5. The 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.
4. The 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.
3. The 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.