There’s something about a good mystery, especially if it’s based on true life. The thrill and the rush of learning about new information and connecting the facts attract many people. And when you look into the countless cases of unsolved murders, unexplained disappearances, and other bizarre happenings in the world, you’ll find there’s no shortage of it.
Some mysteries, however, are more intriguing than others, mostly because of the details surrounding them. To sate your craving for a good mystery, here’s a roundup of 50 unsolved cases that have, to varying degrees, managed to fascinate people for years.
The Taos Hum
Taos, New Mexico is a well-known vacation home spot for the rich and famous. The mortgage rates in the area are very expensive. Beautiful as it may be, at least two percent of the population of this town hear a constant hum or buzz.
Scientists say that it might be a manifestation of tinnitus, while conspiracy theorists attribute it to government experiments in the mountains, or alien presence around the town.
It’s still not explained to this day.
The Voynich Manuscript
Named after the book dealer that purchased it back in 1912, the Voynich manuscript is carbon-dated to be written during the Italian Renaissance in the mid-15th century. The manuscript is written in an unknown language and writing system, with pages filled with diagrams and charts. Many codebreakers from World War I and World War II have tried their hand in cracking the manuscript but to no avail.
There are different theories surrounding the manuscript, including the theory that all of it is just a hoax. Large investments have been made to uncover this mystery, but to this day, it remains to be unsolved.
The Disappearance of Flight MA370
You’d think with modern technology and radars, it’s impossible for something as large as a plane to disappear without a trace, right?
However, that’s exactly what happened with Flight MA370 in March of 2014. The flight was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it suddenly disappeared from the radar mid-flight.
For the next year and a half, several countries launched searches to find any trace of the missing plane but found nothing except for small debris that washed up on the coast of Africa.
Malaysian Airlines suffered losses in their investments due to the unfortunate event.
Although not theorized to be made by aliens or other supernatural elements, Kryptos has baffled brilliant codebreakers all over the world for over three decades.
Jim Sanborn created Kryptos and placed the sculptures on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia. Three out of the four sculptures have been solved but the last one remains a mystery.
The sculptures are made of copper plates, granite, quartz, and wood. We wonder how much they paid the moving company to move all four of these.
Anyone who ever studied English knows who William Shakespeare is.
Or do they?
Holders of literature and history degrees have pondered throughout the years about the real identity of the prolific playwright. This is partly because there’s only very little evidence left behind about his life. There are theories that suggest that William Shakespeare is more than one person, or that it is merely a pseudonym used by Sir Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe. Nobody knows for sure until this day.
Rongorongo pertains to the series of glyphs found in Easter Island back in the late 19th Century. Over two dozens of these were found all over the island, all in different conditions.
These items were made from different shaped wood pieces and were written using a sharp stick. The writing appears to be a form of proto-writing and many lawyers, linguists and historians have tried deciphering the text but to no avail.
Stonehenge has been a tourist attraction for so long that it can be easy to forget how it’s one of the most pervasive mysteries in the world.
The Stonehenge is a series of large stones laid out in a very exact geometric shape in Southern England. The mystery lies in where the rocks came from and how it was moved there 4,000 years ago without the aid of machines today. Not even a moving company can move these tons of stones easily.
To this day, nobody knows how and why it was built.
Severed feet in British Columbia
Also known as the Salish Sea human foot discoveries, this mystery revolves around the appearances of human severed human feet in shoes around the shores of British Columbia.
It started in 2007, with the most recent discovery being on January 1, 2019. Scientists and authorities have ruled out foul play and stated that the feet came from people killed either in accidents or suicides. It doesn’t take a degree to know that shoes kept the feet from decomposing, thus allowing them to be washed up on the shore.
As likely as this conclusion is, many people still wonder if there truly is no foul play involved.
DB Cooper is the name given to the unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 on November 24, 1971.
Cooper hijacked the plane with a bomb in a suitcase and demanded a ransom of $200,000 in exchange for the passengers’ freedom. When he got the money and the parachute he requested, the plane refueled and took off once again. Cooper then jumped off the plane.
