The Tesla Files: The Colorado Experiment – Full Episode (S1, E2) | History

NARRATOR: Tonight, on The Tesla Files Wireless transmission of power; this is unbelievable -Whoa! -Yeah, that was a little scary there TRAVIS TAYLOR: That’s a whole new kind of realm of physics and engineering that doesn’t exist yet -Where’d you get this? -I would really rather not say JASON STAPLETON: It’s as though someone is trying to erase this man from history LEAH WITHEROW: Tesla was a world-famous scientist He was a little secretive about what he was doing here -Three, two, one -(whooping) (thunder rumbling) NARRATOR: Shortly before he died alone in a New York hotel room, scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla claimed to have 80 trunks filled with his life’s work, everything from detailed plans for wireless electricity to weapons so powerful they could destroy entire cities But after he died, only a few of Tesla’s 80 trunks were reportedly found For decades, people have wondered what happened to the files contained in Tesla’s missing trunks Could they have contained secrets? Secrets that could forever change the world? (electric crackling) NARRATOR: On a private ranch located 40 miles west of Colorado Springs, astrophysicist and aerospace engineer Dr. Travis Taylor and investigative journalist Jason Stapleton are continuing their search for information concerning the missing files of legendary scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla -What’s up boys? -Hey, guys NARRATOR: Joining them today is Travis’ longtime friend and research assistant, Kyle Davis, along with electrical energy experts Justin Hays and Drew Eby, from Applied Tesla Technology, Inc -I see you guys already got the Tesla coils set up. -We do So, I want to reproduce experiments that Nikola Tesla did while he was out in Colorado Springs NARRATOR: Travis has come to Colorado, the place where Tesla originally conducted his experiments in 1899, to help prove Tesla’s greatest claim: that electrical energy, if sufficiently magnified, can be transmitted wirelessly, not only through the air, but also by using conductive properties commonly found in the ground -One day ago -We’re ready, man Travis and Jason successfully replicated Tesla’s experiment, which proved that a model boat could be powered wirelessly by using a pair of Tesla coils situated near the shore -STAPLETON: There is it -TAYLOR: There it goes! -There it goes -(laughing) -Yeah! Look at that! -(cheering and laughing) Yeah, buddy You know, the story goes that he walked around and put light bulbs in the ground and they lit up from wireless power -and I want to reproduce that as best we can. -Very cool NARRATOR: If Travis can prove that there was merit in Tesla’s notion of a world without wires, he will help to discredit those who often dismiss Tesla’s scientific theories as “farfetched,” “wild,” and even “insane.” He will also expose a possible motive for why some 20 trunks filled with Tesla’s files may have been stolen from his hotel room at the time of his death in 1943 The more and more I dive into Tesla’s work and these experiments, I’m getting more convinced that he was really onto some things And for whatever reason, we’re not doing experiment and research in those areas, uh, in our, in our modern society; I don’t understand why Well, while you guys do that, I’m going to go into town because I want to see if I can figure out what happened to all the equipment in Tesla’s laboratory -Yeah, that’d be good. -All right, so I’ll come back out when you guys are ready and we’ll throw some switches All right, man We’ll see you in a bit -Talk to you guys later -All right. -See you, Jason Well, let’s get to work, guys NARRATOR: Although investigative journalist Jason Stapleton has only been working with Travis a short time, he has become equally convinced that Nikola Tesla was the target of a government cover-up, one designed to deliberately hide the inventor’s incredible accomplishments from the public He has come to Colorado Springs to retrace the scientist’s steps and find clues that could lead to the possible whereabouts of Tesla’s missing files Tesla practically invented the modern world, and the fact that we know so little about him is really a travesty We understand less about our past and about our future because Tesla has been such a mystery

