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I read that. The story of the steamer Pijma is likely a widespread myth (or may be not, the archives of NKVD/KGB/FSB is still sealed and numerous of their crimes still well hidden). However there was another creepy story, later proven.
At the forced labour camp on the [Vaygach Island](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaygach_Island) an inmates were used in the ore shafts. The death rate was horrible. However, the dead bodies weren’t buried nor cremated, but were drowned in a shallow waters of Varnek bay. Due to a near-freezing temperatures of crystal clear water, hundreds or may be thousands of bodies were preserved very well and was visible through the ice years later almost intact.
And there was no happy end for survivers. One day in 1938 the ore shafts were flooded. Those of inmates who survived the catastrophic flood were send on foot to [Vorkuta](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorkuta), about 300 km (200 mi) without a road and through the frost of polar winter.