The Tunguska Event

The Tunguska Event

Harmon Lanager, Writer

 

Welcome back, comrades, to this week’s Conspiracy Corner! Living in the shadow of the Cold War, people now understand the catastrophic power behind nuclear weapons. Holding a place as one of the most terrifying forces, we comprehend the horrific devastation they can bring. What if I told you that in 1908, there was an explosion that could rival any atomic blast? Furthermore, we still aren’t sure what caused it?
The date was June 30th, 1908. The place was the Yeniseysk Governorate, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, in Siberia. According to witnesses, a massive ball of fire suddenly appeared and was visible from 500 miles away. Gusts of scorching wind came off the mass of flame as it hurled towards the ground. Approaching the earth, the fireball exploded and 770 square miles of Russian forest was flattened.
The incident, now known as the Tunguska Event, has baffled scientists for years. The initial investigation was taken up by one Leonid Alekseyevich Kulik. In 1927, after his first expedition to research Tunguska failed, he returned to finally discover what happened. His findings were troubling. Following the direction of flatten trees, he found the epicenter of the event in a marsh. Yet, there was no crater which implied that whatever caused this never actually made landfall.
Estimations place the destructive force of the explosion at 10-15 megatons of TNT, being a thousand times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima flattened or destroyed over 80 million trees while causing tremors that marked a 5.0 on the Richter scale. With something of such monumental force suddenly causing a cataclysm, one question remains. What did it?
The current accepted theory is that the explosion was the result of a large meteor crashing down to Earth before exploding mid-air. The intense wave of destruction and the searing heat described by witnesses were supposedly the result of an air burst following the meteor’s explosion. The size of the meteor is debated amongst experts. Conservative estimates put it around 130 feet, being as high as 260 feet in size. Causing the air to burst, it is believed that the meteor crumbled about three miles above the surface. This theory matches with eyewitness reports who spotted a streaking tail of flame across the sky.
However, the meteor theory has one big problem. No confirmed piece of this supposed meteor has ever been found. The closest evidence found were three rocks theorized to be meteor fragments in 2008.
However, most don’t read the Conspiracy Corner for the “accepted” explanation. If you came to read something strange, you are in luck. So, let’s get into the weird stuff. There are those who believe that something much stranger was behind the Tunguska Event. In fact, some believe that it was a testing ground for a device of such Earth-shattering magnitude that nothing has yet to challenge its power of annihilation. One man stands centerstage in the heart of this theory, a man I am surprised took so long to be featured in a Conspiracy Corner: Nikola Tesla.
For those unaware, Nikola Tesla is perhaps one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. It was he, not Thomas Edison, who gave us electricity as we now know it by inventing the Alternating Current design that is still used today. Born in Serbia, Nikola Tesla came to the United States of America to pursue a career as an electrical engineer. Some of his designs included generators for New York City that are powered by Niagara Falls which still powers New York City, the eponymous Tesla Coil and a device capable of transmitting electricity wirelessly. In the later years of his life, Tesla began to struggle with failing mental and physical health. During these years, Tesla talked of devices he created and kept secret.
In 1938, twenty years after the Tunguska Event, Tesla publicly announced he had devised a machine that would make war obsolete. Tesla himself called it the “Teleforce”. Since then, it has taken on a new name: the Death Ray. However, Death Ray is not entirely accurate to Tesla’s design for the Teleforce. Instead of rays, the Teleforce would use particles, projected like bullets. Tesla described it as, “My apparatus projects particles which may be relatively large or of microscopic dimensions, enabling us to convey to a small area at a great distance trillions of times more energy than is possible with rays of any kind. Many thousands of horsepower can thus be transmitted by a stream thinner than a hair, so that nothing can resist.”
I am not a physicist, therefore I might be horribly off base. However, the idea of projectile particles being launched at incredibly high speeds with an incredibly narrow area of operation reminds me of a device working on a similar principle: the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC, deserving of its own Conspiracy Corner, generates immense amounts of energy by having particles collide together in an enclosed space. It sounds like Tesla’s Teleforce and uses the same concept, but it is weaponized.
One thing to note is that this isn’t Tesla’s first time claiming to have developed a device of mass destruction. In 1935, Tesla claimed that he once built an oscillator capable of producing mass vibrations. In 1898, he claimed he was experimenting with his oscillator in his apartment in New York. According to him, the device managed to cause massive earthquakes across the city and could have caused incredible amounts of destruction if had he not stopped the device.
In an interview with World Today in 1912, Tesla recalled an experiment in which he connected a sturdy metal chain to a machine that created vibrations. As the article stated, “For a long time, nothing happened – the vibrations of the link and the machine did not chance to coincide. But at last he got them together, the great steel link began to tremble, increased its trembling until it dilated and contracted like a beating heart – and finally broke!”
Tesla believed that frequencies, when matched with a perfectly inverse frequency, would cancel out. Supposedly, his oscillator had found the inverse of the natural frequencies given off by itself. He stated later in the same interview that “I could set the earth’s crust into such a state of vibrations that it would rise and fall hundreds of feet, throwing rivers out of their beds, wrecking buildings, and practically destroying civilization.”
This claim is especially notable given that Tunguska experienced colossal tremors during the time of the incident. Is it possible that Tesla, an immigrant from Serbia, saw Tunguska as the perfect testing ground for his new war-ending machines?