After Brazilian student Bruno Borges suddenly disappeared from his house in March 2017, his family found an ominous scene in his bedroom. Cryptic code covered the walls, and a large model of a cloaked figure stood in the center of the floor. And as a result, news of the man’s mysterious vanishing sparked a number of strange theories.
Even since before humans began exploring space, we’ve been captivated by the question, ‘Is anybody else out there?’ As far back as the first century B.C., in fact, Roman philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus touched on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. He said, “Nothing in the universe is unique and alone, and therefore in other regions there must be other earths inhabited by different tribes of men and breeds of beasts.”
Of course, Lucretius’ theory sounds plausible to modern audiences. But it should be remembered that the philosopher expressed these musings long before the advent of modern physics. You see, Lucretius saw the “other earths” of which he spoke – or planets – as objects hidden far beyond the stars in some sort of parallel world.
In the Middle Ages, however, some philosophers began applying Aristotelian approaches to their thinking. And so the idea of there being more than one world became largely disregarded in favor of viewing the universe only in terms of what could actually be seen and proven. But there were certain scholars who believed that said theory cast doubt over the power of God.
Yet the concept of other lifeforms existing in our universe didn’t completely disappear. And in the 15th century, German philosopher Nicholas of Cusa once again brought this idea to the forefront of scholarly thinking. In one of his influential essays, he wrote, “It may be conjectured that in the area of the sun there exist solar beings – bright and enlightened denizens and by nature more spiritual than such as may inhabit the moon.”
Yes, it appeared that Cura was in fact advocating the existence of life elsewhere in our cosmos – a hypothesis not so different from what we would describe today as “aliens.” But it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that our ideas of extraterrestrial beings developed as far as to include so-called UFOs – or unidentified flying objects.
Research into UFOs is largely believed to have kicked off in 1947, when pilot Kenneth Arnold said that he’d spotted a handful of circular objects as he was out flying over Mount Rainier in Washington. After Arnold had recounted the details of his alleged sighting to the press, the shapes that he had apparently seen in the sky were dubbed “flying saucers.”
Some weeks later in the summer of 1947, it was alleged that the U.S. military had found a flying saucer that had supposedly landed in New Mexico. This became known as the Roswell UFO incident, and the armed forces later claimed that the object was in fact a weather balloon. However, conspiracy theorists have since maintained that aliens had been found among the wreckage – and that the government had tried to conceal it.
Following the Roswell incident, alleged UFO sightings continued to be reported in the U.S. Then, in the 1950s stories of individuals claiming to have actually met aliens began to emerge, many of which have strangely erotic slants. One of the more bizarre tales materialized in 1957 when Brazilian Antonio Villas-Boas said that he had been snatched from his farm and forced to procreate with an extraterrestrial being.
Another early alien abduction story, meanwhile, came from a man called Truman Bethurum. The Californian mechanic claimed that an attractive woman, whose name he said was Aura, had led him onto a craft that had supposedly traveled from a planet known as Clarion. So captivated had Bethurum been by the alleged extraterrestrial encounter – and by the beautiful Aura – that he and his wife had subsequently divorced.
Perhaps thanks to such intriguing accounts, alien abduction stories continued to fascinate in the decades that followed. And in the 1990s a particularly high number of people showed interest in extraterrestrial life forms and UFOs. The trend was reflected in popular culture during that period, too, through TV shows and movies such as The X-Files and Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction, which aired in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
But it seems that the public interest in aliens extended beyond fiction, too. In 2001, for instance, one third of Americans claimed to believe that aliens had actually appeared on Earth at some point, according to a Gallup poll. And in 2015 an Ipsos poll found that said figure had risen to 45 percent.
And yet it isn’t only Americans who have expressed belief in otherworldly life forms. A 2017 Glocalities survey concluded, in fact, that nearly 50 percent of people around the world believed that they weren’t alone in the universe – and that some sort of “intelligent alien civilizations” existed.
One individual who would certainly be considered a believer in such alien civilizations is Bruno Borges. The young man is said to be totally obsessed with extraterrestrial life, in fact. Borges hails from Rio Branco in the north of Brazil, where he shares a home with his twin, Rodrigo, and their older sister, Gabriela. And in March 2017 the psychology student mysteriously vanished.
