#ColdWitch History Lessons Featuring The Witch Who Came In From the Cold

Assassination Umbrellas, Exploding Paint Sets…and Dead Drop Rats? More Strange Declassified Spy Gear from the Cold War

The best spies are the ones no one knows about.

Oleg Penkovsky, a Soviet military intelligence officer who spied for the U.S. and Britain in the early 1960s, is one of the most valuable double agents to work with the U.S. This is largely due to the hugely important Soviet missile secrets he provided to the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

A U.S. Navy chief warrant officer named John Walker has the dubious distinction of being the most damaging spy in U.S. history. He offered to sell secrets to the KGB in the 1970s, earning him the KGB-bequeathed codename “number 1.” By the time he was arrested in 1985, he had recruited his best friend, his brother, and his son into his spy ring.

Of the many devices these spies used, some are certainly more creative than others. Take a look at some of the stranger spy gear we’ve come across in our #ColdWitch research journey:


Time-Delay Pencil Detonators:
With these bad boys, you could even get away BEFORE the explosion.






Dead Drop Rat:
Rats’ hollowed-out bodies served as an effective dead drop for money, notes and other contraband being moved around Moscow.





Suicide Pin:
If a CIA operative were caught, he could choose capture or death by this pin. When twisted the right way, the silver dollar would unleash a pin coated in saxitoxin. Its user would die in seconds from the poison.





Check out the rest of these bizarre spy devices here.

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