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'Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives' investigates the deadly Dyatlov Pass incident

"Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" is no "Mermaids: The Body Found." The new Discovery Channel special links a mythical creature to deadly event that actually took place, and it presents compelling evidence about what really happened during the mysterious Dyatlov Pass incident.

'Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives' offers a new explanation for the Dyatlov Pass incident
Soviet investigators/Wikimedia Commons

"Mermaids: The Body Found" fooled viewers with fake footage and fabricated stories of mermaid encounters. However, according to a May 27 report by Monsters & Critics, "Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" is based on the true story of nine hikers who were killed under mysterious circumstances in 1959. The new special airs on the Discovery Channel on June 1 at 9 p.m. ET.

The Dyatlov Pass incident has intrigued conspiracy theorists for decades. On February 2, 1959, Igor Alekseievich Dyatlov took eight of his friends on a ski trek in an isolated area of the Ural Mountains. The group never returned. When the hikers' frozen bodies were discovered, they were in various stages of undress. Some of the hikers also sustained internal injuries and broken bones that could have only been caused by a very strong force. However, the most shocking and horrific injuries were the removal of the eyes and tongue from the body of Lyudmila Alexandrovna Dubinina. "Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" offers an intriguing theory for what happened to Dubinina's face.

The hikers' bodies were found in three separate groups, and it appeared that they had been fleeing from something. They used a knife to cut their tent from the inside, and they must have been terrified for their lives to run out into the cold without the supplies and warm clothing that they needed to survive. Yuri Krivonischenko and Yuri Doroshenko fled wearing nothing but their underwear – they didn't even grab shoes to protect their feet from the deep snow. Their bodies were found near a tree, and broken branches suggested that one of them had attempted to climb it to get away from something or to look for something.

The Soviet government made the fate of the hikers seem suspicious by labeling the official cause of their deaths "a compelling natural force" and quickly closing the case. Conspiracy theories about how the hikers perished include everything from ritualistic alien killings to a secret military operation involving weapons testing in the isolated area. There's also speculation that the hikers might have been fleeing from an avalanche.

However, "Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" uses new evidence to make the case that a yeti played a part in the death of the nine hikers. The evidence includes a never-before-seen photo that was one of the last taken by the hikers. Explorer Mike Libecki tries to piece together what really happened to the group on that fateful night using this new photo, eyewitness accounts, and official documents that reveal some rather shocking secrets about the Dyatlov Pass incident.

With the help of Russian translator Maria Klenokova, Mike talks to members of the rescue party who discovered the bodies of the hikers, and he even discovers a chilling written message by one of the hikers that seems to suggest that they had an encounter with a yeti. What starts out as a quest for the truth turns into a yeti hunt, and what Mike and Maria discover might make your jaw drop.

There are so many elements that make the Dyatlov Pass incident a compelling unsolved mystery. It's hard to explain the hikers' last photo of orbs of light in the sky, and it's odd that their bodies showed abnormal traces of radiation. It's also interesting that the Mansi tribe who live nearby believe in the yeti and refer to the place that the hikers were camping as the Mountain of the Dead.

Even if you don't believe in the existence of the yeti, you might want to check out "Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" on June 1. The Discovery Channel special offers new insight into the Dyatlov Pass incident, and the special doesn't suggest that the yeti was the only being that had something to do with the death of the hikers.

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