In 1959, a group of 10 Russian hikers went on a trek through the dangerous Ural mountain range. One hiker fell ill and returned home, but the other 9 decided to continue on their trip and set up a camp along the snowy slopes. But after the nearby village noticed they never returned, a search party stumbled across all 9 of these graduate students dead, some with huge internal injuries, one even missing a tongue. And to this day, the evidence is so unclear that numerous bizarre theories have tried to explain what really happened.
Two of the more “vanilla” explanations are the avalanche and the paradoxical undressing theory. The 9 hikers cut their tent open, and fled without putting on any clothes which ultimately led to most of the students dying of hypothermia in the middle of the night. If they heard the loud roar of avalanche, it’s likely they could have fled without grabbing much clothing. And paradoxical undressing is common in cases of hypothermia. But both of these theories fall short. The campsite didn’t show any evidence of avalanche activity and tracks appeared to show them walking, not running, away from camp. And the paradoxical undressing theory is unlikely as some of the hikers appeared to cut clothing off their other dead colleagues to keep themselves warm.
As most conventional explanations don’t seem to solve the mystery, paranormal/conspiracy theories emerged to fill in the gaps. The popular yeti theory tells of some sort of huge arctic creature that frightened the hikers out of their tent, and then caused various injuries to the students. Some claim that the Soviet Union was using the Ural mountains as a secret weapons testing ground, scaring the hikers and exposing them to dangerous radiation. Some even believe aliens visited the mountains and attacked the hikers, as locals claimed to see floating balls of light over the mountains.
We won’t ever know exactly what happened that cold night, but when science and evidence don’t seem to cleanly line up, people create their own wild explanations. I personally think the hikers could’ve been startled out of the tent by a strange noise, but even then I can’t think of any scientifically sound idea to explain their odd injuries. This unsolved mystery inspires a sort of wonder of the unknown, making the paranormal seem briefly possible.
Have any of your own theories? Feel free to share!