Dyatlov Pass and Mass Murdering Yeti? A DN Exclusive

Doubtful News is pleased to present this EXCLUSIVE piece by author and researcher, Benjamin Radford, on the Discovery Channel’s presentation airing TONIGHT!

[Warning: Spoilers]

Dyatlov Pass and Mass Murdering Yeti?
A Closer Look at Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives

The tent found destroyed.

The tent found destroyed.

A new two-hour Discovery Channel “documentary,” Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, revisits the curious case of nine Russian skiers who died under unclear circumstances in the Ural mountains. It is packed with dramatic “found footage” recreations, dubious derring-do, a pulse-pounding score, and piles of speculation.

Here’s the premise, based on a press release for the show:

“On February 2, 1959, nine college students hiked up the icy slopes of the Ural Mountains in the heart of Russia but never made it out alive.  Investigators have never been able to give a definitive answer behind who – or what – caused the bizarre crime scene.  Fifty-five years later, American explorer Mike Libecki reinvestigates the mystery—known as The Dyatlov Pass incident—but what he uncovers is truly horrifying…. Based on diary accounts, forensic evidence and files that have just recently been released, Mike pieces together the graphic stories in search of what really happened that evening.  According to the investigators at the time, the demise of the group was due to a ‘compelling natural force.’ The students’ slashed tent was discovered first with most of their clothing and equipment still inside.  Next, the students’ bodies were found scattered across the campsite in three distinct groups, some partially naked and with strange injuries including crushed ribs, a fractured skull, and one hiker mutilated with her eyes gouged out and tongue removed… Mike first heard about the Dyatlov Pass incident on a climbing expedition in 2011 and since then has become obsessed with the case… Determined to find answers, Mike hires Russian translator Maria Klenokova to join him.  Together, they set out to one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth.  However, nothing prepared them for what they were about to discover.  Following the trail of evidence, Mike finds proof that the hikers were not alone—a photograph, taken by one of the hikers a day before they died that suggests that they encountered a Yeti.  But just how far will they go to find the answers?”

Focusing on the undisputed facts in this case, we know that after nearly a week of skiing the group led by Igor Dyatlov, at some point on the night of February 1-2, 1959, cut slits in their tent and left through the cut for the safety of the wooded area below, most of them wearing their underwear or a few scraps of clothing. After they failed to return, a rescue party was sent, and tracks were followed from the tent to the woods, where all the skiers were found, some of them many months later. According to the autopsy, the cause of death for all of them was hypothermia, or freezing to death; four of the nine also had internal injuries, and one of them, Ludmila Dubinina, was missing a tongue and had additional injuries to her eyes. The biggest mysteries are why the group abandoned their tent (with their supplies and clothes inside), apparently in a hurry through a cut in the fabric; and what caused their injuries.

There are many elements and claims to the Dyatlov Pass story, and many theories including UFOs, top-secret government conspiracies, and unusual natural phenomena. I won’t be addressing those claims (in fact as we will see there’s really no need to invoke those anyway), but instead focusing on the plausibility of the newest theory as promoted in the new Discovery Channel show: That a Yeti was responsible for the mass murder of nine Russians in 1959.

The Group’s Injuries

Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives begins with the premise that the injuries sustained by the skiers were so grave and extraordinary that could only have been inflicted by an inhumanly strong creature. The shows says that according to the autopsy, the hikers suffered “horrific injuries” including fractured ribs and a fractured skull attributed to a “compelling natural force” (in other words, some sort of blunt force trauma such as a fall or being crushed).

Unfortunately for the show, photographs of the dead hikers undermine most of the sensational claims. The photographs are crystal clear: the bodies were not “mutilated”. They were actually in fairly good shape for a party who had skied into the remote area, froze to death, and were discovered months later after exposure to the elements. Those who had cracked ribs were found at the bottom of a 13-foot ravine, and could have sustained the injuries falling into it, or at some point after their death during the months before they were found when buried by an avalanche or the weight of wet snow crushed them.

While a fractured skull might be considered “horrific” depending on your comfort with bodily trauma, according to the Mayo Clinic, “A fractured rib is a common injury that occurs when one of the bones in your rib cage breaks or cracks. The most common cause of broken ribs is trauma to the chest, such as from a fall, motor vehicle accident or impact during contact sports. Many broken ribs are merely cracked. While still painful, cracked ribs aren’t as potentially dangerous as ribs that have been broken into separate pieces. In most cases, broken ribs usually heal on their own in one or two months” (Mayo Clinic 2014).

According to the Russian Yeti show, “two had wounds on their hands, suggesting a struggle with someone—or some thing!” It’s not clear what wounds they are referring to; most sources mention that the only significant hand injuries among the group were burns, so a fist fight with a fire elemental or The Fantastic Four’s Human Torch seem more likely than a struggle with a Yeti. Or, I suppose, they may have burned themselves building a fire in the frozen wilderness or if a camping lamp overturned.

An article in Fortean Times magazine notes that, of the first five bodies found, “Doctors said all five had died of hypothermia. Only [Rustem] Solobodin bore any injuries other than burnt hands [from a fire]; his skull was fractured, although this was not considered to be the cause of his death.” The four other hikers, found months later, “appeared to have suffered traumatic deaths. [Nicolas] Thibeaux-Brignollel’s skull had been crushed, and [Ludmila] Dubinina and [Alexander] Zolotarev had numerous broken ribs. Dubinina also had no tongue. The bodies, however, showed no external wounds.”

Were there other minor injuries? Of course. This was a group who had spent the past week hiking through remote, difficult wilderness. I get a few scrapes and scratches just spending a few hours in the woods. It’s not mysterious or surprising that many in the group would have ordinary injuries on their hands and elsewhere quite apart from whatever happened to them on that night.

Libecki makes much of how the bodies were found. For example, of those last to be found, “their bodies crouched and intertwined as of they had been hiding.” The interpretation of their body positions “as if they had been hiding” suggests of course that they were hiding from something that would kill them—say, a pissed-off Yeti. However there’s a much more likely explanation for why two bodies lost in a frozen wilderness might be found dead “crouched” together and entwined. It’s a simple explanation that any fifth-grader can likely see, but that apparently escaped the Discovery television show writers: they were cold and lay together to conserve heat, as any novice hiker is taught to do. Maybe so, but what about the missing tongue?

The Missing Tongue

Mike Libecki says, “When I found out one of the students was missing a tongue immediately I knew this was not caused by an avalanche. Something ripped out the tongue of this woman.” Skeptics will likely immediately recognize the logical fallacy Libecki employs, that the only possible explanation for Ludmila Dubinina’s missing tongue is that “something ripped” it out of her mouth. How the woman’s tongue was removed would be a question best answered by a medical doctor or a pathologist instead of a mountaineer, but Libecki gamely takes a guess: some powerful animal targeted and removed it. The show spends a lot of time on the mystery of the missing tongue because it is the lynchpin to bringing up the Yeti as an explanation for this mystery. For Libecki the missing tongue lies at the heart of the mystery: “After hearing that Ludmila’s tongue was ripped out, I knew there was a mystery much larger than I could imagine,” he says.

