The mystery of the collapse of the “Egyptian bridge” in Saint-Petersburg

There is in Petersburg one amazing bridge of Egypt, which since its appearance surrounded by legends and rumors. Their new surge happened on 20 January 1905, after his sudden collapse. This bridge that connects the Fontanka river, was opened in August 1826 and was then chain. Three strands of chains, resting on a high iron gate, kept the 55-meter span.

At its core, the chain design Egyptian bridge was a lighter copy of the design of St. Panteleimon. “St. Petersburg newspaper” on 18 January 1901, wrote about the Egyptian bridge: “the Singing bridge… When you drive by it, his chains make a variety of plaintive sounds. Sings whether he himself is a funeral song?” Interesting observation, isn’t it? Now why would a journalist for four years and two days before the collapse to ask such a question?

General questions about Egyptian bridge are not considered. One of them (and the answer is a long time to find historians of St. Petersburg) is why was it necessary to build such a beautiful bridge away from the main part of St. Petersburg? In use, the bridge repaired a few times, including in 1904 The more mysterious it appears the collapse. That day shortly after noon the bridge was held 3-d squadron of the life guards Horse-Grenadier regiment.

Meet wheeled carriages, was pulled loaded carts were the people… the vanguard of the squadron was already out on the other side of the Fontanka river, when suddenly there was a loud crash, and in an instant the bridge stood safely for nearly 80 years, fell down with people, breaking the weight of the ice. Fortunately, none of the 55 people seriously injured. Was saved and almost all horses.

Press contemporaries about the event.

Today at 12 ½ hours. day in pursuit of the life guards horse-Grenadier regiment through the Egyptian chain bridge over the Fontanka, from the Mogilev street to Novo-Petergofsky prospect, in that moment, when the head part of the regiment had approached the opposite Bank, the bridge collapsed. Who were ahead of officers had to rush to the shore, the lower ranks, in the amount of two platoons, marching in formation right 3 in a row, along with horses (fell) into the water. Fell also into the water passing in the opposite direction, one dray, and four passenger cab with no riders and a few pedestrians. The whole flooring of the bridge with railing and bonds, breaking chains and breaking part of the cast-iron supports, broke the ice and ended up on the bottom of the river. 2 o’clock the men and horses were recovered from the water. Victims were sent to the nearest emergency room and to the infirmary of the Nikolaev artillery school. Seriously injured, according to official reports, was not. Of the horses one sank, two were mutilated and dragged ashore, shot. The cause of unhappiness, as suggested, swinging bridge cavalry not quite a solid construction.

The cause of the collapse was quick to call a resonance effect. They say rhythmic step many people called harmonic oscillations, matched according to the frequency of intrinsic vibrations of the bridge. However, there are eyewitness accounts that the grenadiers moved on horseback, but horses are not known to go “up”.

Then a version of the inner shell in one of the chains, but it is not supported by calculations. When using scientific methods to explain the collapse of the bridge failed, began to appear the version from the mystical to the fantastic. For example, there is a legend that near the bridge there lived a postmaster’s daughter Maria, defrauded and abandoned by the officer.

That day she saw in a window as the bridge goes the same regiment, which served as her assailant, and in the hearts shouted: “So you, military, for crying out loud!” Since then Maria Ratner earned the nickname “Mary of Egypt”. I remembered that the bridge was lined with granite blocks excavated from the ditches of the walls of the Mikhailovsky castle. And he enjoyed among the people a bad reputation, saying that granite for the construction was taken from the ancient temple, which aroused the wrath of the gods. And many throughout the incident accused of sphinxes. And although they had nothing to do with Ancient Egypt is irrelevant, they are still popularly credited with mystical powers.

It was said that the sphinxes are singing funeral songs. Remember that the chains that held the bridge, did make different sounds. In General, to the real reasons for the strange collapse so no one got to the bottom. However, the question of what really could happen on that day over the frozen Fontanka, left. And I think he found the answer. To clarify the reasons for the collapse need to remember that a little earlier Petersburg was shocked by another mysterious event: 12 June 1903 in the house on the street Zhukovsky, 37, in his home laboratory in an apartment on the fifth floor, was found dead a well-known scientist M. M. Filippov.

Office window, overlooking the street, was open and on the desktop stood a device is plugged in. The police immediately commenced a thorough search. Detectives even stripped Wallpaper and probing the upholstery of upholstered furniture. All the papers marked the Professor carefully gathered. During the search, an incident occurred that gave rise to the later wave of fantastic rumors: one of the officers moved a lever, and a second later in the area of the Bolshaya Okhta there was the sound of a type of thunder. Meanwhile in the sky was not cloudless.

And soon news spread that exploded the stone outbuilding at Bolsheokhtinsky Prospekt. Witnesses said that at first they heard a terrible crash, the wall of the wing ran the crack, and up sprang huge flame. The two were killed. Such a strange coincidence forced us to reinterpret the letter Filippov sent on June 11 to the editor of “St. Petersburg Vedomosti”. It was the following: “it is surprising, but the other day I made a discovery, practical development of which would effectively abolish war. We are talking about the invention of my method of electrical transmission to a distance waves of the explosion, and… this transfer possible at a distance of thousands of kilometers…

Method is amazingly simple and cheap. But in this war in the distance… the war is actually crazy and needs to be abolished…”. Talking about that Filippov has invented a device which emitted the “devil” rays, and already tried it on the barren shore of the Gulf. This apparatus was installed on the laboratory table in his apartment. Detective, inadvertently switching lever, released the “devil” rays at will. The police, however, kept silent.