NARRATOR: Two weeks ago, Jason and Travis, along with their friend and partner noted Tesla biographer Marc Seifer, began their search for Tesla’s missing files and inventions by visiting the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Serbia -Here we are, guys -Wow -Hello, Marc -Branimir -Glad to see you -Good to see you NARRATOR: Although they received a warm reception from museum director Branimir Jovanovic, they were stunned by the resistance they encountered whenever they inquired about the number of trunks that were retrieved from Tesla’s hotel room after the inventor’s death We were told, in some of the writings that we read about Tesla, that there were 80 trunks Did he not? SEIFER: In the FBI files, they mention 80 trunks and you guys had 60 No, no, I’m not NARRATOR: It was their unsettling experience at the museum, along with information obtained from recently released FBI files, that convinced Marc, Travis and Jason that they had stumbled onto a mystery that was bigger than they had imagined This is the Trump report And it’s signed by John G. Trump And you’re not gonna believe this This is President Trump’s uncle STAPLETON: Something doesn’t smell right Like, th-there’s no reason that a guy of this magnitude, who had this much historical value to be all but erased from history, and what we do have of him, what we do know, is-is locked away and they won’t show it to us I want to know what’s going on I want to know what’s in those documents I want to know where the documents are that we don’t know about, and I want to know if his experiments were real or if they were snake oil Are you guys on board that-that we’re really onto something and that-that it’s worth going to Colorado? It’s worth exploring to really find out what was missing about Tesla’s life and put all these pieces together? There’s no question in my mind at this point If we do this right, we could actually change the world TAYLOR: These are the light bulbs you guys have picked out? So why don’t you tell me a little bit about them? So we have this older style filament light bulb right here that, uh, would have been around the time Tesla was alive -Right. -And then we also have this new modern LED bulb that we think we might be able to get a little bit more results -if Tesla had had modern technology. -Right They don’t require as much power to light up these new lights -Right? -You’re absolutely correct Let’s get started I think a good way to get going is, uh, maybe to go old school first, like use the bulbs Tesla would’ve had, and then step up -and use the more modern lights second. -Okay NARRATOR: Invented by Tesla in 1891, and defined by him as a magnifying transmitter, a Tesla coil is perhaps best described as an electromagnetic or energy wave amplifier, capable of generating high-voltage, low current, high-frequency alternating current electricity Depending on its intended application, a Tesla coil can be used in everything from the creation of artificial lightning, to x-ray technology, florescent lighting, and even the remote transmission of electricity and radio waves Although the voltage generated by the available Tesla coils being used today by Travis and his team is not nearly as strong as that used by Tesla when he conducted a similar experiment in 1899, Travis is hopeful that the vintage bulb will glow when the current is applied We’re gonna use these landscape timber nails We’re gonna drive them in the ground, so I’ve got to attach the light bulbs to these NARRATOR: As the Tesla coil transmits energy through the air and into the surrounding earth, Travis will attach metal landscaping nails to the bottom of the bulb This should allow the bulb to tap into the energy flowing into the dirt, and light up, completing the circuit In the technical community, most of the engineers and scientists I know, kind of see Tesla as a fringe scientist or crackpot or he was whatever he was saying wasn’t real science So my approach to this is going to be go in it with an open mind, but follow a rigorous scientific method and only report real, factual findings Start getting the Tesla coil ready to go, and we’ll start with the test -Sounds good with us -All right, dude. -Awesome -These wires got to be connected to the light bulb. -Got it NARRATOR: While acclaimed astrophysicist, Dr. Travis Taylor, begins to set up one of Tesla’s most audacious experiments investigative journalist Jason Stapleton, has traveled some 40 miles to the Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs He is following up on a lead that he hopes will give him important information about the nature of Nikola Tesla’s activities in the area more than 100 years ago

