Dyatlov Pass Incident

Spookdaddy

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solidshadow01 said:
Since this story doesn't seem to have any real internet presence before this year is it possible that this is viral marketing for a movie?

I mean the leaked X-Files movie trailer had a lot about people running around in the mountainous snow looking for something. Possibly a crashed ET spacecraft.
And I thought it was just me being cynical.

Everything seems a bit odd though, doesn't it? Timing for a start: a plum story, decades old, that really should be part of the classic Fortean canon, appears apparently out of nowhere, backed up by a newspaper article which is only six days old at the time of its surfacing. The St Petersburg Times article (Feb 19) is word for word the same as the Moscow Times article (Feb 4) which is linked to the Wikipedia entry (now up for deletion I notice).

The article does contain a lot of information, which is great given that most similar stories seem to be woven out of mist, but I'm having difficulty finding any reference to that information outside the boundary of the article itself and references to this story spinning through the net at present (of which there are many) all link bank to this same source, and, apparently, only that source.

(And is it just me - is it simply a mistrust of Soviet era photography, or is there something "wrong" with the photographs of team members, like their heads don't quite fit their bodies? Okay, yes, that might just be me - but I can't quite get rid of the feeling that there's something unheimlich about their composition).
 

Timble2

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Spookdaddy said:
...
(And is it just me - is it simply a mistrust of Soviet era photography, or is there something "wrong" with the photographs of team members, like their heads don't quite fit their bodies? Okay, yes, that might just be me - but I can't quite get rid of the feeling that there's something unheimlich about their composition).
The is something a bit odd about some of the photos...but it could just be dodgy originals and scanning or compression artefacts, rather than fakery....
 

solidshadow01

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Spookdaddy said:
solidshadow01 said:
Since this story doesn't seem to have any real internet presence before this year is it possible that this is viral marketing for a movie?

I mean the leaked X-Files movie trailer had a lot about people running around in the mountainous snow looking for something. Possibly a crashed ET spacecraft.
And I thought it was just me being cynical.

Everything seems a bit odd though, doesn't it? Timing for a start: a plum story, decades old, that really should be part of the classic Fortean canon, appears apparently out of nowhere, backed up by a newspaper article which is only six days old at the time of its surfacing. The St Petersburg Times article (Feb 19) is word for word the same as the Moscow Times article (Feb 4) which is linked to the Wikipedia entry (now up for deletion I notice).

The article does contain a lot of information, which is great given that most similar stories seem to be woven out of mist, but I'm having difficulty finding any reference to that information outside the boundary of the article itself and references to this story spinning through the net at present (of which there are many) all link bank to this same source, and, apparently, only that source.

(And is it just me - is it simply a mistrust of Soviet era photography, or is there something "wrong" with the photographs of team members, like their heads don't quite fit their bodies? Okay, yes, that might just be me - but I can't quite get rid of the feeling that there's something unheimlich about their composition).
I've been a Fortean since I hit 10 easily. I'm not really being cynical, I just feel that it's best to take a wide stance in this until more info is available. I personally find that Foreteans aren't skeptics or believers per se, they're simply interested in all things unusual and love a good mystery. Especially if it shakes things up. I find that 9 times out of 10 when a story that's "too good to be true" pops up, especially one this old and nobody has heard of it it turns out to be fakery of one sort or another.

As for the Otzi mummy pics above as a case for browning of the skin, I do have to point out that Otzi is probably several thousand years old and hardly comparable to a fresh corpse. According to wiki he's from somewhere around 3300 BC.

Just to play devil's advocate, if the local, presumably experienced authorities felt something was unusual in this particular case out of possibly many missing hiker and avalanche incidents, then as a rule of thumb something is probably unusual enough to make the story applicably Fortean. It's not a perfect "rule of thumb" but it is comparable in usefulness to the much misused Occam's razor. To me, the article is sensationalist and lacking in detail but people investigating it felt it was worthy of something unusual and so it has "Fortean potential" that can't fully be realized until more valid information is uncovered.

That being said, Natural, unnatural or something in between, until there is more information or independent study of this case, i remain on the line as to it's veracity.
 

Spookdaddy

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solidshadow01 said:
...I've been a Fortean since I hit 10 easily. I'm not really being cynical, I just feel that it's best to take a wide stance in this until more info is available. I personally find that Foreteans aren't skeptics or believers per se, they're simply interested in all things unusual and love a good mystery. Especially if it shakes things up. I find that 9 times out of 10 when a story that's "too good to be true" pops up, especially one this old and nobody has heard of it it turns out to be fakery of one sort or another...
Yup. My own attitude to this kind of story is maybe closest to that of a disappointed romantic: it's giving off all the right kinds of signals and pushing all the right buttons and I really would like it to work out, but, well, I've been here before - so I'll hedge my bets for now.
 

