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April 12, 2016 , , , , ,

An Expert Opinion

After scrutinizing the details of the Criminal Case of the Dyatlov group Natalia Sakharova, a Criminal expert whose very important comments I posted here and here, has come to her own conclusion. Here is what she said

“I let myself make an assumption based on the analysis of the photo of the tent we have. The area around the tent was intentionally covered with snow in order to disguise the possible prints (those of footwear, fight, dragging, and the real way of exit from the tent).

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With the way the snow covers the tent it was not possible to perform linear cuts of the tent side because it had to be straightened. So the cuts are performed before the snow was brought there. It seems that the actions had the following subsequence – first the standing tent was cut, the actions near the tent were hided under the snow brought there to cover the prints, than the tent was checked inside with the flashlight which was found on the lay of the snow, than the whole tent was covered with snow which caused sagging. Than the flash light was cast upon it.
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April 5, 2016 , , , , ,

The Tent cut from inside?

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T]he investigation of the Dyatlov Pass case concluded that the abandoned tent was cut from the inside. Modern experts, however, express some doubts about the accuracy of this conclusion and the expertise of the investigators. Natalia Sakharova, a retired criminal expert with 25 years of service, says there had to be at least two experts according to the procedure. In this particular case the examination was performed at a very low professional level. There is no general photo of the tent stretched out in the laboratory to be examined. The diagram of the damage doesn’t fit its actual location on the tent; there is no detailed description of the inner and outer sides (burns, scratches, traces of mending, blood). The damage is described selectively, which is a serious violation because it distorts the general picture of the traces; there are no descriptions of common signs of damage which would allow the grouping of the signs in order to define the group characteristics for the tools used (knives or ice breaker). There is no description of general signs for the tears, the direction (or angle) of force applied (from inside or outside); no description of the initial point of the impact (from which the cut or tearing started); no microscope photography to confirm the main point that the cuts were made from the inside. There is no such photography in the criminal case! And it has been in full use since the 1930s! There is no reliable description of what was seen through the microscope: the direction of the scarf parts of the cuts, the separation of their fibres, or the direction of the thread sockets. Nothing at all! I think the expert didn’t use the microscope because for this she would have had to dissect part of the fabric and enter a relevant record about it in her report. What is also extremely unusual is that they didn’t invite any experts to view the place of occurrence. It is also important to mention that there were no expert experiments performed with the same kind of tent. They should have cut a tent from the inside in exactly the same way and have several people exit it in order to see if it is possible to exit the tent in this way at all, and how it would affect the tent. Would it fall, or spring back, or remain standing? This kind of experiment usually proves or disproves a theory of the investigation. It was never done. Why? It was absolutely not OK to come to any conclusion based on just visual examination. The very fact that they used this inexperienced and poorly trained “expert” is an alerting sign for me because the results of the expertise were crucial for the whole case. I believe that this investigation is absolutely not trustworthy and the conclusion that the tent was cut from inside is not proved.
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March 31, 2016 , , , , , ,

Missing Photo Scales

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Some notes on the forensic photography and missing packages.

Natalia Sakharova, a retired police colonel with 25 years of service, used to be an expert in a police department in one of the most criminal districts of Irkutsk. She also has additional education as a medical doctor and currently works at the Criminal Expert Bureau. Having scrutinized the full Criminal Case for the Dyatlov’s group, she now shares what she thinks. She has a lot to say about the investigation and her comments are very interesting. I am currently updating my book with them and wanted to share some with you.

“The photography allows us to obtain the most objective picture of the place of occurrence and thus is the most trust worthy information. But this is exactly what is missing in this case. Instead we have many subjective and controversial testimonies of the witnesses.

The professionally performed photo scales are missing altogether. Photo scales are special photos performed in accordance with the rules of forensic photography (they are to be taken from several different points. Main points would be – the tent pictured from 4 sides, things inside and detailed pictures of the damage with the scale ruler). But what we have is just random amateur pictures.
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March 7, 2016

Gold?

Winter gold mining in the Urals on the Ivdel River.

Winter gold mining in the Urals on the Ivdel River.

