The Pass : The following is based on true events.
On October 31th 2004, it was reported that 6 young adults had perished on the Uhkaava mountain pass in the northern wilderness of Finland. News reports excerpts stated “… four males and two females tragically lost their lives following an expedition… made the discovery 50km southeast of Ivalo… [believed] to have perished following unfavourable [weather] conditions…”.
The news reports did not delve into details regarding the specifics of the tragedy. Grieving family and friends of the deceased were informed by investigators that the group had got into difficultly during the early hours of Wednesday 27th October after a small avalanche descended onto their camp. Death was caused by hypothermia in all cases with the exception of Anni Järvinen whose demise was found to be the result of cerebral hemorrhaging caused by blunt force trauma to her right temporal bone. This was attributed to debris, possibly a large rock or tree branch, propelled at speed through the avalanche. No further details were disclosed.
Authorities and law enforcement officers found the ruined camp after being made aware of potential missing persons by concerned friends who informed them that the group failed to contact them on neither the 29th nor 30th October to confirm that they had returned safely from the wilderness.
The six deceased were transported to their respective home towns to be claimed by their immediate kin. All six were transported in closed caskets which remained closed. Authorities cited the poor conditions of the bodies, exposed for too long to the relentless elements before discovery, as the reasoning behind this. Many people were of the belief that the bodies should in fact have been preserved in good condition but the stricken emotions of the bereaved meant that they did not voice any objections and cause further stress. The bodies were buried and the tragedy receded into memory for all but the closest family members.
It has since been discovered that this information does not amount to the full story of what occurred on that fateful night.
Withheld information and retrospective investigations, the results and conclusions of which were secreted away in an archive until now, paint a very different picture of the events which occurred. Presented for your consideration are those missing facts, alongside conjectures and suppositions designed to recreate, in so much as is possible, the true nature of the circumstances which transpired on October 26th and 27th 2004 on the Uhkaava Pass.
The six deceased in question are: Manu Okkonen, 23, studied for an MA in architectural design, Lempi Litmanen, 19, studied for a BA in Finnish language, the aforementioned Anni Järvinen, 20, studied for a BSc in geology, Jaak Ilves, 20, also studied for a BSc in geology, Raine Järvinen, 20, studied for a BSc in electrical engineering and Ole Aadland, 21, a Norwegian who studied in the School of Medicine at the University of Tampere. Manu, Lempi, twins Anni and Raine, and Jaak (an Estonian national) all studied at the University of Oulu.
Subsequent interviews conducted among staff and students of both universities have been used herewith to help piece together the components of a bizarre puzzle and the conjectures which will follow in due course. All six students lived on their respective campuses and all lived long distances away from their families. The funerals afforded the authorities time for unofficial searches of their dorms and to conduct interviews away from the watchful gazes of inquisitive families, some unsatisfied with the information released to them. It also allowed authorities to complete their investigations of the dorms of the deceased before relatives were afforded the opportunity to claim the possessions of the dead. Certain known possessions, including diaries, were never claimed by families and have never been accounted for.
The five attendees of the university of Oulu were a tight-knit group. They were popular among their peers (with the exception of Jaak, who had gothic tendencies which were the subject of some ridicule by other students) and they spent much of their leisure time together. They were an active bunch, fond of pursuits including hiking, ski-boarding, rock-climbing and abseiling. Weekend sojourns to locations suited for these activities were a common occurrence for the five. Analysis of evidence has revealed that between the 12th and 15th of October a 6 day long trip, to coincide with midterm break, was planned. The trek was to commence on the 23rd October with the group due to return to the university on 29th October.
The five diligently planned their junket. They were experienced adventurers and were only too aware of the potential dangers that awaited them. They laboriously planned every aspect of their trip and inventoried absolutely all equipment and gear which was to be taken on the trip.
On the 15th of October, Manu Okkonen received an email from Ole Aadland. The two were good friends from Ole’s time in the University of Oulu where Ole studied for one year before relocating to the University of Tampere. At the time, (before the other deceased members commenced third level studies) both Manu and Ole were integrated into a large fraternity who liked to make the most of their weekends: partying, pranks, girls and occasionally sports. Manu and Ole in particular, along with (NAME WITHELD) had a passion for outdoor activities. Manu’s passion would eventually infect the rest of Uhkaava mountain pass party. Manu invited Ole to join the planned trip. Ole accepted.
