In 1909, the “Baku [Azerbaijan] Gazette” carried an odd little story that, rather surprisingly, got scant attention at the time and quickly dropped into permanent obscurity.
The “Gazette” reported that three wealthy residents of Baku went to Sand Island (now generally known as Kichik Zira,) in the Caspian Sea, to do some shooting. When they failed to return, a search party was sent out. Close to the shore, they found the three men dead, lying on their backs with their hands crossed over their chests. Their money and jewelry were untouched, but their guns and hunting knives were missing. Their boat had been drawn well up into the sand, with the keel upturned, as if to secure it.
It proved impossible to tell how the men died. There were no injuries on the bodies at all, or even any signs of a struggle. (And the leader of the party, a M. Krassilrukoff, was described as a strong man of "herculean build.") Their faces looked completely serene. Later tests failed to find any trace of poison or internal injuries. It was as if they placidly stretched out next to each other, ritually crossed their arms over themselves, and quietly expired. Nearby were two horses calmly grazing. It was unknown who may have owned the animals or how they got on the small, uninhabited island.
About twenty feet from the bodies was a freshly dug conical mound of earth. When that was excavated, searchers found a forty-pound, white, highly-polished stone, of a type not found anywhere in the region. A Greek orthodox cross was carved on it. What this may have had to do with the mystery was anyone’s guess.
And that remains all we know about the matter.