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Dyatlov Pass Incident (wikipedia.org)
259 points by signa11 on June 3, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 137 comments



If you like this sort of thing, the Unresolved Mysteries subreddit [0] is a great resource. Some plausible theories include avalanches and military experiments [1] [2].

You could waste many days reading through Wikipedia's Unusual Articles [3]. If you like aliens, here are two worthwhile reads:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_and_Betty_Hill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_Walton_UFO_incident

Good luck sleeping with the lights off tonight :)

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/ [1] https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/1u031h... [2] https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/2q5bih... [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unusual_articles


There's also this, from two years back, which defies explanation - mysterious lights on/in the Pacific ocean. http://www.pbase.com/flying_dutchman/pacific_eruption

I've seen my share of "weird shit in the sky". I've seen a bolide in broad daylight, which was literally a "holy shit drop to your knees in awe" moment, but I've also on a few occasions seen patterns of lights moving in impossible fashions - high speed motion, instantaneous vector changes, followed by insane acceleration and disappearance. They're usually orange. An explanation I've heard for this sort of thing is car headlamps reflecting in a temperature inversion - but the last I saw these was while camping in the taklamakan, a long way from anything or anyone else.

I'm a physics graduate, an amateur astrophotgrapher, a pilot with an expired license, and I can identify aircraft, satellites, and so-forth - but some stuff I can't explain.

I also saw bona fide ball lightning and St elmo's fire a few years back driving across the Russian steppe, between astrakhan and volgograd - huge electrical storm, but as we were heading towards it, we kept seeing little sparks of bright white light zooming up from the road into the clouds, and as we were coming into the storm, we noticed the barbed wire fences along the road glowing with purplish plasma. Cows in the field were sporting furry plasma pompons on the tips of their horns. Absolutely nuts.

Anyway. I reserve all judgment on the question of LGM, but it'd be foolhardy to say all unexplained phenomena simply don't exist.


In 1988 I've been standing for quite a long time on my balcony, awing at 5 huge lighting objects dancing in the sky. Never believed in UFOs, but - in front of my own eyes, and in the middle of a big city! Then my mother came and said it must be preparations of light show for tomorrow's concert over the stadium. Oh well...


Night + sea + strange green lights...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_flash


The green flash is just the sun retracting over the horizon - you can see it off the west coast of most places.

Also, the Taklamakan is a desert, not a sea...


It can appear anywhere you have a clean horizon, such as while flying. It can be so dramatic that any time I hear of green light moving in such a situation I point to green flash phenomena.


is there any site were you write up your travels? I would love reading more about your adventures!


Afraid not - on that particular trip I had decided to journal it, and was even shooting the whole thing in 1080p 3d... And then on the last day, my cameras were all stolen, as well as the 386 laptop I'd been using to write on. I took a 386 in the hope nobody would want to steal it.

Thankfully I still had the hard drives full of footage, got it home, transferred it to my nas, raid 5, started backing that up online (several tb...), during this, two drives in the array fail (seagate. Flood batches. Sigh), all footage lost.

A year later I shot drone footage amidst the hongs in Thailand, flying through caves, launching from a kayak - crazy stuff, amazing footage - until I had another pair of disks die in another raid 5 array.

So, I now just enjoy the experiences and don't try to document them.

I actually blame seagate for me giving up, as it's their toxic disks that kept dying on me.


> I'm a physics graduate, an amateur astrophotgrapher, a pilot with an expired license, and I can identify aircraft, satellites, and so-forth - but some stuff I can't explain.

You are not a UFO-expert so your appeal to authority is out of place.


I don't remotely profess to be any such thing, and there is no such thing, by definition. If something is unidentified and unknown, one can hardly be an expert in it.

Gosh, looking at your comment history, you do appear to be an expert in curmudgeonry.

You know, you could try contributing to conversations rather than calling people trolls and swearing at them for their grammar?


