Quackery so powerful that a famous physicist rolls over in his grave

Orac Note: While Orac is on vacation, he’s reprinting some of his “classics” (if you can call them that). He’s also trying (but not always succeeding) to pick posts that have never been “rerun” before. (Orac has his favorites, and every few years when he’s on vacation he can’t resist rerunning them.) In any case, I used to run a feature called “Your Friday Dose of Woo.” Basically, it was designed to feature the most spectacularly ridiculous pseudoscience and quackery I could find. It ran for two or three years, pretty much every Friday, until I got tired of being boxed in having to find something like this on Friday and not necessarily allowing myself to write about whatever I felt like. This particular “gem” (if you can call it that) was originally published over ten years ago. Hilariously, the main link is excluded from Archive.org, but I think I quoted enough in 2007 for you to get the idea. Also, someone’s still selling Tesla Purple Energy products.

Pity poor Nikola Tesla.

A sure sign of the most potent woo is when the woo-meister responsible claims to base it on the work of a great scientists, particularly a great scientist who’s been dead well over 60 years.

Like Nikola Tesla.

The deader the scientist is and the longer he or she’s been dead, the more sure the woo-meister can be that only the few actual scientists who pay attention to woo and bother to refute will have the necessary background knowledge to refute it. Moreover, the longer ago the scientist lived, the less chance of any pesky relatives caring enough to tell the woo-meister that his or her appropriation of said dead scientist’s work is a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys. At least, that’s the only explanation that I can come up with when I come across woo like this week’s target, a particularly jaw-droppingly amazing piece of woo that has just about every scientifically fallacious appeal to “energy” and “vibration” that I’ve ever seen before. In fact, just when I thought the woo-meisters responsible for the Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ (dead link and excluded from Archive.org but check out this credulous review) couldn’t plunge any deeper into the deepest depths of unreason, they not only got out a shovel and started digging, but they went out and got a backhoe, but even that wasn’t enough. No, they went and got dynamite and blasted away even deeper, in essence destroying the mountain of reason to strip mine the woo buried underneath it.

Poor Tesla. Yes, he had some strange ideas, but not this woo.

OK, I realize I may have gone too far with the metaphor, but woo as potent as this week’s target has that effect on me, and sometimes I get carried away. Be that as it may, even poor Nikola Tesla, who has been a favorite of woo-meisters for a century now because of the strange ideas he was prone to when he wasn’t doing brilliant science, certainly doesn’t deserve what the woo-meisters at Life Technology™ have done to his name, lending it to a piece of woo so amazing that, even now, weeks after having first encountered the wonder that is the Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ and filing it away in my Folder of Woo for later use, I’m still scratching my head about who comes up with this stuff. Worse, who actually lays out their hard-earned dollars to buy this stuff?

You know things are starting out bad when the text describing the wonders of Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ starts out like this:

“All matter comes from a primary substance, the luminiferous ether,” stated Nikola Tesla. He sensed the universe was “composed of a symphony of alternating currents with the harmonies played on a vast range of octaves,” wrote Margaret Cheney. “To explore the whole range of electrical vibration, he sensed, would bring him closer to an understanding of the cosmic symphony.”
From The excellent book ‘Tesla Man Out of Time’

Students of physics may recognize the above quote as simply stating a belief that “ether” existed. This was a legitimate scientific controversy at the time. Scientists realized that light traveled in waves, but what did the wave propagate in? It was hypothesized that electromagnetic waves (i.e., light) traveled through a medium known as the “ether.” Of course, it was ultimately shown as a consequence of the Michelson-Morley experiment, among others, that the ether didn’t exist, but you’d never know it from the quote above. As for the whole “electrical vibration and “cosmic symphony” thing, that’s obviously the embellishment of the biographer. Too bad the woo-meister didnt read further in the very same book, which is characterized in Wikipedia as saying this about Nikola Tesla:

In the years after, many of his innovations, theories and claims have been used, at times unsuitably and with some controversy, to support various fringe theories that are regarded as unscientific. Most of Tesla’s own work conformed with the principles and methods accepted by science, but his extravagant personality and sometimes unrealistic claims, combined with his unquestionable genius, have made him a popular figure among fringe theorists and believers in conspiracies about ‘hidden knowledge’. Some conspiracy theorists even in his time believed that he was actually an angelic being from Venus sent to Earth to reveal scientific knowledge to humanity [78].

But, hey, no one ever expected the creator of such fine woo to read an entire biography, not when a single quote would do, and these woo-meisters milk that single quote for all it’s worth. On the other hand, apparently this device did exist 100 years ago:

Tesla understood that the cosmos is in resonance. Everything that exists possesses a unique vibratory rate which resonates with the heart of the cosmos. It was this discovery which inspired Tesla to invent The Tesla Personal Oscillator which became extremely popular at the time. It is claimed That The Tesla Personal Oscillator was the most popular gadget of 1907 and was widely used in The USA and Europe.

The Tesla Personal Oscillator resonated with the music of the spheres, the inaudible higher frequencies of the cosmos which have a profound influence on everything that exists on Planet Earth.

