Top 20 Creepiest Mysteries of the Century So Far

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Top 20 Creepiest Mysteries of the Century So Far

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
These shocking mysteries may never be solved. For this list, we're looking at the most unsettling unsolved mysteries and unexplained events from around the world. Our countdown includes Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Siberian Sinkholes, Havana Syndrome, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Void in the Pyramid of Khufu, and more!
Transcript
Script Written by Caitlin Johnson

Top 20 Creepiest Mysteries of the Century (So Far)


Some questions may never be answered. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 20 creepiest mysteries of the century so far.

For this list, we’re looking at the most unsettling unsolved mysteries and unexplained events from around the world. Be warned, many of these cold cases aren’t for the faint of heart.

#20: Siberian Sinkholes

In July 2014, helicopters flying over the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia discovered a vast crater in the wilderness, thought to be a recently formed sinkhole. Later the same month, reindeer herders found more of these enormous sinkholes, one also in the Yamal Peninsula, and another to the east. A huge sinkhole on the other side of the country, in the Chersky Range, has been dubbed the “doorway to the underworld” thanks to booms heard inside. It’s thought that the sinkholes form when permafrost melts due to rapid global warming. Some theories link this process to explosions of underground natural gas reserves. Whatever the cause of the strange sinkholes is, it’s definitely not good.

#19: Octopuses on Land

One dark night in October 2017, a tour group in Ceredigion, Wales came across an unusual sight: dozens of curled octopuses crawling across New Quay beach. Octopuses can survive out of water for about half an hour, but it’s extremely unusual for dozens to flee the sea at the same time. By the following morning, many had died on the shores, failing to return to the ocean at all. This behaviour continued for several nights. Explanations have varied, ranging from them getting shaken up by recent storms in the area or confused by the bright lights of the harbor.

#18: What Did Brandon Swanson See?

In the early hours of May 14th, 2008, Brandon Swanson, a college student from Minnesota drove his car into a ditch on his way home from a party. The car wouldn’t start, so he did what anyone would and called his parents, who drove out to get him. Brandon stayed on the phone for over 45 minutes, but his parents were unable to find him. At 2:30 AM, Brandon swore, and the call cut off. The following day, his car was found, located 25 miles further away from where he thought he was. The most common theory is that Brandon fell into a nearby river and drowned, but his body has never been found.

#17: Head in Pennsylvania

While walking home in 2014, a teenage boy in Economy, Pennsylvania stumbled across a grisly artifact in the woods in: a woman’s head. Bizarrely, the head was embalmed, meaning someone had gone to great lengths to look after it – so why they would dump it in the woods is anyone’s guess. Though sketches and a 3D model have been released to the public, nobody has been able to identify the head, and the body it belongs to has also never been found; no hospital or morgue had a headless cadaver that matched. Strangest of all was the fact the eyes were replaced with bouncy balls, which could suggest it was involved in the black-market organ trade.

#16: The Saddle Ridge Hoard

In 2013, a Californian couple hit it rich when they unearthed mysterious metal cans on their property. The cans contained over $27,000 in 19th-century gold coins, valued today at over $10 million. It was originally theorized that the coins were from a heist of $30,000 from the San Francisco Mint in 1901. However, government officials were not able to tie the coins to the 1901 robbery and never claimed them. This means that the origin of this vast fortune remains unknown; some think it was one man’s personal fortune, while others believe it’s hidden loot from Wild West outlaws.

#15: Elisa Lam

On January 31, Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, who’d been staying at the Cecil Hotel in LA, failed to check in with her parents. Nearly three weeks later, her body was found in the water tank on the roof. An autopsy showed that she’d drowned; it was never discovered how she managed to get to the roof and into the water tank, then close the door behind her. But strangest of all was highly disturbing security footage that was released before her body was found. The footage has no sound but shows Elisa visibly distressed. Though she was bipolar, many argue that this does not explain her extreme behavior, and point out that the hotel has a sordid history of suicides, murders, and serial killers.

#14: Whose Heart Was This?

Paramedics in Norwalk, Ohio were parked outside a convenience store on August 25, 2016, waiting for calls. Instead, they found a human heart. The heart was in a sealed Ziploc bag in a field near the parking lot. It was determined that the heart was human and had been freshly removed, dropped in the field very close to the time the EMTs discovered it. It’s thought that the heart was an organ being sold on the black market, but the owner or potential recipient, not to mention whoever left it there, has never been found.

#13: Havana Syndrome

In 2016, American and Canadian embassy staff in Cuba began to report unusual health problems after hearing a loud noise, described by some to sound like marbles rolling across a floor. The sufferers became dizzy and nauseous, reporting headaches and “pressure” – injuries eventually determined to be “concussion[s] without [the] concussion.” The US authorities blamed the Cuban government for carrying out the alleged “attacks”, which Cuba denied. In 2018 US diplomats in China made similar reports. Theories have ranged from cricket noises and psychogenic illness to pesticides and microwave weapons; but so far, there’s no conclusive answer.

#12: Arkansas Bird Deaths

On New Year’s Day 2011, the small town of Beebe, Arkansas, was shaken by the ominous, mass deaths of up to 5,000 blackbirds. It was thought that the birds died after flying into buildings and obstacles when they were startled by fireworks, so the following year, fireworks were banned in Beebe. Except, even with these restrictions, an additional 200 birds died after flying into buildings on the same night. Some believe that the 2012 deaths were the result of someone setting off fireworks in a roost of birds maliciously, but if this is the case, the culprit was never caught.

#11: Who Was the Atlantic City Serial Killer?