As a child I very much enjoyed watching Project Blue Book (called Project UFO in the US) [0]. As I remember the episodes, the investigators would often come up with a rational explanation for the events by the end of the episode, but then just before the credits the viewer would see some piece of evidence the investigators had missed which would throw into doubt the rational explanation, making you wonder if just maybe...

Also enjoyed Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World [1].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_U.F.O.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke%27s_Mysteriou...


No, it was called Project Blue Book here too.


Oddly, I, too, remember watching it in the US as Project Blue Book, contrary to Wikipedia's description.


I freaking love sites/articles like that. Even if in the end it turns out to be completely mundane, a good writeup can do wonders.


Because misery loves company, I'll share with you my worst hobby: sleep loss over Charley Project (http://www.charleyproject.org/) cases. This should get you started:

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/j/jost_marie.html

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/d/degree_asha.html

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/m/mcguinn_melissa.html


So far the most interesting articles I've found in the Unusual Articles list you shared is the Dancing Plaque: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_Plague_of_1518 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_mania


Those are the iconic UFO stories. But one shouldn't discuss UFO-related phenomena without at least referencing Gulf Breeze. The story starts with pictures, but ends with an object found in an attic.

http://www.ufocasebook.com/gulfbreeze.html


My 4th grade teacher knew Walters and brought him in to speak to our class. At 11 years old, I didn't believe a word he said.

Later, it turned out that the dead grass circles matched the diameter of his patio table and the UFO model had been superimposed in those photographs.

I found the naïveté of adults really disturbing.


I sympathize.


I think https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Lights and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_UFO_wave are very important because of the large number of witnesses (thousands) including government officials.

You can also watch many military and government witnesses in the Out of the Blue documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYPCKIL7oVw


I saw a pretty convincing video that showed that Phoenix lights were just falling flares.


Government officials are people too :)

A lot of these things are military aircraft. In my region, there were a lot of UFO sightings that were Tomahawk missile terrain navigation system testing.


Came across a podcast dealing with this type of stories and events. I wish it was more frequent. It is only a fortnightly podcast.

http://www.lorepodcast.com/


If you like them you might like the 1976 Tehran UFO incidence. The wikipedia article is missing lots of detail, but here's a link for the curious:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_Tehran_UFO_incident


I don't get the mystery. They were asleep in the tent at night. Then something happened, presumably near the door, that caused them all to panic. Nine people panicking in a tent, at night, in 1950s Russia. They wouldn't have had lights, at least not the fancy flashlights were are used to today. So someone opened up the tent wall with a knife and they all fled into the night.

Depending on weather, once you are 10+ feet from the tent in the dark, you could be in big trouble. The trail of bodies flows from there. Some walk, some stay put, others move later, some fall/slip and are injured... nothing here seems very odd.

Now, what happened to freak them out? It could be any number of things. The sound of a suspected avalanche coupled with a tent pole failing could start a panic. An aircraft could sound like an avalanche. An aircraft dropping a few flares could also put them in fear of incoming weapons. Or it could just have been someone shouting something at exactly the correct time. The power of suggestion is hard to fight in such a group. The group feeds on itself. Someone says "run" and the herd moves.


Or... they all got wet on the way there, and were exposed to high winds, and got hypothermia. One or more of them started experiencing extreme sensations of (perceived) overheating (see paradoxical undressing) and cut open the tent to escape (maybe the door was frozen shut or covered with a snow drift). So far, no mystery. Then others reaching the same state of deluded panic follow suit and run in search of any way to cool down. Some of them run into the ravine seeking water. a deluded thing to do, but again, see paradoxical undressing. Some fall and get injured. Some not at the same delusional stage go out with their clothes on, trying to find their companions. Eventually all of them freeze to death. Subsequently, hungry animals happen upon the scene. What's left to explain?


The Outside magazine article "The cold hard facts of freezing to death" [1] gives a good description of the process.

[1]: http://www.outsideonline.com/1926316/freezing-persons-recoll...


