15 Compelling Unsolved Mysteries
Many of us love a good mystery. Sherlock Holmes almost always solved the case by the end of the story, but real life mysteries often go unsolved even down through the centuries. Mysteries such as the existence and nature of the lost city of Atlantis touch us on a primal level, where mythology and history intersect.
Other mysteries are less fanciful, but no less interesting such as what became of the famous plane hijacker D.B. Cooper after he bailed out of a commercial airliner to make his escape. With today’s instant communications and 24/7 news cycles there are fewer and fewer unknown spaces, but there are still some unsolved mysteries for us to ponder.
15. Abominable Snowman Meets Bigfoot
The above photograph is not a close up of an Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch, Yeti or Bigfoot. It is actually a Wampa creature from a scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Many people believe the mysterious biped apes known for their big footprints are just as fanciful as the Star Wars creature made by special effects artists, but for many other they are all too real.
Scientists refer to Bigfoot as a cryptic, a theoretical animal species for which their exists no compelling evidence. Despite the scientific communities’ dismissal of the footprints and sightings, thousands of people all across the globe have claimed to have seen a big hairy creature they say doesn’t fit into the conventional categories.
For experts willing to speculate about the identity of such a creature, most argue it would likely be some form of Gigantopithecus or giant ape that is believed to have gone extinct about 100,000 years ago.
14. See Monster?
The Scottish Highlands hold a mystery that has resisted continuous efforts to solve it for several decades. If the monster is an actual animal it would likely be some form of plesiosaur, an aquatic dinosaur that scientists insist went extinct millions of years ago.
Some people have suggested that the creature could be some type of giant worm or an eel. Scots refer to the monster as Nessie, perhaps with a wink, as they know that regardless of the truth the myth is good for Scottish tourism.
Most scientists dismiss the eyewitness and photographic evidence as mistakes and hoaxes. numerous amateur and professional expeditions have attempted to discover the truth, but the reality of the Loch Ness Monster remains elusive.
13. Here’s Jack
A murderer prowled the crime infested alleyways of East London more than a century ago yet he is still perhaps the most famous serial killer of all. Although Jack the Ripper preceded the term “serial killer” by a hundred years, his case anticipated modern 24/7 media coverage of sensational crimes.
For 12 weeks in 1888, Londoners were obsessed with the grisly Whitechapel murders. Police ran down thousands of leads and hundreds of suspects were named but the murders abruptly stopped and the murderer was never identified.
A letter sent to a newspaper was signed “Jack the Ripper.” Experts agree that the killer did not send the letter, but they cannot agree why the stopped after 5 murders.
12. Rattle and Hum
Taos, new Mexico is a quite little town, but it has become well known for a noise. The people who report hearing it, about 2 percent of the population, can’t agree on what it sounds like. Some describe it as a “whir” or a “hum” while others insist it is more like a low buzzing sound.
Researchers have set up sensitive listening equipment, but have so far not been able to pick up the sounds people have described. Various experts have suggested the two most likely explanations to be a form of auditory hallucination or what is called spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOE).
An SOE is basically when a person’s ear produces a sound that the listener perceives as coming from the external world. This mystery has existed since the 1990’s and show little signs of fading away.
11. MS 408
In 1912, a man named Voynich bought an obscure manuscript. At some point he realized the book wasn’t just obscure; it was unique. It was written in an unknown writing system that frustrated all attempts at decryption.
Experts from the National Security Agency conducted an informal investigation and found the manuscript to have been written in a European language before being subjected to a cipher rendering it unreadable. Several people have come forward proposing that the manuscript is a fake – even accusing Voynich himself.
Other people have come forward to say they have successfully decrypted it, but none of them have been able to prove their claims. Although the illustrations and some hand written Latin text in a few of the margins suggest the manuscript is a medical text, that is about the extent of what we know. It now resides at Yale University under the designation MS 408.
10. Political Intrigue
The 1965 war with its neighbor Pakistan, caused turmoil in India. However, their much respected Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was a calming influence on his nation. After signing a controversial agreement with Pakistan in the Soviet Union, Shastri suddenly died after what was described as a heart attack.
The conspiracy theory swirled around his death immediately with his wife claiming her husband had been poisoned. The mystery deepened when it was learned no autopsy was performed on the body – highly unusual given the circumstances. India and Pakistan have had a volatile relationship ever since the latter was formed from the Muslim populated areas of the former.
Shastri’s untimely death only deepened the mistrust between the two countries.
9. Guardians of the Grail
The Knights Templar were a religious order of medieval knights formed to protect pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem during the Crusades. At some point they became associated with the quest for the cup Christ was thought to have used at the last supper before his crucifixion.
Pious Christians in the Middle Ages were very interested in religious relics and the Holy Grail was one of the most sought after. The exact connection the Templars have with it is disputed, but some people believe they found it and hid it from the church.
The Templars were a powerful and wealthy organization that lent money to the King of France Philip IV. One theory of the Templars demise was that the king persecuted them to escape his indebtedness. Whatever the reason, the Templars were wiped out and the mysterious location of the Holy Grail along with them.
