Although our understanding of the world has progressed in recent years to unprecedented levels, thanks to the advances in science and education, there are still many things that we as a species simply cannot explain. There are countless mysteries and unexplainable phenomena that have puzzled experts for hundreds of years. Many of these have been brought to the attention of the public in the form of photographs or film that show creepy scenes that seem to defy any sort of answer.
While modern equipment and software allows anyone to modify an image using simply a computer, this has not always been the case. Despite the fact that most of these pictures could easily be faked in this day and age, it would have required a large amount of expertise or imaginative techniques to create some of the most frightening photographs from the past few centuries – something that just might not have been possible at the time.
This just adds to the eerie nature of the pictures as they are not just inherently scary but it is also impossible to know whether they were faked or actually show some kind of strange event that no person can adequately explain.
15 Solway Firth Spaceman
Commonly known as the Solway Firth Spaceman or the Cumberland Spaceman, this unexplained picture has been puzzling people for some 50 years. It was taken in 1964 by a local firefighter and amateur historian called Jim Templeton, as he spent a day at Solway Firth in Cumbria, England. He swears that no one else was in the shot when he took the photograph and was shocked to find what looked like a man wearing a spacesuit standing behind his daughter’s head when the film was developed.
Amid calls that the picture had been doctored in some way, Templeton sent the original to Kodak. The company eventually confirmed that the photograph was genuine – although there has been a possible explanation offered by some analysts. The major excuse is that the spaceman is actually Jim’s wife, with the white suit actually just her dress that was overexposed and appeared white.
14 Giant Sea Monster At Hook Island
Many theories have sprung up since this photograph was taken by French photographer Robert Le Serrec in 1964, off the coast of Queensland at a place called Hook Island. The image was just one of a series of pictures that seem to show some sort of tadpole-like creature underneath the water. Estimates from the photographs suggest that whatever the dark object is, it was around 25 meters long and appeared to be moving under the water.
While Le Serrec claims that he saw the monster along with his wife while out on a boat, a definite explanation has never been given as to what exactly can be seen in the photograph. Most believe that it is likely to be some sort of hoax or simply a coincidence rather than a huge creature.
13 The Falling Body
Alternatively known as the Cooper Family Photo or The Falling Body photograph, this image is supposedly a family portrait that was taken at some point during the 1950s. After buying a brand new house in Texas, the family had dinner and took this photograph as a keepsake, apparently not aware of the creepy figure on the left-hand side until they developed the film sometime later. As it has spread around the internet and paranormal magazines, many have suggested that this must mean that the figure is some ghostly apparition that came into view.
While the story about the Cooper family appears to have been invented at some point in 2013, the origins of the image are far less clear. Some details point to it being altered in some way or having been subjected to a double exposure, but there has never been a definitive answer on the subject.
12 Mary Reeser Spontaneous Combustion
Known as the Cinder Woman case, his photograph shows all that was left of Mary Reeser after she supposedly spontaneously combusted at her home in Florida. The 67-year-old widow died in 1951 and the authorities found that almost all of her remains had been essentially cremated by some sort of intense fire. Even stranger was the fact that these flames had not damaged any of the surrounding objects or structures.
Neither the police or the FBI have ever been able to offer a full explanation of what happened to Mary Reeser. Many of the hallmarks of spontaneous human combustion were not present in this instance, including significant damage to the surrounding area and an exploding or swollen skull. The case remains open with little chance of ever being fully solved.
11 German Mental Asylum
This terrifying picture is not some scene of torture but rather the treatment that the mentally ill received in Germany in the 19th century. Although attitudes towards mental health have changed dramatically in modern times, those who had disorders such as schizophrenia decades or centuries ago did not receive any real help but would rather be locked away out of fear that they would hurt themselves or others.
It is unknown exactly what type of treatment is being used here or what the staff were trying to achieve. Some have suggested that it could be a way to stop the victim from moving around so that they couldn’t cause any damage, acting as a sort of straitjacket.
10 Horatio Gordon Robley Mokomokai Collection
Mokomokai are the preserved heads of Maori, the original humans who inhabited New Zealand, that have been decorated after death. During the 19th century, they became prized possessions by those colonizing the area and were widely traded thanks to their high value.
One of the biggest collectors of these types of items was Major General Horatio Gordon Robley. The soldier had served in the British Army in New Zealand and became fascinated with the Mokomokai during his time in the country. He later collected some 40 individual heads before selling them to the American Museum of Natural History.
While the photograph can be explained as it is the collection of Robley, it is unknown exactly why he became so interested in Mokomokai in the first place and why he was so interested in having this photograph taken.
9 Babushka Lady
The assassination of John F. Kennedy was one of the biggest events of the last 60 years and this has obviously led to plenty of conspiracy theories and mysteries cropping up in the intervening years. Perhaps one of the strangest unexplained events is that of the Babushka Lady. The female figure can be seen in several photographs and films of prominent events.
While the police and FBI spent much time trying to find the Babushka Lady during the initial investigation and subsequent reports, no trace of her or the photographs she was seemingly taking that day. Although several people have come forward claiming to be the woman, the true identity remains a mystery.