Despite a large manhunt, the FBI didn’t find him or his remains. It’s still a mystery what happened to Cooper and who he really was. Some films even credit him as an inspiration. To this day, the government keeps an active case file for this crime.
The Nazca Lines are a group of geoglyphs formed on the soil of the Nazca Desert and were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE. The lines form different shapes like animals, trees, and even humans, with some designs reaching up to 1,200 feet in length.
There are varying theories from different people, holding different expertise and degrees. Some anthropologists believe that the lines indicate water flow or irrigation, while others believe that it’s the civilization’s way to communicate with the deities in the sky. Either way, none of these theories have been proven.
SS Ourang Medan
The SS Ourang Medan is one of the mysteries of sea travel. In 1947, the ship’s crew called for help over the radio before falling silent. After rescuers found the ship, they found all the crew dead and when they left, the ship suddenly caught fire and sank – flooring investments, and all.
Many theorize that the crew died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning section of their broiler, while others believe that they were transferring a deadly nerve gas that caused their death. Moving companies, whether on land or sea, should leave a paper trail when transferring dangerous and important items.
Between February 1 and 2 of 1959, nine Rusian hikers died in the northern Ural Mountains. They were all, to some degree, experienced hikers but sometime during the night, something caused them to flee from their campsite while wearing inadequate clothing.
This caused six of them to die of hypothermia, while the other three showed signs of physical trauma. Nobody knows up until this day what they saw and what ended their lives.
The Mayan civilization is one of the most powerful civilizations in the world between the 8th and 9th centuries. Their civilization is recognized for their calendar systems, hieroglyphic writing, and achievements in agriculture and architecture.
However, around 900 A.D., almost all the major cities of the Mayan civilization were abandoned. Nobody knows why. Some scientists and historians credit it to a mixture of factors like warfare, overpopulation, shifting trade routes, and extended drought. However, the true, proven cause is still unknown to this day.
Machu Picchu and the Incas
There are a lot of mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu. Located in the Eastern Cordillera of Peru, Machu Picchu is a 15th-century citadel shrouded in mystery due to the lack of information historians have.
One mystery is that nobody really knows who lived in Machu Picchu. Some theories suggest that it was for nobles as a retreat complex away from the city, while others believe that it’s a place for ceremonies or farming and trade. There are also elongated skulls found in the site, suggesting unknown practices (or even, aliens). Up until its decline, it’s still wrapped with mystery as nobody knows – master’s degree or not – what really caused the place’s decline and abandonment.
The Alcatraz Escapees
In June 1962, three men escaped from what is considered to be the most fortified jail in the world: Alcatraz. After months to years of preparation – preparing their boats, and their crawling space – Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Charles Anglin made their escape.
The ingenuity of their plan showed that it’s not all about acquiring a degree. The three chiseled away the moisture-damaged concrete for their escape, created a paper-mache doll of their head, and stole over 50 rubber raincoats for their raft.
They managed to leave Alcatraz but it’s unknown whether they survived the harsh waves of the water surrounding the island, or if they managed to create a new life after their escape.
The Shugborough Inscription
The Shugborough Inscription is a sequence of letters carved on the 18th-century Shepherd’s Monument created by Flemish sculptor, Peter Shoemakers.
The sequence of letters is – O U O S V A V V, between D M. There are different theories as to what these inscriptions mean; most of them are Latin initialism theories providing Latin phrases that fit the sequence.
One goes, “Optimal Uxoris Optimae Sororis Viduus Amantissimus Vovit Virtutibus” which meant “Best of wives, best of sisters, a most devoted widower dedicates this to your virtues”, a dedication made by George Anson to his deceased wife. Other theories draw a conclusion from bible verses and classic literature. Many codebreakers and linguists with a master’s degree have tried to break the code but to no avail.
The Wow! Signal is a strong narrowband radio signal that was received by the Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope on August 15, 1977. The radio signal is often cited by believers of extraterrestrials to be proof of life outside earth.