Also known as the Eastbound Strangler, this killer murdered four women, all identified as sex workers, in October and November 2006. The bodies were left lined up in a row facing eastward in a ditch behind a motel, fully clothed except for their shoes and socks, all strangled to death. A few suspects have been questioned by police with no charges or convictions. At one point police investigated a possible connection to the Long Island Serial Killer, but to no avail – though the theory that the killers are the same person remains popular.

#10: Void in the Pyramid of Khufu

The Pyramids of Giza were built over 4,000 years ago but are still making us ask all sorts of questions. The ScanPyramids project was launched in 2015 to hopefully answer some of these, aiming to investigate the pyramids’ internal structures using imaging techniques that won’t damage the monuments. But two years on, an enormous void said to be the size of an airplane was found within the largest Pyramid of Khufu. Theories about the void range from it being a way for the pyramid builders to keep the tunnels from collapsing, to it containing an undiscovered, archaeological goldmine. At the moment, we have no way to go into the void and find out the truth.

#9: The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

On May 3rd, 2007, four-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bedroom during a family vacation in Portugal, never to be seen again. It became one of the most heavily publicized events in British media, gaining international attention as the search for “Maddie” intensified. The most common theory is that somebody abducted her from the holiday apartment while her parents were at a nearby restaurant. However, British tabloids and Twitter users targeted her parents. Express Newspapers was later forced to pay damages and apologize. Ultimately, no one has ever been charged and a body has never been found.

#8: Henry McCabe’s Last Voicemail

Before his death in September 2015, Henry McCabe spent Labor Day weekend drinking with a friend, William Kennedy. But McCabe never came home. Instead, police found his body in Rush Lake, Minnesota two months later. Before he died, however, he left a disturbing voice message on his wife’s phone, in which he said he’d been shot. A second voice and unusual growling can also be heard. Yet McCabe’s body didn’t have a gunshot wound; it was officially ruled that he’d drowned. To date, nobody knows whether his death was accidental or if he was murdered.

#7: Stockholm Submarines

In 2011, 2014, and again in 2018, mysterious submarines were sighted in the Stockholm archipelago by the Swedish military. This happened several times during the Cold War, with Russian submarines wandering into Swedish waters; but while the more recent submarine sightings have also been blamed on Russia, nobody is sure what they were doing there. In 2014 a search was launched, and a photograph of the alleged submarine distributed to the public, but the sub itself was never identified or claimed. Stranger still, however, it’s also been speculated that the subs sighted belong to NATO.

#6: The Salish Sea Feet

Since 2007, 21 human feet have been found on beaches in the Pacific Northwest and west coast of Canada, washed up from the Salish Sea. It’s actually not unheard of for a body part to end up on a beach like this, and the feet become disembodied due to ordinary decomposition; but so many detached feet washing up on the same stretch of coast is a statistical anomaly, to say the least. While some of the feet have been identified as belonging to people who committed suicide by jumping from bridges, many of them have not.

#5: Radio Bursts from Deep Space

Beginning in 2007, fast radio bursts – or FRBs – coming from deep space have reached Earth’s telescopes. It was eventually determined that the FRBs are likely coming from a dwarf galaxy 3 billion lightyears away, but as for what’s causing them in the first place, nobody is entirely sure. Some explanations for the true FRB source include an active black hole throwing out light-speed particles, or a collision of two enormous neutron stars. However, some have wondered whether the bursts are alien communications. Of course, even if this were true, the signals would have been sent at least 3 billion years ago, so the senders may not exist anymore.

#4: The West Mesa Tragedies

In 2009, a dog walker stumbled across a human bone on the West Mesa of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the weeks that followed, police uncovered the bodies of 11 women, nearly all of them known sex workers, killed between 2001 and 2005 and buried in shallow graves. The bodies were so decomposed that a cause of death has never been determined. The killer has since been dubbed the West Mesa Bone Collector, and though at the time it was one of the most notorious crimes in the state’s history, police had very few leads. As a result, nobody has ever been charged with the murders, and the investigation continues.

#3: The Jamison Family

Bobby, Sherilyn, and their young daughter Madyson were a seemingly ordinary family living in Oklahoma, but in late 2008 they disappeared. Their car was found in a remote wood, abandoned and full of their most important possessions, including their wallets, phones, cash, and dog. A search of the surrounding area found nothing. Then, four years on, the bodies of all three Jamisons were discovered just three miles from where the truck had been dumped. A cause of death was never determined. While some think the family was murdered by Bobby’s father or drug dealers, others believe there was a more supernatural cause, as the Jamisons believed their house was haunted before they left.

#2: Japanese Ghost Boats

The arrival of North Korean ghost ships in Japan is actually a common occurrence. However, in 2019 one of these boats housed an especially gruesome discovery: five corpses and two heads that may or may not have belonged to any of the bodies. It’s generally thought that these boats come from North Korea, and belong to either fishermen or defectors, although the former is considered much more likely. In 2017, a ship with its crew still alive was also found on the coast of Japan, and they explained that their ship had broken down before returning to the DPRK.

#1: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

On the fateful day of March 8th, 2014, Flight 370 flying from Kuala Lumpur disappeared over the Indian Ocean. What ensued was the most exhaustive search effort in the history of aviation, and it was all to no avail; the plane’s wreckage or approximate position have never been found, and all 239 people on board are presumed dead. The only clue we have to the plane’s whereabouts are pieces of debris that washed up on shore in the following years. Theories on why the plane went down range from a tragic fire to a hijacking - with some even suggesting that the plane was pulled into a black hole.
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