StrangeHistory.org has received some great emails in the last few months. We have decided to answer your questions and post them back to this site.
Nicole from Alabama asked:
What are your thoughts on what happened in the Dyatlov Pass incident?
The Dyatlov Pass incident refers to an event that resulted in the deaths of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural mountains on the night of February 2, 1959. It happened on the east shoulder of the mountain Kholat Syakhl (a Mansi name which means Mountain of the Dead). The mountain pass where the incident occurred has since been named Dyatlov Pass after the group's leader, Igor Dyatlov. The lack of eyewitnesses has inspired much speculation.
Soviet investigators determined only that "a compelling unknown force" had caused the deaths. Access to the area was barred for skiers and other adventurers for three years after the incident. The chronology of the incident remains unclear due to the lack of survivors. Investigators at the time determined that the hikers tore open their tent from within, departing barefoot in heavy snow. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, two victims had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. According to sources, four of the victims' clothing contained substantial levels of radiation. There is no mention of this in contemporary documentation; it only appears in later documents. (Wikipedia-Dyatlov Pass incident)
As you know, I am partial to U.S. history but I have looked into the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The subject seems to be big with conspiracy theorists of all types; So if you would like for me to tell you wild theories about Yeti or Aliens, or even Cold War Russian Agents, I can…..HOWEVER, there appears to be no evidence that those skiers were attacked by anything other than Mother Nature. In accordance with the 1959 investigation and the more recent reviews of the case, the kids set up their camp at the base of an avalanche prone mountain that had been used for thermonuclear testing. The firewood they used would have been tainted by the radiation. Another possibility proposed by Brian Dunning, host and producer of Skeptoid, was the skiers use of Thorium mantles in the lanterns that were found at the sight by investigators. This type of lantern mantle emits small amounts of radiation as they burn. This could explain the radiation found on some of the clothing and the potential that the victims may have been blinded.
During the night they heard the loud roar of an avalanche and the skiers fled their tent into the darkness as they were hit by the wave of loose snow. This explains finding a few of them unclothed, skull fractures, broken ribs and the bitten off (not removed) tongue of one victim. When investigators arrived, the ground where two of the skiers were found was frozen, indicating an avalanche followed by a snow melt had rushed over them. This would also explain why there appeared to be no external trauma to the victims.
All of that happened on the night of February 2nd! The search party found the first two victims on February 26 and the last four victims were found on May 4th buried under four feet of snow. The tent was found 6 feet under a mixer of snow and ice. There is no question that those nine skiers were the tragic victims of Mother Nature’s wrath ............Or would you rather hear about Aliens and/or a Yeti attack?"