Tag: Dyatlov Pass

dyatlovpass1The deaths of nine hikers in the Ural Mountains of Siberia in February, 1959, endures as one the world’s most bizarre mysteries.  The official explanation at the time was that their deaths were caused by an extraordinary force.  Exactly what that means was never fully explained.  As the hikers were found, autopsies were performed which revealed many disturbing facts and do not match the official explanation.  The remains of the tragic hikers were buried at the direction of party officials without much or any input from their parents. Almost from the start, Moscow stepped in and gave orders that were to be followed strictly with no deviation.  The official explanation still stands today but is that what really happened? Or was there a darker and more sinister reason for their shocking deaths?

Author and journalist Svetlana Oss has taken another look at the case to see what really did happen on the night of February 1, 1959.  There are no conspiracy theories here, her work is based on official records, statements from officials involved in the investigation and the diaries kept by the hikers up until their last days.  After reconstructing how the group was formed, the retraces their steps along the way to the Ural mountains. And it is here that things take a sharp turn.  To be clear, no one knows exactly what did happen to force the hikers out of their tent.   What is known is that they exited in a nearly orderly fashion and walked in the same direction.  And it appears from footprints and other evidence that they were attempting to make their way back to the tent before death set in.  There are many facts that will most likely never be known but the author here reveals a lot of things that did catch my attention.

This is not the first book about the incident.  I previously reviewed Donny Eichar’s ‘Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident and Keith McCloskey’s ‘Mountain of the Dead: The Dyatlov Pass Incident‘. Both books provide very good accounts of the incident but do not contain any “smoking guns”.  Eichar did put forth a good theory of infra sound but makes it clear in the book that it is only a theory and no concrete evidence exist to conclusively state that to be the cause of their deaths. McCloskey provides an equally good assessment but also makes no declaration of having solved the mystery. Oss takes a different approach in this book and focuses on details in the investigation files, highlighting the missteps taken by investigators and the strange behavior of Soviet officials.   Readers may begin to question whether there was ever an “investigation” in the first place. What Oss reveals will undoubtedly change what some readers familiar with the case have long believed to be true.

Towards the end of the book, Oss does provide her hypothesis of what she believed happened.  It is compelling and could possibly be the right explanation. Her conclusion is supported by sound evidence gleaned from the recovery of the hiker’s tent and their remains.  She does leave it up to the reader to reach their own conclusions but I believe that there is ample evidence that as more information is learned, the less of a mystery the case is.  And maybe Occam’s razor truly does apply and the simplest explanation is correct.  Only time will tell if Oss will be vindicated. Great read.

ASIN: B00V5B3PI2

Soviet Union

dead mountainThe Dyatlov Pass incident has reemerged as one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the world.  On January 23, 1959, ten hikers set out on an expedition to Otorten Mountain in the Norther Ural Mountain range. One member of the group turned back and the remaining nine met their deaths at the Kholat Syakhl (Dead Mountain) under mysterious circumstances.  Several theories have been put forth to explain what happened on the night of February 1-2, 1959, but each explanation seems to cast more doubt over the official explanation.   There is a strong possibility that we may never know the truth about the incident but we do have a fairly accurate picture of the hiker’s last trip up until their deaths. Author Keith McCloskey has written several books and takes on the Dyatlov Pass in this investigative account of the mystery that puzzled investigators and sent chills down the spines of those who have studied the case.

While researching the book, McCloskey visited the Ural region and reviewed old case files and reports from other strange occurrences in the Ural region.  There is no “smoking gun” here but where the book excels is the exploration of the theories that exists about their final moments.  He leaves nothing to chance and considers everything in the effort to put together the most accurate picture of what really happened. And the result is a good look at the incident that is as equally well-researched and written as Donnie Eichar’s Dead Mountain: The Untold Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident , released in October, 2013. Eichar also traveled to the former Soviet Union, befriending Yuri Kuntsevich, the head of the Dyatlov Foundation.   Eichar does not present a “smoking gun” either but touches more on the personal side of the hikers. In fact, he met with Igor Dyatlov’s younger and only surviving sister and spoke to the tenth hiker, Yuri Yudin in person.  Sadly, as McCloskey reports, Yudin died on April 27, 2013 and his final resting place is with his old friends.

