Black magic, extraterrestrial contacts and possible spy games have been considered at one point as an explanation for the nine mysterious deaths that occurred in 1959 in the Ural Mountains.
The photo shows the “Diatlov Group”, nine hikers who, in winter, started an expedition through the mountainous region of Siberia. This adventure would become their last as they all died under mysterious circumstances.
Despite the photographs and journal entries regularly made by hikers, the case has remained unsolved for more than 60 years.
Although the official investigation ruled that “the cause of death was an unknown irresistible force that the hikers could not overcome,” the ambiguity of the official conclusion, the multiple errors made by the investigators, and the numerous inexplicable facts about the circumstances of the tragedy sparked dozens of conspiracy theories. Here are three of the most popular:
- Spy games gone wrong
In 1959, the world was in the middle of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The general secrecy that surrounded every aspect of the life of the citizen of the Soviet Union prevailed in the country, as well as the paranoia of the ubiquitous presence of spies. What if all this anxiety wasn’t as unfounded as it might seem today?
Some think that this feeling was not unfounded. A group of authors, writing under the name Alexey Rakitin, believe that the KGB, foreign spies (most likely belonging to the CIA) and Soviet counterintelligence were involved in the fatal incident.
According to this theory, the hikers were undercover KGB officers whose counterintelligence mission was disguised as an innocent excursion but was designed to ruin a foreign spy operation in the USSR. In another line of work, some authors hypothesize that one of the hikers could have been a traitor who planned to use the innocent expedition to leak secret information to foreign intelligence.
As far-fetched as this theory may sound, it might not be completely unfounded. At the scene of the tragedy, three separate items of clothing were collected from the bodies of the deceased hikers, which contained radioactivity.
“Clothes became contaminated by falling radioactive dust from the atmosphere, or clothing could be contaminated by coming into contact with radioactive substances,” the official report reads, leaving room for interpretation.
Proponents of the “spy games” theory believe that the key to the deadly mystery is that two hikers, Georgui Krivonischenko and Rustem Slobodin, worked in the city of Chelyabinsk-40 (today known as Ozersk), where plutonium was produced. suitable for weapons during the Cold War.
This would explain the contamination of some of the clothing items found at the scene of the tragedy and simultaneously lay the groundwork for a possible espionage-related operation that resulted in the deaths of nine people and an elaborate KGB-orchestrated cover-up.
- Black magic of indigenous peoples
Another popular theory claims that the hikers were victims of the Indians, whose “sacred mountain” they had desecrated, intentionally or not.
When the bodies of the hikers were found, investigators initially suspected that it could be a massacre by the Mansi people, a local ethnic group of hunters, whose settlement was about 100 km from the scene of the tragedy.
However, during the last stages of the investigation, the authorities ruled it out.
3. Extraterrestrial contact
This photo, often called “frame №34”, was discarded from the case file due to its poor quality. Proponents of the UFO theory insist that it should never have been ruled out, as it would be the only way to discover the truth about the Diatlov Pass incident.
In 2019, journalists interviewed Boris Sichev, a member of the search team, whose task was to locate the bodies of the deceased hikers. The man says the search team witnessed a strange phenomenon that they described as “a ball of fire.”
“We saw a fireball floating in the sky near the crossing. It was similar to the lunar disk, but it was not the Moon. This fireball was larger in diameter. He left the junction and floated away from us. We do not observe a bright glow. And then it just disappeared over the horizon. We are all puzzled, ”Sychev is quoted as saying.
Many conspiracy theorists believe that the number of sightings of such “fireballs” or “lightballs” were intentionally underestimated, either because of the researchers’ inability to explain them or because of some actual UFO-related conspiracy.
Proponents of the theory believe that these “fireballs” could have killed the hikers by emitting an unspecified beam of energy at them. Interestingly, one of the most notable proponents of this theory is former Soviet prosecutor Lev Ivanov.
Not all extraterrestrial theories advocate that a UFO was responsible for the deaths in the Diatlov Pass. Some people believe that meteorites could have caused a similar phenomenon (and a fatal impact on humans) or the test launches of some secret rocket by the Soviet military.