In early February of 1959, a group of ski hikers were found dead under mysterious circumstances in the northern Ural Mountains of Russia. The pass where the nine hikers were found has since been named after the leader of the group, Igor Dyatlov, and is currently called Dyatlov Pass.
The hiking group was originally comprised of eight men and two women, mostly students or graduates of Ural Polytechnical Institute. One of the members of the group became ill, and was unable to finish the trek.
On February 12, when no word had been received from the group of hikers, relatives insisted that a rescue operation be launched.
The head of the institute then sent a rescue group of volunteer students and teachers on February 20th to search for the missing climbers.
On February 26th, the abandoned camp of the trekkers was found. The tent was ripped open from the inside, as if the sleepers were desperately trying to get out of there.
Footsteps led down to the woods on the opposite side of the pass, but disappeared in the snow after a while.
The remains of a fire and two of the hiker's bodies were found under a huge pine tree. The victims were without clothing and shoeless, except for their underwear. Their hands were burned. Branches on the tree were broken up to sixteen feet above them, as if someone had climbed up into the tree.
Three other bodies of the original group were found nearer to the camp, and positioned in a way that it appeared they were trying to get back to the camp.
More than two months later, the remaining four corpses were found underneath the snow, deep in the woods.
The first five bodies were examined, and found to have died from hypothermia. There were no injuries other than a small crack in one skull, but it was not thought to have caused the death of the hiker.
Fatal injuries were found in three of the four bodies found deeper in the woods. One of the party was found with major skull damage, and two others had major chest wounds that had been inflicted with great force, similar to that of a car crash. One female's tongue was missing.
No footprints other than the hikers were found, and there were no signs of violence of any type.
Oddly, forensic radiation tests showed high doses of contamination on the few articles of clothing found.
Relatives of the dead hikers claimed that the victims' skin "had a strange orange tan," and their hair had all turned entirely gray.
A group of hikers south of the Dyatlov Pass incident reported "strange orange spheres" in the sky that night "to the north."
It was determined by an official inquest that the hikers died from an "unknown compelling force." All paperwork related to the incident was archived in a secret place for years, until the 1990s, when some of the material was released. The area was closed for the next three years.
What happened to cause the hikers to rip open their tent, and run away with no clothing on their bodies? Why did they have no clothing on in the first place? It was well below freezing.
Many theories have surfaced including UFOs, military tests, an avalanche, and even abominable snowmen. None of the theories really work to answer the questions of what happened to the hikers that winter night.