It’s pretty incredible to think that despite all the technology that’s available to us today there are still things we don’t understand and may never understand. Unbelievable extraterrestrial events, terrifying brushes with the paranormal, unsolved murders that leave communities and families without closure and peace, and just the plain odd and bizarre–do not be fooled. These things are out there, they do exist, even if you don’t want to believe they do.
We have combed through some of history’s greatest and most mind-boggling mysteries to be able to bring you the top 15 most terrifying unsolved mysteries of them all. These are much more terrifying than a Dean Koontz or Stephen King novel because they’re actual true events and real people are involved. Prepare yourself to be sleeping with the light on tonight (and probably for the rest of the month…).
15. The Hinterkaifeck Farm Murders
The Hinterkaifeck family lived on a small farm just North of Munich, Germany. There were five family members altogether including: Andreas Gruber (father), Cazilia (mother), Viktoria (widowed adult daughter), and Viktoria’s two young children: Cazilia and Josef. The Hinterkaifeck family also just hired a new housekeeper, Maria.
Andreas Gruber had commented to friends about discovering a set of footprints in the snow walking up to his house from the woods but no footprints returning to the woods. He also claimed he was hearing footsteps in the attic. A set of house keys had also gone missing.
On March 31st, 1922, something horrific happened on the farm that led to six lives being taken. On April 4th, 1922, after the family had not been seen for several days neighbors stopped by to check on them. They found some of the family butchered in the barn, their bodies stacked on top of one another. Inside the house they found Viktoria’s youngest child murdered in his crib and the new maid dead in her bedroom.
The story takes an even more bizarre twist when neighbors came forward to say that the past few days they witnessed smoke coming from the chimney. The animals on the farm had also been tended to. Had someone killed this family and then lived surrounded by carnage for 4 days?!
In 2007 this case was re-examined using modern day technology. Officials came to the conclusion that because so much time had passed, this case would remain unsolved most likely forever.
14. Elisa Lam Drowning
Elisa Lam was a college student who was staying at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. When her parents didn’t hear from her, they notified the police department. Police searched the hotel with dogs but they didn’t pick up her scent. Hotel employees and a local bookshop clerk said they had seen her right before her disappearance and she was alone and appeared to be in a very good mood.
Police released video surveillance taken at the Cecil Hotel which has since been viewed millions of times on YouTube and analyzed by body language experts. Elisa was behaving very strange on the video but so was the elevator she was trying to use. Some have theorized she was trying to escape a killer, a ghost, or trying to travel to an alternate dimension.
Two weeks after Elisa’s disappearance guests at the hotel began complaining about their water pressure. They also said the water smelled and was a funny color. An employee went to go check on it by going to the rooftop water tanks. It was there he found Elisa Lam’s naked body. Elisa was floating in the water tank. Her clothes and purse were also found near her. The cause of death was drowning but it has not been determined why or how she got into the water tank. Her toxicology reports were negative for drugs and alcohol. So, what happened to Elisa Lam?
13. Unclaimed Little Lord Fauntleroy
In March of 1921, the body of a child was pulled out of a pond in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The boy was immaculately dressed in expensive clothing. His estimated age was between six and eight years of age. The cause of death was determined to be a blow to the head by a blunt instrument.
Police assumed a child coming from a family of obvious affluence would be immediately identified, however, that was not the case. Nobody stepped forward to claim the child, dubbed ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’. A reward of $1000 was even posted for information leading to the identity of the child but still nothing. Money was raised to bury the child and he currently rests in the Prairie Home Cemetery.
12. Oakland County Child Killer
The Oakland County Child Killer was a serial killer who is suspected in killing 4 or more children in the Detroit area during the late 1970s.
All the murdered children were held for a period of time before being killed. The parents of one of the missing children appeared on television appealing for her son to be released. She said she wanted her son home so that she could feed him his favorite meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken. A few days later her son’s body was found and during the post-mortem examination they found his last meal right before being killed was fried chicken.
The children were sexually assaulted and killed by either strangulation or suffocation. Only one was killed by a gunshot blast to the face. Even with a large reward for information on the killer’s identity, no one has been convicted of the Oakland County murders. Speculation is that the person was someone that children would trust and be easily persuaded by such as a police officer, priest, or teacher.
11. Missing Angikuni People
In 1930, Joe Labelle, a well-respected fur trader discovered an entire village missing. He typically would visit a rural village near the Angikuni Lake and upon this particular visit he found food still simmering over the fire, a needle halfway through a shirt, and other things done that made it appear as though people had just up and left in a very big hurry.
