Generally speaking, we humans like to think we’ve got a pretty darn good handle on this planet of ours. That we’ve got our lives all neat and ordered (well, relatively speaking), that we understand how things work and where we are.

With the world being such a hectic, tense and confronting place, that illusion is quite important to us. We’re stressed enough as it is, after all. Let’s keep the existential crises to a minimum.

Now, it’s certainly true that science and technology are advancing at a ridiculous rate. You can order a new TV, and that model’s been superseded twice before it’s even delivered to your house. That’s just the way of the world. Scientifically and medically, too, we’re making huge progress every single day.

Despite all of that, though, there are some subjects that continue to baffle even the greatest minds of our time. The depths of the ocean, the furthest reaches of space… many scientists will pretend to have gone mysteriously deaf until the subject is changed. “Hey,” they’ll say to distract you, “remember that time we grew a human ear on a mouse’s back? What in holy heckola were we thinking with that?”

Here in the technologically-advanced world of 2018, we may like to think we know everything, but there are some curious phenomena that just defy explanation. From the peculiar Crooked Forest to the odd Morning Glory Cloud and the mysterious substance known as ‘Star Jelly,’ Let’s take a look at some of the strangest.

25 The Bermuda Triangle: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Ah, yes. The Bermuda Triangle, probably the most controversial and curious stretch of water on the planet. It’s found in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Florida, and stretches to a loosely-defined area around Bermuda and Puerto Rico. As you no doubt know, it’s got a spooky reputation as the setting for numerous mysterious disappearances of boats and airplanes.

Over the years, research has offered up various possibilities for some of these events. Temperamental and unpredictable weather in the region, the sheer volume of craft in the area (it’s one of the busiest routes in the world)… however, conspiracy theorists the world over tend to prefer the paranormal or extra-terrestrial explanations for these disappearances.

24 Bigfoot: The Truth (And This Hairy Man-Beast) May Be Out There

I’ve got to say, I’ve never been quite convinced by cryptozoology. It’s a fascinating branch of scientific study, but there’s just something about it. The Loch Ness Monster is a fantastic and captivating concept, and it’d sure put Scotland on the map if the thing suddenly did rear out of the lake for a bite of haggis, but it’s all a little far-fetched.

It’s a similar deal with Bigfoot. Whether you call it Yeti, Abominable Snowman or Sasquatch, numerous cultures have a legendary creature of this sort. Scientists are largely sceptical, of course, but in 2013, Bigfoot was given an official species designation:Homo sapiens cognatus (which means related to humans by blood, essentially). Its existence continues to be debated.

23 The Taos Hum: What Is That NOISE?

Now, this is an intriguing one. Live Science reports that the city of Taos in New Mexico is home to an odd phenomenon: a low humming sound. It can only barely be heard, and nobody can convincingly explain where it’s coming from. Apparently, “some believe it is caused by unusual acoustics; others suspect mass hysteria or some secret, sinister purpose.”

More alarming still? Only a very small percentage of visitors and locals can hear the noise. Further investigation by Live Science revealed that ‘hearers’ were not all hearing the exact same thing, evidence which “suggests that they may have been reporting subjective experiences instead of objective sounds.” Puzzling stuff.

22 Star Jelly: What Kind Of Star Did THIS Come From?

Now, we all know that the weather can be pretty darn shonky at times. We found ourselves becoming used to all kinds of odd weather. Speaking as a Brit, for instance, I can tell you that nobody is phased by the rain around here, however constant and apocalyptic it may be.

One thing I sure as heckles am not used to seeing falling from the sky is Star Jelly. Listverse reports that this odd jelly-like substance is often found on grass and in trees, and will tend to evaporate shortly after being seen. It’s been known about since at least the 14th century (when it was supposedly used to treat abscesses), and all kinds of wild theories have been offered as to what exactly it is and where it comes from.

21 The Mary Celeste: What Happened Here?

Speaking of peculiar disappearances and ships, one of the most famous tales is that of the Mary Celeste.

As The Smithsonian reports, the doomed ship was found on December 5 1872, 400 miles east of the Azores. A boarding party from the Dei Gratia found that, “the ship’s only lifeboat was missing, and one of its two pumps had been disassembled. Three and a half feet of water was sloshing in the ship’s bottom, though the cargo of 1,701 barrels of industrial alcohol was largely intact. There was a six-month supply of food and water—but not a soul to consume it.”

It's almost 140 years since that day, and while many possibilities have been offered, nobody can say for sure what happened to the crew.

