Friday, July 4, 2014

The Mysterious 1942 Death of Dr. Foster and Tesla's Healing Rays

by Nomad

Unearthed from the archives here is the curious death of Dr. Foster, a young and promising Manhattan physician. Was his sudden breakdown and mysterious death in 1942 linked to the suppression of a revolutionary medical discovery by Nikola Tesla.

Some might consider one of my hobbies to be a little eccentric. I like to go through the old newspapers and find odd news or snapshots of long-forgotten drama. To me, it's fascinating how often you find little treasures or peculiar mysteries that have long been buried in the past.
While the following post is not technically a "political" issue, I thought it was interesting enough to pass along. I will admit that there is a great deal of speculation involved and possibly there are no connections to the events in the post.

The Foster Mystery

With that said, hop into my time machine and we will return to January 1942 to investigate the death of a young Manhattan doctor.

Dr. Allyn King Foster Death
Doctor's Mystery Death 
Opens 3 Investigations
Son of Late Boro Pastor Had Fractured Larynx, Autopsy at Bellevue Reveals

( January 19, 1942) 
A triple investigation was under way today into the death at Bellevue Hospital, Manhattan, of Dr. Allyn King Foster, Jr. 37 of E. 96th St. Manhattan, son of the late Rev. Dr. Allyn King Foster, pastor of the Washington Avenue and Marcy Avenue Baptist Churches.

The doctor was taken to Bellevue last Monday after a policeman had found him without hat or overcoat in a dazed condition at W. 56th St. and 6th Ave. Manhattan. His office was at 136 E. 57th St. Manhattan. He was placed in the psychiatric division. It was said that because he was uncooperative" forcible feeding had to be resorted to several times. He died Saturday evening while a friend of his family was arranging his transfer to another hospital.

Wife Asks Autopsy
Dr. Foster's wife, Elsa, requested an autopsy. As a result of the findings by Assistant Medical Examiner Philip Goldstein, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner ordered an examination. Assistant District Attorney Jacob Grumet of the Homicide Bureau of the New York County prosecutor's office, started an inquiry. 
A third was begun by police of W. 54th St. Station, the precinct in which he was found., and by the police of the E. 35th st. Station, the Bellevue precinct, because of the possibility of his having been injured in the hospital. 

Larynx Fractured
It was stated that Dr. Foster was found to have a fractured larynx, foreign matter in his bronchial tubes, and evidence of asphyxiation. Police said a fractured larynx was frequently an indication of a mugging- a holdup in which one bandit, standing behind the victim, throws an arm around his throat, choking him and forcing his head back while a second goes through his pockets.

Born in Cornwall, N.Y., Dr. Foster  was educated at Brooklyn Poly Prep. Colgate University, Rush Medical School of the University of Chicago and interned at St. Luke's Hospital. He was a junior assistant surgeon in his outpatient department, assistant surgeon at Broad Street Hospital and clinical assistant surgeon in the outpatient department of Laying -in- Hospital.

This tragic story echoes another unsolved mystery: the 2010 death of Jack Wheeler

So to sum up, a young Brooklyn doctor is found on the streets of Manhattan, wandering lost and incoherent. It's a little unusual that alcohol or drugs are not mentioned. At least it was not reported. Added to that, no injuries were reported at the time. Prior to that moment, there had been no sign of mental issues according to his widow. Police pick him up and he is placed under observation at a mental facility.
There, five days later, he is found dead. 

While the cause of his death suggests either hanging or strangulation of some sort, that possibility is never expressed in the newspaper item. Additionally, (and rather, surprisingly) the possibility of suicide is not mentioned, suggesting that it was obvious that he did not hang himself.

Another newspaper, The New York Post, gives us a bit more information, Here are some excerpts with comments in parentheses:

Surgeon's Death Mystery
Death Dr. Allyn King Foster, Jr.Autopsy Hints Injuries in Bellevue

(January 19 1942) 
In the opinion of the autopsy surgeon, the death of Dr. Allyn King Foster, Jr., 37, last Saturday in the psychopathic ward of Bellevue Hospital, occurred within "a matter of minutes" after he had received the injuries responsible.

