We all love a good mystery, but it can really get under our skin when we don't eventually figure out the truth. It's part of the human condition to want to categorize things and create order in our lives and communities, according to New Scientist. We like a little mystery because it triggers our natural curiosity, but then we like finding a solution or explanation because the unknown is something to be feared and protected from. This desire to group and explain things constantly conflicts with our equally strong desire to have some secrecy or privacy.
Not all mysteries stem from our tendency for secrecy, however. Some phenomena in the world aren’t easy to explain with our current technology or body of knowledge. It's possible that some of these unsolved mysteries will become clearer with further scientific advancements, but certainly, other unsolved mysteries grow murkier with time as vital information has been long lost or buried with the ones who once knew. Some mysteries defy all explanation and seem to exist independent of what might have once been known or what technology might yet be discovered. We're both uncomfortable with the loose ends, yet at the same time in love—maybe even obsessed. Here are 25 Unsolved Mysteries The World Has Forgotten About.
25 Ancient technology - Antikythera Computes A Mystery
Named after the island near where it was found by sponge divers 115 years ago, the Antikythera mechanism is an incredible machine of finely calibrated gears that appeared to be technology not available until at least the 10th century—but the mechanism was at least 2,000 years old.
It's an incredible, ancient computer that can calculate a wealth of astronomical information for the user, according to Vox.
No one knows who created the technology or even how they could make something so delicately tuned—and who owned it.
24 Mirny Diamond Mine Mystery
'The Mir' or Mirny diamond mine in eastern Siberia is the second largest mine in the world. It produced billions of dollars’ worth of diamonds in the 1960s but closed down for good in the early 2000s.
Russia had already forbidden helicopters to fly over it out of fear that the mine would create a vortex of air current, according to Atlas Obscura.
There are unsubstantiated reports that some aircraft have actually been sucked into the vortex—and no outsiders can even enter the town without a permit.
23 A man possessed - Don Decker And The Rain
Whether we believe in hauntings or not, circumstances got downright weird for Don Decker after his grandfather passed away. Don was serving time in 1983 when it happened but got permission to attend the funeral, according to Historic Mysteries.
Afterward, Don would go into a trance, and then water would drip out of the walls and ceiling.
This was witnessed by several law enforcement officials in a residence, a pizzeria, and in Don's jail cell. It was believed that Don was possessed and could control the appearance of the rain.
22 Where Is Walter Collins?
Nine-year-old Walter Collins went to the cinema in 1928 but never returned home. The Los Angeles police were struggling with a rash of disappearances, so when the Illinois police sent information about a boy they'd found who claimed to be Walter Collins, the LAPD was pleased and took the pictures to Walter's mother—but she stated emphatically that it wasn't him, according to Crime Museum.
The police forced her to take the boy anyway until the boy admitted he'd lied. The real Walter Collins was never actually found.
21 What's Written On Dighton Rock?
In the 1950s, workers uncovered a huge 40-ton rock near Berkeley, Massachusetts with strange marks and symbols carved on it. It had first been described around 1680 and was studied many times by scholars in the centuries after, as per New England.
Because it appears to have both pictorial inscriptions as well as some letter-like carvings, not everyone thinks it is the work of Native tribes in the area, but possibly the work of sailors from Portugal or even proof of Viking or Phoenician visitation.
20 What Happened On Roanoke?
In 1587, English settlers led by John White established a colony on Roanoke, a barrier island off present-day North Carolina on the site of a previously failed settlement. After they established an outpost, he departed again to get supplies and more colonists but returned later than he anticipated because of a brewing battle, as per Smithsonian Magazine.
When he finally got back, not a single person was there, and his only clue was the word Croatoan carved into a post.
Archaeologists still don't know where the entire colony vanished to.
19 The Money Pit Of Oak Island
For over 200 years, adventurers have been digging deeper into the Oak Island Money Pit in search of pirate treasure. A local teenager noticed strange lights on Oak Island. Upon investigating, he discovered a circular area, and he and his friends began digging, according to Oak Island Money Pit.
What's incredible is that over two centuries—and even with modern technology—we still don't know what's down there, but clearly an elaborate network of tunnels had been dug.
Some have even linked the island to the Knights Templar and Freemasons.
18 Too Taured To Go On - the mystery man
Global travelers pass through the world's airports on any given day, but the Tokyo airport saw someone truly unique in 1954.
