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Hey, Come Look at this Collection of Actual, Historical, Weird Spy Equipment

Stupid Human Tricks

Yup, that’s an assassination umbrella, designed to infect a target with a toxic pellet of ricin, killing them slowly over a few days. It was last used on Georgi Markov, BBC reporter and Bulgarian defector, in 1978. If the Huffington Post’s article on “Spy, the Secret World of Espionage,” a travelling exhibit opening in New York this weekend, is any indication of the content of the exhibit, it’ll be interesting juxtapositions between little used James-Bondy items like this, and hard information on actual spywork. Like this quote from one of the major contributors to the exhibit’s collection: “New York is a hotbed of spies. There are more spies at the U.N. than diplomats.”

Anyway, lets look at some more stuff.

Here’s a poison laced pin hidden in a silver dollar, intended as a way for a captured operative to escape torture… through suicide.

And here’s a one-man submarine, designed in World War II to sneak into Singapore harbor and plant mines on Japanese ships.

As H. Keith Melton, the aforementioned contributor, adroitly puts it, “[Espionage in] pop culture is about two things — assassination and seduction. [Espionage in] the real world is about information and communication. The sad thing is information and communication don’t sell movies.” The exhibit also has examples of how spies managed to communicate in secret,

Whether it’s false bricks,

Or false dead rats,

Both used in Moscow in the sixties, as places that no one would ever suspect held items of value.

See more at Huffpo.

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.