60 Chilling Unsolved Mysteries We Can't Stop Thinking About
By Sophia Maddox | April 12, 2023
The Pollock Sisters
The 19th and 20th centuries had several events that investigators find baffling, and people worldwide still wonder about them. These events range from unexplained sightings, mysterious disappearances, and unsolved crimes that still leave people puzzled. These mysteries have created several theories and legends that people continue to find fascinating.
In this article, we will examine some of the most popular and mysterious unsolved cases from recent history, such as Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Jack the Ripper, the Phoenix Lights, the O.J. Simpson case, the D.B. Cooper hijacking, the Zodiac Killer, Stonehenge, and the mysterious Wow! Signal. We will go through the theories and evidence uncovered so far and understand why these cases continue to intrigue us. If you love the unknown and enjoy a good mystery, join us on this discovery journey.
Florence and John Pollock married in the 1940s and had two sons before welcoming two daughters, Joanna and Jacqueline. Despite their age difference, the sisters had a close bond and enjoyed playing together. However, tragedy struck on May 7, 1957, when the two sisters and a neighborhood boy were hit by a car, killing all three children instantly. The driver, who had just lost custody of her own children, was attempting to take her own life. The sisters' deaths caused Florence to fall into a deep depression, while John believed that the girls were in heaven or would be reincarnated.
John had a fascination with reincarnation and prayed to God to bring his daughters back. Florence, a strict Catholic, did not share John's belief and this created tension in their relationship. However, when Florence became pregnant again, John believed that there were two babies despite the doctor only seeing one on the scans. Twins were born, and they had the same birthmarks as the deceased sisters. As they grew up, the twins requested toys that had belonged to their sisters, knew about landmarks only Joanna and Jacqueline would have known, and demonstrated knowledge of street safety without being taught.
The story of the Pollock Sisters was studied by Dr. Ian Stevenson, a psychologist who studied reincarnation. He included their case in a book that detailed 14 cases he believed to be evidence of reincarnation. Despite the controversial nature of reincarnation, the story of the Pollock Sisters remains a fascinating and mysterious one.
The Mysterious Drowning of Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood, one of Hollywood's most beloved actresses, met a tragic end in 1981 when her body was found floating face down in the Pacific Ocean near Catalina Island. Wood had been working on the film Brainstorm with actor Christopher Walken at the time, and she and her husband, Robert Wagner, invited Walken to join them on their yacht named the Splendor. However, according to the boat's captain, Dennis Davern, tensions rose between Wood and Wagner, with the former becoming infatuated with Walken during the trip.
On the evening of November 28th, Wood and Walken went ashore to drink at a local bar, with Wood appearing intoxicated and stumbling out of the restaurant after not eating much of her dinner. The two returned to the yacht later that night, and witnesses from a nearby boat claimed to have heard a woman scream for help around midnight. According to Wagner, he and Walken had a non-violent argument that night, and Wood had gone to bed. However, Wagner didn't realize she was missing until he went to kiss her goodnight around 1:30 a.m.
Wood's body was found six hours later, about a mile away from the yacht, wearing only a flannel nightgown, blue wool socks, and a red down jacket. The cause of her death was ruled accidental drowning and hypothermia by the Los Angeles County coroner, Thomas Noguchi. However, Wood's sister Lana expressed doubts about the ruling, alleging that Wood could not swim and was terrified of water all her life, and that she would never have left the yacht on her own. To this day, her death remains a mystery.
Chicago Tylenol Murders
In 1982, seven people in the Chicago area tragically died after ingesting Tylenol pills laced with cyanide. The victims, including a 12-year-old girl and members of the same family, had taken the medication and then collapsed and died shortly after. Initially, investigators were baffled, but a Cook County investigator named Nick Pishos noticed that the Janus family’s Tylenol bottle and Mary Kellerman’s bottle had a control number in common: MC2880. Edmund Donoghue, a deputy medical examiner, then discovered that both bottles smelled like bitter almonds, a tell-tale sign of cyanide. The blood tests confirmed that all seven victims had ingested a lethal dose of cyanide. After contacting Johnson & Johnson, Tylenol’s parent company, the manufacturer recalled over 31 million bottles of Tylenol, issued warnings, offered a $100,000 reward for information on the perpetrator, and replaced recalled bottles. The company’s precautions cost over $100,000,000, and the tragedy resulted in the invention of safety seals on medicine bottles that are still in use today. To this day, the perpetrator has not been charged or convicted.
The O.J. Simpson Case
On June 13, 1994, the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman were found stabbed to death outside of Nicole's townhouse. Nicole was the ex-wife of former football superstar O.J. Simpson, and at the time of the murders, the two were divorced and living in separate residences. The bodies were discovered by neighbors who were led to them by Nicole's dog, which had been barking incessantly.
The timeline of events leading up to the murders is as follows: on June 12, Nicole and her children, along with others, went to the restaurant called Mezzaluna at 6:30 p.m. Later that evening, Ronald Goldman went to the restaurant to pick up Nicole's mother's glasses. Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson and his friend Brian "Kato" Kaelin went to a nearby McDonald's for dinner, returning home at 9:45 p.m. At 10:25 p.m., limo driver Allan Park arrived at O.J.'s home to take him to the airport. At 11 p.m., O.J. left on a red-eye flight, and at 12:10 a.m. the next day, Nicole and Ronald's bodies were found.
During the investigation, a blood-stained glove, a knitted hat, and a bloodied footprint were discovered at the crime scene. Upon landing in Chicago, O.J. was informed of Nicole's death and subsequently questioned by the LAPD for three hours. On June 17, O.J. was charged with two counts of murder and declared a fugitive. The infamous high-speed chase involving police and O.J.'s white Ford Bronco ended at his home in Brentwood, Calif.
One of the most publicized trials in U.S. history followed. O.J. was represented by a high-profile defense team, known as the "Dream Team," which included Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, and Alan Dershowitz. The prosecution was led by Deputy District Attorneys Marcia Clark and William Hodgman. The defense team argued that there was reasonable doubt concerning the validity of the state's DNA evidence, and the jury ultimately acquitted O.J. on October 3, 1995. No other suspects have been questioned, and the murders of Nicole and Ronald remain unsolved.
The Loch Ness Monster
For decades, the Loch Ness Monster, or “Nessie,” has been a subject of fascination and speculation for people all over the world. The creature is said to inhabit the depths of Loch Ness, a large freshwater lake in Scotland. Sightings of Nessie date back to the sixth century, but it wasn't until 1933 that the first modern sighting made headlines, when a local couple claimed to have seen a “strange creature” in the lake.
Since then, there have been countless other reports of sightings, photographs, and even videos purporting to show Nessie. Some claim the creature is a plesiosaur, an extinct marine reptile, while others believe it could be a large eel or a type of unknown aquatic creature. Despite numerous expeditions and investigations, however, no conclusive evidence of Nessie’s existence has ever been found, leaving the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster unsolved.
The Case of JonBenét Ramsey
In 1996, a ransom note for 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was discovered by her mother, Patsy Ramsey, on the back staircase inside their Boulder, Colorado home. Patsy immediately called the police to report JonBenét missing. However, less than eight hours later, JonBenét’s body was found by her father, John, in the basement utility room of the house. Duct tape was found across her mouth, and a cord was wrapped around her neck. Upon arriving at the crime scene, police suspected that it had been heavily compromised due to multiple people coming and going from the house. Despite JonBenét's beauty pageant prominence and her mother's own history as a beauty queen, her death was ruled a homicide. The cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation and craniocerebral trauma. The case garnered national attention, and to this day, it remains an open investigation with the Boulder Police Department.
The Watcher House
In June of 2014, Maria and Derek Broaddus, along with their three young children, were excited to move into their new six-bedroom home located in one of the safest cities in America, Westfield, New Jersey. However, just three days after the sale was finalized, the Broaddus family received a strange letter addressed to "The New Owner" in their mailbox. The letter, typed in clunky handwriting, welcomed the family to the neighborhood and asked how they had ended up in the house, claiming that the writer's family had been watching it for decades.
