Artist's impression of anomalous glows observed after an explosion.
The Twilight Zone:
Yakutia: Valley of Death [part four]
The Tunguska Meteorite and the "Terminator" Spheres
Dr Valery Uvarov, the head of the Department of UFO Research, Palaeosciences and Palaeotechnology of the National Security Academy of Russia, examines the phenomena involved in this mystery. This part of the continuing investigation covers the eyewitness testimony of those who were actually present at the time of the mysterious events.
Ten days passed and then, on the morning of 30 June 1908, a body from outer space entered the Earth's atmosphere at immense speed. It followed a trajectory from southeast to northwest. The determination of the exact trajectory of the meteorite plays an important role in the investigation of the event, primarily because—as we shall see—there were several objects moving in the sky above the Siberian taiga, approaching the explosion site from different sides. It was the discrepancies in the accounts of eyewitnesses—who at one and the same time observed objects above areas of Siberia far remote from one another, moving on different courses but towards a single point—that confused researchers, prompting the hypothesis that it was probably a spaceship that had been manoeuvring above the Siberian taiga.
Thirty-eight minutes before the destruction of the Tunguska meteorite, the Valley of Death complex moved into its culminating phase. The generation of the spheres—which, for the sake of convenience, we shall call "terminators"—began.
At the Stepanovsky mine (close to the town of Yuzhno-Eniseisk) an earthquake began 30 minutes before the fall of the meteorite.
One witness to these events was next to a small lake when the ground started to shake beneath his feet. Something like an earthquake began. Suddenly, down inside him, an inexplicable, inhuman sense of fear arose. It was as if some force was driving him away from the lake. At that moment, the water in the lake began to drop down, and as it flowed away, as if into a crack, the bottom appeared which was shifting apart like two leaves. Indentations could be seen on the edges of the two gigantic leaves. The witness was seized by an impulsive animal terror and fled as fast as his legs could carry him.
After running a considerable distance, he tripped on a bush and fell; and when he got to his feet and looked back, he saw rising from what had been the lake a column of bright light, at the top of which appeared a ball. All this was accompanied by a terrible roaring and humming. His clothing began to smoulder, the radiation burnt his face and ears...
This episode concurs astonishingly well with the texts of the Olonkho epic and the tales old men tell of the place called Tong Duurai, across which the Ottoamokh ("holes in the ground") stream flows, where there are shafts of incredible depth known as "the laughing chasms". From these, the legends say, fiery whirlwinds fly. After a long period of silence, roughly a century before each major explosion or series of explosions there would be a smaller-scale event. The legends say that a thin column of fire emerged from the "iron orifice". At the top of this, a very large fireball appeared. It was escorted in flight by its retinue, "a swarm of fatally bloody whirlwinds" that wrought havoc in the vicinity. Accompanied by four claps of thunder in succession, it soared to an even greater height and flew off, leaving behind a long "trail of smoke and fire". Then a cannonade of its explosions sounded in the distance...
It is remarkable that Yakut legends contain so many references to explosions, fiery whirlwinds and the launch of flaming spheres disgorged by "an orifice belching smoke and fire" with a "banging steel lid", in the depths of which lies a whole subterranean country. It is inhabited by a fiery villain "who sows contagion and hurls a fiery ball"—the giant Uot Usumu Tong Duurai (which can be translated as "the criminal stranger who pierced the earth and hid in the depths, destroying all around with a fiery whirlwind").
That is what the legends say, and this is the account of G. K. Kulesh, who was an observer at a weather station in Kirensk, about 460 kilometres from the site of the Tunguska explosion:
On 30 June an unusual phenomenon was observed to the northwest of Kirensk that lasted roughly from 7.15 to 8 am. I did not see it myself, as I sat down to work after recording the reading of the meteorological instruments. This is what occurred (I give the gist of what those who witnessed it said).
At 7.15 am, a fiery pillar appeared to the northwest, about four sagens [over 8 metres] in diameter in the shape of a spear. When the pillar disappeared, five strong brief bangs were heard, like cannon shots following quickly and distinctly one after another. Then a dense cloud appeared at that place. About 15 minutes later, the same sort of bangs were heard again; another 15 minutes later they were repeated. The ferryman, a former soldier and generally an intelligent, worldly-wise man, counted 14 bangs in three groups. His duties meant he was on the riverbank and saw and heard the whole phenomenon from start to finish. [author's emphasis in bold]
Many people saw the pillar of fire, but the bangs were heard by an even greater number. There were peasants in town from the village of Korelinaya that lies 20 versts [21 km] from Kirensk on the nearest Tunguska. They reported that they had had a powerful earth tremor such that window panes were broken in the houses...the mark on the barograph roll bears this out.
