UKH

/ Dyatlov Pass Incident

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sheelba - on 29 Aug 2017
SPOILER ALERT: this post contains spoilers for the book Dead Mountain by Donnie Eicher and would make it a much less interesting read



I've just finished Eicher's account of the fascinating Dyatlov pass incident. His theory is a bit far fetched but seems the only possible explanation for why 9 people would exit their tent without footwear in the Russian winter and condemn themselves to death by hypothermia. For those who haven't read it and don't intend to, he posits a Karman vortex street effect created by the mountain under which the mountaineers are camped creating infrasonic waves which caused intense stress and disorientation, sufficient for nine people to flee their tent to suffer grim deaths in the cold Russian winter. These effects have been studied in the laboratory but I wondered whether anyone else had experienced or heard of others suffering from them in the mountains. From my interpretation of the physics such an event would occur in high winds when you are on the leeward side of a large rounded object. The effect creates infrasonic waves which cannot be heard but can cause anxiety, extreme sorrow, chills, whole body vibrations, increases in heart beat, difficulty seeing etc. (see here for summary of research https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/infrasound_508.pdf). It seems like the Dyatlov pass hikers were crazily unlucky if this was what caused their deaths but it would seem strange if this phenomenon has never occurred previously in less extreme causes.
Shani - on 29 Aug 2017
In reply to sheelba:

I've always been fascinated by this story. Thanks for the link.
Raymondo - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

I like the bit on wikipedia * about this mystery, the bit about Military Tests.

Seems like they left their tents in a hurry, wouldn't you at least put unlaced boots on, or take them with you. Unless you know there's a parachute mine coming down on your tent of course.

* yes, wiki is the undeniable source of all truth, LOL.
slab_happy on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

Seconding the book rec. It's a very well-researched and solid account of the hikers' journey, which the author retraced, and IIRC he comes across as comparatively cautious re: what he suggests as a possible explanation, rather than wildly speculative.
Shani - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to slab_happy:

Worth googling images of the incident - not least to see the blurry image of a large stocky figure leaning in towards the trail. An image that fires the darkest of fears!

In a review of the book I stumbled across a reference to another perplexing mystery: http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-lost-girls-of-panama-the-camera-the-jungle-and-the-bones
sheelba - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to Raymondo:
Yes that is still the puzzling bit about Eicher's theory. The infrasound would have had to become very terrible very quickly for them to leave the tent in such a hurry.

That other mystery seems pretty straightforward, they got lost in the jungle.
Post edited at 16:05
MarkJH - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

> Yes that is still the puzzling bit about Eicher's theory. The infrasound would have had to become very terrible very quickly for them to leave the tent in such a hurry.

Maybe, but possibly not. The autopsy suggestedthat death occurred about 6-8 hours after the last meal, so they may well have all been asleep prior to leaving the tent. If, so it would possibly only take 1 person to wake up during the night and panic.... Imagine if you were woken from a deep sleep during the night by a companion screaming and cutting open the tent from the inside, before fleeing into the night. Most peoples reactions would probably be to follow the pack and not ask too many questions.

I have heard first hand accounts of people being overtaken by strong feelings of a malevolent presence at very specific locations in the mountains, and I find the infra-sound theory fascinating as an explanation.

Misha - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:
Thanks, hadn't heard of this. It's an interesting explanation but does it account for the injuries suffered by some of the party?
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to Misha:

Scavenger action has been suggested I think, from my memory of the wiki page

The infrasound theory is really interesting and i may check out this book ...
Misha - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
There were some internal compression type injuries. May be from a fall or mini avalanche as they were found under 4m of snow. It's certainly a mystery...
Stichtplate on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

> SPOILER ALERT: this post contains spoilers for the book Dead Mountain by Donnie Eicher and would make it a much less interesting read

> such an event would occur in high winds when you are on the leeward side of a large rounded object. The effect creates infrasonic waves which cannot be heard but can cause anxiety, extreme sorrow, chills, whole body vibrations, increases in heart beat, difficulty seeing etc.

Amazing!.... I experienced exactly this phenomenon one night while walking down Blackpool front, pissed, in high winds, on the leeward side of my friend, fat Barry.
At the time I just put the anxiety, extreme sorrow etc etc down to walking down Blackpool front, pissed, in high winds, on the leeward side of my friend, fat Barry.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 01 Sep 2017
In reply to Misha:

Heck. You're right. Even stranger. Looks like none of the remotely plausible theories fully account for all the observed facts...
sheelba - on 02 Sep 2017
In reply to Misha:

Those that suffered injuries were found at the bottom of a ravine they could have fallen down apparently.

In reply to MarkjH:

It is unlikely they were asleep as they seemed to be about to eat dinner. All of them would have to be effected simultaneously which again is strange since experiments suggest suggest that some people are more effected by infrasound than others. I'm intrigued that you've heard reports of others having similar experiences. Do you know the locations?

It is an utterly baffling story, one in which an incredibly low probably event occurred, but then I guess it's not that surprising that given the numbers of people in the mountains over a long period somthing very unlikely is going to happen to some of them.
Damo on 02 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:
I looked at this a bit in the past and listened to at least two podcasts* on it, but have not read Eicher's book. How does he rule out group asphyxiation (from cooking etc), combined with hypothermia and post-death injuries from animals or avalanches?

The reason I ask is because there have been more than a few very odd deaths due to people asphyxiating, or nearly so, in snow caves and tents, which have either created bizarre death scenes, or chaotic near-misses.

A prime example is a trio of British climbers working for BAS on the Antarctic Peninsula where a search party found them in various stages of undress - one naked in the cave, one half-naked (no pants) in the doorway, and one dead outside near the sled dogs.

After much confusion and discussion it transpired that they had realised too late that they'd gassed themselves - CO poisoning from stove in the cave - and tried to get out. I'm not sure if the guy who made it fully outside actually died of hypothermia or CO poisoning. The lack of clothing was because it had got so hot and stuffy in the cave, but they had obviously not realised that this was a precursor to running out of air / dying of CO.

Also worth remembering that people in the final stages of dying from hypothermia get (briefly6) very hot and usually try and fling their clothes off.

* eg. https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4108
Post edited at 09:46
Bobling - on 02 Sep 2017
In reply to sheelba:

Thanks for post - alerted me to the book, got it, read it, good stuff. As to whether the infrasound supposition is correct? I couldn't say but he does a good job of ruling out pretty much all of the other commonly advanced theories.
sheelba - on 03 Sep 2017
In reply to Damo:

They didn't put their stove together on the night in question which itself is commented on as odd. They didn't take any of their clothes off, they went out of the tent without boots and most with minimal clothing, other than clothes that were cut off two of the dead by one to try to save the others.

This incident appeared to have been well investigated at the time by people who knew what they doing which is an indication of why it is so strange. I think the injuries of a few of them are easily explained by them falling down a ravine it's why they ran out of the tent in such a hurry which is strange.

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