The letter quickly turned sinister, with the writer asking if the family needed to fill the house with the "young blood" that they requested, claiming to have seen the family's children, and threatening to call them and draw them closer. The writer ended the letter by signing off as "The Watcher". After consulting with the previous owners, who had never received a letter like this before, the Broaddus family went to the police.
The family was warned not to tell anyone about the letters, even their neighbors, who were now considered suspects. Two weeks later, a second letter arrived, with even more chilling specifics about the family, including the children's birth order and nicknames. The writer also asked about the family's sleeping arrangements, claiming they wanted to know who was in each bedroom to plan better. The Broaddus family decided to put their move on hold after receiving these letters. A third letter followed, asking "Where have you gone to? 657 Boulevard is missing you."
By the end of 2014, the case had gone cold. The Broaddus family was still being watched, but no one had been caught. Despite the lack of evidence, the family had enough and decided to sell the house, which is now off the market. To this day, the identity of "The Watcher" remains unknown.
The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa
James Riddle "Jimmy" Hoffa, the former President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1958 to 1971, wielded immense power and influence during his tenure. As the head of the powerful labor union for drivers, Hoffa helped the Teamsters control more than 90% of the US transportation industry. However, his success was not without controversy. Hoffa's connections to the Mafia were widely known, and he famously hired them to eliminate his rivals in a turf war in Detroit in 1941.
The relationship between Hoffa and the Mafia was mutually beneficial. The Mob was able to take loans out of the Teamsters' pension fund, which was then used to finance Las Vegas casinos, while Hoffa and the fund received a favorable return on the loans. Despite his ties to organized crime, Hoffa remained popular among Teamsters members for his efforts to increase wages and benefits for workers. However, his fortunes took a turn in 1967 when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery, jury tampering, and mail fraud.
Hoffa's release from prison in 1971 was conditional on his abstaining from union involvement until 1980. However, his disappearance in 1975 brought about his ultimate downfall. On July 30th of that year, Hoffa was last seen at a Detroit-area restaurant where he was to meet with Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone and Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, both Mafia members. However, the meeting never took place, and Hoffa vanished. Despite extensive surveillance and investigation, no one has ever been charged in relation to his disappearance. While many investigators and historians believe that Hoffa was murdered by his Mafia enemies, his body has never been found, and key details of the case remain unknown or unprovable.
The Phoenix Lights
On March 13, 1997, five lights arranged in a V formation appeared above Phoenix, Arizona. The National UFO Reporting Center reported that a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, was the first to report the sighting at around 8:16 pm. More calls from witnesses located south of Paulden soon followed, suggesting that the lights were moving in a southeastern direction.
Over 700 reports flooded the National UFO Reporting Center from alleged witnesses, including pilots, police officers, and military officials. The lights were described by some as orbs or triangles, while others said they were part of a massive, silent craft. Another set of up to nine lights appeared in the sky around 10 pm that same night. Witnesses reported seeing an outline of a mass behind the lights, but not the mass itself.
Air traffic controllers could not locate the lights on the radar, despite confirming their presence in the sky. Phoenix city councilwoman Frances Barwood launched an investigation and interviewed over 700 witnesses. She claimed that the government had not interviewed even one witness. The Phoenix lights remain a mystery to this day.
The Michelle Von Emster Case
Michelle Von Emster, a 25-year-old woman, was found dead floating face down in a kelp bed near Sunset Cliffs in San Diego on April 15, 1994. She was found naked with only a brass bracelet and two rings and a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. Medical examiner Robert Engel noted "large, tearing type wounds with missing tissue," while her right leg was missing. Although her cause of death was marked as "unknown," it was widely believed to be due to a shark attack.
A formal autopsy was conducted on April 16 by medical examiner Brian Blackbourne. He noted that Michelle's neck was broken "as if she had been in a car wreck," and she had broken ribs, scrapes, bruises, and contusions on her face. Sand was found in her mouth, throat, lungs, and stomach, which led Blackbourne to conclude that she was alive when the injuries were inflicted. He believed that Michelle had entered the water around midnight and that a shark attack was the cause of death, based on the reports of lifeguards, harbor police, and marine biologists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
However, experts have since cast doubt on the cause of death being a shark attack, including Ralph Collier, a leading expert in Pacific Coast white shark behavior and ecology. Collier noted that the break in Michelle's femur was not clean, as it would have been in a shark attack, and that the bone looked like it had been whittled down to a point. It is also unlikely that Michelle was forced to the bottom of the ocean and swallowed sand, as she would have bled out quickly from a severed femoral artery. The circumstances surrounding Michelle's death remain a mystery, although it is officially considered the result of a great white shark attack.
The Mystery of the Circleville Letters
Starting in 1976, residents of Circleville, Ohio began receiving threatening letters that would terrorize the town for years to come. The letters, all from Columbus and with no return address, accused school bus driver Mary Gillespie and the school superintendent of having an extramarital affair. One of the letters even threatened Mary's husband Ron, who would later die in a mysterious one-car crash that involved gunshots. Despite the circumstances of Ron's death, the Sheriff ruled it an accident, leading to more letters accusing him of a cover-up.
The case took a dark turn when a booby-trap-rigged pistol was found in Mary's car, leading to the conviction of Ron's sister's husband, Paul Freshour, for writing the threatening letters. However, the letters continued even after Freshour was imprisoned, and the true identity of the Circleville Letter Writer remained a mystery.
Freshour maintained his innocence until his death in 2012, and the letters remain unsolved to this day, haunting the small town of Circleville for over four decades.
The Body on Somerton Beach
The mysterious case of the Somerton Man, whose body was found on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia in December 1948, remains unsolved to this day. The body was discovered dressed in a suit with polished shoes, but no identification was found. Despite an exhaustive search, no one was able to identify the man, and authorities even put a photo of the body in newspapers to no avail.
The cause of death was initially thought to be heart failure or poisoning, but no trace of poison was found during the autopsy. Fingerprints taken by authorities were also unidentifiable. Four months after the body was discovered, detectives found a hidden pocket sewn on the inside of the man's trousers containing a rolled-up piece of paper from a rare book called the Rubáiyát. The piece of paper had the words “Tamám Shud” on it, which means “it has ended.”
Despite months of searching for the exact book, authorities decided to bury the Somerton Man without identification. However, they took a cast of the bust and embalmed him to preserve him.
Eight months later, a man walked into the police station claiming he found a copy of the Rubáiyát in the back of his car parked near Somerton Beach. The book contained a torn part of the final page that matched the piece of paper found in the Somerton Man's trousers. Inside the book were a phone number and a strange code.
The phone number led authorities to a nearby woman named Jessica Thompson, who was evasive during her interview and claimed to faint when she saw the bust of the Somerton Man. She denied knowing the man but said she had sold the book to a man named Alfred Boxall. However, Boxall was still alive and had the copy of the Rubáiyát that Jessica had sold him. The code found in the book remains unsolved to this day.
The identity of the Somerton Man remains a mystery.
The Keddie Cabin Murders
In the early morning of April 12, 1981, the Sharp family and their friends stayed in Cabin 28 at Keddie Resort Lodge in Keddie, California. However, when Sheila Sharp woke up the next morning, she discovered a gruesome scene: her mother Sue, brother Johnny, and family friend Dana Wingate were brutally murdered. To add to the tragedy, her 12-year-old sister, Tina, was missing. Remarkably, Sheila's younger brothers, Greg and Rick, and their friend Justin Smartt, who were also in Cabin 28, were unharmed. It wasn't until three years later, on the anniversary of the murders, that authorities found Tina's remains - a skull - 50 miles away in another county.
The police honed in on two suspects: Marty Smartt and Bo Boubede. Marty, married to Marilyn Smartt and father to Justin, was known for his abusive behavior. Sheila had been counseling Marilyn on abusive relationships, which reportedly infuriated Marty. Shortly after the murders, Marty fled to Reno, Nevada. Boubede, an ex-convict, was also considered a suspect.