In the archives of the former Irkutsk Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory, investigators managed to find notes written by A. K. Kokorin, who was an observer at a weather station on the River Kezhma, about 600 km from the Tunguska explosion site. In his observation journal for June 1908, the section headed "Notes" contains an exceptionally important entry. It shows that there was certainly more than one body in the air at that time.
At 7 am, two fiery circles [spheres] of gigantic size appeared to the north; 4 minutes after appearing, the circles disappeared; soon after the disappearance of the fiery circles a loud noise was heard, similar to the sound of the wind, that went from north to south; the noise lasted about 5 minutes; then followed sounds and thundering, like shots from enormous guns, that made the windows rattle. Those shots continued for 2 minutes, and after them came a crack like a rifle-shot. These last sounds lasted 2 minutes. Everything took place in broad daylight.
At that time, T. Naumenko was observing the flight of a sphere from the village of Kezhma which stands on the River Angara. He asserted that the body was larger than the Moon and crossed in front of the Sun, which at that time was at a height of 27º above the horizon. At that same moment, the Tunguska meteorite flew over the village of Mironovo (58º 14' N, 109º 29' E).
The first to see the flight of one of the "terminators" carrying a powerful electromagnetic charge were the inhabitants of the village of Alexandrovka (southern Altai territory), which is almost 1,500 kilometres away from the site of the explosion.
The account left by Ivan Nikanorovich Kudriavtsev, who witnessed the flight of the fiery sphere, contains details pointing to the electromagnetic nature of the "terminator":
...30 June 1908 was a clear day... I was sitting opposite a window looking NW. Our village, Alexandrovka, extended along a gorge... Across from the village on the Semi ridge rose the peak of Mount Gliaden. At 7 in the morning, the Sun had already risen but not yet appeared from behind Gliaden. And then suddenly a bright sphere appeared in the sky; it rapidly grew in size and brightness. It was flying towards the NW. The flying sphere was the size of the Moon, only brighter; not dazzlingly bright, though: you could watch its flight without looking away. It flew very quickly. The sphere left behind it on its course a white smoky trail wider than the sphere itself. As soon as this sphere appeared, the whole locality was lit up by some unnatural light and that light did not increase evenly, but with some sort of fluctuations, wave-like flashes. There was no noise, no roar accompanying the sphere's flight, but the unnatural fluctuating light inspired some sort of fear, anxiety... [author's emphasis]
Ye. Sarychev, questioned by D. F. Landsberg in Kansk on 11 October 1921, said:
With the start of the noise a sort of glow appeared in the air, round in shape, about half the size of the Moon, with a bluish tinge, flying rapidly in a direction from Filimonovo towards Irkutsk. The glow left a trail in the form of a pale bluish stripe that extended almost the full length of its course, then gradually vanished from the end. The glow hid itself behind the mountain without breaking up. I was unable to note the duration of the phenomenon, but it was very short. The weather was absolutely clear and it was still.
At that same time, the flight of a heavenly body was observed in the south of the Krasnoyarsk territory, 60 km north of Minusinsk, 930 km from the site of the explosion, but moving along a different trajectory. Roughly at the same time, an object was seen in the region of the Nizhneye-Ilimskoye settlement, 418 km from the explosion site. And then, it has been reliably established, a heavenly body flew over the village of Preobrazhenka, which is on the Nizhniaya (Lower) Tunguska River. And all these objects were flying in the same direction—towards one destination: the Shishkov and Kulik blast areas and Voronov's crater!
The picture that forms from eyewitness accounts clearly shows that the objects observed from various parts of the taiga could not have been meteorites. There were many of them and they followed different trajectories, but towards a single point. Amazingly, the scientists and researchers who so carefully questioned numerous witnesses were unable to spot in their accounts any difference between the behaviour of the meteorite and that of the "terminator spheres" that closed in large numbers from different directions in order to destroy it. It is a well known fact that the flight of a meteorite through the atmosphere is always very short (a matter of seconds) and very fast (between 6 and 22 km per second), at an angle to the Earth's surface along a straight trajectory, leaving a trail of fire and smoke that extends for 200 to 300 km and takes some tens of minutes to disperse.
