Ambiguity, fear, and mystery have always affected human conjecture in a very puzzling manner. Though there can be real scientific accounts and analytical reasons for all the mysteries, it is very tough to find valid proof and solve some very bizarre events. There have been many puzzling incidents that remain a riddle to this day. It could be a missing aircraft, a person who disappeared mysteriously, or gruesome murders, these eerie incidents affect us with the magnitude of their mysterious nature. 10 such mysteries are enumerated below:
- The disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Madeleine Beth McCann was a three-year-old girl who vanished inexplicably from her bed at a resort in Praia da Luz, Algarve, Portugal on 3 May 2007. She was on holiday in Portugal with her parents, twin siblings, and other friends and family. She was never found even though many searches were conducted.
Madeleine McCann and her twin siblings were sleeping in their apartment on the ground floor while her parents and their friends were dining in a restaurant a few meters away from the room. At 10 PM, her mother Kate realized that Madeleine was missing.
Subsequently, the case would go on to become one of the most widely-covered media cases ever. Many investigations began including one that initially wrongly accused Madeleine’s parents of being the culprits. There were also sightings of Madeleine that had been made on the same day that she had disappeared. One of the sightings was reported by Jane Tanner, a friend of Madeleine’s mother, Kate. Another sighting, by an Irish couple, Martin and Mary Smith, which came to be known as the ‘Smith sighting’, involved the Smiths seeing a man carrying a three or four-year-old girl at almost the same time as Madeleine disappeared. However, despite many twists and turns, the case has never been solved due to the lack of evidence.
2. The disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa was a notable American Labor Union leader. He was also the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957 to 1971. He disappeared on July 30, 1975, under mysterious circumstances in Bloomfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan, USA, and was later proclaimed dead on July 30, 1982. His body was never discovered.
Hoffa was known for his involvement in organized crime. His killer’s identity and the location of his body aren’t known to date. Police and forensic experts searched
many sites in Detroit and Oakland County but turned up nothing. A popular theory was that Hoffa’s body was buried beneath the Giants stadium in New Jersey. However, the theory was later proved to be untrue. Before he died in 2006, notorious hitman Richard ‘The Iceman’ Kuklinski claimed that he had killed Hoffa and disposed of his body in a scrapyard. However, many police officers debunked this claim. Over time, it appears very likely that Hoffa’s remains will never be found. In the Hollywood movie ‘The Irishman’, Hoffa was portrayed as being killed by Frank Sheeran, a hitman.
3. The Identity of the Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer operating in Northern California from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. His identity is unknown today. His crimes, letters, and cryptograms to police and newspapers are the subject of many movies, novels, and television programs.
The Zodiac Killer is one of the most prominent icons in crime and popular culture. He is notorious for having killed many people and sending coded letters to newspapers threatening to kill more people unless his letters were published. Although there were many suspects, a complete profile was never obtained due to the lack of evidence.
The Zodiac Killer presumably started his killing spree on 20 December 1968 when he shot and killed a couple on Lake Herman Road, in Benicia, California. He then tried to murder another couple in Vallejo, barely four miles away, at midnight, on 4 July 1969 in the Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo.
One of the victims survived the attack. At around 12:40 a.m. on 5 July 1969, a man called the Vallejo Police department claiming that he was the killer. He also claimed to be the killer in the Lake Herman Road case which had occurred around six months earlier. On 1 August 1969, the killer seemingly sent three letters to the Vallejo Times-Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Examiner asking the newspapers to publish them.
He later went on to try killing three more people of which one survived. He stabbed a couple at Lake Berryessa on 27 September 1969 and then murdered a taxi driver in Presidio Heights on 11 October 1969. Many other attacks and murders were attributed to the Zodiac Killer, but none were validated. Many suspects including Arthur Leigh Allen, who was suspected by many of being the Zodiac, were grilled but never charged.
