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The Tunguska Event: Eyewitness Account

Nastya Dzhenkoul, Khushmo River

The widow of Ivan Maksimovich Dzhenkoul, interviewed by G. P. Kolobkova, November 1959.[1]

Her [i.e., Dzhenkoul’s] father and grandfather were living at that time (in 1908) on the Khushmo River. The weather was good. Suddenly it began to rain, a strong wind arose, blew away the birchbark choum[2]. A big stone fell, as big as a choum, skipped two or three times, then sank in the swamp. The stone was brightly shining, black, it fell with a terrible sound oo-oo-oo-oo. It threw down trees, tore them out by the roots. Everyone lay like dead men for three days. The swamp had been there all the time, only it had been drier, [as you can tell] by the fact that they used to pasture reindeer on it. The next year after the catastrophe, everyone became sick. They were sick the whole winter, their bodies covered with spots, they itched. Many died.

When [s]he (N[astya] Dzhenkoul) went hunting on the Chavidokona, she saw two pits. One was small, the other, as big as a choum, about 6 meters in diameter; it got narrow down below, and on the edges the earth was rusty. They brought the rusty earth to Vanavara, it shone in the dark like snow at night, with sparkles. There [in the location of the pits] fallen trees are rare. The pits are located on the left shore of the Chavidokona, about 2 km from its mouth and about 0.5 km from the shore.

— translated by Bill DeSmedt

copyright (c) 2004 by amber productions, inc.


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[1] G. P. Kolobkova was a member of the Soviet’s 1959 Tunguska expedition, who stayed behind in Vanavara to work as a geography teacher and who, in 1959-60, collected a number of new eyewitness accounts.[Return to text.]

[2] A “choum” is an Evenki dwelling, not unlike a tepee. [Return to text.]

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copyright (c) 2004 by amber productions, inc.