Tesla woo

OK, whatever. Telsa never, as far as I can tell, claimed anything of the sort for his oscillator, and if it did, Tesla was wrong. Tesla did have a thing for designing and building electronic oscillators (and even a mechanical oscillator, which was featured on an episode of Mythbusters), but even at his strangest I don’t think he made claims like the ones above. Here’s how this “purple energy shield” supposedly “works”:

The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ outer shell is made of aluminium, which is first anodised (electrolytic oxidation) and then colored. The spin of the atoms and electrons of the aluminium is thus changed in such a way, that The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ is said to vibrate in resonance with the fundamental energy (Chi, Prana, Orgon) of the universe. The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ coating was developed by Ralph Bergstresser after a patent and from the knowledge / information and ideas of Nikola Tesla, with whom he worked in the 1940s. With anodising, the field of the plating is changed and interacts with tachyons. The surface of the plating has a unique crystal-structure.

The chemical composition of the outer purple shell is the same as that of rubies and sapphires, which also consist of aluminium oxide. We know that rubies give energy and thus were called “life-stones” in the Middle-Ages.

Of course they do and were. And of course, this device doesn’t just “resonate” with “subtle energy” of the universe. Oh, no. That would be too commonplace as far as woo goes. After all, all sorts of woo claim to do that. To distinguish this woo from all the other energy and vibrational woo out there, this device has to have a gimmick, and, boy, does it ever! You see, it uses tachyons! I kid you not. Read on:

Tesla said, that when tachyons are slowed down, they produce energy fields of high density. As information carriers they are said to have a very beneficial effect on living organisms and to neutralize negative fields.

The idea is, that tachyons pass trough untreated aluminium plates without hindrance. By anodising the surface of the aluminium, they develop a field that slows down tachyons. Thus the aluminium surface gets charged with subtle energy/information.

The atomic structure of the outer shell of The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ has been altered, allowing the atoms and electrons of the aluminium to resonate in tune with the basic energy that causes the particles of every atom and molecule to be in constant vibration. Once the structure of the atoms of the aluminium have been altered, they will remain in that condition- possibly indefinitely. The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ creates a positive energy field around themselves that will penetrate any material substance by osmosis.

Contrary to other similar products The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ utilises high frequency tachyon energy and recharges itself continuously. it never needs to be recharged, upgraded or replaced. It will function perfectly indefinitely.

Wow.

Just wow.

Whoever came up with this is wasting his time making these chotchkes all in order to separate the credulous from their $89.95. If he could really do what is claimed above, he’d be a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physics, easy! Think about it. He claims to be able to alter the atomic structure of the aluminum in the outer shell of the shield to harness high-frequency tachyon energy. If that’s true, why on earth is he wasting his time with this woo? Why isn’t he making billions of dollars using this principle to generate electricity without oil or coal, vastly decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and providing pollution-free energy in the process?

These woo-meisters have such limited vision sometimes. If I could do what’s claimed for this device, I’d solve our nation’s and then the world’s energy problems and then retire to contemplate the tachyon energy. Or to count my money. Of course, there’s one potential problem that these guys don’t seem to consider, and I use science fiction books as my highly authoritative source for this: Bathing in tachyon fields can cause time to accelerate or to reverse, depending on the story. Really. I remember seeing it in SF stories. Using the shield, if you’re not careful, you could wind up either being a bawling infant (or even fading away back to a single cell and then nothingness) or aging, dying, and turning into a skeleton and then dust all in a matter of seconds. Or traveling faster than the speed of light, which would actually be something useful.

Come on, I’ve seen it in science fiction; it’s got to be true! Either way, my wild SF-based speculations about the dangers of this wondrous device strikes me as being just as valid as any rationale put forth for the healing benefits of the Tesla Purple Energy Shield™; so I’m standing by them.

So, what can the Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ do for you? Here’s a sampling:

The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ has been gifted to us at this time to serve this purpose. Within its beautiful ergonomic design lies the zeropoint energetic field that can be effectively utilized for:

  • Protection against EMF and electromagnetic radiation
  • Increases energy levels
  • Heals on all levels of mind body and soul
  • Delays fatigue
  • Increases physical strength and stamina
  • Enhances quality of sleep
  • Retards aging
  • DNA repair
  • Completely clears negative energies
  • Acts as a 24/7 psychic shield
  • Energises food and water
  • Beneficial energy for animals and plants
  • Improves intuition
  • Assists connection to the divine source
  • Increases psychic abilities
  • […]

  • The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ energy is said to be beneficial to all life…plant, animal or human. Science has proven that by projecting love or positive energy to a plant, the plant will flourish. The energy will also help pets and animals.
  • The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ is an antenna for cosmic energy (tachyons) which act as a harmonizing field for the mind body and soul.
  • […]

  • The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ connects to the healing flame of The Ascended Master Saint Germain. (Note, this is Orac’s second favorite thing this device does.
  • […]

  • The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ will support the immune system and physical healing (e.g. headaches, cuts, wounds, fractures etc.) Burns, cuts, aches and pains involve a sudden change to the normal vibration rate of tissue. The theory behind the healing properties is that the energy from The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ helps to accelerate the healing and thus return the injured area to its normal rate of vibration.