(Thus, the earlier "mugging" suggestion is a red herring since Foster had been in the hospital a full five days. This is supported by another account stating that the investigator had conclusively proved that Foster had not sustained injuries prior to his arrival at Bellevue.)

Prior to the release of the autopsy report, some authorities had expressed the belief that when he entered the hospital a week ago, Dr. Foster had not sustained the injuries responsible for his death, five days later.

(So clearly the cause of Foster's death had to have happened in hospital.)

Nevertheless, Asst District Atty, Grumet pointed out the injuries still might have been accidentally inflicted.

(Presumably by staff or another patient. The head of the psychiatric division could only confirm that Foster had been force-fed.)

Dr. Carter N. Colbert, acting director of the psychiatric division of the hospital, disclosed that Dr. Foster had been forcibly fed within an hour of his death. Dr. Colbert also said Dr. Foster's voice had been reported markedly hoarse some 24 hours before his death.

(One symptom of a fractured larynx symptoms is a hoarse voice. They may be shortness of breath or coughing up frothy blood. Other symptoms include a swelling at the front of the throat where the cartilage has been disrupted. However, none of those other symptoms were reported. In any event, Dr. Colbert's report of a hoarseness a day before doesn't make much sense, according to the timeline.)

Asked if Dr. Foster had been forcibly fed while in the psychiatric ward, Grumet replied: "I can only say that he had been fed through a tube."

(Implying that the feeding could not have caused the crushing of the larynx. Or does it?)

He also asked if the doctor had been forcibly bathed. A leather cover is used in such cases, but, Grumet said, that this cover could not have caused the injuries.

What is fascinating in the case is what is not discovered. Everything seems to have been ruled out except for the obvious: murder. Yet there is no mention of murder, even by the Assistant District Attorney in charge of homicide.

But at this point, the story takes its most peculiar twist. A couple of weeks later, Foster's widow made a stunning suggestion.

The Death Ray Allegation

Death Ray Newspaper ClippingFears Death Ray Work
Drove Surgeon Insane

Widow of Dr. Foster Reveals He Visited
 Russian Scientist on Day of Breakdown
 (Brooklyn Eagle  Feb 2, 1942)

Dr. Allyn King Foster's experiments with a death ray may have caused him to go mad, according to his widow, Mrs. Margie Foster.
The surgeon, son of the late Rev. Dr. Allyn King Foster, Brooklyn minister, was picked up three weeks ago, hatless, coatless and incoherent, and removed to Bellevue Hospital.He died there five days later and the medical examiner's report said the cause of death was a crushed larynx.

Mrs. Foster who said today she intended to persist until the mystery of her husband's death was solved, revealed that Dr. Foster had constantly experimented with new ideas, among them various electrical inventions.

She said her husband had a brilliant and orderly mind. She could not believe that he could have gone insane without some provocation. 

According to Mrs. Foster, her husband, on the day he was taken to Bellevue, had a 4 o'clock appointment with Prof. George Lakhovsky, a Russian scientist who had invented the electrical shortwave machine for the treatment of various diseases. Mr. Lakhovsky reported that Dr. Foster did call there, but that he had no appointment and seemed irrational. Dr. Foster stayed only a few minutes. Assistant District Attorney Jacob Grumet said that the Foster case was not closed and that an investigation into the causes of his death was continuing. He would not comment on Mrs. Foster's theory. 

Say what..a death ray?
Besides that, there is the news that when Foster arrived at Lakhovsky's office, he seemed "irrational." What exactly Foster said to Lakhovsky is likely to be found in the police report. The newspaper article, unfortunately, provides no further information on the meeting. 
*   *   *   *
As far as I could determine, there is no further information about the death of Dr. Foster. The homicide case to this day remains an unsolved.
But there are even more surprises when we look a little more closely.

Not only did Foster die under somewhat mysterious circumstances, but, in August of that same year in August,  Dr. Georges Lakhovsky, (with whom Foster had his meeting on the day of his breakdown) died in a traffic accident while crossing the street. 

The term used to describe Lakhovsky's death by modern investigators is "mysterious." But what made it mysterious? apart from the fact that there is no mention of the accident in the newspaper. (Two critical pages appear to be lost from the archive but that's my paranoia, I suspect.)  There is only his obituary.

