Tesla Recevied Signals from Martians, whose moons Swift knew

I am as big a fan of ‘secret histories’ and Fortean mysteries as the next Sci-Fi guy, so it surprises me that I never heard of this little news tidbit before: Nikolai Tesla, the famous electrical genius who once worked with Thomas Edison, reported that he had received intelligent signals from outer space, perhaps from Mars.

Since I had never heard of this before, I have also never heard of any sequel. Were these radio signals eventually discovered to have a natural explanation?

Here is a quote from Collier’s Weekly, February 19, 1901, page 4-5:

….One of the immediate consequences will be the transmission of messages without wires, over sea or land, to an immense distance…..Owing to some interference of the oscillations, veritable balls of fire are apt to leap out to a great distance, and if any one were within or near their paths, he would be instantly destroyed. A machine such as I have used could easily kill, in an instant, three hundred thousand persons. I observed that the strain upon my assistants was telling, and some of them could not endure the extreme tension of the nerves…….One of the most interesting results, and also one of great practical importance, was the development of certain contrivances for indicating at a distance of many hundred miles an approaching storm, its direction, speed and distance travelled. …
It was in carrying on this work that for the first time I discovered those mysterious effects which have elicited such unusual interest. I had perfected the apparatus referred to so far that from my laboratory in the Colorado mountains I could feel the pulse of the globe, as it were, noting every electrical change that occurred within a radius of eleven hundred miles.


I can never forget the first sensations I experienced when it dawned upon me that I had observed something possibly of incalculable consequences to mankind. I felt as though I were present at the birth of a new knowledge or the revelation of a great truth. Even now, at times, I can vividly recall the incident, and see my apparatus as though it were actually before me. My first observations positively terrified me, as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night; but at that time the idea of these disturbances being intelligently controlled signals did not yet present itself to me.
The changes I noted were taking place periodically, and with such a clear suggestion of number and order that they were not traceable to any cause then known to me. I was familiar, of course, with such electrical disturbances as are produced by the sun, Aurora Borealis and earth currents, and I was as sure as I could be of any fact that these variations were due to none of these causes. The nature of my experiments precluded the possibility of the changes being produced by atmospheric disturbances, as has been rashly asserted by some. It was some time afterward when the thought flashed upon my mind that the disturbances I had observed might be due to an intelligent control. Although I could not decipher their meaning, it was impossible for me to think of them as having been entirely accidental. The feeling is constantly growing on me that I had been the first to hear the greeting of one planet to another. A purpose was behind these electrical signals; and it was with this conviction that I announced to the Red Cross Society, when it asked me to indicate one of the great possible achievements of the next hundred years, that it would probably be the confirmation and interpretation of this planetary challenge to us.
Since my return to New York more urgent work has consumed all my attention; but I have never ceased to think of those experiences and of the observations made in Colorado. I am constantly endeavoring to improve and perfect my apparatus, and just as soon as practicable I shall again take up the thread of my investigations at the point where I have been forced to lay it down for a time.
In other news, Swift in GULLIVER’S TRAVELS announces that the Laputans, masters of the flying island, have discovered the moons of mars:

"They have likewise discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve around Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the center of the primary exactly three of his diameters, and the outermost five: the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half…"

Inner moon Swift Radius = 3 Mars diameters
Inner moon actual radius =1.38
Outer moon Swift radius = 5
Outer moon actual radius = 3.46
Inner moon Swift revolution=10 hrs
Inner moon actual revolution=7.7 hrs
Outer moon Swift revolution=21.5 hrs
Outer moon actual revolution=30.3 hrs

This is 150 years before they were discovered by Asaph Hall. It is particularly interesting why Swift should have placed the inner moon so close to the planet, with such an unusually fast period of revolution. The statesticians among you can work out Swift’s accuracy.

A more recent example of satellite "prescience" is Arthur C. Clarke’s description of a solitary moon of Pluto in Rendezvous With Rama, made in advance of the discovery of Charon.

I am confident that Tim Powers could turn this material into a splendid book, explaining why the still-hidden secret societies of Egyptian Alchemists and Osirus worshipers have maintained contact with the Fungi from Yuggoth first established via the etheric properties of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. He could call it DECLARE PART 2 — DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO DECLARE?

Speaking of Pluto, here are Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Pluto, which, by the way, is still a planet, no matter what the Astronomers says. (I knew item 7, 6, and 5, but did not know about 1 or 3.