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10 Of The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries In Human History

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Most mysteries, whether they’re revealed at a crime scene or through the scientific process, have perfectly reasonable explanations. It’s just a matter of finding out what that explanation is!

Unfortunately, though, that isn’t always easy to do. Because of this, there are all sorts of whodunits that go unsolved—and when the case goes cold, it usually stays that way.

With that in mind, here are 10 of the strangest unsolved mysteries in human history. From odd medical conditions to suspicious craters, you might just be compelled to grab your magnifying glass and join in on the case!

1. In 1948, a dead man—often referred to simply as “The Unknown Man” or “The Somerton Man”—was discovered on Australia’s Somerton Beach. There was no way of identifying him because no one could find a match for his dental records. And although there was some suspicion that he’d be poisoned, the autopsy didn’t turn up any trace of actual poison in his body. Adding to the mystery was a note sewn to a pocket in his pants, which only read “Taman Shud.”

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The words, which literally meant “it is completed,” were from The Rubaiyat, a collection of poetry by Omar Khayyam. The paper itself was actually a page torn from a copy of the book found in a car close to the beach. The police couldn’t decode the hidden message, but there was a phone number of a nurse who, when questioned, revealed that she had given the book to a man named Albert Boxall. With that information, the police initially thought that they had identified the body—but Boxall turned out to still be alive. So who was the dead man on the beach? To this day, nobody knows…

2. In 1987, a man wearing a mask of Max Headroom—the computer-generated host of the 1980s television series The Max Headroom Showinterrupted an airing of Doctor Who on a PBS affiliate station in Chicago to leave a disturbing, weird, and largely unintelligible message.

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Nobody ever found out who the mysterious man was.


3. In 1964, a lifeboat—complete with wood, drums, oars, and a copper tank—was found on Bouvet Island, an uninhabited subantarctic island located in the South Atlantic Ocean, despite the fact that it’s one of the most isolated places on Earth. Plant life can’t even grow there, which is probably why it’s never been inhabited.

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No passengers were ever found, nor were any marks of identification. Two years later, when another expedition searched the area, the lifeboat had seemingly disappeared.

4. In what came to be known as the Mayerling Incident, the bodies of Prince Rudolf (the Archduke of Austria-Hungary) and his lover, Baroness Marie Vetsera, were found in a rural hunting lodge in Vienna in 1889. They were, apparently, shot to death, though their fates remained shrouded in mystery for many years after Emperor Franz Josef issued an order to cover up the incident.

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Rumors went flying, such as one that posited that the archduke had been poisoned. The emperor even suggested to the pope that Rudolf may have killed himself and his lover. Still, the exact circumstances of their deaths remain unknown to this day.


5. In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which carried 12 crew members and 227 passengers, seemingly vanished. An hour after the plane took off, voice contact was lost, and later the plane failed to show up on radar. The search is ongoing, but the truth remains a mystery to this day.

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6. In 1949, geologist Vadim Kolpakov set off on an expedition to Siberia, where locals warned him against going into the woods. They claimed that it held something evil called the “Fire Eagle Nest”; apparently, this strange formation would cause people to feel sick or completely vanish. Despite their warning, he ventured in anyway—and he found a massive crater roughly the size of a 25-story building!

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Despite looking like it was just recently formed, it strongly resembled the mouth of a volcano. Weirdly, it also looked like the trees in the surrounding area were growing at a faster rate than normal. In 2005, a different expedition set off to study the crater (now known as the Patomskiy Crater); unfortunately, the leader died of a heart attack just a few miles away from it, and the journey was ended. Locals believe that the “evil” surrounding the crater was the culprit, but the truth of that has yet to be proven.

7. In 1690, French traders found a settlement in southern Appalachia that belonged to the Melungeons, a mysterious group of people with olive skin and unusual facial features who lived in log cabins. They were never seen again, until 1784…

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…When Hancock County was visited by John Sevier, who discovered a colony of people who appeared to have European features despite their darker skin. They eventually spread out to other parts of the country where they were largely mistreated, but nobody knew where they came from.


8. In 1971, Dan “D.B.” Cooper walked onto Northwest Airlines Flight 305 and handed a threatening note to a flight attendant. In the note, he claimed to have a bomb. He even showed her his briefcase, which contained a convincing collection of red sticks, wires, and a battery.

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He demanded $200,000, which was to be placed in a backpack with two front and rear parachutes, as well as a fuel truck that would be ready to refuel as soon as the plane landed. The demands were relayed to the pilot and promptly met, and once the passengers were let off the plane, Cooper demanded that the pilot fly him to Mexico. Later, when the plane was in midair, he attached the parachutes to his body and jumped out, never to be heard from again.

9. In 1900, there were just three lighthouse keepers occupying Eilean Mor, a Scottish island. On the day after Christmas, none of the keepers were waiting for the supply ship, which was unusual. A man named Joseph Moore was sent to investigate after it appeared that there was no activity on the island whatsoever—and what he found was shocking.

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Moore came across an unlocked door to the lighthouse, and upon opening it, he found that two of the three life jackets were missing. There was also a chair on the floor and what remained of a meal. Other than that, however, the keepers were nowhere to be found. A diary entry written by one of them referenced a storm that caused the island to shake, but no storms were reported on Lewis, the closest island to Eilean Mor.


10. In 2009, 28-year-old Shanya Isom was rushed to the emergency room in Memphis when she suffered an asthma attack. She was sent back home after being treated with steroids. Soon after, though, she started itching; it became more severe after she received more medical treatment. Then things took a turn for the worse…

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Shanya’s legs started to turn black, and the doctors assumed that she had eczema or a Staph infection. Her condition once again deteriorated. Not only was she rapidly losing weight, but scabs started to form all over her skin. Still, no diagnosis was given. Two years later, during a visit to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, specialists claimed that she was suffering from an unknown condition that caused her to produce excess skin cells on the follicles of her hair. To this day, nobody knows the cause of this strange condition, nor how to treat it.

It’s truly amazing that all of these mysteries have remained unsolved for so long. No wonder they’re still fascinating us! Do you think we’ll ever find the answers to them?

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