Although I’m not one that endorses the theory that the crime scene was staged, I’ve felt that a much less implicit coverup was undertaken by the authorities that consisted of a botched and prematurely aborted investigation where certain key pieces of evidence went missing and things that should have been looked into were either ignored or only given cursory attention. Ivanov actually admitted the investigation was less than thorough, although his reasoning for that is what I’m taking issue with.
Of course, the first question is why wouldn’t the authorities just make the bodies disappear, along with the evidence? And my response is that if they thought they were somehow indirectly or accidentally responsible for the hikers’ death, whether that was the case or not, since they couldn’t come up with answers for the more bizarre findings in the investigation, simply making everything disappear would not have been a wise course. The parents and relatives of the deceased, despite not liking the secrecy, would have been even more upset if they never found out what happened to their loved ones. They just went hiking one day and were never seen again. Yes, they could have been forced to accept that as well. But why bother with all that trouble if you can give the parents the closure they need while simultaneously keeping whatever skeletons you have hanging in your closet….hanging in your closet? After all, for all intents and purposes, the authorities did, in fact, make the bodies disappear, as no one was allowed to see them, except Luda’s father, and he wouldn’t have been able to tell from that alone that her cause of death didn’t quite match what he had been led to believe. For whatever reason, it’s hard not to concede that the authorities didn’t want people to know about the horrific injuries three of the hikers had suffered, and applying Occam’s Razor, the likely explanation is that they had no explanation for such injuries. In lieu of that, they probably feared that people would find it highly suspicious that they couldn’t come up with an answer. I’ve been a true crime junkie for long enough to know that such a fear is not unwarranted. However, I would not factor out the possibility that some sort of military testing was behind the tragedy. There are plenty of weapons they could have been tested that wouldn’t have caused many visible signs to the environment. It could also be that the authorities were simply worried that such was the case.
Enter the radiation tests, which are probably the single most interesting and unexplained thing in the investigation to me. Of course, you bring this up, and the first thing you are likely to be told is that Yuri Kri helped with the clean-up of a nuclear disaster. There are problems with this explanation, though, as the brown sweater was at the limit of what is within safe readings for sanitation workers at a nuclear facility after it had been washed and after it had laid in a stream for a few months. In addition, no one brings up the fact that the disaster happened two years before the Dyatlov Pass tragedy, and I’m assuming that Yuri Kri did wash his clothes many times in that time period. What was the reading before all that happened? Another possibility is the entire area had high readings because of a nearby nuclear site. The level still seems excessive to me. But the real question is why the radiation tests were ordered in the first place. What was it about nine dead hikers in a remote part of the Siberian Mountains that led someone to believe that radiation was somehow connected to the tragedy? And if the explanation for the presence of high levels of radiation was as innocuous as a nearby base or a disaster clean-up that everyone knew about anyway, why the panic from Ivanov’s superiors about it?
In one article, one of the people involved in the investigation explained that Ivanov noticed that some of the clothes were glowing. This actually makes a reasonable amount of sense, but doesn’t really explain how the radiation got there in the first place. Even worse, if you’re trying to convince people that military testing had nothing to do with the hikers’ death, the explanation conjures up imagery you really don’t want in people’s minds. Most lay people, like me, probably wouldn’t understand the actual readings on the report without the expert’s comments. And even then, it doesn’t quite match the level of concern the term “glowing clothing” causes. Glowing sounds bad. Like really, really, really bad.
So what to do?
Oh, yeah. Come up with a reason that can neither be proven or refuted, a story that must be accepted based on faith in the person telling the story not to be lying. After all, who are you to tell me I didn’t see a UFO? Were you there?
Okay, so I’ll admit to a bias. I’m a skeptic when it comes to extraterrestrial visits in general. But one thing I do look for in such stories is whether the person is actually telling the truth, that they’re honest in what they saw and are being truthful in what they believe it was. Unfortunately, though, hoaxes do abound. And in the case of Ivanov, I find myself not believing he’s being honest. The whole point of the interview seems to be addressing the radiation tests and the problem they pose to all would-be researchers of the tragedy and specifically to steer people away from the idea that military testing was to blame. However, I’m more inclined to believe that if there is any cover-up afoot, the source of it is Ivanov himself.
