It’s been a while since I last did one of these. If you’re new to Bloody Disgusting — in that case, welcome! — way back in 2010, we took a treacherous journey into the darkest recesses of the world with a look at some ridiculously creepy real world places that would make great settings for horror games. From the safety of our computers we visited a slew of terrifying locales, from an ossuary in the Czech Republic that’s made from the remains of tens of thousands of people to an eerily silent forest in Japan where hundreds of people have committed suicide, and even a Pennsylvania ghost town that’s alarmingly reminiscent of the town of Silent Hill.
You guys seemed to enjoy these little trips, so it became a series, an annual celebration of how freakishly scary this world can sometimes get. After taking a year off, it’s back with five more places horror games should visit!
Dyatlov Pass — Ural Mountains, Russia
Unless you’re like me and any real amount of physical exertion sounds absolutely terrifying, the scariest thing about the Dyatlov Pass isn’t the area itself, but the manner in which nine hikers died there in 1959. The pass sits at the eastern base of Russia’s Kholat Syakhl, or “Death Mountain” — okay, sure, that sounds moderately terrifying — a mountain the group was working on passing before they mysteriously perished.
At first, it sounds like a mishap, another tragedy to add to the ever-growing list of reasons why it’s best to remain indoors where you can soak in the electromagnetic radiation that’s being emitted from practically every electrical appliance in your house so it can get all up in your biomagnetic field. It is tragic, but it’s when you go into the details and circumstances in which they were found where things start to get bizarre.
For one, they were all experienced hikers and skiers who were led by a guide that was familiar with the area, so they weren’t exactly tourists. When rescuers were dispatched to locate them, they found a tent that had been torn apart, and within it was a majority of the group’s belongings, including all their shoes and coats.
When the hikers were finally located, their bodies were found in two groups. The first group was lying in the snow in a line next to a river, with about 200 yards separating each of them. Two months passed before the rest of them were found, and when they were it was under 15 feet of snow in a den they had hallowed out in a seemingly desperate attempt to stay warm.
Some of the bodies had broken bones and various internal injuries, but no external wounds to help identify what could have caused them. Lyudmilla Dubinina’s body was also missing her tongue and eyes.
No one knows what happened there, but I’m sure anyone with a decent imagination can come up with something a bit more detailed than the explanation the Soviet government decided upon, which described the cause of their deaths as “an unknown elemental force which they were unable to overcome.”
After going unsolved for nearly sixty years, the Dyatlov Pass incident has only recently begun to see a new surge of interest. It was used in the 2013 film Devil’s Pass, which is actually a decent horror film until it completely unravels in the final act. There’s also an indie game on the way, titled Kholat, which also plans to take advantage of the mystery surrounding the incident.