I’m Mike Gentile from Majungas and I’m back again to talk about one of the most mysterious events of all time—The Dyatlov Pass Incident. A case in which 9 experienced hikers perished under strange circumstances while hiking along the Ural Mountains of Russia, on a location that’s ironically been nicknamed “Dead Mountain.”
Now, I already know what you’re thinking—Russia, hiking, Dead Mountains—it all seems so plausible! But the discoveries made were so unusual that every rational explanation created more questions than answers. It wound up a cold case that spawned decades of theories and conspiracies.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident
Let’s go back to February of 1959, when a student from the Ural Polytechnical Institute named Igor Dyatlov formed a trekking team that was mostly composed of his college classmates. They were to embark on a 217-mile route through the Northern Urals to ultimately reach their goal of Mount Otorten (which in local Mansi language is transcribed as “don’t go there.”) It’s important to note that this was no amateur hiking group. In fact, most of the members were on the cusp of achieving the highest level that a hiker could receive during that time.
A few weeks into the expedition, the team was expected to send a telegram at one of their checkpoints, but that message was never sent. Families of the travelers quickly became concerned and called for a rescue operation. It was a very complicated search because the bodies were not all found in one location, but actually scattered at various distances from their campsite—anywhere from 300-2 thousand meters. Because of this, the search lasted about a few months in total before everyone was recovered.
And that’s when things got strange…
Strange Fact #1
Investigation of the campsite showed that one of the tents was badly damaged and cut open from the inside in an apparent attempt for the hikers to escape. Their shoes, and clothes were all left behind. Many of the bodies were found significantly under dressed, some were even barefoot. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that many of the deaths were attributed to hypothermia. But what is strange is WHAT led them to escape their tents in that fashion in the first place? These were seasoned hikers. What could have possibly compelled them to irrationally expose themselves to such harsh elements that would guarantee their deaths?
There were no footprints on the outside other than their own, ruling out an act of crime. No signs of a struggle either. In fact, footprint analysis was later shown to be consistent with people who was walking at normal speeds, not running. There were no signs of an animal attack, and no drugs or alcohol use either. The idea of an avalanche was entertained at one point in time, but that theory has since been debunked.
Strange Fact #2
An autopsy later revealed that three of the hikers died from significant internal injuries that were sustained to the head and chest. The forces that would have been required to cause such injuries were compared to that of being hit by a car. What was peculiar about this claim is that no visible signs of trauma were present on the outside. Only internally. Russian authorities had no choice but to conclude their deaths were caused by “an unknown compelling force.” Once has to wonder, what type of force could cause so much internal damage and not leave a scratch on the surface of their skin?
Strange Fact #3
Although it was only limited to one of the victims, it is noteworthy to mention that high levels of radiation were detected on their clothes. This finding held intrigue over the years, largely in part due to claims that later came from another hiking group that was 50 kilometers away from Dyatlov’s team on that same night. They disclosed that strange glowing orange spheres were seen flying in the night sky near their location.
To date, there is no clear rational explanation for what triggered this event or the bizarre findings surrounding their deaths. There are, however, handfuls of wildly entertaining theories in existence: such as an attack by the indigenous Mansi tribe, Soviet secret weapon experimentations, hysteria induced from infrared sounds, paradoxical undressing, some even speculate that it was done by the hands of the yeti, or my personal favorite —EXTRATERRESTRIALS!
And let’s not forget, it’s Russia. So you can’t exclude Ivan Drago, or Rasputin as possible culprits.
Ok, maybe not that last part.
For all of these reasons, I consider the Dyatlov Pass Incident to be my all-time favorite Strange Tale. I even recorded a song about it with my band Majungas on our “Charioteer Through Wormholes” album. We’re not the first to introduce into pop culture either: Several books have been written, tv shows, documentaries and movies were done as well.
Rumor has it that in 2019, Russian authorities have reopened the case. I sure hope they get to the bottom of it this thing once and for all. But until that day comes, let your imaginations run wild! And as always, stay strange!
The majority of this video’s photos are from this great Ruptly website about The Dyatlov Pass Incident
Written by Mike Gentile
Edited by Joe Boyer