An unsolved mystery can be a small sliver right underneath the skin, annoying, perplexing, and curious all at the same time. We want to solve the mystery right away but love the thrill of putting all the pieces together. The knowledge that it might never be solved only salivates our curiosity. Well, to whet your appetite, here are 25 Unsolved Mysteries That Will Make Your Head Spin.
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Easter Island and the Moai
As one of the most remote islands in the world, it’s a mystery how the original inhabitants found or successfully traveled to Easter Island. However, even more mysterious is the 10 to 270 ton human figure statues called “Moai” that stretch around the coast of the island. There are approximately 900 statues in all. The tallest completed statue is 33 ft tall, but some believe uncompleted ones could have gone up to 69 ft. While theories abound, no one knows exactly how the ancient inhabitants transported these massive statues all over the island.
Renowned for being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart is a legend and well known for trying to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. Unfortunately, her attempt failed and she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Three prominent theories exist about what happened to her (and plenty of crackpot conspiracy theories), but none have conclusively solved the mystery.
In 1966, two couples were in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, driving past the “TNT Area” when they saw a figure in one of the buildings. They described it as half-man, half bird, with glowing red eyes and a wingspan of eight to twelve feet. The couples drove away when the creature made a screeching noise. It pursued them but stopped at the sight of city lights. A few days later there was another sighting, and more and more sightings came up that year around the same area. Some believe it could be a government experiment gone wrong or merely a large sand hill crane.
Dyatlov Pass incident
A group of ten students decided to go on a ski trip out in the Ural Mountains in 1959. When they made camp on Kholat Syakhl, they all went to sleep that night in their tents. But something forced them to tear holes out of their tents and run out into subzero temperatures with hardly any clothes on. Some died of hypothermia, others of physical trauma. One student had his skull crushed in while another female had her tongue missing. Researchers don’t know what happened exactly but believe an “unknown force” was involved. Explanations vary from infrasound causing the campers to panic, military tests that went awry, and a Yeti attack.
The Hinterkaifeck Mystery
In 1922, on a small farmstead 70 kilometers north of Munich, the Gruber family maid started to get spooked. She claimed to see footsteps in the attic and items being randomly moved. One day she had had enough, picked up her things, and walked off the farm never to return. Mr. Gruber also claimed to have seen footsteps walking into the barn but none coming back. But, of course, when it’s your farm you can’t just walk away, right? Well, one April day, one by one, each member of the Gruber family was lured in the barn where they were murdered with a mattock. The attacker then went into the house and murdered their two-year-old son and the new maid. The murderers were never solved even after a team of modern forensic students reopened the case.
There are many mysteries buried beneath the Earth’s surface. One of these is Gobekli Tepe, or “Potbelly Hill,” a neolithic archaeological find in the country of Turkey. It’s dated back to the 10th millennium BCE, which pre-dates the neolithic revolution, the time when agriculture, writing, and the wheel, among other things, were discovered. There are three layers of pillars in the soil, each buried over top of each other. The giant stone pillars with animal pictographs carved on each would take hundreds of men to move. No one knows how these early men had the technology to develop these structures or what purpose it served. The top theory is that it was a stone-age ritual sanctuary, but its discovery raises more questions than provides answers.
Stone Spheres of Costa Rica
Discovered by archeologists in the 19th century, the Stone Spheres vary in size, but many are almost perfectly spherical. Made out of gabbro rock, the stones were made by pecking, grinding, and hammering away with other stones. They date back to 600 and 1000 AD, before the Spanish Conquest. Many have been moved from their original locations, but no one knows why they were made. Some theorize they could have been used to align with the stars or for navigational purposes.
In 1935, a man with no luggage checked in the Hotel President as Roland T. Owen, gave Los Angeles as his home address, and paid for one day. He checked into room 1046. Over time the hotel staff had bizarre run-ins with Mr. Owen. Reports of him liking to sit in the dark and his phone constantly off the hook circulated throughout the hotel. On a Friday morning, the telephone operator said the telephone was off the hook again. When a bellboy went to put it on the hook, he discovered something horrifying. There was blood all over the walls and he found a man on his hands and knees. Owen had been restrained with a cord, tortured, and stabbed. Later, Detectives couldn’t find anything in the hotel room, no clothes, knives, anything. The case went cold. However, years later, they did find out his real name was Artemus Ogletree.
Built in 1916 off West Bay Lake in Wisconsin by the Secretary of Commerce Robert Lamont, the Summerwind Mansion was intended to be a getaway for Lamont and his family. Lamont lived in it for fifteen years, but then it was abandoned. Over the course of five decades, the house was purchased and sold to various families. However, it’s no ordinary house and is famous throughout the region for its paranormal activity. The stories start with Lamont firing at a ghost that he thought was an intruder. Doors and windows would randomly open, sounds of people whispering would go up and down the hallways, and one owner’s car burst into flames. In the 1980’s, it was abandoned. However, ghost seekers would commonly visit. Recently, investors purchased the property in hopes of restoring it, but lightning struck and burned the entire house down.
