You've likely heard of Russian space heroes Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, and Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel to space. However, were Yuri and Valentina truly the first of their kind? According to some conspiracy theorists, the answer is no, and they base their claims on the "Lost Cosmonaut Recordings" taken by an experimental listening station in Northern Italy.
The Judica-Cordiglia brothers were amateur radio operators who set up their own listening station in the late 1950s. The pair rose to fame a decade later after releasing what they claimed were intercepted signals from secret Soviet space missions. Here are a few of the most famous “Lost Cosmonaut" or "Torre Bert" Recordings.
The Real First Man in Space?
The first recording, taken on February 2, 1961, or nine weeks before Gagarin’s historic feat, allegedly features the failing heartbeat and last breaths of a dying cosmonaut. If legit, the recordings indicate that Yuri Gagarin wasn’t the first man in space, just the first man to survive the journey.
The Real First Woman in Space?
Another recording, allegedly taken in May 1961, is said to be that of a female cosmonaut panicking as her craft breaks upon re-entry. If the recording is real, the unknown woman was the first female in space, not Valentina Tereshkova.
The Team(s) Lost in Space?
Another recording, taken in November 1960, allegedly captured the voices of a team of cosmonauts as their ship experienced an emergency of some kind and then drifted off to deep space, emitting an SOS signal as it went. Similar incidents reportedly happened in October 1961 and November 1962.
As with most conspiracy theories, there’s no hard evidence to back up the lost cosmonaut claims and many people believe the recordings to be blatant frauds. However, the chilling image of terrified cosmonauts drifting off into the void of space or burning up upon re-entry continues to haunt folks' imaginations and fuel rumors of Soviet cover ups.
Learn more about the Lost Cosmonaut Theory.