Based on actual events.
Click here to purchase
The facts:In 1959, nine Russian college students embarked on a 10 day skiing expedition in the Ural Mountains. They never returned. After the disappearance, an exhaustive search by authorities and the then Soviet government began. Eventually, the first five bodies were found. All of the bodies had died of exposure and were found outside their tent, in their underwear with no winter clothing. The temperature that night would have been well below zero.
Evidence at their camp suggested that they had cut themselves out of their tent during the night, abandoning skis, clothing and provisions. A criminal inquest was opened by authorities.
Of the recovered bodies, it was reported that all the victims' skin had turned orange and their hair had turned white. Other clues also suggested that some of them may have been blinded. Evidence also suggested that some of the dead had been trying to help another injured member when they all ultimately died of exposure.
So unnerving was the sight of these dead bodies that superstitious Russian helicopter pilots refused to fly with the corpses in their helicopters. Later, at the funerals in their respective towns, mothers refused to walk beside the caskets of their dead children. Two weeks before the ill fated ski trip, another group of hikers 50 miles west had reported seeing strange lights in the sky toward the direction of the nine skiers' location.
Months later, the final four bodies were found. The final four had all been partially dressed in winter clothing. It is believed that these four had been able to return to camp after initially leaving it. A flash light was found tied to a tent pole. For unknown reasons the camp was again abandoned. Of the final bodies, their skin was also tinted orange, and their hair, like the first four victims, had turned white.
Unlike the first four bodies, the final five had all died of massive internal injuries: broken ribs, punctured lungs, crushed vertebrae and one of the men had a completely crushed skull. The last body, one of two women on the team, had the most internal damage, including having her tongue removed. All nine bodies were also reported to have been radioactive.
A tribe of indigenous people, known as the Mansi, have lived in the vast Ural Mountains for centuries. The Mansi feared the mountain where the students had all died. The Mansi name for the mountain is Kholat Syakhl which translates to, "the mountain of the dead."
No one was ever charged with a crime, and no explanation has ever been given as to the cause of the disappearance of the students. The official inquest listed the cause of death as an "unknown compelling force." A stone monument with the pictures of the nine sits at the mouth of the now infamous pass.
Mountain of the Dead is the fictionalized story of the events of 51 years ago by writer, director Mike Wellins.
| Click here to purchase
the new book at
2012 Softback - 166 pages
Contact Mike Wellins for information