Judica-Cordiglia brothers

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The Judica-Cordiglia brothers circa 1960
The Judica-Cordiglia brothers today

Achille (born in Turin, 1933-2015) and Giovanni Battista (born in Erba, 1939) Judica-Cordiglia (or Judica Cordiglia) are two former amateur radio operators and the source of some of the most dramatic and controversial claims of lost cosmonauts in the 1960s.

In the late 1950s the brothers set up their own experimental listening station just outside of Turin, a place they named Torre Bert, in a disused German bunker. Working with scavenged and improvised equipment they were able to successfully monitor transmissions from the Soviet Sputnik program and Explorer 1, the first American satellite. Their receptions included telemetry, voice recordings, and visual data.

In the 1960s, the brothers claimed to have recorded radio communications from secret Soviet Union space missions, including the sounds of one of these secret cosmonauts dying. The brothers claimed that the first of these recordings was made on 28 November 1960, when the Bochum space observatory in West Germany was said to have intercepted radio signals from what appeared to be a satellite. After about an hour of listening to static, the brothers recognised an SOS signal that seemed to be moving away from the Earth. In addition, they claimed to have recorded the voice of a woman, who was returning to Earth in May 1961; in the recording she is said to have cried that "she was burning".

In 1964 they won the TV quiz Fiera dei Sogni (The Fair of Dreams), a quiz that enabled them to visit NASA.

The brothers were the subject of a 2007 documentary called I pirati dello spazio (Pirates of space). An article on the brothers, recordings and lost cosmonauts was published in the March 2008 issue of the science-sceptical magazine Fortean Times. A sympathetic dramatisation of the brothers' story was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 2009 ("Listen Up", by Glen Neath).

Achille is now a cardiologist, while Giovanni Battista assists the Italian police with phone-tapping in criminal investigations.

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