4. The real identity of Jack the Ripper
A series of brutal murders that took place in the East End of London from August to November 1888 was blamed on an unknown serial killer who was nicknamed ‘Jack the Ripper’. Since that time, the identity of the killer or killers has been widely speculated, and over 100 Jack the Ripper suspects were named. Though many theories were put forward, experts found none of them to be acceptable
The name “Jack the Ripper” had originated in a letter written by an individual who claimed to be the murderer. It was widely disseminated in the media. But the letter is widely believed to have been a hoax. However, the name ‘Jack the Ripper’ stuck and was used for the killer after this.
In 1888, Jack the Ripper killed at least five women in London and mutilated their bodies. The letters sent by Ripper to the police taunted the officers’ effort to find the killer. A recent book claimed that a woman named Lizzie Williams was the Ripper, although other Ripper experts cast doubt on it. Due to the passage of time since the original murders, the killer will likely never be found even though there is ongoing debate as to his identity.
5. The Voynich Manuscript
The Voynich Manuscript was named after a Polish book dealer who had bought it in 1912. It was written in a strange text which was illustrated and consisted of details and diagrams which were written in an unknown tongue. The origins of this manuscript and who it was written by remains a puzzle to this day. The text has been studied for more than a century by historians, codebreakers, and linguists. However, its actual purpose remains unknown.
The text was carbon-dated and was found to have been written sometime in the 15th century. It consisted of several portraits of weird people, figures from astronomy, fictitious creatures, fruits, vegetables, and a lot more. The writing is in a script that is said to be not from any known civilization. However, the speculation around it has been that it is either from a lost language or an extensive hoax. Some of the writings resemble languages like Latin and High German.
The text is considered to have been written as a medical manual. The first person to have owned it was confirmed to be Georg Baresch (1585–1662), who was an alchemist from Prague. He considered it to be taking up space in his library. Baresch tried to investigate the origin of the manuscript but failed.
The manuscript was bought by many people over the centuries until it came to be in the possession of Voynich, who suggested that it had been written by Albertus Magnus who was an alchemist, or by Roger Bacon, who is believed to be a scientist. But some think that it was Voynich himself who forged the manuscript and its assorted history by himself.
6. The Mary Celeste
On December 4, 1872, a British-American ship called “the Mary Celeste” was found empty and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was found to be capable of being navigated and having its
cargo untouched, except for a lifeboat, which had appeared to have been boarded properly. But how and why the ship came to be in this condition was not known as the crew on board had disappeared and were not heard from again.
The Mary Celeste had set sail from New York City and was bound for Genoa in Italy in November 1872. The ship was commanded by Captain Benjamin Griggs and seven crew members, including Briggs’ wife and two-year-old daughter. The provisions on board the ship were enough to last for six months. Some items which were then considered to be luxurious like a sewing machine and a piano were also on board. Most historians have agreed that for a ship that was perfectly manageable on the sea to be abandoned, something extraordinarily alarming must have taken place. But this was not borne out by the ship’s last daily log and everything inside the ship was perfectly in order.
Many theories have been proposed over the time of more than a century that has passed since the discovery of the ship in its then state. These included mutiny, pirate attack, or an assault by a giant octopus or squid or some other sea monster. Recently, scientists have proposed the theory that fumes from the alcohol on board caused an explosion on board which, as a result of a scientific anomaly, didn’t leave behind any traces of burning but probably frightened Briggs enough to order everyone into the lifeboat.
- The Disappearance of the Beaumont Children
The Beaumont Children were three kin, sisters, Jane Nartare Beaumont, and Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and their brother, Grant Ellis Beaumont. All three of them went missing on 26 January 1966 from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia in Australia. It was suspected since then that they were all abducted and probably murdered, but the case remains unresolved because of a lack of clear evidence and facts.
The children’s disappearance appeared at a time in the 1960s, when it wasn’t considered unsafe to leave children in Australia unsupervised in public places. The children’s father had given charge of the two younger children to their elder sister, Jane. The children disappeared on the beach which was not far from their home in Adelaide.
