The Dyatlov Pass incident is one of the world's greatest unsolved mysteries, subject to many books, articles and films, including 2013 horror movie shocker The Devil's Pass - but what is the true story behind this enigma?
9 skiers died on the night of February 2, 1959
Igor Dyatlov led a group of students around a cold, desolate area of the Urals, Russia, known in the Mansi language as Kholat Syakhl - 'The Mountain of the Dead.' None returned alive - except for the 10th member of the party, Yuri Yudin, who turned back early in the voyage with the illness that saved his life.
The scene authorities found defied all logic
When Dyatlov's party were reported missing, rescue efforts found a bizarre scene. Tents ripped inside out, nine sets of footprints leading in different directions, and frozen bodies, some wearing only underwear in the extreme cold. Several of the corpses had skull and bone fractures, consistent with high pressure blows - but without the external trauma to match such a blow.
There are many theories about what befell Dyatlov and his crew...
1. Supernatural Events
Several people firmly believe that what happened at Dyatlov Pass was caused by otherworldly influence. The bizarre evidence is certainly suggestive of paranormal activity: some of the hikers had white-gray, prematurely aged hair, items of clothing were highly radioactive, and there had been reports of strange orange spheres in the skies above the Mountain of Death...
Freakiest of all is the repeating tale of nine deaths: an old Mansi folktale told of nine people dying beside the mountain, then the Dyatlov incident happened and years later, in 1991, a plane crashed at the site... nine people were killed.
2. Secret Military Testing
Many believe that it was weapons testing that caused the hikers' deaths, which is consistent with records of Russian militia testing Parachute Mines in the area. These weapons also cause extreme internal trauma with little external damage, which would account for the mysterious wounds autopsies revealed in the party.
The area was largely untrodden, which geographers have speculated may have led to build-up of undisturbed snow ripe for an avalanche - this would certainly be consistent with the devastating impact of force upon the hikers' bodies. However, if it was an avalanche, it seems strange that the hikers' footprints were left, perfectly preserved...
The search continues...?
Other theories include an attack by the indigenous Mansi people, or death by atmospheric electricity, but nobody knows for sure. The case was largely shut down and hushed up: writer Yuri Yarovoi published his investigative novel about the Dyatlov Pass incident in 1967, which was heavily censored. Yarovoi died in 1980, and all of his diaries, archives, and photographs have been mysteriously lost...
2013 Movie, The Devil's Pass, retraces the Ural dead...
The official verdict reads: death by 'unknown compelling force.' What do you think?
What do you think is the most convincing explanation for the Dyatlov Pass Incident?
Source: Dyatlov Pass Incident