We just began another year, and we still don’t know MH370’s final resting place, who Jack the Ripper was, or whether the Alcatraz three really survived their brazen escape. Astronomers are still trying to solve intriguing space mysteries, and scientists are still hoping to find out what caused the Cambrian Explosion. The Ark of the Covenant remains lost, and JonBenet’s killer remains unidentified.
Mysteries are born every day, and some live and evolve over a long time before being solved. Unfortunately, others remain unsolved as the years, decades, and centuries pass.
On this list are more varied mysteries that have accumulated around the world and that have yet to be solved.
10 Hemet Maze Stone
It was 1914, and a rancher on the outskirts of Hemet, California, was surveying his property when he came across a large boulder with a strange image carved into it. Archaeologists were called, and upon further investigation, they found artifacts near the stone, which led them to conclude that the carving on the boulder was around 500 years old.
The stone carving is reminiscent of a swastika shape—a symbol used for millennia in Asian and Native American art—and forms an intricate maze. This makes it different from the other petroglyph designs found in the U.S., as these are usually images of animals, people, or nature. A theory was put forward after other stones with similar maze images were found near the original stone. It explained that Chinese sailors may have carved them after being shipwrecked in California. However, to this day, it remains unclear whether this theory is the truth. Archaeologists also still don’t know the reason for the carvings.
9 Rock Apes
So-called cryptid sightings usually consist of blurry images or video footage that may or may not resemble some kind of creature, whether it’s Bigfoot, Nessie, or some other folklore beast.
During the Vietnam War, cryptid sightings were numerous, and many American troops gave detailed accounts of what they believed was an encounter with a rock ape or “batutut.” A particular hill in Vietnam came to be known as Monkey Mountain after a high number of rock ape sightings purportedly took place there. Encounters with rock apes usually saw the cryptids throwing rocks back at troops. Some even hurled grenades back at the soldiers. The creatures are said to be at least six feet tall, with long limbs and big stomachs. It is thought that they live in troops instead of navigating the Vietnam jungles alone.
Reports of the rock apes being covered in reddish-brown hair caused some to think that they were simply orangutans. However, orangutans became extinct in Vietnam thousands of years ago. Another theory is that the troops were hallucinating because of the extreme stress and unfamiliar environment.
In 1974, the Vietnam People’s Army launched an expedition to try and capture a rock ape for research purposes. Nothing ever came of it.
8 Aleya Ghost Lights
Spooky mysteries are usually the most popular. Historic places, in particular, often have secrets lurking around every corner. West Bengal was founded in 1947 and, over the years, has become famous for its creepy buildings and cemeteries. One of its main claims to spooky fame is the Aleya ghost lights that flicker above the swamps here.
Ghost lights have been reported around the world, but the Aleya lights seem sinister in their intent. It is alleged that many fishermen have drowned after being transfixed by them. It is also believed that the lights are the spirits of the dead fishermen who are now stuck in the marshes.
Urban legends say that several bodies of fishermen have washed up on the shores of the swamps and that these remains were surrounded by a strange mist. Their deaths were never explained.
The first scientific explanation for ghost lights was that lightning interacts with the gas over swamps, creating the lights. This theory was rejected because the lights seem to move in tandem with people who come close to them. Other theories say that fireflies or barn owls are responsible for the phenomenon.
For now, however, the obvious cause of the lights remains a mystery.
7 The Missing Nuclear Bomb
On February 5, 1958, an F-86 fighter plane collided with a B-47 bomber during a practice exercise. The bomber was carrying a Mark 3,400 kg nuclear bomb at the time of the collision, and for the safety of the aircrew, the bomb was dropped from the plane. There was no explosion as the bomb struck the sea below.
An initial search ensued for the discarded bomb, and then another and another. The bomb was never found. There is some disagreement and controversy about whether the bomb is a functional weapon or whether it had a dummy core installed. Searches for the bomb continued, and in 2004, Air Force Lt. Colonel Derek Duke announced that he’d narrowed the search field down to an area the size of a football field. However, this, too, was a dead end.
The bomb is believed to still be in the water off Tybee Island and still hold 400 pounds of explosives. Further searches are now on hold, with the Air Force saying it’s best to leave the weapon be.
6 Mysterious Particles
Since 2016, ultra-high-energy particles have shot up through the thick ice in Antarctica three times. These events set off detectors in the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna experience. These events also didn’t match the behavior of Standard Model particles, and they looked like ultra-high-energy neutrinos. However, if they were neutrinos, they should not have been able to pass through the Earth.
Scientists have produced several theories to explain the phenomenon, including sterile neutrinos and atypical dark matter distributions, but these have yet to be proven correct.
At a loss for answers, some have turned to unconventional theories. The strangest one of the bunch says that the particles may be evidence of a parallel universe, where time flows backward, and the Big Bang would mean the end of the world.
