The sight of the entire Earth, visible to the naked eye, has had a profound effect on those who have seen it. Some astronauts describe it as “beyond imagination”, and many have written how space flight permanently altered how they saw their place in the universe. Day-to-day stresses of just being in space for extended periods of time just confirm the fact space travel has mind-altering effects. It sounds like a reason as to why one would hallucinate, but did the Russian cosmonauts aboard the Salyut 7 really see angels?
In the summer of 1984, six highly trained cosmonauts claimed to have had an unbelievable encounter with a group of gargantuan “celestial beings” of unknown origin in the star filled expanse above our world. Were these colossal beings the result of a mass delusion, a sign of something miraculous, or the heralds of unimaginable doom?
Scores of UFOs and other unidentified airborne objects have been spied by astronauts and their ilk since the earliest days of manned spaceflight. Major Gordon Cooper, Dr. Edgar Mitchell and dozens of other NASA and Russian space explorers harbor no doubt that the Earth is being visited and observed by non-human intelligences with access to technology far in advance of our own, but as fascinating as this phenomenon surely is, the bulk of these sightings pale before a bizarre series of encounters allegedly reported by cosmonauts aboard the Salyut 7 in July of 1984.
Blinding Light In July 1984, Russian cosmonauts aboard the Soviet space station Salyut 7 were on day 155 of their mission. This was also the day that the group reported strange lights and beings. According to commander Oleg Atkov and cosmonauts Vladmir Solovyov and Leonid Kizim, the space station was completely bathed in a mesmerizing orange light. It appeared to enter from outside the space station and bled through an absolutely opaque wall. Orange Light for a short period of time, the orange light was so bright that it blinded the crew. When their vision returned, each one looked out the portholes for the source of the light, looking specifically for a possible explosion. They knew the Salyut 7 had suffered previous fires, but what the crew saw was more incomprehensible than the orange light.
Angels in Space
According to reports published in newspapers across the globe — including, allegedly, the Washington Post , all of the cosmonauts claimed seeing the faces of seven angels who were hovering just outside the space station. They told ground control they were humanoid in appearance (faces and bodies looked human), but they had wings and halos. These beings kept pace with the space station for 10-minutes before vanishing.
The faces of these beings were said to resemble those of humans with “peaceful expressions” and the Soviet scientists even claimed that the creatures noticed them and offered distinctly beatific smiles.
This quote was published in the later newspaper reports, although it’s difficult to discern which cosmonaut it was credited to, though some have suggested it may have been Solovyov:
“What we saw were seven giant figures in the form of humans, but with wings and mist-like halos as in the classic depiction of angels.”
By their own admission, the cosmonauts were themselves reluctant to accept the existence of the oddly angelic beings which they had seen, and concluded that they were more likely suffering from some form of mass delusion brought on by their extended space travel than an actual encounter with alien — or perhaps even divine — entities. Their self induced denial would be put to the test 11-days later when additional cosmonauts arrived at the station and the celestial beings returned.
On day 167, the crew was then joined by another team of three from the Soyuz T-12 spacecraft: Svetlana Savitskaya, Igor Volk and Vladimir Dzhanibekov. Shortly after joining then, the Salyut 7 was once again bathed in a warm orange light. Then, like clockwork, they immediately looked out the portholes, and once again, were joined by angelic beings. They were reportedly the size of an “airliner”, according to the cosmonauts. This incident was deemed top secret by the old Soviet Union and the crew was cautioned not to speak of the event publicly.
After the space angels disappeared a second time, Kizim, Solovyov and Atkov could no longer dismiss the phenomenon as a communal hallucination brought on by the pressure of a long mission in orbit. They shared this encounter with new witnesses, all of whom — one might expect — were just as perplexed and frightened as the first set on cosmonauts days earlier. This left both the explorers and the crew at mission control completely baffled.
History knows the cases when ‘mass hallucination’ was actually claimed as a ‘scientific’ answer to paranormal phenomena, but can we apply the same explanation to this mind-blowing story?
featured image: Cosmonauts Leonid Kizim, Vladimir Solovyov and cardiologist Oleg Atkov