MOSCOW, 15 Jan 2023 — RIA News, Sergey Proskurin.
Photo from the case files of the Dyatlov group
More than 60 years have passed since the death of the Dyatlov group, but the case has not been put to rest. The official version does not suit many, therefore they put forward various theories, including mystical ones. Here is one of the most curious ones, brought to you by RIA Novosti.
At the end of January 1959, a group of students from the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI), led by fifth-year student Igor Dyatlov, mapped out a route to the Northern Urals. The goal is to climb the peaks of Otorten and Oyka-Chakur. They planned to get to the end point - the village of Vizhay - on February 12 and from there send a telegram to the UPI sports club. However, the news never came.
Relatives sounded the alarm, and on February 20, a search operation began. The first dead were found a few days later, one and a half kilometers from the cut tent in the vicinity of Mt Kholatchakhl. A week later, a criminal case was opened.
How exactly people died is still unclear. According to investigators, on the first of February, the hikers stopped for the night on the Kholatchakhl slope. And on the night of the second, for some unknown reason, they cut the tent and ran down to the river.
Blurred conclusions, as well as the closure of the case three months after the tragedy, caused a lot of speculation.
In 2019, to put an end to it, the Prosecutor General's Office initiated an audit under the leadership of Andrey Kuryakov, deputy head of the department for the Ural Federal District. He said that the hikers were killed by an avalanche. His words caused a great resonance. Friends and family of the members of the Dyatlov group objected: this version is a distraction. The real reason is a man-made disaster. But there were those who held a different point of view: the participants in the expedition were allegedly killed by the indigenous Mansi tribe.
© RIA News / Pavel Lisitsyn / Press conference dedicated to the declassified data of the materials of the criminal case and the investigation into the death of Igor Dyatlov's group
Representatives of this small population have lived on the western slopes of the Urals since ancient times. Mostly they caught and bred deer. They practiced shamanic cults. How could have the hikers angered the natives?
It is believed that the Dyatlov group inadvertently defiled one of the sanctuaries where local priests performed rites - rituals. This version, by the way, was one of the first to be worked out by the investigation - all the more, there are quite weighty arguments.
Mount Kholatchakhl had a sacred meaning for the local population. The name is translated from Mansi as "mountain of the dead", and a legend is associated with it. In ancient times, there was a temple dedicated to the goddess of death Sorni-Nai (Golden Baba) on the top. Each time, the shamans performed a sacrificial ritual there, killing exactly nine living creatures - for example, deer or ducks.
But one day, for unknown reasons, the priests sacrificed nine young hunters to the goddess. Sorni-Nai liked the offering so much that since then she preferred people to all victims.
The Dyatlov group consisted of nine. Of course, one might not believe in the legend if strange events did not confirm it.
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Kolevatov, Doroshenko, Kolmogorova, and Dubinina on the river Lozva
Back in the late 1920s, nine geologists died near the mountain. Shortly before the tragedy of the Dyatlov group, the same number of bodies of prisoners who fled from the Ivdel camp were found here. In total, until 1959, 27 people died or went missing in the area of the ill-fated peak.
In almost all cases, the investigation came to a standstill. But the families of the Anyamovs, Kurikovs, and Bahtiyarovs, living nearby, were always suspected, descendants of ancient shamanic families. However, no evidence of their involvement was found.
So it was with the case of the Dyatlov group. In March 1959, members of these families were again interrogated by investigators. All as one assured: they do not have any sacred places in the area of the death of the hiker's group.
“Our prayer mountain is located in the upper reaches of the Vizhay River. But even there, neither in summer nor in winter, no one lives. Believers, mostly old people, rarely go there - they prefer to pray at home. And young people don’t go at all. There are no prayer stones," Grigoriy Kurikov claimed during interrogation.
he was backed up by Nikita Bahtiyarov. "The Mansi had no reason to attack Russian tourists," he added. "They always lived in peace."
True, some tribesmen reported with apprehension that the three clans actually had a ritual cave not far from Kholatchakhl. But unexpectedly, local Russians came to the defense of the Anyamovs, Kurikovs and Bahtiyarovs.
The Dyatlov group was moving along the frozen Auspiya river
"I don’t think they could kill tourists. I have been living here since 1945, and there was no case of Mansi attacking strangers. On the contrary, visitors often take natives as guides,” said Mihail Mokrushin, chairman of the Burmantovskiy village council.
Ivan Pashin, a forester from Vizhay, spoke about the same thing. Sometimes, he recalled, the Mansi brought lost people to their yurts. In addition, according to him, the reindeer herders actively helped the investigators.
True, Pashin mentioned: Anyamovs, Kurikovs and Bahtiyarovs followed the Dyatlov group throughout the trek. "Apparently, they had some kind of distrust of strangers. But as soon as the weather turned bad, the pursuers left," he added.
Today, some experts tend to believe that the shamanic version is somewhat consistent with the official one. There was a Mansi trail in the story with the Dyatlov group, but it was not the natives who killed the hikers, but the "spirits of the forest". So the northern people call the mighty forces of nature.