Admittedly, he was 73 years old, so crossing a Manhattan street was perhaps a calculated risk. In the newspaper items are anything to go by, traffic deaths involving pedestrian were more common in that time.

Other unconfirmed reports do lend a slightly sinister air. We hear that the Russian was struck by a limo and "knocked high in the air." According to another report, three men from the car hustled Lakhovsky to a hospital, despite his protests. From there, he never returned alive. He died a few days later at Adelphi Hospital in Brooklyn August 31, 1942.  

 Dr. Georges Lakhovsky

The Labors of Lakhovsky

One aspect that must be considered in this mystery is the nature of Lakhovsky's work. (Whether it is connected to Foster's death is another matter.)

The widow's remark about a death ray was actually far off the mark. Lakhovsky's research was in no way related to a so-called death ray at all. In fact, if anything, Lakhovsky's main research was related to a life ray.
According to Wikipedia,
Georges Lakhovsky published books and articles that claimed and attempted to demonstrate that living cells emit and receive electromagnetic radiations at their own high frequencies.
...In 1925 Lakhovsky wrote a Radio News Magazine article entitled "Curing Cancer With Ultra Radio Frequencies." In 1929 while in France he was the author of a book "The Secret of Life: Electricity, Radiation and Your Body" (French) in which he claimed and attempted to demonstrate that good or bad health was determined by the relative health of these cellular oscillations, and bacteria, cancers, and other pathogens corrupted them, causing interference with these oscillations.
His vibratory theory was, to say the least, unorthodox. Yet the Russian immigrant was one of a handful of electrical engineers who conducted groundbreaking research in Paris in the 1920s.

One source (in French) describes the scientific breakthrough attributed to Lakhovsky.  His book, Cellular Oscillation, was published in 1931, and it attempted to bring together all of the experimental research being conducted in Europe since 1924. The book also highlights untreatable cases of cancer in which "no surgical or medical intervention was possible" that were easily cured by Lakhovsky method and its equipment.
Hundreds of testimonies made ​​by former patients, observations of French and foreign doctors converge on the effectiveness of therapy implemented by Lakhovsky. Treatment oscillating circuits could cure almost all ulcers, tumor, edema, pain, fatigue, asthma, rheumatism, anemia, neuralgia, tonsillitis, lymphangitis, hemophilia, leprosy, syphilis, infertility, impotence, cancer, etc..
Lakhovsky never claimed 100% effectiveness but, compared to the standard treatments of the day, it was clearly less invasive and more successful.
His 1935 book, The Secret of Life, with more evidence to support him, he stated that he had achieved a 98% success rate in treating fatal cancers over an 11-year period. 

(For a more detailed explanation of his theories, you can go to this link.)

Years later, Dr. Robert Becker and Gary Selden in 1985 took another look at Lakhovsky's theories in their book, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. Becker and Selden seemed to confirm much of what Lakhovsky had claimed.

Rays of Death and Life

So the widow's mention of a "death ray" seems peculiar, but it does ring some bells. At that time, there was one particular man who was also talking about building a death ray machine. That man was the remarkable inventor and fellow emigre turned New Yorker, Nikola Tesla

In fact, in 1940, Tesla had publicly announced in the item in the New York Times, that he was ready to  "divulge to the United States government the secret of his "teleforce," of which he said," airplane motors would be melted at a distance of 250 miles, so that an invisible 'Chinese Wall of Defense' would be built around the country against any enemy attack by an enemy air force, no matter how large."

By that time in his career, Tesla had gained the reputation as something of a "kook" and was often portrayed as an archetypal "mad scientist." While Tesla admittedly had some eccentric behavior patterns, given Tesla's  proven genius, it would have been foolish to dismiss his claims entirely.

Pure showmanship, critics would say. It was just another example of the legend (and myth) of Tesla. (As we shall see, declassified FBI files show that Tesla's death ray claims were taken very seriously by some important people.)

But, as his non-scientific writings show, Tesla was a humanitarian. Whether it could have been constructed or not, the Death ray apparatus was above all a defensive weapon.

