Testing Explosives from The Anarchist Cookbook

wrote an article for the technology issue
of “Vice” about “The Anarchist Cookbook”. And if you don’t know what “The
Anarchist Cookbook” is, it was written in 1971
by a 19-year-old named William Powell. It was a response to the Vietnam
War and a type of field manual for civil
unrest at the time. And it contains stuff like how
to make TNT, how to kill people with your bare hands,
firearms knowledge, and all sorts of fun stuff. A few years later he actually
became a born again Christian and requested that the book be
taken off the shelves and taken out of print. Unfortunately for him he
didn’t have that luxury because he sold the original
copyright to the publisher and today you can still buy
the thing on Amazon. Somewhere around the mid-1980s
things took kind of an interesting turn with
the heyday of bulletin board systems. Someone compiled this list of
instructions on how to make low-grade explosives and stuff
like flaming tennis balls, and just general malcontent shit. And somewhere along the line
they appropriated William Powell’s original title “The
Anarchist Cookbook” and people started calling it that even
though it had very little resemblance to the original. A lot of people know about “The
Anarchist Cookbook” but I don’t know too many people that
have actually tried the entries out for themselves, and
they’re rumored to be very dangerous and incomplete
and incorrect. So I thought it would be a good
idea to head out to a warehouse in Brooklyn and just
blow some shit up and see if there was any merit
to these recipes. [MUSIC PLAYING] ROCCO CASTORO: It’s pretty
simple here. You just take Strike
Anywhere matches– just going to be cutting
the match heads off. I think we figured out that for
each tennis ball you need about 3,000 match heads. And you want to cut in maybe a
quarter of an inch, and get a split tennis ball. Let’s do some sandpaper now. Literally drop your
matches in there. Just in case Strike Anywhere
match-filled tennis balls don’t explode like we hope,
we’re going to have a plan B. And we’re breaking apart some
bottle rockets, getting the black powder out, and we’re
going to make a combination of matches and black powder
in one of the balls. We don’t know how many parts
powder compared to how many parts matches we should be
using, so we’re just going to fill up the entire
fucking thing. ED ZIPCO: Black powder. ROCCO CASTORO: Yeah, I mean
we’re going to need to pack it with a lot of the– ED ZIPCO: Sandpaper? ROCCO CASTORO: The
sandpaper then. Maybe a little bit
of cardboard. We just need it like filler,
essentially. This is going to be test one
of the flaming tennis ball. OK we’re going to use the
experimental version packed with black powder
and match heads. – Whoa! [LAUGHTER] [MUSIC PLAYING] ROCCO CASTORO: I mean this was
kind of silly to begin with– make blow darts out of
these pipes, and yarn, and pencil erasers. Those are the directions and I
suspected it wasn’t really going to do anything. So basically you just take a
pencil eraser, push it down to the end of the dart, which
serves as a kind of a stopper here. You want to make sure you have,
I think these are called beaded needles, with
the hole in them. Some yarn which is going to act
as kind of like a feather. Kind of stupid and silly– I didn’t really think it was
going to work that well, and it really doesn’t. I don’t know why anybody would
really make one of these. Certainly couldn’t defend
yourself or hurt anybody with it. I think it’s safe to say that
this was definitely a failure, and “The Anarchist Cookbook”,
whoever wrote it, just wasn’t thinking. [FAST MUSIC PLAYING] Apparently, if you make a pound
of this, it will fill up an entire city block
with smoke. Going to need four
parts sugar, six parts potassium nitrate. It’s pretty simple. Got here in your hot plate,
you can use your stove if you’re a little daring,
I guess. Very low heat. [MUSIC PLAYING] ED ZIPCO: This is the first time
where I felt like we’re really cooking up something. It’s like fucking foul. Oh wow. ROCCO CASTORO: This is what
the saltpeter and sugar mixture turned into. We’ve got wicks and
matches in it. We’ll see what happens. If it smells as bad as it does
now when it starts smoking then we’re all in
for a bad night. – Whoa! – Put it out. – That’s awesome. ROCCO CASTORO: Basically the
idea here, you’ve got the BB gun, you’ve got the
can of hairspray. And what theoretically this is
supposed to do, at least what “The Anarchist Cookbook” says
it’ll do, is spark the matches, also puncture the
bottom of this can, and send it down the road. We’re not doing it outside
because there’s a school across the street. Because we just think it’s
going to explode. ED ZIPCO: Dude, Nick? His fucking buddy, ah what the
fuck was it, they threw a keg into a campfire. One kid got decapitated. ROCCO CASTORO: What? ED ZIPCO: It was for
real, fucking like proper murder charges. They charged everybody, everyone
who was involved. It was like a fucking thing. People got really fucked up. ROCCO CASTORO: Who was this? ED ZIPCO: One dude gone. Nick. He was here earlier. Shrapnel ain’t a fucking joke. [MUSIC PLAYING] LOU: Did that hurt? Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t! Seriously! Ow! Back up if you’re
going to do it. Back up [INAUDIBLE]. ROCCO CASTORO: This is what we
call the down the road rocket, and what “The Anarchist
Cookbook” calls the down the road rocket. We’ve attached ours
to a skateboard. It’s a little modification. We don’t think it’s going to
work, but if it doesn’t work, we’re going to either put some
napalm in the back, or figure out a way to do it. [MUSIC – LIVEFASTDIE,
“WEAPONS”] – What are we going to do now? LOU: Another one of these. But we’re gonna light
the matches. Whoa, shit! ROCCO CASTORO: Simple
ingredients for napalm. Basically, take gasoline,
put it in a bucket. Put as much Styrofoam as
the gasoline will eat. So just keep feeding it the
Styrofoam until it stops dissolving. You’ll end up with a really nice
little goo that you can spread on your baby sister,
or a car, or somebody and burn forever. And it doesn’t go out so make
sure whatever you’re burning you don’t want. And you’re able to control it
somehow– either be a big open space or some kind of space
blanket you can throw over it because I don’t know what
else will put it out. ED ZIPCO: Yeah, but if we
mash it down first, and we flatten it– MILES: Like that? ED ZIPCO: Yeah, look at that. [MUSIC PLAYING] [INAUDIBLE] – That’s awesome! LANDLORD: Hey guys? As soon as you can, you should
turn that off because if the sprinklers go off, all our
equipment gets damaged, and that’s quite a bit of– – OK. OK. OK Can we turn it on? – Yeah, but we’re not
turning it on. -No we’re not. [MUSIC PLAYING] – That’s badass. – That is so fucked up. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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