The Turn Of The Century Electrotherapy Museum
(C) Jeff Behary 2011 

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Flat Spiral High Frequency Coils Used To Decipher Century Old Electrographs,
Resurrecting Old Technology To Bring New Studies to Lichtenberg Figures
Under Normal Atmospheric Conditions - Part 2
Jeff Behary, with Ultraviolet Photography (C) Dr. Daniel Cuscela, 2012

Note:  As there is little research in this area, I am rattling off as many details as I can, as honestly as I can.  Its just an attempt to help piece together "Why" these streams form.  Jeff

Hi Bert,

I think Dan can email the details of the camera.  It is a top notch camera used in forensics and such.

The broad streams that you see are really that broad - identical as to the Kinraide artifacts in the article.  They appear as the thick branch formations you see on the negatives.  Of course they are three dimensional as are your acrylic figures, and the ball terminal emits them from spots all around it - making the entire 2" copper sphere come to life. 


Here is a crude analysis, but it might be helpful in deciphering these. 

*  To create a breakout point or use a smaller sphere promotes brush discharge in place of "Phantoms".  The brush discharge overtakes the phantoms the same way as sparks - so the key is to have enough capacity to promote the streamer formations with as little brush as possible.  However, too large a sphere will result in little or no breakout of the streamers - and forces more power and voltage to be used, and this tends to promote spark formation instead of streamers.


* The filamentary discharges that you mention are the traditional "Phantom Streams" from Tesla's lectures.  They look identical to the drawing in the TC Martin book.  If the copper ball was someone's head being charged with static, their hair standing on end in all directions would be the phantoms :) !


*  The filaments change in shape and size as you increase or decrease the power while adjusting the spark gap in small increments.  1V on the variac and .001" on the spark gap often is enough.  There is no rhyme or reason currently as to why - in fact, when you see beautiful fine grain phantoms in perfect straight lines radiating from the sphere, a slight opening or closing of the gap is all that's needed to make them transform themselves into branch formations.  The initial formations are thin - with an apparent thickness of .10" or less.  The branches forming though are abundant, having many "stems and branches" and off-shoots, again like the Kinraide negatives. 


* Once you have the thin branches, a further manipulation of the gap will make the streams broader and broader.  With a gap adjustable in .001" increments you can get branch formations from 5/16" -  3/8" in diameter.  With a micrometer gap in even smaller than .001" increments (.00031 or .00029 or .00045, just examples, the real numbers are for now only references and have no significiance on the ability to do my example, I am using hole patterns on the dividing head disk that are easy to do with my rotary table.  It would be logical using a 40 pitch machine screw to do 25 and 250 holes (for .001" and .0001" increments) - but dividing 25 or 250 segments by degrees/minutes/seconds is easier said than done...which explains the odd 1/14400th of an inch that one gap uses with 360 holes (1 degree apart, easy to do!)


*  Thin streams can normally be transformed to thicker ones by decreasing the input power (lower the variac voltage) or by decreasing the current.  The later is harder, it can be done with a standard lamp dimmer by chopping up the variac output to pulses, but the variac on its own seems do as good as anything - so, if you see filaments, manipulate the gap till you see branches.   Alternatively I have wired a variac as simply a variable reactance coil and put one end and the wiper in series with the high voltage transformer.  It works great on potential xfmrs and sucks for neons.   But, for ease,  I'm now using a 7500V 30mA neon that functions well with as little as 15 or 20VAC.  That's perfect!  Then reduce the voltage slightly to decrease the power and the sparks are sure to grow thicker.  Even 1/2" or more with less than 30W of input power.

The spark gap alone can be used to do this, but its amazing how a slight movement of both the variac and the gap seem to "bring them out".


* An Oscilloscope Tube used for X-Ray polarity can be held perpendicular to the streams to see where they hit the glass.  Of course the diameter of the streams hitting a solid object is larger than the streams (in the same way water or air hitting a solid object spreads out on the surface) but not by much - perhaps 25% the diameter of the visible streams.


*  An 8mA NST works well to study these.  3500V 8mA or 5kV 8mA dry type.  With this only a precision gap is needed, but more variations can be seen with the above.  With the 8mA NST run normally, the streams reach about 1/4" in thickness at best - but are highly branched and abundant.


* Large Oudin / Tesla Cylindrical Coils wound with a 2:1 ratio and heavy wire (16 AWG+) can produce the filamentary discharge but to a lesser extent.  The gap manipulation will yield some thin branches, but the results are disappointing compared to the simple Pancake Coil of around 200 turns. 


* Why Pancakes work best is a real odd thing.  If magnetic fields were involved, then raising the ball far above the coil should prevent the stream formation.  It doesn't.  I have large magnets and tried various fields to effect them and have yet to do anything but shock myself from streams and give myself a near hernia moving heavy magnets.


