There are so many people who just don't seem to get along with Winter, and don't much care for snow and cold temperatures. And sure, that makes sense. Some people thrive better in the Summer than they do in the Winter (this author is not one of those people).
And those who were on the fence with regards to Winter, might jump off to the Summer side by the end of this article. The snow can be a devastating force (even though it is one of the very best insulators in the world). What it can also be is an accomplice in some horrific sites and experiences.
Sweeping over many things, leaving them without a trace, this article takes a look at fifteen disturbing objects, organisms, and groups of people who have been uncovered in the snow and ice all around the world. Grab a hot cup of cocoa, put on a sweater, and chill...
15 Weeping Angel
Alright, so let's start out with something both disturbing and fictional, just to brace readers a slight bit. Surely, at first glance, one would think this is an actual, frozen, human body. Not the case however. In actuality (or in fiction-ality), this is a "weeping angel" from the Dr. Who series. Appearing in six different seasons, and featuring in special episodes, and video games as well, the weeping angels are a special sort of crazy, that one would not wish to dig up.
These creatures have a bit of a problem with looking at one another, and will turn to stone from too much eye contact, so they cradle their heads in their hands, to avoid petrification. The angel part of the nickname is why it would be a bit disturbing to come across one, buried in the snow. They don't so much as kill their victims, but they "mercifully" redistribute them backwards in time, so that they may feed on the time energy of their prey. The victim does live out their full life, but in a different time period...which could very well shorten that lifespan significantly.
14 The Iceman Cometh
Two mountaineers, Helmut and Erika Simon, in the German Alps happened to come across a frozen corpse one day (this is real now, by the way), and assumed it to be the body of a recently missing climber or skier. They were quite wrong. First of all...to look at the corpse, this author simply does not understand how someone could mistake this ancient corpse for anyone even close to recently deceased. The body, as thinned, and barely clothed as it was, should have given that away easily. A recent casualty of the Alps would be frozen with their Winter raiment, and would have some degree of recognizable features, fairly well preserved in the snow and ice.
Why is the above corpse so poorly preserved in comparison to how a more recent one would be? Simple. The corpse the two mountaineers found is over five thousand years old! Named Otzi, the approximately 30 to 45-year-old man was so well preserved, in spite of the look of him, that he had intact blood cells. Through DNA identification, it was discovered that Otzi happens to have nineteen living male relatives in the Tyrol region of Austria. Given the arrow wound in his shoulder, Otzi may very well have been murdered out on the mountain range...
13 What Does The Fox Say? "Brrrrr"
This article is full of disease and deprivation, but this is perhaps the most depressing of all of the photos and videos present. If for no other reason than it being an entire fox, solidly encased in ice. In the south of Sweden, a twenty-six-year-old man came across what he, at first, thought was foam rubber. One is not sure how exactly he came to think such a thing given how clearly this form in the ice is a fox, but perhaps that's not really relevant. What is relevant is how disturbing this sight truly is. Given the way the ice breaks away, in layers around the poor creature, it seems fairly obvious that the fox had fallen through the ice, and simply hadn't the ability to climb its way back out, noticeably unable to reach its paws back up onto the surface ice. Somehow still able to keep its head up on the ice, and out of the water, it must have died, and frozen there, fairly quickly. Given that some of the fox's whiskers were sticking up out of the ice, the Swedish man did not stay too much longer out on the ice, for fear that he might be next.
12 Survivors Found... Along With Half-Eaten Remains Of The Others
Back in the seventies, a rugby team, along with family and friends, had booked a plane, to fly them to a game. Unable to fly against the weather, the plane went down in the Andes, and twelve of the passengers died on impact. By the end of the over two month struggle to survive on the mountain range, only sixteen of the original forty five passengers managed to survive till rescue. How, with meager rations and freezing cold, did these people manage to make it? When crews went back to retrieve the dead, they discovered, to their horror that, buried in the snow around and within the plane, some of the deceased had been stripped of parts of their flesh in order to sustain their living friends.
Highly controversial, but certainly not the first crew of people to resort to cannibalism in the dire straights of the frigid cold (like Franklin and his followers), the few who made it out alive, kept going through prayer, huddling together for warmth, and eating the flesh of their friends. The families of those who were lost, and at least partially eaten during the harrowing time in the Andes, were overwhelmingly understanding, and have continued to have an annual dinner with the survivors and their friends and families.