Here we can bring in the skeptical dictum of Hyman’s Categorical Imperative, which says that before trying to explain something we should make sure there is something to explain; in other words, question your assumptions. For example if there is a mundane, simple, and likely answer for why the tongue is missing, then we don’t need to begin speculating about what may have taken her tongue, whether leprechaun, aliens, or Yeti.

As it happens a tongue-eating Yeti—even assuming it exists—is by far the least likely explanation. The “missing parts” aspect of this case is a familiar one to skeptics, and has been invoked in countless other “unsolved” mysteries including the chupacabra, cattle mutilations, Satanic animal sacrifices, and aliens. Typically a mystery is mongered by those unfamiliar with—or who intentionally ignore—ordinary predation and decomposition. Lots of animals both big and small scavenge on the soft parts of dead bodies. Another possibility is that Dubinina was caught in an avalanche and the force of the snow and rocks caused her tongue to be bitten off as she yelled and tumbled down the ravine where she was eventually found.

If it was a tongue-hungry Yeti as Libecki suggests, why would it only have eaten one person’s tongue when there were eight more nearby just ready for the ripping? Furthermore the process of actually ripping out the woman’s tongue (as Libecki suggests) would leave far greater injuries to Dubinina’s mouth, jaw, and head than were found. A creature as powerful (and “enraged,” as Libecki suggests) as the Yeti would likely have ripped her head clean off. To suggest that one or more Yetis killed nine people leaving “horrific injuries” yet gently and delicately opened one victim’s mouth to remove her tongue beggars belief and defies logic.

Return to Dyatlov Pass

So what could have killed the group (dismissing for a moment the obvious cause of death as determined by investigators, freezing to death)? A Yeti, perhaps? Contrary to what Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives reported, “Footprints were discovered in the meter-deep snow, left by people wearing socks, boots, or a single shoe, or who were completely barefoot. The footprints were matched to the members of the group… there was no evidence of a struggle, or of other people beside the skiers, and no sign of the students themselves” (Osadchuk and O’Flynn 2009, 32). Indeed, all theories suggesting the group was attacked by anyone or anything “foundered on the fact that no other footprints were found in the area around the tent or near the bodies.” This would, of course, also rule out any bipedal human-like Yetis. No matter, the show must go on.

Libecki and the camera crew track down two people who were part of the original Russian recovery team, Yuri and Mikhail, who more or less recite the known facts about the missing skiers—with one notable exception. Yuri says that he saw some mysterious footprints in the snow near the tent—though there is apparently no mention or record of it in the official report. Libecki doesn’t ask about (and Yuri offers no explanation for) this half-century-late addition to the story. Later, photos are shown of footprints in the snow which seem to be the ones Yuri is referring to and it is suggested that the tracks are in fact from a Yeti, though it’s not clear why they could not have been made by the hikers, some of whom were barefoot and nearly barefoot.

An expert named Donnie Eicher appears on camera to hype the mystery, though his comments are carefully edited to avoid revealing that he in fact disagrees with the entire premise of the show. He wrote a book about the case called Dead Mountain in which he theorizes that the death of the party had nothing to do with a Yeti but instead small tornadoes created panic-inducing infrasound that caused them to flee their tent and into the frozen wilderness.

Libecki then seeks out a representative of the Mansi tribe, an indigenous group that had initially been suspected of carrying out the attack, but who were eventually exonerated. This makes no logical sense: If, as Libecki claims, he believes that the party could not have been killed by humans (but instead something much stronger), then by definition one or more members of the Mansi tribe could not have been the culprit. No matter, the show must go on. The real reason he contacted the Mansi is revealed when an elderly Mansi woman takes Libecki and Klenokova into the woods and tells them a story of a bipedal forest creature called a Menk which stands 6 to 9 feet high and appears in Mansi legends.

{Cue mystery music!} Could this be a clue to solving the mystery? Libecki certainly seems to think so, especially when the woman mentions that the Menk is said to steal people’s tongues. In order to more deeply investigate this important lead, Libecki decides to seek out additional information about the Menk. To do this he doesn’t consult an expert on Mansi culture, nor a folklore journal, nor even a skeptical cryptozoologist. No, Libecki goes directly to the most credible, reputable source he could find: an anonymous Youtube video of an alleged Menk in Siberia depicting a blurry dark figure.

Had Libecki looked a bit more deeply into online videos of mysterious creatures in Russian wilderness, he might have come across the infamous “Siberian Woolly Mammoth” video hoax that I helped debunk in February 2012. The fact that Libecki takes this patently dubious video at face value as evidence of a Menk either suggests astonishing gullibility or that his tongue is planted firmly in his cheek. No matter, the show must go on.

Based upon this “evidence” they travel to Moscow to speak to Igor Burtsev, a Yeti advocate and Director of the International Centre of Hominology. Burtsev shows them various Yeti and Menk tracks and mentions that the Yeti have been said to eat human’s soft tissue such as tongue. The pressing question soon becomes whether a Yeti ate Ludmila Dubinina’s tongue. Of course if this scenario is true (and despite no evidence that it is), other questions are raised, such as why the tongue-hungry Yeti left eight other perfectly delicious tongues intact, how it could have removed the tongue from Dubinina’s mouth without breaking her jaw, and… so on. You get the idea. Jeff Meldrum shows up briefly to discuss Yeti sightings and claim that there must be more to the Menk stories than folklore.

The Hikers Meet a Yeti?

We then move on to something about a found military boot cover proving that the Russian military got to the Dyatlov scene before the rescuers did (opening the door to conspiracy theories), and then to what (to Libecki) appears to be a cryptic passage written in a newspaper the students brought with them to write on saying “From now on we know that the snowmen exist.” We don’t see the original paper (which would presumably contain the passage) but instead simply a typed sentence (in Russian of course) in a summary of the report on the Dyatlov case. You might think that Libecki would want to consult the original document in order to independently authenticate such an apparently important clue, but he does not.

Libecki says, “The biggest question for me at this point is why were the students so sure the Yeti exists?” But were the students actually “sure” the Yeti exists? Had Libecki looked at the original document he would have seen that the students were not reporting an eyewitness sighting of a Yeti during their trip, but instead making a joke. As a Fortean Times investigation noted, “Perhaps, though, we shouldn’t read too much into this; it goes onto say: ‘They can be met in the Northern Urals, next to Otorten mountain.’ Given the humorous tone of the ‘newspaper,’ it’s quite likely that the students were jokingly referring to themselves rather than recording a genuine sighting of an almasty [or Menk or Yeti].”

