The Haunting Mystery of Dyatlov Pass – Part Three

Part Two ended with the group split-up, and beginning to die.

Zina followed Slabodin’s footprints, but veered away in the clearing. She could see her destination – the tent above. She never saw Slabodin’s body, struck to the ground only meters away. She passed him oblivious to what waited ahead.

Igor followed, but could not stay on his frostbitten feet. He fell and crawled, trying to stay with Zina. The mental energy he’d expended to keep everyone together, thinking through the limited options to survive in circumstances he couldn’t comprehend. The strain of being the responsible leader. That burden kept him on edge, and now he was exhausted. Lethargy took over – even faster with stress, injury and shock. Like  Yuri and Gyorgyi at the cedar tree, his energy expended. The heat in his life ebbed away. He couldn’t see Zina anymore.

den
The ravine platform.

Semen led Lyudmila down a slope to the bottom of a ravine. Aleksi and Niclolai helped him dig into a snowbank and lay branches for a floor. They made several trips up and down the ravine bank until they made a platform large enough for all of them to sit on. Then they sat on scraps of cloth to insulate themselves from the cold. The shallow cave in the snowbank shielded the wind and the view. They had no idea where the others were, now. They could only hope they would return with supplies.

“Semen, why are they bothering us?” asked Aleksi.

“They will leave when it’s light. Maybe they already left. I don’t hear them now,” he said.

“I heard some kind of snort just a minute ago,” said Lyudmila. “Do you think they will let Igor get back to the tent? I need my boots.”

“We just have to wait and see,” said Semen.

“Can we build a fire?” asked Nicolai.

“No, I think we lay low,” said Semen. “Bunch together and get warm. Put your feet in my lap, Luda. they won’t even know we’re here.”

“You think they will come here for us, Sascha? They’ve chased us from the tent. What do they want?” asked Nicolai.

“I saw one this morning before we left the pass. I told you. I took a picture. But I don’t think they live over there. I think they live over here, and that is why they want us to leave.”

“Is that why you talked Igor into setting camp on the mountain?” asked Aleksi.

“I didn’t know. It was my instinct. I was afraid we would see it again. I know what they can do. You didn’t believe me.”

“Did you really take a picture? Did you do something to anger them?”

“Anger them? I stabbed my knife in one up at the tent. If you stayed and helped me we could have chased them away.”

“You what? You stabbed a Snowman? No wonder they won’t leave us. They’ll kill us.”

“Not if they don’t find us. Shut up.”

“You let Igor and Zina go up there. You let Slabodin go, and they think they can walk past them to the tent like it’s Sunday morning,” said Aleksi.

“I don’t think they’ll make it,” said Semen.

“No thanks to you. Why didn’t you stop them?”

“They were beyond reason. When the cold has you, it is over. You’re going to be that way soon.”

“I’m going to build a fire. You said they are afraid of fire,” said Aleksi.

“I’m just guessing. We should not alert them to where we are.”

“We need a fire,” said Aleksi, as he climbed up the slope of the ravine. He came back immediately.

“I saw one,” he whispered. “It is a baby, I swear. Come see.”

Semen watched Aleksi’s feet climbing the slope again, and saw them just keep going into the air. “Oh no!” – he could barley whisper.

Aleksi came down from the sky and crumpled in front of Semen, trying to regain his breathing. He seemed to be choking. Semen saw a hairy foot take the slope in a step. He looked up into shining eyes. Lyudmila screamed.

The end.