Despite promising leads, the investigation inexplicably halted. Vital evidence went unnoticed, and persons of interest were not thoroughly questioned. The identity of the Keddie killer remains a mystery, and the case remains unsolved to this day.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Disappearance
On March 8, 2014, a Boeing 777 vanished without a trace while flying from Malaysia to China. The plane had 239 passengers and crew members on board. Despite the largest search effort in aviation history, which turned up only 20 pieces of debris, the Prime Minister of Malaysia declined to comment on the fate of the plane beyond stating that it disappeared over the Indian Ocean.
The lack of closure in the case has led to numerous theories about what happened to the plane, including hijacking, capture by the United States, crew suicide (as it was later reported that the pilot was having marital problems), a fire onboard, vertical entry into the ocean, a meteor strike, and even alien abduction.
Despite spending $160 million and scouring thousands of square miles of ocean, no conclusive evidence has been found to explain the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 or the fate of the 239 people aboard. The mystery remains unsolved.
The Unsolved Hinterkaifeck Murders
On the evening of March 31, 1922, a brutal and mysterious crime occurred at Hinterkaifeck Farm in Bavaria, Germany, where six residents were murdered with a pickaxe. The victims included the husband and wife, Andreas and Cäzilia Gruber, their widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel, Viktoria’s children, Cäzilia and Josef, and the family’s maid Maria Baumgartner. Their bodies were discovered stacked on top of each other in the barn, with two-year-old Josef killed in his crib and Maria in her bed.
What’s more, the murderer appeared to have lived on the farm for six days after committing the crime. Cattle were still being fed, meals were being eaten in the kitchen, neighbors reported seeing smoke rising from the chimney, and the family dog was tied up to a post when the mailman came on Saturday. Authorities concluded that the perpetrator had stayed on the farm until the day the bodies were discovered.
Adding to the chilling nature of the crime was the fact that Maria, the family’s new maid, was killed on the very same day she was hired to replace the previous maid, who had quit six months earlier because she claimed that the house was haunted. Andreas also reported that the family had begun to hear footsteps and voices in the attic around the time that the previous maid quit. In addition, he discovered scratches on the family’s tool shed and a set of house keys missing, as well as a newspaper in the house that he had never seen before. He even spotted a pair of unfamiliar footsteps leading from the woods toward the back entrance of the family’s home.
Despite repeated arrests, no murderer has ever been found, and the case was officially closed in 1955. Today, the site of the gruesome crime has been demolished, leaving behind only a haunting and unsolved mystery.
The Mystery of Overtoun Bridge
Over 50 dogs have died by jumping off the Overtoun Bridge in Dumbarton, Scotland since the early 1960s. Hundreds more have jumped and survived, with some dogs returning for a second jump. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has investigated the bridge but was unable to determine the cause of the phenomenon. Theories include the possibility that a haunting presence on the bridge lures the dogs to jump, that a sound exists below the bridge which only dogs can hear, or that a small animal is leaving an irresistible scent. It is uncertain whether dogs are capable of committing suicide, however, the bridge has proven dangerous for canines. Dog owners are advised to take extra precautions and keep their dogs on leashes when crossing the bridge.
The Disappearance of Walter Collins
On March 10, 1928, nine-year-old Walter Collins disappeared on his way to see a movie in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles. His mother, Christine Collins, a telephone operator, reported him missing 5 days later, but the police searched for months without any success. In August 1928, the police in Illinois picked up a boy who claimed to be Walter Collins. Christine paid $70 to have her son transported back to Los Angeles, but she quickly realized that this boy was an imposter. The police insisted that the child was Walter, but Christine wasn't convinced. The police subjected the boy to various tests to prove his identity, including having him find his way back home and bringing in Walter's pet dog. But Christine remained skeptical. She was subsequently committed to the psychiatric ward at the Los Angeles County General Hospital, after being accused by the police of trying to shirk her duties as a mother.
While Christine was in the hospital, the boy finally admitted that he was not Walter Collins but Arthur Hutchins, who had been running away from home. The police had been desperate to close the Collins case and insisted that the boy was Walter. After Christine was released from the hospital, she sued the LAPD and won $10,800, but the officer who accused her of being cruel and heartless never paid the award. Christine spent the rest of her life searching for her missing son. This story was adapted into the movie The Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Clint Eastwood.
The Severed Feet Mystery
Since 2007, several severed feet have washed ashore on the beaches of British Columbia. The remains have belonged to five men, one woman, and three individuals of unknown sex. Despite numerous investigations, the identities of the individuals and the cause of the deaths remain unknown. Many theories have been proposed, including suicide or the result of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
In 2008, Vancouver police were able to identify one of the feet by matching its DNA to a man who was reported as suicidal. Two other feet were later identified as belonging to a woman who was also believed to have committed suicide. While some believe that the feet belong to individuals who have jumped off a nearby bridge, others point out the unusual occurrence of only feet being found. The shoes on the feet were all manufactured prior to 2004, further adding to the mystery. The case remains unsolved, leaving authorities and the public perplexed.
The Disappearance of the Flannan Isles Lighthouse Keepers
The Flannan Isles, located off the western coast of Scotland, were known for their rocky, uninhabited terrain and the flocks of sheep that grazed there. However, rumors of a haunted spirit kept shepherds from staying overnight. In 1896, a lighthouse was constructed on the largest of the Flannan Isles, Eilean Mòr, and manned by a team of four lighthouse keepers who worked a rotation of six weeks on and two weeks off. On December 15, 1900, the steamship Archtor passed by the isles and noticed that the light from the lighthouse was not visible, despite favorable conditions. On December 26, the lighthouse tender ship, Hesperus, made a routine visit to Eilean Mòr and found that the Scottish flag was missing from the flagpole, and no one responded to their attempts to communicate with the lighthouse keepers. Joseph Moore, one of the lighthouse keepers, was sent ashore to investigate and found that the entrance gates and doors were all shut, while the kitchen door was open and the fire had not been lit for several days. The beds were empty, and the clocks had stopped, but the bodies of the three lighthouse keepers were never found, and their disappearance remains a mystery.
The Ghost Ship of the Mary Celeste
In 1872, the discovery of The Mary Celeste, a British-American ship, abandoned and floating in the Atlantic Ocean, has become one of the biggest maritime mysteries in history. The ship was found with a fully intact cargo, in perfectly seaworthy condition, but with no sign of the captain, Benjamin Briggs, his family, or the seven crew members. A lifeboat appeared to have been boarded in an orderly fashion, but the reason for their departure remains a mystery.
The Mary Celeste set sail from New York for Genoa, Italy, in November 1872. It had a six-month supply of provisions, along with luxurious items, such as a sewing machine and an upright piano. Some have suggested that it would be unusual to abandon such a valuable ship and its contents without extraordinary circumstances, yet the ship's daily log and the interior of the vessel appeared to be in order.
Conspiracy theories surrounding the ship’s disappearance include mutiny, pirate attack, and even sea monster encounters. However, to this day, the true cause behind this eerie and inexplicable incident remains unknown.
The Bizarre Deaths at Dyatlov Pass
On February 1, 1959, a group of nine hikers died under mysterious circumstances in the mountains of what is now Russia. Their campsite was discovered abandoned on February 26, with their tent ripped open from the inside. Footprints were found in the snow, leading to the edge of a nearby forest. Two bodies were discovered there, and the other seven were found over the following months.
The medical examiner determined that the cause of death for the hikers was not hypothermia as initially believed, but rather blunt force trauma, third-degree burns, internal bleeding, and missing body parts. Some of the hikers' clothing was even found to be radioactive. Theories that arose included KGB interference, drug overdoses, UFOs, gravity anomalies, and the Yeti. The true cause of death still remains unsolved.
The Sodder Children Disappearance
In the early hours of Christmas Day 1945, a devastating fire broke out in the home of George and Jennie Sodder in Fayetteville, West Virginia. The couple and four of their children were able to escape, but five of their children were still inside the burning house. Efforts to rescue the children were unsuccessful, and authorities assumed that they had perished in the fire.
But something about the incident didn't sit right with the Sodders. George attempted to re-enter the burning house to save his children but was unable to access the upper floor due to a fire-damaged staircase. His ladder was missing, and his two coal trucks, which he could have used to climb up to the second floor, wouldn't start. Despite the Sodders' attempts to alert the fire department, it took them seven hours to arrive, by which point the house had burned to the ground.