5 The Moorgate Tragedy
On February 28, 1975, a train crashed while traveling along the Northern City Line in London. Forty-three people died, another 74 were injured, and the accident became known as the worst of its kind during peacetime. The tragedy came after the train failed to stop at a platform and crashed into a concrete wall at the end of the tunnel at the Moorgate station. The rescue operation lasted six days, and engineers started investigating the cause of the accident immediately after.
However, they couldn’t find an answer. The train was mechanically sound, which led them to suspect that the train driver was to blame. It was found that the driver had his hand on the power handle until two seconds before impact, and he didn’t try to protect his face as the train slammed into the concrete. Survivors told authorities that the driver behaved strangely, almost zombie-like, as the train sped toward its horrible fate. At that time, 56-year-old Lesley Newson had been with London Transport for six years, and there had been no red flags regarding his state of mind during that time.
On the day of the crash, he’d had money on him that was meant to be for his daughter’s car, and there was no indication that he’d been suicidal or intended to perform an act of terror. An autopsy on Newson revealed that he was in good health, and he had a tiny amount of alcohol in his system.
What happened to Newson that day remains unknown—whether he had been in a fugue state or given a substance that altered his thinking. It also remains unknown whether he deliberately crashed the train or whether an undiscovered condition caused him to become “blank” and crash the train.
4 A Matter of Existence
According to Plato, Atlantis existed 9,000 years before he was born. Plato’s writings are also the only known records that mention Atlantis. Most scholars believe that Atlantis was simply a fictional place, dreamed up by Plato, but some believe it was an actual city that eventually sank beneath the sea. It is also said to have taken an advanced civilization with it when it vanished beneath the surface.
There are several theories about Atlantis, including that it was a continent on its own, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean before it was submerged. Another theory says that the Bermuda Triangle is to blame for Atlantis’s disappearance. Yet another theory has it that Antarctica lies over the lost city of Atlantis and that it is still frozen underneath thick layers of ice.
Did Plato invent Atlantis and model the idea of it after his vision of an ideal civilization? Or is Atlantis lying deep down in the depths of the sea, just waiting to be discovered?
3 Robert Rayford
Robert Rayford, or Robbie as he was affectionately known, was around 15 years old in 1968. At that time, he started developing intense pelvic pain, testicular swelling, and difficulty breathing, and sores broke out all over his body. The doctors who examined him soon suspected that the teenager had been subjected to sexual abuse, as he tested positive for severe chlamydia, which had already spread throughout his system. Robbie told the doctors different stories about his sexual history, saying that he’d slept with only one girl and then saying that he was still a virgin.
Robbie Rayford died in May 1969 after contracting pneumonia, leaving medical personnel stunned as to what the true cause of his death may have been because his other symptoms just didn’t gel. So they saved some of his cells in cold storage and moved on.
Twenty years later, the world was in the grip of the AIDS pandemic. One of the doctors who treated Rayford tested the saved tissue samples using the Western blot test, only to find that it tested positive for antibodies against all nine detectable HIV proteins.
Speculation ensued, and some doctors believed Rayford was Patient Zero in the AIDS epidemic. However, he could not have contracted it via international travel, as he’d never left the Midwestern United States where he was born. This means he never traveled to New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, where the disease first started causing havoc in America.
While it remains unconfirmed how Rayford contracted HIV twenty years before AIDS was even identified, some experts believe that he’d been forced into child prostitution.
2 Fort Hood Deaths
In 2020 alone, 39 soldiers stationed at the Fort Hood army base in Texas died or vanished. Among these, thirteen took their own lives, five were murdered, and eleven remain unsolved. Additionally, army data showed that around 129 felonies had been committed at the base between 2014 and 2019, and these crimes varied between murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, rape, and more.
These shocking stats are higher than that of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same year.
In October 2021, yet another soldier was found dead behind the barracks at Fort Hood. Twenty-six-year-old Spc. Maxwell Hockin’s body was found just days after a soldier who had been reported missing returned to the base unharmed. As of this writing, Hockin’s cause of death has not been revealed.
The numbers are alarming and have increased significantly since 2014. The reasons behind the Fort Hood slayings, deaths, and disappearances remain unknown, but ongoing investigations have been implemented to try and curb the seemingly unrestrained flow of tragedy.
1 Strange Burial
During the 1960s, a shallow grave was uncovered in the Tunel Wielki cave system in the Jurassic Highland of Poland. Inside it lay the skeleton of a child with a tiny skull inside the gaping hole that used to be her mouth. Proper examination of the remains was only completed recently, and it was found that the small skull was that of a finch. Another bird skull was also found alongside the remains.
It has since been determined that the remains belong to a young girl, perhaps between 10 and 12 years old, and that a bird had been placed in her mouth when she was buried. It is believed that the girl had come to the country with the Finnish troops who invaded Poland during the 17th century.
This is the only Scandinavian bird-headed burial that has ever been discovered in the area, and the girl’s cause of death also remains a mystery.