The final days of journey for the Dyatlov party were strenuous.  They complained of wet snow in the pass that made the work exhausting.
“Today the weather is a bit worse – the wind (west), snow (probably from pines) because the sky is perfectly clear. Came out relatively early (around 10am). Took the same beaten Mansi trail. So far we walked along the Mansi trail, which was passed by a deer hunter not long ago. We met his resting stop yesterday, apparently.
Today was surprisingly good accommodations for the tent, air is warm and dry, despite the low temperature of -18C to -24C. The walking is especially hard today. Visibility is very low. We walk for 1.52 km (1 mile) per hour. We are forced to find new methods of clearing the path for the skis. The first member leaves his bag on the ground and walks forward, then he returns, rests for 10- 15 minutes with the group. Thus we have a non- stop paving of the trail. It is especially hard for the second to move down the new trail with full gear on the back.
We gradually leave the Auspii valley, the rise is continuous, but quiet smooth. We spend a night at the forest boundary. Wind is western, warm, penetrating. Snow- free spaces. We can’t leave any of our provision to ease the ascend to the mountains.
About 4pm. We must choose the place for the tent. Wind, some snow. Snow cover is 1.22 meters thick. Tired and exhausted we started to prepare the platform for the tent. Firewood is not enough. We didn’t dig a hole for a fire. Too tired for that. We had supper right in the tent.
It is hard to imagine such a comfort somewhere on the ridge, with a piercing wind, hundreds of kilometers away from human settlements.”
Igor Dyatlov. January 31, 1959.
The final sentence is curious. Is that a voice of reluctance, knowing the following night will be spent above the tree-line? Or is that a voice of someone who has no intention of spending the night above the tree-line?
one-of-the-last-shots-of-the-hikers
The final climb to the tent site.

On February 1, the group cached some of their spare gear and supplies on a platform known as a “labaz,” and traveled 2.5 miles from the pass to the final campsite on the flanks of Kholat Syakhl. It’s estimated setting the camp took an hour, from four, to five P.M. The sun set just after five.

Reports say the party veered off-course to camp on the slopes of the mountain, instead of descending from the pass into the trees. Speculation is they may have lost their way in the wind-blown snow and camped when they realized they were above the pass and losing daylight.

Photo’s from their film don’t indicate blinding conditions, however. More likely, they knew where they were, and chose to camp there. They could have come down-hill quickly – they were on skis. Did something compel them to stay far above the tree-line? There seemed to be some fascination with the tree-line in a series of photographs.

A separate entry, in the trek “newspaper,” where they typically “reported” humorous events, was this:

“From now on we know the Snowmen exist. They can be found in the Northern Urals, next to Mount Otorten.”
zina-writing-in-her-diary-by-the-auspia-river
Zina with journal.

What brought up that subject? Theorists of the avalanche, infra-sound, espionage and UFO camps agree, this must be a humorous reference to the local Yeti legends.

At least it acknowledges the legends. It can be debated if this is humor, or a concise statement of facts – when, who, what and where.

We don’t know what the Mansi may have said about the Menk, or if they brought the subject up. If they did, and the group was making fun of it, it is even more pertinent that the Mansi mentioned the Menk. Perhaps they were warned.

Or did one of the party see something the others teased about, not having seen it themselves – something prompted the entry.

The injuries.

Much is made of the condition of Lyudmia Dubinina’s corpse, as it was found with damage far exceeding others of the group. Since her condition bears the most controversy, and complexity, this is the place to begin.

DyatDubrinaThe examiner reported her death to be caused by impact from a large force that caused multiple, bilateral rib fractures that impinged on her heart and caused internal bleeding. Her chest cavity contained one and a half liters of blood.

Her tongue, eyes and parts of the soft tissues of her mouth were missing.

luda-autopsyThe missing tongue is one of the most often exaggerated facts of the case. It has been reported as cut out, torn out, or bitten off. Yet the medical examiner clearly stated in his report the tongue and soft tissues resulted from post mortem decay and decomposition.

She was found face down in water. Investigators believe the snow began to melt at least a week, or two before she was found, and she’d lain there for months.

The missing eyes and tongue are a red herring, but the violent impact that crushed her chest is not. The breaks were on either side of her chest and each rib had two fractures. The #2, 3, 4, and 5 ribs broken on the right side with two fracture lines visible and the #2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 ribs broken on the left side with two fracture lines visible. No external injury to tissue associated with her chest wound was found.

sasha-corpse-2Zolotorev, found in the ravine, also had his chest caved in. His eyes and some flesh had decomposed. He was found to wear several tattoos.

His death was caused by multiple rib fractures on the right side and internal bleeding into the chest cavity. His ribs had detached from the chest wall as a result of a heavy blow.

sasha-autopsyLike Dubinina, the #2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 ribs had two fracture lines and he exhibited no outward tissue damage associated with the mortal chest wound.

