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I remember the storys about red mercury from the 90s

Quote:Today's story is going to take us on about as wide ranging a journey as we've ever had: from ancient
Egypt to the labs of the Manhattan Project to the caves of Afghanistan. We're tracking down the most
elusive substance in pop culture: red mercury.

Some say it's the most powerful explosive ever designed, some say it's a miracle health product, some
say it doesn't exist at all. I will give this spoiler: the one thing we can say for certain about red mercury
is that the truth about it is far, far stranger than the fiction. So buckle up for a wild ride.

Before we get into what red mercury is, let's be clear on what it isn't.
The term would most obviously seem to apply to cinnabar (mercury sulfide), the bright red mineral
ore that's mined to get mercury. But it's definitely not this.

The term itself has been around since at least the late 1970s — there doesn't seem to be any verifiable
specific origin of the term — and ever since, it's been claimed to be just about anything. It's even
associated with ancient Egypt, with some people believing that it was the name of a powerful elixir placed
in the mouths of mummies.

Others describe it as a substance used to summon Arabian spirits called jinn.
Some believe it is sourced from bat guano, and this has been used as a starting point for a whole YouTube
subculture of hoax videos showing red substances exhibiting all kinds of vampire-like powers.

But those YouTube videos are about as close as anyone's ever gotten to it.
Nobody's ever seen it, touched it, or possessed a sample of it — at least, not a sample that's ever passed

But red mercury is not just a modern Internet hoax, and it's not just an urban legend. It has been discussed
at the highest levels of government and the military on both sides of the cold war, and it is its reputation as
a unique weapons component that has given red mercury a life of its own.

It has been speculated that red mercury could be a code name for a compound that has nothing to do with
mercury, so discussions of what the actual element mercury can or cannot do are of little use in evaluating
the legend.

Belief in the reality of red mercury has a darker side, too. According to Landmine Action, a London-based
nonprofit, belief in red mercury has spread to the poor populations of some African countries like Angola
and Namibia, where decades of civil war have left the landscape dotted with land mines:

Quote:'Red Mercury' is a mythical substance believed to be found in the warheads of particular items of
ordnance and worth large amounts of money if extracted... Needless to say, attempting to extract
non-existent substances from the fuzing systems of UXO is a dangerous practice — though the
number of deaths directly attributable to this is unknown.

As reports of red mercury have been coming out of international black markets for illegal arms since the
late 1970s, officials have had their hands somewhat forced in having to pay attention to it — even though
they know it's not real.

Most of these cases are probably just con artists selling a fake product to unsophisticated buyers, but even
this spectral presence in the news is enough to continue fueling the fire of belief among today's alternative
science proponents and conspiracy theorists.

There is one principle reason why many such people today still insist on the reality of red mercury, and that
reason is found in the person of Samuel T. Cohen. Cohen, who died in 2010, was one of the original
Manhattan Project physicists who created the atomic bombs that ended World War II.

Cohen is sometimes nicknamed the "father of the neutron bomb", an undeveloped type of low-yield
tactical battlefield nuke optimized for maximum lethal neutron emission but minimum destructive force.

Cohen's experience and knowledge of what nuclear devices can and can't do was matched by very few
people in the world. In the 1990s when he was in his seventies, Cohen became a vocal claimant that
red mercury was a real substance.

This endorsement from a universally acknowledged expert in the field is what — more than anything else
— has been driving belief in red mercury for three decades.

Cohen asserted that red mercury was of a class of compounds called ballotechnics — substances which
convert shockwaves to extreme heat.

When you make a thermonuclear bomb, it's necessary to subject a thermonuclear core (called the
secondary) to the intense heat and pressure we can only get from an atomic bomb (called the primary).
Atomic bombs are big and complicated. But with high-enough yield ballotechnic material, those same
conditions could be created simply, theoretically allowing thermonuclear bombs that you could hold in
the palm of your hand.

This would be a so-called "pure-fusion" device: a wave of lethal neutrons from the fusion bomb, but
no infrastructure-destroying blast from a fission bomb. In a 2003 editorial, Cohen wrote:

Quote:In the early 1990s, information coming out of Russia in articles and statements by high ranking
military and civilian officials... indicated that a pure-fusion device as small as a baseball and
weighing around 10 pounds could be developed...

This device was made possible by their use of an exotic new material capable of producing enormous
pressures and temperatures... The new material is known as a "ballotechnic" explosive, even though
it does not actually explode in the conventional sense of the word.

It was developed in Russia and became popularly known as "red mercury." When President Boris
Yeltsin took over the helm of the new Russia, in a secret directive he authorized the sale of red
mercury on the international market.

Sometimes the price was very high. Sometimes fake versions of it were offered to gullible buyers.
The United States may have been one of these.

Despite Cohen's impeccable credentials, pretty much every other physicist on the planet has said
"No way" to his scientific claims for what the alleged compound could do.
The actual energy released by even a perfect ballotechnic would be several orders of magnitude too
weak to trigger fusion.

