Friday, June 10, 2016

The Mystery of Dyatlov Pass

This is part of my ongoing mysteries series, which is a continuation from my very popular A to Z Challenge posts this year. Warning: Some violent content.

In January of 1959, a group of young, experienced skiiers set out to ski the Ural Mountains, armed with hiking gear. On January 28th, one of their group fell ill and had to turn back.

He would be the lucky one.

Nearly one month after the group started their trip, searchers found their tent on the uppermost slope of the "mountain of the dead." Diaries and cameras documented their journey, including this photo of four of them toward the beginning:


Photo Credit: Daily Mail

There was no sign of the nine students. There were eight or nine sets of tracks in the snow, leading away from the tent. Some had been wearing socks, some only one shoe, and some were completely barefoot. The temperatures had been well below zero.


Photo Credit: Daily Mail

On closer inspection, the searchers realized the tent had been cut from inside. All of the skiiers' belongings were there, including most of their shoes.



At the edge of the forest were the first two bodies, near the remains of a small fire. Both bodies were clothed in only underwear, with no shoes.


Photo credit: DyatlovIncident.com

Three more bodies were found in a position that suggested they may have been trying to return to the tent. A few months later, the remaining four skiiers had been found. They were dressed. Their bodies were nearly 250 feet from the other bodies.


Photo credit: Misterika

Using the diaries and photographs they found, investigators discovered that on the last day, the group had run into bad weather. They'd decided to set up camp early. Experts placed the time of the "incident" to sometime after dark but before dinner.


Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Forensics found that the tent had been cut from the inside--a hole large enough for the campers to escape through. What had caused them to run away from the safety of their tent?



Three of the skiiers had serious skull injuries consistent with an extremely aggressive blow. Two had suffered damage to their chests. No other footprints were found near the tent. The damage was that which would be seen in a car accident, experts say, and too extensive to have been caused by a human. This was the final photo from their camera:




To this day, no one knows for certain what caused the skiiers to flee their campsite. Six died of hypothermia and three died from fatal injuries. One of the biggest puzzlers of all?

Some of the clothes had notable amounts of radiation on them.



There have been many theories, but the Dyatlov Pass Incident still remains one of the most puzzling unsolved mysteries of all time.

What do you think happened to the hikers?

43 comments:

  1. I've read about that before. No animal or there would have been tracks. And during a storm, what would have come after them anyway?
    Maybe it was The Thing?

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    1. That's what I thought! I have a feeling it may have inspired that story...

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  2. Now that is a mystery. It almost sounds like they encountered a Big Foot of some sort, but not sure how the radiation plays into that. It's strange that whatever or whoever it was was able to overpower all of them without them getting very far from the camp.

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    1. Some think it might have been an avalanche or that they thought an avalanche was coming...and then couldn't find their way back? The snow was pretty bad. As for the radiation, some have pointed out that we're all exposed to varying levels of radiation throughout the day, but I'm not sure how that would have played in during a snowstorm in 1959!

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  3. I agree with Mason. This is mysterious indeed. I never knew this till now.

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    1. I hadn't heard about it until a month or so ag and as soon as I heard the story, I had to hear more!

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  4. I had never heard of this before but obviously they had to escape fast and felt they had to make a hole in their tent to do that in order to try not to be seen. If there was a bear in the area CDs would have been seen. This was the Communist era at it height in many ways and so much was done with nuclear ...things( can't think right now) so they could have been near some government testing area and were too close for comfort and had to be eliminated. Iam purely guessing obviously.

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    1. My readers have the best imaginations! Apparently the government wasn't very forthcoming with their investigation, from what I heard on the Generation Why podcast.

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  5. Chilling. I can't imagine what could have happened. Including the pictures, allowing me to see the smiling young people in black and white, really draws me into the mystery and was brilliant on your part. Thank you for sharing.

    I enjoyed reading the other comments too, and have to share a bit of trivia. I'm a huge fan of the 1982 flick "The Thing" and learned watching special features that John Carpenter based his movie on a novella written in 1938. So while this incident wasn't the inspiration, that entity could clearly survive many decades. Fascinating food for thought.

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    1. Ahhh, I was wondering, but it sounds like that wasn't the case! I've never even seen The Thing, believe it or not.

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  6. Wow, this seriously gives me chills. What in the world happened??

    You are so good at doing these mystery posts! I love reading them because they draw me in and really make me think. I used to love watching Unsolved Mysteries, and these posts are done just as well as that show!

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    1. Thank you! I keep trying to find a paying outlet that will let me write about this stuff, but I still haven't found one that regularly pays for content like that. Some of the big sites will occasionally do one, but it has to have a reason--it can't just be a random post from something that happened 50+ years ago, like this one was!

