Space Ghosts: the Judica-Cordiglia Brothers’ Lost Cosmonauts

There are easy ways out of our mortal coils: dying in one’s sleep, carbon monoxide poisoning, or as rumor has it, pulling a Genghis Khan, which while potentially traumatic for one’s partner, probably isn’t so bad for the person exiting.

Orgasm does mean little death, after all.

Then there are also some not so pleasant ways to go: suffocation, being burned alive…

Drifting into the coldness of space…

Burning on launch…

Burning on re-entry.

The American Space Program has seen its fair share of disasters; space exploration is dangerous business. In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during takeoff, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Likewise, the seven explorers aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia all died during re-entry in 2001.

There have also been several fatalities during training missions, perhaps the most famous of which involves the first three men who were supposed to go the moon: in 1967 the crew of Apollo 1 were incinerated when their oxygen-rich capsule caught fire.

Of course, at that point in time, America was engaged in the so-called Space Race with the Soviet Union, a race which the U.S.S.R. appeared to be winning. After all, they had launched the first satellite (Sputnik), the first-space dog (poor Laika), and sent the first man into orbit (Yuri Gagarin).

The Soviets were very loud when it came to their achievements – not so much regarding their failures, though a few were made public:

in 1967, a Soyuz capsule’s parachute failed to deploy, killing its single occupant. In 1971, a decompression incident aboard Soyuz 11 killed all three Cosmonauts – these are the only three recorded deaths actually in space, as defined by the Karman line (roughly 100 km above sea level, the generally accepted boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space).

Note: these are only the officially recorded deaths…

Enter the Judica-Cordiglia brothers, and our story begins…


In the late 1950’s, two Italian brothers set up a space listening station in Turin in an abandoned Nazi bunker. They had cobbled together the parts; with it, they claim to have received and recorded transmissions from the earliest satellite programs, American and Soviet.

Achille and Giovanni would eventually release nine recordings of “Lost Cosmonauts”, explorers whose deaths they maintain were covered up by Soviets in the years leading up to – and immediately following – Yuri Gagarin’s much touted successful Earth orbit in 1961.

Perhaps the most chilling of these recordings came in 1963, when a female Cosmonaut was recorded screaming “I am hot!” as her craft apparently burned up on re-entry.

Here’s a partial list of brother’s recordings:

  • May 1960, a manned spacecraft reports going off course.
  • November 28, 1960, a faint SOS Morse Code signal is sent from another troubled spacecraft leaving Earth’s orbit.
  • February 1961, a cosmonaut is audibly recorded suffocating to death.
  • May 1961, an orbiting spacecraft makes an appeal for help after going out of control.
  • October 1961, a cosmonaut loses control of his spacecraft which veers off into deep space.
  • November 1962, a space capsule misjudges re-entry, eventually bouncing off the Earth’s atmosphere and flung out into space.
  • November 1963, a female cosmonaut dies during re-entry; this is the “I am hot!” recording.
  • April 1964, another cosmonaut is killed when his capsule burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

There are, as can be expected, skeptics who assume that the recordings are forgeries.

Maybe they are.

Still, if there’s even the slightest truth to the concept of EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) that have become popularized on ghost hunting/paranormal television shows, one has to wonder…

According to the tagline for the classic sci-fi/horror masterpiece Alien,

In space, no one can hear you scream…


Somewhere in the static between radio stations,

Somewhere in the cosmic background radio noise…

Might we hear the screams of the Lost Cosmonauts?

black star
Ground control to Major Tom: a still from David Bowie’s Blackstar video

Leave a Reply