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5 More Mysteries That Will Never Be Solved

Updated on March 5, 2021
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Rachel Wesley is an author and writing enthusiast. She publishes diverse work across the web and is always looking for her next adventure

The Crew of the Mary Celeste

In 1872 The Dei Gratia spotted the 282-ton brigantine Mary Celeste adrift only eight days after its departure from New York. When investigated they found it to be void of all human life, yet didn't appear to have any life-threatening issues. Dei Gratia's crew guided it back to shore where the investigators found all the cargo still in place, six months’ worth of food, and no problems. The only thing missing besides the people aboard was the lifeboat and the captain's logbook.

If the crew abandoned ship, why? Why would they leave a perfectly good ship in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean? Some speculated pirates but quickly dismissed them as nothing on board had gone missing. Mutiny seemed unlikely as the ships seven crew members vanished along with the captain, his wife, and their daughter. Sea monsters even got thrown into the mix, but it still didn't explain why they would abandon ship in a tiny lifeboat with a sea monster on their tail.

To date, no logical explanation has come to light; every theory quickly dismissed. We, then, look at theories of a more illogical nature. Had the crew smelled something off and feared for their safety? Did they all get ahold of some hallucinogenic that caused them all to flee the ship in terror? And, possibly one of the most underrated questions concerning this case is: where did they go and what was their eventual fate?


STENDEC is the last transmission sent out by radio operator Dennis Harmer on flight CS-59, aboard the Star Dust. In those days, they passed radio transmissions through Morse Code.

The Star Dust was a reconditioned World War II Bomber plane, currently used as a small passenger carrier. There were 11 people on board the flight to Chile. The pilot had a hard time navigating his way due to nearly zero visibility. High mountain peaks in the area were a genuine issue, and right after the third STENDEC message arrived at the ground operator, the plane crashed into one of them. An Avalanche ensued as the plane tumbled down the mountainside in millions of pieces, burying everyone and everything along the way.

Once excavated 50 years later, the findings proved that there was nothing physically wrong with the plane. No-one on the ground appeared to know the meaning of the word STENDEC, either. Many theories arose, like perhaps it was an abbreviation for other words, but that made no sense. Maybe it was a miss-key in the code, but he repeated the same word three times before they crashed, making the prospect of an error unlikely.

Scientists, theologists, and airline professionals tried to discern what Harmer was saying or trying to say, all with the same results; nothing. Countless online sleuths have taken up the charge, and even more theories have made their way into the conversation.

Two popular theories are below.

Some believe STENDEC was an obscure acronym for “Severe Turbulence Encountered, Now Descending, Emergency Crash-landing.” However, others have stated that no such acronym was popular in that era and that it makes little sense, given the rest of the message.

Another belief is that STENDEC was an anagram for DESCENT. If so, it is unlikely that Harmer would have scrambled the words on purpose, especially three times. The only valid reason given for a mix-up of the letters is that perhaps he was suffering from Hypoxia, a condition in which the body doesn’t receive the right amount of oxygen. Still, as with the acronym, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the message and seems far-reaching considering the number of times he repeated it in that exact order.

Looking closer, the Morse Code for DESCENT and STENDEC are:

-.. / . / ... / -.-. / . / -. / - ~DESCENT~

... / - / . / -. / -.. / . / -.-. ~STENDEC~

As one can see, they are nothing alike, so someone suffering mental incapacities due to lack of oxygen isn’t likely to create an anagram off the top of his head for no reason and repeat it three times.

NOVA Online has some more outrageous theories and a link to the official accident report for anyone interested in taking up the challenge of solving a now seventy-four-year-old mystery.

What did STENDEC stand for?

The man in the Iron Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask was a French prisoner from 1669 to 1703 when he died. There is little known about this man other than that he wore the mask and kept mostly to himself.

Rumors of the man being King Louis XIV’s twin brother, or perhaps even his biological father, were whispered among locals. The man was treated with the utmost respect by guards, not a typical treatment of prisoners in those days.

