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Master Orthodox Occultist Oregon Chang, The 17th generation Disciple of Seven Stars Sword Master Hebei China

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery

In 1959, nine experienced Russian cross-country skiers - seven men and two women, including the leader, Igor Dyatlov - head to the Ural Mountains, to a slope called Kholat Syakhl (Mansi language for "Mountain of the Dead," ahem) for a rugged, wintry trek. On their way up, they are apparently hit by inclement weather, veer off course and decide to set up camp and wait it out. All is calm. All is fine and good. They even take pictures of camp, the scenery, each other. The weather isn't so bad. They go to sleep.

Then, something happens. In the middle of the night, all nine suddenly leap out of their tents as fast as possible, ripping them open from the inside (not even enough time to untie the doors) and race out into the sub-zero temps, without coats or boots or skis, most in their underwear, some even barefoot or with a single sock or boot. It is 30 degrees below zero, Celsius. A few make it as far as a kilometer and a half down the slope. All nine, as you might expect, quickly die.

And so it begins.

Why did they rush out, unable to even grab a coat or blanket? What came at them? The three-month investigation revealed that five of the trekkers died from simple hypothermia, with no apparent trauma at all, no signs of attack, struggle, no outward injuries of any kind. However, two of the other four apparently suffered massive internal traumas to the chest, like you would if you were hit by a car. One's skull was crushed. All four of these were found far from the other five. But still, no signs of external injuries.

Not good enough? How about this: One of the women was missing her tongue.

Oh, it gets better. And weirder.

Tests of the few scraps of clothing revealed very high levels of radiation. Evidence found at the campsite indicates the trekkers might've been blinded. Eyewitnesses around the area report seeing "bright orange spheres" in the sky during the same months. And, oh yes, relatives at the funeral swear the skin of their dead loved ones was tanned, tinted dark orange or brown. And their hair had all turned completely gray.

Wait, what?

The final, official explanation as to what caused such bizarre behavior from otherwise well-trained, experienced mountaineers? An "unknown compelling force." Indeed.

Here's the problem: All the convenient, logical explanations - avalanche, animal attack, secret military nuke test - fail. Russian authorities held a three-month investigation. Rescuers and experts picked through every piece of evidence. There were no signs of natural disaster. And if it was just an avalanche, why was the area closed off for three years following the event, and all related documents put in a secret Russian archive until 1990? If it was some sort of weird nuclear megablast (which I suppose may tint you orange, but won't turn your hair gray), what the hell happened to her tongue?

I love stories like this. I hate stories like this.

Sure, you want to go for the logical. Hell, who knows what hellish weaponry they were testing in the mountains in Khrushchev's Russia in the late '50s? Who knows what dark mysteries are buried in the landscape by the world's militaries as they test their dark deeds? The rule goes like this: Any weapon of horror and death man's mind can conceive, odds are gruesomely good the government or military has considered it. Or even built it.

This is both the joy and horror of stories like Dyatlov: They make your mind jump and bend and struggle. Logic fails quickly. Easy explanations don't work. Complicated ones feel incomplete. The creepiness takes hold, begins to burrow, make you squirm. Because the bizarre military-testing explanation? It fails, too.

So of course, you jump further. You reach for the paranormal, metaphysical, unknowable, to things like UFOs and spirits and ghosts, dark forces and mysticism and the occult, because, well, that's where the action is. That's where we get to touch the void, dance on the edge of perception, realize how little we truly know of anything.

After all, if you really think all there is to this world is what your five senses show you, if you think there's always got to be a logical, earthbound explanation for stories like Dyatlov, well, you might as well just join a megachurch and wipe your brain and your intuition and your deep, dark curiosity clean right now.

As Dyatlov himself might say, his skin orange and hair gray and eyes wide, you think you know, but you have no idea.


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