Information that could help Jason locate the contents of some 20 trunks filled with secret files that may have been stolen from Tesla shortly before, or after his death in 1943 -Hi, you must be Leah. Hi, I’m Jason Stapleton. -I am -It’s very nice to meet you -Nice to meet you as well -Would you like to come in to the archives? – I would love to NARRATOR: Leah Davis Witherow is the Curator of History, an archivist for the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Wow The museum maintains a large archive of records covering the area’s rich history and its inhabitants We have a small, but interesting collection of Tesla materials When did he arrive here in Colorado Springs? So, he arrived in Denver on May 17, 1899, and that same day, he took the train down to Colorado Springs As you know, by that time, Tesla was a world-famous scientist -Yeah. -So, the reporters met him at the train station, they followed him to his hotel, and they interviewed him all along the way And they asked him, “What are you doing in Colorado Springs?” And he said, “I want to send a message from the top of Pike’s Peak to Paris.” NARRATOR: Tesla originally came to Colorado Springs determined to prove that he could transmit wireless radio signals across the Atlantic But when his friend and fellow inventor, Guglielmo Marconi, looked like he would be the first to accomplish this communications milestone, only after the incorporation -of several of Tesla’s patented designs, -(beeping) Tesla became bitter, paranoid and deeply resentful He then shifted his focus He claimed he would create limitless power by harnessing, magnifying and distributing the electrical energy found in the Earth What he hoped to do, and what he believed he did, was tap into what he called stationary waves, the electricity created -through the Earth’s own vibrations. -Right NARRATOR: Tesla discovered that, due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, the soil in Colorado was rich in quartz– a substance he believed could be highly effective in transmitting electrical energy If, Tesla theorized, a Tesla coil could be built at a scale sufficient enough to send electricity through the ground and across a great distance, then a network of power-generating stations could be set up to distribute virtually free wireless electricity, not only across the country, but around the world He was pretty tight-lipped, a little secretive about what he was doing here He was so secretive that after a while, people were a little frustrated because this world-famous scientist coming to Colorado Springs– they actually expected him to make these enormous discoveries, with public announcements within a week or a month So these are obviously pictures of his laboratory -Yes -How big was it? It was about 50 by 60 in diameter, 18 feet tall Located east of downtown Colorado Springs in a place called Knob Hill NARRATOR: Under the shadow of the towering Rocky Mountains, Tesla’s experimental laboratory was the talk of the town Flush with money from investors wowed by the inventor’s bold vision, Tesla and his assistants began construction in May of 1899 At the center of the wooden structure sat the largest Tesla coil in the world– more than 50 feet in diameter, and capable of generating an estimated 12 million volts But could Tesla really deliver on his claim? Could he really use his Tesla coil to change the world? He never doubted the validity of his research Local historians from the time period tell us that Tesla claimed to light 200 lamps -at a distance of 26 miles, wirelessly. -Wow Now here’s something interesting. He said, “I can walk on the sand, originally considered “to be a good insulator, several hundred feet “from a large, high frequency oscillator, “and sparks jump from my shoes “At such distances, all incandescent lamps glowed by wireless power.” That’s interesting to me because, if this is actually true, and he was able to transfer electricity wirelessly through sand, then that proves, or at least gives us some indication that some of the work he was doing might have had value An interesting article, written by Tesla, from August of 1917, in the Electrical Experimenter, he describes an experiment gone wrong One night, while working with his assistants in his laboratory, he blew out the dynamo

of a power station located about six miles away Wow NARRATOR: As Jason Stapleton continues his search for materials related to Tesla’s years in Colorado Springs, back in Washington D.C., Marc Seifer is meeting with someone who has offered to share what he claims is important information I got the memos from the FBI file -I got to put my glasses on for this. -(laughing) NARRATOR: Kevin Leonard is President of The Leonard Group, a top research firm with unprecedented access to government documents concerning Nikola Tesla and his experiments I’m gonna have to go through this Well, but even better, you’re gonna like this “Enclosed, please find a copy of a plan for wireless power, which I put together using the ideas of several engineers…” Several en… I think this is Tesla all the way I figured you could use that “Wireless power transmission.” I got guys in Colorado right now working on this stuff What are they doing in Colorado? Well, we’re trying to replicate Tesla’s