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In terms of it being a movie etc - my first thought when I saw the photos was surprise at how young and attractive (and healthy) they all look, but I was just reasoning that maybe they all had healthy junk free diets in the 50s and did lots of exercise as hiking enthusiasts. But now you point it out; they are all lookers under 25, the girls have got their hair in plaits etc even though they're halfway up a mountain and they are all hugging like a version of friends.

I do agree something is odd about the story. Not just that no one has heard of it before. It's much more bizarre than you're usual fortean account I don't know how to describe what I mean. And then there was another weird thing and also another weird thing, and a autopsy revealed weird thing..

The plot is also almost exactly the same as the Blair witch movie - group of young campers die/disappear under circumstances that keep getting more bizarre in an area where there is some ancient legend as well as possibly previous mysterious deaths - their camera is found behind. It is presented on the internet as being a true story. I mean its almost completely the same. They are even wearing similar woolly hats.....
 

original_fLeebLe

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right here goes my idea on what i have found so far. it's a long shot, but hey why not. there are links to a book which does not seem to exist by a woman called anna matveeva. she appears to be a writer, and one website credits her working on a game for dreamcatcher games. dreamcatcher games make and publish adventure games, which this story would be an ideal subject. dreamcatcher published a game a while back that you used the web for searching for clues. is it something like this? most probably not. hehe
 

LaurenChurchill

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spiritdoctor said:
In terms of it being a movie etc - my first thought when I saw the photos was surprise at how young and attractive (and healthy) they all look...
You know, that is a bloody good point. Dyatlov is a total babe. :oops: No one who spends the amount of time they claim for him in sub-zero temperatures could possibly be that hot.

It's gotta be a movie.

But I hope not. It's such an interesting story...
 

Spookdaddy

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LaurenChurchill said:
You know, that is a bloody good point. Dyatlov is a total babe. :oops: No one who spends the amount of time they claim for him in sub-zero temperatures could possibly be that hot.
Warning: tangent ahead.

I will forever curse myself for not keeping track of an article I once read, written by a dietician who was involved in forensic work, in which article the author claimed to be able to date a face from a photograph to within something like 20 years. Teeth are a huge clue - I remember that, but there are also more subtle hints. She was tested with as part of the article and was correct ( to within 20 years) with each face ( the faces being the only feature she was presented with - all other extraneous information in the photographs which might have given clues having been obscured).

What was interesting was that she claimed that all of us, including non-experts, seem to have an instinct for this and appear to recognise physical anachronisms in photographs even if we don't actually know what they are. (The infamous Thunderbird photograph is a good illustration of this - the soldiers are so "wrong" it's almost funny). Some faces however, appear timeless - I've always thought a good example of this is Jackie Fisher, First Sea Lord, whose face wouldn't cause any surprises if it was plonked on top of a modern day maths teacher or a boiler-suited sparks circa 2008. But these faces seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule, as they say.
 

markbellis

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Film and technologies have changed over the years so you can date a photo by looking at it to twenty years. Film 'speed' has gotten much faster, so you can have a greater depth of field and the subjects no longer had to stand rigidly at attention - when photography first started out it they had to be still for a half hour in full daylight with white makeup to get a portrait!
 

Spookdaddy

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markbellis said:
Film and technologies have changed over the years so you can date a photo by looking at it to twenty years. Film 'speed' has gotten much faster, so you can have a greater depth of field and the subjects no longer had to stand rigidly at attention - when photography first started out it they had to be still for a half hour in full daylight with white makeup to get a portrait!
Undoubtedly, but diet and nutrition have obviously also undergone changes over a similar period and have affected our outward physical appearance, as well as our internal health, in many ways. And that's not even touching on dentistry and changes in oral care and hygeine which, it appears to me, even when looking at fairly recent photographs, have had a major effect on facial characteristics.
 

markbellis

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True, smallpox scars were very common in the 19th c.
 

MrRING

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From a skeptical site:

LINK

While treated as a crime scene, the investigation ceased officially in May 1959 due to the absence of a guilty party. The group was deemed to have died from an “unknown compelling force”.

During the night of this tragedy, another group of hikers 50 kilometers south reported they saw “strange orange spheres” in the northern sky. Similar spheres were seen in nearby cities during February through March of 1959. Witnesses included a weather service and the military.

