This great big planet we live on is still so full of mysteries. There is so much going on around us, within us, and out in the far reaches of the universe that we just don’t understand. For all of our much-vaunted technology and science, more and more mysteries keep popping up that lack explanation and understanding. Mysteries such as these and the events that generated them are said to fall into the realm of the paranormal.
Paranormal, by definition, is something that is impossible to explain through accepted science or rational understanding. Basically, it is just stuff that occurs where we just don’t know what the heck is going on! This includes ghostly phenomena, cryptozoological creatures, and psychic abilities, to name a few. Mainstream science and die-hard skeptics will have you believe that it is all just paranoia, swamp gas, escaped gorillas, and card tricks! Yet these events are still reported around the world at an alarming rate.
Belief in the paranormal is widespread and common in the United States, for example. 71% of Americans claim to have experienced some manner of paranormal event, 34% believe in ghosts, and 41% share a belief in psychic phenomena. These people come from all walks of life. For instance, a recent survey concluded that many people who identify as religious believed in the supernatural, namely reincarnation, spiritual energy, astrology, ghostly spirits, or even communicating with the dead. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, the paranormal is all around us and the serious attention that is being paid to this phenomenon is growing all the time. Join us as we take a look at fifteen of the most inexplicable paranormal mysteries.
15. Spring-Heeled Jack
Way back in Victorian England, starting around 1837, reports began circulating about a strange man suddenly appearing and bounding incredible heights and vanishing. London newspapers began picking up the stories and dubbed the mysterious man, “Spring-Heeled Jack.” There were numerous sightings of the jumping man, from London up to Liverpool, but mainly around the Black Country, where sightings reached a frenzy in the 1880s.
Descriptions varied, but most agreed he possessed a goatee and fiery eyes, with some insisting he had pointed ears and horns. The Penny Dreadfuls, scandalous magazines of the period, ran illustrations where he was depicted as an incarnation of the Devil. One distinguishing feature that never varied was his astonishing ability to leap to incredible heights, over rooftops, gates, and hedges. This unbelievable ability always terrified those who encountered him and allowed him to escape any would-be pursuers. Eventually, the sightings slowed down though they have never stopped. As recently as 1997, a mysterious leaper was sighted near Wales. Who, or what, was “Spring-Heeled Jack?” Were his abilities mechanically-based? Were they supernatural? Whoever he was, his sightings captured the imagination of England for over a hundred years.
14. Owen Parfitt’s Final Adventure
Owen Parfitt led, by mid-1700s standards, a pretty wild life. He was involved with pirates, great sea battles, and lots of women. By the 1760s, Owen was now well into his sixties and had lost the mobility he enjoyed in his youth. He spent much of his time recounting tales of adventure, while being cared for by sister in Shepton Mallet, in southern England. One day, some sources say in June 1763, Owen wanted to sit outside and enjoy the day. Being crippled, his sister carried him out and placed him into a chair on the front porch. His sister returned into the house, leaving Owen to relax. There were several farm workers laboring away in a field just a short distance from him.
When Owen’s sister went to retrieve him, he was not in his chair. Knowing Owen could not leave by himself, she asked the nearby workers if they had seen what happened, but they had seen nothing. Quickly, she enlisted their aid and some neighbors to scour the area but no trace was ever found of him. It was impossible he could’ve gotten far, even being carried. Apparently, Owen Parfitt had gone off on his final adventure.
13. The Infamous Bell Witch
One day in 1817, John Bell was toiling away in his corn field in Adams, Tennessee. He saw and chased what he described as a dog with the head of a rabbit, but it disappeared. Later, when the Bell family turned in for the night, loud sounds were heard outside. Then, scratching sounds were heard coming from their bed posts. This would be start of what has become to be known as the Bell Witch. In the coming days, more knocking was heard, along with faint singing. The Bell’s daughter would report being pinched, slapped, or her hair pulled while being alone, her blankets being ripped from her bed. The sounds became louder and the ghostly female voice began freely speaking with anyone in the house. The voice admitted that she hated John Bell and vowed to see him dead.
The story spread and visitors came from all over, including Andrew Jackson in 1819. His entourage was so frightened by their experiences that they fled early the next morning. Bell mysteriously died in 1820. Reports are that the spirit attended his funeral, laughing, singing, and cursing the memory of John Bell. Though the house is long gone, the farmland still exists.