According to Borges’ mother, Denise, her son hadn’t been like other kids growing up. She explained his character to Brazilian news site G1 in March 2017, saying, “He is enlightened. In school, he was always [different] – a born leader with a high power of persuasion. He is such a good-hearted boy.”
Elaborating on Borges’ kind nature, Denise claimed that he had often helped the homeless and other marginalized people. She said that Borges would give clothes to the needy, too, and as a result, he was popular in his community. The mother added, “It’s not because he’s my son. I’m talking about the loving [Borges].”
Meanwhile, as a teenager, Borges became an avid reader. He was eager to learn as much as possible, in fact, and grew into a highly intelligent man, according to Denise. She told G1, “Today, the people he could talk to [are] judges, prosecutors [and] intellectuals.” However, the mom also expressed concern over her son’s bookish ways, adding, “In my view, he was reading too much.”
Then, in 2013, armed with a wealth of knowledge, Borges apparently embarked on an ambitious – and mysterious – project. And Denise said that Borges had asked her for money in order to achieve his goal. However, she claimed that she had refused to hand over any cash – unless Borges told her what he was up to. But the student didn’t want to give away any clues.
“[Borges] said it was a secret, and I did not give him the money,” Denise explained. “Then he started looking for people who believed in him without telling them what the project was. He just told me he was writing 14 books that would change humanity in a good way.”
Searching for financial backing, then, Borges turned to his cousin, Eduardo Veloso, who supposedly gave him more than $5,000 towards the unspecified project. And so, in 2016 the psychology student put his mind to completing the task that he’d set himself. But a year later, Borges’ behavior became increasingly strange.
You see, in March 2017 Borges’ mother and father apparently took a vacation, leaving him and his siblings at home. Shortly after his parents had departed, it’s believed that Borges locked his bedroom, stopping his twin brother and older sister from entering. And so, Borges’ family seemingly had no idea what he was up to behind that door.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Borges’ sister, Gabriela, had her curiosities about her brother’s seemingly secretive actions during their parents’ trip. She told G1, “I wondered why I could not know what the project was, and he told me he would tell me what it was in two weeks. People have to understand that [he’s] not a child. He’s an adult, and he has privacy. It bothered me, but I could not break down the door.”
After Borges’ mother and father came back from their vacation, the family seemingly found their first clue that something wasn’t quite right. Yes, upon the parents’ return home, they apparently sat down for a meal with Borges and his siblings, and at first everything appeared completely normal. Afterwards, however, it’s believed that Borges disappeared into thin air.
It was Borges’ father, Athos, who first realized that his son was gone. He told G1, “I was the last person to see [Borges]. I left him at the corner of the house, and from there I left.” And so, with his son nowhere to be seen, Athos tried to enter Borges’ room to search for clues. But nothing could have prepared the man for what he would find there.
That’s because when Athos opened the door to Borges’ bedroom, he realized that all of the furniture that had been there before was now missing. The dad explained to G1, “I went in there, and I did not see the bed. I did not see anything… At that moment, I saw that [Borges] was gone.”
But the strangeness didn’t stop there. Where Borges’ belongings had once been, you see, there now stood a tall, silver statue. Apparently, the model depicts Giordano Bruno – a 16th-century Italian philosopher who was one of the first people to suggest that other planets may harbor life. And it soon emerged that Borges – an avid alien fan – was familiar with the thinker’s work on the subject.
Speaking to G1, Denise shed some light on her son’s interest in Bruno’s theories. “[Borges] has been studying philosophy for many years,” she explained. “He was very much a fan of [Bruno]. My son knows how to talk about anything. He has a very high intellectual capacity. [He’s] read the whole Bible and the entire [works of Shakespeare].”
But while the near-life-sized figure of Bruno could be considered a bit curious, it wasn’t the only supposed evidence of an obsession with aliens that was discovered in the young man’s room. In another apparent nod to extraterrestrials, for instance, there was a bizarre painting of a little green man, whose hand is resting on the shoulder of a person who looks a lot like Borges. What’s more, the figures seem to be donning the same unusual robe as the Bruno statue.
