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Strange Debris Found at Dyatlov Pass, Site of Mysterious Deaths

It’s one of history’s great unsolved and conspiracy-generating mysteries. In 1959, the frozen bodies of a nine-member ski-hiking expedition were found partially undressed near their Ural Mountain campsite in an area whose indigenous name means “Dead Mountain.” The official reason given for the skiers’ strange behavior (like slicing open their tent from the inside) was “natural force they were unable to overcome,” the investigation documents were classified and the public was banned from the area for three years, which irritated those who heard witnesses had seen fireballs that could have been Russian missile tests, energy orbs or alien spaceships. Now, nearly 60 years later, a possible piece of solid evidence may have been found … with its own discovery also shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on Feb. 26, 1959. (public domain)

The latest piece in this mysterious Dyatlov pie begins in 2008 when a tourist claims to have found a large chunk of metal near the site. The 3-foot-by-3-foot (one square meter) piece was either too heavy or perhaps too frightening for this person to bring back in 2008, so it remained there until this year when URA.Ru reported that an expedition had returned to the remote location using GPS coordinates kept by the finder and retrieved it.

“It seems easy only the first 100 meters – in fact it is hard to carry and very uncomfortable. We even at that time hardly managed to deliver it, although we specially prepared it.”

Alexander Zarubin told URA.Ru reported on the expedition for URA.Ru (report here with numerous pictures of the chunk, the area and the team) and says that after the difficult retrieval, it was delivered to Yuri Kountsevich, head of the Dyatlov Foundation dedicated to maintaining the Dyatlov Museum and continuing the investigation of the unsolved mystery. Kountsevich’s initial analysis, along with others who have looked at it, is that the metal is part of a rocket fuel tank, possibly from an intercontinental ballistic UR-100.

Does this metal fragment help solve the mysterious 1959 deaths of the skiers on Dyatlov Pass? Well, it fits the theory that the Russian military was conducting tests (not a real surprise) and a secret missile crashed in the area and its secret cargo may have been responsible for the radiation detected on the bodies and their clothing. It might also lend credence to the theory that the skiers were involved with the tests, possibly working with the KGB – a theory based on reports that some of their diaries and film rolls (one of which may have had photos of the strange orange fireballs) were missing.

Why did these experienced hikers tear their tent from the inside and got barefoot in the snow, some dying of exposure, others from injuries including a broken skull, two broken ribs, and a missing tongue (you read that right). The chunks of metal sheds no light on this or the rumors of a Yeti attack, an avalanche or a rare weather condition known as Kármán vortex street that can generate very-low-frequency sound waves that could have caused psychological problems that drove the hikers mad, or at least to do odd non-hiker things.

Memorial to the hikers

No other pieces of metal were found. Could have been placed there deliberately to distract investigators who may be getting too close to the real reason behind the Dyatlov Pass mystery?

Or is it just a coincidental piece of the many rockets and missiles launched by the USSR and Russia?

Will we ever find out?

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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