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29+ Unsolved Mysteries Around the World

Mystery

| LAST UPDATE 02/22/2022

By Hayden Katz

From Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to the disappearance of Madeline McCann, these unsolved mysteries have left investigators - and most spectators - completely baffled. Here's a closer look beyond the headlines.

Area 51

Area 51 is located in Nevada and used as a military base. But the most noteworthy part is that its existence was kept hidden until 2013 - after the CIA had to acknowledge an inquiry under the Freedom of Information Acts.

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Barry King / Contributor via Getty Images

Ever since, there have been numerous mysteries about the area regarding what it is used for. Arguably the most well-known rumor surrounding Area 51 is that it is where aliens and crashed spaceships are investigated. Others suggest research on teleportation or time travel is conducted there. Yet still, it remains unknown.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared while flying over China on March 8th, 2014. There was no trace left behind of any of the 239 passengers or any of the crew members. Despite international efforts of investigation, only 20 pieces of debris from the plane were ever found.

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How Foo Yeen / Stringer via Getty Images

Even after three years of searching and $160 million dollars spent, it still remains a mystery as to what could have happened during that flight. The unanswered questions have left hundreds of people forming their own conclusions and creating conspiracies.

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Escape from Alcatraz

Any criminal who attempted to escape Alcatraz was either caught by the guards or passed away trying. The prison, located on Alcatraz Inland in San Francisco was known as a difficult place to run away from. That was until 3 convicts, Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris, managed to do so.

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Robert Alexander / Contributor via Getty Images

The three dug into the ground using utensils and made a liferaft out of raincoats. While it was first presumed they had passed away due to the freezing water and harsh weather, no bodies were found. Years later, an alleged letter from John emerged. He wrote, "Yes, we all made it that night but barely!"

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Mary Celeste: The Ghost Ship

On December 4th, 1872, the Mary Celeste ship was discovered to be off track in the Atlantic Ocean. But there was something odd about all of it. Not one crew member was found to be on board. And while everything on the ship seemed to still be intact, there was one item missing: a lifeboat.

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AP via Shutterstock

Analysts were unable to uncover what events had taken place to make Captain Benjamin Briggs, his wife, two kids, and 7 other crew members abandon the Mary Celeste. Especially since the last entry of the ship's registry reported that there was no unusual activity.

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Harold Holt

The Prime Minister of Australia, Harold Holt, mysteriously went missing on December 17th, 1967. He and 6 other people were hanging out at Cheviot Beach when Holt and one other decided to go for a swim. The rest of the gang stayed behind due to harsh weather conditions. As Holt swam in deeper, he disappeared into the water.

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Fairfax Media Archives / Contributor via Getty Images

They quickly called the police, and the search for Holt began. Sadly, after a few weeks of looking, it was called off. On January 7th, 1968, Holt was presumed to have passed away. Because it remains unknown, many theories have been made. It's rumored that he faked his own death, or it was an assassination by the CIA.

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Sodder Children

On December 24th, 1945, the Sodder family's home was burned to the ground. Mom, Jennie, quickly woke up her husband, George, and the two managed to escape along with 4 of their children. Unfortunately, there were still 5 kids inside, who sadly never made it out. Or did they...?

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BuzzFeed Unsolved Network via Youtube

There have been many theories surrounding that night. Many believe that the kids were never actually inside, due to the lack of remains found. A few years after the fire, the Sodder parents even received an alleged letter and photograph from their son, Louis, who was believed to have passed away in the flames. The mystery remains.

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Death of Harry Houdini

Notorious illusionist, Harry Houdini, was reported to have passed away in 1926 due to a ruptured appendix. His death left many fans confused as he had escaped injury endless times prior during his famed tricks. This led to many speculations surrounding Houdini's passing, with newspapers even headlining, "Was Houdini Murdered?"

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Donaldson Collection / Contributor via Getty Images

Houdini's doctors had reported that his appendix had received blunt force, causing the fatality of the escape artist. But according to a literature review, "blunt abdominal trauma is rare." This led to many people being confused about how the great Houdini really passed away. Seems like the mystery continues.

