The Dyatlov Case: Where Reality Meets Mockumentary



 Alex Mistretta

 Once again, we head into the molten landscape where one must learn to differentiate between actual reality and blatant fraud with gross misrepresentation.  A world that continually attempts to rewrite history in order to fit a production company/cable networks needs.   We’ve already been exposed to more than ten years of fraudulent paranormal reality shows like Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Witness, Ghost Lab, Haunted Collector, and the Paranormal Activity movies, just to name a few.

These series were simply the efforts of clever, sleazy producers creating very cheap unreality shows for the ignorant masses.  And as most of the world has no formal scientific or parapsychological education they might really believe what’s appearing on their TV.  And while those shows are now known by many to be nothing more than mindless entertainment for uneducated audiences, newer, more sophisticated versions of alleged paranormal reality shows have now emerged that have lowered the bar well below the ground, often mimicking The Blair Witch Project hoax.

The newest manifestation of this genre is the “mockumentary”, where seemingly real scientists (who in reality end up being actors hired through online casting calls) go out to explore, investigate and document extraordinary events such as mermaids and Megalodon Sharks.  Although appearing on different cable networks, these mockumentariers have tried to persuade audiences that what they’re seeing is real, when it’s all been fabricated and staged for the benefit of the camera and audience.  But even after these mockumentaries have been exposed as lies, audiences keep watching, which is why such shows often generate sequels to carry forward such misinformation to dumb down the public even further.  Bottom line here is that these production companies create whatever they can sell.  If it just happens to be a lie, who cares?  They’re all making good money off such programming.

The newest incarnation of this disturbing trend is a show called Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, that recently aired on The Discovery Channel.  As you’ll discover below, this latest mockumentary is just another foolish attempt at re-writing history to suit their needs.  And boy, did they fail.  Another disgustingly fraudulent, found footage series that little, if anything, to do with reality.   Read on to discover what the real case was about.

In 1970, a picture was taken of a typical spherical, disc-shaped UFO near Kholat Syakhel, a mountain in the Urals of Russia.  There was nothing remarkable about the picture from a Ufology standpoint.  Yes, it was a clear, good photograph, but this field of research already has so many of those that it doesn’t stand out, one way or the other.  But it was taken in an area rich in UFO lore, and more importantly, Kholet Syakhel, is where a most unusual event took place eleven years earlier.  An event that resulted in multiple deaths, and one where the police proclaimed was due to an “invincible force of nature”, whatever that means.  Kholat Syakhel translates into English as “Mountain Of The Dead”.  A name given by the Mansi people who consider the mountain sacred and a place where spirits gather and dwell.

Whether Igor Dyatlov knew about the mountain’s reputation is unknown.  What we do know is that he departed with nine others in early February of 1959, and shortly thereafter, they all perished, victims of that invincible force of nature.

The idea was to “ski trek” to Otorten Mountain. Dyatlov was an experienced guide, and the others, students and former students at the Ural Polytechnical Institute, were all experienced as well, so when the group failed to return, a search party was immediately sent out.

The description below is entirely based on the official police report and the search party’s actual testimony.  The group and their camp were easily located.

The camp was in total disarray, tents torn and all dead, some close to the camp, while others were found further down the mountain. They were obviously running from something.  But what?

One man was found to have died of exposure, but the others showed signs of severe internal trauma, and the police stated that at least some of the victims rushed out of their tents and tried to flee.

A tent was found ripped from the inside and footprints leading away, clearly running. The closest body to the tent was Zinaida Kolmogorova, one of the two females in the group, lying face down in a pool of her own blood.

In my new book (The Presence: An Exploration Into the Paranormal), I claimed that there was only one woman in the group, but I was in error.  Separating fact from fiction in this case has proven somewhat difficult.  I do not speak Russian and thus have to rely upon translation from various sources for this story, and some unfortunately aren’t as accurate as others.  In a sense, writing this article has allowed me to re-check many of the facts associated with this story, which has led to further welcome insight.







Next, was Dyatlov’s body (above photo), found with a cracked skull, but no external visible damage to the head.  Further away were three more bodies, found with broken skulls, broken ribs, and severe internal bleeding, but minimal damage to soft tissue.

Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny, who conducted the autopsies, stated that the force necessary to induce the type of internal trauma was comparable to an automobile crash.  He also, rather enigmatically, stated that it was as if they had undergone some kind of high-level pressure.  However, he did not elaborate further on this point.

Perhaps the more intriguing of the bodies was that of Lydia Dubinina.  She was found a considerable distance from the campsite kneeling against a boulder.  I originally assumed that some of her reported injuries were nothing other than fiction, but as it turned out, they appeared to be quite accurate.

Dubinina’s tongue and eyes were missing as well as a small section of skull bone. As far as I’ve been able to determine, no theory was given for Dubinina’s mutilated state (see photo below)

dyatlah pass incident (1)The bodies all had an orange tint to them that the police could not explain.  In fact, Yuri Kuntsevich, head of the modern Dyatlov Foundation and 12 years old at the time, who was present at several of the funerals, mentioned how the bodies had a strange color to them.  As a result, Kuntsevich would later start the Foundation in order to convince the police to re-open the investigation, and hopefully get to he bottom of this mystery.

Their clothes also contained extraordinary levels of radiation.  This was confirmed by forensic analysis.  One of the officials on site also stated that some tree branches in the area were burnt.  But those branches were too high up for the burns to have been caused by fire, and thus the cause remains unknown.

One of the earlier theories was that the hikers deaths were due to Soviet military tests of some type of weapon.   Certainly a plausible theory, but it would still need to explain what caused the hikers to panic, going as far as cutting a hole in a tent and escaping barefooted. What kind of experiment would leave no physical trace, aside from radiation?

Moreover, I do believe that this theory is worth exploring further, as the Soviets were conducting nuclear weapon tests in various locales back in those years.

Police officer Lev Ivanov, who led the investigation in 1959, claimed that high-ranking officials told him to close the case and to keep his mouth shut on the matter of the flying, luminous spheres that were seen in the area.   He revealed this in 1990 and went on to say that they had no explanation for the events, but he believed that UFOs were somehow involved.

Back in 1959, the police interviewed some of the local people in the area who told the officials of numerous orange, luminous, spheres seen flying above the mountains on the night of the tragedy.  The objects were completely silent.  Furthermore, the search party also witnessed an object in the sky that they called “fiery”; a sighting that lasted as long as twenty minutes.

Nowhere in the original report or in any of the subsequent interviews by parties involved, was there ever a mention of the Russian Snowman as depicted in the recent Discovery Channel show, Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives.

There was absolutely no evidence of any unusual large tracks anywhere near the campsite, only footprints from the terrified hikers. There certainly were “naked” footprints, as well as footprints in socks, but all belonged to the hikers themselves.  And therein lies the true mystery; no sign or physical traces of any kind were found on the ground that indicated any type of danger.

The only thing pertaining to the Russian Snowman that was factual on the Discovery Channel show is that there have been thousands of reports of such animals in Russia and central Asia, dating back to antiquity.  These creatures, commonly known as Almasty, are mainly known from the Caucasus Mountains, Pamir Mountain range and yes Siberia, where they are sometimes known as Chuchunaa.

The Siberian cave however discussed and depicted in the show, that was said to be the home of a Snowman, was proven to be a hoax (what a surprise?).  It was a blatant attempt at luring tourists to the area.

The Almasty is a fascinating subject, one in fact I devote quite a bit of time to in my book, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Dyatlov mystery.

What about the picture of a Snowman that was featured in the show?  When I initially watched the program, I assumed that the blurry photograph of an Almasty shown was hoaxed for the show, and no more than a mean wearing a furry costume.  The arms are way too short, the head too small and the stance or posture that of a modern human wearing a stupid disguise for the show.

Apparently the picture does exist, but its provenance is still murky.  It may indeed have been hoaxed for the show, or it may even have been taken by one of the hikers, but really there is no indication that the photograph had anything to do with the events whatsoever.  It is also extremely blurry, and by no means, clearly a picture of an Almasty.  Again I reiterate, there were no tracks at the scene aside from the victims, and the mountain was covered with snow.

