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Keith McCloskey

(2 Hours, 7 Minutes)

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One of the most requested topics in BoA:Audio history finally gets a proper examination as we welcome Keith McCloskey, author of the book Mountain of the Dead: The Dyatlov Pass Incident. Over the course of this comprehensive conversation, we look at the legendary mystery of Dyatlov Pass from a myriad of different angles. We cover the expedition itself and the key players involved. We delve into the bizarre circumstances surrounding that mystery night and subsequent aftermath. And we discuss and dissect nearly every major and minor theory surrounding what happened on that dark, cold night so long ago.

Required listening for any serious student of esoterica, this is an episode which takes you as close as possible to Dyatlov Pass on February 2nd, 1959 as Keith McCloskey joins us to talk about Mountain of the Dead.

Recap: We kick things off with the standard bio / background on Keith McCloskey and find out how he gravitated towards the case of Dyatlov Pass. We then quickly dig into the story, starting by setting the stage for how the Dyatlov expedition first came about in the first place, putting it in cultural context for 1950's communist Russia. We then follow the early days of the journey, through the small towns and trails leading to their final destination, which was to be a whopping 500 miles away in the snow.

Looking at some of the players in the story, we discuss the man who led the expedition and lent his name to the infamous location and incident: Igor Dyatlov. Then we learn about the extremely fortunate Yuri Yudin, who had to abandon the expedition early and, thus, survived whatever became of his friends. Following that, we talk about Alexander Zolotarev, who stands out amongst the victims as he was considerably older than everyone else and had a mysterious military background.

From there, we talk about the two female members of the expedition, Zinaida "Zina" Kolmogorova and Lyudmila "Luda" Dubinina, and Keith details how there seems to have been a veritable love triangle, of sorts, within the group surrounding Zina. He also delves into the unique personality of Luda and how it, eerily, may have led to her losing her tongue. We wrap up our coverage of some of the main players by discussing Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolles, who was the lone Frenchman in the group, and a pair of hikers who may have had further Soviet ties to nuclear research.

Next we revisit the diary which was maintained during the trip and informs much of what researchers know about how events unfolded. Keith details some of the pro and con arguments surrounding the information found in the diary. Getting meta on the case, we find out what became of the key evidence from the scene, such as the diary and the infamous slashed tent. Keith reflects on how critical the tent is to understand what might have happened that fateful night as well as questions about the tent which still linger.

Focusing now on the murky information about what happened at the scene of the incident, we begin with the bizarre paradox that the party slashed their way out of their tent but then fled at a walking pace in a single file line. We also attempt to fine tune the timeline of when things may have happened that night. From there, we reflect on the vast distance which the party appears to have traveled following whatever caused them to flee the tent. Bouncing around various other possibilities for their fate, we ponder if the group was skilled enough to not get lost after fleeing so far.

Looking at the aftermath of whatever happened to the hikers, we reconstruct what we know about the locations where the hikers' bodies were discovered and how the timeline of their deaths may have unfolded. We also discuss how the scene of the incident was almost immediately contaminated by an influx of searchers who were looking for hikers and not preserving evidence. Fleshing out the details of the entire case even further, we talk about how it took weeks before anyone even realized they needed to be found.

Having established what we know of the Dyatlov Pass incident, we then begin looking at various theories surrounding what happened. But first, we take a moment and learn about the strange final stages of hypothermia. Moving into theories, we get Keith's take on the mainstream dismissal of the case as simply the result of an avalanche. Binnall also proposes a new potential wrinkle to the Dyatlov story which Keith hadn't considered before or heard proposed. Filling out additional details on the case, we find out what the official Russian conclusion was regarding the case.

We then ping off the various easy explanations for what the Dyatlov Pass wasn't: animal attack, the result of in-fighting, or natural causes. We move on from those ideas to look at outside forces which may have caused the incident, beginning with the popular concept that the hikers inadvertently fell victim to a Russian military test. To that end, Keith shares the terrifying story of 'Compound 19,' which was the site of an anthrax outbreak in the Soviet Union. This leads to some talk of the unique injuries found inflicted on some of the hikers' bodies.

Getting into some of the weirder elements surrounding the case, we talk about how the initial investigator brought a Geiger Counter to the scene for reasons which remain a mystery. Finally, after dancing around it as long as possible, we look at the possibility that a UFO was involved in the event. We also delve into the possibility that the Yeti was somehow involved in the incident. Additionally, we talk about theories which suggest that escaped Gulag prisoners could have been responsible, which leads to some general talk about the Gulags as well as the unforgettable 'Walking Lardar.'

Plunging even further into the mystery, we begin looking at more alternative theories which suggest outside influences at work during the incident, starting with the mind blowing concept that the entire scene was a fabrication. Keith details numerous small details which suggest the discovered scene on Dyatlov Pass was a recreation of sorts. We also look at the odd timing of the criminal investigation. Circling back to the UFO theory, we discuss how the lead investigator insisted that the incident was caused by a UFO.

Another complex theory examined during the conversation is that the incident was caused by in-fighting with the Soviet government as seen through machinations surrounding pilfered helicopters and the Communist Party Congress. We reflect on the difficult expectations which befell the lone survivor, Yuri Yudin. Putting rubber to the road, we press Keith for his ultimate theory, at this time, on what happened to the victims of the Dyatlov Pass incident.

Heading toward the close, we look at a few more obscure aspects of the case, including odd amounts of urine found in the hikers' bodies as well as seemingly premature aging seen on the corpses. As we are near the end, we find out about what Dyatlov Pass is like nowadays, including the annual event which commemorates the incident, as well as how nearly all of the primary players in the case have since passed away.

Wrapping up the conversation, we learn about Keith's next visit to Russia as he continues to investigate the Dyatlov Incident. We also find out what it is like, on a visceral level, to actually be on Dyatlov Pass. Finishing things up, we find out about Keith's other projects, including a case of missing people at a lighthouse as well as some girls that went missing at the Vatican.

Keith McCloskey Bio:

Author and investigative researcher Keith McCloskey was born in Ireland and grew up in Africa. He has lived and worked in the Middle East, Africa and Argentina. His website is keithmccloskey.com and more info on Mountain of the Dead can be found at dyatlov-pass-incident.com/

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