First and foremost, let's just appreciate Disney for all the fantastic movies it puts out almost every year. And now, there are more reasons to be thankful for one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time - Frozen. We all loved the sister bonding and the whole ice queen moment going on there. If that wasn't enough, it has also helped solve a 62-year-old case.
To add to the bliss of the first movie, Disney came out with Frozen 2, the most-streamed film of 2020. How could it not? The characters, the animation, the songs – everything was perfect.
Well, Frozen can now add another feather to its hat because it has helped solve a 62-year-old case. That’s right. The fantastic animation in the movie didn’t just help Disney get that money, but it also helped solve the Dyatlov Pass Incident.
What Happened At Dyaltov Pass?
The year was 1959. Ten members (nine students and one sports instructor) of the Urals Polytechnic Institute in Yekaterinburg, Russia headed for a skiing and hiking trip on the 23rd of January, 1959 to the Ural Mountains.
They planned to take the Dyatlov Pass. After a while, one of the members went back due to an injury, and the rest nine continued through the pass. The only problem – they never made it to the end.
When the team did not reach the endpoint even after a week, a search team was sent to find them. Their tent was located sticking out of the snow at the campsite they had set up at Kholat Saykhl, which coincidently translates to “Dead Mountain”. The tent, on further inspection, was found torn from the inside.
Search Operation for the Party
Over the next few months, bodies of the nine members were found. The state in which they were found was a nightmare. All of their bodies were scattered around the slope of the mountain, some of them barely had any clothes on which was quite spooky as it was very unusual for anyone to go out in the snow, barely clothed. Some had their skulls and chest smashed open, and two of the bodies had no eyes, and one had no tongue.
Evidence From Site
Diaries were found on the campsite which led the investigators to believe that they had documented their last night on the 1st of February, 1959. The last photo on the skier’s camera was of them setting up their tent on the mountain’s slope.
Investigators believed that it was an avalanche caused by the Katabatic winds- strong winds blowing down from a mountain, that killed the team. But the search party could not find any concrete evidence proving that it was an avalanche.
And the Mystery Continued for 62 Long Years
However, Alexander Puzrin from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich studied several avalanches. And Johan Gaume from the Snow Avalanche Simulation Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne did not merely let the incident go.
The Russian authorities reopened the case and concluded that it was indeed an avalanche that caused the deaths; the evidence was insufficient. This is why Puzrin and Gaume started looking into things more minutely.
Three Theories About The Accident
First, they found that the slope on which the team set up camp was about 30 degree, which was the minimum incline for an avalanche to occur.
The second finding was the lack of snow which led them to rule out avalanche. But Puzrin and Gaume found that the diary discovered at the campsite mentioned some powerful winds which could have moved the snow around.
Third and the most unimaginable evidence was found in the most unusual place. John Gaume watched Disney’s Frozen at home and was fascinated with the animation of the snow’s spirit in the movie.
Hints From Disney's Frozen About Avalanches
He noticed how the snow moved around in the movie and was intrigued by it. He, therefore, travelled to Los Angeles to meet up with the animators of the film. After gaining the code, he made a model similar to Frozen, explaining how an avalanche had caused the nine skiers’ death.
They also found that the hikers had placed their skies under the bedding. Combine this with the animation from Frozen to show how the snow from the avalanche could have pressed the skier’s bodies down on the skies that they were sleeping on, and you have the reason for the blunt force trauma to the bodies.
Frozen's Tropes and Deduction of Event's Probable Cause
It could also explain the lack of clothing on some of the skiers. It may have been from a condition called paradoxical undressing, which is a condition when someone is dying from hypothermia begins to feel overheated and as a result, takes their clothes off.
The missing eyes and tongue could result from scavenging animals, which would not be a total surprise as in such areas, there are always animals trying to find food. Considering that it took weeks to find the bodies, the animals could have easily found the bodies first and fed on them.