TRUE STORY: The Shaitan Mazar incident occurred in 1991 and involved a giant unidentified flying object being chased over the Caspian Sea by several MIG jet fighters.
Simply put, this incident can either be considered a real event or dismissed as a hoax.
The fact that Russian scientists and military personnel are more interested in the paranormal than their western counterparts provides a jumping point in either direction.
As the story goes, on August 28, 1991, at 4:42 p.m. an unusual presence was detected by radar screens at the military tracking station in Mangishlak Peninsula in the Caspian Sea in modern-day Turkmenistan.
The huge object was traveling from west to east at an altitude of about 21,500 feet (6,600 meters) and had a speed of 600 mph (960 km/h).
The tracking station attempted to establish communications with the unknown object but it failed to respond to their “friend or foe” request. In an effort to determine the exact nature of this unexpected intrusion, operators at the Mangishlak Base contacted the nearby aerodrome of Kaputsin Yar and requested information regarding any test flights in the area. The commanding officer at Kaputsin confirmed they had also detected the UFO and said it was not one of their aircraft.
An aerial reconnaissance mission was quickly put together with two Mig-29 fighter planes being rerouted from their routine mission while another two were scrambled from the base on the peninsula.
The jet fighters intercepted the UFO over the Aral Sea and kept a distance of about 2,600 feet (800 meters) from the object.
The pilots were shocked by what they had seen. They reported encountering an enormous metallic grey object. It loosely resembled a zeppelin, only it was much larger. The pilots’ estimates and the radar data suggested it measured 2,000 feet (600 meters) in length and had a diameter of around 360 feet (110 meters).
The flight leader requested the unknown object to identify itself but received no answer. He then ordered it to fall under escort and land at the nearest airstrip but was met with silence. The UFO seemed unaffected by the jet fighters’ presence.
The pilots were ordered to fire warning shots in its flight path and closed in at a distance of about 1,600 feet (500 meters). To their surprise, the four planes’ electrical systems malfunctioned and they were forced to return to base. The object disappeared in the distance.
Radar operators continued to monitor the UFO as it reached a phenomenal speed of over 4,200 mph (6,800 km/h). It flew in a zigzag pattern over the Aral Sea and half an hour later it disappeared from radar screens as it went over Lake Issyk-Kul located near the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
The incident is reported to have caused quite an internal stir and many questions were raised. What was this object? Where did it come from? What was its mission? What kind of threat did it pose? What measures should be taken? Naturally, these questions remained unanswered.
The story then took an interesting and dramatic turn.
By the end of September, rumors began circulating about an object that crashed into the Tien Shan Mountains in Central Asia. Interestingly enough, the area is known as Shaitan Mazar, which translates into The Devil’s Grave. While some believe this to be a peculiar coincidence, others consider it evidence that the entire incident was fabricated.
Villagers from the area around Karakol (Kyrgyzstan) reported a massive object smashing deep into the eastern mountain range. The rumors were enough to mount an expedition in search of the downed UFO.
The expedition consisted of experienced mountain climbers and members of the Russian UFO group SAKKUFON, led by researcher Anton Bogatov. The team trekked the mountains for two weeks, spurred on by rumors that claimed the crash site had allegedly been found by locals. According to these rumors, the villagers who found the UFO had suffered burns and reported strange phenomena in the area, such as watches stopping and unusually high levels of static electricity.
Despite their best efforts, the members of the expedition were forced to turn back due to bad weather.
In the meantime, the mounting rumors caught the attention of the Russian government and, according to SAKKUFON, military forces had already located the crash site in November of 1991. The same sources say that tragedy struck as a military helicopter attempted to hoist part of the UFO and crashed, killing everyone aboard.
A second expedition was planned for the summer of 1992 and would succeed in finding the crashed UFO.
A second expedition to the crash site at Shaitan Mazar was planned for the summer of 1992. This time, it was better organized and the crew members were carefully selected. Leading the unit was retired Major G. Svechkov and he set a rigorous battery of tests that all members of the expedition had to pass.
