As humans, we are naturally inquisitive. We question everything and push the boundaries of what we know to broaden our knowledge and attain answers. Indeed, we often find ourselves looking forward, questioning the future and planning for tomorrow. That said, we also have a well-developed history, much of it chronicled and recorded for future generations to study and learn from. Yet, despite all of our knowledge and experience, we continue to have questions and large gaps surrounding our past. This includes both past events and objects discovered from our history. We often entrust our religious and scientific experts to unravel these historical mysteries and questions, some of which seem unanswerable.
Of course, there are those things in life which just seem to have no definitive answer, no matter how you look at them. The meaning of life, the lost city of Atlantis, Bigfoot, Kanye West – they all continue to boggle the mind. Over our modern history, we have continually discovered objects, some from our past, which just can’t seem to be explained. It could be a sculpture which doesn’t fit in with other works of the period or maybe a reference in a book which predates itself. Being human, with rather creative minds, we attribute these anomalies to a number of things from being a one-off to ‘proof’ of alien encounters.
The following looks at 15 of the most mysterious artifacts ever discovered. Here you’ll find technology that seems out of place, references to aliens, human knowledge that appears ahead of its time and the just plain bizarre. Many of the following artifacts have been ‘explained’ by experts in the field, but enough people continue to believe in contradictory views that the artifact in question remains mysterious in nature. Work of aliens, a sign of humans being ahead of their time, a fluke or a hoax? – you decide.
15 Giant Stone Balls of Costa Rica
In the 1930s, the United Fruit Company was actively establishing new banana plantations throughout Central America. While clearing and preparing land in Costa Rica, workers came across hundreds of stone spheres of varying sizes. Researchers moved in and discovered spheres as small as a few centimeters up to two meters in diameter. Records indicate that some of the larger stones weighed around 16 tons. What’s more amazing is that the closest source of material used in these massive spheres is found approximately 50 miles from where the stones were discovered. Today, most of the mysterious spheres remain protected but many have become used as sculptures and monuments in front of public buildings or by rich and powerful locals.
14 Padilla’s Stone Head
Staying in Central America, in the area which is today known as Guatemala, an ancient civilization known as the Olmec once thrived between 1,400 and 400 BCE. Like other great ancient civilizations, the Olmec left numerous designs, monuments and artifacts behind following their extinction. In the 1950s, a photo of a giant stone head in Olmec territory surfaced. What was strange about this head was that it had Caucasian features and didn’t resemble other heads created by Central American civilizations. In the late 1980s, Dr. Oscar Padilla travelled to the area to find proof of this strange stone head. Unfortunately, all he found was that rebel troops had used the head for target practice. As a result, claims that the creation was from another civilization, extraterrestrial in nature or merely a hoax remain unanswered.
13 Incan “Aircraft” Artifacts
People are always fascinated with ancient artifacts that have futuristic links. A number of Incan sculptures dating from 500 to 800 CE fit his bill. The objects in question are gold designs which look suspiciously like aircraft. They have wings, a fuselage and a tail. Is it a bird? Possibly, but the inclusion of a rudder and what appears to be a cockpit largely discounts that theory. In 1997, two German designers even made scale replicas of the Incan sculptures using all the same design features. It turns out the Incan designs were aerodynamically sound as the models flew flawlessly. Throwing a further monkey-wrench into the debate is the fact that on the ‘rudder’ of one of the sculptures appears a symbol which researchers say is of Middle East origin.
12 The Phaistos Disc
In 1908, Italian archeologist Luigi Pernier discovered a clay disc on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean. Believed to be from around 1,700 BC, the Phaistos Disc is covered in symbols which are arranged in a spiral on both sides. The symbols are arranged into 61 ‘words’ or clusters and have so far eluded any attempt to decipher their meaning or message. While some scholars think the disc is a fake, many archeologists feel the Phaistos Disc is real and cite other artifacts which share some similarities with design and use of symbols. The similarities with other ancient symbols and hieroglyphs has fascinated researchers but to this day there remains no consensus on what exactly the disc message or meaning is.
11 Russian UFO Metal?
In 2013, in the Russian city of Vladivostok, a local citizen was starting a fire and burning coal when he noticed something strange. In one of the pieces of coal was embedded a metallic object which resembled part of a tooth wheel. Closer inspection by researchers discovered the object was 98% aluminum and 2% magnesium. Given the fact that such pure concentrations of aluminum are rare and that the object came from a coal deposit believed to be 300 million years old, a lot of questions needed answering. Naturally, some people believed the metal was from alien visitors. Others cite examples of other metallic objects which have been discovered in coal deposits – including poles and vases. Currently, the best explanation is that the object is metallic and came from some sort of mining equipment which broke off and was embedded in the coal many years ago.
10 The Baghdad Battery
In the 1930s, a number of terracotta pots were discovered in a village near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. These were no ordinary pots, however. Upon closer inspection, each pot contained a cylinder of copper and an iron rod inside. The first researchers to inspect these objects believed them to be ancient batteries, likely filled with vinegar or grape juice to make a very rudimentary electrical cell. Over time, the pots were used as evidence to support the arguments that ancient civilizations were trying their hand at gold plating other metals. Of course, others believed the objects were proof of alien visitors. Today, many archeologists and researchers think the pots were used not as batteries, but as some form of storage container to protect sacred documents from the harsh elements.
9 Williams Enigmalith
In 1998, John Williams was walking on a trail in North America when he discovered a rock with what is definitely a foreign electrical object embedded in it. At first glance, it appears to be some form of three-pronged electrical plug stuck into a rock. According to Williams, experts have examined the rock and found no evidence of tampering concerning the object. He asserts the object is proof of an ancient advanced or alien civilization. In his defence, Williams has offered the rock for analysis under the conditions he be present during testing, the object is not damaged and the costs of the research not come out of his pocket. Sceptics say the rock is hoax and the $500,000 auction price and $19 fee for CDs about the object are proof that this is merely a money grab.