After the incident, the family began to question whether their children had actually died in the fire. There were no remains of the children found, and the fire chief suggested that the fire was so hot that it had cremated the children's bodies, including their bones. But the lack of bones, as well as reports of a car sighting with the children inside, led the Sodders to believe that their children had been kidnapped and the fire was set as a diversion.
The Sodders' suspicions were further fueled by the fact that the cause of the fire was deemed to be bad wiring, even though the power company had inspected it earlier that fall and deemed it safe. The family erected billboards offering a reward for information about the missing children and maintained them for decades. The last surviving Sodder child, Sylvia, believes that her siblings did not die in the fire and continues to search for answers to this day.
The Strange Disappearance of D.B. Cooper
On Wednesday, Nov. 24, 1971, a mysteriously normal man named Daniel Cooper bought a one-way ticket on Northwest Airlines from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. He was in his mid-40s, wore a suit, an overcoat, brown shoes, a white shirt, and a black tie. He carried a briefcase and a brown paper bag. Before takeoff, he ordered a drink and gave a note to a flight attendant saying he had a bomb.
The note demanded $200,000 in cash, four parachutes, and a fuel truck to refuel the plane. After the demands were met, Cooper let some passengers and crew off the plane but kept some on board. During the flight, he put on sunglasses and then jumped out of the plane with two parachutes and the money. He was never found.
Despite years of searching, authorities have not been able to identify Cooper or find out what happened to him. The case is still considered one of the greatest mysteries in the history of the FBI and the United States.
The Black Dahlia Murder
On Jan. 15, 1947, the body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, also known as "The Black Dahlia," was found cut in half in Los Angeles. Her body was drained of blood and had been cut with surgical precision. Her face was also cut into a disturbing smile. No blood was found on the ground, indicating the body had been moved.
Nine days after the discovery, an envelope was sent to the examiner with Short's personal belongings, including her Social Security card, birth certificate, photographs, and an address book. The envelope had been cleaned with gasoline to remove fingerprints.
A suicide note was found on March 14 near Venice Beach, claiming responsibility for Short's killing. The note was signed "Mary," but the identity of the writer remains unknown. The clothes found with the note gave no clue about their owner.
Despite many suspects and investigations, the case remains unsolved over 70 years later.
Wall Street Bombing of 1920
In 1920, a man driving a cart with an old horse stopped outside the U.S. Assay Office on Wall Street in New York City across the street from the J.P. Morgan building. He got down from the cart and disappeared into the crowd. Minutes later, the cart exploded, killing over 30 people and injuring 300 more.
At first, authorities believed the explosion was an accident, but it was later discovered to be an intentional act of terrorism. The New York Police and Fire Departments, the Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service investigated the incident but could not find the perpetrator. The only lead was from flyers found in the area before the explosion, demanding the release of political prisoners.
Authorities suspected followers of the Italian Anarchist Luigi Galleani, but the case couldn't be proved, and Galleani had already fled the country. Over the next three years, investigators pursued leads but were unable to identify the bombers. The case remains unsolved to this day.
The Disturbing Death of Elisa Lam
On Jan. 26, 2013, 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam checked into the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. She was supposed to check out on Feb. 1, but she never did, and her parents couldn't reach her. After 18 days, Lam's body was found in a water tank on the hotel's roof. Hotel guests had complained about the water pressure and taste, leading to the discovery.
Lam had been moved from a hostel-style room to a private room due to her roommates' complaints about her strange behavior. The last time she was seen was on hotel surveillance footage in an elevator, acting peculiar and like she was hiding. It was suggested she was on drugs, but toxicology reports found no evidence of drugs or alcohol in her system.
There were theories that she was murdered or drowned, but the autopsy found no evidence of trauma. It's still a mystery how she accessed the roof and climbed into the water tank by herself.
Jack the Ripper
In the Whitechapel District of London in 1888, a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper committed a string of murders that left the public in terror. The killer's motive and true identity remain a mystery, but he is known for targeting prostitutes. Five of his most famous murders, known as the "Canonical Five," occurred between August and September of that year, all within a mile of each other.
In addition to the Canonical Five, several other murders occurring around the same time have been investigated as the work of Jack the Ripper or a related killer known as "Leather Apron." The killer allegedly sent taunting letters to the London Metropolitan Police Service, speculating on future murders and claiming responsibility for his gruesome activities.
The name "Jack the Ripper" comes from a letter, famously known as the "From Hell" letter, that was published during the time of the attacks. Despite many investigations and theories, the true identity and motive of the killer remain unknown.
The Zodiac Killer
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the people of Northern California were terrified by a serial killer who would become known as “The Zodiac Killer.” Though there were at least five victims, the murderer claimed to have killed at least 37 people.
On Dec. 20, 1968, the Zodiac Killer claimed his first victims: 17-year-old David Faraday and 16-year-old Betty Lou Jensen. The two were sitting in a parked car in a gravel parking area on Lake Herman Road in Vallejo when they were shot and killed. Betty was found dead, but David was still alive when the police arrived. He would die on the way to the hospital.
The Zodiac Killer’s next crime occurred on July 4, 1969, in Blue Rock Springs Park, just minutes away from the first murder. 22-year-old Darlene Ferrin and 19-year-old Michael Mageau were in a parked car when the killer approached them with a flashlight and shot them. Both were still alive when found, but only Mageau would survive. He described the shooter as a young white male, between 26 and 30 years old, with a stocky build, 200 pounds or more, about 5’8 with light brown curly hair and a large face. Within an hour, the police received a phone call from someone who claimed to be the shooter in the Lake Herman Road murders and the shooter in Blue Rock Springs Park.
On Aug. 1, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Vallejo Herald all received a handwritten letter from someone claiming to be the shooter. The letters included specific details about the killings to prove the writer was the murderer. All the letters were signed with a circle with a cross through it, the symbol that would eventually become known as the mark of the Zodiac Killer. The letters also included three codes that the Zodiac Killer demanded be printed in newspapers or he would kill again. The killer said that cracking the codes would reveal his identity.
On Aug. 4, 1969, another letter was received that began with the phrase “this is the Zodiac speaking,” marking the first time the killer referred to himself as the Zodiac. On Aug. 8, the code was cracked by a couple in Salinas, California. The codes read: “I like killing because it is so much fun.
Escape from Alcatraz
Alcatraz, a high-security prison in San Francisco, was deemed inescapable because of the strong currents and cold water surrounding it. But, in September 1961, inmates Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, Allen West and Frank Morris, requested cell moves that brought them closer to an unsecured vent in Cell Block B. By using handmade tools, they were able to enlarge the ventilation grates and create holes to access a utility corridor, where they climbed to a landing spot above their cell block to create their escape tools. After months of planning and preparation, they successfully escaped the prison by making life preservers and a 14-foot rubber raft out of prison-issued raincoats.
When the guards realized that the prisoners were missing, they found footprints on the ground and roof of the pipe where they climbed down, and discovered the hidden workshop, the hole in the ceiling, and the dummy heads. Despite the wide-scale search by the FBI, Coast Guard and Bureau of Prison Authorities, the escapees and their raft were never found.
The Mysterious Death of Tupac Shakur
In September of 1996, the rap world was rocked when renowned rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas. Tupac had been at the MGM Grand Casino attending a Mike Tyson boxing match with Death Row Records CEO, Suge Knight. Following the match, a fight broke out between Tupac's bodyguards and Orlando Anderson, a member of the Southside Crips gang. After the altercation was broken up, Tupac and Knight left in Knight's car with Tupac's entourage following behind them.
While stopped at an intersection, a white Cadillac pulled up to the passenger side of Knight's car and fired shots through the window, hitting Tupac four times and grazing Knight in the head with a bullet fragment. Tupac was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, but six days later, he succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the age of 25.