Thus the passage actually reads, “From now on we know that the snowmen exist. They can be met in the Northern Urals, next to Otorten mountain.” Taken out of context as presented by Libecki it seems mysterious, but in context it’s clearly a passing jest, akin to a Bigfoot buff mentioning in passing that they saw the creature at a gas station on the way to a forest to look for the beast. Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives and Mike Libecki would have us believe that the nine skiers had an encounter with a Yeti, which they not only saw and photographed but stalked them. And yet none of the skiers mentioned anything else about the Yeti, or their shock at having photographed the creature. In fact, if Libecki it to be believed, their encounter with a Yeti was such an insignificant event that they didn’t mention it at all in their journals, and continued their journey uninterrupted. No matter, the show must go on.

From there the show delves even deeper into absurdity as a previously unknown “Yeti photograph” found among the group’s photos suddenly surfaces and Libecki muses, “Did they capture their killer on film?” DUM DUM DUM DUMB!

I have no idea whether the photo is real or not, but given the complete lack of critical thinking and logic—not to mention the rampant mystery-mongering evident throughout the rest of the show—I’m not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. It could be real, it could be a hoax, it could be some tiny corner of a frame blown up to appear mysterious, it could even be a photo of another member of the skiing party in dark clothing behind a tree overexposed to look mysterious. The fact that we aren’t shown the whole photograph so that we can see the dark human outline in context is suspicious.

A Visit to the Kemerovo Cave of Bogus Yeti Evidence

Any credibility evaporates when Libecki and Klenokova head to the infamous “Yeti cave” in Siberia where in 2011 a group of Bigfoot researchers were gathered for what Jeff Meldrum described as a publicity stunt, complete with faked evidence. (Libecki seems unaware of the fact that the two top scientist experts he consults, Jeff Meldrum and Igor Burtsev, have both gone on the record as dismissing Yeti evidence found in that cave.)

Despite—or perhaps because of—the cave’s dubious provenance, Mike pulls a classic crank “it’s so crazy it just might work” scheme: “As crazy as it sounds, the only real way to find out if a Yeti slept there was to camp in the cave and wait for it,” he says with a straight face. Because, of course, spending one single night in a cave is “the only real way” to find out if a Yeti’s lurking around there. Not setting up an array of motion-sensing cameras. Not hiring trackers to watch the cave’s entrances and exits. Nope: an overnight stay should solve this 55-year old mystery for once and for all.

They then set up a tent in the cave. “Not even the camera crew would stay,” Klenokova laments, perhaps not realizing that if the crew stayed around there might be a better chance of capturing some decent footage of a Yeti that’s supposed to be there. Instead the pair are given small cameras in order to get lots of Blair Witch-type footage jerky footage. As expected, partway through the night they hear a strange sound in the cave which they attribute to a Yeti, but which I’m pretty sure was actually the camera crew a few hundred yards away moaning about having their names appear in the credits of this ridiculous fiasco.

The show really jumps the shark at around an hour and fifteen minutes when Libecki and Klenokova return to Dyatlov Pass (actually, unless the production crew was completely unprepared and incompetent, they shot that segment either before or after talking to the Mansi to save travel expenses and shooting days, so they didn’t actually return to the area, it just looked that was due to the magic of editing). Based on the assumption, completely devoid of evidence or logic, that bright lights seen in the sky at Dyatlov Pass angered a Yeti into killing the group, Mike sets off a series of flares, essentially using the same non-scientific technique commonly used by amateur ghost hunters when they try to “provoke” a ghost they assume is nearby (and paying attention to them) into doing something. As the narrator explains, “To enrage the Yeti, Mike plans to recreate the same conditions the night the students died.”

Except we don’t really know what the conditions were the night the students died, and even if we did, we don’t really know that there’s a Yeti in the area, and even if we did, we don’t really know that whatever the conditions were in February 1959 are the same conditions as whenever they shot that, and even if we did, we don’t know that those conditions would enrage a Yeti. No matter, the show must go on, and once again the camera crew is ditched so that more handheld Blair Witch-style footage can be obtained when the pair soon hear a scary noise in the woods.

At the end of the show, after all the manufactured drama and running around, Mike Libecki admits that he found no real evidence that the Yeti exists, much less that it was responsible for the deaths of nine Russian skiers in 1959. “I did hear something strange,” is the best he can muster, which is weak sauce indeed given the previous two hours of breathless claims about photographs of murderous tongue-ripping Yetis.

Occam’s Razor Cuts Tents and Tongues

The one thing known for certain about the Dyatlov Pass incident is that the information about what happened is fragmentary and incomplete. There are many reasons for this, including that there were no eyewitnesses; the bodies were not recovered until months later; the Russian investigation may not have been as thorough as we’d like; it was during the Cold War, and so on. The issue is further clouded by a variety of mystery-mongering writers who have interpreted (and cherry-picked) information to promote their own theories and agendas, including conspiracy theorists, alien and UFO researchers, and others.

There is a simpler explanation for what may have happened to the group that addresses the main questions and doesn’t invoke enraged, tongue-hungry Yetis, top-secret Russian military conspiracies, or UFOs — they were caught in an avalanche. Svetlund Osadchuk and Kevin O’Flynn, writing in Fortean Times, notes that several of those most familiar with the case have rejected wild theories and believe that ordinary events killed their friends: “Moisei Akselrod, a friend of Dyatlov’s…. believes that an avalanche hit their tent in the middle of the night. Some of the students were injured as the snow hit the tent, and with it blocking the entrance they had to cut their way out before heading for the woods and the base camp. Unfortunately, they went the wrong way. Having set up a fire, they took off their clothes to give to the injured. Evgeniy Buyanov and Valentin Nekrasov, experienced sport tourists, also support this version of events, maintaining that the character of the group’s injuries is consistent with the impact of a large amount of snow pressing them to the skis that were used as a tent floor, and that this explains why they showed no external bruises or scratches” (Osadchuk and O’Flynn 2009, 35).

Brian Dunning, in his 2008 Skeptoid episode on the subject, offers a similar theory:

“Sometime during the night, a loud noise, either from a nearby avalanche, a jet aircraft, or military ordnance, convinced at least five members of the group that an avalanche was bearing down on them. They burst out of the tent wearing whatever they happened to be sleeping in and ran. At some point one of them fell and struck his head on a rock. They became lost in the dark and poor visibility, or simply found themselves stranded with their injured friend, and finally built a fire. They quickly got hypothermia and probably shouted themselves hoarse for their friends. Two of them lost consciousness and the others made a desperation decision: To take what little clothes their two unconscious buddies had and risk it all to try and make it back to camp. One made it 300 meters, the second made it 480, and the third a full 630 meters before all five were dead from hypothermia. Back at camp, the four who didn’t panic and run away in the night got dressed, collected provisions, and began to search for their friends. They searched for hours, circling high and low, until at some point either through a slip or just bad luck, they were caught in a real avalanche. During the resulting turmoil one received a fatal skull fracture, one received twelve broken ribs, and one bit her tongue off, all perfectly plausible injuries during such a traumatic death.”

