It's human nature to make sense of our surroundings, and people have been attempting to do just that since the dawn of existence. It wasn't until the 1900s that the practice of bloodletting faded into medical oblivion. Doctors believed the method drained illness from the body, and it took years of science to disprove the theory. Similarly, it took hard work from top astronomers to debunk the notion that the Earth was flat, and even today, despite the evidence, some naysayers still don't accept it.
Even with top minds on the job, there are still places on Earth that no one quite understands. Mysterious spots where people disappear, things grow the wrong way, and lights twinkle where they seemingly shouldn't. Previous enigmas have been demystified, but despite a logical explanation remain a sight to behold. This list covers a bit of both. Maybe everything will make sense in a couple of centuries, but it's fun to wonder until then.
10 Fary Circles Of Namibia
People love deserts for their otherworldly landscapes. Expanses of sand stretch in all directions, the land dotted in interesting rock formations, flora, and fauna. In the Namib Desert is a phenomenon that makes for an even stranger landscape—fairy circles.
Across a stubbly grass plain in Namibia lie hundreds of large circular patches of bare earth, varying in size. Scientists have theorized over their cause for decades, chalking up the polka-dotted landscapes to termites, thirsty plants, and chemical reactions. In 2014, the discovery of similar circles in Australia increased scientists' thirst to explain them.
Many believe it's the vegetation's way of surviving in the harsh climate, eliminating the need for competition by creating less area to compete over. Others think it's a combination of that alongside the work of termites. Even with top minds on the case, it seems this one hasn't been fully cracked just yet, depending on who you ask.
9 Bermuda Triangle
There have been countless stories of ships, planes, and people disappearing into the area in the Atlantic known as the Bermuda Triangle. Though most vessels make it safely over the triangle, mystery surrounds the supposed people who seemingly vanished into thin air. The mythical spot has born plenty of conspiracy theories and garnered a second ominous name—the Devil's Triangle.
Some believe magnetic anomalies cause navigation systems to go haywire. Others think the Gulf Stream current carries vessels away, never to be seen again. Some are convinced the remnants of technologies from the lost city of Atlantis have something to do with it. And, of course, some attribute the mystery to extraterrestrial activity.
8 Crooked Forest In Poland
The bent bottoms of the pine trees in Poland's Crooked Forest look as though a child dreamed them up. Farmers planted the trees during the 1930s, and evidence suggests the curvature occurred while the trees were under a decade old. The most logical explanation for the strange shape is that farmers manipulated the trunks to grow that way, though no one has verified this rationale to date. The spooky forest attracts droves of tourists to witness it for themselves, and only time will tell whether there's a scientific explanation for the head-scratching forest.
7 Marfa Lights
Away from light pollution, folks around the world love to tilt their heads skyward to admire the billions of stars twinkling overhead. In Marfa, Texas, there's an extra bit of a glow that, to this day, remains unexplained. For over a century, mysterious orbs glow in Marfa, an anomaly that Texas Monthly says occurs around 30 times per year.
There is no agreement on the nature of the strange, glowing orbs, though there are plenty of theories. A logical explanation points to the viewing area's proximity to the highway, suggesting the lights are coming from vehicles going down the road. Some lean into the supernatural theory that the lights possess a consciousness and are perhaps attempting to communicate an important message.
6 Peru's Nazca Lines
Sometimes the why is more intriguing than the who, and that is certainly the case for Peru's Nazca Lines. The coastal plain contains a series of strange shapes etched into the earth. Some look like simple triangles and zigzags, while others look like spiders or monkeys.
The enormous geoglyphs were carved by the ancient Nazca people over many centuries, though anthropologists haven't quite figured out why. Theories abound. Some say it was a ritual practice to summon water, and others think the Nazca communicated with an otherworldly species.
5 New York's Eternal Flame Falls
The fact that there's an explanation doesn't make New York's Eternal Flame Falls any less an unusual sight. A short hike in Chestnut Ridge Park takes people to a waterfall cascading over a grotto. Inside the grotto? A small, glowing flame. A hole in the base of the falls created hundreds of millions of years ago emits natural gas. Despite its name, the fire sometimes goes out from wind or excessive water, but locals quickly relight it.
4 Bran Castle In Romania
Many people love to be spooked, and nothing is as scary as a real-life place shrouded in macabre history. Transylvania is a popular destination for vampire enthusiasts, and a top attraction in the country is Bran Castle. The 14th-century fortress sits high on a rocky outcrop and once housed Romanian royals. Transylvanian folklore runs deep, and Bram Stoker used the country's landscapes and stories as inspiration for his iconic novel, Dracula.
Vlad the Impaler, who got his name for obvious reasons, took on the name of Dracul and once sought to overtake Bran Castle. Although he was a vicious man, he was just that—a man. There truly is no mystery here at all, though it doesn't keep hopeful vampire hunters from checking the castle out for themselves.
3 Canada's Magnetic Hill
In 2015, the internet went to war over the color of a dress. Was it black and blue, or was it white and gold? Despite the question being answered, some people would rather believe their eyes over the facts. Such optical illusions exist all over the world, and one of the coolest is Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, Canada.
When traveling across the road, it appears as though one is going backward rather than forward, or being pulled like a magnet. A simple change of perspective shatters the mystery. The slopes of the terrain make it appear as though passengers are defying the laws of physics. In reality, it's just a trick of the eye.
2 Antarctica's Blood Falls
Scientists were stumped by the blood-red waterfall flowing from a glacier in Antarctica for over a century. Initially, scientists thought red algae gave the falls its color, but they later discovered the source was iron-rich saltwater beneath the glacier emerging from fissures in the ice. While they found the source, its size remains a mystery.
1 Death Valley's Racetrack Playa
Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet and home to one of the strangest phenomena—rocks that appear to move on their own. The so-called "sailing stones slide across the playa, leaving imprints on the ground. The science suggests that weather is the culprit.
Just like Goldilocks, everything has to be just right. Enough rain needs to fill the playa for ice to form, but the water can't be so deep that it covers the rocks. When the ice melts in the sun, it breaks into slabs that are then blown by the desert wind, causing the stones to move across the surface.