Evidence of the mysterious blast 13 years after the cataclysmic explosion.
Resident Semen Semenov's eyewitness account at Vanavara the nearest settlement 40 miles to the south, remains fascinating to read:
"At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara factory facing North. [...] I suddenly saw that directly to the North, over Onkoul's Tunguska road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire Northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn't bear it, as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat."
"I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few yards. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered…"
Had the following unexplained incident occurred today, even in the slightly relaxed atmosphere of the post-Cold War, it would have probably triggered World War Three. Fortunately, the greatest hammer blow from space to hit our Earth since prehistoric times happened when the 20th century was barely eight years old. Even today, scientists are still at loggerheads as regards to the nature of the extraterrestrial object which shook the world after exploding in the skies of pre-Revolutionary Russia.
The momentous event happened at 7.15 a.m. local time on the last day of June 1908. At that precise moment, an object brighter than the morning sun ripped through the atmosphere over Siberia. A trainload of passengers on the trans-Siberian railway stared in horror at the towering pillar of flame roared through the clear blue skies at a phenomenal velocity of around one mile per second. The sonic boom given off by the sky invader shook the railway track, convincing the engine driver that one of his coaches had been derailed. The driver jammed on the brakes and as the train screeched to a grating halt, the mysterious fiery object thundered north. The trembling train passengers listened in relief as the overhead danger became fainter, and many of them looked out the windows of the carriages and eyed the vapour trail with bafflement.
Almost 350 miles to the north of the train, the nomadic hunting tribes of the Evenki people felt the ground shake violently as they witnessed what seemed to be a second sun racing across the heavens. Only this sun seemed to be cyclindrical. By now, the immense apocalyptic object had been seen to change course as if it was being controlled or steered.
After passing over the terrified travellers of the trans-Siberian train, the object made a forty-five degree right turn and travelled 150 miles before performing an identical manoeuvre in the other direction. The tubular shaped object then proceeded for another 150 miles before exploding over the Tunguska valley. The detonation occurred at a height of five miles, and the 12-megatonne explosion (it might have even been 30 megatonne) destroyed everything within a radius of 20 miles.