This mystery started on December 1, 1948 in Southern Australia when a man’s body was discovered on a beach. A scrap of a page from a book was found in his pocket, but police were unable to identify the man. There was writing on the scrap that read Tamam Shud.” This translates as “it is finished.”
There was other writing on the scrap that is believed to be some sort of code, but it has never been deciphered. Eventually the book where the page was from was identified as being the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
International experts were engaged to try to solve the mystery including the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the mystery of the Somerton Man remains unsolved.
7. Eagle’s Nest
This strange formation has been leaving people scratching their heads since it was discovered by a Russian geologist in the remote forests of Siberia in 1949. It measures about 480 feet across and is about 120 feet high and is roughly 300-350 years old.
However, that is pretty all that experts will agree on when discussing the formation. Although it is commonly referred to as Patomskiy’s Crater or the Eagle’s Nest not everyone agrees that it was formed by a meteorite. Some people who have studied the anomaly believe it is the result of volcanic activity.
Perhaps giving a boost to the meteorite theory, some researchers have suggested it is part of the famous 1908 Tunguska Event, which of course remains unsolved as well.
6. Plato’s Biggest Hit
Plato would probably be surprised to learn that of all the philosopher’s writings it was those concerning the Lost City of Atlantis that are of most interest to modern readers. He provided just enough information to tantalize generations of readers with details about the legendary civilization that thrived 9,000 years ago beyond the “Pillars of Hercules.”
Amateur and professional researchers have used these scant details to search for the lost city as far a field as the Mediterranean Sea, the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and even the Caribbean Sea. Plato may have intended to write more about Atlantis, but either never got around to it or it was lost. Some researchers have been searching for these lost writings in Egypt without success.
5. They’re Not With the Band
Most people think of the Foo Fighters as the Seattle rock band that was part of the “grunge rock” scene in the 1990’s. Before it was a band however, it was an unsolved mystery. Bomber crews conducting raids over Japan and Germany reported seeing strange lights in the sky that could not be explained. The lights fit the classic definition of an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO).
The U.S. government had no response to the sightings and in all the chaos of the Second World War the mystery was largely forgotten. But when UFO sightings increased in the late 1940’s and 1950’s the Foo Fighters were examined, but remain unsolved to this day.
The three points of a triangle formed by Miami, Florida, San Juan in Puerto Rico and Bermuda define what has come to be known as the Bermuda Triangle or the Devil’s Triangle. Seamen, writers and others have spread rumors and tales of lost ships and strange sightings that defied explanation.
The area’s reputation as a paranormal hot spot is relatively recent with the first mention of unusual happenings appearing in a 1950 article in the Miami Herald. But the first and perhaps most famous unsolved mystery associated with the area is the case of Flight 19.
On December 5, 1945 5 Avenger torpedo bombers disappeared without a trace over the Bermuda Triangle. All 14 crewmen aboard the planes were lost as well as 13 crewmen from a flying boat that was sent to find them. Despite numerous unexplained disappearances, many experts believe there is nothing remarkable about this expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
3. Wanted Man
Some people think its madness to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. But on the night of November 24, 1971, someone calling himself Dan Cooper jumped out of the aft exit of a Boeing 727 with $10,000 in cash. And so began one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American law enforcement.
The flight crew described the man as about 6′ feet tall, forty and polite. Once he received the ransom he allowed the passengers to disembark while the flight crew proceeded to fly him toward Reno, Nevada.
The FBI’s investigation estimates that the man parachuted from the plan at approximately 8:13 p.m. local time and would have landed somewhere in the region of the Washougal River drainage area.
In 1980 a boy found several rubber banded packets of money in that general vicinity, but nothing came of this discovery. In 2016 the FBI officially suspended the investigation without ever naming a credible suspect.
2. Down in Georgia
On a hilltop in Elbert County Georgia stands a stone monument with slabs that have 10 guides or commandments carved into them in 8 different languages. The story goes that a well-dressed man who went by R.C. Christian visited the Albertan Granite Finishing Company in June 1979 and told them he wanted to send a message to mankind.
The actual guides tech into the stones are mixed bag that range from ideas about world government, the environment, population control as well as spiritual matters. Interestingly, the positions represented on the stones are in opposition to much of what most Christians would consider to be traditional teachings of the Bible and the Church.
Theories vary widely as to the identity of the person or persons responsible for the monument and include the illuminati and other occult figures, but the mystery remains unsolved.
1. Greatest Hit
On June 30, 1908 something traveling at tens of thousands of miles an hour broke up over Eastern Siberia. The resulting explosion flattened more than 770 square miles of forest and destroyed 80 million trees. No people were effected because the region is so sparsely populated.
The event is classified as an impact event although no actual crater was found and no traces of a meteor were found. Over the decades various explanations for the event have materialized including a comet, a UFO and a black hole.
Perhaps the strangest explanation is the idea that inventor Nikola Tesla inadvertently caused the explosion during one of his experiments. Some people claimed trees would not grow at the epicenter of the event, but some scientists say trees grew at an accelerated rate after the event.