In terms of medicine, it is a well-established fact that Tesla was also interested in the healing powers of electromagnetic waves. Forty years before, or on November 17, 1898, Tesla wrote an article on the subject in The Electrical Engineer. In the article, “High-Frequency Oscillators for Electrotherapeutic and Other Purposes,”  he discussed the possibility of using electrical frequencies as a form of therapy.

Multiple Wave Oscillator  Invention

So was there a direct connection between Lahovsky and Tesla?
Indeed there was.
The Multiple Wave Oscillator (MWO) was invented by Georges Lakhovsky apparently with the assistance of Tesla. 

Tesla had, according to some reports, traveled to Lakhovsky's labs- then in Paris- to work out some of the technical kinks. There was probably no greater authority on the subject of radio technology alive at that time. Some have even gone so far as to suggest the MWO device was actually a Tesla creation.

For some scientists, the whole subject of electromagnetic healing is easy to write off as quack science. There was an awful lot of quackery going on at the time. Others are less skeptical. The use of electromagnetism for healing was based on sound- though not universally accepted- theories. (Even today the use of electromagnetism as a form of medical therapy is still being investigated.)

Royal Rife

Another example demonstrates the kind of resistance from the medical community a scientist could encounter.

American inventor Royal Raymond Rife had reported back in the early 1930s, that he had devised a "beam ray" that could weaken or destroy pathogens, including bacteria and virus infections.
These pathogens were destroyed "by energetically exciting destructive resonances in their constituent chemicals." Furthermore, Cancer and most other diseases could be cured simply by resetting the body's natural electromagnetic vibration.

In 1938, one San Diego newspaper item reported Rife's research:
Discovery that disease organisms, including one occurring in dread cancer, can be killed by bombarding them with radio waves tuned to a particular length for each kind of organism was claimed today by a San Diego Scientist Royal Raymond Rife, Pt. Loma. He added that he had isolated this cancer organism but is not positive yet that it is the direct cause of the disease. The discovery promised fulfillment of man's age-old hope for a specific destroyer of all his infectious diseases, although rife avoided any claim that he had established this yet.
Incidentally, The Royal Rife Website keeps an extensive collection of materials, including letters, patents, photos and supporting research. It's worth a look. )

In the end, the claims of the discoverers have to be weighed by the establishment view, which considered the claims highly suspect and in some cases, simply fraudulent and dangerous. Patients, they charged, were being hoodwinked, not merely out of their money, but out of standard treatment.
That view continues to this day.

Rife's work was revived in the 1980s as a result of a book by author Barry Lynes. Here is a review of that book. The book claimed that Rife's inventions had effectively been erased from history as a result of "a wide-ranging conspiracy headed by the American Medical Association." 

According to Lynes website, Rife's research was not at all quack science:
These were documented extensively and verified by clinical trials and authenticated by respected researchers, well-known scientists, and leading physicians from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Northwestern University outside Chicago, the University of Southern California Medical School, the Hooper Foundation for Medical Research in San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, leading cancer authorities at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and various other medical institutions.
That's a pretty hefty lineup for what the medical establishment considered a fraud.

Despite that, attempts were made to suppress the theories and the evidence of success.  Physician physicians who attempted to make use of Rife's devices were often intimidated by the authorities.
Physicians who defied this official stance and continued to use the Frequency Instrument had their licenses to practice medicine revoked.

What Rife saw, as did the other microbiologists who later used his instruments, was astounding. and shook the established theories to their roots. The medical community at large, however, did its best to suppress the work or Rife and his co-workers and to harass them personally.
And that was the eventual stand by the medical community. In an exhaustive study, the American Cancer Society reported that it has found no evidence of objective benefits from these devices in the treatment of cancer in human beings. Sadly too, Rife's work has often appropriated by health fraudsters promoting a cure-all device and this has discredited much of his research. 

Nevertheless, the suggestion of an organized attempt to close down a perfectly valid avenue of medical treatment is suggestive of a conspiracy. The reasoning goes that the medical establishment and the pharma industry could stand to lose billions of dollars if such a device were widely available.
Some conspiracists strongly believe this,  but I will leave it for you to make up your own mind.

The Kobak Connection

Rife was, as we have seen, certainly not alone in his research in this field. Throughout the 1930s, large numbers of scientists and doctors conducted experiments applying the principles. Soon, however, the winds of war swept over Europe.