On February 2, 2008 six of the rescuers and over 30 independent experts gathered together to examine the facts and look for answers. They concluded that the deaths were caused accidentally by military testing.
This makes the whole thing seem to have really happened, though I'd like to know where he got the report of the 6 rescuers and other experts coming to a conclusion about the case.
 

MrRING

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http://www.aquiziam.com/dyatlov_pass_answers.html

Their conclusions:
Current Observation and Summation

From the answers that we have now received to our initial questions we have discovered that much of the apparent “bizarreness” surrounding this mystery is actually misinformation or exaggeration.

Dubanina’s tongue was not ripped out it was degraded through natural processes

The radiation found was inconsequential

The area was not sealed off to everyone – only amateur sports groups

The case was never classified

There are currently no records of any experimental aircraft being tested in the area in 1959

There is no evidence (now or then) that the area was used to test weapons. However, this doesn’t rule out secret testing

Photographs thought to be missile parts have turned out to be old radar units

The mysterious envelope contained only general correspondence

Photographs show that any discolouration of the bodies was wholly normal

The woman on the train who claimed there were eleven people has turned out to be a very unreliable witness (and a different person altogether).

The injuries discovered are explainable and consistent with those that might be expected to occur in a group of desperate and clearly frightened people that had been stumbling around in dangerous conditions in the dark.

There is absolutely no substantiated evidence for crashed UFO’s, Concussion Weapons, Mad Mansi or Russian Death Squads.

All the physical evidence found at the time and subsequent analysis and testing indicates that there was no avalanche. However, at least one person involved with this case still believes that an avalanche was the cause.

However, these now broadly accepted facts do not diminish the mystery – in a strange way they enhance it. As we have repeatedly said throughout these pages ... Why did nine, experienced and sensible, ski-hikers abandon their tent in such a hurry and in weather conditions that were hostile and almost certain to lead to their deaths? What really happened that night?
 

CuriousIdent

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Also some very useful Theories assessed here, too:

http://www.aquiziam.com/dyatlov_pass_2.html

What particularly pleases me is the largest is a very rational explanation for how the incident could have occurred WITHOUT the concept of an avalanche.

Because, after all, there was zero evidence to support the concept that there had BEEN an avalanche, and if you look at the photos on that site, of the entire area, it's just too flat in general to provide the conditions FOR an avalanche.

We're never going to truly know what occurred that night. It may not be in any way supernatural, or conspiracy driven. But it is very sad that 9 people died. Mostly from the elements.
 

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Hmm, yes, weird. I agree the avalanche theory seems improbable. There's no real direct evidence for one having occurred in the first place, and it wouldn't easily explain all the apparent goings-on anyhow.

Basic facts seem to be:

1. Something scared them into leaving their tent and running to the trees.
2. They made a fire there, but it wasn't enough to keep them warm.
3. At least one died there, others started walking back to the camp site but died of hypothermia en route.
4. Others then (for some reason) decided to go deeper into the woods and ended up huddled together in a shallow ravine, where they all died from a mix of hypothermia and currently unexplained impact injuries.

The radiation thing looks like a red herring. Disorientation due to hypothermia also looks unlikely, as they seem to have been behaving coherently until the end (using the clothing of dead comrades, huddling to keep warm etc).
 

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Filmmaker Renny Harlin (his credits are in the clip) is looking to fund a modern day retelling of this story. The "sales pitch" clip is hard to find, as some English-language sites have been asked to take it down, but it's here on this GERMAN SITE
 

krakenten

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Soviet recklessness must be remembered, there seems to have been few limits to it.
 

uair01

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There's also a skeptical take on this on Skeptoid:
http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4108

Does sound believable:

Nine skiers set up camp in an area with potential avalanche danger, but no more or less danger than would have been found if they set up anywhere else they could have reached before nightfall. Sometime during the night, a loud noise, either from a nearby avalanche, a jet aircraft, or military ordnance, convinced at least five members of the group that an avalanche was bearing down on them. They burst out of the tent wearing whatever they happened to be sleeping in and ran. At some point one of them fell and struck his head on a rock. They became lost in the dark and poor visibility, or simply found themselves stranded with their injured friend, and finally built a fire. They quickly got hypothermia and probably shouted themselves hoarse for their friends. Two of them lost consciousness and the others made a desperation decision: To take what little clothes their two unconscious buddies had and risk it all to try and make it back to camp. One made it 300 meters, the second made it 480, and the third a full 630 meters before all five were dead from hypothermia. Back at camp, the four who didn't panic and run away in the night got dressed, collected provisions, and began to search for their friends. They searched for hours, circling high and low, until at some point either through a slip or just bad luck, they were caught in a real avalanche. During the resulting turmoil one received a fatal skull fracture, one received twelve broken ribs, and one bit her tongue off, all perfectly plausible injuries during such a traumatic death.
 