The reports of researchers and explanations of scientists speak of a single Tunguska object. Yet the eyewitness accounts of the event itself and the evidence gathered by researchers stubbornly indicate that there were several objects in the sky, following different trajectories from different directions, but most significantly moving slowly, parallel to the Earth's surface, sometimes stopping, changing course and speed—in other words, manoeuvring—which entirely excludes the suggestion that the objects seen were comets or meteorites. Meteorites and comets do not fly like that!
Thousands of Observers
Thousands of observers could not have mistaken what they saw, as the sky was cloudless that morning. People living within a radius of over 800 km from the place where the cosmic intruder fell observed the unusual flight of enormous fiery bodies giving off sparks and leaving rainbow trails behind them. The most important point, though, is that they did not all see one and the same object, but different "terminator spheres" that varied in appearance and behaviour.
After the "terminators" were created and disgorged through the Installation's shafts, they began moving to some control point—the place of their last reconnaissance before the destruction of the meteorite. At a certain stage in their flight, the spheres stopped to adjust their position in respect to the falling meteorite and then, tearing off at enormous speed and with a terrible roaring, rushed to meet it.
Below is an extract from the account of a witness who lived in the village of Moga on the Nizhniaya Tunguska, 300 km east of the site of the explosion. It was quoted in Yury Sbitnev's book Echo and speaks for itself.
...I remember that time well—I was eleven then. I got up quite early... It was clear and cloudless... Our house was here, where it still stands, on a hill. I was hammering the scythe.
There I was hitting the scythe, but the sound seemed to come from elsewhere. I froze and as I listened, a real din started. The sky was clear as can be, not a cloud in sight. There were no planes or helicopters back then, of course. It was only later we became familiar with them. But there was this din. It wasn't like a thunderstorm. And it kept building up, rumbling louder...
Suddenly a second sun rolled into the sky. "Ours", that's to say, was beating down on the back of my head, and this one was in my eyes. I couldn't look; everything went black. I shot into the house and that new sun shone in through this window here and moved across the stove like this...
The house stood, like the majority of Russian houses on the northern rivers, with its windows looking east and south. One little window faced northwest and this "sun" was shining through it, colouring the white wall of the big Russian stove crimson. This glow moved from right to left, towards the east. And there was ordinary sunlight coming through the other windows and onto the other wall of the stove.
I looked at the sun blazing down on the stove through that window and my jaw dropped. I had never seen anything like it. And the noise kept on rumbling. There was no relief. My grandfather sat on the stove and began chanting a prayer out loud. He chanted and told me, "Stiopa, let's pray! All of you pray! It's happened... It's come..." [The shamans had warned people about the end of the world.]
What praying? I wanted to run somewhere and there was nowhere. The noise was all around. And a fiery ball was coming at us. It kept creeping across the stove... And then it stopped...
The fiery sphere that appeared in a clear, cloudless sky approached the earth with a growing rumble. It grew as you watched, blazed and became so full of powerful fiery light that it was impossible to look at it. At some elusive instant, the terrible rumbling turned into an incessant roar and the sphere stopped moving, hanging above the ground, like the Sun hangs above the horizon just before sunset. It is hard to establish the length of time it stopped, but the fiery sphere stayed motionless long enough for its immobility to impress itself upon an astounded human mind.
I was afraid to look out of the window, but on the stove I could see that it had stopped. Then suddenly it gave such a burst of speed, flashed across the stove and was gone. The thundering noise was awful. The earth shook. I was knocked to the floor and the glass from the little window was scattered about as if someone had pushed it in... I wasn't down on the floor for long. I jumped up, thinking, "Where's Grandpa? Don't say he's been knocked off!" He was lying on his stomach on the very edge of the stove and kept asking me, "Stiopa, what is it? Stiopa, what is it?" He was wet and white, white... I think the ground was still shaking, the floor shifted under my feet, or perhaps my legs were trembling. It was dreadful!
...Nobody could understand where it had got to, that sun. It had been shining just a moment before. And so strong that the shadows disappeared instantly. And the light, clashing with light, stripped the world of its familiar, pleasant shapes. Everything, from the smallest blade of grass to the cedar tree, suddenly seemed different from how it had always been. Colours vanished; so did the usual three-dimensionality of the world, warmth, tenderness. Our world had gone...
