Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Phantom Cosmonauts and Angry Top Tens.

 Space Oddities: Phantom Cosmonauts, or, Jet-Age Ghost Stories: Just in time for Halloween!
The below link is for a site attempting to debunk the Torre Bert recordings (they do a decent job too).

Lets gather round the flickering television (tuned, of course, to a dead channel), huddled under cozy Mylar blankets and enjoy frozen dinners on our Twilight Zone TV dinner trays. Its time for a good old-fashioned ghost story!

Lost Cosmonauts, or Phantom Cosmonauts, those (alleged) brave explorers of the final frontier who were lost in accidents too grim to imagine. That we will be imagining for this article, lucky us, 'eh comrade? Note that this will only cover those thought to be lost. Either killed on re-entry, lost to the void, or those who died before they made orbit. Never escaping Earth, memories blacked out by a government fearful of embarrassment in the eyes of the west.

Men like Valdamir Ilyushin, who lived to a ripe old age, are excluded. Though his story is pretty neat, he allegedly beat Yuri Gragarin into orbit by a few weeks. His mission was disavowed due to an issue with his orbit that caused him to come down early... and in China. Despite both being red the USSR and the Peoples Republic were not the best of friends. So Vlad got to be a guest of the Chinese government for a year before they released him. By that time everyone (on Earth) knew who Gragarin was, and what he had done, so Ilyushin was told to keep his mouth shut unless he wanted to have another, more permanent, accident. Ilyushin himself denied the story, but several government types confirmed it over the years including Sergei Kruschev (son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev).

Anyways, back to PhAnToM CoSmOnAuTs! Spooky!

The earliest claim of suppressed Soviet cosmonaut catastrophes (Soviet Cosmonaut Catastrophe is the name of my Russian language GWAR cover band) comes from Hermann Oberth (Rocketry pioneer, physicist, NASA consultant, mentor of Wherner Von Brahn, and, of course, Nazi) who claimed a man named Aleksei Ledovsky was shot into orbit in a modified single-stage R-5 ballistic missile. As the story goes he died either in orbit or on the way up, but Oberth provided no source for this or another story from 1958 of a similar launch with similar results.

Others at the time claimed stories of a similar nature, including sci-fi legend Robert Heinlein and a US Army Colonel speaking in an official capacity. Though to be fair the Colonel was referring to a prototype of the Vostok capsule (the type Gragarin piloted) which contained a crash test dummy and a recording of a human voice. Stuck in orbit due to malfunctioning rockets that pushed it into a higher orbit instead of lower. The press conference was in 1962, the capsule had been orbiting at that time at least two years.

Its entirely possible these both refer to the same hushed up launch. Heinlein claimed he was told it was a manned launch by a member of the Red Army. Gragarin said in his biography that two launches were made at the time Heinlein was in Russia but the launches were dummy modules to check equipment, so they wouldn't have been publicized. Not a lot of glory in testing to see if the radio will work. One of those might have been the malfunctioning empty spacecraft Col. Oldfield was referring to. It seems to fit.

Torre Bert, or, How I learned to stop worrying and learned to trust Italian radio pirates.

In 1960 two Italian brothers, using homemade and scavenged equipment they set up in a disused German bunker, managed to record secret transmissions from equally secret Soviet space missions. Their story is fascinating, their recordings compelling, and the revelations there in shocking. One purports to relay the tragic death of the real first woman in space, another imply's the grim death of a group of cosmonauts lost to deep space, and one even implies a capsule was abducted by aliens. Its pretty strange stuff, and if true pretty mind blowing.

Its also most likely bullshit, at least some of it.

Its entirely possible that the first few recordings they made were genuine, however as their fame spread so to did their recordings get more amazing. There also seems to be the problem of the voices in the recording not sounding at all like educated native-Russian speakers. Nor do they use known communications protocols or call signs. Or really anything that sounds like that at all.

I accept that some of their recordings of telemetry data of unknown missions might be genuine, but it seems unlikely that the voice recordings are. Sadly the last bit taints the former.

There isn't too much more that can safely be surmised. It is known that the Russians would disavow anyone who died, failed, or otherwise made the state look bad. That went triple with cosmonauts. They would go so far as to threaten families of accident victims to say they had never existed. Which is pretty fucked up.

While the evidence is a bit less than conclusive it certainly doesn't rule out the possibility either. Valdamir Ilyushin's story is honestly the most likely, despite his denial of it. Too many high ranking types who were in the right places at the right times have confirmed it. It would serve no purpose to undermine the Yuri Gragarin story for any of them. Followed closly would be the unmanned Vostok capsule that orbited for nobody knows how long broadcasting a loop of  Russian pilot speak and telemetry data that might have been moving slowly away from earth, at least for a little while..

One of these days, when the research is done on my part, there will be a pretty massive sequel to this article. Concerning a manned Soviet mission to mars.

