There can sometimes be a fine line between genius and madness. It is often not even possible to unravel the two, and history is littered with the bizarre behaviors and works of great minds. This has continued up into the modern day, and sometimes there are many bizarre conundrums surrounding those who are looked at as being visionaries to some extent. One of these would be a case in which an intelligent deep thinker disappeared without a trace to leave behind impenetrable clues that would not even be solved when he reappeared out of the blue.
Twenty-four-year-old psychology student Bruno Borges was always a bit eccentric. From a young age he had been an avid and voracious reader, reading the entire Bible and all of Shakespeare’s works as a mere child, and when he entered Uninorte, a university in Rio Branco, he was seen as smarter than average and regarded as a bit odd by his peers. Making it all stranger was that he began making bizarre claims, such as that he was the reincarnation of the 14th-century Italian friar, philosopher, and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, who was one of the first to theorize about life on alien worlds and had been burned at the stake for heresy in 1600, and Borges also made no secret of his belief in alien life and that aliens had long been visiting Earth. He also was a major fan of Illuminati conspiracy theories, and wrote about such things prolifically.
Borges was known to ruminate endlessly on the meaning of life and the universe, and he slowly became obsessed with writing a series of books that he claimed would “change humanity in a good way.” To write his books he took to locking himself in his room for days at a time, rarely even showing his face, and he also claimed that he was engaged in a secret project behind those closed doors that he refused to talk about with anyone. His own sister would say of this weirdness:
He said it was his project, I questioned him because I, as a sister, didn’t know what the project was and he told me that he would tell me what it was in two weeks. He was an adult and it was his privacy. It bothered me, but I couldn’t exactly break down the door. He only told me that he was writing 14 books that would change mankind in a good way. He wanted to patent them because he had created a new theory. He asked me for help and I said I would read them.
During this time, Borges displayed other unusual behavior as well, such as constantly asking his parents for money for his secret project, and he stopped working or going to school entirely so that he be could locked in that room feverishly toiling away on whatever he was up to full time. Whatever he was doing in that room of his absolutely consumed him, and he was rarely seen at all, with his sister claiming that he did one stint of 24 days straight in which he only left the confines of that room to eat. Then, without warning, on March 27, 2017, Borges was seen leaving his residence wearing a T-shirt and shorts and with a backpack getting into a taxi and never returned. As the days went by his friends and family became worried and decided to enter that off-limits room, yet when the room was opened, perhaps no one was prepared for the weirdness that lie within.
The entirety of the room featured cryptic symbols and writings meticulously written out by hand, covering the floor all the way to the ceiling, including references to the Bible, alchemy, demonology, hermeticism, Satanism, the Illuminati, Leonardo da Vinci, and the philosopher Giordano Bruno, and indeed the center of the room was occupied by a life-sized statue of Bruno displayed prominently in the center. There were also numerous surreal paintings covering every available space, including one which featured Borges standing next to an alien, as well as lesser defined images. There were also several bookshelves containing 14 books and countless loose pages which were stuffed with encrypted text and various incomprehensible symbols and ciphers, drawings and diagrams, along with what appeared to be a guide to help people decipher it all. It was all completely mind-bogglingly bizarre, and authorities were soon notified.
Police were able to extract some information, such as that the taxi he had gotten into had taken him to a nearby motel, where there was found to be traces of some ritual having been carried out nearby, including the remains of a bonfire and several chairs placed in a circle, all of them white except one red one. They also found that he had managed to borrow the equivalent of around $6,000 from a cousin to help with his “project,” and they even managed to track down the one who had created that eerie statue in the room, an artist by the name of Jorge Rivasplata, who had sold it for $2,700 and also seemed to truly believe that the missing man was a reincarnation of Bruno. Police would also find that Borges had commissioned a dress maker to fashion three cloaks for him, although no one could figure out where the cloaks had gone. In the meantime, much effort was made to try and decode the mysterious symbols left behind, but the guide wouldn’t be of much use, as most of it all would remain completely unintelligible except for one passage that was deciphered by a programmer and 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. In other words, if you fit into the system, your behavior will be determined, making you at the mercy of beliefs already provided and well established in dogmas and rituals, with the masses.
What did all of this mean? No one knew, and the news began to heavily do the rounds at the time, featured all over newspapers in Brazil and beyond. Theories abounded, including kidnapping, joining a cult, running off to start a new life, suicide, an Illuminati assassination, and even alien abduction, but there were no leads or evidence for any of this. For the next 6 months the vanishing and the weird clues Borges had left behind consumed authorities and amateur sleuths alike, and then one day he just appeared again out of the blue, emerging from the shadows to show up at his parents’ house barefoot. When questioned by worried family and friends about where he had been for the last 6 months, Borges was very cryptic and secretive, only saying:
I had notion that the Philosopher’s Stone was within the dark land, so I went after entering that dark land to find it. Just as the hero enters the cave to kill a dragon and Jonah enters a whale, I also plunged into the sea of the unconscious in order to rescue myself. Ask yourselves: Is it easy to leave the people I love, risking my life and integrity in order to awaken a sick society and find something bigger in myself?
Beyond that, he would elaborate no further, and no one knows where he went or what happened to him during the time he was gone. In the aftermath of the whole ordeal, it has been suspected that the whole thing was a publicity stunt and marketing ploy to help sell his books, which have become bestsellers, but no one is really sure and Borges himself has remained tight-lipped about it all. In the end it is a very strange odyssey of a very strange man, and the only person who seems likely to really know what was going on in his head is Borges himself.