The Ural Mountains in Russia were a relatively unknown place up until eleven very talented, skilled, and seasoned hikers went in one day—and never returned.

The eleven hikers were students from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, led by charismatic and experienced mountain climber Igor Dyatlov. The journey began in late January—and they were found in late February: all dead.

The One That Got Away

Interesting, one hiker of the original team of twelve managed to save his skin by falling ill. Before the team left for the Ural, Yuri Yudin fell sick and had to be left behind in the village of Vizhai. We’re certain that at that time, Yuri must have been sad to see his friends go without him to what looked like a daring winter hike.

Little did he know that his sickness saved him from a most gruesome death.

The Gruesome Discovery

a skull

The mystery truly began when investigators finally found their bodies. Mountaineers go missing on some of the world’s most unforgiving terrains all the time, but nothing like this had ever happened before. The Ural Mountains might not be the world’s most dangerous mountain, but the region has since become known as the “Mountain of Death.”

Yuri was waiting to receive a telegram from Dyatlov on February 12th—as had been previously promised. That telegram never came. People didn’t panic, as such delays were to be expected. Besides, the team was an experienced one.

But when the 20th passed, and still no word was received, a search was launched.

On February 26th, their tent was found at a slope; torn from the inside, and covered in snow. It was empty. This indicated that the campers had ripped their way out of the tent in a hurry to get out. Everything the group owned was left behind. This indicated that they were running from something.

The team then found nine sets of footprints: all leading to the forest, single file. It couldn’t get weirder than this. If they were running from something, why were they walking calmly and in a row? Why were their footprints bare? Why did they have no shoes on?

a dark forest

The mystery deepened when they finally found the bodies—all at different locations in the woods.

The first two bodies had nothing on, save their undergarments. One hiker had a major skull fracture, and two had chest fractures. This was no human doing—the force that’s required to crush someone’s skull is equivalent to a car collision. But most bafflingly, no external bruising was found on their bodies—eliminating the possibility of a human quarrel.

Four other bodies had suffered soft tissue damage. One hiker was missing her eyes, tongue, lip, and even parts of the skull bone. Another hiker’s eyebrows were gone.

What had happened here?

What Must Have Happened

Kholat Syakhl

We have evidence to prove that the hikers got as far as Kholat Syakhl—that’s where the investigators found their tents. What investigators concluded was that their intent was never to go to the Kholat Syakhl—the hikers meant to go through the pass and around it. Something—weather conditions is a guess—made them change their course and take a wrong turn.

This wrong turn would cost them more than they could have imagined.

Their second mistake was to set camp at the slope of the mountain, and not in the wilderness. The wilderness would have provided them some support and protection. Later on, when Yuri was asked to weigh in, he suggested that Dyatlov, the leader, must not have wanted to “lose altitude”—which is why they were out in the cold that fateful night.

But what afterwards? Why had they left their tents in the middle of the night—since they were not fully clothed, that would be the natural assumption—and gone into the woods? If they were running, why were they walking single-file? If they had quarreled or had suffered an animal attack, why was there no bruising? If it was human wrongdoing, how did they suffer injuries no human could have inflicted?

The Soviet Explanation

The Soviet authorities eventually concluded that at least 6 of the 11 hikers had died of hypothermia—exposure to extreme cold. Their initial report concluded that the culprit that had sent Dyatlov and his team to their demise was a “compelling natural force.” Note that this was as vague as it got—because there was truly no answer to the gruesome injuries.

The rest of the world wasn’t so easily convinced.

People Think it was a Yeti

a terrifying yeti

A theory that’s both probable and illogical at the same time, one has to admit that the Yeti theory does hold a lot of ground. The injuries that the hikers suffered must account for something—and they don’t account for any natural disaster, gales, internal quarrels, animal attack, or human intervention. Whatever did what was done to them was no human.

So, was it a Yeti?

As far as we treat a yeti as a nonhuman, it could have been the case. Something superhuman had been part of the conspiracy—but then, there were other rumors.

Radioactive Experiments

The fact that this happened in the Soviet Union didn’t help. Everyone remembers Chernobyl all too well. And then, of course, there’s the fact that the findings of the case were simply labeled “secret.” The autopsy never revealed the internal state of the hikers’ organs.

One lesser-known explanation is that the Russians were hiding something—something like radioactivity. This theory holds water because two of the victims’ bodies had traces of radioactivity. There was a weapons test going on in the area around the same time as the disappearance of the students. Radiation can be one way of explaining how the hikers broke bones without bruises.


strange extraterrestrials

While the radiation theory has credibility, there’s an even better explanation—one that on-site lead investigator Lev Ivanov actually offered: in this detailed report, he says, “the role of UFOs in (the incident) was quite obvious.” Quite obvious.

His extensive investigation revealed that locals had reported seeing “fireballs” in the sky—or UFOs. On February 17th, a particularly large one was seen in the sky. He then tells how, when he reported his fireball finding to the authorities, he was ordered to keep mum, and to “classify” and “seal” everything.

We think he had it right. The only explanation that works better than a Yeti and radioactive weapons test is an alien intervention: Superhuman force? Check. Mysterious injuries? Check. Possible hypnosis and summoning of the hikers into the forest? Check.

It’s the only theory that checks out.

The 2020 Verdict

Of course, an incident of this magnitude never really goes down peacefully. No matter how hard some authorities try to bury facts, it’s like they say: truth will out. There was, therefore, a whole new investigation launched into the matter, with a 2020 report providing a brand-new explanation for the absolutely inexplicable events that took place in the February of 1959.

The report said an avalanche killed the hikers. A new one, in fact—according to a study concluded earlier in 2021. This time, they said a “slab avalanche” killed the hikers. Not very convincing, if you ask us.

Has the Dyatlov Mystery Been Solved?

We don’t think so. A slab avalanche isn’t a new development in natural disasters—not so much so, at least, that it took investigators more than 60 years to provide a definitive answer. The Creator might have a better answer—one that you can read here.

Maybe a slab avalanche killed the Zodiac victims too. But you can dig deep into this hidden truth by discussing it with like-minded individuals on the Get Wisdom forum.

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