Are The World’s Top Scientists Dying In Strange Circumstances?

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
November 9, 2017
Last Updated
September 27, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
Conspiracy Theory Analysis, Technology

As the twenty-first century progressed onwards, it would become increasingly obvious that many of the world’s top scientists – in various fields, but predominantly microbiology – were meeting untimely, and on occasion violent ends. We have written before about the highly suspicious circumstances behind the death of Dr. David Kelly, for example, which is still officially suicide today, despite the protestations and claims of many.

Rodney Marks standing by a telescope in Antarctica before his death.

Rodney Marks standing by a telescope in Antarctica before his death.

Individually, each case does appear to be a tragic accident, or a random attack, or in some cases the taking of one’s own life, but as the years went by, it seemed to be a top scientist in the modern era came with a shortened life expectancy. What is perhaps more chilling than the apparent increase in deaths of scientific figures, is that there appears to be no clear-cut reason as to why this is happening.

Before we look at some of the more baffling and grim individual cases, check out the short video below. It looks at the basics of the conspiracy of murdered scientists and five of the most mysterious of them.

Smithsonian Society Scientist “Poisoned” While In Antarctica

Perhaps one of the most suspicious concerning the sudden death of a top scientist would be that of Dr. Rodney Marks. [1] Indeed the fact he was working in Antarctica at the time – a place full of conspiracy theories in its own right – certainly raised an eyebrow or two.

After working in the icy region as part of a research project for the National Science Foundation, Marks suddenly came down with a mysterious illness. His state slowly worsened, so much so that he would even vomit blood before finally succumbing within twenty-four hours, dying on 12th May 2001.

Autopsy results would show his death to be a case of acute methanol poisoning, although how he would have come into contact with such a substance, and in such levels as to be fatal, is a mystery. All who knew him would state their belief that Marks had not taken his own life, and there were no other signs of this at any time during his brief illness. With this option ruled out, that would leave a choice between accidental or intentional poisoning.

Marks’ death is still unexplained, but it is perhaps worth noting that New Zealand police investigators put on record their complete frustration with the National Science Foundation, even going as far as to insinuate the holding back of information. Make of those highly unorthodox comments what you will.

Russian Microbiologists Murdered In Moscow, 2002

Just over six months after the death of Dr. Marks, two highly respected and accomplished Russian microbiologists would meet their own brutal ends in the broad daylight of Moscow in late-January/early-February 2002. [2] Each of the deaths was merely brushed aside by authorities, who after brief investigations would claim each death to be the result of a “bandit attack!”

On 28th January, Dr. Alexi Brushlinski – a leading contributor to the Russian Academy of Science – was beaten to death by persons unknown. Ten days later, the head of microbiology at the Russian State Medical University, Dr. Victor Korshunov, also suffered a physical attack, sustaining serious head injuries. He died on a Moscow street only yards away from his home. This suggested it was very much a targeted attack as opposed to the random “bandit” attack the Russian investigators claimed it to be.

On 21st November 2001, came the discovery of the dead body of former microbiologist from the Cold War era of the Soviet Union, Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, at his home in England. Pasechnik, who defected to the west and the United Kingdom in 1989, had been the victim of a stroke. Many were skeptical of the findings. Many were skeptical of the findings.

Pasechnik is an interesting figure in that it was his revelations after taking asylum in the UK that showed intelligence services of the west just how advanced and involved the Soviet regime was in such fields, including weaponizing such agents. Details would include the use of anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, and even the potential to spread a “plague-like” agent throughout the population of its target. Although the Cold War was very much coming to an end at the time, the information still provided western intelligence a valuable insight into the mindset and capabilities of their potential enemy.

Don Wiley and Benito Que

A little over a week prior to the death of Dr. Pasechnik on 12th November 2001, came the discovery of the badly beaten body of Dr. Benito Que [3] only a short distance from his laboratory at Miami Medical School. Initial reports of the scene suggested that Dr. Que was the victim of a mugging. Local media would state the sighting of four individuals in dark clothes in the area that evening, each carrying baseball bats.

However, the Miami police confused matters shortly after when they claimed Dr. Que had died of a heart attack. Furthermore, they would claim there were no indications that he had suffered any type of altercation. As you might imagine, the unclear nature of the reports would give rise to suspicions as to what had happened.

These suspicions gathered pace somewhat when it would come to light that Dr. Que was an expert on viral diseases and appeared to have been working on a project that had made a breakthrough in the treatment in HIV.

A little over a month later on 20th December, the body of biophysics expert, [4] Dr. Don Wiley, would emerge from the brutally cold waters of the Mississippi River. Dr. Wiley had been missing since 15th November, and upon the discovery, homicide cases began by both the Arkansas and Tennessee police departments.