Despite an extensive investigation, no one has ever been arrested or charged with the murder of Tupac Shakur. Las Vegas police failed to follow up on leads, including Yaki Kadafi, a member of Tupac's entourage who claimed he could identify the assailant but was killed only two months after the shooting. In 2014, retired LVPD sergeant Chris Carroll revealed that he was the first officer on the scene and that Tupac's last words were explicit, uncooperative statements directed at the police. The case remains unsolved, leaving a lasting impact on the music industry and the world at large.
Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a legendary creature that is said to inhabit the wilderness areas of North America, particularly the Pacific Northwest region. Descriptions of the creature vary, but most accounts describe it as a large, hairy, bipedal primate-like creature, standing between 6 and 10 feet tall, and weighing anywhere from 400 to 1000 pounds. Witnesses claim to have seen the creature walking upright, and some have even reported being chased by it. Despite numerous reported sightings and alleged evidence, the existence of Bigfoot remains unproven.
Belief in Bigfoot has been around for centuries, but it was not until the mid-20th century that the creature gained mainstream attention. In 1958, tracks were discovered near Bluff Creek, California that were claimed to belong to Bigfoot. Since then, there have been countless reported sightings, as well as alleged footage, photographs, and audio recordings of the creature. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, Bigfoot remains a popular subject of debate among cryptozoologists, and many people continue to search for the elusive creature to this day.
The Axeman of New Orleans
During a period of 18 months starting in 1918, a mysterious and terrifying serial killer, known as "The Axeman," haunted the streets of New Orleans. The Axeman only attacked at night and was rumored to be responsible for 12 attacks and six deaths. Adding to the horror, the Axeman would only target victims while they slept. Oddly enough, the killer never used his own tools and only used what he could find in the victim's house, usually an ax, which he would then leave at the scene of the crime.
Most of the Axeman's victims were Italian immigrants or Italian-Americans, which led many citizens of New Orleans to believe that the crimes were ethnically motivated. The media fueled this frenzy, even suggesting Mafia involvement despite a lack of evidence.
Some crime analysts have suggested that the Axeman killings were related to sex, and that the murderer was perhaps a sadist who specifically sought female victims. Other theories propose that the Axeman killed male victims only when they obstructed his attempts to murder women, which is supported by cases where the woman of a household was murdered, but not the man. A less plausible theory suggests that the serial killer committed the murders in an attempt to promote jazz music, inspired by a letter that the murderer was rumored to have written, which stated that he would spare the lives of those who played jazz in their homes. The identity of the Axeman remains unknown, and the murders remain unsolved.
The Gardner Museum Heist
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, one of Boston's most treasured cultural institutions, was the site of one of the largest art heists in history in 1990. Thirteen priceless works of art, valued at over $500 million, were stolen. That night, the two guards on duty were inexperienced, and one of them, Richard E. Abath, was a music school dropout and a member of a rock band. Abath had a history of showing up to work under the influence, but he insists he was sober on the night of the robbery.
The heist began when a fire alarm went off on the third floor of the museum at 12:54 a.m. When Abath investigated, he found no signs of a fire. It is unclear whether the alarm was part of the thieves’ scheme. At 1:24 a.m., two men disguised as Boston police officers arrived at the security desk where Abath was stationed. Claiming to be responding to a disturbance call, the men demanded entry. With St. Patrick’s Day celebrations happening around the city, Abath thought the call was plausible and let the men into the museum through the employee entrance, which violated protocol.
Once the men reached Abath at the desk, one of them said, “You look familiar. I think we have a default warrant out for you. Come out here and show us some identification.” Abath was tricked into leaving his control desk, which had the only button to trigger a silent alarm. He was then handcuffed and instructed to face the wall. The second guard also appeared and was also “arrested.” When the second guard asked why he was being arrested, one of the men replied, “You’re not being arrested. This is a robbery. Don’t give us any problems and you won’t get hurt.”
In just one hour and 21 minutes, the thieves made off with 13 invaluable pieces of art. They cut Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black from their frames, removed Vermeer’s The Concert and Flinck’s Landscape with an Obelisk from their frames, took a small self-portrait etching by Rembrandt from the side of a chest, and pulled an ancient Chinese bronze Gu from a table. The museum now displays empty frames as a reminder of the stolen artworks. The thieves have yet to be caught, and the location of the stolen pieces remains unknown. The museum is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen works.
The Eight-Day Bride
The mysterious death of Christina Kettlewell in Severn Falls, Ontario, has long been a source of intrigue for investigators and amateur sleuths alike. On May 20, 1947, the body of the 22-year-old newlywed was discovered just 150 feet from her honeymoon cottage in the shallows of a nearby river. Christina had eloped with 26-year-old war veteran John Ray “Jack” Ketterwell just eight days prior, after knowing each other for three years. Accompanying the couple on their honeymoon was a close friend of Jack’s, Ronald Barrie, a 28-year-old immigrant from Italy who worked as a professional ballroom dancer.
The trio spent the first few days of their honeymoon at a rented apartment in Toronto before heading to Ronald’s remote cottage in Severn Falls on May 17. During their stay, Christina’s behavior reportedly grew increasingly erratic, and evidence suggests that she confided in Ronald about her doubts regarding Jack’s love for her. On May 20, Christina disappeared, and Ronald’s cabin caught fire under mysterious circumstances.
Ronald returned to the cabin to find an injured Jack inside and unsuccessfully searched for Christina before taking his friend to the hospital and contacting the police. Christina’s body was later found in the shallows of a nearby river. Despite an autopsy revealing traces of codeine in her stomach, her cause of death was ruled as drowning, with no signs of violence or burns on her body.
Despite questioning 20 people, including Jack and Ronald, the case remains unsolved to this day. While theories abound, including the possibility of suicide, the mystery of Christina Kettlewell’s death remains one of Canada’s most puzzling unsolved cases.
The Creepy Murder in Room 1046
On January 22, 1935, a man using the name Roland T. Owen checked into the Hotel President in Kansas City, Missouri. Owen arrived with no luggage, was dressed in a black coat and had brown hair, a scar above the ear, and cauliflower ear. After receiving the key to room 1046, the maid Mary Soptic was allowed to clean the room while Owen was present but asked not to lock the door behind her because his friend was visiting the room soon. Soptic noted that Owen kept the blinds drawn and the lights off except for a dim lamp, a detail corroborated by other staff members who entered the room. Soptic also reported that Owen seemed worried or afraid and “always wanted to kinda keep in the dark.”
On January 3, when Soptic returned to clean the room, she found it locked from the outside with Owen inside, again with the lights off. Later that day, Soptic heard two male voices coming from inside the room when she brought fresh towels. A woman staying in room 1048 reported hearing loud voices, both male and female, cursing on the same floor that night, while a party took place in room 1055. The next morning, on January 4, the hotel switchboard operator noticed that Owen’s phone was off the hook for an extended period, prompting the bellboy Randolph Propst to investigate. Propst knocked several times and heard a voice saying, “Come in. Turn on the lights.” However, the door was locked and no one let him in. Propst assumed Owen was drunk and left. About an hour and a half later, the phone was still off the hook, and another bellboy, Harold Pike, let himself into the room with a passkey. He found Owen lying on the bed naked, and the bedding was darkened around him. The phone stand was knocked down to the ground, so Pike fixed it and put the phone back into the receiver.
The phone was off the hook again from 10:30 to 10:45 a.m., and when Propst opened the door to resolve the issue, he found Owen bound with a cord around his neck, wrists, and ankles. Owen had neck bruising, suggesting someone had tried to strangle him. He had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and had a skull fracture on the right side of his head. Owen was taken to the hospital, where he died shortly after midnight on January 5. Dr. Flanders cut the cords from Owen's wrist and asked him what had happened, but Owen replied "Nobody" and said he had fallen and hit his head on the bathtub. After being asked if he was trying to kill himself, Owen lost consciousness.
Although Owen's true identity was revealed to be Artemus Ogletree a year and a half later, the Kansas City police have never identified any suspects. The circumstances of his death remain a mystery.