12. The Reincarnation of Omm Sety
Born in January 1904, in London, England, Dorothy Louis Eady was a normal child until she fell down some stairs at the age of three and was pronounced dead. However, a miracle occurred and she soon regained consciousness. She was never the same. It was 1908, during a visit to the British Museum, that her parents first noticed her strange behavior. She was fixated on the Egyptian exhibits, kissing the feet of the statues. She came upon one mummy in a glass case and refused to leave its side, claiming “these” are my people. She began to dream of lush gardens and columned buildings. When shown photos of ancient Egypt, she instantly recognized it as her home.
Later, she learned all she could about Egyptology; she married an Egyptian and moved permanently to Cairo in 1933. She renamed herself Omm Sety. She would write, while in a trance-like state, about her memories of her past life in ancient Egypt as Bentreshyt, a priestess at the Temple at Kom El Sultan. In 1956, she joined the Antiquities Department at Abydos, where, using her “memories” she assisted in discovering the lost Temple Garden, and other finds. She lived the rest of her life at the Temple of Abydos, dying in 1981. She was as much of a tourist attraction as the temple itself.
11. Man From Taured
In July 1954, an average-looking white male sporting a beard walked up to the customs desk at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan. His passport indicated that he had already visited Japan three times that year. It appeared his primary language was French, but he was fluent in other languages including Japanese. What puzzled the officials was that his passport specified he was from a country called Taured. The documents looked real enough but there is no such country. The officials interrogated the man and asked him to point out, on a map, his home. The man looked at the map and grew angry when he saw the Principality of Andorra on the map where he said his homeland of Taured should be.
Until they unraveled the mystery, the mysterious man was taken to a local hotel and placed in an upper-floor room with two guards posted outside. He furnished numerous documents indicating his employment but when the company was contacted they claimed no knowledge of the man. When officials returned to again question him, he had vanished from the locked, guarded room. Police were baffled how he could have simply disappeared. Later, his passport and identification also disappeared from the locked airport security office. The man from Taured was never seen again.
10. The Neighborly Ghosts
Some say young children are more open to experiencing the paranormal because they have no preconceptions about what is real. In Ellerslie, Georgia, young Heidi Wyrick is just such a girl. It started in 1989, eight-year-old Heidi had just moved to town when she answered her front door to be greeted by an older man with a bloody bandage on one of his hands. He said his name was “Con.” She talked to him for a bit before he left. Later, young Heidi said she met another man, “Mr. Gordy.”
Heidi’s aunt lived next door and when she told her about “Con” and “Mr. Gordy,” she was intrigued. A man named James Gordy used to own her house, but he died long ago. She actually knew him when she was a child and found an old photo that Heidi immediately identified as being her new friend. She then saw another photo and recognized the man with a bandage on his arm, it was “Con.” However, she was incorrect; the man in the photo was “Lon.” He had died many years earlier. Heidi’s new friends appeared to be elderly ghosts attached to the neighborhood. For many years after, Heidi continued to talk with her spirit friends. She eventually grew up and moved away, losing contact with her neighborly ghosts.
9. The Ghost of Teresita Basa
Teresita Basa worked in a hospital in Chicago, Illinois. In February 1979, her naked body was found in her apartment which had caught fire. Upon investigation, it was discovered that she had been stabbed, the butcher knife still embedded in her chest. She had been wrapped in a mattress and then set ablaze. Police were unable to link anyone to the crime.
Remy Chua worked with Basa at the hospital. Chua immediately began having chilling visions, seeing a man’s face in her dreams with that of Basa. She then began channeling Basa’s spirit when talking with her husband, a doctor. She told Dr. Chua what really happened. A hospital orderly named Alan Showery had gone to Basa’s apartment to help fix a television. Once inside, he sexually assaulted and killed her, stole some jewelry and then set the mattress on fire. Chua even described the jewelry and where to find it. Dr. Chua convinced his wife to report this to the police, who were immediately skeptical of her claim. Not being aware that Basa had been raped and robbed, they agreed to follow up by interviewing Showery. They immediately witnessed the jewelry Basa described being worn by Showery’s wife. Confronted with the story, Showery confessed and went to prison for the murder. How did Chua know all those details, was it the ghost of Teresita Basa?
