Where did we come from? What causes thunder? Science, archaeology and logic have explained many of the world’s formerly greatest unsolved mysteries, but some still remain enigmas. Read on for the unsolved mysteries of the world which have baffled humanity, defying explanation.
The great mystery of Stonehenge is not when it was built, but why. This circle of giant standing stones in the south of England is believed to have been built between 3000 and 2000 BC, and carbon dating is being used to narrow down this range of potential dates. But what is unknown is the purpose of the stones, and why they were transported and built at a time before any sort of building technology.
A strange phenomenon noted at Stonehenge is the alignment of sunrise at the summer and winter solstices with the major stones of the structure. This phenomenon has given the site spiritual significance, and it plays host to pagan and druid rituals at the time of the solstices. But were these religious services the original purpose of Stonehenge? Or did it have some other as yet undiscovered significance? It remains a mystery.
2. Jack the Ripper
Who was the notorious killer who stalked Victorian East London? Jack the Ripper is the fictional name given to a serial killer of prostitutes in the impoverished areas around Whitechapel during the late 19th century. Although it is far from certain that the widely reported killings between 1888 and 1891 were committed by the same person, the media coverage of the Whitechapel murders and the invention of the Jack the Ripper nickname created one mythical killer who has never been found.
3. DB Cooper
Only one man in US aviation history has hijacked a plane and never been caught- DB Cooper. In 1971 cooper hijacked a Boeing 727, and after receiving $200,000 of ransom money leapt from the plane never to be heard of again. It is unknown whether Cooper survived the jump, which he made from the back of the plane using an emergency parachute, but nearly a decade later $5800 washed up on the shore of the river in the area where Cooper was believed to have landed. The serial numbers on the notes matched those of the ransom money given to Cooper.
4. Mary Celeste
A luxury ship, abandoned by an experienced crew in good weather. What made the crew of the Mary Celeste disappear? When found, the ship’s cargo was untouched and the crew’s belongings had not been taken. None of the ship’s crew was ever heard from again, cementing the Mary Celeste’s place as the greatest maritime mystery of all time.
5. Bermuda Triangle
Why have so many ships and planes disappeared in one small area of the north-west Atlantic? Although never fully defined and dismissed as mere rumour by the US Navy, it is widely believed that the triangle of ocean between Bermuda, Florida, and Puerto Rico has claimed more lives than other areas. Although the truth of many of the Bermuda Triangle stories have been questioned, the myth lives on.
6. Shroud of Turin
Is the real burial cloth of Jesus in an Italian cathedral? A cloth with the image of a crucified man imprinted on it is held in the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin, and is believed by the Catholic church to be a genuine relic of the burial of Christ. Although carbon dating suggests it is a fake, no one knows how the image on the shroud was made. So even if the shroud was faked in the middle ages, how was it made? How did the image of Christ appear on an otherwise normal piece of cloth? These questions remain unanswered.
7. The Loch Ness Monster
A long surviving dinosaur living in Scotland, or an unsubstantiated rumor? When it comes to Nessie, the jury seems to be out. Since the 1930s stories have circulated of an unidentifiable beast living in the depths of Scotland’s deepest lake; Loch Ness. Photographs and sonar scans which seem to show a creature in the loch exist, but the reliability of this evidence is questionable at best. Believers argue that the monster could be one of a line of Plesiosaurs living in the loch for countless years, but skeptics continue to put sightings down to hoaxes or mistakes.
Does a giant ape like creature haunt the forests of the Pacific North West? Also known as Sasquatch, both modern sightings and regional folklore point to the existence of large, hairy, humanoid creatures living in the remote forests of this region of North America. Are these sightings really of an as yet unidentified new species of ape, or even a close relative of humans? Many scientists believe that the sightings are mostly mistakes or hoaxes, but others remain convinced. So will irrefutable evidence of Bigfoot’s existence ever come to light? Many Bigfoot believers are sure that one day it will.
Where better to place a piece of art with encrypted messages than right outside the CIA headquarters? Artist Jim Sanborn did exactly that. His sculpture Kryptos bears 4 encrypted messages, and despite its close proximity to the analytical minds of the CIA one of these messages still has not been cracked. In the 23 years since the sculpture was unveiled countless professional and amateur cryptographers have attempted to break the code but none have succeeded. Sanborn has even revealed the meaning of a small part of the code, but despite this help the rest remains a mystery.
10. Unidentified Flying Objects
Have alien spacecraft been spotted in the earth’s skies? Many UFO enthusiasts believe so. UFO is a general term for objects sighted in the sky which are not readily identifiable, either by sight or with the assistance of technology such as radar. Many of these UFOs will be explained in time, and can be due to a wide range of factors like weather conditions and aircraft.
However, some remain unexplained and many of these mystery UFOs have been linked to alien spacecraft. The existence of flying saucers, as they are popularly known, has been neither proved nor disproved, but they remain one of the only explanations for some of the most mysterious UFO sightings known.