The Wow! Signal is named after astronomer Jerry R. Ehman’s reaction upon discovering it. We bet that Ehman didn’t expect this when he got his degree.
The Bermuda Triangle is also known as the Devil’s Triangle, and for a good reason, too. The loosely defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean is the site of many lost aircraft and ships which were said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Many believe the reason behind this is the massive storms that spring up within the triangle’s area, while others believe that it’s the work of aliens. Who knows? Maybe some of the ships lost fuel or gas, that’s why they never got back. Whatever it is, it remains to be a mystery.
Usually, sinks are easily fixed by plumbing services – but not this time. The Siberian Sinkholes are a collection of giant sinkholes that suddenly started appearing in the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, Russia.
Scientists theorize that these holes are the result of pockets of gas rising from the deeper layer of the earth due to global warming. Other theories involve devils and alien life forms. It doesn’t help that the Yamal Peninsula means, “end of the world.”
Computers? In Ancient Rome?
Anyone with a degree will say that it’s impossible. However, the existence of the Antikythera mechanism suggests otherwise. The artifact was retrieved from the sea back in 2901, among the wreckage of a shipwreck on the Greek island of Antikythera.
It is believed to be created by Greek scientists in 87 BC. The mechanism is made with at least 30 meshing bronze gears and is said to have been used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar usage.
The advancement of the mechanism prompts many aliens and time-traveling theories to pop up. It could be, or it could also be that our ancient ancestors are more brilliant than we give them credit for.
Oak Island Money Pit
The Oak Island Money Pit is an area in the infamous Oak Island wherein treasure hunters believe the ever-elusive treasure of the island can be found. Many have tried to find it, including President Franklin Roosevelt.
The Money Pit has yielded relics, like a mysterious inscribed stone that has hopefuls believing that there’s still more to be found. It was first discovered in 1795 when a young man noticed an indentation on the ground and started digging. They discovered a man-made shaft that extends 90ft underground. However, an expedition in the 1960s accidentally obscured the original site.
Many hopefuls are still trying to find it, trying to take credit for the discovery and, hopefully, pay off mortgage loans with the treasure.
The Zodiac Killer
Yet another killer on our list, the Zodiac Killer is one of the most notorious and cruel serial killers in history. Unlike other criminals, the Zodiac Killer taunted and wrote to the media about his crimes.
He terrorized the San Francisco and Central California area between the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most of his victims were young couples in high school and in college, working to get their degree.
The Zodiac Killer was never captured and the case remains open to this day.
Nazi Gold Train
Many unknown events happened during the Second World War, some are still being uncovered to this day, while others are dismissed to be folk stories. The story of the Nazi gold train remains to be somewhere in the middle.
The story revolves around a supposed Nazi-era train buried in a tunnel in Lower Silesia, between Breslau and Waldenburg. The train is said to be filled with gold and precious stones, along with weapons and masterpieces with a weight totaling 300 tonnes.
Many treasure hunters remain to be searching for this elusive treasure. We can’t blame them, just a fraction of this hidden treasure can save someone from bankruptcy for the rest of their lives. However, historians say that there’s no concrete proof of its existence at all.
The Pollock Twins
Do you believe in reincarnation? You might start to after hearing the case of the Pollock Twins.
Husband and wife, John and Florence Pollock had two daughters, Joana and Jacqueline who died in a car accident. They were 11 and 6, respectively. A year after their deaths, Florence gave birth to twin girls named Gillian and Jennifer.
Both girls had birthmarks and scars similar to their deceased sisters. They even began to ask for toys that their deceased sisters previously owned. When the family returned to Hexham, the twins showed familiarity with landmarks that they’ve never been to. Many believers of reincarnation believe that, to some degree, theirs was the first recorded case of reincarnation in the 20th century.
There are lots of mysteries in the field of archaeology. Primarily because the people that could answer their questions are dead, and their records perished over time. This is the case when it comes to the Gobekli Tepe.
