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Unsolved Mysteries of the World : The Most Intriguing Ones

Updated on March 27, 2020
Margaret Pan profile image

As most people, Margaret loves a good mystery, and being a research enthusiast, has explored many of the world's unsolved ones.

There's no denying that most people, myself included, love a good mystery. We can't help but being drawn to the unknown, the unexplained, the unsolved. The lack of answers and explanations only makes things more intriguing. History has numerous unsolved mysteries to exhibit, the answer to which, will probably never be found. Below are presented the most intriguing ones.

What Was the Dyatlov Pass Incident?

During the first night of February 1959, nine Russian hikers were found dead in the northern Ural mountains.The group consisted of eight men and two women, all of which were students at the Ural Polytechnical Institute and experienced hikers. They began their trek on January 27, aiming to reach Gora Otorten, a mountain 10 kilometres north of the site of the incident. On the first night of February, having lost their direction, the group set up camp on the slope of a mountain called "Kholat Syakhl", which ironically means "dead mountain" in Mansi. During the night, something caused them to tear their way out of their tents and flee the campsite, all being inadequately dressed for the sub-zero temperatures. After the group's bodies were discovered and investigated, Soviet authorities determined that six of them had died from hypothermia, while the other three showed signs of physical trauma. One victim had a fractured skull, two others had major chest fractures and the body of one of the group was missing both its eyes. On top of that, one of the victims was missing a tongue. The investigation of this case concluded with the statement that the group's deaths had been caused by a "compelling natural force", leaving a lot of questions unanswered.

The Russian hikers photographed during their trek to Gora Otorten.
The Russian hikers photographed during their trek to Gora Otorten. | Source

Who Was Jack the Ripper?

On August 31, 1888 the body of a dead woman was found on Whitechapel street in London, England. Her throat had been cut while her abdomen was gouged open. That was the beginning to a series of massacres, which ended three months later with four more women having undergone the same fate. A number of letters were sent to the London police, confessing the crimes and taunting officers' efforts to find the killer. They were signed from someone calling himself "Jack the Ripper".
An unedited example of one of his letters can be found below:

Dear Boss,
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good luck.
Yours truly,
Jack the Ripper


Over the years, although dozens of people have been brought up as possible candidates, the true identity of the Ripper was unfortunately never discovered.

A postcard received at Ealing Police Station on October, 1888 signed as "Jack the Ripper".
A postcard received at Ealing Police Station on October, 1888 signed as "Jack the Ripper". | Source

What Really Happened to the Mary Celeste?

On November 7,1872, a ship named Mary Celeste set sail from New York for Genoa with seven crewmen and the captain, along with his wife and their two-year-old daughter. Approximately a month later, on December 4, the ship was found abandoned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and none of those who had been on board were ever heard from again. The ship itself was in perfect condition,and the captain's and crew's personal belongings were undisturbed. The only thing missing was the ship's lifeboat. The last entry on the ship’s daily log revealed nothing unusual, while inside the ship everything appeared to be in order. Until today, theories about what happened continue to circulate this mysterious event.

A month after her sail from New York, Mary Celeste was found abandoned in the middle of the ocean.
A month after her sail from New York, Mary Celeste was found abandoned in the middle of the ocean. | Source

What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?

Amelia Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1937, during an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared without a trace over the central Pacific Ocean. Although searches began only an hour after Earhart’s last recorded message, nothing was ever found regarding her's and Noonan's whereabouts. Most conspiracy theories support that they possibly lived as castaways after an emergency landing.

Amelia Earhart, an inspiring American aviation pioneer.
Amelia Earhart, an inspiring American aviation pioneer. | Source

Was the Escape from Alcatraz Successful?

The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary -often referred to as Alcatraz or the Rock- was a maximum security federal prison on Alcatraz island off the coast of San Francisco, California, operating from 1934-1963. It was known as the most inescapable penitentiary in the U.S. since anybody who tried to escape it was either caught or died. However, in 1962, three inmates named Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris managed to escape the prison, using tools such as a metal spoons soldered with silver from a dime and an electric drill improvised from a stolen vacuum cleaner motor. They sailed away in a raft made out of over 50 stolen raincoats, but until today, it is unknown whether they drowned in the sea, or managed to reach the mainland. Their bodies were never found.

The Alcatraz Prison
The Alcatraz Prison | Source

What Does the Voynich Manuscript Mean?

The Voynich Manuscript is an illustrated, mysterious, hand-written codex. Its text (which is approximately 250 pages-long) is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations such as strange plants, animals and nude figures. It remains unknown when exactly the codex was written but it dates as far as the 15th century. Although numerous cryptographers and codebreakers have studied the Voynich Manuscript, the meaning of its content remains unknown.

Detail from page 86v of Voynich Manuscript
Detail from page 86v of Voynich Manuscript | Source
Detail from page 107r of Voynich Manuscript
Detail from page 107r of Voynich Manuscript | Source

What Is Area 51?

Area 51 refers to a United States Air Force base in Nevada. Although it was built during the Cold War, CIA acknowledged its existence many years later, in 2013. It's a super secret location, since access to the public is strictly forbidden whereas who and what goes inside remain unknown. It is also forbidden to fly over it. The secrecy surrounding Area 51 has made it an object of conspiracy theories, the most famous of which connect it with alien invasion.

Access in Area 51 is strictly forbidden to the public.
Access in Area 51 is strictly forbidden to the public. | Source

Which of These Unsolved Mysteries Did You Find Most Interesting?

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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.

© 2020 Margaret Pan

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