August 26, 2019, 02:31:32 AM
Dyatlov Pass Forum

Author Topic: The Pont-Saint-Esprit “incident”  (Read 397 times)

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May 20, 2019, 01:01:53 AM
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Morski


I am aware, that this is a well-known thing, but still it is interesting and there might be some correlations to the Pass incident.
This event happened in August 1951 in the small French town Pont-Saint-Esprit, when mass psychotic chaos along with various physical symptoms (starting with nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, then worsen) struck nearly 250 people, resulting in about 50 of them interned in mental asylums and 5 deaths. The reason for that event vary from food poisoning (ergot poisoning - contaminated bread) to a deliberate and intentionally conducted experiment to test how LSD affects people on a more massive scale, involving CIA agents (the infamous Project MKUltra https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra). Other theories include mercury, mycotoxins, or nitrogen trichloride.

Now, even though it is tempting to speculate how the bread got contaminated – by accident or by intention, what I find more relevant (for now) are the consequences and the symptoms. Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind, which results in the inability to make a difference between what is real and what is not. Symptoms include hallucinations and delusions (seeing and/or hearing) things that are not present, incoherent speech, illogical decision-making, constant change of moods, false beliefs, and such. One of the ways psychosis may occur is because of ergot poisoning, which is the most credited theory for the accident in France – people ate bread made from rye grain that was infected with the fungus. The victims appeared to have one common connection - they had eaten bread from the bakery of a man named Roch Briand, who was subsequently blamed for using flour made from contaminated rye.
The physical symptoms in the beginning were typical for food poisoning – sore stomach, vomiting, but then it became worse - extreme tiredness and insomnia. For some patients, the symptoms subsided completely for 48 hours, only to return again much worse than before, culminating in vivid hallucinatory episodes involving fire and multi-coloured animals. A number of accounts noted some increasingly bizarre events: man shouting to his room-mates “I’m dead! My head is made of copper and I have snakes in my stomach!”, young girl believe that she was being attacked by tigers, an 11-year-old boy who tried to strangle his mother, a man jumped from the second floor of the hospital, believing he was an airplane, breaking his leg, and then continue to run for 50 meters before being caught by hospital personal. Others could hear celestial harmonies in their heads, and so on.
The whole ordeal lasted for about a week. People were affected in different ways, but the symptoms were pointing to ergot poisoning, even though such cases in France didn’t happen since the 18 century. On the other hand, it coincides with the development of LSD by Albert Hoffman in Sandoz laboratories in Switzerland, which is basically synthesized from the ergot fungus. Hofmann himself first considered that the synthetic drug poisoning was a possibility but he rejected the theory shortly after. Meanwhile, an American laboratory carried out tests on bread deliberately tainted with ergot but noted that volunteers who ingested it “had none of the symptoms reported by victims in Pont-Saint-Esprit.” … So that is the convenient base of the conspiracy theory.
Not surprisingly, there is no official satisfactory explanation for the event.   dunno1
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 01:16:46 AM by Морски »

May 20, 2019, 01:12:54 AM
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Morski


With regard to the DPI, I have always thought that at least some of the actions of the group, especially in the beginning of the event, are caused by irrational behavior, rather than someone or something forcing them to act like that. The effect of the psychotic condition may fade away with time, so it may have triggered the whole event, but afterwards, as we see some rational acts (lighting fire, forming groups), it was probably too late and the winter night and elements took their toll.
So it is a possibility, that the Dyatlov group might have poisoned themselves if they ate contaminated bread/biscuits, etc.
Of course, no way to know what amount and how contaminated food would be sufficient to cause hallucinatoins or any kind of mental dellusions to each of the hikers. I think that it is not mandatory to have all the group members affected to the same extent. Even if only 1-2 were more severely affected, it could be enough to cause panic among the others in the middle of the night inside the tent. The possibility of sudden panic attack due to severe hallucinations among the students could explain some of the events that night.
When someone has a panic attack, that person feels a sudden, intense fear that cant be controlled. Also, panic attacks usually start suddenly. They can happen at any time and even without apparent reason. The symptoms usually feel most severe after about 10 to 20 minutes and then go away within an hour, but could take longer time. During the panic attack, people feel as if they are going to surely die. Afterwards they may feel extremely tired or overwhelmed by emotions. There is no universal pattern.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 02:10:42 PM by Морски »

May 20, 2019, 01:44:27 AM
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Nigel Evans


There's a section for the Ergot poisoning theory.
Most of the theories on this site can be dismissed by asking - why a high level coverup?

