In a far off region of Siberia, known as Tungunska, an event occurred early in the last century that has caused much debate and quite of bit of conjecture and head-scratching. In 1908, in this remote location, something happened in an ancient forest which leveled 2,150 kilometers of trees. The blast was equal to 10-15 megatons, or 770-1155 Hiroshimas.

Since then, many wild and crazy theories were presented on the cause of such a force. Some speculated that it was a mini-black hole that did it. Some suggested that a UFO crash landed in the middle of the forest. Others even guessed that it was a laser from a planet in the constellation Cygnus. And there were theories on antimatter explosions, government cover-ups, electromagnetic storms, ball lightning, and so on ad nauseum.

One of the more interesting theories is one that blames it all on Nikola Tesla. Tesla, who is famous for his experiments with electricity, among other things, was driven at one point with the idea of fixing all of mankind’s problems by finding a method of transferring energy without power lines. One of his experiments was the construction of the Death Ray Tower on Long Island. People living near the tower reported strange glowing from the tower, lightbulbs producing light when not turned on, and generators producing energy without having been started. In 1915, he announced that the transfer of electric energy without power lines and the use of such technology as a destructive force was possible and that he had even constructed such a machine.

What made this event interesting was not only the size, but that there was no crater AND that trees where the crater should have been were not crushed as they were for miles around, but were still standing upright and stripped of all branches. Witnesses to the event had described a huge object extremely bright moving downward for approximately 10 minutes. The explosion knocked people off their feet and shattered windows for miles around. The impact was registered all the way in Great Britain. One hunter described it this way: “Don’t you believe that it was God flying there, there the Devil flew. There was a chock of bright light, two eyes in front and behind, fire.”

The curse of the devil or not, what really happened has been pieced together by several expeditions and confirmed by modern science. This year, the Deep Impact probe found that a comet was not solid as previously thought, but made up of loose dust and ice. A similarly formed meteorite caused the Tugunska event. A heavier meteorite would have impacted, but the compressive force acting upon a non-solid meteorite caused it to exploded several kilometers above the Earth. The flattened trees lying outwards from the middle with standing trees in the epicenter was also seen in Japan after the bombs were detonated above the surface of the earth. An expedition in the 50’s and 60’s found tiny glass spheres with content similar to those in other meteorite sites.

As disappointed as the Tesla fans will be, it was not he that blew over the forest. Aliens were not trying to contact us from Venus (who would send that kind of calling card anyway), and as controversial as it is, the conspiracy theorists can’t blame it on the government. It was simply a big dirt clod that exploded and flattened a forest.