Others have explained the lack of clothing as the result of the effects of hypothermia. In a 2012 article for Iscience Times Anthony Smith states that “twenty to fifty percent of hypothermia deaths are caused by something known as paradoxical undressing, a phenomenon which occurs in cases of moderate to severe hypothermia. As the body becomes afflicted, the hypothalamus starts to malfunction from the cold, and the person becomes disoriented and takes off his clothes. It’s called paradoxical because, naturally, nakedness in sub-zero temperatures increases the rate of heat loss.”

My theory, for what it’s worth, is that the group woke up in a panic on that fateful night and cut their way out the tent either because an avalanche had covered the entrance to their tent or because they were scared that an avalanche was imminent and that was the fastest way for all of them to get out quickly (better to have a potentially repairable slit in a tent than risk being buried alive in it under tons of snow). They were poorly clothed because they had been sleeping, and ran to the safety of the nearby woods where trees would help slow oncoming snow. In the darkness of night they got separated into two or three groups; one group made a fire (hence the burned hands) while the others tried to return to the tent to recover their clothing, since the danger had apparently passed. But it was too cold, and they all froze to death before they could locate their tent in the darkness. At some point some of the clothes may have been recovered or swapped from the dead, but at any rate the group of four whose bodies were most severely damaged were caught in an avalanche and buried under 13 feet of snow (more than enough to account for the “compelling natural force” the medical examiner described). Dubinina’s tongue was likely removed by scavengers and ordinary predation.

We will of course never know what, exactly, happened, but it’s likely that some variation of this is the real explanation. The cause of the deaths of the skiers is not mysterious or “unknown” as is often suggested. It is in fact clear from the medical examiner’s report: hypothermia, or freezing to death. There’s really no reason to question the conclusion of the investigators who had first-hand access to all the available evidence at the time. Exactly what caused them to them flee their tent can be speculated upon endlessly, but there’s no reason to assume that anything unknown or mysterious caused it. In the absence of evidence one wild theory is as good as the next.

References & Links

Dunning, Brian. 2008. Mystery at Dyatlov Pass. Skeptoid Episode 108, July. Available at http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4108

Mayo Clinic. 2014. Broken Ribs. The Mayo Clinic, March 4. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/broken-ribs/basics/definition/con-20029574.

Osadchuk, Svetlund, and Kevin O’Flynn. 2009. The Dyatlov Pass Incident….Fortean Times, 245, February. Also available at http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/1562/the_dyatlov_pass_incident.html.

Radford, Benjamin. 2012. “Wooly Mammoth Video a Hoax, Original Footage Proves.” LiveScience.com, February 13. Available at http://www.livescience.com/18440-woolly-mammoth-video-hoax.html.

Smith, Anthony. 2012. “Dyatlov Pass Explained: How Science Could Solve Russia’s Most Terrifying Unsolved Mystery. August 1. Isciencetims.com. Available at http://www.isciencetimes.com/articles/3571/20120801/dyatlov-pass-explained-science-solve-russias-terrifying.htm

  56 comments for “Dyatlov Pass and Mass Murdering Yeti? A DN Exclusive

  1. Headless Unicorn Guy
    June 1, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Discovery Channel (of “Bad Touch” fame): All Woo-Woo, All the Time.

    Just like SyFy Channel (note Am-I-Not-Trendy? spelling) became “All Occult, all the time” because “We’re trying to market the channel to more than Sci-Fi geeks, and bored housewives really dig the Occult.” This after making the best adapation of Dune and a good attempt at Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld.

  2. June 1, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Well done, but one question…

    If an avalanche was responsible for them fleeing the campsite, how is it possible that so many foot prints -footprints clear enough to see their footwear, or lack thereof – survived the several days between the incident and the arrival of the first rescue team?

  3. kompani101
    June 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    A very well thought through article that makes perfect sense to me but truth and common sense do not a good story, tale, film or myth make.

  4. Ben Radford
    June 1, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Good question, Martin. I think there are several answers. The first is that, in the scenario I suggest, there might not have been an initial avalanche that caused them to flee their tent. They may have heard a noise that sounded like an avalanche but that was in fact something else, or even an echo in the valley from an avalanche somewhere else. The second is that the tracks could be tracked backwards from the woods, but not necessarily directly to the tent (snow may have covered the remaining few dozen yards). Third, avalanches can be fickle and confined to a certain area (not always the thundering massive slides seen on TV), and slide down one part of a mountain but not the other, so it’s possible that many or most of the tracks weren’t covered.

  5. David W
    June 1, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    In answer to your question Martin J. Clemens, I believe it is because they were either searching for their friends or for the tent to clothe themselves.

  6. Ryan
    June 2, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    What about the DNA evidence ? The evidence that shows a non known animal that came from the hair ?

  7. Russian Yeti
    June 2, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    I grew up in a town that is near “Kemerovo cave”, which is, by the way, pretty far from Kemerovo. Never heard of Yeti, never saw Yeti footprints although spent a lot of time skiing and roaming in the woods as a child. Of course, back then the town was just a blue color mining town. Now it is a tourist town with mountain ski resort and a statue of Yeti to attract tourists. I call BS on the whole thing

  8. JJ
    June 2, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    Excellent review.

    The only part I’d consider to be a bit of a stretch is the dismissal of the “From now on we know that the snowmen exist. They can be met in the Northern Urals, next to Otorten mountain” comment. Even with context, it’s not as flippant as a modern hiker mentioning they saw a bigfoot statue at the nearby lodge. It’s literally the mountain they were hiking, after all, not some gas station. That said, it’s a nitpick and one I can’t blame you for given the absurdity of the rest of the documentary.

    All in all, the whole production was on par with that “Apocalypse Island” nonsense. Thanks for pointing out all the outright deception.

  9. Digitty
    June 2, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    I admire the depth of the episode and all the great research. But as stated above, two breathless hours to end up with what????? nothing…. I learned a lot more than I knew about this creature, BUT gimme a break….with our 21st century technology the answer is simple! Either set-up night vision camera’s etc etc etc and record the area, OR don’t lead us on for two hours and simply tell us that we got scared and left…….U ARE TRYING TO GET A YETI ON FILM, of course it’s scary!

  10. Rich
    June 2, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    Hav you got a link to anything that suggests such DNA was found and analysed?

  11. Jon
    June 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    What I am most curious about is the purpose for the small slits in the tent to”look out” if they believed they were in danger. Why would they take the time to first make these small cuts if they were in danger and not just cut their way out to begin with.