20 Déjà Vu: Here We Go Again

We’ve all experienced the odd feeling of déjà vu before. It’s that tingle you can’t quite put your finger on, that sense that you’ve definitely had a particular conversation or been to a particular place before. You can’t really define it and you certainly can’t predict it, but you always recognise it immediately when you feel it.

Science is at a loss to explain déjà vu (already seen in French), but there are all manner of spiritual theories. A popular one is that we’re getting the briefest glimpse of one of our past lives.

19 Atlantis Is In Japan?

There are few geographical legends as popular as Atlantis, an island first mentioned in Plato’s works. Supposed real-world locations for it are still discussed today. Perhaps a mysterious site at Yonaguni Jima, Japan is the key.

According to Listverse, a diver happened upon a series of formations of stones down there, which had been submerged for around 2,000 years. They were first suggested to be naturally-forming, but it’s unlikely as they’re very neat and angular.

The current belief is that they’re the remains of an ancient city, around 5,000 years old, that was submerged by an earthquake. This is generally accepted, but there’s no proof for that.

18 Ball Lightning: Goodness Gracious, Great Balls Of Lightning

As I say, I’m no stranger to torrential rain and thunderstorms. That just comes with the territory. Brits have come to accept the fact that they haven’t been truly dry since about 1987.

Even so, ball lightning is one curious phenomenon I’ve never witnessed myself. Naturally, where there are storms there’s lightning, which sometimes takes the form of a mobile, intimidating-sounding ball. Hexapolis reports that ball lightning has been widely reported around the world, that it tends to last for between a second and a minute, and can even travel through buildings, leaving a smell of burning sulphur in its wake.

17 The Tunguska Event: A Surprise Dose Of Fiery Fear

In so many ways, the world of 1908 would have been a much cleaner, more peaceful place to live. Far less pollution, people actually spoke to each other (remember conversations? They were great, weren’t they?) rather than texting… bliss.


This intimidating event took place on June 30 that year, near Siberia’s Podkamennaya Tunguska River. According to Listverse, the fireball came streaking towards the ground, exploding about 6 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. It sent a concussive shock for miles around, knocking people back from 64 kilometers away.

The strangest thing is that object left nary a trace behind for analysis, and no crater as an asteroid or meteorite would.

16 It’s Raining… Animals?

As I say, I get a reasonable amount of snow here, not to mention quantities of rain that are totally unreasonable. We’re equipped for that, though. We’ve come to accept it, we can deal with it. When cats, dogs and angry arachnids start raining from the sky, though, that’s every possible kind of uncool.

According to ListVerse, though, this happens much more often than you might think. Frogs, tadpoles, spiders, fish, eels, snakes, and worms have all been recorded as raining from the sky, and so has raw meat (one bizarre night in Kentucky in 1876)! The major theory for this is that said animals were carried through the air tornados or the like, but there’s no recorded evidence of this ever being witnessed.

15 UFOs: Inexplicable Flying Objects

The existence of aliens on our planet has always been a popular subject in the media. Movies like the Men in Black franchise present quirky beings from a range of planets, all inhabiting Earth (disguised as humans) completely unbeknownst to the general public.

Now, nobody’s taking the Men in Black movies seriously, of course, but the fact remains that lights in the sky and full-on sightings of UFOs have been being reported for decades. Classic ‘flying saucers,’ cigar-shaped ships and all kinds of spacecraft besides have been ‘seen.’ Some of these events, such as the Mariana UFO Incident in 1950 (more on that at Outer Places), continue to be investigated and scrutinised.

14 The Hessdalen Light: A Slice Of Strangeness From Norway

Right alongside the usual UFOs, we’ve also got the lesser-known phenomenon known as UFL (Unidentified Funky Lights). Granted, that’s not really the name because I just made it up, but the lights themselves are real.

Since the early 1940s, Hexapolis reports, Norway’s Hessdalen valley has been home to beams of unexplained light. They’ve ranged in colour from red to yellow and white, and sparked particular interest during the period from 1981-84, when they started to appear much more frequently. During that time, research institutions from around the region began ‘Project Hessdalen,’ which hasn’t really been able to come up with any explanation for this curious sight. It’s thought to be connected to extra-terrestrial activity.

13 The Morning Glory Cloud: What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

Clouds, again, are something I’m super-familiar with. Around here, it’s dull grey o-clock all the darn time. Generally speaking, there isn’t much that’s all that interesting about clouds, but there’s one in particular that science really doesn’t know anything much about.