Due to the inter-state nature of the death, the FBI would soon take control of the investigation. They would promptly declare his death to have been accidental and closed the case. They claimed Dr. Wiley had “fallen from the bridge” near his abandoned vehicle in Tennessee. A quick investigation of the area however, in particular, the six-foot-high fences, suggested it was unlikely for someone to fall into the waters below.

Van Driver Purposely Knocks Down Dr. Burghoff

There is some doubt as to the untimely demises of both Wiley and Que. There certainly isn’t, however, when it comes to the gruesome death of Dr. Robert Leslie Burghoff. As he walked along the pavement of the Texas Medical Centre on the evening of 20th November 2003, a heavy-duty van purposely left the road and drove along the pavement, striking Dr. Burghoff before vacating the scene. His killer is still at large.

Perhaps worth taking note of is the work Dr. Burghoff at the time of his death. A mysterious flu outbreak was taking hold of cruise ships, which the biochemist was studying in detail. Interestingly, Texas was also experiencing its own mystery flu outbreak at the same time. Whether there is a connection between the two is up for debate. What isn’t, at least for most, is that the death of Dr. Burghoff was an intentional hit-and-run.

Check out the short video below. It looks in a little more detail at several more of these seemingly targeted attacks.

Further Dark and Suspicious Deaths

In 2005, the respected protein chemist and former professor at the University of Missouri, Dr. Jeong Im’s dead body sat in an inferno-like burning car in a multi-storey car park. Following putting out the fire and being able to approach the incinerated vehicle, it came to light that Dr. Im had multiple stab wounds to his body. His death would eventually go on the list of crimes of recently deceased “career criminal”, Timothy Hoag in 2013 when the alleged killer leaped to his death from the same multi-storey car park where Dr. Im’s body awaited discovery almost a decade previously.

The previous year in the summer of 2004 nuclear physicist and research scientist, John Mullen would die following a lethal ingestion of arsenic. [5] Autopsy reports suggest the poison, in a health-drink Mullen had consumed on the day of his death, delivered the dose. Privately, police investigating the case were planning to arrest Mullen’s girlfriend, Tamara Rallo, for involvement in his murder. Before they could do so, however, she would be found dead at her home.

One of the earliest of the strange scientist deaths of the early-2000s would be that of the Dr. Ian Langford on 11th February 2002. Dr. Langford would be found in his East-Anglia home with various wounds upon his body. [6] Even the way his body – under a house chair – was bizarrely strange. For all of these indicators of something untoward, investigators would state Langford’s death to be suicide within forty-eight hours of opening the case. Unofficial rumors would state the room in which the body lay resembled a bloodbath, and certainly not the scene of a suicide.


1 Astrophysicist’s South Pole Death Remains a Mystery After Eight Years, Ian O’Neil Universe Today, September 26th, 2008
2 Mysterious Deaths and Microbiology, Nick Redfern, Mysterious Universe, August 27th, 2015
3 Secret History: Conspiracies from Ancient Aliens to the New World Order, Nick Redfern, ISBN 9781578 895587 (page 344)
4 Guilty Or Innocent: People Vs. the Bush Administration, Don Rossignol, ISBN 9781412 052399
5 Killing suspect found dead before arrest, Heather Ratcliffe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 11th, 2005
6  Kelly’s Death Linked With Langford’s Says Jane’s Editor, Steve Quayle, September 26th, 2003

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

Fact Checking/Disclaimer

Fact Checking

The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.

We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.  Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind".  Read more about how we fact-check content here.

Copyright & Republishing Policy

The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight.  The author does not own the rights to this content. 

You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and join our subscribers. Receive the latest articles directly in your inbox weekly.

If you don't like what you read, you can unsubscribe at any time.


UFO Insight does not take responsibility for the content of the comments below.  We take care of filtering profanity as much as we can.  The opinions and discussion in the comments below are not the views of UFO Insight, they are the views of the individual posting the comment.

Newest comments appear first, oldest at the bottom. Post a new comment!

  • Mary Lewis says:

    The name of the Maine scientist killed was Connie Birkenmeier 76, of Bar Harbor. The man who hit her was 36 yr old Justin A. Shell of Harrisonburg Va. Who was later found dead at home on Oct. 18th 2017.

  • Mary Lewis says:

    In 2017 another biologist was killed accidently in a restaurant parking lot on the way to meeting up with 2 overseas researchers. The driver went unconscious prior to hitting her supposedly due to health issues or lack of sleep. He was later found dead in his Virginia home by family. Suicide? Was the female Maine researcher yet another targeted viralogist in the string of unsolved murders?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *