boing boing That mercury oxide (and anything else reasonably described as such) is useless for blowing stuff up matters little to buyers who shell out fabulous sums on a hoax. by Rob Beschizza
'Though red mercury is named in Renaissance alchemical texts, the myth's modern origins as a kind of homepathic neutron bomb are rooted in the Cold War. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the resulting chaos and fear of nuclear proliferation set fire to the legend.
'Other "theories" include that it's simply a Soviet codeword for lithium-6, a legitimate element used in fusion bombs, or for a ballotechnic so effective it could be used as an alternative to the fission primary.
'According to RationalWiki, the legend of Red Mercury reached such a fever pitch that it was widely believed that the South African government was using it in their legendary nuclear weapons programme.'
ARTICLE: "For decades, aspiring bomb makers — including ISIS — have desperately tried to get their hands on a lethal substance called red mercury."