Excellent read, thanks for the link. Like the comments at the bottom, it is not clear if this is a personal story or fiction. Do you have any insight?


The story is a composite and as such the character is fictional. The different incidents and occurrences are based on real life events.


My god...how come you could explain everything, sir. You sir must be great mind of our time. Do yo see future as well?


"Nine people panicking in a tent, at night, in 1950s Russia."

If you read a copy (unverified) [0] of the autopsy report, there's indications of violence. Falls might account for some of the reported injuries but not all of them.

[0] http://ermakvagus.com/Europe/Russia/Cholat-%20Syachil/dyatlo...


The others could be due to animals damaging the bodies.


I believe a good autopsy can often distinguish between injuries that occur pre and post death.


I think the confusing thing was the injuries. Apparently the injuries found on some of the bodies would require a considerable amount of force to inflict. (being hit by a car level of force)

So what caused these injuries, and why did only some of the bodies have them?

This is the main mysterious part of the event for me.


Falling down the side of an icy ravine could do that.

And animals could also do further damage both after a fall, and in cases where falls are ruled out.


But the bodies had no external injuries to match the internal ones.


And yet you would expect nine experienced hikers in 1950s Russia to be smart enough not to slice open a tent wall with a knife in the middle of night and go running out into the snow.


I've panicked badly while staying in a fairly remote bit of Scotland in a tent by myself - middle of the night some large animal blundered onto my tent, made a lot of noise and scared the wits out of me. I was camped in a narrow bit of ground between a steep mountainside and the sea at the head of a sea loch (fjord) - to show you how irrational I was I thought it was a bear even though there haven't been bears in Scotland for over a thousand years!

Felt pretty silly when I noticed a large herd of deer not far away the next day.

I suspect having more people with me would have made us react even more irrationally. I'm a pretty experienced hiker and generally fairly level headed....


My brother and I were once camping on the Tour du Mt Blanc. As we were washing up after eating in the dark, we saw multiple sets of approaching eyes reflecting our one headlamp. Wolves? We couldn't tell. They seemed very large and intimidating, whatever they were and weren't a familiar form even as they got closer.

We became increasingly nervous until it turned out that we'd camped on the wrong side of a fence and curious horses were approaching our campsite in their paddock. Probably didn't help that I had a childhood fear and recurring nightmares about horses. Later, we woke up to them licking the tent.


I woke up once to what I thought was the sound of Velcro outside my tent. I called out to my cousin (his backpack was leaning against the tree next to my tent) that it is too early and I was trying to sleep.

Unzipped the tent and took a look out. The sound was a bear ripping my cousin's backpack open. He did not leave any food inside, but had let some food touch the pack and left a scent.

I quickly closed the tent and let the rest of the group run the bear off.


I don't think I could camp anywhere that had bears!


Since the requirement in the US for the use of bear canisters (plastic cylinders that bears cannot open) for food storage the problem has gotten a lot better. Bears used to be more aggressive once they learned that people have food. Now in general they have learned that the food cannot be accessed and tend to stay away; though some have learned that if you scare the people when the canister is open they can get the food out.


@Cerium I'm not aware of any such requirement per se, mostly just that it's good advice. We used to tie our food up but you have to pick the right tree or the bear will simply climb up the tree or pull the tree over to bring the food within reach.


The regulations are not national, but enforced by individual park services. As far as I'm aware all national parks with bears require proper food storage. Many states have regulations as well. A quick search shows that parks in New York with bears require their use during the summer.


What odds would you give for it happening to experienced hikers? One in a million? Then it'll happen with some frequency.

It's a common argument with these things that the proposed explanation is improbable. I don't get it. We are looking at something improbable (otherwise it wouldn't be interesting in the first place), the question is just figuring out which improbable thing it is.


Yes, the question is the mystery. That's why it's interesting, because it has to be one of a few improbable options.