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Judge Crater

The last time Supreme Court Justice, Joseph F. Crater, was seen alive was walking out of a restaurant in 1930. He quickly became known as "the most missing man in New York." So much so that "pulling a Carter" was even coined a popular term referring to when someone unknowingly vanishes.

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

No one knew where Crater had gone - but of course, numerous speculations were made about what could have happened. After all, he was a judge who had made many enemies over the years, maybe they had taken him? Or maybe, he had run off with a lover? The truth of his disappearance is still a mystery.

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Nixon's Missing Minutes

Every conversation that took place in the Oval Office while Nixon was President was secretly being recorded. Well... not every, because there was a time slot of 18 and a half minutes that seemed to be missing from the tapes. It became a huge mystery surrounding the Watergate scandal, that ultimately led to his resignation.

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

It's been speculated that the missing recording was while Nixon was speaking to his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman. But, no one knows for sure what could be heard on it, or even how they were erased. Nixons former security, Rose Mary Woods, admitted she accidentally removed 5 minutes. It's still unclear what happened to the rest.

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Lizzie Borden

After a couple had been tragically ambushed with an ax inside their home in 1892, investigators quickly began looking for their suspect. The first person of interest was their daughter, Lizzie Borden, after she was caught burning her clothes following her parents' passing.

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Everett via Shutterstock

It was also reported that Lizzie was upset with the victims, especially her stepmother for being cautious with how the Bordens spent their money. Eventually, police discharged her, but that didn't stop the town from turning against who they believed was the murderer. Till today, the questions about the events remain unanswered.

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Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa was arguably best known for being a labor leader who served as the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957 until 1971. He was so powerful that it came as no surprise that he had many enemies. Sadly, he was believed to have been assassinated.

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Who killed Hoffa? There were many suspects investigators looked into, but ultimately considering the only evidence they had, Hoffa's three-inch brown hair, they couldn't find the convict. Even his daughter, a former judge, has given up hope: "I guess it won't be solved."

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 Black Dahlia

Black Dahlia, or Elizabeth Short, was a 22-year old actress in Los Angeles when she was found in an empty parking lot, murdered. The tragic events eventually became one of Hollywood's most famed unsolved mysteries. Who could have done such an awful crime?

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Hulton Archive / Stringer via Getty Images

Apparently, a few people came forward to confess. But upon further investigating, police acquitted them for the crime. The mystery of the real perpetrator still remains. Recently, a book, Black Dahlia, Red Rose, claimed that one of the interviewed suspects, a bellhop, was the true offender.

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Billy The Kid's Grave

One of the most infamous gunfighters of the Old West time was Billy the Kid, who was reported to have assassinated nearly 27 men. That was until he himself was ambushed at the young age of 21 in New Mexico. Following his death, it was reported Billy the Kid was laid to rest surrounded by a cage... or was he?

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Education Images / Contributor via Getty Images

Confusion arose when a man named Ollie "Brushy Bill" Rober claimed that he was actually the real Billy. Did he fake his own death? Or was this man just a fan of the outlaw who was pretending to be him? Investigators were never sure, and it still remains unknown if Billy is really buried in his so-called tombstone.

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Elisa Lam

In 2013, Elisa Lam checked into the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles, but she never checked out... That's when police were called, and the search for Lam began. After some time, the missing woman was tragically found - unconscious inside a water tank on the hotel's roof.

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MARK RALSTON / Staff via Getty Images

The last time Lam was ever seen was on the camera footage riding the elevator. She seemed to be acting strangely in the clips, and other guests even reported she was behaving oddly. It'd been speculated that she had taken uncontrolled substances, but toxicology reports ruled that out. The mystery behind her demise continues.

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"Shot Heard Round the World"

The American Revolution was officially commenced in 1775 after the "shot heard around the world" was fired, as coined by poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. This sparked the clash between the Americans and the British, known as Battle of Lexington and Concord, to begin.

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MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / Contributor via Getty Images

The shot is a crucial aspect of history, but no one seems to know who fired the gun. Some believe it one of the British soldiers, while others credit an American colonist? Nevertheless, we can never truly know who is right. The historic shooter remains unknown.