Only later leaked information that all the manuscripts of the scientist, as well as devices brought from his office, were destroyed. Professor Filippov — philosopher, economist, mathematician, chemist-experimenter, a translator and writer, did not belong to the category of armchair scientists. Being a staunch opponent of autocracy, he did welcome revolutionary students, and indeed for many years was under police surveillance. The main business of life Filippova was to be his last invention. According to some researchers, the Professor has invented a ray gun, notorious hyperboloid.

Others considered that the basis of the discoveries was the phenomenon of parametric resonance. Burning a pinch of powder in front of a small specially-tuned radiating antenna, the scientist endured a “program” of the explosion for many miles from the lab. Changing the selection of electromagnetic “bursts” allowed to act even on non-combustible material, e.g. stone or brick walls. In thicker material, there was a rapid ozone, and the monolith in a matter of seconds was split into parts (the wing on the Okhta). In this case, the Filippov machine should be called “resonance gun”. Truly it was an irresistible weapon, from the effects of which there was no protection.
According to the famous French popularizer of science Jean Bergier, Filippov was killed by agents of the secret police on direct orders of Nicholas II, who feared that terrible invention may be in the hands of the revolutionaries or terrorists. “Nicholas II, which all together condemned, must be numbered among the saviors of mankind — says Bergier. — The invention Filippova, whether they will use military or revolutionary, is… one of those that can lead to the total collapse of civilization.” However, what does the collapse of the Egyptian bridge? Here’s the answer. In the beginning of the century SRS was created strictly conspiratorial Military organization to combat the autocracy through terror.

In may 1903 it was led by Yevno Azef, has long been a secret police agent. Secret police, Rada that so valuable agent had in circle of the companions infallible way gave him a kind of license to shoot a series of Imperial officials. The game has gone so far that sometimes the police directed the actions of Asef, and he spit it at her own will. It is well known that his plans included the assassination of Nicholas II. The weak point of the militants remained the lack of a failsafe weapon.

And then, if you learned that Filippov close to his creation. However, we had to expect that the Professor will agree to voluntarily cooperate with the bombers despite the revolutionary fervor, Filippov was a staunch opponent of terror. Then azev recruited one of the young assistant Professor was aware of how moves work to create a “hyperboloid”. Finally, “Student” said that a prototype is ready and already tested, however, the Professor is going through the press to make a statement about his discovery. Azev did not fluctuate: if a new weapon is created, the Professor is no longer needed, and bring the product to mind and will be able “Student.”

To carry out the liquidation of a scientist so as not to leave traces, and experienced militants was not difficult. So the police got only scattered rough notes. Why do these men azev was not taken with a device that is unknown. Maybe someone scared him. It is only known that on the basis of stolen materials they managed to collect a new device. And, if you decide to become arbiter. Owning a “hyperboloid” resonance gun, he could influence events on a world scale! At the end of 1904 the unit was assembled: what happened, which is so feared Nicholas II. A suitable occasion presented itself very soon. The ninth of January 1905 in St. Petersburg, was the event known as Bloody Sunday.

The result was the collapse of the idea of “the people and the king”, a surge of hatred for people in uniform. Azev triumphed. Had to choose the time and place to strike the Empire a powerful punch. Meanwhile, the new Governor-General of St. Petersburg D. F. TREPOV with an iron hand suppressed the turmoil. Troops, summoned to the capital from other garrisons, began to return to their barracks. About noon January 20, horse grenadiers were supposed to go to Peterhof through the Egyptian bridge, which was perfectly visible from the Windows of the safe house SRS. It and found the “hyperboloid”. It is invisible and silent barrage was supposed to destroy the bridge, among the grenadiers causing numerous casualties.

And great was the possibility that the site of the disaster the Emperor, who, after suppressing the riot in St. Petersburg were trying to appease the military. It was then followed by a second volley “hyperboloid” — and Russia would be left without a king. Gun worked accurately, the bridge collapsed immediately. But, contrary to expectation, there were no casualties. In addition, the militants caught in the trap of agents of the secret police has long been followed in their trail, keeping under the supervision of the safe house. When the eyes of the detectives collapsed Egyptian bridge, they rushed to the assault. Were captured by cannon-2, and the stolen papers of Professor. So epoch-making invention was buried a second time — and was finally. In the case of azev, then his fate is well known: exposure from the supporters of the party, the sentence, flight abroad, absurd death.

Shortly after the crash on the Fontanka, a special Commission of the municipal administration of the capital surveyed all the bridges were considered emergency another Panteleimon. He is Egyptian and was rebuilt in a brand new way. But the Sphinx remained the same. Silent witness of the history, as they should be by status.

The case of Professor Filippova disappeared during the revolution, when burning a archives. A colorful figure of the inventor was inspired by Aleksey Tolstoy the creation of the image of engineer Garin the Creator of the mysterious hyperboloid. But the secret of “the resonance of the gun” that could bring down the Egyptian bridge, not revealed until now.