transmission of wireless power, -exactly what this thing is -Okay We’ve got light bulbs we’re going to place in the ground, and, uh, Travis Taylor is a physicist He’s going to try and replicate this stuff I got to get Travis to look at this I mean, he’s got calculations in here I’ve never seen before The diameter of the outer conducting ring of the model He’s talking about the Earth He’s talking about the outer ring of the Earth You got diagrams? NARRATOR: While observing lightning storms in Colorado Springs, Tesla identified the existence of a type of invisible shell, or ceiling, that covered the entire Earth Later identified as the ionosphere, he theorized that the region between this so-called shell and the ground is where electrical energy is generated and disbursed If his coils could be made to transmit in harmony with what he termed the “resonant frequency of the Earth,” Tesla could create a global power system that could send virtually free energy around the planet As expected, Kevin Leonard, as he always does, comes up with some amazing documents, but in this case, he really hit one out of the park “Wireless transmission of power.” “How to power airplanes and cars.” -Where’d you get this? -I can’t tell you. Sorry Well, see if you can get more, because this is right on point This is incredible stuff I got to get this to Travis I mean, this is unbelievable -Think you can tap that source -for maybe more? -Sure -Sure. I’ll see what I can do -Okay If Kevin Leonard can continue to give me information like this and not tell me the source, I can live with that -Thanks -Glad I could help -SEIFER: See you next time -Okay TAYLOR: All right, so, let’s go find a spot to put the nails in Let’s hook the bulb up NARRATOR: As acclaimed astrophysicist Travis Taylor continues to prep his recreation of one of Nikola Tesla’s most audacious scientific experiments, investigative journalist Jason Stapleton continues his search for any scientific equipment or documents that might still be found in Colorado Springs Can you tell me what happened to all the stuff? What happened to any of the research that he had after he left Colorado Springs? Tesla told everyone when he left in January 1900, that he would soon be back to continue doing experiments, but he never returned, and he was actually sued by the caretaker of the laboratory for lack of pay He was sued by the city of Colorado Springs for not paying his water and sewer bill, and the electric company also wanted their money So, in 1905, 1906, they held a sheriff’s auction and sold off both the laboratory itself and all of its contents Did they keep records of that type of stuff back then that we could look at? The fact that the auction was conducted by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, there should be some official record Unfortunately, when historians have searched for those records in the past, they haven’t been able to locate them STAPLETON: Throughout this investigation, we’ve seen it again and again It’s as though someone is trying to erase this man from history It’s as though anything about him of any value has been completely whitewashed from the world And it’s frustrating as an investigator, but more importantly, it poses questions like, “What was so valuable “that it wasn’t enough just to keep it a secret, “it wasn’t enough to take it away They had to erase the man from history?” So, this is our local newspaper, The Gazette and March 10, 1906, you can see an article here “Tesla’s Fixtures in Sheriff’s Sale.”

STAPLETON: So, it says, “The property held “by the Sheriff consists of 27 cases of goods and ten coils of copper wire.” So where’s the 27 cases? Well, the accounts differ, but the truth is, we don’t really know STAPLETON: In the article referencing Tesla’s auction, they talk about 27 cases of stuff Now that’s 27 cases that are now missing, just like missing trunks We’re never gonna find out what Tesla was really working on and the extent of his research until we find that stuff I may have something for you If you come over and look at this photograph Um, see the copper ball atop Tesla’s laboratory? -Yeah. -There is a local family that claims to have acquired that copper ball -They have this? -That’s what they say NARRATOR: The large metal sphere that sat nearly 200 feet above Tesla’s laboratory was a source of curiosity for locals, who were desperate to know what was going on inside the scientist’s secret laboratory Encased in highly-conductive copper, the sphere allowed for an even discharge of electrical current in any direction, and could be raised or lowered as needed, so that Tesla could best capture or direct electricity through the air But as far as Tesla enthusiasts are concerned, the sphere has an even greater