1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
My father was a physicist, so I was raised in a scientific environment. I studied Computer & Information Science and Psychology at Queen’s University in Canada and the Technical University in Munich. I have been a mountaineer, sailor, and adventurer all my life, and as an entrepreneur, I created a software company specializing in image analysis & editing software. When I heard about the Dyatlov Pass Incident, which is probably the most famous mountaineering mystery of all time, I was of course clueless like everyone, but the case lingered in my mind. I then found present-day video material describing exactly what the hikers saw on the slope of Mt. Kholat Syakhl. I analyzed the last photos from the cameras and discovered that they were not showing a lab window in the morgue, as suggested by case experts. The incident then suddenly made complete sense to me, but still, I did not anticipate writing a book about it.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
In the years following my initial discovery, I saw a number of TV documentaries about the tragedy. I have always been intrigued by real-life mysteries, like the Franklin expedition, the fate of MH370 or the Skinwalker Ranch. Since I’m a mountaineer myself, the Dyatlov mystery didn’t leave me alone. I then did two years of intense research and the big picture slowly emerged, like a long-hidden puzzle. I never wanted to write a book about my suspicion, but the revival of the avalanche theory by the mainstream media stirred me up. I knew from my ski hiking experience and professional analysis of photos from the Dyatlov camp site, that the reason for the escape and the injuries of the hikers could not have been an avalanche.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
When I decided to write a book, I tried not to succumb to prejudice and bias, but to analyze the case from the ground up. So I concentrated on original evidence like the case files, eyewitness testimonies and the “famous last frames”. Whatever evidence I came up with, it always fit the picture that started to appear. I had to discard nothing, and every question was answered, without layered assumptions or by ignoring Occam. He was philosopher from the 14the century who proposed, that the most likely answer to a problem is always the simplest one. This message is an important one for life. Try to always be open minded, keep it simple and avoid confirmation bias.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
The surviving relatives have the right to know, that the young mountaineers didn’t die in vain. The conclusions to the case open up one of the last mysteries in modern science, which has an high relevance for UFOlogy, aviation and new energy sources. The solution to the Dyatlov Pass Incident is actually quite spectacular. All of this together made it impossible for me to ignore this mystery.
5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I did a lot of research and discussion on Facebook, as there are several groups about the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Quora is also a good site to ask for opinions and get answers to questions.
6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
If you want to be successful with a nonfiction book, try to stay away from confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. Meaning, that you should never ignore evidence or arguments that do not fit your line of thought. Take your time, show respect to other theories, ideas and people involved in the topic, and expect to get rich only in experience. Don’t be arrogant but open-minded, test your thoughts on social media, accept criticism and the fact that there will always be people who disagree. I would have never been able to develop my theory without discussion and disagreement.
7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I have thought about writing a sequel, but I believe any theory should be simple enough to be presentable in a single book. If it takes two or more books, then it becomes confusing and tedious to understand. However, the scientific research concerning my theory is far from complete, and since the launch of my book in 2021 the number of pages has doubled in newer editions. In addition to ongoing research and expeditions to locations on the planet with similar anomalies, I am working on a TV documentary with a renowned UK film company, who believes my book has finally solved the mystery.
About the Author
Henning Kuersten studied Computer & Information science at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and Psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He is owner of a company specialized in software for image analysis. He is also a dedicated mountaineer who has survived a horrific incident on the 4049 meter high Piz Bernina, which, together with his professional experience in Photography and Psychology, has helped him to understand the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Incident.