Supposedly, a threat came down by a higher-up authority to always wear the mask and to never reveal his identity to anyone, or they would kill him.

Some claim the notorious iron mask was actually black velvet. This significant insight would change historical accounts if it turned out to be true.

The mask concealed the man’s identity at all times and undoubtedly would have been hot whether it was made of iron or velvet, yet he wore it obediently.

Written works, movies, and theories abound, but the man in the mask’s identity will never be known to the public. It is almost a certainty that his true identity is known by some, but will always be a well-guarded secret. This lends credibility to the rumor of him being related to the king. He could have been royalty. Some say he may have been the king’s nephew as well.

Scholars agree that there is weak evidence to theorize the man’s identity as being Eustache Dauger de Cavoye, a man well established for doing unsavory things in public. It was also believed that he may have been a homosexual, which could have led to dire consequences in the 1600s.

There is no actual proof to show that the Man in the Iron Mask was Dauger, just more theories and rumors. Why did he have to always wear a mask? Was it iron or velvet? Why was imprisoned? This is one mystery history may keep hidden behind a mask of secrecy.

Last Known
The Mary Celeste is found adrift
December 5, 1872
Leaving New York City
Cryptic message sent to ground control
August 2, 1947
Mountain over Chile
Man is forced to wear an iron mask
Last Seen Wearing Mask
Mysterious manuscript is found
Beinecke Library
6 People are murdered
March 31, 1922
Last seen by neighbors

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript is an unreadable text showing various unknown flora and fauna. Named for Wilfred Voynich who in 1912 acquired the mysterious manuscript that would later carry his name, the composition is 240 pages long. Some of the book’s pages are missing while others fold in and out for more detailed explanations of the drawings.

Carbon dating puts the codex written somewhere around 1404-1438. The language is unknown and appears to explain many unidentified plants, animals, recipes and rituals, along with some astronomy and medications.

No-one knows who wrote the cryptic manuscript or for what purpose. Some think it comes from an alien race, hidden races or extinct people, while others believe the writing to be a fake; something someone wrote for un-foretold reasons.

Every bit of the text appears to be important and purposeful, such as a guidebook. Unfortunately, with no way to de-code the text, there is no way of knowing what the book is actually about. It could have been a guide, it may have shown extinct plants and animals, or was perhaps written as a regular book in an alien tongue.

Scholars from around the world claim some of the writing to be in a specific style such as Chinese, Manchu, Aztec, Nahuatl and Germanic. It could be possible that the code is somewhere within all of these languages but to date, no-one has been able to successfully decipher it.

The Hinterkaifeck Murders

Hinterkaifeck was a steady running farm in 1922 Germany. A family of 5 lived there along with their maid. All seemed well until one fateful night when someone bludgeoned the entire family and maid to death with a Mattock that the Patriarch of the family, Andreas Gruber, had made. A mattock is very similar to a pickaxe except it is blunter on the ends.

All was not as well as it appeared to be from the outside looking in. Andreas told neighbors about strange sounds and sightings he had at the home. He stated that there was a sound like walking in his attic, though he did not check it out. Andreas said he found footprints in the snow coming from the woods to his back door, but never any leaving. Once again he did not investigate any further. Someone had tried to bust the lock on the shed door and a newspaper no-one brought into the home sat on the kitchen table one morning.

Why Gruber didn't check into all the strange occurrences is a mystery within itself. More strange things were to come though. Police determined that the killer had stayed in the house for a while after the murders. Apparently even feeding the livestock and building a fire before leaving. No-one is sure how long the family lay dead while the murderer sat at their table eating their food.

One odd belief is that the oldest daughter Viktoria's child Josef might have been the product of incest with her father and someone didn't like them living like that. Another, that a scorned lover, also of Viktoria's, killed the family in a fit of rage. This doesn't explain the sounds in the attic, footsteps in the snow or the newspaper because rage killings are rarely well planned out. It took a great deal of patience to wait for the opportune moment to strike, not indicative of scorned love.

Do You Believe These Mysteries Will Ever Be Solved?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Rachel Wesley


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