  12. Siberian
    June 2, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I really appreciate your article Benjamin. What you wrote makes sense, and I think the nine people died the way you suggest. But I think the photo of the Yeti they took is authentic. I used to be a skeptic. But I have a good friend who is also a dog musher, and he accidently came across 18 inch barefoot prints on virgin snow near the Glacier Peaks Wilderness in Washington State during a Friday night snow run with his dog team — and there were no other tracks present; the only way in there is by snowmobile or by dog team. And just to let you know — despite this, my friend still does not believe in the existence of sasquatch. He has no explanation for the foot prints he saw with his head lamp that night.

    One early morning (2:30 AM) my husband heard wood knocks while I snapped dogs onto the gang line on DNR property about 1/4 mile from us. Anything is possible — so it could have been a person — but then again, I think it is unlikely. We ran into scat saturated by urine. It did not resemble scat from any animal I know, except a female human. It looked like baby poop. It was so fresh, steam rose from it — I examined it because my dog team ran into it a minute after I smelled a strong odor of musk which one of my dogs reacted to. But we were in an isolated wooded area and it was 20 degrees f, and to my knowledge my husband and I and our dogs were the only people there. I have no idea the origin of the scat, but it is unlikely it came from a canine or other 4 legged animal and it is doubtful there were any people there as it was getting dark.

    I live in the Pacific Northwest. There are hoaxers here, trust me. But not all are. I think there are legitimate sightings of sasquatch here where we live. We have a need to have logical explanations and to rule out what we cannot comprehend. But there are areas in the Pacific Northwest that have never been visited because of how rugged and isolated our mountainous areas are. And the universe is huge. We are specks of cosmic dust in it. I am humbled by that fact. So I try to keep my mind open when someone tells me a genuine experience they have. I hope you will also retain some openness that you may not be able to explain everything that comes your way. I really like the scene from the Outer Limits, from the episode “The Galaxy Being” where the being states that there are mysteries in this universe which we do not understand. And so much of what we believe is truth is illusion — or our reality is contingent upon our perceptions. We see this in the stars which are now gone — as the light from them is finally only now reaching our eyes after their death. So we need to keep an open but discerning mind as we navigate our way in hearing what people have to share.

    Thank you for reading my comment.

  13. June 2, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Occam’s Razor? Please! Don’t make me send the Sensationalist Inquisition after you.

    Very good article. Well done. Sorry you had to watch the entire program. I couldn’t take anymore after the first fifteen minutes and shut it off.

  14. idoubtit
    June 2, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    The problem is that Sasquatch is NOT a viable explanation. There could be many others and we can’t always think of all the options. That is no reason to substitute a parnormal explanation.

    There is a tremendous body of skeptical literature that takes apart the idea of a Sasquatch. The true open mind is one who thinks I might be wrong. The reason why many of us cannot subscribe to the idea of Bigoot and other like creatures is that so many threads of evidence DO NOT support its existance. With a scientific theory, several lines of evidence point to a common conclusion that can then be verified. THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED WITH BIGFOOT.

    I always recommend Abominable Science by Loxton and Prothero. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0231153201?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=0231153201&linkCode=shr&tag=doubnews-20&linkId=ETDHIU5NQGL25NRW&qid=1401736445&sr=8-1

    Readers… notice the language used “I used to be a skeptic”. https://sharonahill.com/DN/2014/05/at-first-i-was-skeptical-is-a-convincing-ploy-unless-you-are-wise-to-it/

    Anecdotes are great for convincing others except when you know how often they are just not good evidence.

  15. John Moore
    June 2, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    If they used this incident and then built a fictional story around the incident, and sold it as a movie I would be fine with this product. It’s when they sell it as non-fiction that I have a problem.

  16. Watchedtheshow
    June 2, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    If they abandoned the tent because of an avalanche, why had they cut lookout slots in the tent? Cutting holes in the side of a tent in a cold, high wind area is not a good survival strategy. Also, how youretreat from an area under avalanche threat (quietly and carefully) vs how you retreat from an organic threat can be very different.

    Also there are a lot of known animals (wolves, bear, heck even the Siberian tiger) that would be more than willing to take out unarmed hikers. Of these, probably only wolves and tigers would kill for the sake of it and leave the corpses unconsumed. While I am far from fingering a yeti for the killing (or exonerating the Mansi) I don’t really believe the avalanche theory.

  17. Rich
    June 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM


    this being the internet there’s always the possibility that you made all of that up in order to push the ‘open-minded’ pro-Sasquatch school of thought. I don’t know. This is a comment on the nature of the internet, not you. I’m going to assume, though, seeing as you put it very politely, that you are sincere, and give you what I hope is a civil response.

    a) You say you believe that the nine people died in accordance with the theory advanced by Ben Radford. But also that the ‘yeti’ picture is authentic. It’s a fair stretch of credibility to assmume that they were attacked by the yeti in the first place, but at least that would give the yeti a reason to be there, if you like; throwing a random, tangential yeti into the situation seems to me to be unnecessarily increasing the unlikeliness.

    b) I don’t think it follows logically that yeti in Siberia necessarily means sasquatch in the USA, or vice versa.

    c) I stress here that I am *not* saying you’re making this up, but the story of a ‘friend’ may be true, it may not, the point is I have no way of knowing. It’s an anecdote. It’s a third party anecdote relayed via the internet, at that. An anecdote is only useful as a signpost if it points somewhere you can visit, that other people can visit, regularly, verifiably. In itself it doesn’t mean much.

    d) The knocking sounds; you say, quite reasonably, that you don’t know what it was and that it could have been a person. Why do you think it “unlikely”, then, that it wasn’t?

    e) What connected the scat to the knocking? Why is it “unlikely” that it was from a canine?

    f) This might be a tangent, and it’s really, really not my field but – human female faeces is distinguishable from male?

    g) “I have no idea of the origin of the scat.” No. And that’s that. As has been said before; “I don’t know doesn’t mean ‘I do know, and its aliens.'”

    h) The remarks about the size of the universe, the subjective nature of truth, the importance of wonder etc etc. That’s nice. A lot of what we do know as truth, however, isn’t subjective, it’s recorded and verifiable. Gorillas, for one thing. They’re true. There are gorillas. Loads of them, breeding populations of them, recorded and verifiable. Sasquatch doesn’t need to be seen as another speck of cosmic dust floating in a universe of possibility, contingent on our perceptions – it just needs to be a hairy, verifiable, smelly and solid as a gorilla.

    Also, posessing a sense of open-minded wonder at the world does not disqualify you from being a scientist and interested in emprical evidence. Which leads me onto my last point, which is just a quote from you:

    i) “…we need to keep an open but discerning mind as we navigate our way in hearing what people have to share.” You’re absolutely right.

  18. Bryan
    June 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Thorough critique and review, well done. Except…

    The overwhelming majority of the two hours was laughable, no doubt. But were the pair of “investigators” not handed a file indicating that the Russian military had knowledge of the event some days prior to the group even being feared missing? On Feb. 6th, if I remember correctly? Why did you not address this in the critique? I’m not saying that the document was real, but if it was, then it would be a massive leap forward evidence-wise. Isn’t that worth investigating?