"Something" convincing 9 experienced outdoorsman to slice open their tent (why not open the door?) and flee is a pretty crazy story. Add the other things that don't easily fit a plausible explanation, and it's really interesting.


Here's my plausible explanation:

The hikers are awoken by some disturbance. They discuss among themselves briefly, and decide to go out--a few people start putting on shoes, while someone is attempting to open the tent door. Something spooks them, and they all panic and want out now. A convenient knife to the wall provides a faster exit point, and they run out and make for shelter of trees.

I have some experience hiking and backpacking, but the information given in the Wikipedia article is way too sparse for me to attempt to derive a coherent explanation. For example, there's no indication of where the clothing was located for those who were undressed; more importantly, there's insufficient explanation to posit when the group broke into the two who stayed at the tree, the three who tried to return, and the four who died in the ravine.


A sound suggesting an approaching avalanche could lead to the panic you mention. Plus, someone further up mentions the possibility of the tent door being frozen or difficult to open.

I think it's suggested that some might have taken clothes from those that froze to death, explaining those left naked. If some climbed trees and fell, or fell into a ravine, that could explain most of the injuries.


Experienced hikers, but still human beings sleeping in the dark. It wouldn't be normal or expected on a given night, but group panics do happen in such environments.


> nothing here seems very odd.

Yet even on this very page there are multiple "rational" explanations; different people with different suggestions involving more-or-less ordinary reasons.

That lack of consensus alone makes it odd.


I don't follow your thinking here. Isn't it routine for there to be multiple possible explanations for human actions, in the absence of complete knowledge?

"Why did X have an omelette for lunch?" Many possible, non-weird explanations.


"Why did X have an omelette for lunch" is not going to have a Wikipedia article, let alone people talking about it over half a century later.

I was saying this is most definitely an odd incident. It's certainly not routine. How many hiking trips do we know of which ended up like that?


> "Why did X have an omelette for lunch" is not going to have a Wikipedia article, let alone people talking about it over half a century later.

You are being circular in your reasoning. The OP is saying that for an event that is not so odd or eventful, it receives a disproportionate amount of attention including its own Wikipedia article. He goes on to explain why it's not odd or eventful.

You're saying, "Of course it's odd and eventful! It has its own Wikipedia article."


I think there might be some word confusion here. I believe you're using "odd" just to mean "unusual," while others are taking it to mean something like "there must be a weird explanation" or something like that.


Yes, I realized that may be the case. And may I add that I love your blog! Learned a lot from it.


Thanks, I always appreciate hearing from satisfied readers.


Um usually several hiking trips a year in the Pacific Northwest alone end in a bunch of people frozen to death on a mountain.


There's multiple rational explanations for MH370 going missing. There's nothing odd about that because we don't have the black box. However we can still rule out very unlikely explanations (eg. plane being abducted by UFOs).


A missing flight is definitely odd! Whatever the reasons for it may be.


The missing flight is odd. The fact that there are multiple possible explanations and a lack of consensus is not odd.


How do we know they weren't all tripping on acid. That would explain everything.


The theory i support is that avalanche that partially covered the tent triggered everything


While I enjoy a good mystery as much as the next guy (Though preferably ones which does not involve several people losing their lives!), it would seem rather plausible that these students were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The military tested some weapon in a remote area, unaware or indifferent to the fact that people were around; the students are awoken in their tent in the middle of the night by loud explosions and shockwaves; heck, I'd get up and run like hell, too.

Then hypothermia and/or a fall into a ravine did them in.

When the armed forces realize that a whole group of students died as a result of weapons testing, they were probably more than happy to leave it as a mystery, rather than stepping forward and claiming responsibility.

There. No yeti required.


I personally think this makes the most sense too. Occam's Razor and all that. I'm in the Army and there's all kind of ordinance detonation stuff that happens way out in the middle of nowhere, where no one's presumed to live. Especially in Russia, it's entirely plausible to me that they tested some bomb or munition not expecting a group of student hikers to be out there.