8 Skunk Ape Photographs
In the year 2000, an anonymous woman sent the Sheriff’s Department of Sarasota County, Florida, a series of photographs and a note explaining that she had apparently seen an ape in her garden at her home. The woman was sure that the creature was an escaped orangutan and that it had come to her backyard several times over the course of a week. It has remained a mystery what exactly the creature is or whether the images are genuine, though some believe the animal could be a brown bear.
The photographs have been used to support a theory of a creature known as the skunk ape, a bigfoot-like organism that has been supposedly spotted at various locations in Florida between the 1960s and the 1970s.
7 Freddy Jackson Ghost Picture
Without knowing the context behind this photograph it might seem like any other innocuous image of an armed forces regiment in their dress uniforms. However, the truth is a bit more sinister. Taken in 1919, it is a portrait of a R.A.F. squadron led by Sir Victor Goddard that had served during World War I. The group had arranged the photograph following the funeral of one of their comrades, though, when they later inspected the developed film it appeared as if Freddy Jackson was still walking the Earth and had appeared alongside his fellow airmen.
The ghostly face, which has been zoomed in on this image, appears on the top row and was immediately recognized by all of those who were present. No proper explanation has ever been given for how this happened.
6 Spectre of Newby Church
Known as the Spectre of Newby Church, this image is a photograph that was taken in 1963 by Reverend K. F. Lord in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, that allegedly contains some sort of apparition that has never been fully explained. The ghostly figure is clearly visible on the right of the altar and appears to be wearing some form of cowl or mark. However, Reverend Lord maintained that no other person was present in the church at that time, making the figure a mystery.
The common thought is that the man appears to look like a monk from the 16th century, wearing a mask that could have been used to hide some sort of injury or disfigurement. It would seem impossible for the figure to be a genuine person though, as they would need to be 9 feet tall.
5 Supposed Time Travelling Man
When this image began circulating in 2010 on the internet, it led many to believe that they had caught a time traveling man on a photograph. They pointed out that the man on the right wearing sunglasses appeared too out of place for the time period that the photo was taken in, it having been released in 2004 as part of an exhibition about the lives of people in 1941. The main claim focuses on a t-shirt with a logo, a tiny handheld camera, and a pair of modern sunglasses.
Unfortunately, it may not be as creepy or unexplained as first thought. The picture, which shows the reopening of the South Fork Bridge in Canada, is unlikely to contain a time traveler. The sweatshirt could be a product of an NHL team known as the Montreal Maroons, those types of sunglasses were available at the time, and Kodak began making cameras that were portable in the late 1930s.
4 The Phoenix Lights
The Phoenix light were a phenomenon that happened in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997. Throughout the night, thousands of witnesses saw a collection of bizarre lights and shapes in the sky, with police receiving a large number of similar reports for around three hours on the night of March 13th. According to those who witnessed the events, there were two rather distinctive instances. One of these was a V-shaped series of lights that moved across the sky while the other was a line of lights that remained stationary.
The United States Air Force investigated the incident and confirmed that the stationary lights were likely the result of an aircraft letting off training flares, though it couldn’t explain everything.
3 Hampton Court Palace Ghost
This ghostly figure appeared at Hampton Court Palace in London and was caught on CCTV. Reports from the time indicate that security guards were forced to go and close a fire door that was constantly being opened over the course of three days. Despite searches of the area, no one was found and the security cameras only captured the strange spectral apparition on one occasion when the doors were unexpectedly flung open.
According to State Apartment Warder Ian Franklin, many of the staff avoid this area at night and he believes it may have something to do with the ghost sightings. “I know many members of staff who don’t like working in the exhibition area after dark. Maybe it’s because of what they’ve read about Skeletor…”
2 Charlie Chaplin Time Traveler
One of the most infamous unexplained pictures that has been widely spread on the internet is that of a Charlie Chaplin promotional film that appears to show a woman talking on a mobile phone as she walks in and out of shot.
David Mikkelson, the founder of the debunking website Snopes.com, pointed out that these types of videos are not of high enough quality to provide answers.
“You can take any piece of WWII footage showing someone holding something to the side of their head talking, and claim it is a time traveling cell phone user,” Mikkelson said. “Film clips aren’t of sufficient resolution to see what the people are carrying. It could be anything from a handkerchief to a hearing aid, or who knows what. And this video is silent, so you can’t even tell if the person is engaged in a two-way conversation.”
1 The Most Beautiful Suicide
Called 'The Most Beautiful Suicide' in the world by the media, this photograph shows the dead body of Evelyn McHale just four minutes after she had committed suicide by jumping from the Empire State Building.
What made the photograph so bizarre and distinctive was the fact that the 23-year-old appeared in a rather serene manner despite the fact that she had plunged from the 86th floor on a limousine parked on the curb.
A suicide note expressed a wish to be cremated and explained that she didn’t think she would make a good wife, but the actual reasons for her suicide have never been fully explained, leading many to speculate why the woman killed herself and how she managed to appear relatively unscathed considering the great height from which she fell.