“The world’s most fantastic, yet tender and pathetic love affair.”
February 28, 2015 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Wings of Desire. "[There] stood the imposing figure of Tesla, wearing a crown of two pigeons on his head, his shoulders and arms festooned with a dozen more, their white or pale-blue bodies making strong contrast with his black suit and black hair, even in the dusk. On either of his outstretched hands was another bird, while seemingly hundreds more made a living carpet on the ground in front of him, hopping about and pecking at the bird seed he had been scattering. It was Behrend’s [the scout’s] impulse to rush in, shoo the birds away and, seizing the missing man, rush him back to the auditorium. Something caused him to halt. Such an abrupt action seemed almost sacrilegious. …" [Via]
posted by homunculus (12 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of stories about Tesla but this must be the most amazing:
“As I looked at her I knew she wanted to tell me—she was dying. And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes—powerful beams of light.

“Yes,” he continued, again answering an unasked question, “it was a real light, a powerful, dazzling, blinding light, a light more intense than I had ever produced by the most powerful lamps in my laboratory.

“When that pigeon died, something went out of my life. Up to that time I knew with a certainty that I would complete my work, no matter how ambitious my program, but when that something went out of my life I knew my life’s work was finished.”
posted by CCBC at 2:27 PM on February 28, 2015

Wow, that was really neat. I'm very much reminded of Walter Benjamin's radio pieces that often worked in the same way: briefly relating historical anecdotes very straightforwardly for a popular audience, but obliquely communicating some current theoretical/philosophical issue (in this case, critical animal studies, which seems to be one of the author's specialties).
posted by Monsieur Caution at 2:28 PM on February 28, 2015

Tesla was part Einstein, part Edison, part Andy Kaufman. Every story ever told about him including those not yet invented, are true.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:59 PM on February 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

Tesla was fond of Schuman's piano piece, The Prophet Bird, and was known to correct some who played it, by demonstration.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:13 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

What a charming, adorable, and pathetic-in-the-truest-sense-of-the-word story. Tesla/Pigeon OTP!
posted by katya.lysander at 4:23 PM on February 28, 2015


Wow I'm glad I read the article before I saw your spoiler.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:12 PM on February 28, 2015

their white or pale-blue bodies

Oh, here we go again.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:52 PM on February 28, 2015 [7 favorites]

Tesla is my favorite mad scientist.
posted by adept256 at 10:34 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Myth #10) The FBI has Nikola Tesla’s plans for a “death ray”!

-The FBI
posted by clavdivs at 11:26 PM on February 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Health advice from Nikola Tesla.

Tesla versus Einstein.

(From some of my own links on Tesla)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:00 AM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh, and by the way, Tesla insisted that this special bird was a dove, not a pigeon.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:58 AM on March 2, 2015

What a beautiful story!
posted by Drexen at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2015

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