There are many things in life that are never fully explained. Why do cats invite you to stroke their belles and then rip the living hell out of your hand when you do so? Why do round pizzas come in square boxes? Who keeps commissioning Adam Sandler comedies? The list is endless but many of these mysteries are downright mundane when it comes to some of the head-scratchers featured in this article. From the supernatural to the downright unnatural, these cases have proved utterly impossible to crack for decades now.
From the paradise beaches of Australia to snowy Devon, there have been events so inexplicable and baffling that some of the brightest minds in the world have spent decades trying to solve them, only to fail miserably. Mysterious creatures have appeared at windows, scientists have resorted to sending unsolicited social media messages to the deepest recesses of space, Satan has taken a moonlight stroll and gruff Russians have barked enigmatic phrases to nobody in particular, in cases that would cause Sherlock Holmes to give up and sit back with some opium.
The following mysteries have almost nothing in common with each other except from two things: they are still unsolved after years of speculation and they are all, in their own way, positively spine-chilling. Read on, but be warned – you may be sleeping with the light on tonight.
10. The Hinterkaifeck Murders
On March 22nd 1922, six people were murdered in cold blood with a pickaxe in the idyllic Bavarian farmland of Hinterkaifeck. The Gruber family were slaughtered along with their maid, and the killer was never found. Six weeks before the murders, patriarch Andreas found footsteps in the snow leading from the woods to the farmhouse but eerily, there were no footsteps leading back out to the woods. A full search of the outbuildings and house was conducted but nobody was found. A few days before the murders, a set of the Gruber’s house keys went missing, a strange newspaper turned up on the porch and Andreas also heard footsteps in the attic. It is believed that sometime in the evening of Friday 22nd, Andreas, his wife, their daughter and eldest grandchild were lured to the barn one by one and killed, before being stacked one on top of the other. In an even stranger twist to the tale, neighbors claim that there was smoke coming from the farm’s chimney all weekend – meaning someone had been living in the house with the bodies, had eaten meals there and – bizarrely – even fed the livestock.
9. Texarkana Moonlight Murders
Imagine a killer so terrifying that a whole town starts boarding up their houses; children were pulled out of school, while others stopped going to work and only left their houses to buy supplies and weapons. The Phantom Slayer as he was known, began terrorising the town of Texarkana in Spring 1946, and attacked a total of eight people during 10 weeks. Five of the eight were killed and only the first two victims were able to provide police with a description of their attacker. They both claimed that the attacker was around 6ft tall and wore a white mask with holes cut for eyes and a slit cut for his mouth. The attacker seemed to target couples parked in cars on a lane known for lovers. This prompted some brave vigilante teenagers to try and lure out The Phantom. However, he was never caught and slowly and quietly the police retreated from Texarkana, perplexed and defeated.
Somewhere in Russia at an unknown location, a shortwave radio station is operating. The radio station emits a buzzing sound that emanates incessantly. Without warning the buzzing stops and the code ‘U-V-B-7-6’ is spoken in a thick Russian accent. Then, just as suddenly, the buzzing resumes for a few more months, or even years until another message is given. More recently the code has changed to MDZhB and in 2010, it is believed that the location has changed from Povarovo near Moscow to Western Russia. Russian student Egor Esveev, explored what he believed to be the old site of the transmission station. He was interrupted first by a man on a bicycle and then a woman pushing an empty baby buggy – both of them casually appearing out of dense woodland with nothing but a deserted military base for miles in each direction. Where did they come from and why were they at the site? Theories range from the code being a failsafe code against nuclear attacks to brainwashing experiments by the Russians.
7. Who Put Bella In Wych Elm?
This story begins in Hagley Woods in Worcestershire, in April 1943, where four young boys found a skull inside the trunk of an Elm tree. The boys, terrified, fled and swore never to tell a soul. The youngest of the group was so traumatized, he confided in his father who reported the incident to Warwickshire police. The police found the skull, along with remnants of clothing and finger bones scattered around the tree. Police contacted every dentist in the country, in the hopes of identifying the victim by her teeth. Six months later, the victim and the killer remained a mystery. This is where the story takes a more twisted turn. Graffiti began appearing around the region with the words ‘Who put Bella Down the Wych Elm’. Still nothing new was discovered about the case, until a woman contacted police claiming to know Bella’s killers.
Theories put forward ranged from witchcraft to espionage, but to this day there is no answer for who Bella is, or why she was put there.
