Death rays. The very words invoke images of scientific super weapons.
Death rays through the years
America has been fascinated with the concept of death rays since at least as far back as the 1930s when the press fell into a frothing frenzy after brilliant-and sometimes quirky—inventor Nikola Telsa alluded he had invented one that would forever change the shape of war.
Hollywood picked up the trend and incorporated death rays into their serials, most notably the Flash Gordon series.
After that, the death ray train left the station after many jumped aboard it. Everyone was working on death rays or knew of someone that was—secreted in hidden labs or deep inside the dimly lit dungeons of America's enemies.
The Soviets were working on a death ray…the Nazi Reich had one within their grasp…but never fear, the U.S. Army Air Force announced it was testing one too!
Then after the world entered the Atomic Age death rays faded away.
After a hiatus of more than a decade the laser was invented and death rays suddenly became a popular topic again.
Nowadays the media drags out death rays sporadically. It's an interesting subject if there's not enough UFO stories or Chupacabra sightings to provide filler for the empty space available in the more obscure columns of daily newspapers.
A death ray comes to Indiana
Self-styled inventor and future mad scientist, Eric Jacqmain, 19, got a brainstorm. He plastered a big fiberglass satellite dish with nearly 6,000 mirror-faced tiles and set about to build his own backyard death ray.
It works. The device projects a horrific beam with the intensity of 5,000 suns, yet is barely five feet, nine inches high and measures a mere 42 inches across.
The Indiana teenager has proudly christened his super weapon the "R5800 solar death ray."
Awesome video demonstration
Seeing the awesome power of the R5800 in operation, Jacqmain got a second brainstorm. He rushed to make a video of the deadly beam's amazing destructive power: it can melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant, according to the UK Daily Mail.
Since he posted the YouTube video more than one million people have watched the death ray device put through its paces.
Jacqmain provides a lively narrative on the video to accompany the vaporization of various objects. During one point he says "I drilled a small hole in the dish and glued a piece of PVC pipe on the back. Light shines through the hole and hits the translucent plastic on the end of the pipe. All I had to do was aim the dish once and mark the spot. As long as the target doesn't conduct heat away too fast it will melt or vaporize just about anything eventually."
And vaporize it does. If the thing could be maneuvered next to a tank the military weapon would be in a world of trouble.
"I have vaporized before carbon, which occurs above 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit," the teenager boasts.
New version to have 32,000 mirrors
Sadly, R5800 death ray was recently destroyed when a mysterious fire broke out in the storage shed that housed it.Jacqmain thinks it "committed suicide" by somehow having its own power turned against it.
But the American spirit shall not be suppressed. The intrepid inventor vows to build a bigger, better version—a version so frighteningly powerful that it can vaporize…well, who knows?
"The goal," he confides, "is to use about 32,000 mirrors this time."