The Real Bell Witch of Tennessee
In the summer of 1817 on the rolling hills of Tennessee, John Bell saw something strange, a dog with the head of a rabbit. He fired at the animal but missed. From that moment, things grew more strange around his house, including scratching, knocking, and sheets being pulled from beds. It grew worse with the entity pulling hair, slapping, pinching, and pins being stuck into the Bell family. Word spread and people came far and wide to see the entity. It is said that even Andrew Jackson was intrigued by the story. As time went on, the legend spread and more tales of hauntings cropped up in newspapers and around the area, and many called it the Bell Witch.
It was just another day for Angela. She was on the payphone with her boyfriend Rob Shafer when she mentioned a man in a truck circled the parking lot several times suspiciously. The man pulled up and used the phone before flashing a light around to look for something. Everything seemed fine. Then, Angela, out of nowhere, started screaming. Rob hung up the phone and drove to where she was to save her. When he got there, he heard her calling out his name as a truck drove by. He drove after them but damaged his transmission in the process and his car failed. No one ever heard from her again.
Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?
It was 1943, World War II was in full swing, and four boys in rural England went poaching one day, only to find something they never expected. Inside the trunk of a wych elm, they found a human skull with silk-like fabric in its mouth. Terrified, they swore never to tell, but one boy did anyway. The police removed an entire body from the tree including a ring and clothing remnants. They determined the body was still warm when placed inside, but that the female died by asphyxiation. The unidentified body was there for 18 months. Police came up empty at every turn. Dental records didn’t help. Then, graffiti showed up asking, “Who Put Bella Down the Wych Elm?” Several theories popped up over time including that she was part of the occult or that she was a Nazi spy. To this day, no one knows who put her there.
The Valentich Incident
Flying over the Bass Straight in Australia, Fredrich Valentich saw something strange. An aircraft was following him at 4,500 feet, but when he reported it, they said there was no known object. He later said the object was “orbiting” above him with a shiny green object and bright lights. When asked to identify the aircraft, just before his transmission went dead, he said, “It isn’t an aircraft.” It should be noted Valentich was an avid UFO and flying saucer enthusiast. Explanations on what happened to him vary. Some believe he staged it all, others think he was flying upside-down and was just confused, and some thought he may have committed suicide.
Leon Trabuco's Gold
Leon Trabuco was a Mexican millionaire and he had an idea. He’d use the United States Great Depression to become even richer. Assuming the dollar would devalue and the price of gold would skyrocket, he melted down gold and jewelry into 16 tons of gold ingots. With the help of his friends, he smuggled the gold into New Mexico and hired a pilot to search for a place to hide his treasure. He buried it all in an unknown location. However, when gold soared as he predicted, he wasn’t able to cash in on his scheme as the Gold Act of 1934 made the private ownership of gold illegal. He and all his friends died and never told anyone where the gold was buried.
The Baigong Pipes are long, metallic iron pipes in and outside the earth in China that lead to a salt lake. Nothing too extraordinary about that. Except, did I mention they are 150,000 years old, way before man walked the Earth? Of course, many believe they were put there by an ancient unknown civilization or by extraterrestrials, but the latest theory is tree trunk fossilization from an extinct lake.
Creepy Clown Mystery
In October 2016, creepy and bizarre sightings of clowns popped up in South Carolina and Wisconsin. Reports of clowns standing under street lights at night and coming out of the woods to lure children away from their homes started a panic. Police told neighborhoods to report any sightings right away but were afraid the widespread attention would hamper investigations and create more copycats. As time passed, reports died down, and no one ever knew why the clowns came out so frequently and in such a short amount of time.
Los Lunas Decalogue Stone
About 35 miles south of Albuquerque lies a stone with the Ten Commandments written on it. Nothing to see here, right? Well, what’s bizarre is it is written in the Old Hebrew Alphabet with some Greek letters mixed in. Prof. James D. Taylor claims to have discovered it in 1933 and believes the inscription is 500 to 2,000 years old. Another scholar proposes the stone is a Samaritan mezuzah. These claims would mean Samaritans had somehow migrated to the new world before Columbus. Of course, most just chalk all of it up to be one big hoax.
Black Hope Curse
Sam Hanley and his wife were living in a new home in Houston, Texas and were about to dig up part of their land to put in a swimming pool. Before he started the dig, an elderly black man arrives at the door and tells him he’s about to dig up human remains. Proceeding to dig anyway, he found what the old man said, human skeletons. The land was once a burial ground for African Americans but was made into a sub-division. Soon after, the Hanley’s started reporting bizarre happenings. Shoes being taken and placed outside. Sliding doors opening without anyone around. And dozens of neighbors reported similar occurrences. The Hanley’s tried to sue the developers with legal action but lost in court and filed for bankruptcy.