May 20, 2019, 01:49:47 AM
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Morski


I know there is. I am referring to a different incident in France, that is why I post it in non-dpi.
Also, the " high level cover up" is a probable consequence, while I am talking more about the origins of the whole event.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2019, 12:10:03 AM by Морски »

May 20, 2019, 03:04:43 AM
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Nigel Evans


I know there is. I am referring to a different incident in France, that is way I post it in non-dpi.
Also, the " high level cover up" is a probable consequence, while I am talking more about the origins of the whole event.
Okishev was perfectly clear, there was a high level coverup and the officials he met had no interest in the investigation that his office was undertaking (via Ivanov) as if they completely understood the origins of the event. He was ordered to create an accidental death story and sell this to the relatives, a task he admits cost him some sleepless nights.

You can't make that statement fit with ergot, wolverines, elks, murder etc etc.



May 20, 2019, 03:33:22 AM
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Nigel Evans



May 20, 2019, 08:57:22 AM
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Loose}{Cannon

Global Moderator
A cover-up and the root cause are two entirely different things.    nose1
All theories are flawed.......    Get Behind Me Satan !!!

May 20, 2019, 09:48:03 AM
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Nigel Evans


A cover-up and the root cause are two entirely different things.    nose1
  • The purpose of a cover-up is to keep the root cause secret.
  • Hence the root cause must qualify as requiring secrecy.
  • This permits the investigator to exclude theories that would not require secrecy.
  • Maybe 73 out of the 75 in the case of the DPI.  grin1

May 21, 2019, 01:58:54 PM
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Morski


Fair enough, cover up is for things you don`t want others to know. How about things you can`t explain, while people demand explanations?
The whole effort - mental and physical, to cover up what seems to be a pretty large event in the middle of nowhere, that turned out to be fatal for nine people, is hard to explain for me, and for a reason. How many people were involved in the searching and the investigation? Students, police staff, soldiers, volunteers, prosecutors. Each with his own mind set and understandings. Some of them since day one, some replaced, some with little to no idea of the whole event. The cover up suggests, that no one between the tens of people would open his mouth later on. Yes, the mighty KGB would erase you and your family if needed, but let`s keep a cool mind, it wasn’t the VChK`s time anymore. The scale of the cover up would have been huge, while the actual implementation is so disappointing. It definitely makes you wonder.

You cover up things to deceive people, and if the Soviet authorities wanted to do so, they would have done it. I don`t question their abilities to do a cover up, I just can`t believe they failed so hard. Instead of eliminating questions, they basically just added more. You can screw up an investigation for a number of reasons, but to fail a cover up performed by probably the most powerful Soviet institution, and in a so much less informational environment (compared to any given more modern era), with high rank individuals involved, would be a spectacular event.

In that line of thoughts, I am really interested how was the case really covered by the Russian media after things went viral at that time. Could it be, that this was one of the first tragedies in such scale in the postwar period, so it naturally became a public interest of some sort, that wasn’t expected? Even attempts to spread the word (for the funerals for example) were somehow obstructed, that didn’t stop people to attend them. Looking at the photos, this wasn’t the case of just several family tragedies. It was shared among ordinary people. So it could be that the authorities wanted to put things in order as soon as possible. Some high ranking staff had to deal with it, because the local authorities didn`t know how to handle it - they couldn’t solve it.
So it is either clumsy performed investigation, because they had no idea what they are dealing with at the time, or clumsy cover up even if they did know.
I tend to stand for the first, at least for now.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 02:26:19 PM by Морски »

May 21, 2019, 02:25:27 PM
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gypsy



So it is either clumsy performed investigation, because they had no idea what they are dealing with at the time, or clumsy cover up even if they did know.
I tend to stand for the first, at least for now.

