A lack of eyewitnesses has inspired much speculation about the cause of the deaths. Suggestions range from UFOs to mind control experiments to Abominable Snowmen. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling unknown force” had caused the deaths. Investigators found that on a bitterly cold night, alone on the mountain, the hikers tore open their tent from within, departing barefoot into heavy snow and a temperature of −30 °C (−22 °F).
The story becomes even more bizarre because the corpses showed no signs of struggle, however two of the victims had fractured skulls, two suffered broken ribs, and one poor girl was missing her tongue.