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10 Enduring Cold War Mysteries & Conspiracy Theories

Between World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall, communication between the Western powers and the Soviet Union was shackled by the deep rivalry and distrust of the Cold War. The US and the USSR had nukes aimed at each other and spies trying to find out what was actually going on over on the other side. When the Soviet Union collapsed, many of the secrets it kept remained secret because even their own citizens were not privy to the details. So there are still many mysteries we don’t have answers for. For example, in the space race between the two world powers, we only heard about the Soviets’ success stories.  

Everyone knows the year Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space: 1961. But what if Gagarin was not the first man in space, but simply the first man to survive? That’s the question underpinning the chilling ‘lost cosmonauts’ theory.

Not long after Gagarin’s historic mission, a Czech agent allegedly leaked information to the Allies about a failed spaceflight. Nothing odd about this, until you look at the date. According to the notes passed on, the Soviets had sent a man into orbit in December 1959.

Unlike Gagarin, though, that man had died a gruesome death. According to the informant, there were many others who had suffered similar fates. In a creepy twist, there may even be some evidence to back this up.

Two months before Gagarin’s flight, a listening station in Italy picked up a brief Russian transmission, broadcasting the words “everything is satisfactory, we are orbiting the Earth.” A few days later, they picked up what sounded like a scream of terror, followed by empty silence.

If that wasn’t creepy enough, a later transmission was heard featuring three people sobbing and one of them saying “Conditions growing worse, why don’t you answer? . . . We are going slower. . . the world will never know about us. . .” The source of these transmissions remains a mystery. Were they hoaxes, or did Russia really abandon failed cosmonauts to an unimaginable fate?

That’s just one of ten mysteries of the Cold War that remain, that you can read about at Urban Ghosts. 

(Image credit: Pline)


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