At 9.30am on Saturday October 23rd, the Uhkaava mountain pass party convened on the grounds of the University of Oulu. Ole was introduced by Manu to the other members of the group for the first time. They set off on their trip at 9.40am.
The intervening days between October 23rd and October 26th are believed to have passed without much incident, with one notable exception. The group travelled in two cars and made their way north to the town of Ivalo (located approximately 500km away from Oulu). They arrived there two days later on October 25th. The group are known to have visited several bars in Ivalo before retiring for the night. It is believed that at some point Ole and Jaak almost came to physical blows. This is believed to have been caused by simmering, underlying tensions between the two (Ole disliked Jaak’s gothic lifestyle and believed him also to be a homosexual). The situation was only exacerbated by alcohol and it is thought that Manu and Raine helped to maintain the peace. The group set off early the next day in a southeasterly direction. It was in this isolation that they intended to rock-climb and snow-board. They also intended to spend their first and only night outdoors.
The group are believed to have enjoyed a successful day of activities. At approximately 4pm they arrived at the Uhkaava pass where they decided to set up camp. A forested area lay beyond the pass but Manu felt that it was too risky to travel further for the shelter as nightfall was rapidly approaching. The campsite was made on the pass at the base of a steep slope with a river located 200m away and a few lone trees dotted around the pass.
The group stayed together in one large tent as the collective temperature produced by body heat was greater than if spread over two or three individual tents. Digital imagery recovered from the scene showed that the group had a meal at 8.30pm and, sat around a paraffin lamp, proceeded to imbibe alcohol until approximately 11.30pm. The group sang songs and played games before retiring to sleep, most drowsy from the effects of alcohol. The paraffin lamp remained illuminated throughout the night. DNA analysis showed that Manu and Lempi shared the same sleeping bag and had sexual intercourse. It is presumed this occurred when the others fell asleep. Semen belonging to Jaak and found in the stomach of Raine indicates that they too had a sexual tryst after awaking briefly some time between 12.45am and 1.00am.
At 1:58am, an incident occurred which caused the entire group to suddenly evacuate the tent. It was significant enough to prompt everyone involved to step outside into estimated temperatures of -22°C without stopping for long enough to collect warmer clothing on the way out. They were outside for approximately 90 seconds before returning to inside the tent. Images found on Ole’s cellular phone showed that he attempted, probably in a haste, to take photos of Lempi who appeared to be wearing only a brassiere at the time. His attempts were somewhat unsuccessful as an object (probably his thumb) partially obscured the lens which resulted in partial images of her naked buttocks. It is believed that he snapped these pictures unbeknownst to Lempi or any of the rest of the group.
Further digital imagery reveals that the group joked and laughed, possibly to brush off the incident, and seemed in high spirits before returning to sleep.
The cause of this initial evacuation remains unknown.
Analysis of the scene suggests that a light snow fell between 2.30am and 3.15am concealing most of the original tracks and footprints. It did not snow again between the time of the incident and the discovery of the bodies.
An avalanche did not take place, this was a fabrication on the part of the investigators.
At some time between 3.25am and 3.35am, the fatal events unfolded. The body of Anni Järvinen was discovered 20m away from the tent. She was found wearing a t-shirt, pyjama bottoms and one thermal sock. It was initially believed that as she fled from the tent in the darkness, she ran headlong into a single tree, fracturing her skull and fatally wounding her. However, an inspection of the ground showed her footprints moving just past, and not into, the tree in question before falling from her injury. The injury stemmed from another source.
The bodies of Raine Järvinen and Jaak Ilves were found in each other’s arms some 540m away from the camp site. They both died of hypothermia. Jaak wore only his nighttime attire and a bobble hat, Raine wore nighttime attire and also a coat and his unlaced boots. It appeared that he attempted to keep Jaak warm by drawing him into his unzipped coat. Further anaylsis of Jaak’s body showed that he had sustained two non-fatal injuries; a broken rib and a severed tongue. It is believed he unintentionally bit off his own tongue. Jaak was introduced to Raine through Raine’s sister Anni, with whom Jaak shared his geology classes. Their sexual orientation and fondness for one another was never known by anyone, not even Anni.
