Called a wizard, a lunatic, a genius, a space alien, and even the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, Nikola Tesla, mad scientist and/or inventor, was probably all these things. Maybe not Jesus.

The following list is meant to clear up the confusion and separate the myth from the truth. But beware, because with Tesla, the line's a bit blurry...

Fact One
He began inventing shit at an early age, including a propeller-powered by bugs that he'd glued onto the blades.

Fact Two (In the form of a list of a few other things invented by Tesla)
* A corncob pop gun
* The RC car
* The fluorescent light
* Modern motherfucking electricity. Without him we would all have gas generators in our basements.

Fact Three
He was an accomplished pool player who liked to hustle, even for tiny amounts of money. At the height of his fame, when he was dining at Delmonico's every night, he bilked players out of a few quarters each—about $15 in today's money.

Fact Four
At age 84, senility perhaps creeping up on him, Tesla tried to sell the US government on a plan to invest in death rays. Death rays. They were billed as being able to melt aircraft engines from 250 miles away. For just $2 million, he promised enough death rays to protect the entire country. Apparently the government had missed his demo, back when he was in his twenties, of a laser he had invented that could vaporize goddamn diamonds, because they passed. Thanks to their shortsightedness, we don't have a death ray defense system...that we know of.

Fact Five
He built a 185-foot tower on Long Island, planning to suck electricity out of the air and send it through the earth. Sadly for humanity – but luckily for the moles and worms – it did not work. In 1917, the tower was torn down. Somebody blamed the government, who allegedly blamed the Germans who were supposedly using it as a spy tower, but it was all a cover. Tesla was broke and his debtors wanted to salvage what they could from the wreckage.

He patented a radioactive fountain.

Blame-Shifting Fact
All that's left of his only remaining laboratory is a 120-foot pit in the ground that until recently was contaminated with toxic cadmium, phenol, and silver. Incredibly, NONE OF THAT WAS HIS FAULT. His lab was bought by Agfa, a company that made photo-processing chemicals, and they spent much of the 20th century dumping their toxic garbage into a hole that Tesla had dug. This hole was either part of his electricity experiments or the beginnings of a top-secret underground evil scientist lab, and even now, nearly a century later, nobody knows which.

Fact Presented As A Chart

Fact Related To The Previous Fact
While hooked up to current or immediately after, he would dazzle audiences by shooting sparks out of his fingers. Motherfucking sparks. He claimed it didn't hurt much though it left small welts.

Truest Fact
One time he made Mark Twain poop himself.

THIS IS TOTALLY NOT MADE UP AT ALL. Twain was touring Tesla’s lab when Tesla showed him a vibrating platform that was meant to “impart vitality.” “You mean it will make me regular?” Twain joked, jumping on the platform. Tesla did not mention (some accounts say deliberately) that yes, that’s what the machine would do, and that its effects were almost immediate. “Quick, Tesla, where is it?” the writer yelped, hightailing it to the water closet.