The Gobekli Tepe is an archeological site located on top of a hill in Southern Turkey. They say the site is over 50 feet, while its diameter is over 1,000 feet. Scientists and archeologists still ponder on what the site really is. Some theorize that it’s a Neolithic sanctuary or graveyard. Whatever the case may be, it’s a mystery that’s been flooring people for decades.
The Gypsy Hill Killings
In 1976, there was a series of murders in San Mateo County, San Francisco where five women were brutally killed. The media dubbed the suspect to be the “San Mateo Slasher” although the killer was later determined to be at least two people.
The five victims all had brown hair and experienced car trouble before being killed. All their bodies were also found in wooded areas. This made it harder for investigators to find evidence and witnesses.
They convicted Cathy Woods but later released her when the case was reopened in 2014. Instead, Rodney Halbower was arrested but not convicted for the killings of two of the victims. The lawyer handling the case deemed that the evidence was not enough to charge him. It’s still unknown who killed them.
The Tamam Shud case is also known to many as the Mystery of the Somerton Man. On the morning of December 1, 1948, an unidentified man was found on the Somerton Park beach.
Unidentified corpses are not so much of a mystery normally, but the details regarding this case make it so. The term “Tamam Shud” was printed on a scrap of paper found inside the corpse’ trousers months after the corpse was found. It means “ended”.
There were no records or other clues found to identify the man. He could’ve been a lawyer or a simple salaryman but many believe that he was a spy that was killed after a mission, because of the Cold War back then.
The Dancing Plague of 1518
You’d think a plague that forces people to dance won’t be so bad, right?
In 1518, a case of dancing mania occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace. It’s said that between 50 to 400 people were dancing for days. Some dropped dead due to exhaustion after several days. Some records say that at least 15 people a day died due to the plague.
Modern historians have several theories including food poisoning from ergot fungi. Others suggest some degree of stress-induced mass hysteria occurred. However, due to a lack of information, the cause of the plague is still a mystery.
The Confederate Treasury
After the Confederacy lost in the Civil War, millions of dollars of gold disappeared. Records found it unaccounted for, thus sparking theories and controversies as to where it went. Some believe that it was tossed to the bottom of a river, while others believe that it was split between the Southern states to prepare for the rising in the future.
The disappearance of the millions worth of gold set back the Union by a large margin. However, as history shows, the Union found a way to escape bankruptcy and continue leading the nation.
The Hinterkaifeck Murders
Hinterkaifeck was a small farm located north of Munich and is the site of one of the most famous unsolved murders in German history. On March 31, 1922, six inhabitants of the farm were killed with an ax.
The mysterious parts were the events leading up to the murder. The family maid had quite a few months before, saying that the house is haunted. Note that this was way back when electricity was still not widely available, so machinery sounds are out of the question. While the family patriarch found footsteps leading up to the house during the snowy season. The house keys also went missing shortly after. Scholars and lawyers didn’t find the killer, although some theories point to the matriarch’s former husband and another unidentified male.
The Death of Roberto Calvi
Roberto Calvi was an Italian banker dubbed as “God’s Banker” because of his close relationship with the Holy See. He died in London in June 1982 while in the middle of a scandal about money laundering for both the Catholic Church and the Italian mafia.
This money management of his for both sides supposedly led to his death. His body was found hanging under the Blackfriars Bridge in London, a day after he was stripped of his post at the Banco Ambrosiano. It was originally ruled as suicide until his family requested another investigation to be done. Many believe that he was murdered due to his association with the masons.
The Hessdalen Lights
The Hessdalen lights are unexplained lights observed in a 12 kilometer long stretch of the Hessdalen valley in Norway. The lights are often white, yellow, or red and can last for as long as an hour. Witnesses say that sometimes the lights move at a very quick speed, sometimes they sway slowly back and forth.
It was most active between 1981 to 1984, by 2010 the number of observations had increased from 10 to 20 sightings per year. Many believe that it’s the work of aliens, while others believe that it’s a phenomenon involving electricity in nature.
The Mary Celeste
The Mary Celeste was an American merchant sailing vessel that was discovered deserted and adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on December 4, 1872. The crew went to the ocean late October and its last known location was near the Santa Maria island in the Azores.