One school of thought is that red mercury may have began as a propaganda campaign by the Soviet
Union during the cold war, to frighten the Americans into thinking that they could deliver pocket-sized
nukes anywhere in the world at any time without detection.

This is a reasonable theory, and it's a certainty that the Soviets were, at a minimum, perfectly happy
that particular rumor was out there.

Today, post cold war, it's possible that an updated version of this campaign exists, only this time it's
American intelligence leveraging belief in red mercury to entrap terrorists trying to get their hands on
a nuke.

Whether it's a deliberate campaign or not, it's working. In 2011, an American explosives task force in
Afghanistan was given two canisters of red mercury obtained from European special forces. Specialists
from the United States went to Bagram Air Base where the canisters were examined.
One contained ordinary mercury, the other was empty.

Even more frightening is that actual terrorists are actively engaged in trying to get their hands on it.
Inspired by a 2013 news report from Turkey that three men had been arrested with a "red mercury
rocket warhead", an arms buyer for the Islamic State codenamed "The Crocodile" placed an order for
red mercury with a price cap of $4 million.

The dealer he ordered it from tried for more than a year to find some. If you want to identify and
entrap terrorists, hanging out a sign for red mercury might not be the worst idea.

For his part, Samuel Cohen was very clear that he believed a formal disinformation campaign existed
around red mercury, only he believed it was the other way around; the Americans knew it was real,
but they claimed that it wasn't. Cohen blamed his former colleagues at Los Alamos for leading this

Quote:The professed Los Alamos skepticism was hardly sincere in view of an intensive investigation
of such explosives mounted at Los Alamos during the 1990s. The nature (and very high level
of security classification) of the investigation belied claims of its being only a half-baked scam.

The subject was so serious at Los Alamos that discussions of ballotechnics were held in their
highly secure Aztec SCIF (Special Compartmented Intelligence Facility).

However, Cohen's conspiracy theory fails to pass skeptical scrutiny.
There is absolutely no benefit in trying to suppress the existence of a material that is already possessed
by both sides in a conflict; indeed, in order to effectively use it or defend against it, people would need
to be trained and procedures developed.

This is to say nothing of the logistical improbability of operating a suppression conspiracy that would span
both the American and Russian governments and militaries, plus the manufacturing contractors, materials
scientists worldwide, professors and their staffs at universities worldwide, and branches of both militaries
that would be armed with these weapons.

Most illogically of all, if the world governments were indeed successfully and cooperatively executing this
suppression campaign, why would they have allowed Cohen to freely speak and write about it for three

This suggests a tantalizing possibility: Was Cohen himself part of an American disinformation campaign
by the intelligence community that promoted the reality of red mercury to entrap terrorists? Nowhere in
any literature could I find any discussion of this possibility, and certainly nothing like a confession by him
or any evidence of it.

But this scenario does fit a number of the facts. Although Cohen suffered quite a bit of professional
ridicule for his red mercury beliefs, he was also a peacenik; and may well have considered his own
personal reputation a worthwhile trade for the capture of terrorists.

In addition, Cohen's expertise on nukes was sufficient that he should have known the claims he was
making did not pass scientific muster. Yet, those few qualified to contradict his science also knew that
he had worked in programs shrouded in the utmost secrecy.

If you were running such an entrapment campaign for the CIA, you could hardly hope for a better plant
than Sam Cohen.

I asked my friend Dr. Vince Houghton about this possibility. Vince is the curator and historian at the
International Spy Museum in Washington DC. His thoughts?

Quote:From what I understand, Sam Cohen was a looney toon. Even [Edward] Teller dismissed [red mercury]
as nonsense — and Teller would be the guy you'd want to spread this as disinformation.

This sentiment was broadly shared by many in Cohen's professional community. In regards to his constant
talk about far-out suppression conspiracies, nonproliferation analyst Jeffrey Lewis told The New York Times

Quote:I could never figure out where Sam Cohen the physicist ended and Sam Cohen the polemicist began.

And yet today's true believers in red mercury always cite Cohen as proof. All articles and essays on the
substance mention Cohen, and most make no mention of the fact that his claims were in any way

As not only an advocate for red mercury, but an effective one at that, Cohen simply works.

Thus, red mercury will remain indelibly printed in the book of urban legends. Nothing feeds a rumor like
a dash of fact, and this particular one is so self-perpetuating that it will continue to produce factual news.
At least the true science shows that we don't have to worry too much about pocket neutron bombs.

Explanation: I posted this information originally on ATS at this link ...

Samuel T. Cohen, Red Mercury, Neutron bomb.

Quote:Most frightening for Cohen is the relative ease by which neutron bombs can be created with a substance called red mercury. Red mercury is a compound containing mercury that has undergone massive irradiation. When exploded, it creates tremendous heat and pressure - the same type needed to trigger a fusion device such as a mini-neutron bomb.

I wonder which radioactive isotope of mercury he is talking about and how making a compound with some other element (which one?) before it all decays, usually into daughter isotopes Platinum or Gold, may alter the very short half-life's that radioactive mercury tends to have [43 days maximum half life for Hg203 and most are well shy of that maximum]

Isotopes of mercury

Now speaking about Hg203 ...

