Many of us have a shared dream of backpacking, trekking, and traveling across the world. Bonfires, cold camps, music, and starlit skies are what we envision in our private dreams of wanting to run away and be free. Who thinks that this innocuous outdoor activity could be the last thing we will ever do? Sure, accidents can occur but if there is one thing that can caution you from any dreams about hiking and camping through mountains, then it is the 1959 Dyatlov Pass Incident.
Have you heard about it?
It’s a harrowing tale about 9 young skiers – university-going students – who went hiking on the Russian Ural Mountains to never return. What was meant to be a short trek and camping trip went majorly south. The story goes that these nine students made camp on the slope of Kholat Syakhl mountain and went to sleep. But something happened. In the middle of the night, the students ran out of their camps, not dressed in proper gear to survive the cold of the night, and began to flee. What were they running from? We still don’t know.
They soon died of hypothermia. But if this was all, then it would have been okay. However, the manner of their death was nothing short of gruesome: bodies with missing eyes, tongue, major physical trauma, and more. You might think this was an attack by some human – a serial murderer – after all the 1960s and 70s are remembered in the US as years of serial murderers coming to the fore. But if you think this, you might be wrong.
An astounding finding of the investigation reveals that high levels of radiation were found on the body of one camper. What could this possibly mean? A further finding stated that the force of the physical trauma on the victims’ bodies was too strong to have been caused by a human being. Could it have been some beast instead? Well, the bodies were not mauled enough to suggest any bestial interference.
At the end, the Russian task force enigmatically asserted that there was some “compelling natural force” that caused these deaths. After 31 years, the public prosecutor assigned to this case, a man named Lev Ivanov, proposed that the Dyatlov Pass Incident was somehow related to fireballs in the sky – believed by some to be Russian nuclear tests and by others to be extraterrestrial beings.
There have been talks in the Russian underground information groups, not monitored by the government, that this so-called incident occurred because the unfortunate group of kids stumbled upon some military experiment high up in the mountains. Forced to flee camp by the KGB, the hikers could have been killed by the Russian state security which is known in history for its brutality. If there is evidence supporting this explanation, we don’t know of it, not even in the declassified files of the Soviet Union which came out in the 1990s.
A scientific explanation sought to suggest that a Karman vortex sheet, a weather phenomenon, that emits a low frequency was behind this event. This bizarre and strange natural phenomenon occurs when win patterns create infrasound that can cause harmful physiological and psychological symptoms. It was suggested by Donnie Eichar, author of a book called Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, that on the unfortunate night at Kholat Syakhl, the winds were too strong and created intense waves of infrasound which drove the hikers into mass hysteria and severe panic.
As interesting as this explanation is, the question remains, why would eyes and tongues of the hikers go missing is this was just because of some severe panic attack that led them to die?
…. Unexplainable Force?
As we begin to run out of possible explanations that tie all the dots together in this terrible incident, it becomes tempting to suggest what the initial investigators did: a compelling ‘natural force’ did this. In 2019, this case was opened for reinvestigation and it was concluded this incident occurred due to an avalanche or a hurricane – implying that no crime occurred. There are still unanswered questions, however. How and why did human body parts disappear? What ‘natural force’ could possibly yank out the eyes and tongues of people? Why would it want to? Like it or not, we think it has to do something with aliens even though this explanation mystifies the incident much more. It’s not like we will ever find out. Or will we?