When it was found, the ship was in perfect shape but the crew was missing. Nobody was on board and no signs of struggle were found. Lots of theories popped up about the disappearance of the crew, including pirate attacks, natural phenomena, and foul play for insurance money.
The Disappearance of Tara Calico
Tara Calico’s disappearance has, to a huge degree, haunted the United States since her disappearance back in 1988. She was only 19 years old. Calico disappeared near her home in Belen, New Mexico. What’s chilling about this case is that in July 1989, a Polaroid photo of a young woman and boy was found in a convenience store parking lot in Florida. In the photo, both the young woman and the boy were bound and gagged.
The woman in the photo is widely believed to be Calico, however, no arrests have been made since the trail ran cold. Up until this day, nobody knew what became of Tara Calico.
Arguably the most famous assassination in history, the shooting of John F. Kennedy remains to be unsolved today, even after the arrest of former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.
Due to alleged inconsistencies and witness tampering, conspiracies arose surrounding the president’s assassination. Some believed it was the mafia and their lawyers, the CIA, or then Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro.
The case still remains a mystery to many to this day.
The Lost Colony of Roanoke
The lost colony of Roanoke was established in 1587 in what is now the Dare County of North Carolina. It was led by John White. However, he was sent on an expedition to establish another settlement in the Chesapeake Bay, his return was delayed until 1590. When he got back, the settlement was found to be abandoned.
The only clue left was the word “CROATOAN” found carved into the palisade. White tried to follow to Croatoan island but due to rough weather and stormy seas, failed and returned to England. Nobody knows what happened to the members of the colony. Some say they assimilated with nearby Native American communities, while others believe that they were massacred. Whatever the case may be, the whole thing is a mystery that’s been flooring researchers for decades.
The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
When famed aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son was abducted from their family home while he and his wife were home, many got involved immediately. Unfortunately, despite police assistance, the body of his son was found lifeless two months after.
Although someone was convicted -Richard Hauptmann- and subsequently, executed, the case remains to be shrouded with questions on the legitimacy and validity of the arrest.
Lawyers and authors have written about Hauptmann’s innocence and how the evidence used against him was merely circumstantial. Another theory suggests that it was Lindbergh himself that accidentally killed his son and let somebody else take the fall.
JonBenet Ramsey Murder
In 1996, the murder of child beauty pageant winner, JonBenet Ramsey, swept the nation. The six-year-old child was found beaten to death and strangled in the basement of the family’s home, eight hours after her mother found a ransom note demanding a very specific amount of cash from the family.
The kidnappers were demanding $118,000 in exchange for JonBenet Ramsey. That year, her father received a bonus of the same amount, raising the family’s credit score.
Aside from this detail, there are other details from the family’s testimony that are mismatched and suspicious, while police mishandled the crime scene. The ransom note is thought to be a hoax and was apparently written from inside the house. To this day, suspicions still loom over the Ramsey family.
Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance
Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. During an attempt to make a circumnavigation flight around the globe in 1937, she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean.
She was never found, neither were any traces of her plane. Only her last radio electricity signals were found on the record. There are many theories surrounding her disappearance, including a theory of her being captured by the Japanese forces and another that assumes that she and her navigator took a different identity to live a different life.
Loch Ness Monster
Treasure hunters and monster hunters are an interesting bunch. While treasure hunters flock the Oak Island and other treasure hunting sites, monster hunters flock to the Loch Ness lake in the Scottish Highlands.
The Loch Ness monster is a cryptid known in Scottish folklore. It is described to be large, long-necked with one or two humps on its back. Numerous hoaxes have been found in the past, including its iconic photo. However, with advancements in electricity and satellite photography, believers still hold on to the hope of finding the Loch Ness Monster.
The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia is the name given to Elizabeth Short after she was found murdered and cut in half in Leimert Park on January 15, 1947.
The gruesome nature of the crime was sensationalized by the media which did not aid the police in capturing the suspect. Many people have stepped forward admitting to the crime but all of them were dismissed due to inconsistencies.
