The nine hikers had set up a camp on a slope of one of the mountains. Something strange happened during the night and their tent was cut open. The hikers had left most of their gear in the tent including boots and warm clothing. Further away two bodies were found under a tree, the tree had damaged limbs that were broken off far above the ground. Here is the official story from wikipedia:
“On February 26, the searchers found the abandoned and badly damaged tent on Kholat Syakhl. Mikhail Sharavin, the student who found the tent, said "the tent was half torn down and covered with snow. It was empty, and all the group's belongings and shoes had been left behind." Investigators said the tent had been cut open from inside. A chain of eight or nine sets of footprints, left by several people who were wearing only socks, a single shoe or were barefoot, could be followed and led down toward the edge of nearby woods (on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) north-east), but after 500 metres (1,600 ft) they were covered with snow. At the forest edge, under a large cedar, the searchers found the remains of a fire, along with the first two bodies, those of Yuri Krivonischenko and Yuri Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. The branches on the tree were broken up to five meters high, suggesting that a skier had climbed up to look for something, perhaps the camp. Between the cedar and the camp the searchers found three more corpses, Dyatlov, Zina Kolmogorova and Rustem Slobodin, who seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the tent. They were found separately at distances of 300, 480 and 630 meters from the tree.
Searching for the remaining four travelers took more than two months. They were finally found on May 4 under four meters of snow in a ravine 75 meters farther into the woods from the cedar tree. These four were better dressed than the others, and there were signs that those who had died first had apparently relinquished their clothes to the others. Zolotaryov was wearing Dubinina's faux fur coat and hat, while Dubinina's foot was wrapped in a piece of Krivonishenko's wool pants.”
The Investigation that took place after the bodies were discovered is riddled with holes and unexplained details. This was a time of severe censorship and fragile information was never released. For one the clothing of the victims was laced with extremely high levels of radiation. It was reported that the victims skin had been turned brown and that some of the wounds and fractures were so severe that the force would have been too much to have been caused by human hands. One of the victims face had been mutilated, the tongue was missing as well as the lips and nose.
Russian missile tests had taken place that night and in the region. Also it was reported that orange glowing spheres were seen in the night sky.
The theories range from paranormal and extraterrestrial to the possibility that indigenous tribes from the region acted the hikers. Here is a list of the theories that were commonly reported (again from wiki):
Journalists reporting on the available parts of the inquest files claim that it states:
- Six of the group members died of hypothermia and three of fatal injuries.
- There were no indications of other people nearby apart from the nine travelers on Kholat Syakhl, nor anyone in the surrounding areas.
- The tent had been ripped open from within.
- The victims had died 6 to 8 hours after their last meal.
- Traces from the camp showed that all group members left the camp of their own accord, on foot.
- To dispel the theory of an attack by the indigenous Mansi people, Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny stated that the fatal injuries of the three bodies could not have been caused by another human being, "because the force of the blows had been too strong and no soft tissue had been damaged".
- Forensic radiation tests had shown high doses of radioactive contamination on the clothes of a few victims.
- Released documents contained no information about the condition of the skiers' internal organs.
- There are no survivors of the incident.
- 12-year-old Yury Kuntsevich, who would later become head of the Yekaterinburg-based Dyatlov Foundation (see below), attended five of the hikers' funerals and recalls their skin had a "deep brown tan".
- Some of the hikers' clothing (2 pants and sweater) were found to be highly radioactive.
- Another group of hikers (about 50 kilometers south of the incident) reported that they saw strange orange spheres in the night sky to the north (likely in the direction of Kholat Syakhl) on the night of the incident.Similar "spheres" were observed in Ivdel and adjacent areas continually during the period of February to March 1959, by various independent witnesses (including the meteorology service and the military).These were later confirmed by Eugene Buyanov to be test launches of R-7 intercontinental missiles.
- Some reports suggest that there was a great deal of scrap metal in the area and around the area, leading to speculation that the military had utilized the area secretly and might have been engaged in a cover-up.
- The last camp of Dyatlov's group was located on direct way from Baikonur Cosmodrome (where some test launches of the R-7s were executed) to Chyornaya Guba, Novaya Zemlya archipelago (which was a major nuclear testing ground of the Soviet Union).
The movie “The Devil's Pass” is based on this story and it’s pretty cool. It’s available on Netflix and in my opinion is pretty well done. They combine the “Russian Sleep Experiment” and this story together.
So what do you guys think? Was it a ghostly phenomena, UFO’s, a government cover-up or natural events that led to the death of the nine hikers?
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