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The Pharaohs Serpent Is The Creepiest And Weordest Chemical Reaction Ever

Even though it looks like the devil is reaching through the ground from underneath the Earth to grab a victim, you can’t look away. Even though it looks like some alien tentacle snake is burning itself and trying to attack you, you can’t help but stare.


It’s the Pharaoh’s Serpent (or Black Snake firework) and it’s an old science experiment that’s always so, so gross to look at. The disgusting, growing mutant arm coil thing is actually just Mercury thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2) getting lit on fire.

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Here is how to make the Pharaoh’s Serpent

Warning!

This experiments requires the handling of dangerous and volatile chemicals. It must only be carried out in a fumehood or outdoors.

All chemicals must be disposed of properly. Everything will be contaminated with mercury/mercury salts. NOTHING CAN GO DOWN THE DRAIN OR IN THE GARBAGE. Only carry out this experiment if you can dispose of the chemicals and combustion products properly.

Every step of this synthesis deals with dangerous or toxic materials. Gloves, safety glasses and a lab coat are mandatory.