Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Weird: Phantom Cosmonauts

Shoutout to one of my best friends, Kim, for sending me the info for this post. I had never heard about lost or phantom cosmonauts until her email, but after I did the readings and research, it's clear this is definitely a Wednesday Weird post.

So. Phantom Cosmonauts.

There's a theory that Soviet cosmonauts entered space in secret, without their existence acknowledged by Soviet authorities.

First off, even proponents of the Phantom Cosmonauts theory agree that Yuri Gagarin was the first man to survive space travel (4/12/61) but there are claims that the Soviet Union attempted to launch two or more manned space flights before that, and that at least two cosmonauts died in the attempts.




Another cosmonaut, Vadimir Ilyushin is rumored to have landed and been held by the Chinese government. The Soviets supposedly hid this information, to prevent bad publicity during the the Cold War. Ilyushin died in 2010 and he never confirmed nor denied anything.

One of the main issues is, though, that the evidence supporting the Phantom Cosmonaut theory is generally not regarded as conclusive, and several cases have been confirmed as hoaxes. But what is known as fact is that the Soviet Union spent A LOT of time covering up a lot of stuff during the Cold War to make themselves look better. That's a proven fact, so really, covering up failed, manned spaceflights isn't at all outside the realm of possibility.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, tons of previously restricted info became available, including on Valentin Bondarenko, an early cosmonaut whose death on Earth the Soviet government covereup.

In 1960, Heinlein wrote in his article Pravda means 'Truth' that on May 15, 1960, while traveling in the Soviet Union, he was told by Red Army cadets that the Soviet Union had launched a man into orbit that day, but that later the same day it was denied by officials. Apparently, no issues of Pravda could be found Soviet cities for that date. Heinlein wrote that there was an orbital launch, later said to be unmanned, on that day, but that the retro-rockets had fired at the wrong altitude, making recovery efforts unsuccessful.

Now onto some of the more creepier evidence. Because you know what? Space is effing terrifying, even without aliens or other creepy stuff.

On May 19, 1961, the Torre Bert listening station in northern Italy said they picked up a transmission of a woman's voice, sounding confused and frightened as her craft began to break up upon reentry. Theorists state this may be the voice of Slavic Cosmonaut Ludmila Tokov who would have been the first woman in space (beating Valentina Tereshkova by 2 years and Sally Ride by more than 20).

I'm not going to lie, this recording creeped me the hell out. I don't know why, but it did. And usually I'm a rock about this kind of stuff. You have been warned (translation below the video)
 


 
Translation: five...four...three ...two...one...one
two...three...four...five...come in... come in... come in...
LISTEN...LISTEN! ...COME IN! COME IN... COME IN... TALK TO ME!
TALK TO ME!... I AM HOT!... I AM HOT!
WHAT?... FORTYFIVE?... WHAT?... FORTYFIVE?... FIFTY?...
YES...YES...YES... BREATHING...BREATHING... OXYGEN...
OXYGEN... I AM HOT... (THIS) ISN'T THIS DANGEROUS?... IT'S ALL...
ISN'T THIS DANGEROUS?... IT'S ALL...
YES...YES...YES... HOW IS THIS? WHAT?... TALK TO ME!...
HOW SHOULD I TRANSMIT? YES...YES...YES...
WHAT? OUR TRANSMISSION BEGINS NOW...
FORTYONE... THIS WAY... OUR TRANSMISSION BEGINS NOW...
FORTYONE... THIS WAY... OUR TRANSMISSION BEGINS NOW...
FORTYONE... YES... I FEEL HOT... I FEEL HOT... IT'S ALL... IT'S HOT...
I FEEL HOT... I FEEL HOT... I FEEL HOT... ... I CAN SEE A FLAME!... WHAT?...
I CAN SEE A FLAME!... I CAN SEE A FLAME!...
I FEEL HOT... I FEEL HOT... THIRTYTWO... THIRTYTWO... FORTYONE... FORTYONE

AM I GOING TO CRASH?... YES...YES... I FEEL HOT!...
I FEEL HOT!... I WILL REENTER!... I WILL REENTER...
I AM LISTENING!... I FEEL HOT!...

Another recording from Torre Bert purports to be the sounds of labored breathing and a failing heartbeat. This combined with reports in the French and Italian press, claiming that Sputnik 7 was a manned mission, gave rise to claims that a cosmonaut named Gennady Mikhailov was the first man in orbit and died there due to heart failure.

The third Torre Bert recording claims to have heard a couple launched on February 17, 1961, aboard a spacecraft orbiting the earth, reporting "Everything is satisfactory, we are orbiting the earth" at regular intervals.
On February 24th, there were some garbled transmissions about something the couple could see outside their ship, that they urgently had to communicate to Earth. Apparently the communication was lost. Around the same time Torre Bert reportedly picked up an SOS signal from a craft in space. As the signal got weaker, it was assumed the craft disappeared into space.

Alexey Beokonev is supposedly one of three (two men and a woman) cosmonauts aboard a November 1962 flight. The Torre Bert tower allegedly picked up a frantic set of messages from the occupants. "Conditions growing worse why don't you answer? . . . we are going slower . . . the world will never know about us. . . "


 So. That's the Phantom Cosmonaut theory in a nutshell. What are your thoughts?

9 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As you said, they covered up a lot of things. It is possible!

Maria Zannini said...

Sending this to hubby. We're both huge space program historians, but this was new to me.

Poor woman. A horrible way to die--and not nearly fast enough.

Matthew MacNish said...

Damn. This didn't really seem ALL that out there until that recording. Absolutely chilling.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

Chilling recording. The Russian totalitarian regime has been murdering people in creative ways for hundreds of years.

Johanna Garth said...

So terrifying. But honestly, the human race is capable of so much horror that it doesn't surprise me.

kimbot said...

Awesome post (well, awesome and creepy and stuff).

Anne Gallagher said...

Those poor people. It's so sad to wonder what they were thinking as they died.

city said...

thanks for sharing.

Jamie Gibbs said...

You're right, that video is kind of haunting to hear. I wouldn't put it past the former Soviet Union to still have things that they won't reveal to this day ... much like a lot of governments, I suppose.

Jamie

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