We will never solve all the mysteries out there. Not only will many historical enigmas remain unsolved, but many more will arise in the future. The MH370 Malaysian plane is a good example. With nothing conclusive after weeks of searching, will we ever discover its fate? On this list are some of the world’s lesser-known mysteries, which nonetheless remain impossible to solve.
5. The Hessdalen Lights
In 1997, Harald Dale was camping with his family in the valley of Hessdalen, Norway. Just after 6:30 one evening, Harald went outside to brush his teeth when he noticed something strange—three lights in a triangle formation were flickering in the darkening sky. The lights just floated there, the intensity of their glow changing with every flicker. Harald ran inside to call his kids to come and look. A few minutes later, the lights disappeared. Harald had become one of many people to witness the mysterious phenomenon known as the Hessdalen Lights.
Records of the lights date back to the 19th century. They have been reported to glow in many different colors, including blue, red, and yellow, and have been observed floating just a short distance above the ground or streaking across the sky at great speeds. The lights were particularly active during the 1980s, with up to 20 eyewitness reports coming in per week.
Scientists have been studying the lights for years, but have yet to come up with a widely accepted explanation. Theories include ionized dust, combustible particles in the air, and—naturally—UFOs.
4. The Mayerling Incident
In January 1889, the discovery of two bodies in a rural hunting lodge outside Vienna shook the world. The Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Prince Rudolf, and his lover, Baroness Marie Vetsera, lay side by side in a cabin in the village of Mayerling. They had been shot to death.
The mystery surrounding their deaths started when Prince Rudolf’s father, Emperor Franz Josef, put out an order that the tragedy be covered up. This was most likely because Rudolf was having an affair with Vetsera despite being married to a Belgian princess. In order to keep the affair under wraps even after the two lovers died, Marie Vetsera’s body was whisked away and buried in secret.
Since the church would not allow a proper funeral for a suicide victim, nobody even mentioned that this was a possibility. Instead, a rumor was spread that Rudolf had been poisoned by his enemies. However, the Emperor later told the Pope that he suspected Rudolf must have killed himself and Vetsera during a bout of temporary insanity. The Pope allowed a Catholic burial.
Only after the Emperor died in 1916 did the true details of the couple’s deaths come to light. By then, many outlandish rumors about the incident were doing the rounds. More than 100 years later, the speculation has not stopped. Theories include murder-suicide, a politically motivated killing, or a cover-up after Vetsera’s relatives shot Rudolf to death during a drunken brawl. It is likely that the only two people who knew the truth died in that lodge.
3. The Redpath Mansion
Another century-old cold case concerns the 1901 murder of Ada Maria Mills Redpath and her son, Clifford, in their luxurious Montreal mansion. Ada was an extremely wealthy widow who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Her son, on the other hand, was as healthy as a horse and in the process of preparing to take the Canadian bar exam. One newspaper speculated that Clifford couldn’t handle the stress of the exam and murdered his mother before shooting himself. Another paper claimed that the widow Redpath suffered from such severe insomnia that she tried to take her own life. When her son intervened, he was accidentally shot to death by his own mother.
Strangely, the coroner wrote his report on the case from details given by a doctor who wasn’t even at the murder scene. On such evidence, his report concluded that Clifford was an epileptic and must have had an episode of temporary insanity on the day he and his mother died. Even stranger is the fact that police were never called to the mansion. The tragedy happened on a Thursday evening and less than 48 hours later the burials were done and dusted. In a matter of weeks, life in the neighborhood resumed as usual. No one mentioned the murders again.
The Redpath Mansion murders remain one of the most fascinating mysteries in Canadian history.
2. Foo Fighters
The term “foo fighters” was applied to various UFO sightings that occurred during the Second World War. During the war, fighter pilots and crews on warships noticed strange lights in the sky and silver objects that looked like discs zipping overhead.
In late 1942, a Royal Air Force pilot was flying a Hurricane fighter plane over France when he noticed two strange-looking lights flying toward his aircraft. He assumed they were tracer fire—until he realized that the lights were actually following him, repeating all the moves he made while in the air. No matter how hard he tried, the pilot was unable to evade the lights. He also noticed that they kept an even space between them while pursuing him. Only after several miles did they finally disappear from view.
This strange incident came just four months after Marines in the Solomon Islands reported seeing a formation of over 150 silver-colored objects racing through the sky. The marines noted that the objects made a strange noise and that they didn’t have tails or wings as airplanes do.
All mention of the sightings was suppressed until the war neared its end. The first reports of “foos” didn’t hit newspapers until December 1944.
1. The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery
In 1900, the only living souls on the Scottish island of Eilean Mor were three lighthouse keepers, alone in the vast ocean.
The day after Christmas, a supply ship arrived at the island. To the crew’s surprise, the lighthouse keepers were not waiting for them on the island’s small dock. After blowing the ship’s horn and sending up a flare, there was still no activity on the island. A replacement lighthouse keeper named Joseph Moore was eventually sent to investigate.
As he climbed the narrow, rocky stairs leading up to the lighthouse, Moore recalled being struck with a sense of nameless dread. As he neared the door, he saw that it was unlocked. Stepping carefully inside, he also noticed that two of the three waterproof jackets usually kept in the hall were missing. Reaching the kitchen, he found the remains of a meal and a chair lying on the floor. The clock in the kitchen had stopped working. The lighthouse keepers were nowhere to be seen.
A further investigation revealed the disturbing final entries in the lighthouse log. The entry for December 12 was written by a keeper named Thomas Marshall. In it, Marshall claimed the island had been struck by severe winds, worse than anything he had experienced in his career. Even though the lighthouse was solid enough to outlast any storm, Marshall wrote that the Principal Keeper, James Ducat, was very quiet. The third keeper, William McArthur, was an experienced sailor and a famously tough tavern brawler. The log entry ended by noting that he had been crying.
Further entries recorded that the storm continued to rage for a few days. Secure in their lighthouse, the three men had nonetheless begun praying. The last entry stated: “Storm ended, sea calm. God is over all.”
Though the lighthouse was visible from the nearby island of Lewis, no storms were reported in the Eilean Mor area during the days noted in the log entry.
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