significance In 1899, the scientist reported that the sphere was also capable of receiving communications not only from around the world but from sources beyond our planet It was this wild claim that caused many in the scientific community to dismiss Tesla and his findings as the product of a deranged mind Can you send that to me? -Can I go talk to them? -Sure. I can send their contact information via e-mail Perfect. That’s excellent Man, thank you so very much I’m really excited about the prospect of actually getting our hands on a physical piece of the laboratory that Tesla had when he was here in Colorado Springs And this might be the thing that opens the door for us and sheds a little light on what was going on here I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me -You’re welcome. Best of luck -All right, talk to you soon ♪ ♪ So, uh, Justin, Drew, where is this gonna be throwing arcs from? Well, it’s got an arc radius of about 15 feet, so we want to make sure we’re well clear of that NARRATOR: Back at the ranch, Travis Taylor and the team from Applied Tesla Technology, Inc are nearly finished with their preparations If successful, they will be able to replicate Nikola Tesla’s most groundbreaking experiment, the wireless conduction of electricity– first through the air and then through the earth This is a old-school bulb, right? And it’s-it’s not gonna be that efficient So how close are we gonna have to get to this thing -to make it light up? -Well, the closer, the better, you know? The closer to it, you get more current, so All right, well, what do you say we-we attempt it right here? -That sounds good. -All right So, Kyle, why don’t you hammer those two spikes in right there, about, say, what, five or six inches apart? Got it That looks perfect, right there All right All right Yeah, that’s gonna stand up Now, I say we fire up -the Tesla coil and see if anything happens. -Sounds good TAYLOR: So let’s clear out to safety distances -and light it up -Awesome NARRATOR: The Tesla coil being used today by Travis and his team is nearly ten feet in height and, once armed -(zapping) -(whooping) will create a discharge in excess of 250,000 volts Anyone standing within 15 feet risks serious injury or worse TAYLOR: Let’s fire it up, man -Kick some power on. Let’s-let’s see what happens. -Let’s do it -Okay, -All right, Justin, kick your breaker Breaker coming on Everybody maintain -your distances. -All right High voltage coming up, guys Here we go Arming the coil! TAYLOR: Here we go Firing the coil in three, two, one -It’s on -It’s on You guys see anything on that bulb yet? -I can’t see anything on the bulb. -DAVIS: I can’t tell EBY: Be about to see some arcs right now (zapping) -TAYLOR: Well -DAVIS: I didn’t see anything TAYLOR: I can’t tell There’s a glare right on the bulb. It’s hard to say Let’s turn up our frequency, see if we can get any more current -in there -Good idea All right, we’re at 200 hertz TAYLOR: All right, let’s bring it down Right? I think, by now, by now, it should be lighting up All right, I’m gonna turn off the coil HAYS: Okay, and disarmed. We’re safe All right, so, guys, so what we need to do then is rethink how we’re-we’re putting the bulb in the ground And let’s move forward from there

NARRATOR: In his effort to track down the large metal sphere that sat high above Nikola Tesla’s Colorado laboratory, investigative journalist, Jason Stapleton, has arranged a meeting with Angel Halbrook and her son, a local family who claims to have it If the copper sphere turns out to be authentic, it may provide clues as to how Tesla used it to transmit and receive everything from electricity to radio waves It will also encourage Jason to find out if other items from the scientist’s lab can be tracked down, which may, in turn, provide valuable information about the whereabouts of Tesla’s missing files How did you come How did you find it? -Where did you get it? -Well, my husband was working for an older lady, and she was opening up an antique shop And she had had it for 25, 30 years in a barn And so my husband bought it, because he thought it might be related to Nikola Tesla -Could’ve been his. Yeah -Yeah NARRATOR: Within Tesla’s laboratory sat five small Tesla coils, some of which were adorned with metal balls that were meticulously placed around the main coil Often creating giant lightning-like arcs of electrical showers raining down inside the laboratory, these metal balls were used to receive and transmit the electrical current radiating from the larger Tesla coil in the center of the room Although silver is considered to be more conductive, Tesla’s spheres were made of copper, a cheaper and less corrosive metal The largest and most far-reaching of the metal transmitters had a 90-inch