11 Nuclear Waste...Ready To Go
So sure, the fox was a very disturbing image, of course, and the cannibalism of the rugby team was a very disturbing, though necessary part of an intense survival story...but the nuclear waste at Camp Century, is probably one of the top three most disturbing things thankfully still currently under the snow today. Though that won't last forever. In 1959, the United States military built a nuclear base in the ice sheets of Greenland's territory. In proper U.S. fashion, it subsequently decided to just forget about this incredibly significant stockpile of nuclear waste by literally leaving it to be swept under the rug. Sure, the rug in this case is snow, but a rug nonetheless. However, thanks to global climate change (something that the current president of the United States doesn't think exists), the ice sheets in Greenland are shifting, and much of the snow expected to encase the nuclear base forever (thanks to some great forethought and apathy in the U.S. government circa 1967), will melt away. What does this mean? It means that a great deal of nuclear waste, perhaps as early as 2090 (which means the future children of youth today will certainly experience this) will pour forth into the Arctic and Atlantic oceans to devastating effect.
10 The Dyatlov Pass Incident
Sticking to Russia because why not? Above is a shot of a victim in the Dyatlov Pass. The pass itself is named after the leader of a group of nine skiers who were travelling some three hundred and fifty kilometres over the mountains. The name of the mount they were travelling to translates to "don't go there". And the group's camp, discovered by search teams, was set on the slope of a mountain that translates to "mountain of the dead". So it seems their journey was meant to be doomed, no matter what. Regardless, when they were discovered, there was clear cutting of the tent. In addition, several members of the group had ventured into the snow in nothing more than socks and underwear. Each was found with signs of struggle, in some way, shape, or form.
No one, to this day, has been able to confirm just what happened out there on those slopes. That hasn't stopped people from speculating though, by any means. Theories range all over the place. Some believe the group witnessed military exercises they were not supposed to. Others claim that some vicious creature did them in. And still others think some sort of supernatural element was at play. This event occurred in 1959 (the same year the nuclear base was built in Greenland's ice shelf). The then Soviet authority, gave the cause of the incident to be an "unknown compelling force".
9 Backyard Body
Don't worry, this isn't actually a pile of snow, under which lies a dead man. No, no. However, that being said, there was a man, in Boston who was found across town, buried in a heap of snow in someone's backyard. This forty-year-old man remained unidentified after the discovery, as no cause of death was found, nor was the time of death easily interpreted, thanks to the preserving effect of the snow. No signs of foul play seemed to factor in to the corpse in someone's backyard...but imagine that. Going on about your day, all through the winter, all the while, there is a corpse in the backyard. With no signs of foul play, it seems fairly likely that this man, one night, took a stroll across town, into someone's backyard...either passed out, or simply decided to rest there in the bank, cover himself with a blanket of snow, and then disappear from sight until his discovery in early April.
8 Someone Got Their Goat
So...the people who owned this farm are horrible people: just to make that clear before continuing. During the thaw, post-winter in 2015, a dozen dead goats were found on a farm. A farm that already had seventy-four sickly goats removed from it, because of neglect and cruelty. One might think that's enough to find disturbing...but that's not all. Since the removal of the sickly goats and of the dozen dead goats, nearly seventy more animals have been discovered underneath the melting snow, strewn about the farm. Two of the dead goats were discovered underneath the snow, shoved under a lawn tractor, wrapped in a packing blanket. There are those, surely, who must be wanting to know just what has happened to the couple responsible for this horrible account of neglect and cruelty. Well, they are currently out on bond (this happening in the U.S.), but are up on charges of animal cruelty.
7 Anthrax!? Oh Deer!
That is not a spelling error. "Oh Deer" indeed. In August of last year, temperatures in Siberia reached surprisingly high and began melting sections of permafrost. This melt happened to expose a reindeer carcass. That's nothing too interesting, right? No, not until it transpires that the reindeer was infected with anthrax! While encased in the snow and permafrost, the reindeer had no effect on anyone or anything. But having been exposed, nine people became infected with anthrax and more than two thousand reindeer had died, in the same area (though not all of these deaths have been directly related to the anthrax outbreak). Eight of the nine people who contracted the deadly disease managed to survive through courses of antibiotics. But one, a twelve-year-old child, was not so lucky. Having contracted an intestinal version of the disease, which is apparently much harder to diagnose, the child died. And this all because of a thawing reindeer carcass...
6 The White Death
During World War I, Austro-Hungarian Imperial forces and Italian forces fought for a foothold on the mountainous ranges of the Alps. They called this often forgotten bit of combat the "White War". And those who suffered death at the hands of avalanches were said to have suffered the "White Death". One day, in 1916, an avalanche swept down the Alps and took with it ten thousand soldiers in one fell swoop.
Calling the infamous day "White Friday", it was the single largest killer during that campaign of the first World War. To date, approximately eighty bodies have surfaced, thanks to the melting of the glacier on which these soldiers fought. Disturbingly, knowing that there are more than ten thousand soldiers buried in this area of the Alps, not all bodies have been found in peaceful ways. Very grotesque are many of the positions in which these corpses are found. Two teenage soldiers were found together, bullet holes in each of their skulls...perhaps their final thought being a refusal to suffocate in the rushing torrent of snow coming toward them?
