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ANTENTOP- 02- 2003, # 003

Tesla Wireless and the Tunguska Explosion


In the Spring of 1924 newspapers carried several stories about "death rays" inventions in different parts of the world. The work of Harry Grindell-Matthews, London, was the first reported. The New York Times of May 21st had this one:

Paris, May 20 - If confidence of Grindell Matthews, inventor of the so-called ' diabolical ray,' in his discovery is justified it may become possible to put the whole of an enemy army out of action, destroy any force of airplanes attacking a city or paralyze any fleet venturing within a certain distance of the coast by invisible rays. So much the inventor consented to tell The New York Times correspondent today while continuing to refuse to divulge the exact nature of the rays beyond that they are used to direct an electric current able to perform the program just mentioned.(3)

Grindell-Matthews stated that his destructive rays would operate over a distance of four miles and that the maximum distance for this type of weapon would be seven or eight miles. Asked if it would be possible to destroy an approaching enemy fleet, the inventor said it would not, because "Ships, like land, are in continual contact with the earth, but what I can do is to put the ships out of action by the destruction of vital parts of the machinery, and also by putting the crews temporarily out of action through shock."(4) Airplanes, on the other hand, could be completely destroyed. As soon as his ray touched the plane it would burst into flames and fall to earth.

Grindell-Matthews asserted, "I am convinced the Germans possess the ray." He believed, though, they were carrying out their experiments with high frequencies and at high power, around 200 kilowatts, and could not control the weapon to hit a specific target. So far, said Grindell-Matthews, he had tried tests at 500 watts in his laboratory over a distance of sixty-four feet.

A French company, the Great Rhone Engineering Works of Lyon, had offered Grindell-Matthews extensive financial backing that would allow him to test his device at much higher power levels. He replied that would not undertake such tests "except under conditions of absolute safety on a wide tract of uninhabited land," such was the destructive power of his rays.


Details of the "diabolical rays'" destructive power surfaced that August. "Tests have been reported where the ray has been used to stop the operation of automobiles by arresting the action of the magnetos, and an quantity of gunpowder is said to

have been exploded by playing the beams on it from a distance of thirty-six feet."(5) Grindell-Matthews was able, also, to electrocute mice, shrivel plants, and light the wick of an oil lamp from the same distance away.(6)

His own laboratory assistants were themselves became unintentional victims of the ray. When crossing its path during tests they were either knocked unconscious by violent electrical shocks or received intense burns. The inventor stated that though it would be possible to kill enemy infantry with the ray, "it would be quite easy to graduate the electric power used so that hostile troops would only be knocked out long enough to effect their capture."(7)

On May 25th, a second death ray was announced in England. Doctor T.F. Wall, a "lecturer in electrical research in Sheffield University, "applied for a patent for means of transmitting electrical energy in any direction without the use of wires. According to one report. even though he has not made tests on a large scale yet "Dr. Wall expressed the belief that his invention would be capable of destroying life, stopping airplanes in flight and bringing motor cars to a standstill." On a more positive note, he added that his invention would have beneficial applications in surgical and medical operations.(8)

Germany joined the technology race on May 25th when it announced its electrical weapon. As the Chicago Tribune reported:

Berlin - That the German Government has an invention of death rays that will bring down airplanes, halt tanks on the battlefields, ruin automobile motors, and spread a curtain of death like the gas clouds of the recent war was the information given to Reichstag members by Herr Wulle, chief of the militarists in that body. It is learned that three inventions have been perfected in Germany for the same purpose and have been patented.

Sensing something of importance the New York Times copyrighted its story of May 28th on a ray weapon developed by the Soviets. The story opened: "News has leaked out from the Communist circles in Moscow that behind Trotsky's recent war-like utterance lies an electromagnetic invention, by a Russian engineer named Grammachikoff for destroying airplanes."(9)


Tests of the destructive ray, the Times continued, had began the previous August with the aid of German technical experts. A large scale

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