(Seattle, WA) An eighth grade school science fair project involving the assembly of a homemade quartz crystal radio evolved into much more when student Bart Starr Sampson stumbled upon the research of inventor Nikola Tesla after wondering how the Tesla coil he had seen in an old movie worked.
"A hundred years ago Tesla built these towers that projected electricity into the air," Bart explained. "And people miles away could tap into that power with an antenna for free."
Bart further explained that neither his school nor the local high school his mother teaches English at had any information on Tesla so he had to use the Internet instead.
"My mom kept telling me to get off the computer and do my homework," he said. "I tried telling her I was studying but she wouldn't believe me. She's totally paranoid I'll start trying to make friends on MySpace.
"I really wanted to see what would happen if I tried to receive frequencies other than AM radio," said the young inventor. "And I immediately discovered I could get all sorts of signals, even if they only sounded like noise."
After making some simple adjustments to tap into several frequencies at once, Bart's device started generating an electical charge far more powerful than he ever expected.
"It totally fried my headphones! So I tried attaching a flashlight bulb to it and it shone so brightly it burned out too.
"Don't tell my mom," Bart whispered. "But I asked around online how to make it more powerful. People told me to use thicker wires and grounding and a bunch of other stuff they urged me to keep secret.
"I told my mom what it could do and she got all worried I was gonna hurt myself and made me throw it away," Bart lamented. "I was like 'screw that!' and hid it in my closet before the garbage man arrived."
After spending his allowance money making the additional changes on the advice he received from dozens of online forums, chat rooms and other websites, Bart was ready for the "big test" as he put it.
"I hooked every lightbulb in the house up to it and they all glowed super-bright," he explained. "But when I tried to bring it up with my mom, she just got pissed that I was still thinking about it. She even said my father would agree with her, but that bum left us years ago for some skank he met at the bar."
Upon further advice from new friends he was making online, Bart called the University of Washington's electrical engineering department. After nearly an hour-long conversation of explaining the details of his contraption, the college reluctantly agreed to send someone to Bart's home with testing equipment.
"The guy totally freaked out when he saw all the lights nearly explode. He told me it generated more than enough electricity to run everything in the house.
"He confessed it wouldn't work as well outside of the city because there are fewer free energy signals to tap energy from, but he promised to return with paperwork so his buddies could invest in it."
Then things took a turn for the worse. The following day government officials showed up at Bart's school demanding he turn over his invention to them.
"I lied and told the [explicative deleted] I didn't know what the hell they were talking about," explaining how he had been warned of countless other inventors whose alternative power generators were destroyed by the government -- including Tesla's -- and how some of them had even been murdered.
"When I got home from school, my house was trashed," he said shedding a tear. "Good thing I took it to a friend's house first."
Asked what he plans to do next, Bart said he just wants everyone to know about his easy-to-assemble invention.
"My science teacher said she's giving me an A-plus even though she hasn't seen it yet," Bart beamed proudly.
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