Theories Discussion > KGB / Radiation / Military involvement

Semyon's Final Photo's enhanced and colourised/colorized

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I've enhanced, colourised, cropped and enlarged the frames for analysis. The online software used places enhancement/colourising icons on the photo's (unless I've cropped them away):

1. "Three Heads"

2. "Woven Mesh"

3. "Lynx"

4. "Horn"

5. "Jaws"

6. "Mushroom with a face"

7. "Eagle 1 Light"

8. "Eagle 2 Light"

9. "Chicken"

10. "Plane 1"

11. "Plane 2"

Full frame

Full frame

Full frame

I've added this topic here because my own subjective assessment of what I may be looking at is a (military) helicopter...

1. Three Heads - this is 4 or 5 heads, silhouetted in the foreground with a bright light source flooding out the exposure. Possibly a search light's beam, or a flare.

2. Woven Mesh - most likely film emulsion damage, the effect of the film sticking together and being peeled away.

3. Lynx - ditto.

4. Horn - no idea, it's very angular to be film damage. It's more Ural Snowy Owl flushed out of its (night) time sleep than horn. Possibly the same object as in Image 5, seen from a different rotational position, and overexposed.

5. Jaws - at first I thought this was a parachute unfurling, now I wonder if it's an item of clothing, such as a hat, blown upwards by the wind (or a downdraft).

6. Mushroom with a face - if I squint I wonder if it's a man/line of men carrying a torch or flare, the light source zig-zagging about as he/they move. How small it is on the exposure would suggest they were some distance away if so.

7. Eagle 1 light - the clearest photo, and quite obviously a bright lamp of some kind, with a particular shape including squared-off edges. I think this may be a helicopter search light, seen at an angle. The smearing down the lens is probably a snowflake, the camera pointed skyward.

I've looked up Soviet helicopters of that era and the twin rotor Yakovlev Yak-24 appears to have a reflector edge which may create that type of angularity. Also it's a question of how the edge of the bodywork the light is recessed into looks when viewed from an angle, and how that might affect the apparent shape of the light.

8. Eagle 2 light - the same again, only blurry.

9. Chicken - this appears to be showing crystalised crud on the negative, not a print, see full frame below.

10. Plane 1 - this is either another windblown item, or it's a helicopter, out of focus. I don't think it's a plane.

11. Plane 2 - again, I doubt this is a plane, the Soviets didn't have a swept-back wing design until later MiGs, and Semyon would not have been able to photograph more than a blur at this altitude and speed, so a more static helicopter fits the bill.

The Yakovlev Yak-24 had high canopy windows, the same body shape beneath the cockpit windows, a taller rotor stack as a 'tail', the pointed bit on top of that possibly a rotor axle, the shorter front rotor stack behind the cockpit canopy, and the angled tail fins which have a vertical plate at the end, and that round black feature behind the canopy might correspond to the round (radar dome?) on the Yakovlev Yak-24. This exposure would require a light source underneath.

I'm not entering here into what complex involvement the military may or may not have had with the hikers, but it seems likely to me from Semyon's photo's, from his mystery camera, that there was at least some contact, that the military knew they were there and had checked them out from the air in the same way a police helicopter might today.

It may be that they were looking for someone else, and if so would probably return to the area later in daylight and would then see 3 of the hikers laid out on the pass, land, turn them over to check, and that then explains the bodies being moved, the subsequent snow then covering all tracks, and the bodies.

The search lights may even explain the numerous witness sightings of orange orbs, if the effect of the night/distance/weather conspired to change the perceived colour.

Yakovlev Yak-24

Helicopter search lights during rescue mission (colourised)

Interesting, but its still difficult to say what we are looking at exactly. We could imagine all sorts of things by looking at them. It could be a combination of film damage and actual photos of something. How can we tell for sure  !  ? 

The film would still be processable, immersion in cold pure water for several months won't erase the images. Cameras have been dropped in lakes, and even salt water, and the film is still recoverable.

If light gets in the same way the water does to re-expose the film that's a different matter. The danger comes from handling the film, because it may have stuck together, and loading it into a reel for a developing tank, though there are no fingerprints.

I used to do B&W and colour film processing, some of the images on these exposures, such as a clearly defined lamp and the 'plane' are not caused by any damage I've ever seen to film. The contours and the 3D flap edge on 'Jaws' the same. They are exposures, within the limit of night photography where a prolonged exposure has not been used to catch all available light, on subjects which would need to remain still to avoid blurring if it was.

It's just a question of what they are, and also, since we don't know for sure Semyon took these on the fateful night, when and where they were taken. He could have previously taken these photo's and brought this other camera along to use up the rest of the exposures, but never did.

Star man:
Some of the images are highly magnified parts of a frame so that needs to be taking into account.  Some of the images such as plane 1 and 2 kind of look like photos of tears and holes taken from inside the tent with light from outside coming through the holes.  Don't know why anyone would want an album of tent holes though.


Star man

Tha Yak-24 front lamp is mounted at broadly the same angle, and is the same shape, as the lamp in Semyon's photo:

Some models had vertical stabilser plates on the tail fins, and potentially this could lend the helicopter a 'bi-planey' look from some angles, the available light not picking out all features, as in Semyon's blurry 'Plane 1" photo:


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