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THE UNKNOWN: Dyatlov Pass


On a hiking trip in Russia's Ural Mountains in 1959, nine young mountaineers tore their way out of their tent in the middle of the night and went running into the wilderness, half-clothed and without shoes. By morning, they were all dead—some from hypothermia, others from unexplained catastrophic injuries. To this day, no one knows what happened.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Almost every country Has one moment in their history that spawned a whole culture of conspiracy theories in the? U S, we have the J F K assassination in the UK. It speculation about Jack, the Ripper and Russia. Has the diet, love pass incident in nineteen fifty nine.
A group of nine hikers died in the siberian wilderness under incomprehensible circumstances. According to the russian prosecutor General, there are at least seventy five different theories, but not a single one of them can fully explain what happened. This is supernatural apart cast original and I'm your host actually flowers, every Wednesday I'll take a deep dive into a real unexplained mystery to try and figure out the true this week. We're talking about the De Atlas Pass incident. You can find all episodes of supernatural and all other park ass to rituals for free on Spotify, and if you like that, you're here,
reach out on Facebook and Instagram at PAR cast and on Twitter at Park Ass network on January, twenty third, nineteen, fifty nine, a group of students and recent graduates set out from their university in the Soviet Union for a hiking they were all season mountaineers and since they had a month before the start of the next term, they were going to test their limits with a sixteen day trip to or torture and mountain in western Russia. In the language of the native Manzi people. Oh tortoise, reportedly means don't go, there is danger especially in the dead of winter, when the average temperature hovers around zero degrees Fahrenheit. But the group's twenty three year old leader, Igor
one to back down from a challenge. They spend the evening packing up the dorm and he make sure they dont forget anything tents, food skis to first aid, kids, cameras, one of the students, Gaierty even brings his mandolin and, of course they bring journals. Terrific everything that happens now. The mountain is over three hundred miles away from town, so to get there, they have to take two trains, a bus and a passenger truck. It's going to be a few days before they even get to pull out their skis on the initial train out of town, the expedition picks up another member who goes by Sasha. He was supposed to be joining a different hiking group, but the plans fell through at the last minute, so he asked Igor if he can tag along with them. No initially, the rest of the group is a little apprehensive about Sasha he's. I mean, after all, complete stranger he's, thirty, seven years old, while the rest of them are in their early twenties and he's covered in strange tattoos
One of them is just a long series of letters that don't mean anything in any known language, but he's also hiking instructor, and he says he has experienced with the mountain that equal and his friends are heading two so they let him join and by the next day, he's been fully accepted as one of the gang. January, twenty eight, the nine hikers finally set out from the last settlement before the wilderness. The real journey has finally begun, according to their journals. For the first couple of days, everything is peachy, the weather is nice. There is even a path to follow the local indigenous hunters. The Manzi had painted symbols on the trees, but none of the hikers or totally sure exactly what mean when the sun goes down in the evenings. They find a safe place to set up camp and all nine of them are
sleeping in the same time, which is this like huge thirteen foot, long behemoth that that Igor has customized himself, it's a triangular piece of canvas held up by ropes that run along the top and there's this opening for a collapsible chimney. So they can keep the camping so running inside for warm The ten is set up. They cook dinner. They talk, they passed around that mandolin and play some music as far as we can tell from their journal and he's an photos, it's totally idyllic until the third morning of the height on January. Third, when the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse, the temperature drops the wind is blowing in their faces and worst of all, it starts to snow pretty soon the man's trail ends the forest thins out the few pine trees that our standing half grown in misshapen sprouting out of snow, a crooked angles by Lee
afternoon everyone's to exhausted, to keep pushing against the wind. They call it a day and set up camp. One of the two girls in the group leader is so tired. She just plots down by the fire and refuses to me now, the rule is that no one is allowed to sit by the fire until all of the chores or done there's this big hole in the sight of the tent that someone's gotta. So before they can all relax. It's been a long day. Everyone's a little bit worked up, so one of the guys Nick kind of Pick, a fight about it, balloonist still won't get up and Nick refuses to just fix the tent. Self, eventually, one of the other guys picks up a needle and gets to work. But by that point the whole group is in a really sour mood. Luba shuts herself into the tat and uses to come out until after dinner by the next morning. The tension has cooled off, but the weather is even worse than the day before the sky is clear, but somehow it
still snowing the windows, so strong eager compares it to the jet blast from an airplane taking off between us no in the wind there only moving at about a mile in our throughout the whole day by four p m. They give up and settle in for the night and that's where their journals. Stop. We don't have any more written records from the expedition. The only way to piece together what happened next is by looking at the photos that they left behind. So the next morning February First, there all in a great moved laughing and joking around a camp. They need to pack light for the final stretch up the mountain, so they bid this like temporary shelter for storage, most of their food extra pairs of skis and sadly them and the are all packed away, and then they set off the photos from the afternoon or a lot more serious than the ones we saw from the morning. In fact, they looked downright apocalyptic their tracking through total
White out conditions. Literally, all you can see are these like dark figures march. Into a murky gray expands and then there's this one final shot. It's super out of focus and in black and white, so it's impossible to tell what the photo actually is. All you can see is a streak of white light that seems to be moving down the left side of the frame against the black background. Now it's possible that this was just an accidental exposure that was made in the dark room when they were developing the photos, but if it was taken by the hikers, there are only two things that it could be when this camera was found. In say the ten. It was attached to a small tripod, so we can assume that the camera itself, with sitting still when the vote was taken so to explain the motion blur. That means that the light had to have been moving so either someone weaving around a flashlight or its some glowing object.