Could it be that the pursuit of lucre led to the deaths?
It is at least possible that people engaged in private gold mining up in the Urals may have killed the Dyatlov group.
According to the memories of the descendants of Aleksey Cheglakov, who was one of the residents of Vizhay and a member of the search team, people in 2-nd Severniy dug for gold. There were vertical shafts of 1.5 x 1.5 metres in the area, out of which, with the help of special rigs, rocks were brought to the surface. According to residents of Vizhay, it was even easier to mine in the winter than in summer. Water didn’t flow into the holes in the winter, so extraction was increased. Gold mining also continued in the unfrozen mountain rivers throughout winter.
During Tsarist times, there were over 200 private mines in these areas. The concentration of gold varied from location to location. Before the First World War, people panned for gold freely; afterwards, however, the situation changed. People had to receive permission from the Tsar to open the mines. Regardless, people continued to mine for gold.
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July 30, 2015 ,

Ekaterinburg

I went from Moscow to Ekaterinburg by train, the journey takes one day and one night, and while on the train I thought that there are many tragedies in human history and each of them was someone’s pain, and someone’s compelling force.  There are just so many of them, buried in the depths of our planet’s past.  But still there are some tragedies and mysteries that won’t let us go, they have their hooks in our collective unconscious.   We think about them again and again, forcing us to seek answers: the Titanic, the assassination of the Tsars,  Amelia Ehrhart’s plane.  Years pass, but people remember and they write books, they make films.

I wrote the Dyalov’s group story in 2008, it was nothing knew for Russia, but it was the first exposure to the rest of the word.  Since that time it’s been widely discussed in the foreign press, and on the net, there have been several books and at least two films.  And there is even more interest stimulated again in the wake of the meteor strikes of Chelyabinsk in 2013.

Even without fresh meteorites over the Ural region this story stirs the mind at every level.  An internet survey conducted by Boris Akunin the famous writer where he asked his fans what they would like him to write about next.  He gave them several suggestions:

How humankind appeared? Did Russia’s Czar Alexander really die at Taganrog7 What was the mystery of the Marie Celeste? Did Anastasia really survive after her family were shot in Ekaterinburg? Who killed Stolypin? What happened to the Dyatlov Group?

8000 respondents voted with a massive majority for the Dyatlov Mystery.

I also wished to put my little stone on the top of the cairn, when I wrote my article for the Moscow Times in 2008.

I took my train, it was the sixth February 2013. I visited the Dyatlov Foundation immediately, and coincidentally the 6th February is a significant date in the story, this date was written on the front of the case file, yet the official opening of the criminal case was not ordered until 26th February.   It is no wonder for me today after I have read the first investigator’s of the case Vladimir Korotaev and journalist Grigoryev’s testimonies as well as some old timers recollections.  There is a Criminal Case document that also confirms that in reality before the bodies discovery by the Rescue Parties they were found by local the Manci people. I wrote more about it in my book “Don’t Go There” which is available on Amazon.

My purpose was to ask the foundation workers to show me the accumulated materials, materials which had been assembled for the previous 50 years, and I wanted to audit these items and describe them in English. I also wanted to talk to some of the Rescue Party and Yuri Yudin, who was still alive at that time. Why? Actually after my English language article triggered international discussions and interest in the tragedy beyond the borders of Russia, I could see that people came up with theories about the disaster which were trivial and uncomprehending of life in the USSR in the 1950’s. For instance some of our English speaking friends on internet forums were promoting the idea that maybe the students were high on drugs and killed themselves in a mass orgy of self annihilation.  Or, that sexual imbalance in the group had led to various appalling acts.  My book is a good opportunity for a reader to begin to grasp the sheer conflict of confusing and conflicted facts.

So here we have documents from the official enquiry (the so-called Criminal Case Investigation), radio messages, testimonies of the search parties, of the relatives, the diaries of the climbers, the diaries of the rescue team, the results of laboratory analysis, and important Russian press articles.  There is of course much more documentary available in Russian than in English.  In English the story is only 5 years old, but in Russia it is more than 50.

The solution of the tragedy which finally was formed in my mind at first was absolutely impossible for me but it finally turned out to be the only truth I could accept. Still I keep trying to comprehend the puzzle.

I am sure that nothing else that I have written has ever made such a noise in the world, and no wonder.  This story has one puzzling querk, at least one circumstance is inevitably contradicted by some other.  Not a single explanation of the may, is able to explain the story – there is always at least one fact that completely ruins whatever theory one prefers. This excites the mind.


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July 26, 2015

It wasn’t a Cover Up

Why I don’t believe that the Dyatlov Pass incident was a cover up

On May 16th, 1972 the АN-24 plane of Baltic fleet crashed over the city of Svetlogorsk, Russia. It fell upon the kindrgarten and caused death of 24 kids and 9 adults including the crew. The plane came from the sea and  first flew over Central Park where people were walking. There was a speculation that it had a problem with altimeter. It cut the edge of a birch tree, than drifted for sometime above people and crashed onto the kindergarten.

This horrible story was a secret for 40 years. It help us to understand 2 things concerning the Dyatlov Pass mystery.

1) How the authority would normally handle the incident

2) How low drifting of an aircraft and toxic fuels would affect people

There are some survivors and eyewitnesses who shared the following information with the Moscow Komsomolets newspaper on May 16th, 2014.