And here’s Orac’s favorite claim: that the Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ will increase your vibrational energy from 25,000 cycles per second to over 100,000 cycles per second. Hey, that’s got to be a good thing, right? After all, they have the before and after Kirlian photos to prove it

But that’s not all. Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ will bring to you the power of the Lost Cubit:

The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ incorporates an internal Ethero-Magnetic™ caduceus orgone generating coil which utilises the magickal and sacred ‘lost cubit’ measurement, a meaurement so profound that its precise value can not be found in ancient or modern literature. Only select few individuals and scientists are aware of its actual value…

The “Lost Cubit” was discovered in April of 2000 by german astrophysicist Hans Becker. The “Lost” cubit is a previously unknown cubit length which fills a harmonic gap between the “Sacred” and “Royal” cubits of Ancient Egypt. Research and calculations made by Becker indicate that the “Lost” cubit may well have been deliberately omitted from ancient records due to its powerful significance.
The “Lost Cubit” is derived from the sum of the polar and equatorial circumferences of the Earth, in inches, divided into the speed of light. It therefore relates to Earth natural harmonics in a special way. We believe that this discovery of Hans Becker, The “Lost Cubit”, is that long lost information that will, as research progresses, yield the secret keys to extraordinary health and extreme longevity.

This highly secret information was always strongly guarded by the priesthood of Egypt and was reserved only for high initiates and Phaoroh himself.
The Lost Cubit has a natural resonant frequency of 177 megacycles and in some as yet unknown manner, assists the user in changing his DNA at will, and thus turning on the “longevity” gene. This may be why there are no records of the length and function of the “Lost” cubit.

Or it could be because there’s no such thing. Sorry, I’m exhibiting “negative energy.” Let me fire up my Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ a minute. There, that’s better. I feel much mellower now. In fact, the mere Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ is no longer enough for me. I want more, more, more tachyon woo!

Fortunately, Life Technology is more than happy to oblige, with the Tesla Shield™ Ultra-Advanced Version 1.0. (It’s got a version number after it, just like a computer program, which means it must be good at manipulating information flow, right?) The “ultra-advanced version” incorporates a solid gold caduceus coil, precious and semi precious gemstones, monatomic elements (including Gold, Silver, Platinum, Osmium, Ruthenium, Rhodium and Palladium) in addition to the standard internal componentry, all for only $179.95. But, you know, even that’s not enough for me. Fortunately, Life Technology is more than happy to provide the ultimate in woo, the über-woo of über-woo, the Tesla Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0.

Yes! I knew all those tachyons would eventually lead to hyperspace. I’m so there! Just look:

The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 incorporates all of the enhanced design and componentry characteristics of The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Ultra Advanced Version 1.0, but more importantly The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 integrates an internal radionics structural link to a RAD 5 Radionics Machine running at full power at the Life Technology™ laboratories 24/7/365.

The RAD 5 Radionics Machine is a state of the art remote influence / transformational radionics machine designed by the esteemed quantum physicist and radionics technology pioneer Karl Welz of Hyperspace Communications Technologies International (www.hscti.com). The RAD 5 is undoubtedly the most sophisticated and powerful radionics machine available today. The integral radionics structural link enables The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 to be permanently recharged by an unlimited source of subtle energy.
The upgraded internal componentry in synergy with the new integral structural link with the RAD 5 Radionics Machine enhances the subtle energy properties of The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 by a factor of up to x100. Incredibly, Thats one hundred times more power than the original Tesla Shield™ ! Life Technology™ can confidently assert that The Tesla Purple Energy Shield™ Hyperspace Version 1.0 is the most powerful and advanced personal transformational energy tool available anywhere today.

All this for only $279.99! It’s a bargain! But even that’s not enough woo for me. Do you think there’s anything that can go along with such woo? Of course there is. There’s the Hyperdimensional Oscillator™:

The Hyperdimensional Oscillator is based on the famed Teslascope ,the device that Nikola Tesla invented to communicate with other planets. In effect it is a transducer, capable of converting the high frequency of cosmic rays to an energy field which can interface with the human mind. We can use these energies for healing the human body, or simply allow them to guide and instruct us as Tesla did. The possibilities of The Hyperdimensional Oscillator are indeed limitless and our research has merely scratched the surface of this incredible technology. Like Tesla himself, we have been guided in our research by higher forces and channelled information which has enabled us to build the Teslascope in miniature using 21st century electronic componentry.

Yes! Now my Tesla-woo is complete, and for only $89.95 more!

If he knew of this, Nikola Tesla would be rolling over in his grave–or what’s left of him, anyway. No, it would be more than that. Spurred on by the not-so-subtle energy of this woo, his remains, even though he was cremated, would reassemble themselves sufficiently to do backflips, after which they would emerge from Tesla’s final resting place (the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade) to find the owners of Life Technology™ and teach them just what “subtle energy” really is.

After all, tendency to woo or not, reduced to ashes in an urn or not, even a dead genius of a scientist has his pride. Bad woo like this would piss him off royally, I suspect.

ADDENDUM: And they’re still selling this sort of nonsense, at least as of 2015: