrate and can operate under all conditions.

As the scientists back in the 1950s evaluated what they would have to do to develop a working prototype, they understood the need for a huge power generator to accelerate the particles necessary to generate the beam, some form of target painting capability not only to acquire the target quickly and aim the weapon but to reaim in case the first shot is a miss. After I left the Pentagon, work continued on the theory underlying this type of weapon but not much was done to assemble the very expensive supporting technologies such as the atomic particle accelerators, targeting computers, high energy lasers, and a way to make the whole thing portable.


Today, however, low energy versions of these directed energy weapons, partly the great-grandchildren of the Tesla beam and partly the descendant of the directed energy apparatus from the Roswell craft, are currently on the market for installation in police cars as a weapon against fleeing vehicles as a way to shut down a high speed chase before it even starts. The police officer in the pursuing vehicle aims his directed energy particle beam at the fleeing vehicle and turns it on. The electromagnetic pulse from the stream of electrons interferes with the target's ignition system in the engine, and the car, deprived of a flow of electrical power to fire the cylinders, rolls to a stop.


No more high speed chases on the 11:00 p.m. news but a more effective and safer way to catch fleeing suspects in their cars. This was a device developed by the military initially and, now deployed out of the Army's Space Command as a missile mounted kinetic energy beam for destroying enemy satellites, turned over to the law enforcement community. But its roots go back to the vision of Nikola Tesla and to what scientists believed to be actual pieces of directed energy technology that we pulled out of the crashed space vehicle at Roswell, reports about which turned up in the nut file carted into my office in the Pentagon in 1961 from the Pentagon basement.

For me the irony has always been in the confluence between the historic work and discoveries of Nikola Tesla and the technology we ascertained the extraterrestrials had developed from our evaluation of the Roswell wreckage. Tesla had experimented with wireless transmission of energy, and the extraterrestrials seemed to have employed a type of wireless transmission of energy for navigational and defensive purposes. Tesla wrote about the theories behind the distortion or manipulation of a gravitational field through the propagation of electromagnetic waves, and the extraterrestrials seemed to have employed just that kind of technology for a propulsion system.


And Tesla's descriptions of the theories behind the death ray he claimed to have perfected ultimately became the basis for the defensive weapons we deployed to challenge the hostile intrusions of our airspace by the extraterrestrials. What posed a threat to us at Roswell and what we eventually learned from Tesla's writings became two confluent streams of scientific theory that eventually became the basis of the Strategic Defense Initiative, an antiballistic missile and space vehicle weapon.

While scientists from the 1950s through the 1970s argued over the cost of such a weapon and whether an antiballistic missile weapon would destabilize the otherwise stable world of mutual nuclear deterrence, others who understood the real threat from outer space argued that there were enemies besides the Soviet Union who might someday acquire the technology to launch nuclear missiles against the United States. No one would dare say that we had to defend ourselves against flying saucers. In fact, it wasn't until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 that the particle beam weapon received another pulse of life as part of the hotly debated but ultimately successful strategy of the Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars."


Amid the guffaws from some political quarters and the hand wringing from people who thought the thing simply cost too much money, President Reagan managed to prevail. Just the strategy of Star Wars itself and the limited deployment and testing of some of the components were enough to put the United States on a wartime footing with the EBEs and show the Soviets that we finally had a real nuclear deterrent.

The full story behind the SDI and the way it changed the Cold War and forced the extraterrestrials to change the strategies for this planet is a story that's never been told.


But as spectacular and fantastic as it may sound, the story behind the limited deployment of the SDI is the story of how humanity won its first victory against a more powerful and technologically superior enemy who discovered, to whatever version of shock it experiences, that there was real trouble down on its farm.

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