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Top 10 Famous Unsolved Mysteries

Updated on August 12, 2018
Sudhir Devapalan profile image

I am a front-end developer by profession, but I enjoy writing articles about anything mysterious, interesting and fascinating.

Since the birth of science, humans have tried to understand the universe around them. Any abnormality or secret which they cannot reveal scares and intimidates them. Mysteries fascinate us as we constantly try to find some reason or explanation for these strange events. There are many mysteries which have been solved in the past but here are a list of fascinating unsolved mysteries still out there.

10. Tamam Shud:

Tamam Shud
Tamam Shud

Tamam Shud is also known as the ‘Mystery of the Somerton Man’. This is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in Australia, where an unidentified man was found dead on Somerton beach in December of 1948. The words ‘Tamam Shud’ was printed on a small scrap of paper which was ripped off a book. The phrase ‘Tamam Shud’ means ‘It is ended’ or ‘The End’ in Persian.

These were the final words from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, quite a popular book at the time. A copy of the book with the page containing the words ‘Tamam Shud’ ripped off was later found by police authorities. In this book, authorities found a phone number, an unidentified number, and an encrypted message. This message has yet to be decoded and the cause of death of the man was also never found. Some speculate that he could have been a spy from the cold war but there is no evidence for this claim.

9. Shroud of Turin:

Shroud of Turin
Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin is a length of linen clothing with the negative image of a man in it. What’s interesting is that the negative image is supposed to be that of Jesus Christ. This cloth is currently kept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. There have been many arguments made in scientific and popular publications indicating that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus.

The Shroud of Turin is the most intensively studied ancient artifact in the world. However, the mystery is that no one has been able to definitively prove or disprove its genuineness. The image formed on the shroud seems to be anatomically correct. Medical forensics and optical image analysis have also validated the shroud to be genuine.

8. Bermuda Triangle:

Bermuda Triangle
Bermuda Triangle

The ‘Bermuda Triangle’ or the ‘Devil’s Triangle’ is one of the most famous mysteries in the world. The Bermuda Triangle is an area formed between Bermuda, Miami, and Puerto Rico. What makes this area famous is the mysterious disappearances of a large number of aircraft and ships. These aircraft and ships have disappeared under mysterious circumstances without any warning or signs of distress.

Some of the more famous stories of the Bermuda Triangle include the fate of Flight 19, a group of 5 US torpedo bombers which disappeared in 1945. A rescue plane which was sent to locate them was also lost without a trace. The USS Cyclops with a crew of 309 also went missing inside the Devil’s triangle. Recently in 2015 El Faro, a cargo ship also went missing in the area. Some speculate that these disappearances could be caused due to bad weather while others suggest electromagnetic disturbances in the area to cause navigational issues and shut off radio communications.

7. Mackenzie Poltergeist in Greyfriars:

The Black Mausoleum
The Black Mausoleum

Greyfriars Kirkyard is a graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in Scotland. When King Charles II ascended the throne he quickly disavowed the Covenanters right to freely practice their religion and forced them to accept the new official state religion. In 1679, the King’s forces decisively defeated the Presbyterian Covenanters and the rebels were then rounded up and forced to convert.

They were all imprisoned in the Greyfriars Kirkyard under the care of Lord Advocate Sir George Mackenzie who was nicknamed “Bluidy MacKenzie” by his victims. The thousands of victims imprisoned there were starved, tortured and beheaded. The dead were then buried in the Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery where they had been kept captive. In total, MacKenzie was responsible for the death of about 18,000 of his countrymen.

In 1691 when MacKenzie died, he was buried in a black Mausoleum tomb in the Greyfriars Kirkyard with the tormentor and his victims close to each other. In 1998 a homeless man broke into the graveyard and tried to steal something from the Black Mausoleum. While trying to open the casket in which MacKenzie was buried, a huge hole opened up under his feet and he fell into a pit used to bury plague victims. On seeing these remains he panicked and fled the scene.

After this incident, there have been over 500 ghost attacks reported by people visiting these tombs. Some documented injuries include burns, skin gouges, broken fingers and the sensation of being pulled. In 2000, Colin Grant, an exorcist was called to perform an exorcism ceremony but he was soon overcome with the sensation of being surrounded by thousands of tormented souls and fled for his life. A few weeks later he would die of a heart attack.

6. The Bridge at Overtoun:

The Bridge at Overtoun
The Bridge at Overtoun

The Bridge at Overtoun is a bridge in Scotland which was constructed in 1895. By the 1950s people started calling it as ‘The Bridge of Death’. This is because due to some unknown reason, dogs started jumping off the bridge to their deaths. In the past 50 years, 50 dogs have died from jumping off the bridge. Over 600 dogs had made the leap and survived the fall. It has also been found that the dogs who survived the jump even jumped a second time when they could.

All the dogs that jumped off the bridge were long-nosed breeds which are bred for hunting. They all seem to jump from the very same spot as well. The suicides were also all done on clear sunny days. No one has been able to clearly explain the reason for this phenomenon but some speculate that the smell of mink nesting under the bridge caused the dogs to jump due to the irresistible scent but many have dismissed this stating that there were no mink there in 1950.