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Dyatlov Pass

In 1959, nine friends went on a ski trip in the mountains of Russia. But sadly, what was meant to be an enjoyable day turned into a tragic event, because the group never came home. When investigators found their abandoned tent ripped apart, many questions arose.

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LEMMiNO via Youtube

The mystery continued to unravel when their 9 remains were examined. Each one had a different set of injuries, which greatly confused detectives. One suffered third-degree burns, while another was missing their tongue. Unfortunately, they were never able to figure out what happened in the snow that night.

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Babe Ruth's Called Shot

Many fans may be unhappy with this next unsolved mystery as it was never truly proved that Babe Ruth called his shot during the 1932 World Series Game. The baseball legend went up to bat during the fifth inning of the Yankees vs. Chicago Cubs game when supposedly he accurately pointed out where his ball would land.

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MPI / Stringer via Getty Images

Although there's a video that shows where he pointed, there's no legitimate proof whether he was aiming for the center-field or maybe the pitcher. It can't be certain if he intended for the ball to fall where it did. Yet still, that day, Babe Ruth made a historical home run that remains iconic.

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Zodiac Killer

The "Zodiac Killer" taunted the San Francisco Bay Area around the late 1960's early 1970's. While there were 7 victims reported, the criminal claimed that he had harmed at least 37 individuals. He sent handwritten letters to the SF Chronicle: "This is the Zodiac speaking," he wrote along with codes that could explain who he was.

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

The codes were finally cracked, and it read: "I like killing because it is so much fun." He added, "I will not give you my name because you will slow down or stop my collecting of slaves for the afterlife." Even with hundreds of attempts to track down the Zodiac Killer, his identity was never uncovered.

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Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart became the first woman aviator to ever fly a plane alone across the Atlantic Ocean in 1937. Sadly, her trip around the world would be her last one - because Earhart never made it back home. So, what exactly happened to her on the Lockheed Electra 10E plane?

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

U.S. authorities have theorized that she crashed her plane somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. But new theories have been made against that claim, as it's believed by many that Earhart survived the crash. While it's still an unsolved mystery, recently, remains were found near the Pacific. Maybe Earhart's mystery will be solved?

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Bigfoot

Bigfoot is a well-known myth whose been said to leave behind gigantic footprints around the forest. Every once in a while, it's reported that the large creature has been "spotted." For some reason, every picture of Bigfoot comes out blurry, leading to speculations on whether or not he is just a fabrication.

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

The existence of the massive creature still hasn't been proven, although many individuals have tried to do so in the past. Rick Dyer was a hunter who insisted he had ambushed and captured the beast's body. As it turned out, the truth was the "bigfoot" he claimed to have targeted was really a prop made out of latex and camel hair.

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Jack The Ripper

In 1888, a serial killer who became known as Jack the Ripper terrorized the locals living on the East end of London in Whitechapel District. Arguably, his most well-known attack was on 5 prostitutes who were named, "The Canonical Five." The motive behind the ambush was undetermined by authorities, which worried them.

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Historia via Shutterstock

Finally, a small clue presented itself when Jack the Ripper sent a letter to London Metropolitan Police Service, where he explained how he wasn't finished with his spine-chilling spree. Even after years of investigating, both the true identity of the killer and his reasonings remain a mystery.

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Cleopatra's Grave

According to ancient writings, Cleopatra VII and her lover, Mark Anthony, were buried together in a tomb located near the temple of Isis. Or were they? Despite many efforts of finding the historical figure's grave, no one has been able to locate where Cleopatra was laid to rest.

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Heritage Images / Contributor via Getty Images

In 2010, Egypt's previous antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, searched near an area where many bodies were buried during the time Cleopatra was alive. Although he found many ancient discoveries, the tomb was never discovered. And it probably will never be as archeologists predict that by now, it would be unrecognizable.

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Gardner Museum Heist

Possibly one of the biggest art thefts in history occurred on March 18th, 1990, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This likely succeeded because the two guards that night had little to no experience. As a result, the thieves easily stole 13 pieces of art, which together were worth more than $500 million dollars.

