Science » Technologies and discoveries

"Rays of Death": Who stole them?

The idea of an "ultimate weapon" capable of defeating an enemy from an astonishingly remote distance has been dominating human's conscious since the "beginning of times." However, only in the course of the past hundred years did science approach practical realization of such question. 
Whereas present-day weapons mainly consist of strategic rockets and bomber aircrafts (all of which constitute material carriers of combatant supply), engineers have been working on slightly different projects in the beginning of the 20th century. Their main goal was to develop something other than bombs, rockets and missiles—deadly radiation. However, such sphere of military engineering did not gain broad spectrum of development due to various reasons. As for practical experiments, nothing has been done after a few first tests. Even then, those samples were destroyed.      
A name of English electrical engineer Harry Greendale Matthews (1880-1940) is inseparable with a phrase "Rays of death". It took an extremely long time for the Englishman to make such a "remarkable" (as Matthews referred to it himself) discovery.
Even before WWI, he was obsessed with wireless communication. In 1911 Matthews was able to establish a connection with one of the military aircrafts, piloted by Hax. Their distance was three kilometers. His next invention was a wireless telephone, analogue to present-day mobile phones.
During the same time, Matthews has declared his original concept of "Rays of death." Interestingly, but soon after such declaration, he received a grant of 25,000 pounds from militaristic forces to develop the actual apparatus. First results did not appear until 1923. In the course of the prototype testing, Matthews has killed a rat and has been able to shut off a car's engine. Despite the fact that it was just a first demonstration, its results were considered unsatisfactory by military authorities. Such actions have led to the eruption of a major scandal. As a result, Matthews has quickly changed his strategy and offered his services to France. English government did not intend to loose its priority in such matters and has been actively working towards discrediting the engineer. As a result, the main idea of the deadly weapon has vanished in the course of this passionate "conflict". Today, it is impossible to establish the original principle of the apparatus.
Of course, Matthews was not the first one to transfer long distance massive electric charges. Another genius scientist and inventor Nicola Tesla (1856-1943, American with Serbo-Croatian roots) conducted an experiment in 1908, describing it in the following way:     
"…I have an idea, that if will be able to establish a connection between the Moon and the Earth, the overall power of the transmitter can be rather inconsiderable, but producing colossal energy. I was amazed at the results of some initial calculations. Apparently, that energy was enough to destruct an entire town…It wasn't until later, that I realized what a destructive weapon I have created. I expected an explosion of course. But this was no explosion—this was a major catastrophe." 
Later Tesla learned from a newspaper about an "unknown phenomenon" associated with the "Tunguska meteorite." It so happened that in the course of his experiments on June 30, 1908 Tesla has aimed a beam of massive electromagnetic energy right at Siberian taiga…which later resulted in a "Tunguska phenomenon." Some claim however that this remarkable apparatus has later been destroyed by the inventor himself along with supplementary paperwork.    
Around the same time another sensational discovery by a Russian scientist M.M. Filippov has been made. "…I am capable of re-creating the same explosion by means of a single beam of short (radio) waves. As an explosive wave is being transmitted to the carrying electromagnetic wave, a dynamite exploded in Moscow can easily be felt in Constantinople…". Filippov's life had a rather tragic end. He was murdered in his own laboratory at the age of 45. His work including his manuscripts, experiments along with several of his inventions have all mysteriously disappeared.
Mysterious "Rays of death" have always stirred people's imagination. It appears to be the best problem solver; be it some kind of a superpower or a terrorist organization.
In the meantime, people are still impatiently awaiting a new wireless and effective apparatus with massive energy to be developed.

Dmitry Kuznetsov, AURA