8 Sri Lanka Meteorite
Officially known as the Polonnaruwa meteorite, this object allegedly fell to Earth in late 2012. The team which recovered the ‘meteorite’ studied the object and concluded that it contained algae from another planet. It was suggested that this discovery supported the idea that life on Earth came from another planet. Other experts have been critical of this view and argue that the images taken under the microscope only show terrestrial (Earth) material with algae in it. They further argue that the algae is from Earth and doesn’t prove a thing. Nonetheless, the argument appears to be ongoing, although the skeptics look set to win this one unless something new pops up soon.
7 Mayan Calakmul Artifacts
In 2012, the Mexican government released a number of images of what it reported to be ancient Mayan artifacts discovered while searching through the Calakmul pyramid. The images show a variety of sculptures and carvings with flying saucers and large-eyed aliens. Proof that aliens interacted with Mayan culture? Some say yes, but most call this an outright hoax. Skeptics will point to the fact that the Mexican government waited until 2012 to release the images – a time coinciding with the much hyped Mayan calendar which said the earth was going to end. Second, the images are ‘stereotypical’ alien imagery which raises red-flags for many. Finally, there is absolutely no authentication of any of the pieces by reputable or recognized specialists.
6 The Dropa Stones
The Dropa Stones are/were reportedly a series of hundreds of circular discs dating back over 12,000 years. The discs were allegedly discovered in China while in storage. Those who examined the one-foot diameter objects reported seeing two spirals carved into each with hieroglyphs carved in each spiral. In 1962, one researcher reported that he had deciphered the stones and that they told of an alien race (the Dropa) who had crashed on Earth and had to adapt to earth culture. Today, the stones and those who have been able to see them first hand are in short supply. Images which do exist are inconclusive and many researchers argue the stones are just variations of bi discs, objects made in ancient China.
5 Al Ubaid Lizard People
Present-day Iraq is widely considered the starting place of civilization with the Sumerians and ancient Mesopotamia. In the early 1900s, archeologists began working at a site known as Al Ubaid. Here they unearthed objects which predated the Sumerians. More disturbingly, researchers uncovered all sort of artifacts and sculptures which depicted some form of lizard people complete with helmets, staffs and outfits. There is even one sculpture of a lizard person breast-feeding a baby. The depictions could be simply tied to deity worship, similar to how other cultures depicted dog, snake or horse headed figures as representations of their gods. Of course, there is also the highly absurd, yet fun, belief that these artifacts indicate some form of pre-human lizard people or alien travellers who existed in the region.
4 Kensington Runestone
In 1898, a Swedish immigrant in Minnesota reportedly discovered a rock tablet, unearthed when he was removing tree stumps. Written on the tablet were runic letters, belonging to an old Germanic alphabet, which tied the find to Scandinavian explorers/settlers. When the tablet was translated it was found the inscription was allegedly written in 1362 – well before any other European explorers had been to that part of North America. Over the following decades experts were consulted to see how authentic the tablet was. In the vast majority of cases, linguistic experts deemed the tablet a hoax for a variety of reasons. In addition, there were disagreements over the age of the stone and the inscriptions, with some pointing out they were nowhere near being 500 years old. Despite this, there were continued claims that the tablet was authentic.
3 The Betz Sphere
Back into the world of aliens and unexplained science. In the spring of 1974, members of the Betz family were reportedly inspecting their Florida property after a brushfire when they discovered a metallic sphere. They took the object home and started noticing strange things. The sphere would resonate when music was played, it would roll around on its own, it would avoid falling off of tables and surfaces as if it had a mind of its own. In a horror movie-like twist, doors began slamming around the house and family members even reported organ music being heard inside at night when no instrument was in the house. Real or a hoax? Naturally, some believe the sphere is from an extraterrestrial visitor or advanced civilization. Others believe the object was a purpose built piece of scientific or industrial equipment. Yet another story suggests the ball belonged to an artist and fell out of his vehicle when travelling through the area. The US Navy examined and x-rayed the Betz sphere concluding it was hollow and of stainless steel construction.
2 The Piri Reis Map
In 1513, Ottoman Admiral Piri Reis created a map of the known world of which a segment exists to this day. The Piri Reis map is one of the more mysterious maps discovered because it contains details which many believed came only with future exploration. It was also reportedly created with the use of one of Christopher Columbus’s long-lost world maps. Reis’s map is interesting because it shows the coast of South America in its proper position in respect to Africa. It makes reference to what would become known as North America and also has a landmass some considered to be Antarctica. This would be a major discovery as Reis’s map would pre-date any other maps which included the southern continent. Of course, there are many who think Reis’s inclusion of “Antarctica” is merely a mistake by the map maker – a misinterpretation of the Brazilian or Argentinian coastline.
1 Shroud of Turin
One of the most controversial artifact discoveries, the Shroud of Turin is #1 on this list of mysterious artifact discoveries. The cloth, complete with the image of a crucified man, is believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. Very little historical information concerning this artifact was available prior to the 14th century. This corresponds with radiocarbon dating (done at three separate institutions in 1988) which suggested the shroud dated from 1260 to 1400 – well after the crucifixion of Jesus. Nonetheless, the radiocarbon dating process has an army of detractors who continue to argue that the samples used were taken from ‘repaired’ sections or were contaminated and, therefore, give a more modern date. Naturally, many believe this shroud belonged to Jesus while much of the scientific community who have studied the cloth suggest it is unlikely.