The autopsy also noted that the injuries to Zolotorev and Dubinina did not come from a single event, meaning they each received blows independently, with very similar results, but not from a common explosion, or other concussive blast. The blows were targeted to the sides of the chest.

nicolai-skullThibault-Brignolle’s death was caused by impact of a large force to the roof and base of the skull. It created a multi-splintered fracture, but no exterior tissue damage, although decomposition was evident.

These three individuals died a violent death from blunt impact. All of the others died of hypothermia.

Thibault-Brignolle would have been knocked unconscious by his wounds, so could not have received them at the tent and still walked a mile to the trees. Nor is it likely Zolotorev, or Dubinina could have walked anywhere with their wounds. The mortal wounds happened in the ravine.

slobodin-skullSlabodin suffered a severe head injury, also. His body was found making his way back to the tent. The head injury didn’t kill him, however. He died from exposure, aggravated by the injury.

The injury was severe, but not immediately life threatening. It most likely put him into shock when it happened, and caused a loss of coordination. dyatdead6There was internal bleeding, indicating he lived with the injury for some time before freezing to death.

Other injuries included abrasions and bruising on the face and forehead, torn epidermis on the arms and bruises on the knuckles of his hands. Ice formed under his body, indicating he fell on the snow while alive and still warm.

Kolmegarova’s death was by exposure. Her fingers were frostbitten. She had a broad bruise encircling one side of her abdomen. The bruise was thought to be a result of a fall sometime after leaving the tent.

Dyatlov’s death was by exposure. His fingers were frostbitten. He had bruising and abrasion to the knuckles of his hands. A variety of abrasions and bruises also were found on his forehead, eyebrow, arms, legs and ankles. Examiners also speculated the bruising to be the result of a fall or blunt impact.

Dorovoshenko’s death was by exposure. His face and ears were frostbitten. His hair was burned. He had bruising and abrasions on his arms, elbow, shoulder and thighs. Torn flesh on his hands. The skin wounds were noted to be consistent with a fall, or impact. Pine needles and moss were found in his hair. A foamy grey fluid found on his cheek caused examiners to speculate he had been squashed, or taken a high fall.

Krivonishenko’s death was by exposure. His ears were frosbitten. His injuries included bruises on his forehead and around the left temporal bone, bruises on the right side of his chest, bruises on his hands, detached skin on the back of the left hand and a portion of the epidermis from the right hand was found in his mouth. He also had bruises and minor scratches on the thighs, a bruise on the left buttock and bruises and burns on the left leg.

Kolevatov was found in the ravine with the severely injured parties. Examination indicates he froze to death, likely the last of the group to die. There was a small open wound behind his ear and his neck was found to be deformed, long and thin in the area of the thyroid cartilage. He also suffered decomposition to soft tissues.

The final conclusion of the autopsies:

“As there was no evidence of a guilty party the reasons for the actions of the ski-team and their subsequent injuries is unknown. All that can be said is that they were the victims of a “Compelling Force”.
dyatlov ravineagain
The Ravine

Zolotorev and Dubinina would have had to belly-flop onto rocks to receive their injuries – sharp enough to break bones, but not tear skin. There were no fractures to the extremities, which in a fall is typically the case, as one tends to break knees, collarbones, legs and outstretched arms.

Thibault-Brignolle could have hit his head in a fall, but it is still odd there was no external injury, and the impact seemed to be from the base, side of the skull, with fractures propagating upward. The probability of all three of them falling ten, to fifteen feet, and dying as a result of injuries so specific to certain areas without collateral damage to extremities, or external tissue, is very low. A fall from that height rarely causes lethal injury, let alone three in a row. By every appearance, the wounds were not the result of a fall, but of being hit by something that targeted the torsos and head.

dyatlov_pass_the_flight
Path to the trees from the tent- superimposed photos.

Slobodin also got hit in the head, hard. Everyone of them had bruising and injuries to head and hands. Slobodin and Dyatlov had abrasions to their knuckles consistent with hand-to-hand fighting injuries.

Many cuts and scrapes can be expected on an expedition ski trek. More cuts and scrapes would be expected from stumbling on frozen feet in the dark, as they made their way to the cedar tree and built a fire. Yet they looked like they were beat to shit. That is why investigators looked first for foul play. The Mansi were cleared and no other parties were in the area to anyone’s knowledge.