Moving through the night sky. That is the last record we have from the expedition no more, rose no more internal entries. All we know is that night February, first nineteen, fifty nine They set up camp on the northern slope of the mountain, called CO, lots based on the choice of location. It looks like they were planning to count you up the ridge in the morning and reach their final destination on February? Third, they were expected to come back into town on February, twelve, but that day came and went- and I didn't show up now before they got to the mountain eager, had called a friend and said, might spend an extra few days out there, so at first no one was that alarmed but days and a passing and then a week, and there still no word from anyone by the twenty first. It's been four weeks since anyone heard from the campers the university finally put
whether a rescue team to go out and look for. Then everyone still expected in them alive. After all, I mean they were experience climbers and they knew how to protect themselves, but when the campsite was finally found on February, twenty six it painted a more ominous picture the tent was still pretty much standing. All of the poles and ropes were still in place, but the top had collapse under a few inches of snow when they took a closer look. They saw at the side of the tent had actually been slashed open from the inside. With a knife leading out. That hole in the side. There were eight or nine sets of footprints in the snow, and most of them were barefoot. The hikers had obviously fled the tat new hurries and they just cut through the canvas instead of bother the flat, and they didn't even stopped to put their shoes on before running out into the snow, but the footprints work
not made by people in a panic. The pattern indicates that they were walking calmly at a normal pace. It even looks like one person, was carefully stepping into the footprints left by someone ahead of them. Nearly a mile downhill from the tent. The rescuers saw a cedar tree with the remains of a campfire under it. Next to the fire pit, they found the first two victims Georgi an Yuri. They were both barefoot wearing nothing, but she it's an underwear. Eventually, the investigators would realise that the other campers were wearing their clothes, which means your and you re probably died. First and their friends took their clothes for extra weren't. They, so had burns on their legs and feet and the skin on their hands with completely torn up now the lowest branches on the tree about fifteen feet up had been torn down, so it looks like they tried to climb up the tree and injured themselves in the process
More bodies were found a little further up the hill under a thin layer of snow. They found the group's leader eager and z, one of the two girls in the group, from the positions they were in, it looked like they were trying to walk back to the tent, but they died of hypothermia before they made it. Then, after digging a little deeper into the snow, they found a third body roosten like the others. He had died of hypothermia, but he also had a fractured skull and bruises on his knuckles, the kind of bruises that you'd get enough This fight, no one thought much of it at first because so far there wasn't really any signs of foul play. No extra set of a prince, no unexplainable injuries, but only five of the missing hikers had been found. There were four that were still unaccounted for. It took three month
for those last bodies to be found and when they were finally uncovered on me forth, a changed everything there was a ravine about two hundred and fifty feet away from the cedar tree, where the other bodies had been found. The remaining four hikers had apparently built a sort of makeshift Dan below the bank to protect themselves from the cold, the time they were found. They were buried under about thirteen feat of snow. Strangely, these four didn't just die from hypothermia like the others. They died from massive injuries. Nix skull was cracked open.