Where did an entire village go or was there even a village at all? People have theorized for years that this was either a fictional tale or that Joe had been mistaken and the villagers were gathered together somewhere for a celebration or event and he just missed them.
10. Jimmy Hoffa Disappears
Jimmy Hoffa is probably one of the most talked about unsolved mysteries in the world. Jimmy was a labor union leader that disappeared from the parking lot of the Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, an affluent suburb of Detroit.
In 1975, Jimmy was supposedly meeting two fellow mobsters at the Red Fox for lunch but after waiting a half hour he became impatient. He called his wife and said he was going to wait a few more minutes and then leave if they didn’t show up. She never heard or saw from him again.
Many people have come forward over the years to claim they know the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa’s remains. So far none have panned out and the mysterious disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa remains.
9. Christmas Eve Fire
In 1975, the night before Christmas, the Sodder family were all asleep in their beds. George and Jennie Sodder had ten children. Their oldest was away in the army but the rest of them were home.
Some time during the middle of the night the house caught on fire. The fire was swift and the smoke poured through the house. George, Jennie, and four of their children escaped unharmed. George went to grab a ladder, which was strangely missing, to reach the top floor of the house now engulfed in flames. He then tried to start his pickup truck to back it up to the house, neither of his two trucks would start. Lastly, he went to grab water but it was frozen solid. George and Jennie watched in vain as the house burned to the ground with their five children inside… or were they?
After the fire, they scoured what remained of the home for the children’s remains. None could be found. There have been numerous investigations and sightings of the Sodder children. In 1968 the Sodders received a black and white photo in the mail. The photo they believed was their missing oldest son. They hired a private investigator who went to the town that was on the postmark. The Sodders never heard from the investigator again.
The only Sodder relative alive is the youngest who was 2 at the time of the fire. She has stated she is no closer today to finding out what happened to her siblings than her parents were forty years ago.
8. Hornsey Coal Poltergeist
In January 1921, in a small suburban town, the Frost family began being terrorized by some demonic force. Mr. Frost had just brought a load of coal in to heat up the house when all of a sudden the coal began dancing and firing around the house. It broke windows and picture frames. It was like a war zone!
Initially, the Frost family thought some sort of explosive or flammable material was mixed in with the coal but after bringing all the coal outside—some of the coal came back inside and began trickling down the stairs. Flickering flames started moving up and down the stairwell.
It soon stopped and things seemed okay for a little while but then the mysterious force came back with a vengeance. Furniture began moving, knives began being thrown through the walls, and then their fiver year old mysteriously died. That was enough for them. The Frosts moved out of their haunted house.
Little did the Frost family know their house was built on the grounds of an old cemetery. Now supposedly all the graves were dug up and relocated but there could have easily been a grave missed during their relocation.
7. Mackenzie Poltergeist
The Mackenzie Poltergeist is located in Greyfriars Kirk. A mausoleum known as the ‘black mausoleum’ holds the remains of bloody King Advocate George Mackenzie. He was responsible for thousands upon thousands of deaths. He tortured and killed people for fun. He created one of the first concentration camps, where the prisoners died of disease and starvation.
The Black Mausoleum is open for guided tours. Those that take the tour often report feeling cold and nauseous. In certain cases tour guests leave with fingerprints or bruises all over their body. At one point the mausoleum was closed for tours due to the strange and terrifying incidents. Would you dare tour the black mausoleum of death?
6. Odon Fire Poltergeist
The bizarre events took place in April of 1941, a gentleman by the name of William Hackler was outside his farmhouse when he noticed a fire near an upstairs window sill. He rushed to put it out and the volunteer fire department showed up as well. The fire was quickly extinguished. That was just the beginning.
Soon another fire broke out and the fire department was called again to come put it out. Just as that one was being put out another one popped up. A book tumbled off a shelf and began burning from the inside out. A mattress began burning. Small fires began popping up all around the house for the entire day. These fires would burn through objects but not spread throughout the house. The fire department stayed the entire day at the Hackler farmhouse. They put out at least 28 fires total. The small town of Odon was spooked. There was no logical explanation. Mr. Hackler was so scared he demolished the house and built a brand new one.
The poltergeist must have left with the old house as he never had anymore fire troubles.