From one of the write-up sites, they claim that several higher-ranking military officials were fired following the incident. It's equally likely it was just a coincidence, but personally I'm leaning towards that.


Army EOD stepping in. *ordnance, common typo.


What do you think of the chest trauma being caused by airdropped anti personnel mines? Or other smallish explosive?

Wouldnt these leave some evidence via empty canisters? The wiki said scrap metal was found near by. But I'd imagine there would be some more obvious evidence near the ground when the rescue team arrived.


Why would you run like hell away from your tent without your boots in the Ural mountains night?

For me, plausible explanation is that indeed somebody did not want them alive but wanted it to look natural. Scared them away from their tent at gunpoint. Had to hit their toughest guy in the head.

They also had some people with stange past in that group.


> Why would you run like hell away from your tent without your boots in the Ural mountains night?

-Because you are sound asleep one moment, only to find yourself in the midst of a number of explosions the next? That would unsettle me no end, for sure.

Not saying that I know for sure what happened; only that the simplest explanations often are the best.

I do find it rather unlikely that Soviet armed forces (if they were testing something suffiently secret to 'justify' killing any accidental spectator, even their own citizens) would even let people enter the area; much easier (and less drastic!) to just tell people to turn around 'for security reasons' and be done with it than letting them get too close, then killing them.

Now, death by negligence/indifference in the course of military action, on the other hand, would hardly be a first.

(And if someone WANTED them dead, the area does appear to lend itself well to making people disappear; doubly so when under a regime which had taught people not to ask too many awkward questions.)

It would be rather surprising if anyone but Soviet authorities of one variety or the other was involved in activities which couldn't be allowed to come to light in the area, so I (perhaps too lightly) discount options like a secret CIA infiltration mission, yetis, aliens, poachers, rum runners...)


> I do find it rather unlikely that Soviet armed forces [...] would even let people enter the area

"What, that pass, in februari? Not like anybody will be stupid enough to be hiking there." or "No, if we tell people not to go, they'll want to know what we're doing over there. Best just keep quiet about it." or a combination of both.


Unsettle is one thing; fleeing without boots and not returning to pick them up is another thing.

This is practically uninhabited area and it is really huge and cold. Even of Soviet armed forces wanted, they could not "tell people to turn aroud".


It's the little details that are hard to explain, like the missing tongue or the brain damage.


> It was claimed that Dubinina was found lying face down in a small stream that ran under the snow and that her external injuries were in line with putrefaction in a wet environment, and were unlikely to be related to her death.

The brain damage is not out of the question if they were victims to a close range weapons test.


Missing tongue was most likely an animal scavenging.


I agree - a likely explanation.

A halfway decent examination should show if it was torn on bitten through... Writing this I realise it must have been bitten through by either external means (animal) or localized (bit off own tongue) or it would have been mentioned as another mystery.

But for me, one thing that is harder to explain is the skull fragment. For that, there would have definitely been tooth or tool marks. Unless of course, she fell....


Neither are that hard to explain plausibly, and the wikipedia page does so. Brain damage could come from concussive forces applied from the blasts of the (speculated) explosive ordnance tests, this would in turn explain the absence of external soft tissue trauma? The tongue part, as is the case for a lot of missing limb story, sounds like some critter found a soft, yummy looking part of the corpse and made away with it.

The bigger mystery IMO, is the absence of reported blast marks or damage to the terrain one would expect from testing explosives.


> The bigger mystery IMO, is the absence of reported blast marks or damage to the terrain one would expect from testing explosives.

Mid air?


Many HE munitions are airburst, because they cause greater damage from aerial deployment than they do close to the ground. For example nuclear weapons are detonated 1-2 miles above the ground. Considering that fact it doesn't rule out a conventional military munition.


It was some time before they were found, and the snow might have hindered identification of that.


If this is true it's an even bigger sensation than a yeti so I'm not buying your "simple" explanation.


Why would military misadventure be a bigger sensation than an encounter with a Yeti? If the latter was proven to be true I would be far more amazed than if it was just a military accident.