The Shark Arm Murders
In the midst of the Great Depression, Coogee Aquarium and Swimming Baths in Sydney, Australia, was struggling to attract customers. But in 1935, the owner Bert Hobson's luck changed when he and his son caught a massive tiger shark, which they put on display in their pool. The novelty of the exhibit drew large crowds, but the attraction took a grisly turn when the shark began convulsing and vomiting. Out of its stomach came a human arm, as well as a rat and a bird. The arm was later identified as belonging to 45-year-old Jimmy Smith, who had been missing since April 7, 1935.
The investigation into Smith's disappearance and the shocking discovery of his remains in the shark's stomach led police to a Sydney businessman named Reginald William Lloyd Holmes. Holmes was a smuggler who also ran a successful family boat-building business in Lavender Bay, New South Wales. Smith had worked for Holmes on several occasions, including on insurance scams and check forgery with a partner named Patrick Francis Brady, an ex-serviceman and convicted forger. Police discovered that Smith was blackmailing Holmes and had been last seen drinking and playing cards with Brady at the Cecil Hotel in southern Sydney. The police alleged that Smith was murdered at a small cottage rented by Brady, and although the Australian Navy and Air Force searched Port Hacking and Gunnamatta Bay for Smith's remains, the rest of his body was never found.
The Lost Colony of Roanoke
In 1587, an English colonial governor named John White led a group of settlers to establish an English colony on Roanoke Island, one of the barrier islands near present-day North Carolina. However, when White returned three years later with much-needed supplies, he discovered the colony had been carefully abandoned. All houses and military structures had been dismantled with care, leaving no obvious signs of violence or struggle.
Before White left the colony, he instructed the settlers to carve a cross into a nearby tree if they were taken by force. However, there was no cross to be found. The only clue left behind was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post. This was the name of a Native American tribe that had allied with the English colonists. White took this to mean that the colonists had moved to Croatoan Island, but he was unable to confirm this as a massive storm prevented him from reaching the island.
Despite ongoing investigations, the fate of the colonists remains a mystery. Some theories suggest that they were massacred by the Powhatan tribe, but there is no archaeological evidence to support this. A recent re-examination suggests that any massacre that occurred was of an earlier group of colonists, not the ones on Roanoke Island. Other theories suggest that the colonists may have merged with the Croatians or relocated to another area, but so far, no concrete evidence has been found to support these hypotheses.
The Disappearance of Dorothy Arnold
Dorothy Harriet Camille Arnold, a prominent New York socialite, vanished without a trace on December 12, 1910, leaving behind a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. Dorothy, the daughter of successful perfume importer Francis Rose Arnold and Mary Martha Parks Arnold, left her Upper East Side home that morning with more than $750 in today's currency and told her mother that she was heading downtown to buy a dress for a party she had been invited to. After stopping at a grocery store and a bookstore, she ran into a college friend, Gladys King, and the two discussed the party before parting ways. Dorothy was never seen again. Despite the Arnold family's initial efforts to keep the matter private, a missing person report was filed with the New York City Police Department in January 1911. Over the years, various theories and rumors surrounding Dorothy's disappearance have circulated, but her fate and the circumstances surrounding her mysterious vanishing have yet to be resolved.
The Murder of Bugsy Siegel
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, the notorious gangster and founder of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was born into poverty and crime in Brooklyn, New York in 1906. Alongside his friends Meyer Lansky and Morris "Moe" Sedway, Siegel engaged in teenage thuggery, terrorizing street vendors and extracting protection money from rival gangs.
By 1937, bootlegging was no longer profitable, and Siegel and Sedway were sent to California to expand the mob's presence on the West Coast. Siegel then shifted his focus to gambling and invested in the SS Rex, a gambling ship docked off the coast of Santa Monica, which was ultimately shut down by authorities. With legalized gambling in Nevada, Siegel saw an opportunity to operate without fear of legal repercussions, and in 1945, he took over the construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, the first luxury hotel on the Las Vegas strip.
Despite the Flamingo's unfinished state, Siegel opened the casino in 1946 with a grand opening attended by famous celebrities. However, due to Siegel's skimming, the project's budget had grown from $1 million to $6 million, leading to tension with the mob who expected greater profits. On June 20, 1947, Siegel was assassinated by an unknown assailant using a .30-caliber military rifle while sitting on the couch at his mistress's Beverly Hills home. The killer was never identified, but it was widely believed to have been carried out by Siegel's own associates.
The Jamison Family Disappearance
The Jamison family, consisting of Bobby Dale, Sherilyn Leighann, and their daughter Madyson Stormy Star, were last seen on October 8, 2009, before disappearing without a trace. A witness claimed to have seen the family near a 40-acre plot of land they were considering purchasing, however, no one else was spotted in the area. The family had planned to live in a shipping container on the property in Eufaula, Oklahoma.
Eight days after the family's disappearance, hunters in a remote location discovered the Jamisons' abandoned truck, containing Bobby's wallet, Sherilyn's purse, jackets, a GPS, Bobby's cell phone, $32,000 cash in a bank bag, and their pet dog Maisy, who was malnourished but still alive. Bobby's cellphone contained a picture of Madyson, taken the day before the family vanished. Despite the lack of evidence of a struggle, former Sheriff Beauchamp believed the family had been forced to stop and meet someone they recognized before leaving the truck willingly or by force.
Following the GPS coordinates from the truck, investigators found footprints on a nearby hill. A search party of 300 people, including authorities and volunteers, scoured the area, but no leads were found, and the search was eventually called off.
On November 16, 2013, hunters scouting for deer hunting locations found partial skeletal remains of three bodies less than three miles from where the Jamison family's truck had been parked four years prior. The remains were confirmed to be the Jamisons, but no cause of death was determined, and the circumstances surrounding their disappearance remain unknown. Shoes, clothing, adult teeth, an adult arm and leg bone, and bone fragments were also found.
The Peculiar Death of Charles C. Morgan
Charles Morgan, an escrow agent, disappeared on March 22, 1977, after leaving his home in Phoenix, Arizona. Three days later, he returned home in the early hours of the morning with a plastic handcuff around one ankle and handcuffs around his hands. His wife Ruth reported that he had a hallucinogenic drug in his throat that could destroy his nervous system, but he refused to allow her to contact the police or a physician. Morgan disclosed to Ruth that he had been working as a secret agent for the U.S. Treasury Department and that his abductors had taken his treasury ID. Two months later, after disappearing again, Ruth received a strange phone call from an unidentified woman that said, "Chuck is alright. Ecclesiastes 12, 1 through 8."
Two days after the phone call, on June 18, Morgan's body was found 40 miles west of Tucson near his car. Morgan had been shot in the back of the head with his own gun and was found wearing a bulletproof vest, a belt buckle with a hidden knife, and a holster. A pair of sunglasses not belonging to Morgan was found at the scene. Investigators searched his car and found several weapons and a cache of ammunition. Morgan's tooth was discovered wrapped in a white handkerchief on the rear seat of the car. A $2 bill with several Spanish surnames and a map of the border area pinned to Morgan's underwear was also found. Above the surnames "Ecclesiastes 12," an arrow was drawn to the bill's serial number pointing to the numbers 1 and 8. Some of the other writings on the bill had alleged Masonic references, and Morgan also had a piece of paper with directions in his handwriting that led to the site where he was found.
Medical examiners concluded that Morgan had been dead for 12 hours when he was found. There were no fingerprints found at the scene, and the Sheriff's department labeled the death a suicide. The circumstances of Morgan's disappearance, secret agent claims, and his mysterious death remain unresolved.
Ruth Morgan staunchly rejected this theory and holds the belief that he was murdered. “I don’t know if this will ever be solved,” she said. “I’d like to know why. I don’t think we’ll ever find out who killed him.”
The Lady Of The Dunes
In July 26, 1974, Leslie Metcalfe, a 12-year-old girl, stumbled upon the body of a naked woman while chasing a local dog in the dunes of Racepoint Beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The decomposing body was lying on one side of a beach towel, with her head resting on a pair of jeans and a blue bandana. Authorities estimated that the body had been there for 10 days to three weeks before being discovered. The victim was a woman between the ages of 20 to 40, standing 5'6" tall and weighing about 145 pounds. Her head was almost completely decapitated, and her hands were removed to conceal her identity through fingerprints.
