Did Japanese Supercult Aum Shinrikyo detonate an atomic bomb at their research facility in the Australian Outback?

Shoko Asahara, figurehead of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, ordered (amongst other acts of terror) the release of Sarin, a nerve toxin, into a public subway killing 12 and hurting thousands in an attempt to usher in the apocalypse.

On the night of May 28th, deep in the dark still of the Australian outback, a blast of several megatons fractured the calm of the desert and blasted shock waves outward across hundreds of miles of red land. Long-distance truck drivers traversing the region, as well as gold prospectors at a nearby camp saw the dark star-filled sky illuminated by numerous bright flashes, and many reported hearing a distant rumble of loud explosions. One nearby camp reported the blast knocking beer cans off a table.

The incident might have been lost to history if it wasn’t for the interest of investigators from the United States and Australian governments who eventually came to wonder if the blast was the work of the Japanese doomsday cult accused of the poison-gas attack on Tokyo subways in 1995 that killed 12 people and hurt thousands.

The fear was that the group had acquired nuclear arms or other weapons of mass destruction and had been testing them that night in the Australian wilds.

The Aum Shinrikyo, or Supreme Truth had at this point were reported to have accumulated some $1 billion and to have won more than 50,000 converts in at least six countries. They also happened to own a 500,000 acre plot of land near the reported blast zone. The location is where they had apparently perfected their sarin gas deployment in preparation for the grisly 1995 attack, as evidence showed that they practiced their nerve gas on sheep at the compound. 

Signs pointing toward Banjawarn Station, once owned by the Aum Shinrikyo.

Seismic observatories in Australia tracked the reported 1993 explosions to a location 28.47 degrees south latitude, 121.73 degrees east longitude, a remote area near the cult's ranch.

Once investigation into the group began after the subway attack, a little less than two years after the mysterious explosion, authorities seized the land. Investigators found research facilities, computers, chemicals, gas masks, and curiously; a large cache of mining equipment used to extract material from a known uranium deposit on the site.

A US Senate-ordered investigation revealed the cult had recruited at least two nuclear scientists in Russia in the early nineties.

Notebooks seized from the location showed the group wanted to procure the “ultimate munition”. In one entry believed to be scribbled by the head of the scientific wing of the group asked, “How much is a nuclear warhead?”, and listed several prices.

Documents seized from the location include some 10 pages apparently written prior to acquisition of the location that refer to the whereabouts of Australian properties rich in uranium, including one reference praising the high quality of the ore.

Investigators noted that earthquakes were very rare in the region and that mining explosions were illegal at night. “I currently believe that a nuke is a very real possibility but a meteorite and an earthquake cannot be ruled out either,” a lead investigator wrote.

Subsequent reports detailed that the blast was 170 times larger than the largest mining explosion ever recorded in the Australian region, helping rule out the possibility.

The US is still researching the possibility of an atomic bomb, and there is some evidence the group was looking into a Nikola Tesla-esque earthquake machine.