Military misadventure happens all the time. When I was growing up near a military base in Norfolk, Virginia, a family who was friends with ours had a blast of machine gun fire rip through their car while traveling with the mother, father, and baby inside. Luckily nobody was injured.


How would that be a sensation?


With present knowledge of wilderness medicine, this is not a mystery at all, although it was at the time. Everything is explained by the odd effects of hypothermia. Someone missing a tongue after death is explained by hungry animals.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=paradoxical+undressing+in+hypother...


9/9 members suffering from delusional hypothermia is extremely unlikely. Can you provide a reference for a single similar mountaineering incident? I can provide a lot of references to deaths from hypothermia in e.g. the Himalayas and I've never read/heard of a remotely similar circumstance.

Hypothermia doesn't just happen to experienced mountaineers - they need to make mistakes; usually one member is affected before others. There are steps you take to deal with the condition - of which tent cutting and nude running really isn't one. Massive simultaneous delusion might be possible, but it needs a much better supported explanation


9/9 could have gotten wet. On top of that they were exposed, away from the protection of trees, and possibly in high winds. There is nothing to say this was not the case.

And while there are steps you take, those are things we have learned since 1959. It's not clear at all that this group's 1959 best practices (even given their considerable experience) was on par with what we would do now.

The trauma injuries are explained by falls or by misinterpretation of damage done to the bodies by passing animals after the fact. Paradoxical undressing isn't just a leisurely comfortable stroll in the buff; it can be a panicked race toward the nearest place where a dip into freezing water might be sought (by a deluded person who forgets that the water will be frozen solid), such as into a ravine.


> 9/9 could have gotten wet.

This is very unlikely in negative temperatures in the -30-20 range.

> It's not clear at all that this group's 1959 best practices (even given their considerable experience) was on par with what we would do now.

Even supposing the unlikely event that 9/9 did get hypothermia before other symptoms, you are still saying that they all became simultaneously delirious to the point that not even one of them was found dead in a position that indicated some kind of normal reaction one would expect from an experienced person (I'm not saying a life-saving reaction - we know no one survived, but anything remotely bordering on rational)..


You seem to forget that warm skin can melt snow, and that sweat can dampen and even soak clothes. There are plenty of ways to get wet. The operational range of temperatures includes temperatures as high as 98.6F or more when humans are in the picture. Sweat and snow melt at far below 98.6F.

"Simultaneously" is your own bizarre projection, not something I said or would say.


Most of them were well-dressed (see morgue photos, for example). And it wasn't that cold out there back then for hypothermia to kick in.


It was between -13 and -22 degrees Fahrenheit with heavy winds. That is very cold, certainly cold enough to cause hypothermia. My freezer doesn't even get this cold.


I played hockey for hours and hours at -13f every day as a kid without even a winter coat. We'd still play at -40f, but it would be too cold for a helmet at that point and we'd have to wear toques.


Good for you. -13 is still very cold. Boston had its coldest day on record earlier this year and still didn't hit -13F.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/14/boston-breaks-v...


-13f was a nice day. You get used to it. If you didn't go out at -13, you'd never go out in the winter.


They were originally inside a tent, which was count cut through. Then they left without boots. That's not paradoxical undressing, is it?


It's like this: you're in a tent becoming hypothermic--maybe the night was colder than your equipment was good for, maybe you got wet-- you hit the delirium stage and feel great so you decide to go out. You can't work the zippers because of course you're half frozen in reality so in the unlogic of delirium you just cut open the tent and step out. In that delirium you don't so much paradoxically undress as simply not-get-dressed.


Wouldn't this theory be among the considered ones for the investigation in a country like Russia, experienced with cold related issues? And why would they have been so inclined to make this secret for over forty years?


They didn't keep it secret there was an official investigation, it got written up in newspapers, people wrote books about it.