*  The sounds of the spark gap with small manipulations change drastically.  Hours of experiments leave one with the feeling they listened to Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music 8-tracks over and over.  

Forgive this explanation, I'm no EE as you know, but it appears a certain "synchronism" might occur at various gap levels.  As analysis of spark gap sounds isn't a common topic, if it were we might have some insight. 

Kinraide patented an unusual object "percussion plate" that he attached to the coil he used for these effects.  I am building one now.  It was a plate introduced to the gap a distance back from one gap surface that stabilized the action of the gap with AC.  Sort of like a point-plane rectifier, but he claimed that the system ran much better with it than without.   We'll see...??


* With the spark gap opened to the point it sputters some of the best effects can be seen.


* Humidity and temperature changes the appearance of the streams and behaviours to some extent.  If the temperature drops 4 or 5 degrees its like making a minor adjustment to the spark gap.


* Sometimes, the ball terminal does not produce the streams at all during the spark gap adjustment.  It goes from being bombarded with streams to nothing.  At that point, if you click the gap one way or another it lights up like fireworks again.

Why are there dead zones?  Pedersen said that the rate of change of the electrical circuit must be high or the streams don't appear.  Perhaps some "synchronism" occurs at certain gap levels that prevents the streams from forming all together, just as there are points where the sparks jump to 1/2" thick...? 


* The exposures were made with 1000, 2500, and 3200 ISOs, from 4 - 30 seconds in the photos of the great halos around the sphere.  This was done to convince everyone of the activity level I've been witnessing.  The real gem though is the 400 speed photo with about a 4 second exposure that shows the thick branches.  We need to photograph them at various settings now to see if we can get really clear thick branches. 


*  This first round of photos were done casually as a first attempt.  Successful, I think, and I had to get the point across that the UV camera did the trick!! 


**  The long exposures of these streams are most different from normal Tesla photography.  Since the spark gap was often firing intermittently, once a second, or even once every second and a half, the long exposures were capturing 1 or 2 or 3 oscillations only.


***  The best results may be from low ISOs for clarity, 100, 200, 400, 600 - and exposures 4 seconds or so.  This lets the ball discharge at its own speed once or twice and we know we have something.  Anyone who has tried to photograph real lightning or the spark from a leyden jar knows how hard it is to click the camera at the instant the spark occurs.  With these streams, there is constant activity, but constantly moving and branching in 3D.  By opening the gap till it sputters, this movement slows down to a pace that be studied in detail by the naked eye.  With photography, I think it will be the key to the success for further photos to use this to an advantage.


****  Any advice, assistance, etc. would be greatly appreciated.  Dan is seeing phantom streams for the first time up close, and I have for years and can create them time and time again, with no concept whatsoever of what in hell it is I am actually witnessing from a scientific point of view.  I just know it's too interesting to stop pursuing until we have answers.  Several hundred Pancake coils later and years of rambling needs to come to some conclusion or else I'll be locked up as a loony :) !


*****  Everything I've said is as true and accurate as I can think to put it.  I am fortunate enough to have a reputation, good or bad, and am not seeking attention with rumours of strange sparks in the sense that a million other wackos in the Tesla fringe community might do.  I'm actively seeking real answers to a topic I think is genuinely interesting and unexplored.  In that sense, I invite anyone and everyone to see them for themselves.  My door is always open!!!


****** On a positive note, I am exposing the Keely Motor fraud on national TV this month for the Travel Channel.  Millions of free energy loonies around the world will hate me forever for shattering their dreams of Sympathetic Vibrations!  Success!!!!!

Yes, as every sentence leads to Kinraide, he left me the answer.  Should be fun, though a bit sad too as Keely was a fraud you can't help but at least smile over.  He puts the modern ones to shame!




-----Original Message-----

From: Bert Hickman []

Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:27 PM

To: Jeff Behary

Cc: Finn Hammer; Frank or Shari; Dan Cuscela; Zahi Hakim; Alastair Wright

Subject: Re: Ultraviolet Photographs of Tesla Streamers


Hi Jeff,


Sorry for the delay in responding. I've been "under the weather" for a few days and am now trying to catch up on my email backlog.


The UV camera results are beautiful and fascinating! Can you provide more information about the UV camera that was used? Are there perhaps some 3D/focus effects that might be defocusing and broadening some of the closer streamers? What exposure times were used? At standard pressure, air streamers are thin and filamentary - like the discharges near the electrode. The fainter, broader discharges are simply amazing!

I'm still pondering what they mean...


Best wishes,



(C) Jeff Behary , 2012
(C) Daniel Cuscela, 2012