    It would lend credence to Yudin’s assertion that he identified military gear amongst his friend’s belongings. It would also suggest that the military has far more to do with this tragedy than avalanches or yetis.

    Conversely, why did the Russians apparently fund a Yeti search program, only to terminate it the same month the group ventured out into the woods?

    Why is no one, in the doc or this critique, talking about the radiation levels on some of the clothes?

    Why in the hell did the experienced Dyatlov make camp on a knowingly avalanche-prone exposed mountain face, instead of nearer the woods where it’s obviously safer, if something wasn’t worrying him? Yudin theorized that this was simply because Dyatlov wanted to practice mountain-face camping… But if I was charged with the safety and well-being of eight of my friends in one of the most remote areas in the world, I wouldn’t take that chance unless I had to…

    How could Dubinina’s tongue been scavenged if she was buried under 13ft of snow and ice, when others who were far more exposed than she experienced no predation?

    Not saying I have answers… And this infuriating documentary didn’t help. But something scared the hell out of those kids, twice. First when they cut the tent, then once again upon making it to the safety of the tree line, where two members were found exposed, not covered in snow. What made them separate after making it all the way together? Avalanches don’t leave tent stakes in the ground, they don’t leave traceable footprints, and they don’t leave two people and the remnants of a fire undisturbed. What made them all flee the initial site at the treeline? We can do better, ladies and gentlemen.

  19. Torkel Ødegård
    June 2, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    They already did that too! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1905040/

  20. Torkel Ødegård
    June 2, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    OK, that whole radiation thing is something that is never mentioned in the original report of the case. It’s something that’s seemingly added to the story later on in order to invoke more mystery about it.


  21. June 2, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    That’s not true Torkel, the radiation has been apart of the story since the start. It has been explained, sort of, as a residue caused by the thorium mantles in their camp lights.

  22. Ben Radford
    June 2, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    Bryan, I didn’t have the time or space to address all the aspects of the case, but most of your questions are addressed in my interview on Strange Frequencies Radio, look for that!


  23. Blargh
    June 3, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    @ Bryan:

    Why is no one, in the doc or this critique, talking about the radiation levels on some of the clothes?

    As a radiation guy, that part of the narrative makes zero sense to me and has all the hallmarks of, as Torkel pointed out, a detail added afterwards (rumors of things testing positive for radioactivity tend to crop up around any strange or “paranormal” event). Why would anyone have performed a radiological survey on the bodies? It wouldn’t have been part of any standard forensic procedure, nor would it have been part of the investigators’ training.
    Trust me, getting people to check for radioactive contamination is hard enough when you actually have reason to suspect it.

  24. AJ
    June 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    When have you ever heard a tornado sound like the call of a bigfoot? I have seen and heard several tornadoes and it sounds like a freight train, not a BF….. Hmm

  25. John
    June 3, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    My guess is that the Megalodon from a previous “investigative report” had developed land capabilities, cornered some of the hikers, and killed them. He chased the other two down, killed them, and buried them for a later dinner. Since the bodies were frozen, he decided he couldn’t eat them and headed back to the ocean.
    He is still out there…along with bigfoot, nessie and the ufos in the bermuda triangle.

  26. djp
    June 5, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Intriguing, but in all respect, you leave me confused.

    You do realize that if you collected that particular ‘scat’ sample – it could be analized (to determine its chemical composition one can locate the corresponding animal/species. (The procedure is inexpensive + embarrassment-free: ‘identify the animal that this sample corresponds to’)

    I’m always puzzled by comments like this (esp. individuals who have a ‘prior’ knowledge of the sasquatch and don’t appear to need convincing of its existence) + yet throw away common sense when bestowed that 1 in a million opportunity.

  27. Douglas
    June 5, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Well now the Discovery Channel trifecta of bullshit (megaladon, mermaids and Nessy) must grow to include yet(i) another farce.

  28. Just Me
    June 5, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    All well considered points. I cannot get past the idea that a 8ft tall creature living in subzero climate exists almost entirely off tongues (the rest apparently being livers and hearts – I got almost 2/3 through the show before I started looking for real information).

    I have the same issue with Chupacabra.

  29. Tori
    June 5, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    I had a lot of fun watching this show and laughing at the writers, but I also enjoyed reading this article and greeting the facts straight. Thanks!

  30. David
    June 6, 2014 at 3:41 AM

    Couldnt help but feel that the whole show was a bunch of bunk. Every scenario just screamed stupid. They here sounds in the woods and cave and go running towards it. Really? I dont buy it one bit. This was just another “Mermaid” show. Discovery channel has jumped the shark big time, hard to hold onto an credibility with shows like this.

  31. pete
    June 6, 2014 at 4:26 AM

    I found the show entertaining in a conspiracy theorist kind of way but remain skeptical of the interpretation of events. It’s funny how he says there’s no crew with them at certain points, but there’s obviously at least one camera operator and possibly a lighting and sound technician. Also funny when they set up camp in the cave, but he doesn’t leave one camera out of the tent to record anything. Finally, the photo of the Yeti by the camping party really leaves me cold (pun intended). It’s a remarkable claim and one that isn’t followed through with expert photo forensics. He does match it up with the original negatives, but let’s it kind of drop there. He never develops another photo off that negative to compare, either. If this was such a genuine photo of the creature, it would be the most remarkable find and yet it’s treated so lightly. Discovery Channel has really let its credibility slip lately when they allow shoddy sensationalism to take over. If a show like PBS’s Nova or Frontline ever did a piece on this, it would be awesome. They probably never will, though, because there just isn’t enough compelling true evidence to support a good thesis. Unlike Discovery, they don’t leave things with a big, dubious slanted interpretation and no true scientific analysis.

  32. Puddin'Head
    June 6, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    There is something very pertinent about the whole missing tongue thing that I haven’t seen addressed before. Apparently, the official report makes mention of the missing tongue. How does one know that that was tho only thing missing and not just something written down by the medical examiner which was later a fixation for people telling the tale? The TV show had pictures of many of the victims which offer a critical piece of information. Most of the bodies were fairly intact, with one or two of the men clearly missing most of their noses. No one seems to ever mention this. In addition, the woman who’s tongue was missing was among the last bodies found (late April), nearly 3 months after they had died, according to accounts I have read and what was stated on the TV show. The picture of her is quite revealing – her eyes are missing, as is much of the skin and musculature from the chest up. She had clearly undergone a considerable degree of decomposition not seen in the bodies found 2 months earlier in the middle of winter. Of course her tongue was missing! Most of her other soft tissue was missing as well.

  33. Bozcro
    June 8, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Spending many hours over the years reading with great interest and thinking about this event, I was excited (a little bit) when this program started, and as every minute went by I was further disappointed . I did not make it through even halfway. The show had more” plants” than storage wars.