Lawyers, reporters, and investigators questioned over 500 people but to no avail. Some of the notable suspects were the Cleveland Torso murderer and George Hill Hodel Jr.
Long Island Killer
To this day, the identity of the suspected serial killer that terrorized Long Island for over 20 years is still unknown. The suspect killed over 10 to 16 people, mostly sex workers, and dumped their bodies in different spots along the South Shore of Long Island, New York.
Although there were different persons of interest, no conclusive evidence has been found, no arrests were ever made, and no detective can take credit for breaking new ground on the investigation.
The Patomskiy Crater
Yet another crater on the list, the Patomskiy Crater pertains to a massive rock formation in South Siberia. It’s over 520 ft in diameter and 130 ft in height and mostly made of shattered limestone blocks.
In 2010, scientists and doctors with geology degrees stated that the crater probably originated from geological processes since there wasn’t any evidence to support the meteorite theory. However, many still hold on to the theory that it can be from a meteorite crash site.
Jack The Ripper
There are many theories about this serial killer. Jack The Ripper terrorized the poor neighborhoods of London from 1888 to 1891 and was a suspect in the killing of at least eleven women in the area.
Jack The Ripper targeted prostitutes and other members of the lower class who were probably just a step above bankruptcy. Some investigators believe that Jack The Ripper was just a hoax, while others believe that he was part of the royal family. To this day, nobody knows the truth.
Many sightings of Bigfoot have been proven to be faked. However, the stories about Bigfoot have been around since the 19th century, all with largely consistent descriptions and narratives.
A large part of the scientific community doesn’t believe that they existed largely because no fossil of a great ape has ever been found in the Americas–and to survive, a species must have a population large enough for breeding.
However, many still believe that they exist, and these people credit the number of sightings as evidence.
The Bouvet Island Lifeboat
Bouvet Island is one of the most isolated places in the world, located in between the southern tip of Africa and Antarctica and covered by ice and inhabited by an active volcano. It was uninhabited with no structures and no electricity. That’s why the discovery of a lifeboat on its shores in 1964 was such a mystery.
Nobody knows where it came from. Whether it’s from a landing party or supplies from a sunken ship, it remains unknown.
The Bimini Road is an underwater rock formation near North Bimini island in the Bahamas. It consists of a 0.8 km long collection of roughly rectangular limestone blocks. Scientists, to a huge degree, believe that it is a natural feature composed of beach rock, however, some still believe that it is man-made – possibly remains of an ancient road or wall.
Perhaps Atlantis was located near the Bahamas, what do you think?
The Oakville Blobs
The Oakville blobs refer to the blobs that fell from the sky onto the town of Oakville, Washington back in August 1994. Over the course of three weeks, a jelly-like substance fell from the sky a total of six times. Witnesses and residents of the town fell sick after coming in contact with the substance.
Samples sent to different labs showed that the blobs contained bacteria found in the human intestinal tract, and a eukaryotic cell – showing a possibility that the substance was a living organism. Some have posited theories pointing to the government’s moral bankruptcy–including one that says it’s a biological weapon, while others speculate that it was caused by the military’s naval bombing practice.
Until now, nobody knows. No samples of the substance exist today.
The Gardner Museum Heist
On March 18, 1990, 13 works of art were stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston. In the wee hours of the morning, two men dressed as police officers entered the museum and tied up the guards on duty, easily making away with $500M worth of stolen art.
Up until now, the stolen artworks have not been found, nor the culprits.
It was a great loss for the art community and art degree graduates.
The Death of Elisa Lam
Elisa Lam was a young college student whose body was found inside a water tank atop the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. She was last seen alive inside the hotel, exiting and re-entering the elevator, seemingly talking to someone in the corridor.
An autopsy revealed that there was no evidence of physical trauma that may have led to her death, stating that it was likely to have been accidental. Theories on what happened to Lam vary from bipolar disorder to the infamous “Elevator Game” that is paranormal in nature. To this day, nobody knows what really happened despite all the investments made to resolve the case.