In our quest for fresh creepypasta, our last couple of journeys into the dark realm of the underweb turned out to be total nightmare fuel. This time, we’re not just going deep into the vaults of history, but to the edge of space — for a bizarre and unexplained case involving the alleged disappearance of a Soviet cosmonaut during the height of the “Space Race” between the USA and the USSR.
Even if you just have a passing knowledge of space-flight history, you’ve probably read about the first successful attempt to send a human being into Earth orbit — which Russia achieved on April 12, 1961 with pilot Yuri Gagarin manning the Vostok capsule. The USA followed that achievement by sending their own astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a sub-orbital mission via the historic Mercury space program, just one month later. Spurred by their rival’s accomplishment, the USSR planned to up the game by sending a pilot into multiple orbits, beating even Gagarin’s record.
As the story goes, the Soviets planned to launch this mission before the Americans could send up their own astronaut to circle the Earth (John Glenn finally achieved this flight on February 20, 1962). The next manned Vostok orbital lauch allegedly took place on May 16, 1961, and the capsule reportedly achieved an incredible 17 circuits around the Earth — but before the craft could re-enter the atmosphere, it seems something went horribly wrong.
Details are sketchy as to the exact nature of the malfunction, but by the time re-entry was attempted, a full week had passed, the ship’s oxygen supplies were nearly depleted, and according to the only known (alleged) documentation of the mission, the cosmonaut’s final moments were truly horrifying.
This account comes from the Judica-Cordiglia Brothers — a pair of amateur radio operators (actual names Achille and Giovanni Battista) based in an abandoned bunker outside of Turin, Italy, who claimed to have repeatedly eavesdropped on communications and data exchange between several Vostok craft and Soviet Mission Control. The brothers reportedly recorded and translated the unnamed cosmonaut’s desperate final words with mission staff on Earth, and later offered a transcript of what happened in those fatal minutes before the capsule burst into flames in the upper atmosphere.
Another shocking revelation from this alleged recording is that the cosmonaut’s voice is clearly female — which, if this account is factual, reveals the fate of the first woman into space.
Excerpts from the translated transcript are posted below, followed by what is claimed to be the actual Judica-Cordiglia recording of the cosmonaut’s final minutes.
LISTEN… LISTEN! COME IN! COME IN… COME IN… TALK TO ME! TALK TO ME! I AM HOT… I AM HOT! WHAT? FORTY- FIVE? WHAT? FORTY-FIVE? FIFTY? YES… YES… BREATHING… BREATHING… OXYGEN… OXYGEN… I AM HOT… ISN’T THIS DANGEROUS? IT’S ALL… YES… HOW IS THIS? WHAT? TALK TO ME! HOW SHOULD I TRANSMIT? YES… WHAT? OUR TRANSMISSION BEGINS NOW… FORTY-ONE… THIS WAY… YES… I FEEL HOT… I FEEL HOT… IT’S ALL… IT’S HOT… I FEEL HOT… I CAN SEE A FLAME… I CAN SEE A FLAME! I FEEL HOT… I FEEL HOT… THIRTY-TWO… THIRTY-TWO… FORTY-ONE… AM I GOING TO CRASH? YES… YES… I FEEL HOT… I FEEL HOT! I WILL RE-ENTER…
Be warned: the following audio content may be upsetting to sensitive listeners.
Though official Soviet news agency TASS released no information on this particular mission, they did report the explosive re-entry of a large space vehicle on May 26, 1961 — three days after the Vostok burnup was believed to have occurred — but did not reveal any further details.
Further Judica-Cordiglia recordings are said to reveal the fates of several other failed Russian missions… all of which were dismissed as false by Soviet media, and even today the Russian government continues to deny the validity of these accounts.