A legend that emerged during the late cold war, red mercury has had a prominent presence in western media. Largely considered to be a myth, red mercury is believed to be a chemical substance that has the capability to make nuclear weapons very small but more powerful than ever. A lot of research has been done with incredible funding on the issue of building smaller bombs. The classic thermonuclear device requires either massive amounts of hard to obtain high-grade nuclear materials or high explosives surrounding a mass of tritium-deuterium that in turn triggers the plutonium core.
In simpler words, a nuke would be heavy and therefore hard to transport and transfer. Hence, the requirement for portable nukes that could be easily smuggled across borders, another result of a growing thirst for nuclear warheads by world powers and terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, word began to leak out of the USSR that Soviet physicists found a way to do it by using irradiated mercury antimony oxide or red mercury. It’s an interesting theory. The only issue is that most governments call it a hoax, including the majority of physicists who say red mercury does not exist. It is true that there is no known proof of the existence of this infamous substance.
There are still minority groups claiming its existence and its use in nuclear warheads, and one notable name is that of Sam Cohen, the father of neutron bombs. He helped build atomic bombs during World War 2 and eventually designed the neutron bomb. Cohen said that red mercury could be used to create a pure fission bomb no larger than a softball, invisible to standard protection measures and packing enough lethal radiation to wipe out anything in half a mile radius. With the word of a credible scientist like Cohen, there is more reason to believe that red mercury might in fact exist.
Dr. Frank Barnaby, a British physicist, and an expert on terrorism, also claims that there is a substance called red mercury. He went to Russia with a documenting team and discovered a mixture of mercury and antimony in heavy compounds with a reddish tint. But he saw no evidence of its use in weapons. There were two documentaries by a British channel that claimed to have startling evidence of the existence of red mercury. But nothing was proven. If all of their claims were true, some groups must have done everything in power to keep it undercover and away from the public eye.
A theory suggests red mercury might not have been a new substance at all but actually just a code name for lithium 6, with ‘red’ being symbolic for communalism in Russia. Some even suggest that the whole red mercury case was just a facade, a weapon of deception in the intelligence war. With the spreading of western spy networks in the Soviets, they formed a perfect distraction. Reports have been sent by western spies of ongoing research in red mercury, but with failed attempts. Research continued without yielding any result and red mercury had attracted the attention of western spies. Therefore, the project continued so as to attract and observe the spies.
New York Times investigating reporter, CJ Chive, wrote an exposé on the substance in an article called the ‘doomsday scam’, calling red mercury an urban legend and a lure to ‘fleece ignorant buyers’ of chemical substances. Red mercury was perpetrated by sellers in the black market, designed to attract gullible buyers. Red Mercury had a growing base of interested clients, including the ISIS. It’s a well-known scam material, an arm’s trafficker’s ‘elixir’, a substance that could do anything any shady client might need.
With disagreements between scientists about its existence and how it might be used, major world governments debunking it, CIA publicly arguing it doesn’t exist, and its potentially catastrophic consequences in the hands of terrorists have led to many conspiracy theories surrounding it. They include possible incidents involving red mercury and there were dozens of documented cases of terrorists, warlords and even governments paying up to a million per kilogram of the mythical substance. Although all these turned out to be scams. But the one big reason for people to believe red mercury exists is that the government says it doesn’t.
Read about the truth of Tesla’s fabled death rays.