Given the gruesome state of the body, investigators believed that the woman was murdered, and the lack of signs of a struggle led them to believe that she knew her killer. Authorities also found size-10 footprints that indicated a heavy person running away, leading them to speculate that the killer drove the victim to the dune in a 4-wheel-drive sand vehicle to sunbathe. Despite a thorough investigation, which included the use of bloodhounds and missing person bulletins, police were unable to identify the victim or locate her killer.
Nearly 50 years later, the victim, known as the Lady of the Dunes, remains unidentified. In 2019, a Provincetown local named Margie Childs noted that the fact that no one could identify the woman in the tight-knit community was very strange.
The Case of Mary Reeser
Mary Hardy Reeser was found dead in her Saint Petersburg, Fla. apartment in July 1951, after a fire had occurred. Mary's landlord noticed the smell of smoke but only found Mary's remains after delivering a telegram to her. The condition of the apartment was strange as the chair and the rest of the apartment were relatively unaffected by the fire, although Mary's remains were completely cremated. The FBI concluded that Mary had been incinerated by the wick effect when the victim's clothing soaks up melted human fat and acts as a wick. They hypothesized that she had fallen unconscious while smoking and set fire to her nightclothes, although some still speculate that Mary died of spontaneous human combustion.
The Sheppard Murder Case
Dr. Samuel Sheppard, a respected neurosurgeon, and his wife Marilyn Reese settled in a friendly community near Lake Erie, Ohio, after their marriage in 1945. The couple had a son, Chip, two years later and was widely regarded to have a happy marriage.
On July 3, 1954, the Sheppards hosted a party for their neighbors, and Samuel fell asleep on the couch just after midnight. Marilyn said her goodbyes to the guests. At 5:30 a.m. on July 4, Samuel called his friend, Mayor Spencer Houk, and said, “My God, Spence, get over here quick. I think they’ve killed Marilyn.” Houk and his wife found Samuel shirtless and in a state of shock, and they called the police.
According to the police report, Marilyn's body was found beaten beyond recognition with over 20 gashes on her face and scalp. She had partially removed pajamas and was lying upward with her face turned towards the door. The autopsy revealed that she was four months pregnant. Samuel claimed he was asleep when he heard Marilyn shout his name, and upon waking, he found her being attacked by a "white form." After losing consciousness, he woke up to find Marilyn dead and the form gone. He was later found guilty of second-degree murder but always maintained his innocence. The real story of what happened to Marilyn remains unknown.
The Killing of Ken Rex McElroy
Ken Rex McElroy, a notorious troublemaker in Skidmore, Missouri, was killed in broad daylight on July 10, 1981. Despite there being 60 witnesses present, the perpetrator remains unidentified. McElroy grew up in a poor family and dropped out of school in eighth grade. He suffered from chronic pain due to an injury sustained at a construction site when he was 18. He was known for his violent behavior and was charged with various crimes at least three times a year. He was seldom convicted.
In July 1980, McElroy shot grocer Bo Bowenkamp in the neck with a shotgun after stalking Bowenkamp’s family for asking his daughter to return a piece of unpaid candy. McElroy was arrested and charged with attempted murder, but he was able to intimidate witnesses and delay his trial. A new prosecutor, David Baird, was assigned to the case, and he could only secure a conviction for second-degree assault. McElroy was released on a $40,000 bail bond. After making threats about killing Bowenkamp at a local bar, McElroy was arrested for violating bail by carrying a rifle and bayonet.
On July 10, 1981, a meeting was held to discuss legal options for preventing McElroy from causing further harm. Attendees learned that McElroy was at a nearby bar and flanked his truck while others waited inside for him to finish his drinks. Upon returning to the truck, McElroy was shot twice and killed. There were 46 potential witnesses, but no one was charged with the crime, and the identity of the shooter remains unknown.
The Disappearance of Paula Jean Welden
In 1946, 18-year-old Paula Jean Welden, a sophomore at Bennington College, went for a long walk and failed to return to her shared space with roommate Elizabeth Parker. Witnesses reported seeing her on Vermont's Long Trail, a 270-mile trail that cuts through Vermont to the Canadian border. A search party was formed, but no clues were found on the trail. The Bennington Banner reported that leads began to surface, including a witness account of a young woman matching Paula's description. Her father became a prime suspect after disappearing for 36 hours to pursue the lead. However, no evidence was found, and stories began to circulate that Paula's home life was not as idyllic as initially reported. Despite multiple leads and theories, the case went cold, and the fate of Paula Jean Welden remains unknown.
The Murder of Betty Shanks
Betty Shanks, a 22-year-old student at the University of Queensland, got off a train at Days Road Terminus in Grange, a Brisbane suburb on September 19, 1952. However, she never made it home after starting her short walk. The next morning, a policeman who lived nearby discovered her badly beaten body in the garden of a house at the corner of Carberry and Thomas Streets at 5:35 a.m. This event became one of the most notorious investigations in Queensland history.
Despite numerous theories, the murderer of Betty Shanks has not been found, and the case remains unsolved. Even today, a reward of $50,000 AUS is offered for any information leading to a suspect.
The Case of Jeanette DePalma
In 1972, a decomposing forearm was found by a dog in Springfield, New Jersey. Police were alerted and soon discovered the body of 16-year-old Jeanette DePalmer atop a nearby cliff, after she had been missing for six weeks. The Satanic panic grew in the community as the hill where she was found was covered with occult symbols, leading many to believe that her body was placed on a makeshift altar. Some pointed fingers at an alleged coven of witches, while others suspected a Satanic group. Due to a flood, many details of the case were destroyed, but it was reported that the cause of death could not be determined due to the body's decomposition. A local homeless man was investigated but cleared of any connection to the killing. It was speculated that DePalma may have provoked a group of Satan-worshipping teens at her high school. Her death remains unsolved to this day.
The Vanishing of Cynthia Anderson
Cynthia Anderson was a 20-year-old legal secretary from Toledo, Ohio, who was raised in a religious household. Despite her strict upbringing, she had a boyfriend and was preparing to attend Bible College. The previous year, she had seen graffiti outside her office window that read "I Love You Cindy" with "by GW" in the corner. That summer, she was being harassed by anonymous phone calls and experiencing nightmares about being attacked.
On August 4, 1981, Cynthia left for work as usual but was reported missing when her employer found the office empty with the scent of nail polish remover in the air. There were no signs of struggle, but her keys and purse were missing, and a romance novel was left open at her desk to a page where the protagonist was abducted. Her case remains unsolved.
The Disappearance of Kyron Horman
Kyron Horman, a seven-year-old boy, went missing on June 4, 2010, after his stepmother, Terri, dropped him off at Skyline Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, for a science fair. After staying with him for a while, Terri left the school at around 8:45 a.m. When Kyron’s father Kaine and Terri went to the bus stop to meet Kyron at around 3:30 p.m., they were informed by the bus driver that Kyron had not boarded the bus after school. Upon contacting the school, they found out that Kyron had been marked absent and was not seen in his first class. The school secretary called the police after realizing that the boy was missing.
The search for Kyron lasted for 10 days and involved over 1,300 searchers from Oregon, Washington, and California. It was the largest search in Oregon's history, with most of the search concentrated on the two-mile radius around Skyline Elementary and Sauvie Island, which is six miles away. Despite the search and a reward of $50,000, no evidence was ever found, and Kyron's whereabouts remain a mystery. Legal proceedings, including a lawsuit from Kyron's mother, alleging that Terri Horman is responsible for his disappearance, are still ongoing.
The Leatherman was a well-known traveller who wore handmade leather clothes while making his way around a 365-mile loop between the Connecticut River and the Hudson River, passing through towns in western Connecticut and eastern New York from 1857 to 1889. He lived in rock shelters and stopped at towns along his route for food and supplies. It's unclear what he did for work, but one shopkeeper kept a record of his usual store order, which included bread, sardines, crackers, pie, coffee, brandy, and beer.