8. San Antonio Ghost Tracks
This one is personal, as I’ve actually been there and experienced the eerie phenomena. These train tracks, located in San Antonio, Texas, are known as the ghost tracks because of the strange phenomenon that occurs when cars stop on them. The story goes that long ago, a school bus full of kids broke down on the train tracks, leaving them helpless as a train roared by, striking the bus and killing all the children. Now, if anyone stops on the tracks, their vehicle will be pushed off by the spirit hands of the deceased children. To make it even creepier, if you sprinkle baby powder on the vehicle’s bumper before you stop on the tracks, you will find small prints have appeared once the vehicle has been pushed over to the other side.
Skeptics claim it is all an optical illusion and that the vehicles are actually rolling downhill, but what about the spooky prints? Now, I’ve actually tried this myself and even put the vehicle in park. You feel pushing on the vehicle so that when you do shift into neutral, the car jumps into gear and hurries off the tracks. And, just as they say, there were small prints on the bumper; friends even videotaped the whole affair. Creepy, indeed!
7. “Old Charlie’s” Journey
Everyone in the northwestern English village of Thursby thought fondly of the elderly old vagrant, Charles Jevington. He was popular and affectionately known as “Old Charlie.” One day in May 1955, “Old Charlie” disappeared. He was last seen running across a field a previous night, but no one could locate him. With the help of nearby constabularies, the police began searching but he was never found.
Then, in August 1960, “Old Charlie” turned up in Thursby as if nothing ever happened. When asked where he’d been, he said he had met people from “one of those flying saucers.” He said they took him with them on their journey through the galaxy. He said he particularly enjoyed seeing the rings around all the planets at the edge of our solar system. His story became popular but accepted as nonsense, as astronomers pointed out that only Saturn had rings. Charlie’s feeling were hurt and he announced that he was going to be leaving again soon with his new alien friends. Within a few weeks, Charles Jevington did indeed disappear and has never returned.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that space exploration confirmed that indeed all four of the gas giants in our solar system do indeed have rings around them; however, only Saturn’s are visible from Earth. How did “Old Charlie” know this before astronomers? Where did he really go for those five years?
6. The Spontaneous Teleportation of Gil Perez
Gil Perez was a 16th century soldier and worked as a guard at the palace of the Governor-General in Manila, Philippines. On October 24, 1593, Perez was on-duty at the palace in Manila. Chinese pirates had assassinated the governor the night before, but the guards remained at their posts, awaiting the appointment of a new governor. Tired, he decided to lean against a wall and rest for a moment. When he opened his eyes, he found himself in a completely unfamiliar location. He was approached by someone who started asking him questions, luckily for him they were speaking Spanish, and he was informed that he was in Mexico City’s Plaza Mayor. Still wearing his uniform as a palace guard, he was questioned by authorities and held as a possible deserter. Perez told his story of the assassination of the governor and then waking up in a strange place. At the time, the governor’s death was unknown to those in Mexico City. Perez remained in custody.
Two months later, a ship arrived from the Philippines, bringing news of the governor’s death. When asked if they knew of Gil Perez, they responded that they did but that he hasn’t been seen since that night in October. Perez was released by authorities and sent back to the Philippines. Perez reportedly never suffered another instance of spontaneous teleportation, much to his delight.
5. The Blood Miracle of Saint Januarius
Saint Januarius, or San Gennaro as he is known in Italy, is a highly celebrated saint to the people of Naples. He was named bishop of Naples at the age of twenty and legends have been told about his imperviousness to death. Once he was arrested and thrown to wild bears to be eaten, yet the bears laid down and refused to attack. Another time he was placed into a furnace to be burned alive, yet he emerged unharmed. Finally, in 305 AD, he was beheaded and subsequently was elevated to sainthood.
Immediately after his death, some of his blood was collected in vials. These vials still exist and are venerated as holy relics. As early as 1389, Saint Januarius’ dried blood miraculously liquefies during the annual San Gennaro celebration in September. Annually, large crowds gather to view and pray over the sealed vials of dried blood in hopes they will liquefy once again. It is said that if the blood fails to do so, a tragic calamity will befall Naples in the coming year. Sometimes the blood liquefies instantly and sometimes it might take days. But once it occurs, the city erupts in celebration. The Vatican has never formally commented on the “Blood Miracle” as it is called, and scientists can find no cause for the ancient blood to liquefy. Maybe it is simply a miracle?
