The world has abounded in mysteries since time immemorial, with people always ready for another serving of yet another intriguing mystery. Granted, sometimes, aforementioned mysteries may make your blood run cold, but really, knowing about them seems worth it. That is why we have compiled the following list of 12 unsolved mysteries of the world. Some of these might be slightly gruesome and disturbing for your taste, but proceed if you will; you have been warned.
12. The Zodiac Killings/ Letters.
The Zodiac Killer and his letters are one of the most intriguing mysteries that the world ever saw. Believed to have killed at least five people between 1968 and 1969, the killer – who even today remains unidentified – called himself “Zodiac”. His victims were from the vicinity of the San Fransisco Bay Area; after having killed them, he sent letters about the crimes to the police, as well as a local newspaper – letters which continued throughout the 1970s, and contained cryptic codes and ciphers. Of these ciphers sent to the police and newspapers, containing four encrypted messages, three of which remain unsolved till date; however, the one that was decoded produced some leads, all of which, unfortunately, led to a dead end.
His first victim is believed to be a college student – Cheri Jo Bates – whose body was found in some bushes, showing signs of having been kicked several times in the head and stabbed twice in the chest; her throat was badly slashed. The discovery was followed by a letter – the first of the many that the Zodiac Killer would send – detailing Bates’s murder. The letter began – “She was young and beautiful. But now she is battered and dead. She is not the first and she will not be the last” – a threat he made good on. Throughout the years, several people, cryptographers included, have tried to decipher the Zodiac Killer’s codes in hopes of finding a trail that might lead to him; thus far, all attempts have been unsuccessful (although some did come slightly close), and despite the several suspects, none were zeroed upon with any certainty.
11. Bermuda Triangle.
This is perhaps the most famous mystery out there which remains famously unsolved. The Bermuda Triangle, located between Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda, is an area of water that has caused, over the years, several ships and airplanes to disappear to god alone knows where; no traces of the disappeared vessels have been found, nor have any clues surfaced, thus giving the area its nickname of “The Devil’s Triangle”.
Of many explanations that seek to explain this phenomenon, from paranormal activity to extraterrestrial interference, the most feasible thus far seems to be the unusual magnetic properties that exist within the area. However, it has still not been proven, and nothing, therefore, can be ascertained.
#10. The Voynich Manuscript.
In 1912, Polish-American antique bookseller Wilfrid M. Voynich – after whom the manuscript has been named – got his hands on a book 240 pages long, written in a script that no one had heard of, nor seen. The pages also abound in colourful pictures and diagrams of plant species and the likes, none of which seems even remotely familiar to the ones we have today. Carbon-dating put the dates of the pages between 1404 and 1438; the author, however, remains unknown.
Like all unsolved mysteries, this one too, has explanations pouring in: it is speculated that the book could be addressing topics in medicine; other claims say that it could have been an alchemist’s textbook; the astronomical origins of some of the diagrams have also led people to speculate that the book might be of alien origin.
Any or none of the above might be true; so far, we don’t know.
#9. The Shugborough Inscription (Shepherd’s Monument Inscription).
The Shepherd’s Monument in Staffordshire, besides having its signature sculpted re-creation of Nicolas Poussin’s “Arcadian Shepherds”, also boasts a sequence of letters beneath the carved spectacle. The letters are, in order: D O U O S V A V V M. Nobody knows who carved the letters, nor what it signifies. However, what makes it even more intriguing is that, for 250 years, this cipher has eluded decryption, despite having been attempted by some of the greatest minds of the world including Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin.
Speculations are rife that the letters are a code placed by the Knights Templar, which, once decoded, could lead to the Holy Grail.
#8. The Black Dahlia.
On the 15th of January, 1947, what appeared to be a broken mannequin was found in a vacant lot in Los Angeles; closer inspection showed that it was, in fact, a human body, cut in half at the waist and drained of all blood. And this discovery catapulted what was dubbed as the “Black Dahlia Murder” into full media glare, capturing the fancies of the people. The victim, 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, was a Hollywood hopeful. According to the report that was released, the cause of her death was blunt-force trauma to the head; there were several cuts across her pubic area, and a knife was used to make gaping gashes in her cheeks from each corner of the mouth. She was brutally beaten, and the killer scrubbed her body clean; by far, one of the most brutal and cold-blooded murders ever committed.
A detailed investigation by the LAPD resulted in several suspects and even more false confessions, but never the killer ; not to this date, thus making the Black Dahlia case one of the coldest and the most famous murders to have ever been committed.