6. The Death of Elisa Lam
21 year old Canadian student Elisa Lam, who suffered from Bipolar Disorder, was last seen alive on January 31st, 2013. She remained missing for several weeks, until guests at the hotel started complaining of a funny taste in the water at the hotel. When maintenance workers went to check the water tanks, they discovered the body of Elisa. It seems guests had been bathing in and drinking 3 week old corpse fluids. During her disappearance, police released some strange CCTV footage of Lam in the hours before her death. The spine chilling footage shows Lam’s erratic behavior as she frantically pushes buttons on the elevator and makes wild hand gestures. Many speculated about drug use but her toxicology report came back clean. Eventually her death was ruled as accidental but there are many issues that remain unresolved. Why did the elevator stop working when she was frantically pressing buttons but appear to work after she left? How did she get onto the roof of the hotel without setting off the hotel’s alarmed doors? And why would she climb a 10ft water tank, get naked and climb in? CCTV footage that was released had been tampered with and slowed down. 2 years later, there are still many questions that remain unanswered.
5. The Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter
No article based on terrifying unsolved events would be complete without a bit of the extra-terrestrial throw in. This brings us to the Hopkinsville Goblins. The events in Kelly, Kentucky, are regarded as some of the most compelling evidence that there is life out there.
Seven members from two families reported being terrorized in a rural farm house, while other witnesses included a state trooper and several local policemen. The witnesses described the Goblins as being 3ft tall, with pointed ears, long claw like fingers and long thin limbs. The creatures were silvery in color and defied gravity. They never entered the house but popped up at windows and doorways, terrifying the family. The family fled and returned with police later on, who also observed noises and flashing lights. There is no evidence to suggest what happened that night, only the consistent accounts of the seven adults in the farmhouse, who were not under the influence of anything at this time. E.T. isn’t quite so adorable when he’s popping up in your doorway.
4. The Wow Signal
The Wow Signal was a strong narrow-band radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman, in 1977. For 72 seconds a signal was detected, so powerful and coming from such a distance that it could only have been delivered by technology far more advanced than our own. The signal was only received once at the time of writing.
Scientists were perplexed but quickly ruled out a raft of suggestions, including radio signals on earth being trapped and amplified by clouds and space radiation leaking through to earth on the back of a meteorite. As eyes turned skywards in the direction of the signal, thoughts inevitably turned towards matters of an extra terrestrial nature.
In 2012, we beamed back 10,000 Twitter messages in the direction that the original signal came from. ET has yet to give any indication that they have received our social media communiqué. Maybe the truth was something as dull and simple as unnaturally strong TV signals; either that, or aliens are as bored of selfies as everybody else is.
3. The Case Of Taman Shud
In December 1948, a middle-aged man was washed up on an Australian beach. The man was bloated from having been in the ocean and had no fingerprints or dental records on file, which made him hard to identify. Despite this, somebody seems to have gone to great lengths to ensure that his identity remained a mystery: even the inner labels of his clothing had been removed.
His jacket did contain one unique curiosity; a pocket had been sewn to the inside, which contained a note simply stating the words ‘Taman shud’. The phrase in itself appears in a poetry book by Edward Fitzgerald, called The Rubaiyat. Following the publication of the existence of the scrap of paper, the actual copy of the book that the paper had been torn out of was discovered in the back of a cab. Who was Taman Shud? He was believed to be British in appearance but that is highly speculative in itself. While the autopsy was inconclusive, theorists believe that he could have been a spy and was poisoned, with the note being part of a larger code. Nearly 70 years on, even the best guesses remain purely speculative.
2. Dyatlov Pass Incident
In an utterly terrifying tale from Russia, a group of 9 experienced hikers go missing from their tents in the middle of the night. When they are found, even seasoned policemen are horrified and mystified in equal measures by their condition. While this sounds like an excellent night out in a Moscow cinema, this actually happened in real life. The mystery began in 1959. After seemingly fleeing their tent – which had been cut open from the inside – it emerged that the hikers had ran out into sub-zero temperatures in such a hurry that they had left their socks and shoes behind. The first two hikers that were found died of hypothermia; their corpses were found next to a tree that they had frantically tried to climb. The rest of the hikers were found weeks later. Many had no external marks but had internal injuries that resembled those of a car crash victim. One of the females was also missing her tongue. The case remains so shocking and unbelievable that even diehard conspiracy theorists are yet to come up with a rational explanation.
1. The Devils Footprints
Though it sounds like a dreadful and cheesy low-budget horror movie, The Devils Footprints are actually a phenomenon that occurred in February 1855, in East Devon. After a heavy snowfall, residents found cloven footprints in the snow. The tracks carried on for miles, in only one direction and seemed to both appear and disappear at exact points with nothing but a fresh blanket of snow at the start and end of the trail. Though the tracks could certainly be the work of some sort of animal, the footprints were arranged one in front of the other, suggesting it wasn’t an animal but something on two legs that went over rooftops, haystacks and through walls. They also led up to and exited various drain pipes as small as 4 inches in diameter.
More recently, in 2009, similar marks were found in the snow, echoing those found in 1855. Many theories have been put forward although none can fully explain these events. Though it could be the work of a prankster, or a fun-loving badger on a pogo stick, it could quite easily be the product of Satan himself.