Mercury Isotopes

Quote:Hg-202 is also used for the production of radioactive Hg-203 which is used for gamma radiation calibration.

Personal Disclosure: I am going to suggest that red mercury may be a compound like mercury fulminate, but with a Hg203 mercury atom instead of a normal stable mercury atom and thus works both as an explosive and also as a - beta decay [electron] source to help produce a highly shaped electrical field at the moment of detonation and that creates a subsequent magnetic field that holds onto all the positively and negatively charged particles and that allows all the fast neutral neutrons generated, to escape the magnetic field and death ray everybody in the area whilst the magnetic bubble also works to limit blast and thermal effects [it channels the plasma].

However such a weapon would only have a shelf life of 430days maximum, if the half life of the Hg203 mercury isotope [or whatever mercury isotope] doesn't change whilst it is a made into a compound molecule, as by that time it would have decayed to the point of being 1024th as rich in radioactive Hg203, that means less than 0.1% of the Hg203 still remains with 99.9+% having decayed into daughter products ... which for Hg203 is Titanium (TI203).

I hope this helps!  minusculebeercheers
Yes that Helped A Great A Lot,,,, for me anyway tinyhuh
In the "olden days" didn't they used to burn the dangly-bits of boys who were caught playing with themselves by using "Red Mercury" on them?? The severe (and long-lasting) burning sensation was meant to make "contact" very painful.
I seem to remember hearing that somewhere???

The things I find rattling about in my bloody head...!!!

I know that bat guano is a good source of potassium nitrate, the nitrating component of black powder.

I know that nitrating some substances with nitric acid will create red fumes as it nitrates (gets made explosive)

I know that mercury fulminate is mighty touchy, but nowhere near as explosive as would be required in the smallish quantities mentioned.

I know that ammonia crystals can be nitrated to be mighty touchy and explosive, too, but again not explosive enough in the quantities mentioned.

I know that certain combinations of chemicals are inert and harmless while liquid, but once dried out are mighty touchy and mighty explosive, too - blotter paper can be soaked in them and set out on mouse runways while wet, and once it dries will blow a mouse to kingdom come just from the pressure of the mouse stepping on it (note to self - NEVER do that again while there is a cat on the loose in the house!)

I know that radioactive isotopes with shorter half-lives are more dangerous regarding their ionizing radiation than isotopes with longer half-lives, because they shed their radioactivity quicker to achieve the shorter half lives, thus delivering higher radiation doses in shorter times. I learned that in the 80's when "peace activist" type folks who should have known better were trying to scare panicky college kids with stuff like "unobtanium-9000 has a half-life of a quarter million years, and so will make your living room uninhabitable for 250,000 years!"

What I DON'T know is what the hell "red mercury" is - all I know is it's not anything I want anything to do with!

My husband was telling me from his experience.
For a number of decades the Soviet Union secretly accumulated nuclear inventories, he said, It wasn't clear to us at the time if all those materials were actually real.

Their version of the red mercury was different from the one about the healing elixir buried with the pharaohs. (I suppose people had heard about that)

Soviet Red Mercury was said to be Very, Very Destructive, capable of causing a tremendous nuclear explosion with very small quantities.
The nightmare scenario was that this substance might be real and find its way onto the weapons black market.
Mr. G. says that when our government investigated (CIA doing his job as a Spy) they concluded that the doomsday material (Red Mercury)didn't exist. (He looked at me and gave me his Grin)
I asked, if Red Mercury is not real how had the rumours started? (Knowing I wasn't getting the Whole Story because of the Secrecy Act still in affect)
His Russian scientists contact told him that red mercury was actually a nickname for a known nuclear isotope but not actually the substance know as Mercury or Red.
(The entire time his eyes and grin told me another story, this Shit is Real)
So, to continue from my above post, I googled Red Mercury.


Quote:AT 11: 30 A. M. ON JULY 1, Viktor Rogachov, co-manager of a Swedish-Russian joint venture, delivered a sealed glass container to the London office of Eurobau Konsortium, a Yorkshire trading company. Rogachov had brought the cylinder from Moscow a few days earlier with certificates stating that the substance was ammonium oxalate, a chemical used to remove rust or manufacture explosives. The certificates were false. The cylinder in fact contained red mercury.

A mysterious Russian-produced substance that appeared on the world market as the Soviet Union collapsed, red mercury has been described as many things. It has been said to be able to provoke a nuclear explosion, electronically guide an ICBM to its target or help African witch doctors divine the future.

The most fantastic of riches to spin out of Russia's bargain basement during the past two years, red mercury has sparked fire storms of controversy within the international scientific community and the multibillion dollar metals trading industry. Red mercury sales have prompted criminal investigations in four countries and caused the arrests of a dozen people accused of transporting this purportedly dangerous material in Europe. Red mercury, which sells for as much as $350, 000 a kilogram, also has been called a red herring.
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