#7. The Roanoke Island mystery.
In August 1587, a group of about 115 English settlers arrived on the coast of present-day North Carolina, settling on Roanoke Island. Later that year, the governor of the settlers – a man by the name of John White – was chosen to sail back to England and collect fresh supplies, bringing them back to the new colony. However, just as White arrived, the battle between England and Spain broke out, and every ship available was called on to assist in confronting the Spanish Armada. When finally White returned to Roanoke Island in 1590, he found that the colony and all its inhabitants had disappeared; the only clue left behind was the word “Croatoan” carved onto the trunks of two trees.
The fate of the missing inhabitants of Roanoke Island was never discovered, although speculations were rife: “Croatoan” was an island located south of Roanoke, home to a Native American tribe of the same name. Some, therefore, hypothesise that the inhabitants were either kidnapped by the members of that tribe or willingly joined their ranks. Yet others say that they could have attempted to sail back to England, only to get lost at sea. Even today, it remains one of the most intriguing mysteries ever.
#6. The Wow signal.
In 1977, James Ehman, a volunteer researcher with the Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio observatory (which is now defunct), while examining signals that were received a few days earlier, came across an unfamiliar vertical column with the alphanumeric sequence “6EQUJ5” – something that was so surprising that Ehman circled the sequence, writing “Wow!” alongside it, thus giving the signal its name. What was so wow about this, you ask? Upon tracing the signal – which lasted almost 72 seconds – it was found to have originated from the constellation Sagittarius, and several attempts to receive the signal again were unsuccessful, making the Wow signal perhaps the only extraterrestrial signal to reach Earth.
#5. The Dancing Plague of 1518.
The phrase “dance till you drop” had very different implications in France back in 1518. One fine day, out of the blue, a lady by the name of Frau Troffea began dancing in the streets of Strasbourg. And that was all she did: she danced, and danced, for days on end. And just as the village elders began whispering about possessions and exorcisms, a neighbour joined in; and then some more. By the time the week came to a close, the dancing had really not: the number of people dancing on the streets had now multiplied to 30. Within a month, 400 people were afflicted by this mysterious dancing epidemic. And by some strange logic, people believed that this epidemic could only be cured by more dancing, and thus encouraged it with much fanfare. Assistance was sought once the dancers began to drop dead from heart attacks, strokes or sheer exhaustion.
The reasons for this remain shrouded in mystery even today.
#4. The Taos Hum.
Several residents of the scenic city of Taos, located in north-central New Mexico claim to hearing a hum of sorts, the origin of which has not been traced, and has led to speculations spanning from stories of stoned hippies to underground UFO bases. Reported first in the 1990s, the “Taos Hum”, as it has now come to be known, has been heard by more than 2% of the residents. Despite several attempts at unearthing the source of the hum, nothing has turned up.
Apparently, the Moai statues are not the only mystery that the Easter Island houses; in the 19th century, an ancient artifact was unearthed, containing several etchings and symbols which appear to be a form of writing. Christened the Rongorongo tablets, these are believed to contain clues regarding the collapse of the Easter Island civilisation and are believed to have originated sometime around the 13th century.
The language – or, some say, “proto-language” – which the tablets have been written in has proven, thus far, to be indecipherable, posing quite the problem for cryptographers and historians alike.
#2. The Tamam Shud case.
On December 1, 1948, the body of an unidentified man was found on Somerton Beach in Australia, with the labels torn off his clothes. In the pocket of his trousers was found a tiny scrap of printed paper, which contained the words “Tamam Shud”, the final words in Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat”. The book from which it was apparently torn was discovered a few months after the incident; to complicate matters further, faint writing was discovered on the back of the book, which included a local phone number, along with several lines of cryptic writing, which seemed like a cipher of sorts. A cipher which, by the way, still remains unsolved, much like the murder of the Somerton Man.(source)
#1. The Sleeping Sickness of Kazakhstan.
First reported in 2013 in Kalachi, a village in the northern part of Kazakhstan, a large number of people – so far, 14% of the population has been affected – seem to be falling asleep for a great length of time, waking only after weeks spent in slumber in a state that doctors describe as comatose. People afflicted by this sickness – causes of which remain unknown – slip into an instantaneous and rather long-lasting deep sleep, waking up feeling confused and dizzy; some also suffered from hallucinations.
Many theories have tried to explain this phenomenon, including an increase in brain fluid, and the effect of a uranium mine in the vicinity from the days of the Soviet Union. However, no answer has been ascertained thus far, making the sleeping sickness a great, unanswered question.