Folks said they felt a horrible heat and had difficulty breathing but still they were ok. Those less lucky who found themselves at the point right next to the kindergarten where the plane got really low, they were immediatelyin flames. Their hairs, clothes, shoes.
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June 10, 2015 , , ,

Deranged State

There is some evidence that members of the Dyatlov group were in a deranged state when they left the tent.  The idea first came to Lev Ivanov’s mind when he was conducting his investigation back in 1959.   Many years later when retired in Kazakhstan he made a statement that the UFO was responsible for the tragedy. But his very first version was murder  yet not an ordinary one. He suggested that something or somebody first affected their minds and than physically destroyed some of them.

He told about it to Vladislav Bienko, 77, (same age with Dyatlov) who now lives in Minsk. Below is Bienko’s statement given recently to the Komsmolskaya Pravda newspaper. What is very ineresting in this interview is that Ivanov was on friendly terms with Bienko and thus shared his real thoughts with him.

Bienko fairly remembers the winter of 1959 and all of  the group members because he was supposed to go with them to that expedition to Otorten. Three days before the expedition Bienko was forbidden to participate by the University Komsomol Organization. The reason was his previous skipping obligatory work for students. He was sent to work instead of going with his friends.
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May 10, 2015 , , , ,

Chelyabinsk Meteorite

After the meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia in February 2013 I was contacted by one person who said there was a connection between this phenomen and something what happened in the sky in February of 1959 when the Dyatlov Group died.

Certain meteor showers occur during the exact same month and days every year (see, for example, the Leonids in November and the Perseids in August which are among the most intense meteor showers of the year). Also in the case of a major meteor shower the ‘radiant’ (the point from where the majority of meteors appear to come from in the sky) is the same every year.

This made one Russian, Michael Budarin to come up with a theory that a celestial body was responsible for the event. Below is his explanation:

Maslinokov remarked “the tent was stretched on skis and sticks that had been planted into the snow, and its entrance faced South. From the South the apex was intact but the apex poles had been ripped out at the North end causing it to collapse and later to be covered by snow.  There was not too much snow, just what had accumulated from snowstorms during the weeks of February”. It is interesting that the weather records for the Ivdel region on the day of the deaths, do not indicate snow. The precipitation was less than 0.5mm. The wind was Northern or North West at less than 1-3 metres per second. There was no recorded snow storm or hurricane. This means that the wind, whose highest peak was 3 m/s (=11 km per hour) could not affect the end poles of the tent, especially since they had so effectively shielded it with snow barriers. In its deep hole the tent caught no wind and could not act as a sail.  The ropes were observed to be strong and would have required a major blast to have knocked them down.
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May 1, 2015 , , ,

Cameras and Films

There are 6 films available today in The Dyatlov Pass foundation. There was one more film but it is lost. They have developed it and the pictures are exist but the film itself is missing. Apart from the well known pictures available on the Internet, the films have some rather srange shots which we will discuss below.

The exact number of the cameras in the group is not known. The inventory of the scene lists  3 cameras and there is one tetimony of yet another camera.

The camera № 488797 (Krivonischenko’s) was found with it’s color filter broken and it was attached to a tripod.

We know from the Criminal Case that the tent was pitched at around 5 p.m. At 7:42 pm according to the  weather data available there was a Moonless night there. It is interesting that the students still used their cameras after the darkness fell upon the ground. All the cameras were found in the tent like if they were put handy, not in their backpacks. Some say that the last shot of the group (below) was made without using a tripod. I don’t know if we can state this for sure…
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April 29, 2015 , , , , , ,

The Dyatlov Pass Mystery

A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on Feb. 26, 1959. The tent had been cut open from inside, and most of the skiers had fled in socks or barefoot.

This is my original article about The Dyatlov Pass Mystery published in 2008 in The Moscow Times newspaper.

EKATERINBOURG – Nine experienced cross-country skiers hurriedly left their tent on a Urals slope in the middle of the night, casting aside skis, food and their warm coats.
Clad in their sleepwear, the young people dashed headlong down a snowy slope toward a thick forest, where they stood no chance of surviving bitter temperatures of around minus 30 degrees Celsius.
Baffled investigators said the group died as a result of “a compelling unknown force” — and then abruptly closed the case and filed it as top secret.
The deaths, which occurred 49 years ago on Saturday, remain one of the deepest mysteries in the Urals. Records related to the incident were unsealed in the early 1990s, but friends of those who died are still searching for answers.
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An Expert Opinion
The Tent cut from inside?
Missing Photo Scales
Gold?
Ekaterinburg
It wasn’t a Cover Up
Deranged State
Chelyabinsk Meteorite
Cameras and Films
The Dyatlov Pass Mystery