circumference and stood high above the laboratory on top of a retractable metal pole I’m really hopeful that this is what we’ve been looking for So, uh, can we take -a look at it? -Yeah, sure. -Yeah All right. Let’s do it (creaking) We know when they had the auction to sell off all of Tesla’s stuff, when he left Colorado Springs, that there was no documentation of what was sold and who it was sold to And so there may be a ton of Tesla’s stuff in people’s basements or in their garages. And so this may be one of the things that was sold at that auction Wow Do me a favor. I want to take a measurement here So, grab Just hold that end up for me So, we got just short of five feet Four feet, eleven inches Which is a circumference of, what, roughly 60 inches -Mm-hmm -Okay Do you guys know if it’s been cleaned? I can’t really say for anybody else who may have owned us owned it before us, -but we never personally cleaned it. -You haven’t? -Okay. How long have you guys owned it? -ANGEL: But -We’ve owned it about two years -A couple of years? -Yeah. -So, it’s possible it might have been Okay. Well, I got to tell you Based on what I know, I am not sure what this is But I cannot definitively say that this came from the top of Tesla’s laboratory, for a few reasons Number one is, from the dimensions that we have and what we know about the one that sat on top, this is not big enough Um, it needs to be probably a third bigger than it is -Okay. -Um, the second reason is, if it hasn’t been cleaned or polished, the oxidation Uh, what we know about copper is that copper oxidizes over time, and this looks really clean compared to something that should be -over 100 years old. Um, now, -Yeah there’s really some very sloppy welding work that was done here, and Tesla would have been very particular -about the way it was welded, -Yeah -because of what it was being used for. -Yeah It was used, you know, you know, to-to conduct electricity But I think just the size of it alone kind of discounts it as the one that was on top of his tower I don’t know where this thing came from And we know that Tesla had a lot of these inside of his laboratory. And-and although it’s not the one that’s on top… what was on top of his laboratory, it could very well be one of his But we’ve got to do a little bit more investigating before we can know that for sure It was, uh… it was really exciting to talk to both of you, and I appreciate you coming out and-and giving me a chance to take a look at this And I wish you guys the very, very best -Okay, thank you -Thank you so much, Angel Thank you, man. Appreciate it NARRATOR: Disappointed that the copper sphere was not the one from the top of Tesla’s Colorado Springs laboratory,

Jason returns to the ranch to join Travis to help him with his experiment If Travis can prove that Tesla’s claim to have wirelessly illuminated a light bulb using only the ground and a Tesla coil to complete the circuit, then he will have come a long way toward proving that Tesla’s theories on electrical energy were not only valid– they were almost a century ahead of their time -What’s up, man? -Hey, man You boys are gonna be out here all night? Man, I believe we are. But I think you got here just in time Right? All right. So what-what do you need help with? NARRATOR: After their earlier attempt And the three of us will take the bulbs Travis and the team have determined that the Tesla coil they brought to the lake, although powerful, could not generate enough voltage to illuminate the antique bulb For this reason, they have decided to switch to a more energy-receptive LED bulb All right. So, grab one of the bulbs. I got the nails -Let’s take a look at our -Oh, and this toolbox TAYLOR: First thing I want to do is see how much the air is important Can I just hold a light bulb up in the air, turn on the Tesla coil, and transmit power to it? So we’re really gonna hold these things in our hands -while we light ’em up? -Dude, it’ll be safe enough you can even hold it in your mouth if you want to -It’s gonna be all right -I’m not gonna lie to you, man -It makes me a little nervous -Makes you nervous? Well, if you’re afraid of it, I’ll hold it, you big, tough Marine, you All right, set that box down about right here, Kyle -You stand right there, just a little bit. -All right We’re ready to fire it up, guys! Arming the system She’s ready! Coming on! -(zEBY:ng) Firing the coil! It’s on Jason, I want you to do me a favor You got a free hand? Take this nail -Uh-huh -Let me hold on to this lead -Look at that -Holy sm Now I want you to touch the ground with that metal -Look at that. Whoa! -(zapping) -(laughs) -That jumped a little bit DAVIS: Yeah, that was a little scary, there NARRATOR: By using a Tesla coil and nothing more than the