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  7. I've never heard of this mystery. Could the hikers have consumed some kind of hallucinogenic substance via food + drink that caused them to believe they were under attack? As for the radiation, there's probably more of it out there than we know about so maybe that's not so weird. Or maybe it is!

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    1. That could have happened...or hallucinogenic drugs. Although in the late 50s, maybe not!

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  8. Never heard of this. Fascinating! As for radiation. Around that time people were warned about radiation in the air from nuclear testing. I remember that my mother stopped letting us make snow ice cream around that time and my uncle started building a bomb shelter. We also had "bomb drills" similar to today's tornado drills. The rest of the story is really puzzling. Interesting! Love these blogs!

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    1. I didn't know that, but it sounds like that could be the explanation for the radiation.

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    1. LOL, well, at least you read the story in broad daylight.

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    2. But every day leads to night. Willy Dunne Wooters has studied some cases of women who disappeared or were definitely murdered. He blew up some photos of a likely murderer here in Florida and put them on his big screen TV. The security camera footage isn't clear enough to make out the person's features, but some other aspects can be seen. They frighten me so much that I won't look at them again. The police say the case is cold. They won't look at the photos, but he knows who visits his Web site. The police and FBI are there regularly.

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  10. Animals (or Soviets trying to keep nuclear tests secret) would leave tracks... unless flight was involved, which is why I'm going with a pterodactyl. The opening of the time portal obviously let off massive amounts of radiation. :D
    That is really bizarre though, and even ridiculous pterodactyl theories don't account for the removing of their clothes.

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  11. I have no clue but I would not want to be there in a million years!

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  12. Perhaps there was a spy in their midst and beginning in the morning the was slowly experimenting with them by putting radiation in their coffee. He wanted to see how long it would take for the radiation to destroy them from within. Unfortunately, someone discovered what he was doing and killed him. But the damage was already done. Not only were they "already dead" some were delirious and began fighting other members of the group with frightening strength, surged by the pure adrenalin from their madness. In the end, the elements assisted in their speedy demise.

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  13. that is freaky strange especially with the radiation traces. Wow - never heard of this mystery. You've creeped me out for the day

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  14. Wow! That's a crazy story. The radiation might suggest something extra-terrestrial or some kind of weapon. I wonder if the mystery will ever be solved.

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  15. This is a story I've read about a few times and I find it interesting. No idea what happened, but I like musing.

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  16. I've never heard this story before, but I find things like this fascinating. I always want to know what really happened though. Perhaps one of them went mad and tried to kill the others? Don't know how the radiation would come into that though....great post, Stephanie!

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  17. Crazy and very creepy story! I have no idea what to make of it.

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  18. Call Sam and Dean. It sounds like it's up their alley. I suppose I could be their guide...

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  19. That's too bad they never did find out. I'd love to know what happened. The radiation brings in an odd twist to the story. Did they leave the tent because something toxic was in there? Did they find radiation in their tent just like they did on their clothes? Creepy interesting indeed.

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  20. Eep!! This reminds me of the Wendigo episode of Supernatural. Well, minus the radiation twist. It makes you think things like aliens could possibly be real!

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  21. I've read a lot about this frightening story, and although a few believe the mystery can be solved through science; an avalanche being nature's car crash, or natural phenomenon; 'infrasound', I'd still like to know what those orange/red lights in the sky that same night were all about. Yet, it's rarely been mentioned. As far as the radiation, I lean toward Jeffrey's idea ;-)

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  22. What would we humans do without these mysteries. If they didn't exist we would have to make them up. The radiation, to me, is key. I would tend to think of something the Soviet military was involved in.

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  23. Yikes!!! Stephanie, you find the most intriguing, eerie materials to write about. I do love to read them. (and feel so sad for them) These would make a good book or/and movie...

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  24. There are too many freaky elements here that my mind can't wrap around this mystery.

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  25. Now that is seriously freaky.

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  26. Oh goodness how creepy. Why radiation? How very odd. I thought an attack by a large animal but why no tracks – unless there had been fresh snow.
    Aliens???

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  27. What a tragedy, but the mystery is fascinating to me. Tent cut from the outside intrigues me to no end!

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  28. That is seriously bizarre. The tent being cut from the inside makes me think someone tried to hold them hostage and they fled, but that doesn't explain why they'd flee without clothes and shoes. Interesting, though, and definitely could be the start of a story.

    Or the end.

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  29. Oh boy... I really shouldn't read these spooky posts of yours so close to bedtime.

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  30. This world is such a mysterious place. :)

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  31. I remember the first time I came across this mystery. I stayed up way too late reading all about it on the internet.

    And then I was too spooked to go to bed ...

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