Urals Alleged photo of the Russian Yeti.  Arms are too short, head and hips are too small and the posture doesn’t fit what’s known about Almasty.

Conclusion: some guy wearing a fur suit and head piece.








There is another photograph that does show a strange roundish light that appears to be fairly close to the photographer, or even heading towards the ground.  Again, blurry and out of focus, but those were the days prior to auto focus.  But in light of the claim that strange lights were seen in the area around this time, the intriguing photograph is intriguing, nevertheless.

33rd frame from Yuri Krivonischenko's camera, February 1959
33rd frame from Yuri Krivonischenko’s camera, February 1959


The elongated object may be due to time lapse, which would indicate that the light is indeed moving towards the ground or the photographer. Unfortunately, without a frame of reference, this too must remain inconclusive.

Looking at the UFO angle further, one cannot help but notice that from the Urals going east into Siberia and south into Kazakhstan, you’re looking at one of the most active UFO hot spots on the Earth.  The Urals specifically, with an area the Russians call the M-zone where UFOs, large orbs of light at ground level, and strange alien creatures have all been reported.

The M-zone is also an area of unusual geomagnetic anomalies, where people experience missing time, spontaneous and involuntary altered states of consciousness, and even healings.  I cannot categorically say that the event of 1959 was UFO related, but in light of the area it took place in, the sightings of the spheres by multiple sources, the radiation found at the site, and so far, lack of answers, it may not be a bad place to start.

Please write and email the various cable networks to inform them that you are sick and tired of all the frauds and hoaxes be perpetrated on their channels in order to make money from naive and gullible viewers watching their audio/visual lies.

Remember, if we don’t complain, there will be no change.

















One aspect of the Chupacabra that has always intrigued me is the reported spine like appendage on it’s back.  It has been described as fleshy spikes that have the ability to rise up and change color when the animal is agitated.

Recently an old story reemerged on the Internet about an unusual incident involving the United State military in the African Congo.  I myself first heard about it about ten years ago as I was researching modern bipedal Hominids in central Africa; but this being an unverifiable story, I filed it away in the back of mind in case I would one day have a chance to revisit it.

Philippe Coudray, a French cryptozoologist and author; first told the story and it as it concerns a group of American Navy Seals in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s.

The supposed “ deep throat” (X-Files reference here) in this story is one of the Seals who wishes to remain anonymous.  He claims that his unit came upon, quite by accident; a group of animals they initially thought were normal chimps.  They counted thirteen animals that were in the process of killing another unidentified animal, presumably for food.  The “chimps” were close to five feet in height and grey.  What caught the unit’s attention were the spikes that ran down the length of the spine; similar to a porcupine, is how he described it.  He also added that the spikes stood up at times when the “chimps” became excited.  They filmed the entire episode. The film according to the Seal is three minutes long and classified.


The modern Chupacabra era began in the early 1990’s on the island of Puerto Rico, when numerous animals, mostly goats at first, were found mutilated and exsanguinated.  Then, reports started coming in about a strange animal and strange tracks at the sites of the killings.  Panic and speculation evolved, and the inevitable link to the UFO phenomenon began.

But, this is not a quixotic relationship; Puerto Rico has one of the highest concentrations of UFO sightings in the world.  UFOs have routinely been seen at the location of Chupacabra sightings, or at the site of animal mutilations reportedly engineered by the Chupacabra.  A similar phenomenon occurs in the United States during cattle mutilations, where UFOs have been seen on site before or after a mutilation event.  Furthermore, some basic morphological similarities do exist between descriptions of the Chupacabra and the creatures reported in Varginha, Brazil in 1996.  The UFO link is inescapable.

As the 1990’s came to an end, the Chupacabra extended its territory outside of Puerto Rico. Sighting occurred in the United States, in Central and South America, and even in Russia.  This fact brings up a peculiar point.  Whatever this specie turns out to be, it has no clear set geographical boundaries, which is somewhat unusual if we were dealing with a regular member of the animal kingdom. To further compound the mystery and reinforce the UFO link, Chupacabras as described by witnesses cannot be placed within a zoological taxonomy that we are aware off; either from a current specie or one known from the fossil record.

