Natural phenomena can hardly be explained, especially if they are dangerous. Some of the geographic names on the map are terrifying: the Hill of the Dead, the Devil Bog, the Gorge of Death. Each of these places is covered with lots of mysterious legends saying not only about an accidental death of a traveller, but about mysterious deaths mostly.
In fact, the names of such places always served (and also currently do) as warnings not to enter them. The name of the height 1079 in Northern Urals, Kholat Sjahyl, is translated from the Mansi language as “Mountain of the Dead.” From time to time, the hill proves that the name had been given correctly.
Old residents of the place still remember an accident that occurred near the Mountain of the Dead. On February 2, 1959, a group of tourists from the Ural Polytechnic Institute set up a camp on the mountainside of the ominous height. In several days, the people were found dead. The reasons of the tragedy are not yet investigated. Several versions of the tragic deaths of the tourists were put forward: it was supposed that the men could be killed by a ball lightning, or they died because of a fatal effect of some UFO. It was also supposed that the tourists accidentally entered the area where secret tests of a vacuum weapon were held.
It was strange to discover that the skin of the dead had an unusually red tint; the people had internal injuries and haemorrhages. The same symptoms are typical of damages caused by a vacuum bomb that rarefies the air on a vast territory. In the outskirts of such a zone human blood vessels burst because of the highest internal pressure, and when a man in the epicenter, his body bursts into pieces. However, none of the versions was confirmed.
Investigators of phenomena are sure that geographic places with deadly names are rather anomalous areas where unusual natural processes happen. Mysteries of some of the regions have been discovered. For instance, it is no longer a surprise to see heaps of white bones in the Valley of Death in Russia’s Kamchatka, the Valley is on the territory of the Kronotsky preserve. Scientists found out that strange deaths of birds, gluttons and even bears happen because of volcanic cyanic gases evolved from earthly fissures; this gas paralyzes the respiratory tract.
However, there are no clear explanations to all phenomena. We may take for instance the Valley of Death in Russia’s republic of Yakutia, in the Upper Vilyui. The mystery of the valley lies in strange metal hemispheres that protrude in some places right from the permafrost. Legends say, when some brave man risked to spend a night near such an object, he inevitably died for unknown reasons. As we currently understand, such strange deaths resembled deaths caused by radioactive damages. Are there sources of such strong radiation in Yakutia? Nothing of this kind was discovered during geological surveys held in these regions.
The ill fame of the Valley of Death in China’s province of Sichuan is not accidental as well (sometimes the valley is called Black Bamboo Valley). In the summer of 1950 about 100 people strangely disappeared there and a plane crashed for unknown reasons. Such a large number of victims was once again registered in the valley in 1962. A man who guided a caravan of geologists survived. He later described the accident: “As soon as the advance group entered the gorge, the people were enveloped with a thick fog. Indistinct sounds were heard; but when the fog lifted, they were gone.”
Scientists recently organized an expedition to the Sichuan anomalous zone. They say that strange accidents probably happen there because of saturated fumes of decaying plants that choke people; then people lose the bearings and die in deep fissures that are abundant in the area.
But other scientists are sure that this solution of the mysterious death is just visible. In fact, tragedies occur there because of an unusually strong magnetic field of the Black Bamboo Valley. The same peculiarity is also typical of another Chinese valley of death situated in the mountains of the province of Jilin. For unknown reasons, planes crash and people disappear there. It happened sometimes that even experienced gatherers of ginseng, who perfectly knew the place, never got back home from the mountains. Compass hands vibrates, and people even lose memory and bearings there. Travellers stray about the same place but cannot find a way out. And the fatal valley just enlarges the number of its victims.
Vecherny Chelyabinsk newspaper (Chelyabinsk)
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