For the first time, such a substance as red mercury became known in the 70s of the last century. It was then that the first rumors appeared about a multifunctional catalyst developed by the Soviet defense industry. They say that the secret services of many countries were on a real hunt for this curiosity, but none of them managed to get it. The reason for the failure is very simple – red mercury is a myth. In fact, it does not exist, and so far no one has been able to prove the opposite.
Bomb from k.f. “Toughie”
For the first time, people started talking about the mysterious substance abroad, where already in 1970 rumors were actively circulating that Soviet scientists had developed a toxic radioactive catalyst for multifunctional use, which they called red mercury. It was said that this substance boasts incredibly high strength, as well as many other amazing properties. The international community had no doubt that red mercury had already found wide application in the USSR – allegedly, the most unique types of modern weapons were developed on its basis. Even one famous movie used a legend to create a bomb. Below are stills from the film.
Naturally, such rumors led to the fact that spies of various stripes tried to massively infiltrate the Soviet state, hoping to get a unique substance for their governments. The allies of the USSR were also interested in red mercury, in all seriousness they asked for samples of a multifunctional catalyst. Needless to say, red mercury did not fall into the hands of either enemies or friends of the Soviet Union. However, the special services did not give up and continued to make active attempts to get a classified substance..
Citizens of the USSR learned about red mercury only in the late 80s. The information that leaked into our country caused a real mercury fever that aroused the minds of compatriots. Struck by stories about the miraculous properties of the innovative substance, as well as rumors about its fabulous cost, citizens massively began to look for it wherever possible. It was generally accepted that red mercury was present in window thermometers. The dissemination of such information led to the fact that this product immediately disappeared from warehouses throughout the country. Thermometers were bought in batches and broken into pieces, trying to get a precious substance..
Is it any wonder that there were a huge number of people who wanted to buy red mercury. Such a large demand could not go unnoticed. Red mercury was sold in large quantities throughout the country, and paid very generously for it. It is known that in the late 80s, American, Israeli and British intelligence carried out a number of test purchases of a mysterious substance, which turned out to be anything but red mercury..
Most often, under her guise, they sold mixtures of several specific liquids that outwardly have the properties of mercury, which, for plausibility, were dyed red. To do this, they used water with aniline, watercolor, nail polish, and even ordinary crushed brick. It is surprising that no matter how clumsy the fake was, there were always those who wanted to buy it, despite the very impressive cost..
Why does the mysterious mercury with unique properties have to be red? Most likely, this is due to ancient alchemical teachings. It is known that this particular color is associated with the mythical “philosopher’s stone”, which the alchemists of the Middle Ages unsuccessfully tried to get. Perhaps red mercury itself was a kind of philosopher’s stone for its many applicants from all over the globe..
To this day, there are persistent rumors that the extraction of such a substance as red mercury is a completely feasible task. It’s just that scientists do not yet have access to all the necessary information to get the coveted philosopher’s stone. Be that as it may, the myth of the miraculous mercury continues to live its own life, and it even has new followers..
During the time of the mercury fever, there were many craftsmen who managed to earn millions of dollars on the myth of a unique substance. A huge number of transactions were carried out, red mercury was sold in tanks – the buyers were mainly abroad, and the transit of valuable cargo was carried out through the territory of Ukraine. Red mercury was of great interest to terrorists of various calibers, who hoped to use it to develop a powerful and unparalleled weapon designed to keep the whole world in fear..
Mercury was also interested in ordinary citizens who were not endowed with special knowledge and easily succumbed to the exhortations of scammers. These people hoped to profitably resell the substance, and make good money on it..
In order to deceive buyers, among whom there were very often very serious personalities, swindlers skillfully forged documents. The accompanying papers said that red mercury is produced at the military-industrial enterprises of our country. In addition, swindlers paid for articles in the press that contained information about several tanks of red mercury allegedly stolen from one of these enterprises. Trusting buyers, who read such reports in official newspapers, did not even doubt that the substance they were purchasing was the real, very expensive and valuable red mercury..
The last major scam involving red mercury was recorded in 2008. Then in Ufa, law enforcement officers detained several scammers who were trying to sell a thermos of mercury (the most common), tinted red. Demanded for her “dealers” 5 million rubles. At the same time, a legend was prepared for potential buyers that this red mercury was stolen in one of the defense enterprises, where it was allegedly manufactured by order of the European Center for Nuclear Research. Of course, it was all pure lies..
In 1993, the loudest scandal thundered – Alexander Rutskoi, who served as vice president, declared in parliament that he had the most serious compromising evidence on the country’s top officials. Among other things, he claimed to have information from the large-scale trade in a dangerous toxic substance. Allegedly, red mercury was sold abroad in huge quantities. To prove his words, Rutskoy even provided documents – secret government decrees allowing the export of this unique and currency-intensive material.
It is also known that the existence of red mercury was confirmed by Vasily Krivinyuk, the chief engineer of the Promekologiya concern (it was this organization that supposedly was supposed to be engaged in the export of a valuable substance). In addition, Krivinyuk argued that red mercury has been successfully exported from the country by smugglers for almost a quarter of a century, while only the state should make money on such an expensive and unique substance..
This scandal and the rumors that accompanied it gave rise to a new wave of interest in valuable material. Red mercury began to be counterfeited with a vengeance, trying to make the most money against the backdrop of its increased popularity..
It is known that about 15 years ago, red mercury was valued very dearly – buyers were ready to pay 1 million dollars per kilogram of the substance. What they actually received instead of a multifunctional catalyst is anyone’s guess. At the same time, they requested such a product not in kilograms, but in whole tons, which says only one thing – in the existence of red mercury, as well as in its unique properties, they really sincerely believed.
They say that some industrial enterprises actually directly sold something under the guise of red mercury. Such frauds were carried out in order to pump more funds into the country before the start of privatization. In addition, if there is such a huge demand, then there will definitely be a supply, even if the desired product does not exist in nature..
In our time, it is hardly possible to purchase red mercury, since the demand for it has fallen significantly. To be precise, no one is interested in this substance anymore due to the fact that its existence has remained unproven. The person who offers to buy this material from him is an ordinary scammer trying to make money on gullible citizens. And he will definitely not ask for fabulous sums for his goods, as it was two decades ago. Red mercury does not exist in nature. It was not synthesized by Soviet or other scientists in secret laboratories; it cannot be bought or even seen with one’s own eyes. This substance is a myth, which, at one time, helped many enterprising people make great money..
By the way, scientists have repeatedly studied various substances that were called red mercury, and each time they found a strange mixture in which even ordinary mercury not always present. Naturally, such materials did not possess any unique properties. It was very difficult to accurately determine their composition, since organic compounds were used to make red mercury. For a long time it was believed that this valuable commodity could be obtained exclusively by criminal means – steal from the factory, or buy from those who stole it themselves. Moreover, only the USSR was the “manufacturer” of the substance, no other country in the world declared the presence of red mercury in it.
Currently, people still associate Hg-mercury with a high cost. There are cases when people bought a lot of mercury thermometers, extracted mercury and then tried to sell it. Mercury is not expensive at all. But in view of the proven danger of mercury, trade, storage and distribution are illegal.
You can read more about the danger of a broken thermometer: here