The Polaroid Mystery
On September 20th, 1988, in New Mexico, Tara Calico rode off on her bike and never returned. When Tara didn’t come home, her mother went out to look for her and found Tara’s cassette tape on the side of the road. She immediately called the police. However, the case went cold. A year later, 1,600 miles away in a Florida parking lot, a woman found a Polaroid on the ground, showing a girl and a boy tied up with duct tape across their mouths. Tara’s mother got word of the picture and was convinced it was her. She had Scotland Yard analyze it, and they determined it was Tara. Unfortunately, both her parents died before finding out what happened to her and the case is still open.
Sea of Galilee Cairn
Using sonar technology, researchers in 2003 discovered a stone structure under the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The structure is made of basalt boulders stacked on top of each other. It’s definitely man-made and was probably first made on land before water levels rose and covered it up. Some archaeologists believe it could be over 4,000 years old and possibly the remains of an ancient city.
Clear Blobs Incident
A rainy day in Oakville, Washington is as common as they come, but on August 7, 1994, residents reported not water but strange, gelatinous blobs falling from the sky. It fell a total of six times over a period of three weeks. Not long after, many of the residents grew violently ill, describing vertigo, difficulty breathing, and blurred vision. A woman took a sample of the blob to the hospital. The lab technician said he’d never seen anything like it before. The sample was immediately sent to the Washington Department of Health; the scientists found two species of bacteria, one which lives in the human digestive system. They concluded it must have been human waste released out of an airplane, but airplanes are forbidden to release waste in mid-flight. Another theory was it could be exploded jellyfish blasting into the atmosphere from military bombing runs, but the military denies this reason.
The Dancing Plague of 1518
It was just another day in the Holy Roman Empire when a woman went out into the streets of Strasbourg and danced fervently for days. Within a week, 34 people had joined and in a month, 400. These people died of strokes, heart attacks, or plain old exhaustion. Physicians at the time recommended that instead of stopping them, they’d rather let them dance more, thinking it would burn out of their system. To help with this, they invited musicians to come and play music for the dancers. Modern theories believe they were poisoned by a toxic chemical in wheat that is closely related to LSD. Others think it could have been stressed induced psychosis.
The Sodder Children Disappearance
On Christmas Eve, the only guy you want coming into your house is Santa, and the only fire you want is in your fireplace, but unfortunately for the Sodders, you can’t always get what you want. It was 1945 in West Virginia, and the Sodder family was a large Italian immigrant family celebrating the holiday. That night, their house caught fire, and George, his wife Jeannie, and four of their nine children escaped. When the fire burned the house to rubble, the bodies of the other children were never found. Bizarre occurrences happened before and after the incident. Strange telephone calls. Missing escape ladders. And the fact that the fire marshal blamed the fire on faulty wiring when George Sodder had the whole house rewired with new wires. Years later, two men claimed they were the missing Sodder children but later denied it. A letter also came with no return address with a picture that looked just like Louis Sodder. The Sodder family never believed the children died but were kidnapped. They didn’t rebuild the house. A memorial to their five kids was put in its place.
Did Adnan Syed murder Hae Min Lee?
If you haven’t heard of Adnan Syed, then you haven’t listened to the first season of Serial. Which is good because I’m going to try to sum it up. In 1999, Hae Min Lee disappeared and a month later her body was found in Leakin Park; she was apparently a victim of strangulation. Adnan Syed, her ex-boyfriend, was quickly convicted and given a life sentence of 30 years. Except, it’s not that easy. The Serial podcast brought the case new attention and raised plenty of questions that make the case feel unresolved. Specifically, the cell phone tower records used against Adnan are faulty and inconclusive, and Adnan’s alibi testimony never got a chance in court. There were also other potential suspects that the police never followed through on, and Adnan’s shady lawyer may not have been in her right mind. The case may get a retrial and is still under investigation by private parties.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur headed toward Beijing. It never arrived at its destination. It disappeared without even a distress call or signal. Afterward, the most expensive search was underway, looking in various spots across the Indian Ocean but with little to no evidence of a crash anywhere. Three participating governments searched for three years with little to show for it and eventually halted the search. Many theories popped up over time including that it was shot down, a victim of a cyber-attack, terrorist attack, or paranormal activity. Regardless, the mystery remains unsolved with little probability of it ever being found.
If you enjoyed this post, check out 25 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Ever.
Photos: 25. TravelingOtter via flickr, 20. rolfcosar via wikimedia commons, 19. Axxis10 via wikimedia commons, 16. BRad06 via wikimedia commons, 14. mjeshenton via flickr, 11. coolinterestingstuff.com (fair use: illustrative purposes only), 10. Laragiddingsofficial via wikimedia commons, 9. HuMcCulloch via wikimedia commons, 7. Wikimedia commons, 6. gugganij via wikimedia commons, 5. Lairich Rig via geographic.org.uk, 2. dailymail.co.uk (fair use: illustrative purposes only), 1. Paul Rowbotham via flickr