The idea people chased them from the tent, whether CIA, or KGB, or anyone else, and then waited hours in the freezing night for most of them to die of exposure – and then got impatient, let them scatter, and punched rifle butts into the remaining survivors, is hard to imagine. Why not just shoot, or strangle them and have done with it. They were alive for hours under the tree. The charred remains of wood attested to a fire burning for one, to two hours.

The fear of impending avalanche, or lightning could have made them leave the tent, whether the threat was real, or perceived. But it leaves the only explanation for injuries a fall, unless the lightning chased them to the ravine. Lightning is a more likely candidate for the type of injuries they suffered, at least the major ones.

Some burn marks were noted on trees nearby the cedar, but that could have come from a fire, or lightning at any time before the tragedy. Forest trees often bear such scars. And it’s still seventy-five yards from where the worst injuries were found. Aside from the burns on hands, feet and hair that apparently came from sitting nearly on top of the coals – not unlikely at near 20-below – it is hard to correlate their behavior with a lightning event.

Why would lightning keep them huddled around a fire in the trees for hours. Even in a storm, the risk of climbing to the tent to get boots and clothing would be less than just freezing in your socks. People experience lightning in the mountains all the time, and the percentages are still in favor of not being hit. Lightning storms don’t usually persist with great intensity for long in one area.

A lightning strike that could kill all of them – one blow – could have hit the ravine and killed the others at the tree, perhaps even blowing Zina halfway to the tent. It’s possible, I don’t think we recognize how powerful lightning can be, but such an event would blow the forest apart. Sorry, no evidence.

Bears are in hibernation in mid-winter. No injuries indicated the fangs from wolves, or the claws of a bear.

Once all the evidence and circumstances are looked at, the best fit theory is a Menk – the Russian Yeti.

There is one significant hurdle to the theory of a Yeti. We don’t know if they exist. At least the scientific community claims they don’t, and most people go along with that consensus. Yet the plausibility of the Yeti’s existence is scientifically supported. That isn’t to say it exists, but science provides proof they did at one time. It is a matter of not having current knowledge if they still live.

yeti
From the Dyatlov film.

The hominid family tree is known to have a variety of species, many living concurrently with humans quite recently. DNA confirms romance, or rape, between beauty and the beast occurred with Denovisovan’s and Neanderthal’s, as recently as the last ice age. So creatures that meet the Yeti archetype lived in the recent past, as confirmed by science. Whether any remnant species is more ape than human, a hominid relic, or a hybrid of human and beast, is hair-splitting until one is studied.

There is really no reason to believe they do not exist. Skepticism is warranted, not a dogmatic refusal to consider. By numerous reports of witnesses, including those of the North American Bigfoot, Australian Yowie, and other regional types, they are consistently witnessed in the wilderness, mountainous regions that provide habitat. They are never seen in uncharacteristic settings, as hallucinations are known to produce.

Alien abduction is a case in point. Victims are often accused of hallucination because a number of instances occur in the bedroom, where sleep phenomena are known to create hallucinatory effects, yielding alternative explanations for the victim’s perception. That is not the case with the Menk and it’s brethren. They appear where, and when one might predict, even following seasonal climate and game migration patterns, as expected of nomadic hunter-gatherers.

They shun and hide from humans – it is possibly their essential skill for survival. The reason is too obvious for discussion. It makes them hard to find, any contact is brief, and they are more aware in their environment than any human they contact. Rarely are they caught in situations when they do not control the encounter. Human hubris prevents many people from contemplating such a thing.

Most encounters are intimidation. Evidence of tree structures, fallen trees, tree breaks and other features attributed to the Menk imply signage, signifying claimed territorial boundaries. Rock throwing, branch breaking, tree shaking, screams, grunts and growls feature in a predominance of encounters, suggesting intimidation with the intent to cause the victim to leave.

Beyond the hundreds of documented reports of encounters, there is a large unspoken number of rock throwing and similar intimidation behaviors experienced in the middle of the night by people who camp, or fish in the wild.