conductive properties of both the air and the ground between them, astrophysicist Dr. Travis Taylor, along with investigative journalist Jason Stapleton, research assistant Kyle Davis, and members of Applied Tesla Technology, Inc. have -just successfully replicated -Oh, whoa, look at that one of Nikola Tesla’s most important experiments They have also proved that the strength of the current being generated by the coil directly affects both the distance a light bulb can be lighted, for example, and the brightness or strength of the light bulb being lit When you touch the rod, look at that So, using the newer light bulbs, and we moved a little further away, they would still light up, but only if we were touching the ground We know that Tesla connected grounding rods to the Earth and he says he was transmitting power through the Earth It was part of the circuit Now, why-why does that work? Why does that work like that? ‘Cause we’re connected to the ground and it’s showing us that the ground is having some effect on it So watch this Let’s see -All right. Let go of it Let go of it. -Okay, I let go All right, look, I’m off the ground Nothing. Now grab that wire You’re touching you’re touching the gr Look at that ‘Cause, see, it’s going through me -Through me. -…through you to the Earth And then back to the coil So, that is cool All right, so So without the ground, it doesn’t work Hey, Justin. Do y’all have any longer metal rods? -Yeah -TAYLOR: I could stand on the insulating box, but then I would have to touch one of the other guys who was making contact with the ground Certainly the ground had some effect, and then I needed to figure out just exactly what that effect was All right, let’s bring the coil back up -EBY: Okay. Arming -Light Firing the coil It’s on -Here, Kyle, hold that -Okay Uh, grab that wire -Okay -I mean, that works I’m just gonna let that go It’s not gonna work I’m gonna touch that Now step up on the that edge of the box and hold your weight on the-on the copper rod All right? Now, Jason, let go of him Now could you pick the rod up? -Ah, there it is -Look at that Put the rod back down on the ground Look at… There we go That’s it It shows that the ground has some effect on it– on-on transferring the power -Yeah. -So when you-when you pick the rod up, all right, there is power coming through the air with electromagnetic waves Then you put that down The ground path has some effect on that -That creates the loop, right? -Well, it, uh, it’s creating the-the complete circuit loop All right, so I think that’s great I have one other idea that I’d like to try The big finale on this was to actually reproduce Tesla’s experiment where the stories say he walked out on the field and stuck light bulbs up in the ground, walked away from ’em, and they lit up NARRATOR: Given the fact that the Tesla coils the scientist was using in 1899 were reportedly capable of generating 12 million volts, it’s no wonder that Tesla could boast of wirelessly lighting an estimated 200 bulbs from a distance of some 26 miles away

Locals sometimes complained that when the scientist was conducting his experiments, light bulbs in their own homes flickered and horses in nearby stables -received an electric jolt -(neighs) from the metal in their shoes But other than a few grainy photos and vague sketches to support the scientist’s claims, why is there so little proof of Tesla’s incredible accomplishments in Colorado? Could it perhaps have been deliberately suppressed– or even stolen– along with the other important information contained in Tesla’s missing files? Well, we’ve shown already that the ground is important That if we’re not touching the ground, then the light bulb doesn’t light up Right? That tells us that Tesla was onto something, but we know the stories say he stuck a light bulb in the ground and walked away from it and it still lit up So that’s what I want to do So, Jason, if you don’t mind, would you go put me a-a spike in the ground right over there somewhere? -Sure, yeah -And, uh, then Kyle, let’s-let’s sit this thing up so we can set it up and walk away from it without it falling All right, I think that’s good. Let’s -Leads are good? -Yeah, I think we’re good. All right All right Let’s see Right there Like this Put the red one on there All right We don’t want to stand this close to it– we’re gonna walk away to a safe distance -and have them bring it up, all right? -STAPLETON: Okay All right, everybody has a safe place– all right, guys, -bring it up -HAYS: Okay, arming the system now We are ready to go Three, two, one -(laughs) -Yeah! Look at that -Boom -We did it That is awesome! -Touchdown! (whoops) -All right, got to like that STAPLETON: This was a trip– to see the light bulbs come on, to see it work, to