Alexander, had broken, knows, and injuries to his neck. Looters ribs were broken and strangest of all she was missing her tongue and both eyeballs. They were just completely gone. Testing revealed that some of their clothes were actually contaminated with radio active substances. Now it's hard to gauge exactly how much they were exposed to, because the melting snow would have washed away most of the particles, but the contamination was still way above any level that could be considered normal. It all that strange enough, even more questions circled around the final victim Sasha, the interloper who just joined the group on the train, he had five broken ribs both His eyes were missing and he was holding a notepad in one hand and a pen in the other
hadn't managed to write anything down, and finally, he had this camera around his neck. Now, unfortunately, the film was damaged by the melting snow. So there's only one frame: that's even slightly decipher able there's this big bright light, filling most of the frame and three dark shapes at the bottom that almost look like the tops of peace, heads now. This could totally be a technical malfunction or some kind of damage to the film, but it does call to mind the last photo from the other camera that was found at the tent the bright streak of light against the dark background. Sasha was one of only two people who were wearing any kind of shoes, so we can assume that he left the tent before everyone else on the night of February. First, apparently, to take a picture of this light and then some
thing went terribly wrong. The rest of the group cut their way through the tent walked a mild downhill barefoot in an orderly fashion. Bore of them then suffered extreme onyx. Annabelle injuries. Radio activity was somehow involved, and by morning they were all dead. Putting all these pieces together in a coherent picture was a tall order. It all hinge on one question: why did they leave the tent in the first place, This was inexperienced group of climbers. They knew the danger of leaving their tent and sub zero temperatures, especially without even getting dressed first, whatever force them out. Must have been even more terrifying than the thought of freezing. To that. Coming up will look at some theories about how and why the campers died and now back to
story will last for missing. Hikers were found on. May fourth, nineteen, fifty nine it raised serious quest and about what really happened at Seattle pass from the entries on the bodies, was speculation that they'd been murdered the camps- I was pretty close to a hut, built by the local indigenous tribe, Manzi One theory among the investigators was that the means of hunters had attacked the group or trespassing on their hunting grounds. However, the Manzi are, peace And there is no indication that the ever attacked hikers on this matter or anywhere else. Besides Manzi hunters had been helping with the search they were actually responsible for finding too of the bodies pinning Death on them was totally out of line. There is also no unaccounted for footprints or ski tracks on the mountain, so it didn't look like anyone else had been there, except for the night.
Curse there weren't any animal tracks either so be weren't attacked by a wild animal, which leaves the possibility that they killed each other two of the most badly injured victims, Luba and neck had gotten into a bad argument. Just a couple of nights before roost him had Bruce now, rules and Alexander had a broken knows, so the two of them might have gone into a fistfight and of course, there were Sasha who was more or less the stranger to the rest of the group from what we can tell from the photos and journal He seemed to get along with everyone pretty well, but I mean something could have happened to drive a wedge between him and the others know it's kind of hard to believe that these young students would just kill their friends out of the blue. But when hypothermia sets in it causes confusion and panic is fair to say they wouldn't be thinking. Clearly the biggest problem
is that they had these internal injuries that seemed way too severe to be caused by another human being. According to the investigators, this with a level of damage usually see in a car crash. It seems more likely that they had been killed by some natural force, but none of those possibilities really added up either. I mean more than anything. Let's just look at the fact that someone's tongue and eyes were missing no natural force. Does that one theory that often tossed around and is an avalanche. The last for bodies were buried under four metres of snow and they were found it had all all at once in an avalanche, I'm that would explain the internal injuries. However, this wasn't even sit or as a possibility by the investigators at the scene, there's no record of an avalanche occurring in the area, not just in February a fifty nine, but ever in the past sixty years it just doesn't happen there before
If there was an avalanche, it would have caused way more damage to the ten uphill and they but we would have been running out of the way instead of just walking calmly another. Sweden is a strong wind or sudden snowfall that partially collapse the tent forcing the hikers out the thinking is. Maybe they tried to build a new camp, a mild downhill, but by that point hypothermia was already setting in and so the last for, survivors built a shell or in the ravine, which eventually collapsed on them, bearing them under feat of snow and causing them severe injuries. But again, I dont think any of that explains how your tongue and eyes go missing, know this Parent, though, was reasonable enough for the police, because, just a few weeks after the last, bodies were found in May. The case was suddenly closed. The deaths were ruled the result of a natural force and all of the files were class.