Human activities are extremely limited in mountainous, forested areas. The footprint of towns and cities is tiny, compared to the footprint of the woods around them, and most people, even in these rural areas do not spend a significant percentage of time in the woods. Tourists herd into established grounds, never seeing a fraction of a forested region. Even industry, which has harvested forests continuously for centuries, only works in small areas at a given time, allowing for easy avoidance and ample alternative habitat.

Setting aside instances of hoax, and wishful thinking, the only challenge to the predominance of credible encounters is misidentification with bears. This no doubt happens…some of the time. Bears cannot explain rock throwing, or other associated behavior and artifacts.

The best assessment tools available are photos and film. Many examples can be clearly distinguished from bears.

The photo above is attributed to the “Diatlov Foundation” – the repository of the Diatlov memory – by the Discovery Channel. Discovery represents it as an overlooked shot from the Diatlov camera film rolls. Discovery Channel is known for bending facts to entertain its audience. Yet they do claim its credibility with an analysis establishing the photo is real and assurance it is from the Dyatlov film rolls. Nothing suggests the film is doctored. What it is film of, is less certain.

anotherIt appears to have been taken in a hurry, since the focus is very poor.

Superimposed here, is a member of the Dyatlov party, and one of the search party, next to the unknown biped. The biped does not appear to carry a backpack, ski poles, or show any obvious hem, or cuff anywhere. The arms and legs look skinny compared to the jacketed, and sleeved extremities on the men, as if naked. The head is large and the arms seem quite long. Unfortunately, the arms are crooked at angles that don’t allow assessing their length accurately.

Researchers and witnesses claim the North American Bigfoot’s arms are significantly longer with respect their torso, hanging to near the knee, as compared to a human. Other body ratios are slightly different, more ape-like, and these have been photographed and analyzed. This photo is too indistinct to obtain body ratios. Yet it looks like a powerfully built, nearly naked and slightly pot-bellied, bipedal creature, caught in a suspicious looking pose – like a stalker.

The compendium of data suggests the Dyatlov party were harassed by Yeti, scared from their tent and then, later killed, or left to freeze by the angered beast. Several injuries indicate fighting wounds and death blows from their adversary. They noted knowing Snowmen exist on paper and took a photograph of a spooky biped on the last day of the trip.

The last act in the tent before the panic appears to have been picture taking. A camera tri-pod was left set-up and the camera on the floor of the tent. Zolotorev carried another camera around his neck – no boots, but a camera. They cut slits all over before they abandoned the tent. They were apparently looking at, or for something they were trying to photograph. Certainly not an avalanche, or team of KGB. Lightning bolts perhaps?

The lack of Yeti footprints is one thing one can question as evidence against it. The Yeti left none. But if it followed typically observed behavior, it would have intimidated with yells and rock throwing, or in this case, snow from the heights above the tent. Those tracks could have been covered, or blown away in the weeks before the search party arrived, just as most of the parties footprints vanished, except for a stretch below the tent. The Yeti may have never been close to the tent. A hit by a Yeti snowball would scare the crap out of anyone.

Only after the party left the tent, but did not leave the area, and lit a fire instead, did the Yeti approach to kill them in a struggle in the trees. Many native Indian names for Bigfoot mean cannibal, or taker of children, or refer to some other violent behavior. There are historic reports of death by the beast.

They may have approached the Yeti’s own nest near the ravine. Perhaps he was protecting his young. They may have angered it, as Zolotorev did in our fictional story. In any case, a story about a tattooed war hero – ten years older than the college kids – being chased by a Yeti, needed to be told.

Subjectivity intervenes in any analysis. Assurance waits for the body of a Yeti. The subjective senses are influenced by fear. The Menk is the actual boogeyman of our fears, whether it lives in the forests, or not. He hides behind trees – the black shadow at twilight. The thing that flits past the corner of your eye. That is the main reason the Russian Yeti fits the Dyatlov story best.

Primary sources are linked below. Please leave a “like” – if you did. Thank you for reading.

Postscript: The Daily Plasma strives for truth. The story and essay has kept to the truth as far as could be verified, and noted speculation versus fact, but there are so many versions, unhinged theories and sensationalized, falsified details that it would be easy to accumulate a piece of misinformation. If an error is found please advise in the comments. It will be corrected in future edits if it does not mess up the storytelling. This is, after all, for entertainment.

Resource 1

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