  34. Puddin'Head
    June 8, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Though the thorium lamps would nicely explain any radiation found, I haven’t seen any report of the type of radioactive contamination, nor the amount. How do we even know the radiation is coming from something that happened on this trip? If it was only found on a few pieces of clothing, where were the owners of that clothing in previous days, weeks, or months? They could have been contaminated at almost any time in the past, depending on what the source of the radiation was. These were university students correct? Physics lab, chemistry lab, military base, using contaminated surplus military equipment for camping supplies… it could have come from anywhere. Lynsenkoism was still in full swing I believe – who knows how careful the Russian government was with the disposal and distribution of radioactive material at the time?

    As for the tongue missing, take a look at my assessment at the bottom of this page. The corpse of the woman who’s tongue was missing was one of the last bodies found – 3 moths after death, in late April. The photos of her make it clear that most of her soft tissue (from the chest up at least) had decomposed well beyond what was observed of the bodies found at an earlier date. Why would you expect her tongue to still be there? Was it the only thing the coroner noted about her body, or was it simply a creepy enough detail that it made its way into popular re-tellings as a critical fact?

  35. Jacob
    June 9, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    What I don’t get, is why the slits where made, facing the forest. According to the “documentary” the students made the slits to see towards the forest, and the potential Yeti. Then they proceeded to see the Yeti, and RUN TOWARDS IT. Like a logical person. Why would they do that?

  36. BF Boy
    June 10, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    I was excited to finally get a chance to watch this program a couple of nights ago. I am a bigfoot enthusiast/researcher here in northern Utah and have been interested in the Dyatlov incident ever since first hearing about it years ago. But I’ve always been skeptical of the BF/yeti connection…..nobody KNOWS for certain what occurred that night that led to their deaths and all we have all these years later are theories ranging from avalanches to UFOs to this and that….and, yes, even killer yetis. What looked like an interesting documentary unfortunately turned into a disappointing “Mermaid/Blair Witch” hodge podge that I regret wasting two hours on. And, for the record, as much of an enthusiast as I am I am still not 100% convinced that BF exist…..only that there is enough circumstantial evidence that they may exist.

  37. Jack
    June 11, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    Very well said Siberian. bottom line there are two types of people. people who believe it’s possible that a Sasquatch or Yeti exist, people that don’t believe they exist. of course if you fall into the latter category then there’s no way you would like this film. I personally think it’s very possible they exist as there are so many sightings of credible people who swear they have seen it. So of course I absolutely love this film.

  38. Frank Susemihl
    June 18, 2014 at 5:30 AM

    I haven’t seen the Discovery Channel documentary so I can’t comment on it. But I would very highly recommend two recent books on the subject.
    – Keith McCloskey : Mountain of the Dead. The Dyatlov Pass Incident ; The History Press 2013
    – Donnie Eichar: Dead Mountain. The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident; Chronicle Books 2013

    Both books are mandatory read for everyone (skeptics and “believers”) discussing this subject in my opinion. By the way: Both books dismiss the avalanche explanation.

  39. Dom
    June 27, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    The Yeti photo is out of focus. I wonder if that was the result of a deliberate attempt to obscure their friend, or a hurried shot of something unusual and elusive. I do not know anything about the hikers’ personalities except for one photo where they seem to be very goofy and playful. I could imagine them doing an obviously fake shot of one of them as the Yeti, but would they have wasted a photo on something this silly? And the relevant photo is too realistic so I have trouble believing they’d go through the trouble. Anyhow, it is possible that they saw a Yeti but their deaths were unrelated. I like the avalanche theory: it is accepted that the Soviets were shooting off missiles and the explosions from these very well could have triggered one. And running at full speed in the dark and into some of those trees could explain some of their injuries as well. Nice article, thanks!

  40. Farnsworth
    June 27, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    The image I get is yeti serenading each other in the moonlight. Beautiful really. I love “yeti calls”

  41. Roger
    June 28, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    Although anything is possible and I don’t know what happened, the avalanche theory doesn’t sound right. I have seen the end result of an avalanche in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and there is plenty of debris that comes with it, i.e. rocks, boulders, trees. This particular avalanche that I seen scoured the mountain side from where it started. The photo of the dilapidated tent tells me there was no avalanche. What would help with this theory is how high in elevation was the party, what angle of slope they put their tent on and was an avalanche debris field found when the snow melted. It is a known fact that you can’t outrun an avalanche. Can’t outrun it with a snowmobile either. I’ve read where wet snow could have caused an avalanche, at -minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit, the snow isn’t wet. I’ve read about bears as a possibility. Bears still hibernate in winter, don’t they? Now I don’t know about human tongues but beef tongues are pretty damn tough. You have to skin the tongue and boil the tongue for awhile to make it edible. So I don’t consider a human tongue a “soft tissue”. I see the tent as an issue here. Experienced anybody outdoors knows that your tent is a means for survival against the elements. Why anyone for any reason would cut through their own tent is a mystery to me. It doesn’t appear that the tent had a tent stove so that means the inside of the tent is COLD – the tent keeps the wind and snow off of you. Why would anyone be in their skivvies at anytime inside a tent when the outside temperature is -22 below zero. I guess they could have been changing into dry clothes. The false assumption in this case is that everything is known about this incident. Something tells me that there is way more to this story than what has been provided. The Yeti part – that is BS.

  42. MFM008
    June 29, 2014 at 4:22 AM

    Fascinating isnt it? I just finished the McCloskey book. The autopsy points out that Luda Dubinina stomach had 100 grams of coagulated blood in her stomach, also not just her tongue but floor muscles were gone , not “ripped”, shredded or partially decomposed but “missing”.You cant swallow blood if your dead and dead frozen tissue doesnt bleed if removed.
    Look up 100 grams of blood, its not a leak ,she was most likely in last moments alive.
    Also the snow on the tent…Zina was found under 4 feet of snow, the mangled tent probably fell under the weight of snowfall not avalanche.
    You must read the story of the night watchman and the lights, im 55 and I have read a LOT of spooky stuff but that chapter had my hair crawling. The Eicher book looks like a must read, but only one thing is sure, 9 young people with a lot of promise died on a cold, lonely place and we will never know what did it for absolute certain.

  43. ArchaeologyMan
    June 30, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    In 1959 they had compact portable SLR camera that did not have auto focus. If they did take that picture which the negatives suggest that they did, and it was hurried they would not have had time to focus the shot. it would take a minute or so to adjust the lens to get a very clear shot. Plus they were in the middle of nowhere. What would they have to gain taking phony shots just to die later on and not enjoy the pseudo-fame they might or might not have gotten.