5. Anneliese Michel
Anneliese was a young religious girl who went to mass twice a week. Her classmates described her as being anti-social and very spiritual. Anneliese started having seizures during her teenage years. It was then that her personality and character changed completely. She began to become physically ill and lash out around religious objects. She became violent, would drink her own urine, and ate bugs.
Her parents begged their Catholic priest for an exorcism as they were convinced she was suffering from demonic possession. With much reluctance, the priest gained consent from the bishop to perform an exorcism on Anneliese. The exorcism lasted many months. It resulted in her death.
Blame was placed on her parents and the Catholic church. Anneliese was found to be malnourished and dehydrated at the time of her death. Many doctors came out and said that she was not possessed, she was mentally ill. The film The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on Anneliese’s horrific story.
4. Allagash Abductions
In August of 1976, four men believe they were abducted by aliens while out on a camping trip. They were camping in Allagash, Maine, when they were taken from their canoe and beamed into a UFO.
The men were: Jim and Jack Weiner, Charles Rak and Charles Foltz. All four men underwent hypnotic regression and retold their story. The stories all matched up. All four even passed lie-detector tests. The men were abducted from their canoes, brought into the UFOs where they were poked and prodded by aliens. The aliens had oversized heads with almond-shaped eyes. They had four fingers on each hand. After their examinations they were beamed back down again and had most of their memories from that night erased, however, all suffered similar nightmares–which is why they decided to undergo hypnosis in the first place. These men headed out for a fun guy’s camping trip and little did they know it would change the course of their entire lives.
3. The Cash Landrum UFO Incident
Betty Cash, her friend Vickie Landrum, and Vickie’s grandson, Colby, were driving near Houston Intercontinental Airport when they came across a massive ball of light. It shifted into the shape of a diamond. Magnificent lights were all around it and fire would burst from the bottom as it looked like it was trying to gain altitude.
Helicopters were nearby and looked to be military aircraft. The UFO flew upwards and was surrounded by the helicopters. Betty continued driving and saw it disappear into the sky. After dropping the Landrums off and returning to her own house she noticed she was suddenly not feeling well.
The next day she felt terrible. She was suffering a great deal of nausea and diarrhea. Her body felt sunburned and boils developed all over her body. Vickie and Colby were also suffering from what they felt was a sunburn across their bodies. They didn’t get nearly as sick as Betty. Betty ended up in the hospital for weeks as she recovered from what doctors thought was some sort of chemical or radioactive exposure.
The government insists there were no helicopters belonging to them in the vicinity of Houston despite having several eyewitnesses, including a police officer and his wife. Was the USAF helping a UFO that was in trouble? Were the witnesses trying to get their 15-minutes of fame–but then what about the burns and illness?
2. The S.S. Ourang Medan Disaster
In June of 1947, two American ships happened to come across a coded SOS message: “SOS from the Ourang Medan… we float. All officers including captain dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole crew of dead… I die.”
The Ourang Medan was located and boarded. The scene was terrifying. The ship’s top deck was cluttered with dead bodies. The bodies were all on their backs with their mouths and eyes wide open. Their faces contorted and frozen in agony. Even a dog was found in the same position.
Suddenly a fire broke out aboard the ship and everyone had to evacuate before further investigation. The ship sunk. What caused the deaths of everyone aboard the ship? The popular theories include it was an elaborate hoax or everyone died due to the leaking of a toxic chemical they were carrying in their cargo holds.
1. The Dyatlov Pass Incident
Prepared to be chilled to the bone! The Dyatlov Pass Incident is something that is scarier than any Stephen King novel. Nine very experienced hikers died very mysterious and gruesome deaths.
The nine hikers were students and grad students from Russia. They were going on a skiing expedition. Weather conditions were not the greatest but these guys were experienced so they pressed onward. They had reached the top of a mountain area called Kholat Syakhl and they made camp for the night. Sometime during the night something terrifying happened.
When the hikers failed to return a search party was formed. The search and rescue team came across a grotesque scene. They found the campsite. The tent was cut open from the inside. The bodies were strewn about in the snow. Some were naked. Some were partially dressed. They had gone out of their tent in terror, with bare feet in the snow—freezing temperatures. Most of the dead died of hypothermia, however, they had internal injuries that had to have been caused by extreme force or pressure (no animal or human could inflict these kind of injuries). One victim was missing her tongue and eyeballs. Another suffered a blow to the head.
The scene was puzzling. The ski area was closed for 3 years following this incident. To this day no one knows what transpired on that hill that night. Many have even considered a Yeti attack may have occurred.