I think it is unlikely that all people involved in the investigation were just clumsy. The state had resources to do better with this case. Both Okishev and Ivanov were absolutely clear that they were ordered to cease the investigation and create a cover story. (disclaimer: one does not cancel out the other, the conduct of investigation looks poor to me as well, but that does not justify what happened in the aftermath, e.g. exclusion zone in the area)

In regards to stage a cover-up, it is not needed to deceive all people involved in search, students etc. They are not relevant enough or they do not have full access to case files and other information. The other practices of deception by Russian/Soviet state is to create a disinformation that leads people into blind alleys with investigation, withhold important parts of evidence or spread false information. For the purpose of a coverup, there is nothing better than having bunch of UFO/Yeti freaks hanging around the topic...you can just sit back and watch the entire thing turn into a farce. The purpose of a coverup is not necessarily to make people believe in the false story, but to create an envinroment where everything is being questioned and everybody loses the focus on what is important.

I agree with Nigel on this one, there was probably a formal/legal reason that justified the cover-up of the incident. This version is consistent with the statements about folllowing the orders by Ivanov, Okishev and Lyuda's brother. I see nothing that would disqualify their opinions, views and explanations.


May 22, 2019, 04:05:38 AM
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Nigel Evans


Two good posts from Morski and gypsy.

Wrt the criticism of the investigation, i think it's relevant to point out that an unknown quantity of material was confiscated and the investigation we see and the one that was made could be substantially different. For instance it seems highly likely that there are missing photos and we have Ivanov's complete conviction over fire orbs. I struggle with branding him as a UFO freak, agent for the state perhaps. But then why would the state want to push the fire orb "smokescreen" 31 years later in 1990? Or how could a state prosecutor / barrister be genuinely convinced of fire orbs unless there was clear evidence?


For me the most interesting part of the DPI is the reopening of the case focusing on an avalanche/snow slide. If it was a (possibly embarrassing) military accident with fire orbs used as a cover why not just admit it?


Or are they as baffled now as they were then? But why focus on a theory that cannot possibly justify the coverup, that just doesn't make sense?


Maybe that's the point, keep us going round in circles like a dog chasing it's tail, you never get there... dance1



May 22, 2019, 05:12:52 AM
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gypsy


"UFO freak" was an exaggeration of course. Technically it was an unknown flying object for him, I just strongly doubt outer space origin of the fire orbs as some people would claim.

May 22, 2019, 06:45:56 AM
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Nigel Evans


"UFO freak" was an exaggeration of course. Technically it was an unknown flying object for him, I just strongly doubt outer space origin of the fire orbs as some people would claim.
From Ivanov's interview in 1990 :-I questioned many witnesses of UFOs flying over or hovering, in other words, visiting the Near-Polar Urals. As a matter of fact, I disagree with those linking the appearance of UFOs with aliens. A UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object, and that’s that. Many data show that those may be “bundles of energy” acting on their way on objects of organic and inorganic nature, which modern people fail to understand, and modern science and technology to explain. Apparently, ours was one of such phenomena.

McCloskey, Keith. Journey to Dyatlov Pass: An Explanation of the Mystery (p. 143). Keith McCloskey. Kindle Edition.


May 22, 2019, 08:02:40 AM
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gypsy


"UFO freak" was an exaggeration of course. Technically it was an unknown flying object for him, I just strongly doubt outer space origin of the fire orbs as some people would claim.
From Ivanov's interview in 1990 :-I questioned many witnesses of UFOs flying over or hovering, in other words, visiting the Near-Polar Urals. As a matter of fact, I disagree with those linking the appearance of UFOs with aliens. A UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object, and that’s that. Many data show that those may be “bundles of energy” acting on their way on objects of organic and inorganic nature, which modern people fail to understand, and modern science and technology to explain. Apparently, ours was one of such phenomena.

McCloskey, Keith. Journey to Dyatlov Pass: An Explanation of the Mystery (p. 143). Keith McCloskey. Kindle Edition.


Fully agree with that. I'll rephrase:Ivanov's UFO statement created the basis for association with aliens despite his explanation being completely rational (just too vague).
Uncertainty leads to misinterpretation and eventually false conclusions... It is pretty much how disinformation works (I'm guilty as well this time).

Too bad Ivanov's observations were not acted upon and investigated further. Instead they were at least partially the reason why his inquiry was shut down.