Fight. Needless to say, a lot of people me included found this suspicious again. Nothing about this theory explains what happened to loot as missing tongue and eyes, or the bright like that was captured on the two cameras or the radiation found on their clothes. Why would they closed the investigation so many loose thread still hanging, but this was Soviet Union after all and when people mysteriously died or disappeared, a lot of people would believe that the government was usually behind it. I mean this whole thing wreaked of a cover up The conspiracy theories around this case really started on the day after day orgies funeral his family was holding up the gathering at their apartment and they were visited by two hikers who'd been camping out in the same mountain range. In early February, they told your keys father that on the night here,
Sunday they actually seen a strange bright light in the sky. Over the mountain, they couldn't be sure, but they thought it was a rocket over the next few weeks, several other hikers came forward to police with similar accounts. They all seen some kind of lights or orbs in this guy. This could have just been a natural phenomenon like lightning and that's what the lead investigator love initially thought. But then the red flag started popping up as soon as he started, connecting the dots between the orb sightings and the debts. He was called to Moscow and told by his hire ups to stop looking into it. They suggested that the invest, He should might be a danger to state security. As it happens, the area around the mountain was full of military test sites. Records indicate that secret missile tests and rocket launchers were happen
your by all throughout February and March. If those were the mysterious light in the sky, it opened up a whole new possibility for what happened to the nine campers. According to the book mountain of the dead by keep Mcclosky on February, first to bomber planes were testing. Our minds at a test field near by these airlines were dropped by parachute and their men to explode before they hit the ground so most of the damage. Is caused by the shockwave instead of actual debris there. Were unusually strong winds on the night of February first. So it's not hard to imagine that one of the parachute was blown off course and detonated over the campsite. The power of the blast. Could a cow for the severe injuries the radiation and the sudden panic that sent them fleeing into the darkness. There is one question at this theory doesn't answer, though:
why was Sasha already outside poking around with a camera in the middle of the night. Getting into soft head is a challenge. Even today, this guy's backstory is hard to pin down. He went by Sasha, but Some documents also refer to him as Alexander and his actual legal name, was seem yawn. He served red army for four years during World war, two and then kind of just drops off the map. There's no real evidence of this, but with his military experience sketchy background. A lot of people speculate that he was a KGB agent remit
how he was so determined to go to this particular mountain range on this particular day. Coming to the point: where he's joining a group of total strangers, when, as other plans fell through, will the theory is, he was supposed to be going there on a secret mission? There were few possibilities for what he was actually supposed to be doing. An author, named Alexey were Keaton thought that he was meeting with foreign agents, possibly the CIA. Another theory by Alexander Google com is that he was spying on one group of soviet officials under the orders from a different group of officials. Despite the differences. Most of these theories agree on one thing: whatever Social was looking for, he snuck out of the tent to photograph it someone saw him and then they had to intervene.
Here's a play by play of how it might have gone down, so soldiers approached the ten most likely by helicopter, which would have scared everyone out. They probably followed orders and marched down the hill for a while, before things got out of hand, roost and tried to fight the soldiers off bruising his knuckles in the process. Urien, Georg E tried to climb up the tree to hide Nick, was thrown into the ravine busting his skull on Iraq. The rest of them were pretty much ignored. They would die of hypothermia soon enough, so the soldiers would have been more focused on Sasha who had taken cover in the ravine with Luba and Alexander. I said earlier the internal wounds didn't appear to be caused by a human attacker, but the soviet special forces
train and unique ways of killing and torturing people, for example, snapping their necks like what happened Alexander or pressing down on their chests until they were crushed today, which is what happened. Eluder Luna also had her tongue cut out and her eyes removed. Possibly a message to the there is to stay silent about what they sought and sashes eyes were removed as well, and the film in his camera was damaged beyond recognition of court the military men would have quickly found out that Sasha wasn't a foreign enemy after all and if word out that the soviet special forces had accidentally killed a KGB agent, whoever lead attack would be in for some serious trouble, so by the time they realized the mistake. The rest of the campers would have already die from hypothermia all day do was cover their tracks, literally by smoothing out the extra footprints in the snow, the for bodies that were the most obviously
injured were buried in the ravine under several feet of snow. To make it look like there had been an avalanche that killed them by the time the rescue arrived nearly a month later. It looked convincingly enough, like a freak accident, now that there is probably one of my favorite there is just for the storytelling alone there Zero actual evidence that it's true but there's also no solid evidence that it's not true and to me it's one of the only that explains why someone's tongue and eyes or missing again. I cannot let that go and compared to the other conspiracy theories that surround this case. This when actually seems pretty plausible, so another theory was actually brought up by that lead investigator Lev who eventually claimed that the mysterious flying lights were missed. Rules or rockets. After all, he thought that may be. They were alien space craps. That's right! The hikers had been killed by a UFO