5. Cicada 3301:

cicada 3301
cicada 3301

Cicada 3301 is the nickname which is given to an unknown organization that has posted puzzles on three occasions. Their motive seems to have been to recruit highly talented code breakers and linguists. The first puzzle was provided on January 4, 2012, and this ran for a month. The second round with another puzzle was provided on January 4, 2013, and the third puzzle was provided on January 4, 2014.

This has been listed as one of the top 5 eeriest and strangest mysteries of the internet. Solving these puzzles require extensive knowledge in cryptography, programming and computer networks. The identity of Cicada has yet to be uncovered. Some speculate that it could be an alternate reality game, the CIA or even a cult group. Till now we have not found out the truth.

4. Voynich Manuscript:

Voynich Manuscript
Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown language. This book seems to have been written during the early 15th century in Northern Italy. The book contains a total of 240 pages with some pages missing. The writing is from left to right and with a lot of illustrations or diagrams. The name of the book is coined from Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased the book in 1912.

The Voynich manuscript has been extensively studied by researchers for many years. American and British codebreakers from WW1 and WW2 also tried to decipher the manuscript but failed. Some speculate that the book is an illustration of Medieval herbal medicine. The illustrations of the book are very weird featuring nude women, alien plants and what appears to be astronomical diagrams.

3. Pollock Sisters:

Pollock Sisters
Pollock Sisters

Reincarnation - This is a religious concept in which a person who is dead starts their life again in a new biological body. This person would retain the characteristics and memories of their old life as well. In the world of science, reincarnation is regarded as impossible. This however changed with the case of the Pollock sisters.

On May 5th of 1957, two small girls named Jacqueline and Joanna Pollock were hit by a car and died while going to church. Their parents John and Florence were devastated by this loss but they believed that they will get another set of girls soon. Surely enough, a year later Florence gave birth to a set of twin girls. They named the two girls as Gillian and Jennifer. They believed that God had answered their prayers and gave them their lost children back.

As time went by, it became more clear that they were indeed reincarnations. Jennifer had a very distinct white line across her forehead. Her late sister, Jacqueline had a scar in the exact same place. She also shared the same birthmark. When Jennifer and Gillian grew older they began to recognize landmarks which they haven't seen before, at least not in their current life. They could recognize their school and also asked for their old toys which they played in their previous life. When the girls turned 5 their past life faded away but this remains as one of the creepiest mysteries of all time.

2. Andrew Carlssin:

Time traveller
Time traveller

In March 2003, a man named Andrew Carlssin was arrested for SEC violations for making 126 high-risk stock trades. Each and every one of these high-risk trades was successful and the man who started with an $800 investment ended up making over $350,000,000. This drew the attention of the SEC and he was arrested for suspected insider dealing.

Andrew Carlssin submitted a four-hour confession stating that he was a time traveler 200 years from the future. He stated that he just wanted to make some money using the stock exchange but then got carried away. He also offered to reveal the location of Osama bin Laden and the cure for AIDS in exchange for letting him go to his time craft.

He, however, refused to reveal the location of his time craft fearing that it would go into the wrong hands. There was also no trace of Andrew Carlssin before December 2002 which adds to the mystery. On 3rd April 2003, an unknown stranger paid the $1 million bail amount for Carlssin and he has been missing ever since.

1. SS Ourang Medan:

SS Ourang Medan
SS Ourang Medan

In June 1947 or in some reports during February 1948 ships traveling through the Straits of Malacca near Sumatra and Malaysia claimed to have picked up the SOS distress signals of a ship. The unknown ship’s message was very simple and very disturbing.

“All officers including captain are dead, lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.”

This was followed by a stream of undecipherable morse code messages followed by the final grim message, “I die”. This was the last message sent by the ship and there was silence. The message was received by two American ships as well as British and Dutch posts. They triangulated the ship's position and identified it as the SS Ourang Medan which was navigating the Straits of Malacca.

The American merchant ship, the Silver Star was the closest to the Ourang Medan and changed course to assist them. They soon located the doomed ship and began boarding. They soon realized that the distress signal was not exaggerated. The whole deck was littered with corpses. The corpse's eyes were wide open, their arms extended to shield them from an unknown force and their faces twisted in agony. It seemed as though they were scared to death.

Even the ship’s dog was dead with an intimidating snarl. All the crew members were still in their posts. The communications officer was dead with his finger resting on the telegraph. Each corpse had a wide-eyed expression. There was, however, no sign of injury or foul play on the corpses. When the rescue crew entered the boiler room they felt a cold chill even though the temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

They decided to tow the Ourang Medan back to port but suddenly the ship caught fire and smoke started to spread. The crew immediately cut the tow lines and scrambled back to the Silver Star just on time as an explosion lifted the Ourang Medan off the water and it sank. No one knows what really happened to the Ourang Medan and the fate of its crew whose suspicious deaths spark more mystery than provide any answers.

© 2018 Random Thoughts


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