According to an article from the Burlington Free Press in 1870, the Leatherman rarely spoke and communicated mostly with grunts and gestures. He was said to be fluent in French and rumored to be from Picardy, France, but he never spoke much about his background. Even upon his death from cancer in 1889, the Leatherman's true identity remained unknown, and it's still a mystery to this day.
Strange Noises In Cuba
In December 2016, a CIA officer and two more reported symptoms including nausea, headache, and dizziness in the American Embassy's health office in Havana. In total, 26 Americans and 13 Canadians experienced a range of symptoms including hearing loss, vertigo, nosebleeds, and focusing issues, all of which were believed to have been triggered by a strange noise. While some described the noise as high-pitched or a beam of sound pointed into their rooms, others described it as marbles rolling along the floor.
Medical experts were confounded by the illnesses, with some doctors diagnosing concussion-like symptoms in the victims but finding no signs of actual concussions. There are many theories regarding the cause of these symptoms, including the possibility of new types of weapons or covert eavesdropping devices placed too close together by Cuban agents. Recordings of the sounds only added to the confusion, with scientists studying them and ultimately concluding that they resembled the sound of lovelorn male crickets. The fallout has been significant, with the Americans removing 60% of their diplomats from Cuba and expelling 15 Cuban diplomats from Washington, DC.
Between 1917 and 1928, over 500,000 people worldwide were hit by encephalitis lethargica, a disease which caused them to become frozen in place while still conscious. The disease, known as the "sleeping sickness," started in Europe and spread to other continents. Roughly one third of those who got the disease died, while many survivors became paralyzed and unable to move or interact with the world around them. Although they were sometimes capable of speaking and moving their eyes, they mostly appeared as living statues, remaining motionless for hours, days, weeks, or even years.
Doctors have not identified the cause of encephalitis lethargica, but believe that a rare strain of streptococcus bacteria may have triggered an immune system response that inflamed the brain. Nevertheless, the condition has been sporadically occurring ever since, with occasional cases popping up in Europe in the 1950s and a recent case of a 12-year-old girl in China being hospitalized with the disease. A 2004 analysis of 20 patients with similar symptoms to encephalitis lethargica concluded that the disease is still present today, causing it to remain a frightening and unexplained illness.
What is the Voynich Manuscript?
The Voynich Manuscript is a book that spans about 250 pages and has an unknown language and writing system. Carbon dating shows that it was created in the 1400s, and it contains illustrations of plants that do not resemble any known species. It was named after a Polish book dealer who bought it in 1912. Experts believe that it was created as a medical text, but its true origin remains a mystery. The first confirmed owner of the manuscript was an alchemist from Prague named Georg Baresch. However, his attempts to investigate the manuscript’s origins were unsuccessful.
The Voynich Manuscript has changed hands many times throughout the centuries, but its true author remains unknown. Wilfrid Voynich, the book dealer who purchased the manuscript in 1912, believed that it was authored by Albertus Magnus or Roger Bacon. Others believe that Voynich fabricated the manuscript and its history himself, but the carbon dating of the paper and ink rules out this possibility. Despite many hoaxes and attempts to decode it, the Voynich Manuscript remains an enigma.
The Big Grey Man
The Big Grey Man, also known as Am Fear Liath Mòr, is a cryptid that reportedly haunts the summit and passes of Ben Macdui, the second highest peak in Scotland. Witnesses who have seen the creature describe it as extremely tall, over ten feet, and human-like with broad shoulders and long arms. Sightings of the Big Grey Man are accompanied by the sound of gravel crunching beneath footfalls. Unlike bears, the Big Grey Man's physical characteristics are not similar to any known animal, which makes sightings more frightening.
Despite eyewitness accounts, scientists haven't been able to explain the sightings or accompanying sounds. Some psychologists believe that those who claim to have seen and heard the Big Grey Man were experiencing physical and mental anguish brought on by exhaustion or isolation. The creature remains a mystery, and whether it exists or not is still up for debate.
The Tunguska Event
In 1908, an unexplained event known as "the Tunguska event" occurred in Siberia, Russia. The incident caused approximately 770 square miles of forest to be flattened, and while it resembled an explosion, there were no witnesses or other evidence to support that claim. The scientific community has classified this phenomenon as the largest "impact event" on record, which is defined as a collision between two astronomical objects. However, scientists have not been able to identify any "impact crater," which is a hallmark of an impact event. As a result, scientists can only speculate that an asteroid may have exploded over the earth, and the devastation seen in Siberia was due to after-effects.
Stonehenge, the ancient stone circle located in Wiltshire, England, has been an enduring mystery for centuries. Dating back to around 2500 BCE, the monument comprises a ring of standing stones that weigh several tons each, arranged in a pattern that suggests a significant astronomical alignment. However, despite extensive research and speculation, the purpose and method of construction of Stonehenge remain unclear.
Many theories abound as to the purpose of Stonehenge, ranging from a place of religious worship, a burial ground, to an astronomical calendar. Some researchers have suggested that the monument may have been used for healing purposes, as evidence of human remains with injuries that have been treated with herbal remedies have been found in the area. Regardless of the purpose, the fact that the structure has survived for over 4,000 years continues to fascinate and inspire wonder in people from all around the world.
In August 1977, an Ohio State University astronomer named Jerry Ehman was reviewing data from a radio telescope when he noticed something peculiar. It was a burst of radio waves that lasted just 72 seconds but was incredibly powerful, registering over 30 times the background noise. Ehman was so struck by the signal that he circled it on the computer printout and wrote “Wow!” next to it, giving the signal its name: the WOW! Signal. Despite numerous attempts to detect the signal again, no repeat transmission has ever been detected.
The WOW! Signal has captured the imagination of scientists and the public alike, with some speculating that it could be a message from an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization. However, skeptics argue that the signal could have been caused by a natural phenomenon or a man-made source. Decades later, the true origin of the WOW! Signal remains a mystery, but it continues to inspire the search for extraterrestrial life and the exploration of the cosmos.
Spring Heeled Jack
Spring Heeled Jack was a notorious character who gained infamy in Victorian England during the early to mid-1800s. His appearance and abilities, which included the ability to jump over buildings and breathe blue flames, sparked widespread fear and fascination among the public. Reports of his attacks on unsuspecting victims, particularly young women, only added to his notoriety. Despite numerous investigations and sightings, Spring Heeled Jack's true identity was never conclusively determined, leading to countless theories and legends surrounding the enigmatic figure.
The legend of Spring Heeled Jack continued to captivate the public's imagination for generations after his supposed reign of terror ended. His legend was kept alive in literature, theater, and even video games, cementing his status as a cultural icon. The story of Spring Heeled Jack remains a fascinating and eerie chapter in Victorian England's history, with many still captivated by his mysterious exploits and the unsettling questions they raise about the nature of evil and the limits of human capability.
The Death of the Boy in the Box
On February 25th, 1957, a mystery began to unfold near Philadelphia when the body of an unidentified boy was discovered in a box in an illegal dumping ground. He was estimated to be around four to six years old, weighing about 30 pounds, and standing at around 3 feet and 3 inches tall. Although he was found naked, he was wrapped in a blanket. His hair had recently been cut and his body was freshly washed. While the boy had small scars on his chin, groin, and left ankle, some of which showed he had undergone a minor medical procedure, he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head, which was deemed the cause of death. There were no witnesses.
The boy’s body was found by a young man who was walking through the abandoned lot. However, he waited a full day before contacting the police. Additionally, a second man had previously found the boy’s body but had not contacted the police out of fear of getting involved. Due to the cold weather and the delayed phone call, the police were unable to accurately estimate the time of the boy’s death.
Despite their best efforts, authorities were unable to identify the boy. Visitors from 10 different states came to the morgue to look for identifiable marks, but nothing turned up. The police sent out 400,000 flyers to police stations, post offices, and courthouses all over the country, while the American Medical Association sent out a description of the boy, yet it led nowhere. Even after comparing his footprints to hospitals in the area and taking fingerprints, there was no record of the boy ever existing.
In 2016, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released a forensic facial reconstruction of the victim and added him to their database. However, the boy has yet to be identified and the case remains open, shrouded in mystery.