It comes across almost like a horror movie — a chilling, unsolvable horror movie, and it has haunted Russians for decades.
February 1, 1959, at a location in Russia’s Ural mountains, now called Dyatlov Pass, a group of hikers were secure in their tents.
In the middle of the night, something — “an unknown compelling force” — made them rip open their tents and attempt to flee the campsite without shoes or warm clothing, despite the freezing cold.
All would be dead by morning. Some of them terribly mutilated or bearing injuries.
Russian officials later determined that six of the hikers died of hypothermia, while three had signs of physical trauma including skull fractures and chest injuries. One of the women had her tongue and eyes removed.
A Russian prosecutor said the mysterious deaths of a group of hikers killed six decades ago in the Ural Mountains was due to hypothermia, disorientation, and an avalanche, and that the newly reopened investigation was now closed, Radio Free Europe reported.
The comments, reported on July 11 by RIA Novosti news agency, were the latest effort to try and dispel the conspiracies regarding the notorious Dyatlov Pass incident.
Last year, the Prosecutor-General’s Office announced it was reopening the investigation into how the hikers died, at a place that was later named after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov, the report said.
Information about the case was classified by the Soviet authorities until the 1970s.
Soviet investigators concluded that during the night, an “unknown, compelling force” prompted the two women and seven men to cut their way out of their tents and flee the campsite, the report said.
Quietly, some concluded, it was likely murder, most unusual.
That conclusion of “an unknown, compelling force” spawned dozens of theories and conspiracies including animal attacks, infrasound-induced panic, military testing, and even alien intervention.
One blogger determined that the camp was hit by a small-yield missile.
Numerous articles and TV news segments have examined the incident over the years, the report said. Hollywood also made a film based loosely on the tragic story in 2013’s Devil’s Pass.
According to IMDB.com, a group of students go to the location of the infamous Dyatlov pass incident to make a documentary, but things take a turn for the worse as the secret of what happened there is revealed.
The incident even drew the interest of a young Boris Yeltsin, then a top communist party official who would later become Russian president. Yeltsin strongly suspected a coverup, and was obsessed with the story, like many others of his generation.
“”I’m extremely interested, Vladimir Ivanovich, in exactly how these students could have died in the way they did,” Yeltsin asked Vladimir Korotayev, lead investigator, in a private meeting he had called, The Moscow Times reported.
Korotayev vividly recalled how he had flown in by helicopter to that bleak slope. He remembered how small, how abandoned, and how smashed the tent had looked; it was as if someone had taken a child’s shelter into one of the most inhospitable places in the world, a place of ferocious winds and heavy snow, often prey to blizzards and severe storms, a place regarded as sacred by the local people, the Mansi.
It made him think of the courageous and determined fight for survival that they had discovered, by young people at the end of their strength in a place where no one could survive.
“I’m afraid I don’t believe that the deaths of the students were simply caused by hypothermia, comrade,” Korotayev had said.
“Boris Nikolayevich, I’ll tell you openly about it. I think it was murder, and not a usual murder. But what they wrote when they closed the criminal case was true. They were killed by an overwhelming force.”
Yeltsin responded: “Yes, there is such an overwhelming force, and maybe we both can guess what it is.”
A roll of B&W film found at the site, later showed a happy group of hikers, unaware of the fate that awaited them.
Death photos (later released and available on Google), depict faces frozen with abject terror and hands clenched in horrific fashion — clearly, the end did not come nicely.
But Andrei Kuryakov, a top official in the Ural regional prosecutor’s office, told RIA Novosti that officials concluded the hikers had left their tents in the night during brutal weather conditions to avoid a possible avalanche, but then became disoriented and froze — an odd scenario, being that the hikers were experienced.
“The cause of the hikers’ death was natural forces, which the hikers were not able to overcome,” he claimed.
Alas, the latter action doesn’t even come close to quelling suspicions or solving what happened on that terrifying night in 1959, in Dyatlov Pass.
Strangely enough, it appears that another overwhelming force is conspiring to keep what had happened on the mountain a tight-lipped secret.