As France fell to the Nazis, Lakhovsky was forced to leave his Paris labs as the Germans prepared to invade the city. (Apparently, he had made his anti-Nazi sentiments too public.) Through a circuitous route through North Africa, he arrived in the US in 1940.

Upon his arrival,  Lakhovsky was welcomed in New York by the well-respected Dr. Disraeli Kobak, formerly a professor of rehabilitative physical therapy at Rush Medical college in Chicago.
(Incidentally, this provides a link back to Dr. Foster who had also attended Rush Medical in the class of  1926. At that year, Kobak is listed as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine -Physiotherapy.
As we shall see, at that time, Kobak was working with Lakhovsky's son, Serge in Chicago. Whether Dr. Foster, Serge Lakhovsky or Dr. Kobak worked together or even met is unknown. 
Almost immediately, Lakhovsky was approached by several hospitals in New York hoping to test his apparatus experimentally. One reason for this enthusiastic reception was that Lakhovsky already had established clinics across Europe, which utilized his electromagnetic therapy oscillatory, or “vibrational” therapy. In the summer of 1941, The Russian, if the reports are accurate, produced remarkable results from "a seven-week clinical trial performed at a major New York City hospital."
(Sadly which hospital is not mentioned so if there was a Foster connection here, it is impossible to be sure.)

In spite of this success, immediately following Lakhovsky's death, these trials were quickly concluded without explanation, the treatment was discontinued and the apparatus stored away.

Dr. Kobak who would go on to treat several thousand patients suffering from various diseases using the Multiple Wave Oscillator between 1941 and 1958. With Kobak, Lakhovsky's son, Serge, continued his father's work. One report states:
"Serge had earlier worked there together with Doctor Kovac (sic) at the University of Chicago, where they carried out additional research into the effects of the MWO, research which confirmed his father's discovery time and time again."
The hostility to the treatment forced Serge to return to Paris and continue experiments and treatments there.  

Long after Lakhovsky's death, his devices were used to treat patients in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Spain, San Marino, Switzerland and the United States.

Nevertheless, such treatment has always been looked upon by the American medical establishment with suspicion and, at best, an alternative and unapproved form of medicine without any scientific basis, along the lines of faith healing or aromatherapy.

Tesla Elderly

Tesla's Papers

Within five months of Lakhovsky's death, on the 7th of January 1943, Nikola Tesla would also die at his lonely room at the Hotel New Yorker, at the age of 86.

However, records show that, at the recommendation of two government engineers, a meeting was scheduled at the White House to discuss his death ray weapon design. As it turned out Tesla died (or at least his body was found) a date before that meeting was to take place.

Coincidence? Most likely. The death of the elderly inventor was not particularly unexpected.   Photos show his clearly deteriorating health.
However, for conspiracy theorists, the events following Tesla's death have inspired much more interest than the deaths of either Foster or Lakhovsky.

According to declassified FBI files, upon the death of Tesla, there was nothing short of a scramble to take control of his effects, especially his papers. It was feared that paperwork would fall into the wrong hands, namely the Soviets. (Specifically mentioned in the FBI files was the so-called "death ray" device.)

Within hours of Tesla's death, Vice President Wallace was advised of the danger of Tesla's papers falling into the wrong hands. The FBI files clearly state that the government was "vitally interested" in Tesla's papers and requested that "no time should be lost in doing everything possible to preserve them." A self-proclaimed relative of Tesla from Yugoslavia suddenly appeared and reportedly tried his best to seize as much as possible, even hiring a locksmith to attempt to open a safe. 

How this might (or might not) tie into a conspiracy or with Dr. Foster's death is anybody's guess. If nothing else, the commotion at the Hotel New Yorker tells us only that the electromagnetic research was being watched, not as a tool for curing most diseases, but as a formidable weapon against our enemies.
*   *   *   *
This then is the Foster mystery, which has remained, as far as I could determine,   unsolved since 1942. You are welcome to offer your own theories. If anybody finds any further information on the case (from dependable sources, please), feel free to pass it along. 

Here is a video of a functional Lakhovsky Multiple Wave Oscillator (MWO). The demonstrator is a lot more courageous than I am.