A man disembarked a plane with a wallet and a passport, but his passport indicated he was from an unknown country called Taured, as per Week In Weird.
His checkbook also listed a nonexistent bank and he claimed business with a nonexistent company. The man was placed in a hotel under guard, and his paperwork was held in an airport security room, but both had disappeared by the morning.
17 Aluminum Wedge Of Aiud
The biggest mystery of the wedge of Aiud is why researchers don't have greater access to it. It was first discovered in 1973 by builders near the town of Aiud in Romania, more than 33 feet underground and in direct association with mastodon fossils, according to Beyond Science TV.
The reason why the wedge is unique is that it's almost 90% metallic aluminum, which humans began producing around 200 years ago, but coated in 400-year-old aluminum oxide and found with bones of an animal that went extinct at least 11,000 years ago.
16 What's The Frequency, Jerry?
The Wow! frequency was first discovered by astronomers in 1977. The 72-second radio signal was incredibly strong and—until recently—scientists had no plausible explanation, as per Phys.org.
While that signal may have been a result of the hydrogen tail of an undiscovered comet, more recent radio bursts have scientists scratching their heads.
A very low megahertz fast radio burst was detected in 2017, and there's no current explanation for what caused it—or why it's a far lower frequency than other equally enigmatic bursts, according to Science Alert.
15 Witch Elm Was It?
In 1943, some boys climbed a hollow wych elm, only to discover a skull inside. Very little tissue was left, but nearly all of her skeleton was folded inside the tree, as per The Unredacted. Investigators identified that the remains belonged to a short, brunette woman around 35 years old.
She might have faded out of public memory except that shortly after she was found, graffiti began to appear, asking “Who put Bella in the wych-elm?” The graffiti has popped up over the years, and no theories have definitively solved this mystery.
14 A Ship Named Mary Celeste
After a troubled past, the brigantine Mary Celeste came to be owned by Captain Benjamin Briggs.
He set sail with his family and an experienced crew of eight in 1872, never to be heard from again.
Less than a month after leaving the New York Harbor, a ship from Britain spotted the Mary Celeste in full sail but adrift, according to History. No one was inside, and there were no signs of foul play. Many theories have been proposed, but the mystery remains—the captain, family and crew were never seen again.
13 We Didn't Start The Sicily Fires
Seemingly random fires began breaking out in 2004 in a village in Sicily, incinerating electrical boxes, fans, and even toasters. The fires confused investigators, who could find no apparent cause throughout the years, as per ANSA.
Theories swirled that a buildup of electrical current, a pyromaniac or even the devil could be behind the mysterious blazes.
In 2015, a man was arrested and charged with setting the fires, but even the mayor is not convinced he did it, explaining he and other officials had seen items burst into flame out of nowhere.
12 Elisa Lam In The Cistern At The Cecil
When tourists staying at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles in 2013 complained about the tap water, investigations led to the discovery of Elisa Lam's remains in the cistern on the hotel's roof, according to Rebel Circus.
Officials listed her demise as a manic episode leading to drowning, but given the Cecil Hotel's history, the odd elevator video footage of Elisa, and the strange link between her name and the tuberculosis outbreak in the area at the time—the TB test is called the LAM-ELISA—people are not convinced.
11 The Verbiage Of The Voynich Manuscript
Although the Voynich Manuscript—named after the man who purchased it—came to light in 1912, linguists are no closer to translating the strange texts now than they were 100 years ago, as per CNN.
The parchment and ink date to the 15th century and it is filled with incredible illustrations of herbs and medical procedures.
Recently, an engineer named Ahmet Ardic and his sons have worked on the manuscript and claim to have deciphered some words, but it's far from clear if they're on the path to cracking the code at last.
10 Illuminating The Flannan Isles Lighthouse
The Flannan Isles sit off the northern coast of Scotland. In 1900, a ship headed towards the lighthouse bearing a relief keeper but was delayed by bad weather. When they arrived at the lighthouse, everyone was gone, according to Mental Floss.
No one lived on the island except sheep and the lighthouse crew, and locals claimed there was some aura there.
All three lighthouse keepers were gone—at least one should have stayed behind, but all were gone. All the clocks in the lighthouse were stopped at the same time.
