This is the very strange case of Bruno Borges. On March 24, 2017, 24-year-old Brazilian philosophy student Bruno Borges went missing. Borges was a bit of an eccentric, and his activities before his mysterious disappearance led to a lot of speculation about the reasons for his sudden vanishing.
Before we begin examining the bizarre life of Bruno Borges, it is important to discuss another eccentric philosopher: Giordano Bruno. Bruno was a 14th-century Italian friar known for his controversial cosmological theories. He was one of the first to suggest that stars were actually distant suns with planets of their own and that these planets could possibly have their own life.
In 1593, Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition. Bruno was a pantheist who questioned the Catholic doctrines of eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and transubstantiation. He was found guilty and burned at the stake.
After his death, Bruno was considered a martyr for science and free thought. To this day, his case is often used as an example of the overreach of religion and its tendency to silence dissenters.
The Life of Bruno Borges
The life and theories of Giordano Bruno are important because Bruno Borges believed that he himself was a reincarnation of the ancient philosopher. Borges believed that he was far more gifted than regular people and that his previous life as a respected scientist was part of the reason why. Borges’ beliefs were similar to Bruno’s and the two even share an uncanny physical resemblance. The fact that the two share the name of “Bruno” served as further proof for Bruno Borges that he and Giordano Bruno were one and the same.
Giordano Bruno was well-known for his theory of cosmic pluralism: the belief that other planets, perhaps an infinite number of them, could be home to intelligent extraterrestrial life. It is this same belief that drove Bruno Borges. He sought to discover answers to the most important questions of the universe.
Borges’ family, many of whom were interviewed after his disappearance, all stated that he had been highly intelligent all his life. His mother told interviewers that he read constantly as a child, so much that it actually worried her. She stated that he would often read things that seemed far too advanced for him; she claims that he had even read the entire Bible and all of Shakespeare’s works.
In his earlier life, Borges wrote a series of five books. It is unclear what the subjects of these works were; Borges attempted to get one of the books patented, but was unsuccessful.
In the months before Bruno Borges disappeared, his family noted some slightly unusual behavior. According to his mother, he approached her to ask for money. He stated that he was in the process of working on an important project and that he needed some additional funds to move forward with it. When she asked him what it was that he was working on, his answer was vague. He told her that he was writing a series of 14 books that would completely change the world. His mother was concerned, but he assured her that his work would change humanity for the better.
Borges’ mother was still hesitant about his project. She told him that unless he provided her with additional details about what he was doing, she wouldn’t give him the money that he requested. Borges told her that the details of the project were top secret, so she refused to give him any money to do further work on his mysterious project.
When she refused to supply him with funding for his secret work, Borges asked his mother to instead allow him to stop working outside of the home so that he could devote his time to whatever secret project had him enthralled. His mother was again concerned, even consulting with a doctor to make sure that he wasn’t suffering from any type of mental health issues. The doctor assured her that her son was of sound mind, so she gave him permission to give up working to focus on his own endeavors. She later discovered that he had managed to secure a loan of 20,000 reais (approximately 6,000 US dollars) from a cousin to fund his work.
Approximately one month before he disappeared, Bruno Borges’ parents went away on holiday. According to his siblings, as soon as their parents left for their trip, he began keeping his bedroom locked at all times.
Borges’ siblings report that they last saw him on March 24, 2017, around noon. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. His siblings report that they saw him getting into a taxi carrying a backpack. A later investigation determined that the taxi took him to a nearby motel. Interestingly, there was an area just behind the motel that many spiritualists believe to be an important site. The spot was often used for gatherings and some even made shrines there.
After Borges was left at the motel by the taxi driver, no one heard from him for months.
When his parents returned home from their trip and discovered that their son was missing, they went into his bedroom to search for clues about his whereabouts. What they discovered was truly shocking.
In Borges’ bedroom, his parents discovered manuscripts for the 14 books that he had told his mother he planned to write. However, the manuscripts were written in a code that was not legible to his parents. Borges’ sister also found four separate keys a few days later in a drawer that could be used to decipher the books but the family was unable to make sense of them. The books contained a number of cryptic drawings and diagrams that the family could not explain.
Perhaps more shocking was the state of the room itself. Borges’ parents discovered that he had covered the walls of the room with mysterious inscriptions that they could not interpret or explain. He had also left behind a painting of himself with an extraterrestrial.
However, the most prominent and bizarre item in the room was a life-size sculpture of Giordano Bruno. His parents were baffled as to how he could have gotten such a large sculpture into the room.
Borges’ parents reported his disappearance to police, who immediately began investigating the case and searching for someone who could help decrypt the manuscripts left behind. Upon examining his room, police determined that Borges had left willingly as there were no signs of a struggle.
Police quickly located the artist responsible for the mysterious sculpture found in Borges’ room. His name was Jorge Rivasplata. Rivasplata told police that he created the statue for Borges because he believed that Borges was, in fact, a reincarnation of the philosopher. He created the work at a cheap price of about 2,700 US dollars because he believed in Borges’ project. He stated that he moved the statue into the room when it was half-finished and completed the work there. According to Rivasplata, the statue was filled with foam, cement, wood, and gravel so that it would be too heavy to remove from the room.
When asked about Borges’ whereabouts, Rivasplata stated that he was sure the 24-year-old was fine and that he had finally completed the work of Giordano Bruno.
Police also discovered that before disappearing, Borges visited a local dressmaker to have three cloaks made. When the dressmaker asked if they were for a church, he reportedly replied, “Almost that.”
There were numerous theories about the disappearance. Some claim that Borges was abducted by aliens or that he had joined some sort of mysterious cult (which could explain the cloaks that he purchased). However, most believe that he had disappeared and left the mysterious clues as a marketing strategy so that his books would be published and read widely. If this was indeed his plan, it may have been a success; during the time the Borges was missing, the first volume of his work was decoded and published, reaching #24 on the best-seller list.
Further investigations uncovered some of Borges’ personal belongings at the home of one of his friends, further suggesting that the disappearance was staged. The most damning evidence by far is a contract police discovered in the home of another friend agreeing to split the proceeds from any book sales.
Five months after he disappeared, Bruno Borges returned home. Security cameras show him emerging from the shadows, barefoot, and approaching his parents’ home.
Eight days after he returned home, Borges gave an interview about his disappearance. He stated that he had spent the five months he was gone on a “mystic journey of the soul.” He stated that he had to isolate himself from what he describes as a “sick society” so that he could focus on his attempts to discover the true purpose of life. Borges is quoted as saying, “I had notion that the Philosopher’s Stone was within the dark land, so I went after entering this dark land to find it. In the same way that the hero enters the cave to kill a dragon and that Jonas entered a whale, I also dived into the sea of the unconscious in order to rescue me.”
After Borges returned home, police stopped investigating. Most people involved in the case believe that Borges’ return is further evidence that the disappearance was merely a publicity stunt. However, the stunt has attracted some followers who believe that Borges is, in fact, a visionary with knowledge of things not of this world