They were divided into three smaller groups; the reason behind this was that at least one would succeed in reaching the crash site and thus manage to acquire evidence of the UFO crash.
In June 1992, they established a base camp roughly two miles from the crash site. From there, they went on three separate routes towards the Devil’s Grave but before reaching the site, they would first have to escalate a steep and dangerous mountain side. Once this step was completed, the groups needed to verify the claims of increased radioactivity in the area.
The previous year, rumors circulated that nearby villagers had stumbled onto the crash site and suffered mysterious burns and this was an aspect that could not be neglected.
The crews regrouped one mile away from the site. Even from this distance, the huge object was visible. At last, they had found the UFO, resting on a plateau. The group began conducting experiments to measure any anomalous activity. They immediately noticed something was amiss.
For starters, the entire group was overcome with anxiety and dread. Despite months of planning, they felt uneasy and as they got closer, their nervousness intensified and turned into overpowering fatigue.
About three quarters of a mile away from the object, the electronic devices they carried started to malfunction. The crew had to abandon their plans of careful measurement as their equipment refused to work. Wanting to know if their equipment was faulty, the crew members distanced themselves from the object and the devices began working again. But as they got closer, they would again fail to work.
It seemed the UFO was surrounded by strong magnetic fields as all compasses pointed towards it. Electrical generators would burn up in the vicinity of the UFO and the group had to rely on visual observations rather than performing the tests they had intended to.
They determined the object had crashed into a cliff and exploded on impact, breaking into two pieces. It then tumbled down the mountainside for 5,000 feet before coming down to a rest on the plateau below.
The explosion had blown open the metallic outer shell, revealing supporting structures inside the object as well as at least two interior levels. Unfortunately, the crew could not get closer than half a mile before being stopped by the unknown energy field. From that distance, they could not determine whether any alien bodies were present or not.
However, they managed to get a good look at the green symbols on the object’s side and they were copied down by ufologist Nikolay Subbotin, who determined they didn’t belong to any known language. All members of the crew were certain this was indeed the unknown craft encountered by the MIG fighters the previous year.
The wreck of the MI-8 military helicopter was also visible in the distance. It had most certainly crashed due to the same strong electromagnetic field that was preventing the crew from getting closer to the downed UFO. They didn’t see any bodies. Had the military removed them?
The group found themselves in a frustrating situation. They were within eyesight of one of the greatest mysteries of the modern world yet it was virtually impossible to get any closer. The apple of their eye was out of their reach. Some of them got burns even from a distance of half a mile.
Disappointed, they headed back to base. Their expedition had been both successful and a failure.
All photographic and video evidence was compromised. The photos were all overexposed and they had no film to show for their hard work. Had they managed to bring back proof of the crash, the entire scientific world would have changed its perspective. This is by far a researcher’s greatest dream.
However, they were not empty handed. They still managed to bring back their written notes and sketches along with their accounts of the incident. And they were determined to return and succeed in getting closer, perhaps even inside the mysterious craft.
They planned to return to the crash site but unfortunately wouldn’t manage to do so until 1998. The results of their third trip would be utterly disappointing. Due to a lack of funding, they were unable to get there by helicopter and again had to cross the treacherous mountain on foot. When they finally reached the Devil’s Grave, the ‘devil’ was no longer there.
In the six years that had passed since their last visit, the UFO had disappeared. The helicopter wreck was gone as well. In all likelihood, the military had removed the UFO and all traces of its crash. The area no longer registered electromagnetic anomalies, leading the group to realize they had made the third journey for nothing.
Defeated, they understood the Shaitan Mazar UFO incident was a closed chapter and returned to their lives.
The incident remains a mystery until this day and although physical evidence lacks, the case cannot be fully dismissed. We still have the descriptions and testimonies of four jet pilots, backed by radar data.
The members of the second expedition to the Devil’s Grave swear by what they saw and despite criticism, they still hold their claims.
It seems the alleged crash of an alien craft into the Tien Shan mountains is destined to remain an enigma but some believe the Devil’s Grave was indeed the temporary tomb of an unidentified flying object.