In the 21st century, it seems unlikely that any real mysteries still exist in the world. People are better educated than ever before and have access to huge amounts of information that can be used to help solve the problems of yester-year. Yet even today, the world is still grappling with unexplained occurrences and daily mysteries that even the collective mind cannot use the internet to explain.
Some of these mysteries are centuries old and will probably never be solved because too much time has passed. Yet, others are mysteries that are only a few years old and have essentially just been given up on by the powers that be.
Here are the top 10 unsolved mysteries that still remain in 2016:
On March 8th, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took off on a regularly scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Headed north for Beijing, the plane was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. However, less than a full hour after the plane took off, as it was flying over the South China Sea, the plane disappeared from radar.
Hidden from air traffic control, the Malaysian military tracked the aircraft and watched as it flew westward and away from the flight path towards Beijing and instead crossed the peninsula. A short while later, it left the range of the military’s radar. That was the last anyone saw or heard from that Boeing 777.
Shortly after its last sighting, the world began searching for MH370. The search started in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. When nothing turned up, they drew a larger circle and included the Andaman Sea and the Strait of Malacca. Further analysis suggested that the plane turned and went south into the Indian Ocean. However, it was impossible to figure out what happened from there. The only further information found was a final signal, which was too far from any landing sites to suggest a safe landing.
The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 became the widest and the most expensive search for an aircraft in the history of aviation. The only possible sign of the flight washed up over a year later on Reunion Island, near Madagascar.
Though most are certain that the plane is at the bottom of the ocean and all the passengers and crew are dead, what happened to them and the plane that carried them is still a mystery. No one is sure whether it was a hijacking, electronic hijacking, terrorist attack, shot down, seized by private interests, seized by the US military or whether the plane was abducted by aliens.
9The Taos Hum
Noise is a normal part of living in the city. The buzz of city life is life-affirming for some and moderately annoying for others. However, the city of Taos, in northern New Mexico, features a different kind of noise and a different kind of annoyance.
Taos is full of noise. The birds chirp and engines roar but the city also hums. Known as the Taos Hum, it is a variety of mysterious sounds including a whir, buzz and occasional humming. It is invasive and persistent but not everyone can hear it all the time.
A study showed that at least two percent of the population in Taos can hear the humming. Both men and women hear it in equal turn but it seems that middle aged people are the most likely group to hear it. Most people hear it at different frequencies which range anywhere from 32 HZ to 80 Hz. One of the most interesting things about the hum is that people can’t move away from it. One person said they could still hear the humming even 48 kilometers away from Taos.
No one is sure where the sound comes from. Some people don’t believe it is a physical sound and instead it happens when people focus in on background sounds. There is a theory that the sound is created by a mechanical device. Some also believe that the people who hear it have tinnitus. Still, some say that the hum is generated by individuals because a human’s ears actually create their own noises. In fact, this is very common but most people don’t notice these sounds.
Regardless, there is no consensus on where the noise comes from and why so many people can hear it.
8The Kensington Runestone
On a normal sunny day in 1898 near Alexandria, Minnesota, a Swedish immigrant named Olof Ohman found a 200 pound slab of stone covered in runes. The runes were in-keeping with those of used by the Vikings in the 14th century.
Ohman said that he found the stone while he was preparing new land for plowing and initially mistook it for being of Native American origin. The find was an important one for the area, which was primarily made up of Swedish and other Scandinavian immigrants.
At the time, there was a renewed interest in the travels of Leif Ericson to North America, effectively making it the Vikings who discovered the New World and not the Spanish. It was being widely discussed in the nation and in the Scandinavian community because of the potential cultural significance of the event if it was true.
Thus, the finding of this stone created a huge splash. The Historic Society of Minnesota bought the stone for $10 and it eventually reached a professor of Scandinavian Languages at the University of Minnesota who called it a hoax because the Norwegian runes used on the stone were more modern than the date given on the stone. However, others suggested the inscription could be nearly 500 years old because of the weathering on the back of the stone.
The text roughly says that a group of Scandinavians went on a journey to explore the land west of Vinland and spent 14 days traveling from the island in 1362. While there, they went fishing and then encountered Native Americans.
Whether or not the stone is real, it does beg an important question regarding whether the Vikings were really the first to discover America.
7Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper was one of the most famous serial killers and criminals in history. He was an unidentified serial killer who was active between 1888 and 1891 in an impoverished neighborhood of London known as Whitechapel. The name came from a letter written by someone who claimed to be the serial killer. However, the letter may not be real and is believed to have been written by journalists in order to create more interest in the story. The killer has also been referred to as the Whitechapel Murderer and less commonly as Leather Apron.
Most of the murders attributed to this killer were of female prostitutes who were known to live and work in East London, including in Whitechapel. These women died after having their throats slit and their abdomens cut open. That the killer sometimes removed internal organs suggested to police that he might have surgical knowledge. Only five victims were connected to Jack the Ripper; however, there were 11 murders during that time that the police tried to connect to a single killer.
Even at the end of the 19th century, the media coverage of the murders and the murderer was intense. One of the reasons that the legend has lived on so long was because of the extensive and widespread coverage of the crimes. Even today, both the media and scientists search for the man who might have murdered those girls.
Dozens of names have been put forward over the past century including a London doctor who killed himself a month after the last murder, a man who killed three of his own wives, a Russian doctor and even Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, a grandson of Queen Victoria who passed away in 1892 in an asylum.
Jack the Ripper may have been long dead, but scientists are still looking for him. Every few years, new evidence comes to light that seems to point to a new individual. However, the murders and the mystery remain unsolved.
6The Bosnian Pyramids
It seems as though Egypt and the Nile basin have the monopoly on large pyramid structures. Their pyramids are well frequented by specialists, scientists and tourists alike. But it is possible that there is another set of pyramids that are older and larger than those in Giza.
Sam Osmanagich, a Bosnian businessman and amateur archaeologist, claims that the geological structures found in the back yard of the town of Visoko in Bosnia are the oldest and greatest pyramids in the world.
The site consists of two primary hills. The first, the Pyramid of the Moon, is said to be the oldest step pyramid in the world. The smaller hill, known as the Pyramid of the Sun, is also considered to be a pyramid by Osmanagich and his team. Reportedly 12,000 years old, Osmanagich and his team say that the rocks under their feet were a part of the greatest pyramid complex in the world.
Since the discovery was announced in 2005, nearly half a million people have descended upon the small town north of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The organization surveying and excavating the site has received huge donations from the public and state organizations.
Despite the work and the notoriety that the hills have gained over the last decade, there are some detractors. Archaeologists generally deny that there’s anything under these hills and geologist reports are either negative or inconclusive. Yet, many visitors who travel to these sites say that they are convinced that not only are these hills the oldest pyramids in the world but they also have special powers.
5The Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is one of the most famous mysteries in the Christian faith because despite reports that it is obviously a forgery, its authenticity remains a mystery.
The shroud is a piece of cloth that was supposedly the death shroud which covered the body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion by the Romans two thousand years ago. It is made of twill and features small amounts of blood as well as an imprint of a man’s body.
Its existence was first recorded in 1353 when it appeared in a church in medieval France. Carbon dating says the cloth was made between the 13th and 14th century and that the shroud was just a rouse to stir up believers in the Middle Ages.
However, plenty of criticism led to doubt in these findings. Some believe the strands tested were part of a patch in the cloth. There was also evidence showing that the shroud contained evidence of European, North American and East Asian plants. There is also DNA evidence suggesting that the cloth spent time in the Caucasus and the Middle East, including the region where Jesus Christ lived and was buried.
Housed in Italy, visitors from all around the world travel to see this relic whenever it is put on display. The Vatican has not officially announced a position on its authenticity and in science, the jury is still out.
4The Picts of Scotland
The history of the British Isles is well documented. However, there is one enigma that has escaped British historians and archaeologists for decades. That enigma is a group of people known as the Picts.
The Picts lived in Britain during the Dark Ages. Concentrated in north-eastern Scotland, they were one of the few groups able to defend themselves and their land against the Romans and later, the Angles, thereby solidifying what would be a millennium long north-south divide between England and Scotland.
Not much is known about the Picts. The Romans referred to them as Picti and noted how their people were painted blue. There is also archaeology scattered across Scotland is strongly associated with their existence as well as a list of kings.
One of the most decisive points in their history was the Battle of Dun Nechtain in 685 AD. The battle was fought against the Angles of Northumberland as they tried to fight their way into northern Scotland. The goal was to move their frontier from the River Forth, near modern Edinburgh, to the River Tay which lay in the heart of the Picts’ territory.
