Area 51 was once believed to be a whacky conspiracy theory. But with the advent of new technology, authorities were forced to admit the mysterious military installation in the middle of the Nevada desert was, is, and continues to be, very real.
It's hard to continuously deny something as “non-existent” when there are extremely “existent” armed soldiers ready to use lethal force to prevent anyone from discovering it. And just what were these authorities trying to protect? Rumors were rampant about everything from aliens to ultra-top-secret government weaponry, so it goes without saying that any place holding Earth-shattering secrets will likely be one-of-a-kind.
Constructed in the early 1990s, Russia's own hidden military base is slightly more than just a base - it is Russia's Area 51, and it is a top secret town. Mezhgorye is nestled within the Ural Mountains and is said to be 400 square miles large but still completely off the radar. Below are some facts about Mezhgorye, Russia, one of the world's mysterious closed towns with a host of secrets and intrigue.
This Isolated Town Once Stored Nuclear Warheads
Mezhgorye stored 73 nuclear warheads, to be exact. According to investigative reporting by former Time writer Kenneth R. Timmerman, the Russian military needed a place to keep its devastating nuclear weapons following the Cold War. So what better place than an isolated town in the middle of nowhere?
To make matters even more terrifying, the nuclear warheads weren't just your run-of-the-mill weapons of mass destruction. Instead, these were SS-23s capable of roughly 365 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
Though the warheads were later dismantled, the sheer number of nuclear weapons still makes you wonder what else this mysterious town houses.
It Allegedly Houses The 'Dead Hand Project' That Could Automatically Launch Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear warheads are one thing; 73 warheads are a whole other ball game. But in the event of war, it's at least comforting to believe that whoever has their finger on the trigger is a sentient human being capable of rational thought and not a sophisticated A.I. system operating on ones, zeroes, and cold-blooded revenge.
But that's where the "Dead Hand Project" comes in.
Not content to simply "lose" a war, Russia had reportedly implemented an advanced system for their weapons of mass destruction years ago, one that could arm and launch its missiles even after their commanders have died. That's right, somewhere out there in the Ural Mountains, Russia had once devised a crude version of Skynet that was always just a few binary beats away from sending us all into nuclear winter.
It's Near The Infamous Site Of The Dyatlov Pass Incident
One of Russia's most bizarre mysteries, the Dyatlov Pass Incident, occurred in 1959 when nine hikers mysteriously died while camping in the mountains. Although such a large group dying in freezing temperatures is certainly tragic, the manner in which the group perished raised serious questions about strange activity on the Ural range.
When the hikers were eventually found, it was discovered that some had suffered hypothermia, while others had suffered bizarre pneumatic injuries and had been crushed to death. One hiker's tongue was even ripped out.
Over the years, some have speculated military drills were being performed in the area, and the hikers' deaths were the result of being caught in the middle. Other suggested causes included animals, an attack by local tribespeople, wind, atomic tests, or an avalanche, but all those theories were initially dismissed. In January 2020, however, researchers in Switzerland suggested that a snow avalanche - an unusual one - indeed could have causes the hikers' demise. They came up with their conclusion after using a computer simulation program also used for Disney's 2013 animated film Frozen.
They published their results in the journal Nature, suggesting the avalanche was triggered by "irregular topography" and strong winds that led to the delayed release of solid blocks of snow landing on the hikers' tent. Combined with "a cut made in the slope to install the tent," the avalanche caused the unusual injuries:
Such injuries are not usually observed in avalanche victims, because impacts rarely occur against stiff obstacles. In the Dyatlov case, the victims were trapped between the falling slab and the tent floor, which was placed on compacted snow reinforced by skis.
It's Built Into The Mountains And May Have Its Own Railway System
The Ural Mountains are vast, running from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to northwestern Kazakhstan. But the town of Mezhgorye is specifically built atop Mount Yamantau, the hightest mountain in the Southern Ural section. Rumors about the base claim the extensive excavation and mining have allowed the Russians to build into the mountain itself, creating a subterranean bunker, complete with its own railway and highway system.