Before anyone asks, yes, I have watched Pioneer One (and enjoyed it, despite some plot holes that existed solely due to its tiny budget). Yes, I would be writing about the intel rumor thats been floating around for years that the show was based on. Its one of my favorites.

Ten Conspiracy Theories That Won't Go Away From A Magazine For Middle Aged Upper-Middle Class Housewives

They aren't presented in any detail, but are doled out with a fairly dismissive tone. Clearly its all bullshit to amuse yourself with between facials at the spa or from the pool boy. Lets take a look at the bitchy yuppy suburbanites guide to conspiracy theories, shall we?

1. Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone (or possibly at all).
This one always gets my dander up, largely because subsequent investigations (anything post Warren Commission) by the government itself has come to the same conclusion; Oswald didn't act alone. Nobody can ever say for sure who else was involved, but every time. Every single time the issue comes up in an official capacity the CIA does a damned good job of blocking inquiries, even if those inquiries are not directed at the CIA.

2. Princess Diana was killed on purpose.This is a tricky one, because there is evidence that something was in the works. Its clear Di was pissing off all the wrong people, its highly likely she was pregnant with Dodi's child, and was planning to marry him (conversion to Islam could go either way, they were clearly living in sin so he couldn't have been all that strict). I do think some cruel fate was planned for her, however not an automobile crash in front of dozens of photographers. Too difficult of a situation to control, too many witnesses and variables. Her driver, Henri Paul, was a known intelligence asset. He was also drunk and on anti-depressants at the time of the crash.

3. AIDS is a man-made disease.This is one that does need to go away. Its bullshit. The disease can be traced back reliably to the 1940's in Africa. It has a clear evolutionary pathway from a existing disease in primates. This one does need to die.
4. The government was involved in 9/11.Did the government do it? No. Did the government bring down the towers with controlled demolitions? Not likely. Did anyone know about the attacks beforehand? Yes, absolutely. Hell, Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco (as well as other public officials) were told not to fly anywhere on Sept 11th by "security people". Brown was told on Sept. 10th not to fly to New York. How does anyone know? He admitted it to papers the day after 9/11.

5. Elvis never really left the building.Yeah, I think Elvis faked his death. I'm not going into it here, saving it for a future article (look for it in 2017). It might be, on the face of it, one of the craziest ideas I put some stock in. Which is saying something.

6. The 1969 Apollo moon landing didn’t happen.
We totally did go to the moon. Seriously. For one thing all those moon rocks we gave away for scientific study and as presents to other nations are a big clue. Somebody would have squealed and squealed loudly if they were just pebbles from the Nevada desert. Then you have the telemetry data stream from Apollo 11 that EVERYONE was tracking, especially the Russions. If that was off even a little bit you can bet your sweet bippy the Kremlin would have told everyone. Everyone.
On the other hand the photos from the lunar surface might be faked, but we went. Not because of lost alien civilizations or UFO's or the dreaded moon worms. No no, because of the Russians. The Hasselblat cameras they used on the Apollo suits were chest mounted, manually advanced, and manual focused cameras. The viewfinder was on the top, which would be fine if the person using them wasn't wearing a giant space helmet with no neck articulation. Plus they were insulated with only three coats of aluminum paint. The astronauts couldn't see what the camera saw, so had no way to frame images or focus. In short I think all those clear, crisp images with the occasional anomaly are bullshit. When 11 got back and they developed the film the few people who saw them might have peed just a little,and not in a happy way. They used shots from the training sessions tarted up, and shot some new ones.
We needed the PR victory that those pictures would be. The live video from the moon was a bust, so we need those photos of American explorers on the fucking moon to show the Reds who was boss. After that the public had a certain expectation of what photos from the moon should look like so they had to keep it up. Hell, just look at the amount of photos taken. The time spent on the moon and the amount of exposures means each astronaut had to shot one frame every 3 seconds across every mission. Which is fine, if you don't have to wind, manually focus, and, oh yeah, do everything else they had to on the damn moon.

7. A UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.
We have covered this one before. Whatever happened it sure scared the shit out of the military/industrial complex. Balloons don't usually do that.

8. Global warming is a hoax.
This one also needs to die.

9. Shakespeare didn’t write all those plays.It's possible, kinda, but at this point unless someone finds something in the bards own handwriting where he thanks his old buddy Kip for ghostwriting all those popular plays its a dead subject.
10. Reptilian humanoids control all of us.
Its pretty clear this is a troll on David Ickes part, and a damn good one. The rest of his theories are pretty solid, but he frames them all with the Reptile-people thing so he looks like an idiot. Idiots get laughed at, not detained in secret prisons.

...and now something more current!
"Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare – the war against the Machines.

So nobody pays attention to sci-fi anymore? Hmm. I'm not saying giving AI weapons and unlocking them to plan and use them at their discretion is a bad idea, I'm saying it could turn out to be a shit idea.

Then again, it not like a drone going off the reservation has been a problem before.

Oh wait.
+ + +

A new post! Huzzah! Also, I'm already working on another. My motivation knows no bounds.