Thursday, May 11, 2017
DEAD MOUNTAIN: THE UNTOLD TRUE STORY OF THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT
I first found out about the true-life Dyatlov Pass incident when I saw a fictional movie called Devil's Pass, which came up with an utterly far-fetched explanation for the mysterious deaths of nine young Russian hikers in the Ural Mountains in 1959. What made their deaths so strange was that they apparently rushed out of the safety of their tent with no shoes on and insufficiently dressed as if in a panic. They were found a mile away in various places. While most died of hypothermia, there were also other violent injuries. For decades, Russians have speculated on what made these experienced hikers run out of their tent, with an avalanche being the most likely explanation. But author Eichar, talking to relatives of the deceased, as well as experts in various fields both in the U.S. and Russia -- and retracing the steps of the victims via snowmobile -- debunks the avalanche theory and many others, including military or extraterrestrial intervention and radioactive missiles or fireballs. Eichar does reveal what he thinks is the most plausible scenario of what happened to those poor young people on that terrible night in 1959, and I suspect that he has finally hit upon the correct solution. Although Eichar uses many new and historical photographs (of the victims and others) in the book, he does not include photos of the corpses, although they are easily available on the Internet, probably out of respect for these tragic young students he has come to know during his research. Even without the sci-fi horror trappings of films like Devil's Pass, this would make a compelling and sobering motion picture
NOTE; Some feel that Eichar's theory doesn't have enough supporting evidence to back it up, and that his inability to read or converse in Russian (he used translators at times) would have severely hampered his efforts.
Verdict: A bit padded at times, but fascinating, scrupulously researched, and well-written.