4. The Stigmata of Padre Pio
Padre Pio is one of the most popular saints of Catholicism. He is best known as the priest that could manifest the stigmata. In began in 1910, when he was a young priest. In the middle of his palms, painful red marks would appear, and also on the soles of his feet. It would come and go, but after 1918, the stigmata would remain with him for the rest of his life. He felt that the suffering he endured was a way for his soul to be closer to God. No physician could find a cause. Believers flocked to Padre Pio in hopes that his closeness to God would help them. He is credited with performing many miracles. One such case was in 1962, Bishop Karol Woytyla, later Pope John Paul II, asked Padre Pio to pray for a friend, dying of cancer. Soon after, the cancer was gone, leaving doctors stunned.
Padre Pio died in 1968 but he has been credited with miracles long after his death. Many ill people with slim medical chances have prayed to him only to miraculously recover as if never sick at all. After a 1996 case, where a rare illness endangered the life of a woman, she prayed to Padre Pio and dreamed of him healing her. She awoke the next day completely healed. After an intensive investigation conducted by the Vatican, it was deemed a miracle. And, in June 2002, Pope John Paul II declared Pio a saint.
3. The Belmez Faces
It all began in 1971, in the town of Belmez, Spain. A stain appeared on the cement kitchen floor in the home of Maria Gomez Pereira. She tried to clean it but the stain would return daily and evolve until finally it formed the image of a face. Terrified, Maria told her husband, Juan, who destroyed that particular area of concrete and laid fresh cement. However, the ghostly face returned a week later. News spread around town and the mayor ordered that the face should not be destroyed and instead tested. No cause could be found and the face, as well as others that manifested, have appeared for over thirty years.
A section of the house was excavated and as little as nine feet below the foundation, numerous headless skeletons were found, some dating back to the 13th century. The skeletons were removed and reburied with proper rites and the floor was replaced with new cement. Within weeks, a new face appeared and in fact, multiple faces began appearing before fading away only to be replaced with fresh faces, sometimes of women and sometimes children. The house has become a tourist attraction and the phenomena continues to this day.
2. Don Decker, the Rain Man
Don Decker was involved in one of the most well-documented paranormal cases in recent history. Numerous police officers have attested to being first-hand witnesses. It all began on February 24, 1983, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Don had attended the funeral of his grandfather and was going to spend the night at a friend’s house. Don began feeling uneasy and had a deep chill. Water began to drip from the walls, ceiling, and then rose up from the floor into the air. The landlord came out and was dumbfounded and then they called the police. The police arrived and were just as baffled by the indoor rainfall.
Leaving the police to look around, everyone went across the street to a nearby restaurant. As Don left the house, the rain stopped. However, while inside the restaurant, the rain began up again inside that building. The proprietor, believing Don was possessed, held a crucifix against his skin and it burned him. Don realized it was he that was causing the rain. They returned to the house and the rain followed. Over the next few days, the indoor rain would come and go, numerous other police officers would witness the event, and one officer even gave Don a gold crucifix to hold, which again burned his skin. A priest was called who performed an exorcism. The strange rain disappeared and Don Decker returned to normal.
1. Devil’s Footprints
In the early morning hours of February 9, 1855, resident all across southern and eastern Devon in England awoke to find a mysterious single line of hoof-like marks in the snow. They stretched out over the land for 40 miles in both directions across the River Exe. Some tried to explain them as belonging to an escaped kangaroo, badgers, or even a balloon trailing a red-hot horseshoe by rope. Others say they were the devil’s footprints.
No rational solution could be found as no known animal could have traveled that distance in one night, nor do any animals walk in a single line of footsteps, not even humans. Reportedly they even went through solid walls, over pipes, and haystacks, appearing on the other side as if they weren’t even there, even bridging the 2-mile river as if something simply stepped across. The spacing between prints was eight and a half inches and appeared to be consistent. Unease began to spread across the area and the population was anxious to see if the prints would appear again in the coming nights. They did not. However, the story spread and was picked up the London Times and the Illustrated News. Speculation has run rampant ever since over what made the prints but it remains a mystery to this day.