From human feet washing up on Canadian beaches to missing stars, these are not your average discoveries. While some are purely scientific, others are purely disturbing, and the rest fall somewhere in between. The one thing they all have in common (besides being discovered) is that they are unexplained. Well, let us rephrase that. The numerous existing explanations either conflict or are debatable. These are 25 strange and sometimes disturbing discoveries that remain unexplained.
An unidentified man was found dead on a beach near Adelaide, Australia on December 1, 1948. He had a piece of paper in his trousers with the phrase “tamam shud” on it. In Persian this means “finished” or “ended”. Shortly after it was discovered that the phrase had been torn from a copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (a book) which was found in a nearby car. Within the book was a code as well a phone number. No government has ever been able to identify the body or find any leads. The case has become one of Australia’s (and the Cold War’s) most profound mysteries.
Possibly the most popular geoglyphs in the world, the Nazca Lines of Peru are a mystery both in purpose and construction. While numerous theories have been put forth (astronomy, religion, etc) there is still debate surrounding the structures.
Water on Mars
Ever since the discovery of ice on Mars scientists have been debating as to whether or not liquid water ever flowed on its surface. The theme of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program has even been named “Follow The Water”.
If you look at the amount of fuel for star formation in the universe you’ll come to the realization that there should be nearly 10 times as many stars. This is possibly one of the greatest anti-discoveries of our time. Unless you count the next entry…
Stars aren’t the only thing missing. For a long time scientists have been trying to find where most of the universe’s matter actually is. Due to studies involving gravitation and the structure of the universe, scientists have only discovered 5% of what actually should be there. This means that 95% of the universe’s mass is missing. Well, sort of. This missing 95% consists of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. They are called dark because they do not emit electromagnetic radiation and thus cannot be seen, not even with infrared telescopes. Their existence has only been inferred by their effects on visible matter.
Also known as “The Hum”, this is a persistent, low-frequency humming noise not detectable by everybody. Multiple explanations have been put forth but the jury is still out on what exactly it may be.
Mutilated Prostitutes (Jack the Ripper)
The discovery of mutilated prostitutes in the slums of London in the late 1880s led many to believe in a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. Nothing has ever been proven though and so the grim discovery of numerous butchered victims remains a forensic mystery.
Human feet on the Salish Sea
Since 2007 until today detached human feet have been washing up on the shores of the Salish Sea in British Columbia, Canada. Numerous theories have been put forth but due to complications with decomposition and ocean currents it has been hard to identify anybody.
Although the generally accepted principle is that the speed of light is constant, scientists have been finding reasons to question this. If they are right then this would change our entire conception of the universe.
This hypothesized structure of four neutrons has been detected only once in a French particle accelerator. If it were to exist then it has been theorized to be the nucleus of the undiscovered “neutronium” with an atomic number of 0.
Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays
These cosmic rays have energies far above that of any other detected rays. There has been no conclusive explanation put forth for their existence.
The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband signal detected by Jerry Ehman on August 15, 1977 at SETI. It originated from around the M55 cluster and had such a strong resemblance to an artificial signal that Jerry circled it and wrote “Wow!” in the margin. Astronomers have not been able to locate it again.
The Bloop was an ultra low frequency underwater sound detected at numerous listening stations around the Pacific Ocean. Since its discovery there have been numerous theories including a large undiscovered animal but the NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) attributed it to an iceberg scraping the ocean floor.
The Voynich Manuscript is an illustrated codex that has never been decoded or interpreted. Dated to the early 15th century, it is named after Wilfred Voynich, the Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912.
Shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated people discovered an old lady with a camera that appeared in numerous films and images of the tragic event. Because she was wearing a head scarf she became famously known as the “babushka lady” (in Russian a babushka is a grandma and Russian grandmothers were famous for wearing such headscarves). Throughout the ordeal she seemed to calmly continue taking pictures but she was never identified and thus remains an unexplained discovery.
Also known as the Marfa Ghost Lights, these are lights that have been observed near US Route 67 east of Marfa, Texas. Their erratic movements have solidified their presence in local folklore. Numerous explanations have ranged from mirages to traffic.
The Mary Celeste
The Mary Celeste was an American ship discovered off the Azores sailing with nobody onboard and one lifeboat missing. None of the crew was ever seen again and their were no indications as to why they had abandoned ship.
Also known as the Lost Colony, Roanoke was a colony established on Roanoke Island in the late 16th century. Similar to the Mary Celeste, the inhabitants eventually ended up abandoning their posts and leaving no indication as to why.
It has long been a mystery to scientists as to how simply believing that something can potentially make you feel better actually does make you feel better. The results are compelling but the mechanism remains unexplained.
The Kuiper Belt is an asteroid belt that is found just beyond Neptune (of which Pluto is a part). The strange thing about it is that it may contain a vast empty region. Astronomers are still not sure why but some have theorized the existence of a large, unseen Earth sized object.
Cold fusion is a hypothetical type of nuclear reaction that would occur at room temperature. Since its proposal there have been several “discoveries” of cold fusion but they have remain controversial and unreproducible. It’s possibility and a legitimate explanation is still being disputed.
Ever since their discovery there have been numerous theories (including the theory of relativity) that attempt to explain their function and existence. As of yet there has not been anything completely conclusive if only because they make for tough science experiments and lead into complex regions of theoretical physics.
1991 VG was a near Earth object discovered on November 6, 1991 by astronomer James Scotti. Due to its strange orbit and variable brightness there was strong speculation considering a possible artificial origin. As of today there have been several theories but once again the original sighting remains unexplained.
CMB cold spot (supervoid)
The cold spot is a large region of space that is significantly colder than any other region in the night sky. One possible explanation is a supervoid, or large area of empty space.
Great Red Spot
Continuing with unexplained celestial spots, we will end a bit closer to home, at the Great Red Spot. This is a storm on Jupiter that has been raging for several hundred years and is roughly 3 times the size of Earth. The exact reason and composition of the Spot remains an unexplained mystery (why it is red for example).