Fasten your seat belt for a trip beyond the reach of known science,
with the latest series of Astra New Science shows during October.
The talks span a range of scientific respectability: out on a limb with
anti-gravity before dropping off the twig with prophecies and predictions, then
back to the more familiar ground of homeopathy and chaos theory.
When we accept the laws of physics and chemistry, we forget that for early
scientists like Newton, Kepler and Boyle, science was mystical and
numerological, not only objective and mathematical, and it is the first part
which seems to excite Astra.
Talk organiser Duncan Roads, of the new-age magazine Nexus, "started by
hearing of people who'd seen craft flying about, with anti-gravity capability.
Good people that I respect have told me about some amazing encounters, and I
believe them ... or I've kept an open mind about it."
The hero who typifies the Astra approach and underlies many of the talks
is scientist Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, whose name was given to the measurement of
He caused an entire New York neighbourhood to shake while testing
electromagnetic resonance. And man-made lightning at his Colorado Springs
laboratory ionised the atmosphere so that butterflies flew in confused circles
with a blue glow covering their wings. He was treated with awe by his neighbours
and with respect by the press.
Astra believes much of Tesla's work has been suppressed. Roads claims that
J.P. Morgan withdrew sponsorship at a crucial time when he realised Tesla's
later inventions threatened mining and industrial interests.
"It's one of the most chilling tales of suppression," Roads said. The most
interesting work to me was in magnetism and the military applications of death
rays and force fields. "He also claimed to be able to send and receive messages
from people living in other galaxies."
Tesla was a genius who claimed he could imagine a motor, mentally build it
from scratch, run it, and come back later to inspect it for wear.
He conceived the fundamentals of AC power generation in a flash of insight
in 1882. But it was only six years later, after working for Thomas Edison in
America, that he found backers for his own laboratory.
The mental modelling paid off when the real machines worked perfectly the
first time. In 1888 he was granted patents for generators, transformers and
motors - making up the entire system of polyphase AC power.
In one stroke he laid the foundations of our technological culture with
patents so complete that there have been no basic changes since.
By 1894 he had imagined a new system of power generation using the
electrical field of the Earth itself - literally wire-less power.
But he never again had enough backers to build prototypes. Without these,
he could not patent his inventions. Without patent protection, he would not
reveal details of his ideas. He kept only the barest of notes.
After Tesla's death in 1943, his letters and papers were seized by the US
Custodian of Alien Property, possibly looking for details of a "death
ray"device, which Tesla had announced a few years earlier.
His ideas continue to excite scientists. In 1976, for example, a huge
Tesla coil was built in Utah. This high-frequency current transformer produces
ball lightning which has properties of great interest to researchers into fusion
Tesla's confiscated papers are claimed to be at the heart of the
1943"Philadelphia experiments". This involved a US Navy ship translocated from
Philadelphia to Newport News, Virginia, while attempting to achieve
Some believe the US is in possession of technologies which would allow
teleportation and anti-gravity to be easily achieved.
From his ideas of using the Earth to transmit electrical power come
reports of top-secret Tesla magnifying transmitters. These include a Russian
version blamed for the 1977 New York power blackout and a smaller machine tuned
to alpha brainwaves producing pain, nausea or euphoria at the flick of a button.
The death ray is a hardy perennial.
Suppressed science is big on Astra's agenda. With large amounts of science
conducted in secret, Astra is on fertile ground. "On commercial and military
interests alone, most of the world's greatest inventions have been put
"I feel they've even been used to control the population - like the
subliminal ads run by the CIA on New Zealand TV. Even if you slow tape the
transmissions on the times and dates the programs went out, you still don't find
the ads, because the tape recorder is playing at different speeds to the
The real problem comes when Astra challenges basic science but rejects the
most powerful role in scientific investigation - that of the sceptic.
"I think sceptics are dangerous," says Roads. "They approach every topic
with the view that that can't possibly work and only look for information to
So when Astra speaker Norm Dodge told me about a cell isolator he is
developing to protect individuals by absorbing dangerous electromagnetic
radiation, I kept an open mind. Even though he couldn't say how it works.
Then I called my old mate, Fred Green, a physicist. Just an ordinary,
everyday, man-in-the-street PhD, Fred is not given to scribbling theorems on
He says an electromagnetic shield already exists. Called a Faraday cage,
it was invented more than 100 years ago, when it was found that only a
wrap-around cover of metal will keep out electromagnetic radiation.
Real science is a tough world - the hopeful who yells "eureka" is more
likely to hear raspberries than Hosannas from peers. Disputes can drag on for
centuries in a kind of trench warfare.
Says Green: "Scientists are, by and large, bloody-minded individuals. To
talk about suppressed inventions on the scale proposed by Astra would involve a
lot of people. The major change to fundamental theory they're talking about is
Nobel Prize-winning stuff. The rate at which scientists swipe each other's ideas
and fight for priority in any piece of breakthrough research guarantees they
couldn't keep their mouths shut."
Astra's New Science shows are Sat Oct 6: Norm Dodge on Electronic
Pollution and Ted Roach on Anti-Gravity through Relativity. Sat Oct 20: Paul
Callinan on Radionics, Homeopathy and Voodoo and Michael Breakspear on Chaos
Theory and Viruses. Sat Oct 27: Rex Gilroy on Australia's Unexplained Mysteries
and Edmund Harold on Prophecy and Predictions. They're at the West Ryde Masonic
Hall (opposite the railway station) from 1.30pm and cost $10.