  44. ArchaeologyMan
    June 30, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    To add to that people with fractured skulls do not walk away with that kind of injury. Plus they found that some of the people had returned to the campsite and retrieved some of the dead hikers clothes and tried to walk out. I believe that the last four that died they fell off a cliff. I find it curious how experienced hikers would fall of a cliff? They would know how to read topography and know how to navigate the land. I have seen animals get forced off a cliff or ridge line by a predator trying to get them and just fall to their deaths. It is entirely possible that the hikers were too scared to read the topography correctly and literally had their backs to the proverbial wall. Or they were running away from something in the cold dark night and just fell off. I have not read those books that several people have read and suggested, but I am looking forward to evaluate every opinion I can get my hands on, even obscure ones and really strange ones.

  45. idoubtit
    June 30, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    Please no long unsupported opinion pieces. Write your own blog.

    And NEVER EVER tell me to “do some research”. The post will automatically be deleted.

  46. dom
    June 30, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    I dont understand your last point. Obviously they would not have known about their demise. Anyhow, if it was a hurried shot I would eliminate the young hikers taking the shot to be silly. So it is either a hurried shot because it was some sort of strange creature, or they were creating the appearance of a hurried shot as part of a hoax that they were planning. What would they gain from such a hoax especially in 1959 and the Soviet Union? I have my serious doubts about that, they’d probably end up with the KGB before anything else in that case. I think the photo is key to the whole mystery. If it is a real photo of some sort of creature-a theory which I am leaning to about 80%-how can it not be connected to their deaths?

  47. jbow
    June 30, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    BTW… FX network “got” me with FARGO too. I was thinking, “MAN, fact really is stranger than fiction!”
    Did Orson Wells start this stuff when he did “War of the Worlds”?.. or was it P.T. Barnum with the Cardiff Giant?? .. or it always been something? I have seen “killer weed” before, lol!

    I came to this blog by way of trying to read up on this particular Russian Yeti show, I have it recorded on my DVR but really did not want to spend two hours watching some fake documentary, it is really sort of offensive, I saw part of it when it aired but I may just delete it. What do you think? Is there anything redeeming about this show or it is a brain cell killing waste of time?

  48. idoubtit
    June 30, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    This whole post was about how awful it was.

  49. Gman's
    July 1, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Unfortunately I wasted my time on this mockumentory… Thanks discovery for ruining what could have been a great show by riddling it with lame recreations – but fake evidence too? Hmmm

    Ok, I do have to comments – avalanches don’t leave tents behind, you don’t outrun them, but if your hear a boom the sky you might decide to move quick to get out of the way.

    Why did they camp there? Who said they were seasoned experts anyway?

    Why the slits in the tent? That’s a scary thought – wolves maybe? A Tiger? They were watching for something and I guarantee it wasn’t fireworks or a drive-in movie. this is the key piece, you don’t cut holes in your tent ESPECIALLY in the cold when you need to survive. Not even drunk students would do that in those conditions.

    Finally – science and discovery is never ending, and this also includes the area of biology and new creatures. Didnt we just stumble upon the fabled giant squid while fisherman have seen this for years and everyone said they were full of it right? Oh wait “idoubit” would tell you that the fishermans explanation isnt viable because they don’t exist right? Hahaha!! And do our fossil records showing different types of bipeds that walked the earth not present any kind of possibility to anyone?

    bTW – I believe Oxford University geneticists analyzed DNA retrieved from possible yeti sighting and determined it of unknown origin but linked it to a cross between a polar bear and brown bear. Perhaps a new bear we havnt identified that walks upright and stands 8 ft tall…. Who knows you can spin it how you want but the fact is the new DNA should help to keep science moving forward, researches continuing to try to uncover more evidence, and bogus TV networks like discovery in business.

    Remember the earth was flat once, giant squids were mere fable, and those who argued against it thought they had the only intelligent opinion. Science doesn’t break ground walking over the same tracks, it looks forward and attempts to solve problems and new ways to learn new things. There is no room for close mindedness other than to stimulate thinking by playing antagonist and not discount and dismiss what can neither be proved or disproved.

  50. I believe anything
    July 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Your comments are worthy of another Discovery Channel “investigative report” special “Megalodon in the Urals”

  51. Brandon
    July 23, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Great point. I’m from Ohio. We get snow in the winter and I can’t tell you how many times tracks were covered up in just a few hours by more snow and/or strong winds. An avalanche would not make you run DOWN-hill either.

  52. Brandon
    July 23, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    I love your comment. My biggest question on this entire event is why they would run away from their tents. I’m not sure if they were experienced outdoors hikers like the show claimed they were. However, common sense tells you that when it is -50 degrees outside, I’m speculating on temperatures, NOBODY runs away from safety unless there is a life threatening presence near by. Maybe they were attacked by people or soldiers; I recall the military boot cover mentioned near the site. I wouldn’t suggest wolves being the cause. They typically do not attack a large group. As for a tiger, I don’t think that there would be all 9 bodies to find. Animals don’t usually attack for sport. Only humans do that. Now for the wounds on the victims, As far as Apes’ go, they do favor to attack eyes, mouth, and fingers. But them not having large bite marks is just bizarre, even for some sort of primate attack. The bottom line however is that you DO NOT run from shelter and if you find yourself in the wilderness, cold and running out of time, you seek shelter. You don’t lay outside a wood line and build a fire, you go in and build it. Even if hypothermia has you confused and disoriented to find shelter you surely would not have the sense to look for firewood and start a fire, so that leads me to believe that they were afraid to stay in those woods and as a result died by the small fire they had outside the tree line. It just makes no sense at all. I think it is highly likely that a human presence led to their demise. Maybe scared them off, killed a few and let the weather kill the ones they couldn’t find. One of the victims did have defense wounds on his fists. I don’t know too much about Bigfoots, I have shot something that a Bigfoot believer would claim to be a bigfoot, but it did not attack me or my friends that I was with in the woods. It just grunted and kept walking. So that is my insight, I think it was just mean humans that killed those kids.

  53. wiltkobe
    July 24, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Forensic tests later confirmed that traces of skin were found embedded in the bark, indicating that the pair had frantically attempted to climb the tree, snapping off branches until their hands were mass of pulpy flesh. If this is accurate that is so horrible!

  54. idoubtit
    July 25, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    This is the first I’d heard of this. If so, it does match with that of a coming avalanche.

  55. wiltkobe
    July 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Investigators have reported that the base of the pine tree where the group gathered was just out of sight of the tent, but I find it difficult to imagine that these seasoned skiers would run that far and never look behind them.

  56. Inner Circle
    August 27, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    Roger: “Why anyone for any reason would cut through their own tent is a mystery to me.”

    Modern tents are shut with zippers and can be opened in seconds, but this one – most likely a leftover from WWII – probably needed to be shut by hooking together lots of little loops of string, like the canvas of a truck. Woken from sleep, it’d take almost a minute to get it sufficently open to climb out. If I was afraid of an avalanche, I’d certainly not waste time trying to unloop the strings, or even if one hiker had tried it, another could easily have decided to cut the tent instead. Unfortunately, we don’t know if the search party found the loops partially unhooked. (Or if the tent would close this way at all, but I’m almost sure.)

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