The body of Manu Okkonen was found beside the partially collapsed and partially burnt tent. He wore only boxer shorts and a t-shirt. He, like Anni, died from trauma to the cranium. However, the trauma he suffered was far more severe. An apparent blow to the head completely caved in the left side of his head, knocking out an eyeball, most of his teeth, fragments of skull and a large portion of brain matter. The cause of the trauma is unknown. Found embedded in the remains of his head was one solitary hair. The hair was 5 inches long and thick like that of animal. The hair was jet black with veins of a turquoise pigment running through the length of the hair. Scientists have determined that the hair is organic in descent and not man-made. The species from which it came is unknown.
The body of Ole Aadland was discovered in the river, some 600m downstream. He had drowned. He was found wearing a one-piece pjyama suit, boots and a trapper hat and a zipper hoodie which forensics later discovered both belonged to Anni. Traces of Anni’s blood were found on the right shoulder of the hoodie. The hat had also been severely damaged and contained Anni’s blood and hair. It has been determined that both Anni and Ole fled from the tent in a similar direction. Ole, who had picked up a hatchet during his escape, struck Anni the fatal below with the blunt edge of the weapon. He removed her hoodie and hat and, donning both items to help maintain warmth in the extreme cold, continued his escape towards the river. Analysis of his footprints on the riverbank reveal that he stopped, looked back towards the camp as if considering his options before committing himself to the plunge. He drifted downstream until the hood of Anni’s hoodie, snagged a fallen tree below the surface of the water. In darkness and panicking, Ole struggled to free himself but only served to also catch the sleeve of the hoodie on the fallen tree. Trapped beneath the surface of the water, he quickly drowned. The discarded hatchet, upon which were traces of Anni’s blood, was found discarded on the riverbank next to Ole’s footprints.
The body of Lempi Litmanen was never recovered. No footprints matching hers were discovered at the scene. An inspection of artifacts at the site by authorities also leads them to believe that she was still wearing only a brassiere when she disappeared. Two weeks after the initial investigation, authorities covertly performed another search of the site. A severed hand was found in a tree 1km from the campsite. Many of the lower branches up to a height of five metres were broken. They were subjected to an extreme weight or pressure. The hand belonged to Lempi.
Rigorous examinations of the tent and its contents were carried out. It was initially assumed that the partial burning of the canvas had resulted from an accidental overturning of the paraffin lamp as the group rushed out of their quarters during the second evacuation. This notion has since been scuppered by compelling evidence that suggests Manu intentionally ignited the material but the fire failed to take. The reason for this arson is unknown. Aside from minor burns and damaged doors, the tent showed no other indications of compromise.
Authorities originally suspected that Ole Aadland was responsible for the gruesome events at Uhkaava Pass. However, whilst responsible for the manslaughter of Anni Järvinen, he has been eliminated as the cause of the devastation. It has been established that he was the second to leave the tent after Anni and his tracks continued only one way to the river.
Attacks from hostile locals or wild fauna such as lynx, wolverine or bear have also been eliminated as triggers for the destruction. No foreign human or animal prints were found at the scene. The group also had a hunting rifle (licenced to Manu Okkonen who was a very capable hunter) and two Bowie knives within the tent. It would appear that no attempt was made to utilize these weapons for self-defence despite the fact they were close to hand. In fact, the only item missing from the tent was the hatchet.
The last piece of evidence present at the scene was a claw mark which ripped though the inner door of the tent. The claw mark entered the door near its top and travelled downwards leaving the material dangling in ribbons. The inner door was never unzipped as the group were able to move through the tattered remains of the inner door unimpeded. Again, officials had believed a carnivore may have been responsible for the devastation but an inspection of the claw mark revealed it was one swipe made from an animal with seven claws on one appendage. The door, while in its taut and undamaged state, would allow for one swipe and no more. The presence of seven claws ruled out any local fauna which would have a maximum of five. The lack of any DNA evidence also aided in eliminating a local predator as the culprit as no hair, saliva etc was found. The only item found was the unidentifiable black-blue hair on Manu’s body.
Anni was known to be the first to exit the tent during the second evacuation. She forced her way through the sealed outer door without undoing the zipper. Damage to the zipper, blood (identified as Anni’s) on the zipper-teeth and a small, fresh wound on her arm, confirm this theory. What remains a topic of debate amongst certain authorities is the nature of the claw mark. It was determined to have struck the inner door of the tent from within. Anni Järvinen fled through the tattered inner door and burst through the secure outer door. The others quickly followed.
While the authorities do not know the cause of the destruction that night on the Ukhaava Pass, one irrefutable, disturbing fact remains: the attack originated from inside the tent.