Reminds me about an interview I heard with a Israeli veteran from the 6-days war I think. He was speaking about how the Arab fire had suddenly stopped and when they finally dared to recon after initially suspecting an ambush they found everyone capable of running had run in panic without even caring about footwear.

According to him wounded Arab soldiers left behind told a story of seeing sightings in the sky that had caused the mass panic.

Of course this is to be taken with multiple grains of salt as this is an but maybe someone here can find more.


It absolutely fits, as strange as it sounds.


What about radiation found during autopsy?


There wasn't any. That detail didn't show up in the story until decades later


Because a lot of the story's details were suppressed initially...


People making shit up post hoc in order to justify their enthusiasm to their skeptical friends is not the same thing as being 'suppressed initially'


That's what they want you to think


Kholat is a game developed by independent studio IMGN.PRO, inspired by true events known as the "Dyatlov Pass Incident".

http://kholat.com/en/index.php


Looks fantastic. Never heard of the game, how do you usually market it?


nope


There are photos of their bodies when they were found, as well as photos from the morgue. They are quite gruesome and can be found with Google Image Search by "дятлов тела" or "дятлов морг" keywords.


I'd read a lot about the incident but never seen those photos, pretty gruesome.


if you want a quick read thru the story and some speculations there is an awesome page for that:

http://dyatlov.looo.ch/en/

make sure you hit the play button if the music does not play automatically


It's possible (maybe even likely) a key piece of evidence as to what happened is missing. And also, given what's known so far, that piece of evidence has not been found and thus remains unknown to anyone but the hikers. I wonder if any of the 9, before perishing, had tried to leave a clue as to what happened at the tent.


I like any unsolved problem that includes "Yeti" as a possible solution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyatlov_Pass_incident#Yeti


They made a mediocre (but reasonably watchable) film about this called "Devil's Pass" (or "The Dyatlov Pass Incident" in some regions) - I won't spoil it for you, but their possible solution made "Yeti" look quite mundane.


Not that great a movie but their cause of the incident made it worth watching. I don't remember seeing that setup before.


"Russian yeti" as opposed to....? "Canadian yeti" maybe?


You know, like an African swallow vs a European swallow.


To clarify: "about this" makes it sound like the film was a documentary. It really, really wasn't.


Donnie Eichar's book Dead Mountain is a good, fun read on it.


This suggested that they were freaked out by infrasound caused by a Karman vortex street caused by wind flowing around Холатча́хль.

It's plausible, as it happens elsewhere, but has anyone checked to see if this does actually ever occur on Холатча́хль?


Not that I know of, but how often does it occur where it does occur? That is, how long would you have to leave a recording device there to invalidate the infrasound hypothesis?


Have to put a plug in here for the Astonishing Legends, podcast they do great work and are pretty damn entertaining. I would highly recommend anyone interested in this and similar events check out their two part series on it http://www.astonishinglegends.com/portfolio/ep023-dyatlov-pa...


The extremely-talented folk-metal band Kauan recently released an album about this[0]. It's worth checking out if you like ambient, moody, atmospheric music.

[0] http://www.metalsucks.net/2015/10/22/stream-kauans-new-album...


I heard recently of the book "Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident" by Donnie Eichar ... which apparently goes into the whole thing via access to records, photos, interviews, the hiker's journals, and so forth.

The book's on my short list of reading.


I can't believe this book wasn't mentioned earlier in the thread! I finished it last month and won't spoil anything, but the author ends up with a pretty good theory. The book goes into great detail about the investigation and examines and discards plenty of possible explanations (including every "Well of course it must have been..." suggested here so far!)

It's also an interesting look at young people in the Soviet Union at that time.


This is one of those happenings that captures popular imagination and keeps coming up over and over again. I wrote about it when I first heard of it almost a decade ago, and received a steady stream of conspiracy theorist comments thereafter: http://www.cydeweys.com/blog/2008/02/27/dyatlov-pass-acciden...