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Netflix via Youtube

The robbers were smart with the heist: They dressed up as Boston police and easily got through the security checkpoint. The crime went smoothly, and they got away with everything they wanted. Unfortunately, police were never able to find the criminals or the artwork. Today the frames of the stolen art remain empty, as a memorial.

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D.B Copper

In 1971, Dan Cooper or D.B Cooper boarded a plane going from Portland to Seattle. Soon after takeoff, he approached a flight attendant and handed her a handwritten note. "Miss, you should really read this note," he ordered. "I have a bomb." The note ordered that he receive $200,000 dollars (estimated $1 million today).

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Cooper also demanded he get 4 parachutes and a filled gas tank in Seattle. After stopping in Seattle and refueling, they set off to his desired location in Nevada. But when the aircraft landed, the mystery man was nowhere to be found. It's still unknown as to where he could have landed.

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Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript is a 250-page book filled with an unrecognized language. It's been reported through carbon dating that it was first made back in the 1400s and was possibly used as a guide to medicine. Even the first recorded owner of the manuscript, Georg Baresch, was unsure of what it meant.

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CESAR MANSO / Stringer via Getty Images

As it's been passed down to new owners, the mystery remains. Some have even speculated that the Polish book dealer who bought it in 1912, Voynich, made up the history of the book. But that theory didn't add up because of the carbon dating. Endless questions about the manuscript remain.

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The Pollock Sisters

In the 1940s, Florence and John Pollock had 4 children: 2 boys, and 2 girls, Joanna and Jacqueline, who were inseparable. One day, as they were walking to church, a woman fatally hit the 11 and 6-year old with her car. While their mom became depressed, John prayed he would have his girls back.

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Mirrorpix / Contributor via Getty Images

His prayers were answered when Florence became pregnant and oddly enough, birthed twin girls. Not only did they have the same birthmarks as Joanna and Jacqueline, but as they got older, they mentioned stuff only the deceased girls would have known. They were even scared of passing cars. This reincarnation case still baffles many.

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Paula Jean Welden

During her second year at Bennington College, Paula Jean Welden decided to go for a walk. But her roommate became worried when the 18-year old never came home. During the search for the teenager, her father also went missing for 36 hours. This had officials convinced he was a suspect of her disappearance.

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Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

Paula's father denied the accusations and even claimed that his girl had been alarmed about a boy at school and maybe he was the perpetrator. Despite many leads, investigators were unable to solve the case - and eventually, it went cold. Sadly, no one knows what happened to Paula on her walk.

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The Flannan Isles Lighthouse

Off the Western Coast of Scotland lays the Flannan Isles, home to many unpopulated islands. In 1899, a lighthouse was finally placed and lit in the area. A year later, in December 1900, there were 3 lighthouse keepers on duty who were never to be seen again.

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BuzzFeed Unsolved Network via Youtube

As ships passed by, they all noticed that the light was off. One of the lightkeepers who was off duty was on board a ship, so he fired a horn. But, when he received no response, he became concerned. After examining the light tower, everything looked normal... only the 3 men were gone. The mystery of where they went still remains.

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JonBenet Ramsey

JonBenet Ramsey was a child beauty queen who tragically went missing from her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her mom, Patsy, discovered a ransom note the day after Christmas in 1996, and she immediately called the authorities. At first, they didn't search the house, assuming she was taken.

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Helen H. Richardson / Contributor via Getty Images

But 8 hours later, her remains were found in the basement. Regrettably, the crime scene was compromised since many people were coming in and out of the house before finding Ramsey. The murder case became a national story, with thousands curious as to who was the offender. Sadly, no one was ever arrested, and it's still a mystery.

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Madeleine McCann

During a family vacation in Portugal, Mr. and Mrs. McCann left their children in the hotel as they went to dinner with other parents on the trip. They had a solid plan - every hour, one adult would go check on the kids. But panic spread when one of the parents didn't find Madeleine asleep in bed.

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Miguel Villagran / Stringer via Getty Images

"A 3-year-old British girl disappearing in a foreign country" quickly made headlines across the world. Thousands were intrigued, and many judged the parents for leaving the door unlocked. The unsolved mystery has led to many conspiracies - some even claim McCann is still alive today. But perhaps we'll never know what happened...

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