By Tim Binnall
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the infamous 'Dyatlov Pass incident' and, seemingly in recognition of this macabre milestone, Russian authorities have surprisingly announced plans to launch a new investigation into the mysterious event. The February 1st, 1959 tragedy saw nine hikers in the Ural Mountains die under strange circumstances that left investigators at the time baffled and has kept conspiracy theorists and paranormal researchers guessing ever since. Largely confined to the fringes of the esoteric for decades, the case had something of a renaissance ten years ago, around its 50th anniversary, and it subsequently spawned an array of articles and books as well as TV segments and movies.
The renewed interest in the Dyatlov Pass incident has apparently led to a rather jaw-dropping announcement from Russian authorities that they are going to take a fresh look at the case. According to one media report, investigators will be sent to the site in the Ural Mountains where the event occurred to conduct a study of the location and an analysis will be done on the massive official government file attached to the case. In a particularly promising statement, the head of this probe told another outlet that "our goal is to establish which of the 75 existing theories could be confirmed by reliable evidence."
More specifics on this proposed investigation offered by officials included that they intend to "conduct nine various inquiries and examinations" corresponding to each of the hikers who perished in the event. Intriguingly, alongside a forensic reassessment of the case, authorities also plan to consult psychologists in an attempt to decipher how the mindset and personalities of various members of the perished party might have played a role in how the incident unfolded. And, incredibly, they also intend to conduct a reenactment of the case to test how the group escaped their tent.
Theories for what caused the hikers' curious demise are, indeed, myriad and have ranged from the prosaic to the fantastic. Skeptics have long argued that the party was merely killed by an avalanche. However, astute students of the case note numerous details which seem to suggest something far more sensational took place on that night, such as what appeared to have been an unusual reaction by the hikers in which they frantically slashed their way out of their tent and ran off into the snow without any protection from the frigid temperatures as well as weird injuries found on their bodies that are still hard to explain to this day.
Among the more intriguing possibilities put forward over the years is that the group inadvertently witnessed or fell victim to a secret Soviet weapons test and the cause of their deaths was covered up by official government investigators. An even more sensational scenario that has been bandied about by researchers is that the incident involved an encounter with a creature akin to the Abominable Snowman. And, of course, some imaginative individuals have speculated that the entire affair was somehow connected to aliens.
While it's highly doubtful that Russian officials will attribute the event to ETs, the news that the case is being reopened comes as a wonderful surprise on a day that had looked to be yet another lamentation of a mystery being lost to the sands of time. Whether investigators can unearth any new clues to the incident remains to be seen, but one can help but be optimistic by the fact that they're even looking again in the first place and hope that those nine hikers at the center of this very strange incident can finally rest in peace.
Until we hear what the Russian investigation has uncovered, Coast Insiders can learn more about the Dyatlov Pass by checking out appearances on the program by authors Keith McCloskey and Donnie Eichar, who both shared their research into the bizarre case. Not a Coast Insider yet? Sign up today.