The Picts won the battle and it was an important victory for what would become Scotland.
Yet, no one knows what happened to the Picts. They disappeared mysteriously when the kingdom of Alba (Scotland) was created and because they left no written record, no one knows what happened to them. Some believe they were overwritten by Gaelic history while other historians suggest something more sinister, like a Viking invasion. Regardless, the earliest defenders of Scottish independence remain almost a complete mystery to modern historians.
3The Zodiac Killer
The mystery of the Zodiac Killer is one of America’s greatest crime mysteries.
The killer, who was or is presumed to be a man, wandered Northern California for almost a full year between 1968 and 1969 murdering innocent people in the dark of the night. He became infamous because he would send cryptic letters about his exploits and offered clues to future potential murders. In fact, he even adopted his own nickname – Zodiac.
In his letters, he said he had killed 37 people but only seven people were confirmed as being attacked by the Zodiac Killer and out of those, only five died. One lived to give the police a short description of a short white man who was around 5’8” tall and weighed about 195 pounds.
The Zodiac Killer made crime history and created the now famous Hollywood trope involving young couples parking in secluded areas before being attacked by crazed killers. It is also occasionally picked up by the internet and resurfaced in 2016 when someone accused Senator Ted Cruz of Texas of being the famed murderer, though, that was considered to be highly improbable given the candidate’s age.
The case is open in some police jurisdictions. However, the San Francisco Police Department gave up and have registered it as an inactive and unsolved case.
Around 45 years ago, on November 24th, 1971, an unidentified and unassuming man hijacked a Northwest airlines flight out of Portland, Oregon by claiming that he was carrying dynamite. He demanded $200,000 and four parachutes from officials in exchange for the hostages. The government obliged and handed over the cash in $20 bills. The man, known as DB Cooper, then told the remaining flight crew to take him to Mexico.
The system for dealing with hijackers was different in the 1970s because these events simply didn’t happen. The motto was to do what the man says and deal with it when everyone was out of danger, or in this case, when the plane landed.
However, Cooper escaped form the plane by using the parachutes provided to him by the authorities and jumping out of the plane somewhere over Washington state. No one ever saw him again.
Some believe that he died during the jump because the storm outside was too strong. Another theory suggests Cooper had a sex change operation. Some people even think that Bigfoot got him.
Yet, even today, no one knows who he is or what happened to him after he dove out of the plane.
1The Collapse of World Trade Center 7 Complex
The final mystery is not supernatural in nature, though, the potential solutions are just as hotly debated.
We all know of the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Both of the towers were hit by planes, which caused the towers to collapse. In the hours following the collapse of the Twin Towers, Building 7 of the World Trade Center also came down…but this building was not hit, nor involved in the attack.
WTC 7 was a steel-framed, high-rise, and it was only one of three known buildings of its size and structure to have collapsed by fire, which was the “official” cause. As soon as the building fell, however, the conspiracy theorists began to theorize…because even the structural engineering community doesn’t have a strong answer.
It can be argued that science can explain the fall of this building, but it could have only happened if there was a catalyst, such as an explosion. Though there was a fire in the building, there are no other known buildings that are constructed the same or similarly that have come down based on fire alone. The only way the building could have fallen would have been to eliminate the steel beams that held and supported it.
WTC 7 collapsed about 8 hours following the first two buildings, and it fell at a very quick speed. Many engineers and architects claim that the only way this could have happened is if the understructure of the building was destroyed. Some say, since the building was so close to the Twin Towers, the debris and the energy coming from those collapses could have caused it, but the official cause was fire.
Could a fire really destroy a steel understructure? Many say no, which is why this remains one of the top unsolved mysteries of the world. To make the argument even stronger, consider that WTC 7 was the home of the CIA, Department of Defense, IRS, Secret Service and the Security and Exchange Commission.
Even in the modern world, where people have better access to more resources than ever before, there are some events that simply defy expectations and slip through our fingers. Despite what they’d like to think, humans have not mastered the natural world nor have they solved their own history as a people.
Although most mysteries are those that resulted in tragedy and death, there is some home in society’s inability to close every case and find every clue. It is a strong reminder that there is some anonymity left in the world and that despite everything, there are always more missing pieces to the puzzle to be found. Some of these pieces are lost in layers of theories but others are hiding just underneath the surface.