Conspiracy theorist will be tempted to get caught up in the boundless theories that persist about the case. But McCloskey does a good job of separating actual possibilities from ideas that are nothing short of ridiculous.   He addresses the concept of infrasound and one story in particular stands out,  the “revelation” by Shimon Davidenko, who claims to have been the tenth hiker in the group.   He claimed other things as well but it is highly unlikely that he is being completely truthful as the book reveals.  When thinking about the incident, the word strange comes to mind quickly but is actually an understatement.  Many bizarre events took place following the deaths of the hikers that have never been fully explained. And with many of the individuals involved in the search and subsequent investigation now being deceased, many of their beliefs and possible secrets are gone forever.  Lead investigator Lev Ivanov, went to his grave convinced of a paranormal event.  Was he correct or suffering from an overactive imagination? Perhaps we will never know. McCloskey and Eichar have done a great service to the memory of the hikers in preserving their memories through these two excellent books on a real life haunting. And as time goes on, I believe that the case will draw more interest and possibly result in classified Soviet files being released at some point.  If you love a good mystery and have an interest in Soviet history, this is a great read to add to your library.

ISBN-10: 0752491482
ISBN-13: 978-0752491486

 

 

Soviet Union

dead_mountainOn January 23, 1959, Igor Dyatlov (1936-1959) and several of his classmates at the Ural Polytechnic Institute in the City of Sverdlosky, board a train as they commence their hiking expedition to the Otorten Mountain in the Northern Urals in Siberia.  On February 12, they are expected to return from their trip but there is no sing of the explorers, some of whom are as young as twenty years of age.  Eight days later, a formal search team is put together to find the missing hikers. Over the next several weeks, their remains are found and returned back home. Lev Ivanov is assigned to investigate their deaths and to this day, the official explanation is that they died due to some “unknown force”. The incident that has become known as the Dyatlov Pass, remains one of history’s darkest mysteries.  Donnie Eichar, a film producer and author revisits the incident in this chilling look into a mind-boggling event that is nothing short of surreal.

As part of his research, Eichar traveled to Russia and re-traced the hikers route with the help of several knowledgeable individuals such as Yuri Kuntsevich, the leader of the Dyatlov Foundation.  Leaving his girlfriend and infant son behind, Eichar exhausted his savings and pushed his body to the limit in the Siberian extreme as he searched for answers to a historical event that gains a greater aura of mystique as the years continue to go by.  At first glance, some readers may be tempted to think that the book contains a smoking gun. In fact, it does not and nowhere in the book does Eichar insinuate such.  What is contained in the book is a timeline of the events and a reconstruction of each day according to their journals and what investigators learned after their deaths.   Towards the end of the book, he does put forth a plausible explanation as to what could have happened to them on February 2.

Rumors have surrounded the case for decades. And due to the puzzling locations at which the bodies were found and the post-mortem examinations, many trouble facts arose that caused more confusion for even seasoned investigators.  Eichar lays out all of the most exclaimed theories behind their deaths, refuting each one with the evidence on hand.  And through his own work he brings our attention to the concept of infrasound or low-frequency sound. The phenomenon can be caused by environmental factors such as wind, storms and even earthquakes.  The revelation that some of the hikers had suffered internal blunt force trauma and had been exposed to high levels of radiation compounds the difficulty in solving the case.  The theory is not an official explanation but is highly plausible and puts the event in a whole new light.

We may never know what happened to those nine hikers on the night of February 2, 1959, but today, many years later, we have enough evidence and testimony to know what whatever did cause their deaths, was something they were completely unprepared for. Eichar has done his part to bring the truth about their deaths closer to light.  This is an interesting read about an even more interesting unsolved mystery.

ISBN-10: 1452140030
ISBN-13: 978-1452140032

Soviet Union