We do have is a fairly detailed description of the Chupacabra.  The creature is between three to five feet in height, has big black and reddish eyes.  The top of the head is round; the mouth has fang-like definition, and an appendage  (tongue?) that can project.  The creature is also equipped with spinal fins and wings, even though the latter aren’t always reported.  Footprints show three toes with three long claws.  It is apparently covered with short hair that has been reported as anything from brown, gray, orange, yellow and blue.  The majority of eyewitnesses usually describe the beast as either ape like or dog like.

Back on Puerto Rico, over a thousand dead animals, including sheep, dogs, turkeys, rabbits, chickens, cattle, cats, horses and of course goats have been attributed to the Chupacabra.  Unfortunately, it got to a point where every animal death was rumored to be Chupacabra related; but in the deep end of paranoia, rumors and exaggerations, the pattern for a Chupacabra kill emerged.

Mutilated animals with puncture holes are typically found on the animal’s neck and abdomen.  The deceased often exsanguinated, drained of blood.  Some animals have been further mutilated where internal organs have been ripped out.  Rabbits especially seem to bring out the worse in the Chupacabra, as it will go through the trouble of absolutely destroying the cages holding the rabbits in order to mutilate Thumper.  However, rabbit cages aren’t the only structures destroyed by the Chupacabra.  It has been known to tear through barbed wire and iron gates to get to its intended prey.  The strength of the creature is quite remarkable.

In the beginning, only animals were victimized, but eventually people were attacked as well and the creature was being seen more frequently around human habitations.

In a small village in Mexico, a woman claimed that a Chupacabra clawed her, and a man from another village said that he also was attacked.  He displayed two punctured marks on his right arm.  But, before you think that the Chupacabra just doesn’t like Mexicans, a Puerto Rican man in December of 1995 claimed that he was attacked from behind and showed cuts on his abdomen.  He described the creature as gorilla like.  These incidents, if accurately reported, are fairly uncommon, and for the most part the creature doesn’t seem to have it in for man.  Instances like these are very rare and no one has been seriously hurt, as far as I’m aware.


The Chupacabra is an amalgam of traits, seemingly belonging to several different species; the wings, the ape like or dog life face, the ability to change colors, among others.  Analyses of several Chupacabra victims indicate that the internal organs in many cases were liquefied.  We know that Chupacabra victims have been found with one or two puncture wounds, usually around the neck area.  This leads to the possibility that the Chupacabra injects the victim with some kind of liquefying agent.  That would suggest that they then ingest the liquefied insides for nourishment.

Spiders feed this way as they inject digestive enzymes through their fangs in order to feed on the liquefied remains.  This is not to suggest that Chupacabras have any relationship to spiders, but to point out that this is possible in the animal kingdom.  Carnivorous plants also utilize external digestive enzyme to break down their captures prey.  Most animals, including humans use digestive enzymes internally.

As far as Chupacabras are concerned, this ability could be of prime importance in identifying these creatures.  If we could get a sample of the liquefied remains of a Chupacabra attack, it could be analyzed and compared to known digestive enzymes; giving us a clue as to the zoological nature of the beast.  If these creatures turn out to be genetic experimentation and more specifically hybrids; in theory then, digestive enzymes from any species on the planet, and perhaps off it, could have been introduced.  This includes plant digestive enzymes.

So, we know the Chupacabra doesn’t like goats and rabbits.  In addition it isn’t particularly fond of teddy bears either. In a rather idiotic episode, a less than brilliant Chupacabra in Caguas city, Puerto Rico tore the window of a bedroom open and savagely attacked a teddy bear.  Episodes like the later have prompted the police in both Puerto Rico and Mexico to take action.

In fact, in December of 1995, a police officer in Puerto Rico managed to shoot at one of the creatures.  He failed in killing it, but blood samples were obtained.  The blood was analyzed first by a veterinarian and then by a laboratory in the United States.  The veterinarian’s report stated that the blood contains high levels of protein and acids, with traces of chlorophyll. The laboratory analysis revealed that the blood was similar to human type A but not compatible with human blood or any other animal.  We do have to allow the possibility of contamination for the sample, but nonetheless brings up some intriguing speculation in the world of hybridization.