In 1587 121 colonists led by John White arrived on Roanoke Island in present day North Carolina to establish a colony. As tensions mounted with the native population, however, John White returned to England in order to solicit reinforcements. When he returned several years later the settlement was deserted with no signs of a struggle and no remains to be found anywhere. The settlement became known as the Lost Colony and none of its members were ever seen again.
In the dry lakebed of Racetrack, Death Valley stones as big as 700 pounds mysteriously slide across the surface of the earth without any notable external forces acting upon them. While some researchers believe a combination of natural events, such as wind and ice, cause these stones to “sail”, others question this theory pointing out that the stones don’t follow a predictable path and change directions abruptly.
A low-pitched sound often described as something similar to a diesel engine idling in the distance is heard in numerous places worldwide, especially in the USA, UK, and northern Europe. The name comes from the small town of Taos, New Mexico where in 1997 Congress actually had researchers try identify it. In spite of efforts like this, however, its source remains a mystery.
On August 15, 1977 Dr. Jerry R. Ehman detected a strong narrowband radio signal while working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University. Amazed at how closely it matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal, he circled it on the computer printout and wrote the comment “Wow!” next to it. Although it lasted for a full 72 seconds, it has not been detected again.
A term coined by Ivan Sanderson referring to twelve geographic areas that have been responsible for numerous mysterious disappearances. The best known of the so-called “vortices” is the Bermuda Triangle. Others include the Algerian Megaliths to the south of Timbuktu, the Indus Valley in Pakistan, and the “Devil’s Sea” near Japan.
An unexplained atmospheric phenomenon typically associated with thunderstorms that consists of spherically shaped, floating balls of electricity. Due to its rare and fleeting nature, it has proven almost impossible to study. The best-documented case occurred in 1984 when ball lightning measuring about four inches in diameter entered a Russian passenger aircraft and “flew above the heads of the stunned passengers before leaving the plane almost noiselessly.”
While the unexplained and spontaneous ignition of living human tissue has been recorded many times throughout history there has not been any conclusive research done on the topic due to lack of evidence. Some of the more prevalent explanations, however, include static electricity, concentrated gas, and raised levels of blood alcohol.
In 1908 a blazing fireball descended from the sky and devastated an area about half the size of Rhode Island in the wilderness of Tunguska, Siberia. It has been estimated that the explosion was equal to more than 2,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs. Although for many years scientists thought it was probably a meteor, the lack of evidence has led to numerous speculations ranging from UFO’s to Tesla Coils and to this day no one knows for sure what caused the explosion.
An area of water between Florida and Puerto Rico, the Bermuda Triangle has been responsible for the unexplained disappearance of numerous ships and aircraft. Over the years many explanations have been put forward to account for the disappearances, including bad weather, variations in electromagnetic activity, and methane gas bubbles.
Also known as the Sasquatch, sightings usually come out of the American Northwest. Although most experts consider the Bigfoot legend to be a combination of folklore and hoaxes, there are several that withhold their reservations. Like the Loch Ness monster, they say, Bigfoot may be a living remnant from the time of the dinosaurs – specifically a Gigantopithecus blacki – a supersize ape.
In his dialogue Timaeus and Critias, Plato describes Atlantis as a formidable naval power that conquered much of Europe and Africa circa 9000 BC. After failing to invade Athens, however, it sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune”. While there have been numerous efforts focused on locating the remains of the city, nothing tangible has ever been found.
During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island after giving her last radio transmission. Although the official version states that Earhart ran out of fuel and crashed at sea, there have been numerous speculations ranging from capture by Japanese forces to living out the rest of her days as a spy for the CIA.
A medieval document written in an unknown language, for hundreds of years its contents have remained a mystery. Although the prevailing theory is that it served as a pharmacopoeia, the puzzling illustrations have fueled many other theories about its origins and content.
Literally translated to the “The Goat Sucker”, the name is derived from the fact that it supposedly attacks animals to drink their blood…particularly goats. It is most commonly described as a lizard-like being, appearing to have leathery skin and sharp spines running down its back. Given the name it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most sightings come out of Latin America.
In 1968 an underwater rock formation was found near North Bimini Island in the Bahamas. Although it is considered by some scientists to be an example of naturally occurring tessellated pavement, the unusually symmetrical arrangement of stones has led to speculations about it being the remnant of some long lost civilization.
A legendary creature reportedly seen in and around the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia between November 15, 1966 and December 15, 1967. Because there were no more sightings after the collapse of the Silver Bridge on Dec 15, legend has it that the two events were somehow connected. Biologists, however, have theorized that the creature was actually a sandhill crane that had wandered from its typical migration path.
A mysterious woman wearing a brown overcoat and a scarf on her head that appears in numerous photos immediately following the Kennedy assassination, her name came from the fact that Russian grandmothers – also called babushkas – used to wear similar scarves. It is hard to tell from the photographs but it seems she is taking pictures and although the FBI publically requested for her to come forward with her footage, she never did.
In 1947 the body of Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia according to local newspapers, was found in two pieces in a Los Angeles parking lot. There has been much speculation over the source of her nick-name and in spite of one of the largest police investigations in history no murderer was ever found.
A notorious hijacker who, on November 24, 1971, leapt from the back of a Boeing 727 after receiving $200,000 dollars in ransom money and a parachute. Although Cooper was never heard of again, several thousand dollars with serial numbers matching the ransom money were discovered along the banks of the Colombia River years later.
A serial killer who, in the 1960s murdered at least 5 people in North California, he is famous for taunting the police with cryptic letters that contained information he claimed would reveal his identity. While Arthur Leigh Allen was the prime suspect, all of the evidence was against him being the killer and to this day the Zodiac murders have not been solved.
An unexplained series of lights that have been appearing on Mitchell Flat east of Marfa, Texas for most of the last century, they are described as being the size of a basketball, floating in the air at around shoulder height, and sometimes moving rapidly in various directions. Although sightings are rare there is a large amount of photographic and video evidence. Skeptics, however, usually attribute them to traffic on US Route 67, or electric byproducts of quartz mining in the area.
An American labor leader and criminal, Hoffa disappeared from a parking lot in Detroit shortly after his release from prison. He had been allegedly due to meet up with a couple Mafia leaders but was never heard from again. While the most popular belief is that he was shot and buried in the Giants stadium, when the MythBusters team dug in the part of stadium where Hoffa was supposedly buried they found nothing.
Jack the Ripper
A serial killer that terrorized London’s East End around the turn of the century, his name was taken from a letter he allegedly sent to a local newspaper. The murders were fairly gruesome and typically involved the dismemberment of prostitutes. In spite of modern police methods, to this day no one knows who the Ripper was.
The Mary Celeste
On November 7, 1872 the Mary Celeste departed New York with Captain Briggs, his wife, young daughter and a crew of eight. Expected to dock in Italy, none aboard were ever seen again. The ship itself was found floating in the middle of the Strait of Gibraltar with no signs of a struggle and everything intact except for a missing Captain’s log.
Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness is a large, deep freshwater lock in the Scottish highlands where for centuries people have been reporting sightings of a fairly large cryptid that has affectionately come to be known as “Nessie”. Not only has it been photographed repeatedly, it has even been caught on videotape – as recently as 2007. Heck, it’s even popped up on some sonar equipment. Unfortunately, however, the data and footage is never clear enough to definitively verify its existence. So, for now, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology in history.