The Morning Glory Cloud is an Arcus cloud and an unpredictable phenomenon. It has a striking appearance, Hexapolis reports, consisting of a great, unbroken line up to 1,000 kilometers long. It will tend to appear very low to the ground, and usually heralds some very powerful winds. Science knows very little about it, as there’s slim-to-zero notice as to when one will appear.

12 Sleep Glorious Sleep

For many of us all around the world, our beds are our happy place. Our haven. Our safe cocoons from all the, you know, having to get dressed and do stuff that adult lives tend to consist of. Who wants that? Nobody, that’s who.

We spend so much of our lives asleep, and we know the physical and mental issues that can result from not getting enough sleep. Why do we need to in the first place, though? Beyond humans, why do certain animals need more, or less, than ourselves? A lot of research has gone into these questions, as reported by Futurism, but it’s tough to come up with any real answers.

11 Delving Into The Mystery Of ASMR

ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a phenomenon you might well have come across in your travels around the internet. It’s a mild euphoric feeling, a tingle in the skin, caused by certain stimuli.

As demonstrated in this YouTube video from Dr. T ASMR, these stimuli tend to be such things as whispered voices, sounds from repetitive tasks such as preparing food or fingers scratching on a surface.

The curious thing is that some people react to different stimuli, while others don’t experience ASMR at all. The reason for this, and the reasons why it exists at all, are still debated.

10 The Patomskiy Crater: An Impossible Sight

Next up, we’re crossing back to Siberia for a look at another bizarre natural phenomenon. The Patomskiy crater is also known as the Fire Eagle Nest or Patom crater, and is situated in a remote region of Irkutsk in the south east.

It’s notable, first of all, for its bizarre appearance. Right slap-bang in the middle of a densely-forested region lies this peculiar ‘structure,’ a mound of limestone with a rounded dome 130ft high. Estimates suggest it’s about 300 years old, and despite intense scrutiny, nobody really understands what it is. As reported by The Siberian Times, explanations for it range from the mundane to the extra-terrestrial.

9 Spontaneous Human Combustion: It’s Getting Hot In Here

Here’s something else that science likes to think it’s explained away. There’s always something to surprise you, though, and odd stories of spontaneous combustion keep cropping up.

Cases have been found all around the world, in the real world and in famous works of literature (such as Charles Dickens’s Bleak House). To suddenly and randomly burst into flames of your own accord, needless to say, is the sort of situation that you’d tend to have mixed feelings about, and while scientists tend to put towards there being another source of the flames, there are connecting factors between cases (the lack of smoke, little if any damage to the surroundings) that are tough to explain away.

8 The Boiling River: It’s Getting Hot In H… Wait, I Just Did That One

Being unused to a hot climate as I am, the idea of a warm pool is completely alien to me. A real luxury. Nobody has ever taken the trouble to add heating to any swimming pool I’ve ever been in, friends, let me tell you.

I’d take super-chilly appendages over a dip in the Boiling River, though, that’s for darn certain. The Shanay-Timpishka is a tributary of the Amazon River, whose waters can reach an absurd 100 degrees!

According to The Telegraph, this stretch of water is unique in that it is non-volcanic (the usual reason for hot waters such as this). There are believed to be geothermal reasons for the heat (shared by two other bodies close by), but nothing can really be explained.

7 The Crooked Forest: Poland’s Peculiar Pines

As a huge horror fan, I tend to find that the most unnerving stories and movies are those that center around something normal acting abnormally. I mean, monsters and great slathering beasts are one thing, but strangeness in familiar places is much more frightening to me. Because it’s relatable.

Near the Polish town of Gryfino, there’s a grove of pine trees that are definitely all kinds of abnormal. They’re growing, or have been manipulated, in a most peculiar fashion. As with so many strange cases in this rundown, all kinds of theories have been suggested, but nobody really knows why the trees look like this.

6 Magnetic Hill: A Very Attractive Mystery

Ah, yes. I love a good magnetism pun in the morning, friends.

This time, we’re looking at a phenomenon that isn’t exclusive to a particular place. There are so-called gravity hills all around the world, from Guatemala’s Paso Misterioso to India’s famous Magnetic Hill in Ladakh. Whichever one you visit, the optical illusion tends to be the same. Cars will appear to be rolling backwards, water will seem to flow uphill, all sorts of odd things. It’s all very mysterious, and while theories about the horizon and visual points of reference being off make perfect sense, many prefer to believe that there’s something supernatural about these places.