Map of the region showing the flight paths of the different objects. [Click map to enlarge]
Judging by the details of this account, the narrator was very close to a place where a "terminator sphere" had been generated; in other words, in the immediate proximity of one of the pillars of energy (fiery whirlwinds) delivering the "terminator" to the surface.
The account recorded by Sbytnev includes this important element:
Someone saw a fiery pillar as well going down from that fireball, and for an instant there appeared a sort of huge tree with a round, fiery crown. Someone noticed that this raging bundle of light spat out, as it were, one more ball that tore earthwards. Others, though, insisted there had been no second ball, but that blaze, that sun, itself hurled itself down slantwise.
Many saw it and there were many different versions. But everyone was agreed that the movement of that mysterious fiery body stopped and it hung motionless for a time above the ground. And there was a roaring... And then there was something like an explosion—the ground shaking and a rapid movement away, taking off, and the same rumbling, but now dying down, and the fading of the raging fire—less and less, until you could barely make it out in the vast white expanse of sky. Then it was gone and the thunder dropped, lessened and disappeared altogether... It was there—and flew away... [author's emphasis in bold]
The Olonkho Epic
Scattering a blizzard of stone,
Causing lightning to flash,
Causing a four-fold thunder to crash
Niurgun Bootur flew unswerving...
A careful study of the Olonkho prompts an important conclusion. Some elements of the epos describe a pattern that precisely reflects the phases in the development of events that periodically occur above the Siberian tundra. It becomes clear why the Olonkho texts contain such amazing echoes of the eyewitness accounts. Here are some more lines from the Olonkho:
At a distance of three days' journey
You can see the smoke rising,
Spreading out above like a mushroom.
The land around grew covered
With dust and ash.
The smoke swirled,
Thick and black,
Rose to the sky in a dark cloud,
Obscuring the sunlight.
At different times this scenario has been witnessed by thousands of people. Among the more interesting accounts of this nature is a report by the Dutch Ambassador, Baron de Bij, which I. V. Bogatyrev found in the State Naval Archive of the USSR:
On 2 (13) April 1716, on the second day after the Easter festival, around 9 in the evening there appeared in a pure, cloudless sky a most brilliant meteor, the gradual development of which is attached hereto.
In the northeastern part of the sky there rose first from the horizon a very dense cloud, pointed towards the top and broad at the base. It rose so quickly that in no more than three minutes it reached half the height to the zenith.
At the very moment when the dark cloud appeared, in the northwest there appeared a huge shining comet that rose to 12º above the horizon, and then from the north another dark cloud arose, from the west, rapidly rising to the cloud that approached it somewhat slower. Between these two clouds in the northeast a bright light formed in the shape of a column, that for several minutes did not change its position, while the cloud that appeared from the west moved to meet it with exceptional speed and collided with the other cloud with such terrible force that [there was] a broad flame in the sky from their collision and [this] was accompanied by smoke, while the glow extended from the northeast right to the west. The real smoke ascended to 20º above the horizon, while the rays of flame intersected it constantly in all directions, just as if there was a battle taking place between many navies and armies.
This prodigy continued for a full quarter of an hour in its most dazzling form and then began to dim little by little and finished with the appearance of a host of bright arrows that reached to 80º above the horizon. The cloud that had appeared in the east dispersed. After it, the other vanished completely, so that by 10 in the evening the sky had again become clear and shone with glistening stars.
One cannot imagine how terrifying this phenomenon was at the moment when the two clouds collided, when they both shattered, as it were, from the mighty blow, and when they were also accompanied with exceptional speed by a host of small clouds headed westwards. The flame that flew from them was like claps of thunder, exceptionally bright and dazzling.
High-Tech Genius behind the Installation
Analysing the consequences of the explosions that have taken place above the Siberian taiga in the past 100 years, you get a heart-wrenching sense of gratitude and awe towards the intellectual power of those who, thousands of years ago, built a complex to defend our beautiful blue planet and all her inhabitants. Even the first blow, struck when a meteorite is still many kilometres above the Earth, causes enough of a deflection in its flight path to shift all that subsequently occurs, and all the consequences of the explosions that destroy the meteorite take place away from densely populated places to a less dangerous area!
Check out Part Five of this marvellous series.