9 The Circle Stone And The Sea Of Galilee
Some mysteries happen by accident: scientists were looking for something else when they noticed a giant circular structure 30 feet underwater in the Sea of Galilee, as per CNN. The basaltic structure appears to have been built on the land of many large stones then submerged, and it could be between 2,000 and 12,000 years old, but what it was made for is a mystery.
It's difficult to study it while it's underwater but equally difficult to raise the kinds of funds needed to bring such a huge structure out without damaging it.
8 The Methuen Water Demon Went Up The Waterspout
The Martins were sitting in their living room one day in 1963 when they noticed water dripping from a wall. When Mr. Martin got up to inspect it, the family watched a jet of water spray out, according to Strange Company.
The Fire Department and engineers inspected the home but couldn't find the source of the water.
The family moved to nearby Lawrence, only to have the water jets follow. They even tore out the 'weeping walls'—but the walls were dry inside. Eventually, the water stopped of its own accord.
7 The Real Bobby Dunbar
Bobby Dunbar went missing on a fishing trip to Swayze Lake in Louisiana in 1912. His family searched for eight months before finding him in Mississippi, but the story began to twist quickly, as Bobby's family weren't sure if the little boy was actually Bobby, and the man Bobby was found with claimed the boy as a relative, according to History 101.
Yet another family stepped in to claim the boy as their missing child. DNA testing nearly 100 years later proved that it wasn't Bobby—the real Bobby was never found.
6 How To See The Big Grey Man
The extreme landscape of the Cairngorms could definitely act upon a person's imagination, but a respected professor's report of the sounds and feelings he got returning from a high crag in 1925 gave rise to the legend of the Big Grey Man, as per Undiscovered Scotland.
Occasionally, other hikers since have reported glimpses of a large, grey something and crunching sounds behind them, as if something is walking with a much larger stride than a normal person. Each person's account was independent, yet eerily similar.
5 Blown Away By Baghdad Batteries
Even though at first glance a collection of jars from 250 BCE in the National Museum of Iraq seemed completely unremarkable, further inspection revealed that they were something incredibly special. When the jars were examined, it revealed that the outer clay jar stoppered with asphalt contained an iron rod placed inside a copper tube, according to Atlas Obscura.
Recent testing by Mythbusters showed that when the jar is filled with vinegar, it can hold a charge—like a battery.
The theory is that they were used to electroplate metal, but there's no proof.
4 Treed By The Tunguska Event
Residents more than 35 miles away felt the massive blast resulting in an enormous fireball and flattened trees in a 2,000 square kilometer area in Siberia in 1908, as per BBC. Witnesses were knocked off their feet and said it was like the sky split in two.
Because of unrest in other parts of Russia and harsh conditions, it wasn't examined by scientists until decades later. Traces of minerals provide a few clues that point to a meteoric cause, but because examination has been so sporadic over the years, scientists can only speculate.
3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 departed Beijing, China in 2014 and never made it to its final destination in Kuala Lumpur. During the flight, the plane inexplicably went off course, but none of the 239 people aboard—nor any telling piece of the plane or wreckage—have ever been found, as per the New York Times.
The plane was manually diverted off course, and the transponder was turned off, but even after four years of investigation, experts can't explain what happened to the people on board. The entire plane has simply vanished.
2 Robert The Doll Isn't Here To Play
In 1906, a little boy named Robert—but called by his middle name Eugene—received a doll named Robert as a gift from a servant native to the Bahamas, as per Week In Weird. Eugene grew attached to Robert and was heard talking to Robert—and sometimes a much deeper voice replied. Strange things happened in the house.
Even after Eugene was married, he kept Robert, until Eugene grew sick and perished. Robert is in the East Martello Museum today, but museum-goers say taking Robert's picture without asking permission is dangerous.
1 The Somerton Man Isn't Finished
Even after 70 years, experts are baffled by the man who appeared one evening on Somerton Beach in Australia in 1948. The morning after he was spotted, he was discovered in the same spot passed away, leaving behind almost no clues as to who he was, according to News.
His clothes and a comb came from the US, his shoes were too clean, and he had no wallet. His autopsy only further complicated matters, and a ripped piece of paper reading “it is finished” in Farsi is cryptic, to say the least.
References: New Scientist, Beyond Science TV, Phys.org, Science Alert, The Unredacted History, Week In Weird, Rebel Circus, CNN, Historic Mysteries, Mental Floss, Strange Company, Smithsonian Magazine, Atlas Obscura