The phantom cosmonauts of the USSR
The Lost Cosmonauts or Phantom Cosmonauts are the subjects of a conspiracy theory that some Soviet cosmonauts have been to space, but their existence has never been publicly acknowledged by Soviet or Russian space authorities.
Proponents of the Lost Cosmonauts theory claim that the Soviet Union attempted to launch manned spaceflight before Yuri Gagarin’s first spaceflight, and that the cosmonauts on board died during those attempts.
At the dawn of the space race, the United States and the Soviet Union were neck and neck in claiming the skies for their own glorious empires, but as missions followed one another to snatch the secrets of the universe to the stars, rumors began to circulate that some of the explorers launched into the skies never returned.
These people are known as “lost cosmonauts”. The lost cosmonaut theory begins, oddly enough, in Italy with two brothers named Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia.
The Judica-Cordiglia brothers
The brothers were radio amateurs and were previously known for picking up Sputnik transmissions and even the heartbeats of the Soviet space dog, Laika, aboard Sputnik II (Laika herself is a missing cosmonaut).
On November 28, 1960, the brothers were alerted by something strange. An East German observatory has announced that it has picked up a strange signal on Soviet space frequencies.
When the Cordiglias tuned into this frequency, they picked up what sounded like an SOS signal from a hand. Most disturbing about this signal was that it showed virtually no relative velocity, which could only mean one thing: it was heading straight away from the planet. As the brothers listened, the signal weakened until it died out.
The brothers had apparently just discovered evidence that a Soviet space capsule had veered off course and drifted permanently into space with a cosmonaut on board.
Two months later, the brothers detected another transmission. This time it seemed to be the labored breathing of an unconscious man and a beating heart. When they played the recording to their father, a cardiologist, he speculated that the heartbeats were those of a man in cardiac arrest.
Two days later, the Soviets announced the failure of the re-entry of a large unmanned spacecraft.
In April 1961, the brothers pick up transmissions from Yuri Gargarin, the first person to officially orbit the Earth. The story was not over. In fact, the most disturbing chapter was yet to come. In May 1961, they picked up a new transmission.
It was the voice of a woman speaking in Russian. Although she seems calm and professional, her tone becomes increasingly tense and panicked as the transmission continues and eventually stops.
The translation is: “Isn’t it dangerous? Talk to me ! Our transmission begins now. I am hot. I can see a flame. Am I going to crash? Yes. I’m hot, I’m going home…”