I've resolved myself to never knowing the truth of what happened both here and for many other things. It's really hard to let it go like that, but at some point you're just making a bigger and bigger intellectual itch that can never be scratched.


There's a great Stuff You Missed in History Class on this [1].

If I'm remembering correctly, one theory is that their canned food was tainted with a bacteria (not terribly uncommon for the time) that caused mental issues which triggered the bizarre chain of events of them leaving their shelter is various states of undress.

[1] http://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts/the-dyatlov-pass-inc...


Interesting that Polish wikipedia has more information about this than English. It says that military accident was not likely.


I believe it was a migu that killed them. Yeti type animal. Why? Possibly because of the Russian military activity nearby, most likely. I doubt there was provocation on the hikers part. The physical damage was definitely animalistic and no doubt if men had killed them it would have been an entirely different story


The Trivia section is funny and shows you why we have so many Devils Lakes in the US (oh, spirit, must be the Devil!!)

I do love the name Kholat Syakhl (Dead Mountain). That must mean EVIL!!! (asks native) Oh, yeah, nothing to hunt on that mountain, try that one over there called Lunt-Husap-Sjahyl (Mountain of Goose Nests).


Yeah but what about the Radiation? It's only mentioned in passing in this article but I've read this story in other places where it is covered in greater detail.


Once you accept they were attacked by a Yeti it is a minor jump to conclude this Yeti, or perhaps all Yetis, are radioactive, don't you think?


Randall Munroe thinks the "explanation seems pretty clear".

https://xkcd.com/1501/


Any chance they just all took drugs or something?


maybe, but i don't it's likely. experienced hikers wont chug e's for fun if they're in a potentially dangerous situation. the undressing is due to hypothermia, as explained above. the missing tongue is most likely due to foxes or other predators, they eat the soft tissue first.

an avalanche+hypothermia is the most likely explanation.


There are photos of this place and tent on it. No signs of avalanche and inclination is very mild.

It's kind of hard to explain why they did not take boots or at least return for them.


>It's kind of hard to explain why they did not take boots or at least return for them.

-That's presumably just what (probably, obviously this is pure conjecture on my part) the three bodies found apparently heading back to the tent were trying to do? Return to retrieve their kit, that is?

I'd reckon fleeing in panic is why they didn't pause to put on their boots and kit in the first place; something caused them to leave in a hurry. What that something was, however, we obviously do not know; my money would be on munitions testing, but YMMV.

Now, I didn't see any details in the Wikipedia article or on the (fabulous!) looo.ch site that the rescuers found any inexplicable tracks in the snow, suggesting either that whatever tracks there was had blown over OR that whatever scared them was airborne or at the very least a fair distance from their tent - or, for that matter that the rescuers happened to be encouraged to leave out some details, further indicating the authorities were involved.

I agree an avalanche sounds very unlikely, though - both based on the terrain and the fact that at least some of the victims were experienced mountaineers; they simply wouldn't have set up camp anywhere they deemed vulnerable to an avalanche in the first place.


I watched a documentary just the other day about this. They showed how slits were cut facing the treeline only on one side of the tent/s(?). Apparently some of the group stayed in the tents and ran but got nowhere and were killed, while some ran to the treeline. And then at a certain point, the ones hiding behind the trees ran back into the snow and were also killed. This denoted fear and nothing else. A cluster bomb? Then why did anybody run at all? All of the physical damages can not be explained by hungry animals alone, but they could by a powerful beast.

The military let slip that they knew of the hikers at least 2 weeks prior to their being found. I really can't think of any military exercise that would have people running in circles without shoes. Nor causing some to run one way to hide, while others run as if being chased. And then there's that one pic of a two-legged hairy creature watching them. Rescuers, if you can call it that, found a slip of paper left in a tent that read in russian, " the snowman exists". Locals call it the migu and say for a fact these 'yeti' like soft flesh and they find deer with their heads ripped off and tongue missing. Yeah, Im going with the migu. Sorry guys.




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