Many unbelievable things can be found while traveling through the taiga or the mountains. However, sometimes there is no need to go so far to experience the unexpected and incomparable horror.
It happened in the woods near Moscow, not far from the old Russian village of Sofrino. Here, according to information received from ufologists, there is a small but tricky anomalous zone. I had no intention of exploring it, but simply decided, together with two buddies, to cross it and compare my impressions with the official report from the survival school run by the then famous traveler Vitaly Sundakov.
At one point each of us received an almost literal blow to the head. Volodya, the most powerful man among us, weighing about 90 kilograms, unexpectedly began dashing through bushes, leaving behind him a “clearing” of trampled hazelnut trees. Oleg shrieked strangely and rushed after him, swatting away something in the air as he went. A sharp pain squeezed my head, and I wandered in the direction of my vanished companions, not thinking and not understanding.
In about twenty minutes we came to our senses and shared our impressions. I could only describe the crimson and blue circles in front of my eyes. Volodya recalled that it seemed to him that in a few minutes the forest might burst into flames and that the only salvation was to run forward. Oleg was attacked by some strange bird. It seemed to him that a gray “rag” flew right out of the bushes, which suddenly grew shaggy wings. The “rag” rushed at him, and he, fighting off the unexpected enemy, followed Volodya. What did we encounter?
Many years ago Pavel Gusev, a student at the Moscow Geological Prospecting Institute and now editor-in-chief of the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, published a story about his journey along a forest river in the Vologda region. Going upstream, the students saw an abandoned farmstead on the high, steep bank of the river. The huge dwelling house and the bathhouse standing near the water were well preserved. The place was good for parking. The tourists were divided up: two of them decided to continue their journey, while Paul and his friend Mikhail intended to rest and live on the abandoned farmstead.
Pavel and Mikhail recounted their days at the farmstead with horror. They were haunted by the feeling that someone was watching them all the time. For two nights they sat… on a birch tree. Both were sure it was the safest place. Paul wrote: “Up there in the rustling foliage, a plan was born. To leave here immediately tomorrow,” we could no longer endure this torture of fear. It was restraining us, turning our numbed figures into some kind of mummies.
The next morning, having gathered our things and grabbed some food, we literally rushed as fast as we could from the place. The tent, sleeping bags, woks, most of the foodstuffs were left in the banya… And a note in which we informed our friends that we had decided to leave.
Pavel Gusev’s journey did not end very successfully. But, alas, in the taiga, in the so-called abnormal zones, much sadder cases often occur.
Ural. Bear Cave
The Northern Urals is a reserve of places where one encounters absolutely incredible phenomena. One of them is in the upper reaches of the Pechora River, where the Ural Mountains turn into the foothills. The Bear Cave, known to many archaeologists, is located here. It begins with a large, south-facing grotto, in which it is always warmer than in a small gorge at the bottom of which the cave is located, so the grotto has long been fancied as a permanent home for people. It was here that the northernmost camps of Stone Age people were dug.
But it was not the archeological finds, but its surprising form, that attracted me to the cave. Oval, literally licked tunnels in it intersected with narrow slits and large halls. To understand the origin of this labyrinth, I decided with two geology students to crawl through the passages of the cave.
By this time I had managed to visit probably a hundred caves in the Crimea, Caucasus, Tien Shan, and Kopetdag. And to explore the seemingly “simple” caves seemed to be a rest from geological routes. We entered the Bear Cave early in the morning, and for lunch we decided not to go to the surface, and to have a snack below. After the meal we decided to take a little break. We turned off the lanterns… and in the absolute darkness I could clearly see my hands. Nearby, one of the students cried out softly. It turned out that he, too, had discovered the ability to see in total darkness. After a while, all three of us felt that we were not alone in the cave. It felt like someone was standing behind me, staring at the back of my head with a heavy stare. The feeling of heaviness turned into a distinct fear. We decided to stop work and head for the exit.
I remembered the layout of the passageways well. We entered the gallery of Archeologists, walked along an oval corridor for about ten minutes and… found ourselves at the place of our dinner. Slowly we started walking toward the exit and found ourselves in the same place again! Our condition was approaching panic, the light of the lanterns began to fade, and the pressure on our psyche increased.
Only with the third run did we manage to escape from the bewitched gallery to the surface.
Death Mountain Othorten
Mount Otorten is the highest point of the Northern Urals. At the end of January 1959 a perfectly prepared group of skiers from the Ural Polytechnic Institute died here. It was headed by an experienced tourist, an excellent skier, who had repeatedly made long winter mountain hikes, Igor Dyatlov. The guys went into the mountains, the deadline passed, but the group at the end point of the route did not come out.
Rescuers went in search of tourists found a tent with a cut back wall and the bodies of participants of the hike, lying in the deep snow. The faces of the dead froze with an expression of mortal horror. According to forensic medical examinations, some tourists died of hypothermia, while others had a ruptured heart.
Versions of what killed tourists, a few. At one time the most popular was the shamanistic version. According to it, tourists were punished for having stepped on the sacred ground. Shamans allegedly poked out tourists’ eyes and left them to die on the snow.
The second, more fashionable hypothesis is a nuclear hypothesis. The tourists were blown over by a radioactive cloud brought after a nuclear test from Novaya Zemlya.
The third version was based on the powerful military rocket which had lost control and flew over the Ural Mountains when the tourist group was there. Its flight was accompanied by a powerful pulse of infrasound, which caused at first unaccountable terror in people, and then, as the intensity increased, internal hemorrhaging and death. Its supporters said that 10 years later they found strips of oppressed forest at the site of the tragedy, left by the infrasound’s impact on the trees.
From 1969 to 1973 I worked in a geological party that made a detailed geological map of the upper Pechora River. In the center of the study area was Mount Otorten. We did not find any strips of oppressed forest, nor any traces of radioactive contamination of the area.
According to Mansi hunters, who often came to our fireplace, there were no attacks of shamans on tourists or geologists in the area of Mount Otorten.
But what had happened? What could have caused the death of the Dyatlov group? Everyone has probably heard about geopathogenic zones. In them, people are sometimes faced with inexplicable phenomena. They are gripped by a sense of fear, there is a temporary loss of memory and hallucinations arise. Recall the feelings of the participants of the hike, Pavel Gusev in the Vologda region and the unexpected horror that engulfed us in the Bear Cave.
Judging by the behavior of the compass, people in these zones find themselves under the influence of intense, rapidly changing physical fields, first of all – magnetic and electromagnetic. Geologists have known for a long time that there are structures in the Earth’s crust that have the property of changing physical fields. The famous doctor of geological-mineralogical sciences G. Vartanyan, who studied such zones, called them “shimmering structures”.
В отличие от обычных районов, «мерцающие структуры» продолжают «жить» и воздействуют на свойства жидкостей, а человек, как известно на 90 процентов состоит из воды.
Во время работы на Северном Урале с помощью аэромагнитной съёмки обнаруживали разрывные структуры, некоторые, судя по их воздействию на поверхностные водотоки, вполне могут быть «мерцающими». С такой структурой мы столкнулись в Медвежьей пещере, а группа Дятлова — на горе Отортен. Потеря ориентации и бессознательное желание бежать, особенно если они возникают ночью, могли привести участников похода к падению по крутому склону и гибели.