19 of the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time

On the first night of February 1959, nine ski-hikers died mysteriously in the mountains of what is now Russia. The night of the incident, the group had set up camp on a slope, enjoyed dinner, and prepared for sleep – but something went catastrophically wrong because the group never returned.

On February 26, searchers found the hikers’ abandoned tent, which had been ripped open from the inside. Surrounding the area were footprints left by the group, some wearing socks, some wearing a single shoe, some barefoot, all of which continued to the edge of a nearby wood. That’s where the first two bodies were found, shoeless and wearing only underwear.

The scene bore marks of death by hypothermia, but as medical examiners inventoried the bodies, as well as the other seven that were discovered over the months that followed, hypothermia no longer made sense. In fact, the evidence made no sense at all. One body had evidence of a blunt force trauma consistent with a brutal assault; another had third-degree burns; one had been vomiting blood; one was missing a tongue, and some of their clothing was found to be radioactive. Theories floated include KGB-interference, drug overdose, UFO, gravity anomalies, and the Russian version of the Yeti.

Recently, a documentary filmmaker presented a theory involving a terrifying but real phenomenon called “infrasound,” in which the wind interacts with the topography to create a barely audible hum that can nevertheless induce powerful feelings of nausea, panic, dread, chills, nervousness, raised heartbeat rate, and breathing difficulties. The only consensus remains that whatever happened involved an overwhelming and possibly “inhuman force.”

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Inside The Final Days Of The Hikers From The Dyatlov Pass Incident

In January 1959, a group of young hikers set off on a journey through the Ural Mountains in then-Soviet Russia.

About a month later, all of the hikers were discovered dead and scattered around their campsite in various states of undress. To this day, investigators are not sure how exactly all nine of them perished.

The case has since been called the Dyatlov Pass Incident.

Among the bizarre clues found around their bodies and their campsite, however, were four cameras. These photos of the Dyatlov Pass Incident were developed and used to piece together the events leading up to that fateful night.

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Tour Group Visiting Dyatlov Pass Sparks Panic After Going Missing for Hours

A well-intentioned journey to Russia’s Dyatlov Pass honoring the hikers who perished at the site inadvertently sparked a small panic this week when the group of tourists taking part in the excursion went missing for hours and conjured concerns that the infamous incident had somehow happened again. The strange case began on Wednesday morning when Russian media reported that eight people had traveled to the remote location specifically to pay tribute to the victims of the mysterious 1959 event and had subsequently lost communication with relatives back in Moscow. Worries about the group were compounded when they failed to return from Dyatlov Pass at the time that they were expected and had missed their scheduled train.

These circumstances understandably alarmed both their family members as well as the authorities and, as one might imagine, drew comparisons to the case which had brought them to Dyatlov Pass in the first place. Fortunately, the matter was resolved fairly quickly and had a much less tragic ending than what occurred in 1959 as it was later determined that the group, which actually consisted of six hikers and three guides, had successfully departed the site and managed to make their way back to a nearby airport unnoticed and unscathed, albeit approximately 12 hours after their trip was supposed to have ended.

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Avalanche Theory for Dyatlov Pass Incident is Bolstered by New Study

In what may be disappointing news to those who advocate for a more exotic explanation, an intriguing new scientific examination of the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident supports the theory that the tragic event was the result of an avalanche. The 1959 case which saw nine hikers die under mysterious circumstances in Russia’s Ural Mountains has been the subject of considerable speculation and debate for decades with all manner of possibilities for what could have caused their demise being put forward by researchers. The latest look at the Dyaltov Pass incident comes by way of a pair of highly qualified experts who wound up coming to a rather familiar conclusion.

Learning about the curious case for the first time back in October of 2019, professor Johan Gaume, who heads the Snow and Avalanche Simulation Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, became fascinated by the mysterious event and enlisted Alexander Puzrin, chair of Geotechnical Engineering at ETH Zurich, to see if their considerable expertise could be used to solve the mystery once and for all. In a newly published paper authored by the two experts, they argue that the tragedy was, indeed, the result of an avalanche and, remarkably, that the unexpected torrent of snow was actually inadvertently caused by the hikers themselves.

Specifically, they theorize, the nightmarish chain of events began when the hikers cut into a snow slab on the side of the mountain in order to set up their tent and be protected by winds. “If they hadn’t made a cut in the slope, nothing would have happened,” mused Guame in a press release detailing the duo’s findings, “that was the initial trigger, but that alone wouldn’t have been enough.” As such, the two scientists propose that a downward airflow, known as a katabatic wind, likely caused an additional layer of snow to accumulate on the slope over the next several hours until the pressure became too much and the slab finally gave way in the form of an avalanche.

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Prosecutors say avalanche killed Dyatlov group in Urals in 1959

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has come to a conclusion that an avalanche killed the Dyatlov group in the Ural Mountains in 1959, Andrei Kuryakov, a deputy chief of the directorate of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office for the Ural Federal District, told reporters on Saturday.

“[The dead tourists’] injuries are characteristic for the injuries of rock climbers caught in an avalanche,” Kuryakov said.

In February 2019, the Prosecutor General’s Office announced an inquiry into the Dyatlov group case, 60 years after their mysterious death.

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Findings from New Investigation into Dyatlov Pass Incident Announced

Russian officials have announced that their reopened investigation into the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident determined that an avalanche and subsequent hypothermia were to blame for the tragic event, but not everyone’s convinced of the findings. The decision to take a fresh look at the curious case sparked headlines and excitement back in February of 2019 when it was announced in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the eerie 1959 episode in which nine hikers in the Ural Mountains died under mysterious circumstances. Now, nearly 18 months later, the results of what was promised to be a rigorous study have been released to the public.

While many had hoped that the new investigation would examine some of the more exotic suggestions for what caused the incident, such as a Yeti attack or a weapons test gone wrong, it was made clear very early on the process that only prosaic explanations would be explored. This was revealed at the start of the study when lead investigator Andrei Kuryakov told reporters that “all fantastic theories have been dropped” and that “it is absolutely out of question” that the event had any connection to a clandestine government operation.

Therefore, it was not altogether surprising when Kuryakov held a press conference this past weekend in Russia and indicated that the months-long investigation into the case had concluded that the hikers perished due to an unfortunate series of natural events. Detailing what he believed to be the group’s fateful final hours, he explained that the injuries sustained by the young men and women were akin to those suffered by “rock climbers caught in an avalanche.” More specifically, Kuryakov said, when the hikers realized that their camp was about to be overwhelmed by snow, they fled the area to seek a safer shelter approximately a mile and a half away.

Alas, this only compounded the predicament as the ill-equipped group lost sight of their tent due to poor visibility and ultimately succumbed to hypothermia over the course of the evening as they were battered by a blizzard as well as unsuccessful and sometimes injurious attempts to return to the camp under those perilous conditions. No doubt trying to close the book on the Dyatlov Pass incident once and for all, Kuryakov declared that the avalanche theory “has found its full confirmation” via the new investigation. “It was a heroic struggle. There was no panic,” he mused, “but they had no chance to save themselves under the circumstances.”

As one might imagine, the results of the investigation have already been called into question by longtime Dyatlov Pass researchers as it fails to answer a number of questions surrounding the case. Additionally, the decision to only look at natural events from the outset has raised suspicions that the new study is really a cover-up of the clandestine weapons test theory. To that end, a group of independent researchers who have been looking into the case for the last twenty years expressed dismay at the findings and called for yet another official investigation into the case. Considering that the Russian government has portrayed their conclusions as rather definitive, it’s doubtful that the case will be officially re-opened any time soon or ever again, despite the misgivings of critics.