understand that we are helping to validate, uh, a science that’s been lost and ideas that have been lost is-is powerful -I mean, it worked. Did you see it? -HAYS: Sure did -Did you see that? That’s awesome. -I did -Unbelievable -Incredible, man So what that shows us is that Tesla’s stories of sticking a light bulb in the ground and it-and it lighting up and him walking away from it and it was still going is true I mean, he could have done it We just did it here. Right? So all the people who said it was fringe science or he was a crackpot or he… what he did wasn’t-wasn’t right– well, it at least worked So we know that he was right about that This is the stuff that I always wanted to do in science class, -but we never got to do -That’s the way -science class should be, man -That’s right -Is this not cool? What do you think? -Absolutely I can’t believe it actually worked TAYLOR: Albert Einstein said that Tesla was the smartest man on the planet, and we actually reproduced one of his experiments today that people have tried to debunk for years And now that we know the experiment works, it makes me think, “What else was in those missing files and all those trunks he had?” How many inventions and ideas and concepts might have been in there that we really need to look at and figure out just what doors they might open? All right, well let’s-let’s pack up all of our stuff, and let’s go Great work, guys -It was awesome -Good job, guys HAYS: Thanks a lot. Y’all, too EBY: Ready for more experiments (line ringing) SEIFER: Hey, guys -STAPLETON: Hey, Marc -TAYLOR: Hey, morning, Marc -STAPLETON: How are you, man? -Good, how are you guys doing? -It was a late night, but, uh, we-we had -Yeah some success, so it was worth it Uh, we finally figured out the trick We found out that if we were not touching the ground, the light bulb would not light up SEIFER: Would you agree that when they say the-the ground is a poor conductor, that that’s in error? STAPLETON: It’s a necessary component TAYLOR: It was a necessary component SEIFER: I got to give you guys props for replicating some of Tesla’s work that ties exactly to one of my research guys, Kevin Leonard, and I got to tell you, he came through in a big way TAYLOR: Yeah, we’ve got the documents Yeah, this is pretty neat, Marc I really like Uh, I can see the notes here, and-and he’s saying that they’re 750 miles or so apart, it looks like It’s a quarter ways, so we can tell what the wavelength was gonna be And the really interesting thing is up here, where it says “Near vacuum of upper atmosphere forming outer condenser shell.” Before they even came up with the term “ionosphere,” Tesla was dealing with the ionosphere You-You’re exactly right SEIFER: So we’re getting a whole different view of the Earth, you know what I mean? The Earth itself is filled with different types of electrical energy running through it, and Tesla’s aware of that -Right. -I think that’s why I want to get you guys to Wardenclyffe, because Wardenclyffe is the next stage for Tesla NARRATOR: Armed with the results of his Colorado experiments, Nikola Tesla then set his sights on building an even bigger version of his Tesla coil But this one wouldn’t only be capable of lighting 200 light bulbs from a distance of 26 miles

This one could wirelessly electrify entire cities And from the vantage point of a brand-new, state-of-the-art electrical transmission station located in Shoreham, Long Island– Wardenclyffe Tower Uh, how long will it take you to get us access to Wardenclyffe? Well, I’m working on it I-I’m hoping -by the end of next week -If it’s gonna be a week or so, I might want to look into doing some more testing with transferring power to devices and stuff That would be absolutely fantastic STAPLETON: Okay, Marc. Talk to you soon TAYLOR: All right, Marc NARRATOR: Nikola Tesla envisioned a world without wires A world of remote powered cars, boats and trains Where everything was powered by nature itself But was someone– or some group– threatened by such a vision? And if so, did they actively try to stop him and later try to keep his work from ever being known to the public? Perhaps the answers lie in the missing Tesla files Next time on The Tesla Files TAYLOR: I-I don’t believe this room is big enough to house everything that he was working on Some people believe that it was stored in a tunnel TAYLOR: Man, check that out This place has its own power It was ahead of the curve We want to get inside the original lab Holy smokes STAPLETON: Tesla built an almost 200-foot tower out in the middle of nowhere in Wardenclyffe, and we know almost nothing about it We’ll start with the ground-penetrating radar STAPLETON: This is the Holy Grail CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY A+E NETWORKS