Dingo667

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I heard all the rational explanations before and I do believe more or less that all is explainable without involving anything supernatural.
Yet even then it gives me the creeps.
How experienced explorers can get so scared and be in such a hurry by simply believing it may be an avalanche; so much so that opening a tent using the zip wasn't fast enough and clawing through the fabric seemed the better option, makes me shiver.
Considering how difficult it actually is to break through tent material!

Also I read [somewhere in this thread] that they were well aware of avalanches and would have chosen a different place to pitch their tents accordingly, if they'd been worried. T

Whatever the explanation, the story doesn't need anything out of the ordinary to be scary and sad and one of the most interesting things I have ever read about.
 

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My Personal Theory

I have been thinking about this one for a while and have my own theories regarding the events of that night for what it is worth. These were young people from a Soviet technical university, like MIT? They had access to many chemicals and noxious stuffs? And there had to be a joker amongst them or a risk taker (they were all pretty adventurous folk, right?). One of them brought along something he or she should not have and busted it out accidentally or mischiev- ously that very night when they had been off course most of the day and probably were all fairly short-tempered al- ready. So this (radio-active?) powder, liquid or nasty stuff spilled over inside the tent on people who begin desperate- ly tearing off their clothes and clawing their closest way out. A very bad situation deteriorates even more quickly from there. There is no way to detox, no way to deal with haz mat in the cold and snow. Some of the corpses were red- dened? What would cause that? The government would not be too pleased that controlled substances were being carried about the countryside willy-nilly and would classify/squash any info? Or am I totally off? Thoughts?
 

Cochise

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I have wondered about this since it first appeared on the Internet, if only because I've always been interested in bizarre happenings and it was the first I'd heard of it.

If the accounts are a fair reflection of what actually happened then I agree with Dingo667 - they certainly got into a high state of panic for experienced wilderness people. Experimenting with drugs, maybe? I doubt the Soviets would have been looking for such things at the time.

But I've also wondered if it really happened at all, and isn't some sort of internet hoax.
 

EnolaGaia

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Cochise said:
... But I've also wondered if it really happened at all, and isn't some sort of internet hoax.
The records, the photos, the earliest speculations, and the grave marker all pre-date the Internet by decades.
 

EnolaGaia

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Re: My Personal Theory

H2olilyus said:
.. Some of the corpses were red- dened? What would cause that? ...
Reddish or orange-ish skin discoloration is a common feature of frozen corpses - particularly corpses that have been lying outdoors for weeks.
 

Cochise

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EnolaGaia said:
Cochise said:
... But I've also wondered if it really happened at all, and isn't some sort of internet hoax.
The records, the photos, the earliest speculations, and the grave marker all pre-date the Internet by decades.
Are alleged to, yes. But it is a particularly dramatic case, and yet it never made it into the corpus of weird and mysterious events until some 40 years after it happened - unusual for a story of this kind. I'd like to see any mention of it that is verifiable as pre-dating say 1996. Of course Soviet censorship may account for that.
 

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Cochise said:
EnolaGaia said:
Cochise said:
... But I've also wondered if it really happened at all, and isn't some sort of internet hoax.
The records, the photos, the earliest speculations, and the grave marker all pre-date the Internet by decades.
Are alleged to, yes. But it is a particularly dramatic case, and yet it never made it into the corpus of weird and mysterious events until some 40 years after it happened - unusual for a story of this kind. I'd like to see any mention of it that is verifiable as pre-dating say 1996. Of course Soviet censorship may account for that.
The wikipedia page for the incident mentions a number of Soviet sources. There are three different Soviet sources that are before the 1996 date you provide, two are 1990 and one is 1966.

If you look at the references for the page, all references that are in russian are marked as "unreliable", except a reference that is an internet forum.
 

EnolaGaia

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I don't see why the story should be considered suspicious simply because it didn't become a widespread staple of Forteana of the period.

A group of cross-country skiers go missing in a very remote area during the depths of winter. Their bodies are found weeks later (some not until months later). Autopsies noted some serious injuries on a minority of the bodies, but cause of death is basically listed as hypothermia for all. The focal mystery isn't that their deaths coincided with something Fortean, but that these experienced backcountry trekkers fell victim to the most obvious risk - i.e., the cold - after apparently leaving their tent and equipment behind.

Even setting aside the obvious issue of it being the cold war era (when very little news from within the USSR made it into Western media), what is it in the basic story that should have made it an international sensation?
 
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