5 Ancient Virus?
Yeah, that's right. An ancient virus. For those who believe the world is only six thousand years old, stop reading now. In eastern Russia, again in the permafrost, there was discovered a thirty-thousand-year-old virus. If that wasn't scary enough, it was then brought to the lab...and resurrected! Thankfully, so far as anyone knows, this virus only affects single-celled organisms. So that leaves us out of the war path. But there is something intuitively disturbing about this discovery. If a thirty-thousand-year-old disease can be discovered in the permafrost of Russia and can come back to life to continue infecting...there could very well be other viruses and diseases buried out there, waiting for another shot at infection. If we have gone thirty thousand years without needing to worry about them, who says the species will have the ability to fight them off? As climate change continues to melt away the ice caps and open up vast sections of permafrost...the species will discover just what lies beneath.
4 Wait...There's Someone In There!
In 2012, a forty-four-year-old, Swedish man veered his car off to a country road, and either got stuck in a drift, or parked the car, to have it covered in snow. For two whole months, this man stayed in his car, with hardly any rations. Eating handfuls of snow, after running out of all else, this man miraculously survived! Medical authorities suggest that by eating the snow (which is not good for a human being in a survival situation, by the way), the man cooled to a point of near hibernation. This is the theory as to just how the man's body managed to hang on.
A man on a ski-doo happened upon the vehicle, and scraped a bit at the windshield. Seeing some movement, the guy called in the location, and the now emaciated and near-death man was taken to the hospital. Imagine the horror of seeing movement upon scraping at a seemingly abandoned car. Then imagine what the man looked like, malnourished for two months. Hypothermic and severely starving, the man was taken to hospital, able to speak. Authorities thought at first that he was a nature enthusiast, looking for some great photos of the area and its creature. But it turns out he may have had little left to live for. Having been broken up with, lost contact with his parents, and been in severe debt, this could have been a long, gruelling suicide attempt.
3 The Dreaded Farallon
Back in the late eighteen hundreds, the steamer ship The Farallon took on passengers who were bound for Cook Inlet. Though the crew was aware that this stretch of water was treacherous...and though they knew there was a ragged coral reef on the way into the bay... they assumed the tide was with them, and would carry them gracefully over the reef. They were very wrong. Scraping along the reef and coming to a violent halt, the crew of the Farallon had to abandon ship and make for the shore of Iliamna Bay.
Huddled together, freezing in the worsening Northern weather (with insufficient apparel), they put their heads together. Heading back to the ship, they pulled every door they could off of the cabins, and they brought all the food stores they had back with them. Out of the doors, they fashioned a tiny shelter in which they did their cooking and huddled at night. Not days after they had evacuated the Farallon was it completely encased in snow and ice...save for one smoke stack. This stack is the very thing that led another ship to finding the crew many weeks later. All thirty-two crew members and six passengers survived the ordeal, astonishingly.
2 Race To The Bottom
Ok, so perhaps finding the people in this video would not be the disturbing part of the whole deal...but certainly being swept up by the ensuing avalanche would be a very disturbing experience. And being subsequently buried in a gigantic heap of snow. The people at the base of the hill likely did not experience too much agony, but the guy snowboarding along the hill as it gave way to an avalanche...well one can only hope that he did not hit any rocks, or the big pole on the way down.
This is what happens when a ski resort isn't based at a groomed mountain, but simply at the foot of some hulking beast that is just waiting to release torrents of snow as people glide down its forbidding slopes. One can only imagine the adrenaline, and the fear pumping through someone as a cascade of snow pulls them under, drags them along, and buries them in who knows how many feet. There is a YouTube video of a man getting buried by an avalanche while wearing a head-cam. Scary stuff, and a lot of darkness before the light of day comes crawling back. So imagine how the at least nine people buried in the above video must have felt...especially the first one to get it.
1 Don't Dig This Up
There was a photo of the leopard underneath the snow, sticking it's cute face out, but one figured this photo might better convey why it would be rather disturbing to come across one of these underneath the snow. As cute and cuddly as a snow leopard can seem from afar, this above photo must clearly demonstrate how that cuteness can just as quickly become killer instinct. Especially since they are a rare breed of cat, and always on the lookout for food. Now, if this one were to leap, it might get a little slipped up on the ice...but its pads and paws would most likely prevent that, almost to a surety. Of course, unless one is trekking along the mountain ranges of Central or Southern Asia, one is not likely to come across a snow leopard...and realistically, if one does happen to have a snow leopard near them in the snow...one is not like to even notice until it's too late. So stealthy and secretive are these predators that they are not typically seen unless they want to be seen (or one can spend months trying to capture footage, like in the Planet Earth series).