When the children didn’t return from the beach, their parents got worried and filed a report with the police. After the children disappeared, the police received several leads about them from many witnesses who claimed to have seen them with a tall, middle-aged man on the day of their disappearance. There were also some sightings of the children. However, they were never heard of again. The disappearance of the Beaumont children was a watershed in Australian history because it led to a big uproar in parenting and lifestyle in the country with many Australian parents being convinced that it was unsafe to leave their children without any adult supervision in public places.
- The Lost Roanoke Colony
In 1587, a group of English settlers led by John White founded a colony on the Roanoke islands on the coast of North Carolina. White left the colony to bring in more supplies. But when he returned to the colony after three years, he found it abandoned, and all the houses and fortifications carefully dismantled. White before leaving the colony three years earlier, had asked the colonists to carve a cross into a nearby tree in case they were taken away by force. But White on his return found no cross.
The only clue was the word ‘Croatoan’, which was the name of a Native American tribe allied with the English. This word was carved into a post. White thought that this meant that the colonists had at some point of time moved to the Croatoan Island which is today known as Hatteras.
Further investigations led to claims that the colonists had been massacred by the Powhatan tribe. However, there was no archaeological evidence of this. Other theories state that there could have been integration between the colonists and the Croatoans or with other local tribes, but so far there has been no DNA evidence that was identified with the descendants of the colony and the mystery remains unsolved.
- Dyatlov Pass Incident
The Dyatlov Pass refers to an incident that took place in the Ural Mountains of Russia (then the Soviet Union), on the night of 01 February 1959. Nine ski-hikers died mysteriously in the night from their camp after first leaving the camp and never returning.
On 26 February, rescuers found the hikers’ tent abandoned and ripped from inside. There were footprints in the surrounding area left by the group. Some of them had left the camp wearing socks, some wearing a single show, and some barefoot. The footprints led to a nearby forest where the first two bodies were found. Hypothermia was first suspected but later disproved by examination of the bodies. The evidence was very confusing. One body had evidence of blunt force trauma from an attack. Another body had third-degree burns. One of the hikers had vomited blood. Another body was missing a tongue, and some of their clothing was found radioactive.
Theories like intervention by the KGB, drug overdose, Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), gravity anomalies, and the Russian form of the Yeti were considered. A theory was presented by a documentary involving a terrifying phenomenon called “infrasound,” in which the wind interacts with the topography to create an inaudible hum that can however cause powerful feelings of nausea, panic, dread, chills, nervousness, raised heartbeat rate, and breathing difficulties. Also, a theory of the hikers’ being caught up in an avalanche was put out. However, the only consensus remains that whatever had happened had involved an overwhelming and possibly “inhuman force.”
- The Disappearance of Flight MH 370
The Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was an international flight that was supposed to fly from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia to Beijing Capital International Airport, China but vanished during its course on 8 March 2014.
The flight was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, none of whom were ever heard from again. The majority of the passengers (153), were of Chinese origin. The plane left from the Kuala Lumpur Airport as per schedule at 12:42 a.m. local time and was on its course before its signal was lost. It was last sighted on radar at 1:21 a.m. both by Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control. Eventually, several systems picked up signals from the plane, but ultimately, it was confirmed to be lost.
The search for the missing plane was reportedly the most expensive one in the history of aviation. It initially began only in the South China Sea, but later included the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. Several possible subsequent sightings of the MH 370 were reported, but the aircraft was never found.
Theories that have been put out to explain the disappearance include hijacking, capture by the United States, the suicide of the pilot or co-pilot, a fire in the aircraft, a vertical dive into the ocean, a meteor strike, and even kidnapping by aliens.
Though mysteries are puzzling and can be quite thrilling to read about, they are real events which often have no closure ever and can cause an immense amount of pain and anguish to those who are associated with them even in a small way. Events that occur on an international level and are covered by the media on a massive scale may cause them to be spoken about even in countries and people not involving them. Therefore, any kind of coverage on mysteries must take into account the human aspect and the impact on those left behind or separated from someone involved in a mysterious disappearance. This can help to ease the emotional stress caused by the event to those directly or indirectly associated with them.