The first problem with Ivanov’s story is that it’s not even about something he witnessed. Nor is it even about an account he heard from someone else. It stems from a UFO sighting on February 17, 1959. I don’t doubt that this sighting was real. Several people, independent of each other, saw it, and their descriptions are eerily similar. The leap of logic that Ivanov has to perform to turn the phenomenon into a homicidal ball of energy that struck over two weeks before the alleged sightings, though, would probably win him a gold metal in the Olympic high jump. Secondly, he gets a key fact wrong, stating that he was with Masslenikov when he discovered some burned trees in May of 1959, at a time when we know Masslenikov couldn’t have been there. I don’t think it at all odd that he might have forgotten some details of an investigation he conducted decades before. However, the burned trees are part what convinced him of this other worldly phenomenon. It should be quite memorable how he came to be a believer. He then states that the weird entity was at the tree line and did not make a concentric circle. Why would he expect that at a line of trees? The trees were in a line. There was nothing on the other side of the line, since the slope upon which the tent was setup is bare. How can there be a concentric circle, if the trees are not in a circle to begin with?
He then goes into the radiation tests and seems to indicate that certain reports of the UFO sighting were removed from the case file. Contradictorily, the ones he talks about are all in the case file. He offers no new evidence from any witness that UFOs had been spotted in the vicinity at the time of the hikers’ death. He seems to connect the radiation tests with his belief in the fireballs. But he gets away with a sleight of hand here, as I’ll explain later. Other than the UFO reports, the radiation testing, and the burned trees that were not in a concentric circle, the only reason he gives for believing this phenomenon is the injuries to the hikers and the fact that they were the only ones who were injured. As I explained before, it just seems like a very insane leap of logic to me that he would conclude a fireball came out of the woods and directly attacked them from that information alone. I have read hundreds of UFO stories. Not one of them involve injuries even remotely similar to what happened to the hikers. If you’re going to dismiss an avalanche based on such injuries being atypical for such a disaster, attacked by a UFO is not a better option. It’s worse. Further, he doesn’t even know where the hikers were when they were injured, or if the other hikers were even with them. As an investigator, he should know better than to come to a conclusion when he doesn’t have all the facts.
He then explains that he doesn’t think that UFOs are visitors from other planets, but clots of energy that science can’t explain. If I were to take this at face value, I would have to assume that these UFOs are balls of energy that originate here in earth, and somehow the only documented account we have of them causing injury to humans is the Dyatlov Pass tragedy. This is somewhat believable if they come from a planet 500 light years away. It’s a bit harder to accept that more people haven’t run afoul of these murdering energy balls if we happen to be calling the same planet home. He also contradicts himself, as later in the article he refers to either these sentient balls or whatever is guiding the balls as astronauts. A more cynical explanation would be that he knows very well that the term “Unidentified Flying Object” does not inherently imply that said object is extraterrestrial in origin. Whether it’s manmade or some phenomenon, it’s a UFO because no one can identify it…and it’s flying. Period. In other words, it’s a way to lie without lying. They were attacked by a UFO. But they weren’t aliens. It’s something from here. Not a military weapon, of course. Rather, a sentient fireball that intensely dislikes hikers. Or at least Luda, Semyon, and Nicolai.
And, finally, as I said before, the article seems to be addressing the question of why the radiation tests were conducted. However, UFOs can’t be the reason for the test because he states that: “At the time, we knew very little about unidentified flying objects. We did not know about radiation either.” So the stories he had heard about UFOs simply cannot be what made him decide to conduct radiation tests. And nothing else in the article explains it. Yet, the article at least makes one feel the subject was addressed directly.
A couple of side notes: Ivanov said he ruled out the UFO being a meteor because he talked to an expert who told him that: “the comet region did not visit the comet.” That must be a really bad translation of English, because the sentence doesn’t really make much sense. But I believe what he was trying to say is that no meteor showers occur at that time of year. In the 60s and 70s, however, astronomers began to notice a change in the periodic observance of meteor showers from earth, notably in the month of February, to the point now that February is considered fireball season. They’re still unclear as to why the change, but hypothesize that earth might go through periodic episodes of meteor activity in certain areas at certain times of the year. I wouldn’t expect Ivanov to know this, but it is quite likely that this change could have been beginning all the way back in 1959 and what observers saw on February 17 was a meteor. One observer was a meteorologist, and her description of the phenomenon definitely sounds like it might have been a meteor, as she says it faded away, rather than flew away.
Second side note. I’m aware that someone in 2006 or something like that claimed to have witnessed one of these weird energy balls, and it appeared to react to a human gaze. Again, though, it’s just something that has to be accepted on faith from a stranger, and so I remain skeptical of it. Also, he’s only assuming the ball would have attacked him, based on Ivanov’s account. He doesn’t know that is the case.
Personally, I think there would be a lot more tragedies like Dyatlov Pass if we actually shared our planet with a bunch of shy fireballs that attacked people who showed too much interest in them, considering how prone we are to putting ourselves in danger to not mind our own business.