Yet the supposed alien references weren’t the only unsettling additions to Borges’ bedroom. For another thing, reams of strange, complex code were apparently covering the floors, ceiling and walls. The scripts had been carefully completed, it seems, as they were totally symmetrical and contained a number of intricate symbols. And it’s believed that these cryptic sheets were in fact extracts from 14 books penned by Borges himself.
While the creepy code appears unintelligible at first glance, Borges reportedly left behind a key explaining how to translate the script. According to his sister, Gabriela, the title of one of the books in his room was decoded to read Theory of the Absorption of Knowledge. What’s more, when a computer expert allegedly decrypted an extract of the text, he, too, concluded that its subject matter concerns learning.
According to a 2017 report by the Daily Mirror, the excerpt reads, “It is easy to accept what you have been taught since childhood and what is wrong. It is difficult, as an adult, to understand that you were wrongly taught what you suspected was correct since you were a child.” Undoubtedly bizarre, but what did all this mean?
Well, given the mysterious texts and the apparent references to alien life that were uncovered in Borges’ room, it’s little surprise that a few off-the-wall theories about the student’s whereabouts have emerged online. Some people have argued, for instance, that the strange circumstances surrounding Borges’ vanishing have all the hallmarks of an alien abduction. Others, meanwhile, have suggested that the Illuminati may have been involved in the peculiar case.
Apparently, the Brazilian authorities said that they were looking into Borges’ alleged disappearance. And in light of the unsettling rumors regarding the student’s vanishing, the investigation coordinator, Fabrizzio Sobreira, confirmed that all avenues were being explored. However, the officer wasn’t able to elaborate any further.
Meanwhile, as the weeks passed, there was still no sign of Borges. But a breakthrough came in April 2017. That’s because the artist who had created the student’s strange statue was allegedly located. And according to G1, the sculptor, whose name is Jorge Rivasplata, revealed that his work had been valued at over $5,000. However, the 83-year-old had apparently charged Borges around $1,800 – for a very curious reason.
You see, Rivasplata gave Borges such a generous discount because he supposedly believes that the student is in fact the philosopher Bruno himself – or was in a previous life. The artist told G1, “The only thing I can say is that [Borges] has already finished the books [Bruno] left unfinished.” And speaking of Borges, Rivasplata added, “He was very intelligent [and] gifted.”
But the bizarre plot thickens. Despite being one of the only known people to have spoken to Borges about his project, Rivasplata said that he had been unaware of the student’s plans to leave home. He also claimed that he didn’t know Borges’ location. And cryptically, he said to G1, “Tell his father and mother not to worry. He is well and will come and give the world this beautiful, fantastic project.”
Strangely, as it turned out, Rivasplata’s theory was correct; Borges did indeed return home alive and healthy. And in August 2017 – after allegedly having been missing for five months – Borges himself revealed to G1 the reason behind his strange disappearance. The student explained that he had neither been abducted nor kidnapped, but he had chosen to take himself away in order to “find the truth of life.” More specifically, Borges said that he’d been on a “mystical journey of the soul.”
What’s more, Borges also claimed that he had chosen to leave his home in order to encourage “awakening around the world,” according to G1. And he explained that the greatest problem facing humanity is the absence of empathy. “If we do not seek to know ourselves, we cannot be empathic enough to love our neighbor[s] as ourselves,” he concluded.
Interestingly, soon after Borges had returned home, he launched his debut book, which is called TAC: Theory of Absorption of Knowledge – the same title as the one that had been found in his room. But the speedy publication of the non-fiction tome has led to some criticism. Apparently, the authorities have explored whether Borges’ disappearance was not so mysterious, after all – but instead, simply a marketing ploy to help him sell more copies of his work.
We may never know whether Borges’ bizarre vanishing really was a spiritual journey or just an elaborate business stunt. But regardless, it seems as though the incident did him a favor. His book quickly became a hit in Brazil, after all, according to G1. And the student already has plans to release a second one – this time apparently dealing with his theories around art and life.