On February 2nd, 1959, 9 ski hikers from the Ural Polytechnical Institute set up camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl in the Northern Ural Mountains of Russia. Although the group were experienced trekkers and something made them cut their tents from the inside and flee into the surrounding terrain with little to no clothes in the dead of night with sub-zero temperatures.
Soviet investigators found the bodies of all 9 individuals in 3 separate areas nearby. 6 of the group members had died from hypothermia, but the other 3 showed sign of physical trauma. One victim had a fractured skull, another had brain damage without any apparent trauma, and a third had her eyes and tongue removed. The investigation found that “an unknown compelling force” had been responsible.
Access to the area was forbidden for 3 years following the incident. And the area was named “Dyatlov Pass” after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov. One picture of a mysterious figure was found on one of the group’s film reels peeking out from behind a tree, leading some to speculate a Russian Yeti may have been the culprit.
Yury Kuntsevich, who attended the victims’ funerals recalled their skin had a “deep brown tan.” While another group of hikers 50 km to the south claimed they had seen strange orange spheres in the sky to the north on the night of the incident. The Military and meteorological services reported seeing the same phenomenon in the area during February and March of 1959.