Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waves and Radiation: from Moscow, Maine to Moscow, Russia

In the late days of the Cold War, the U.S. Air Force acquired miles of forestland in northern Maine to erect an enormous array of steel antennae, designed to listen over the horizon for aircraft and missiles approaching from beyond the iron curtain.

The installation, ironically enough, was located in a sparsely-populated town called Moscow. The steel towers have since been scrapped, but Dave of paid a visit a few years ago while they were still intact, and got these amazing photos.

Naturally, the Soviets had their own over-the-horizon radar installation pointed at us. That array happens to be located near Chernobyl, inside the Exclusion Zone. It still stands amidst irradiated, wild forests, a mirror-world reflection of Moscow, Maine.

Images from English Russia.

Officially called "Duga," or "Arc," for the shape of its coverage area, this array was known in the western world as the "Russian woodpecker" for the rapid thumps it broadcast into short-wave radio receivers. In the 1970s and 80s, civilian radio enthusiasts in the western world could hear these signals clearly, and were even able to triangulate their source to a location near Kiev. But beyond that, little was officially known.

In this 1982 BBC Horizon documentary, ostensibly about the technologies of Nicola Tesla, a Canadian bureaucrat named Andrew Michrowski speculates that Duga was a "Tesla magnifying transmitter" broadcasting psychoactive waves into the western world to interfere with our brains.

The beginning of this clip provides an audio recording of the woodpecker signal, followed by some entertaining Cold War conspiracy theories:
A partial transcript:
Michrowski: Because it is the same frequency, the same frequency range, and also the same kind of activity that goes on in our brains. That is the terrible thing about the Soviet signal: the capacity to impose on the way people, quote, think. This thinking that I'm talking about is the thinking of being peaceful, the ability to be calm, the ability to rationalize, [they] are all affected from a purely mental point of view by signals of this nature.

Narrator: Is there any defense? This personal transmitter puts out 7.8 cycles a second, which Michrowski says is a natural planetary frequency the body is tuned to. [...]

Michrowski: This is being used as far as we are aware by the German Civil Service... It is mainly a protective mechanism to ensure that the German Civil Servant, especially on external affairs duty, is able to keep his composure, in negotiations especially with other people and other countries. To make sure that they're not influenced.
To the BBC's credit, the documentary gives a more enlightening explanation of over-the-horizon radar technology once Michrowski stops hawking his protective organic radio wave device (at around 3:20 in the clip above). 

These huge radar arrays, one located in the expansive forests of our cold northern frontier, the other located in a radioactive zone of exclusion, don't broadcast any signals any more. But as rusting relics of the 20th century, they still exert a morbid allure, inviting us to speculate about hidden, secret purposes they might once have had.

Years after the end of the Cold War, after the power has been shut down, their psychoactive properties finally begin to take root, affecting our thoughts and imaginations — not with a pulsing radio signal, but with the eerie quiet of an empty meadow and rusted wires stirring in the breeze.

I hope to visit the Moscow site later this summer, and hopefully to find some good local lore about the site. I'll keep you posted on this blog.

1 comment:

Turbo said...

Like a 20th century Fort Gorges...