for some unexplained burn marks on a few of the trees in the surrounding forest, which to him, suggested that the camp had been attacked by a hyper advanced heat Ray now. This doesn't quite with the rest of the evidence, namely that they didn't burned to death. I mean they all froze to death in several feet of snow and the light in the sky were connected to this incident. Its more likely that they were from a military test as we discuss not an alien spaceship. Another theory was put forth into those in fourteen by the disco channel who released a documentary called Russian Yeti. The killer lives, and I'm in a spoiler right now. The idea that a yet he did this is ludicrous. We ve already disprove in the past, ability of an animal attack and the only piece of evidence in the documentary is a photo that the hikers took this blurry figure in the forest, which is very obviously a person, but a man
All of this wild speculation. It seemed like we were only getting further and further from the truth about what happened unless new evidence was found there just no way to make the pieces fit together, but after six decades that was unlikely to happen. Then, on February, first, two thousand nineteen sixty years to the day, After the tattler pass incident, the russian government made a shocking announcement. They were. Want to reopen, the investigation will take a look at the new developments right after this. Now, let's get back to the story on February. First, two thousand nineteen, the russian prosecutor General, announced a new investigation into the DE outlet pass incident. Lady give any rationale for why they were doing this. No new evidence had been found in sixty years now. Presumably,
they wanted to shut down the conspiracy theories, but this announcement had the opposite effect. The government had compiled a list of seventy five theories about what bend, but they would only be investigating three possibilities: an avalanche of snow slab or a hurricane. According to a spokesman, the idea that the russian government had anything to do with the incident is quote absolutely out the question. If you think this unsuspicious you're, not alone, we argue, discuss the avenue theory in it's one of the least likely of the bunch. There is zero India. Nation that there has ever been an avalanche in this area. A snow slab is a little bit France, but not much. I mean it's me. Sickly when an entire layer of snow breaks loose and slides down the mountain in one piece, it self evident that the snow slab didn't I roll over the tent or would have been more badly damaged, I guess there could have been
a near by which might have spook them into leaving the ten. But it still doesn't explained the injuries I mean. Maybe was a second snow slab that only hit for people the ravine and then completely avoided. Everyone else by the tree was just two hundred fifty feet away, but that sounds about is Finally, as the Yeti Attack and even know what to make of the hurricane very either. Since this mountain is a good five hundred miles away from the nearest body of water? That would be like a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Killing hikers in Kansas, I mean Just- does not make sense. However, in the past few years, have been a few other natural theories that are more likely than these three in the book dead, mountain Danny. I car proposes that the hikers might have been driven to hysteria by infra sound when a wind vortex blows around an object. That shaped in just the right way. In this case a mountain it can cause sound waves at
Conseil so low that we can't consciously here it those way leaves known as imper. Sound can supposedly cause a whole host of symptoms like headaches, nausea and even internal organ damage. If the hikers were affected by infer sound, which is a big if I car thinks that it might have caused a panic which sent them fleeing from the tent the sound itself, could be responsible for their internal injuries, warming or the hysteria might have led them to be each other to death. But here's the thing, though, the research on Infer sound, is pretty murky and there's no evidence that naturally occurring wind can cause symptoms that severe I need. Some scientists down in profound can cause any physical symptoms at all. We can't definitely disprove this theory, but it stuck with all the others in the realm of speculation,
Another recent theory which came from a swedish and russian expedition in two thousand nineteen, is that the incident was caused by catabolic wind in basic terms. That's a wind that blows down slope with an extremely violent force, some catabolic win can blow as fast as hurricanes. Based on what we know about the whether from the hikers photos and journals, it's pretty likely that If these winds formed on the night of February first, if the two It was in the middle of the wind blast. The sides would have started to collapse, forcing everyone out with such powerful winds blowing. They wouldn't have had much of a choice but to walk downhill until they found a safe place to wait it out. They built a fire, dug a shelter into the ravine to protect themselves Yuri MG org. You were the first to die of hypothermia, at which point the others took their clothes for extra warrant. At some point, eager Zena and roosters decided to her
back up the hill to the tent, but they didn't make it far before the cold got to them to sash allude at Nick and Alexander kept holding on in the ravine, but eventually the shelter collapsed, crushing them underneath. What really makes this theory stick out. Is that a sum or event happened in Sweden in nineteen. Seventy eight, where a group of scares were killed by a cat about wind, the weather conditions in topography at the tattler pass, were really similar to the incident in Sweden as it and right now. This looks like the most logical explanation for what happened, but I mean there's still a few pieces of the puzzle that don't fit like the radiation on the groups, clothing and the missing eyes and tongue.
The problem with every one of these theories is that, while there all technically possible, none of them are a perfect fit. You can't explain every piece of evidence without jumping through bizarre logical hoops outcomes. Razor says the simplest solution is usually the correct one, but there is no simple solution here. Only varying degrees of insanity, thanks for listening I'll, be back next week with another episode, you can find all episode of supernatural and all other Parkhurst originals for free unspecified.
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Transcript generated on 2020-06-21.