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Did Nikola Tesla Smoke Weed?

Nikola Tesla was an engineer and physicist remembered as one of the most mysterious and controversial scientists in history. Before Tesla made several scientific breakthroughs to become the scientist he’s remembered as today, he studied math and physics at the Technical University of Graz and philosophy at the University of Prague. Tesla then moved to Paris where he got a job repairing direct current power plants with the Continental Edison Company. Two years later, Tesla moved to New York where he was hired as an engineer at Thomas Edison’s Manhattan headquarters. For a year, Tesla worked with Edison himself, who told Tesla he would pay $50,000 for an improved design to his direct current dynamos. After experimenting for months, Tesla presented Edison with a solution, but when Edison didn’t pay him for his work, Tesla quit to start his own company. Soon after, George Westinghouse hired Tesla, licensed the patents for his AC motor, and gave Tesla his own lab. All of this was destroyed in 1895 when Tesla’s lab burned down, so two years later Tesla returned to work, building a global communications network centered on a giant tower at Wardenclyffe. Tesla lived his last years in New York, where he worked on new inventions as his mental health faded.

When Tesla was 7-years-old, he reported seeing visions, possibly caused from the shock of losing his brother, but they were in fact the first signs of his lifelong mental illness. Tesla’s fading mental state might have been mistaken as ideas or thoughts created while under the influence of marijuana, especially considering that Tesla worked under Thomas Edison. Edison was known for consuming “Vin Mariani”, a Bordeaux wine treated with coca leaves, which he apparently consumed while inventing. This wasn’t the case for Tesla, because his mental illness eventually prevented him from furthering his career, though many dismissed this odd behavior as the eccentricities of genius.


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