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Atomic veteran recalls x-ray experience

During the late 1950s, some soldiers were exposed to nuclear blasts in the hope of hardening them to repeated radiation exposure.

It was an awesome force. A nuclear bomb thrusts so much air away from its center that it creates a vacuum moments later that sucks wind back in until it can achieve normal air pressure. The rushing blowback can hit onlookers like a wooden bat to the stomach.

And when the blast went off, Robertson saw something that has been emblazoned forever in his memory. He says he could see through his gloves and flesh all the way to his bones. He can’t explain this brief X-ray vision, but the image shook him so deeply that he didn’t talk about it until decades later, when he heard other atomic veterans of that era report similar phenomena they attribute to radiation exposure.

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