Can you solve the Incident at Dyatlov Pass, the Ghost Ship-Mary Celeste, the Elusive D.B. Cooper, and the Enigma of the Living Statues? These stories never cease to intrigue and baffle those who are familiar with their haunting details.
The Incident at Dyatlov Pass
On the 1st of February, 1959, a group of nine ski-hikers entered the northern Ural mountains of Russia on what is now Dyatlov Pass. Evidentially, several days into their journey, they settled down for the night, setting up their camp and enjoying dinner together. They were never seen again.
On the 26th of February, a search team came upon the hikers’ tent and noticed some abnormalities about the campsite, most notably the fact that the tent had been torn open from the inside. Searchers also found footprints in various conditions: some with socks, some with only one shoe, and some completely barefoot. The footprints led into a wooded area nearby where two members of the group were found dead. They were clothed only in underwear.
Hypothermia was suspected initially (and some people still believe this is the case) however, medical examiners later disagreed on this conclusion. As more bodies were discovered, contradicting evidence pointed them away from the popular theory of hypothermia.
Eventually, the remaining group members were also found deceased in the area. One victim had suffered blunt force trauma as if they had been savagely assaulted. Another hiker had third-degree burns on their body. Yet another had been vomiting blood at the time of their death. The last one, and in my personal opinion the most mystifying one of them all, was the victim who was missing their tongue.
If that isn’t puzzling enough for you, their clothing was found to be radioactive. This brought into question whether the KGB was somehow involved in these seemingly random deaths. Other theories that have been purposed include an avalanche, drug abuse, aliens, and Bigfoot or the Yeti.
Whatever happened on that dark and bitter night on Dyatlov Pass still goes unsolved to this day, and may remain that way indefinitely.
The Ghost Ship — Mary Celeste
As a great lover of ghosts and the ocean alike, this one catches my eye every time I see the story retold. On the 4th of December, 1872, the Mary Celeste, a British-American ship, was spotted adrift on the Atlantic Ocean. She was completely intact and structurally sound. She even still carried her cargo but was missing her lifeboat. Even more mysteriously, the ship’s entire crew was nowhere to be seen.
On her original journey in November of 1872, the Mary Celeste left port from New York headed for Genoa, Italy. At the helm was Captain Benjamin Briggs, who was accompanied by his wife and young daughter, along with seven crew members. The ship had enough supplies to last for at least six months.
The most intriguing discovery aboard the ship was no doubt the ship’s daily log entries. Where investigators would expect to see a reason for the crew’s abandonment of the vessel, the logs revealed nothing out of the ordinary.
Many theories have developed over the years since the Ghost Ship suddenly reappeared solo on the waters. These theories include a pirate takeover, mutiny, aliens, and sea monsters. Scientists have also speculated that an explosion from alcohol fumes could have occurred, but there was no physical evidence to support the existence of a fire on board.
What really happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste? Will we ever uncover the truth she hides behind a watery veil?
The Elusive D.B. Cooper
This one ranks at the top of one of my favorite unsolved mysteries of all time. I love a good, chilling story that has all the elements of excitement: criminal mischief, loads of money, the thrill of the chase, and, of course, vanishing into thin air.
On the 24th of November, 1971, Dan Cooper, also popularly referred to as “D.B.,” boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 305 in Portland, Oregon. The plane was Seattle bound and expecting a very short flight duration of about 30 minutes. Eyewitnesses described Cooper as approximately 40–50 years old, dressed neatly in a dark-colored suit, black tie, pearl tie-clip, and a crisp, white-collared shirt.
While seated on the flight, he ordered a bourbon and soda from the flight attendant and smoked a cigarette. He paid for his drink in cash.
Then suddenly he passed a note to the young flight attendant, and when she didn’t immediately read it under the assumption that he was giving her his phone number, he spoke up and said to her, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.”
Cooper reclaimed the note after she had read it, making the exact words he had written unknown. However, it demanded $200,000 cash (the equivalency of $1 million today) and four parachutes. He also insisted on a fuel truck to be waiting for the airplane’s arrival in Seattle.
The captain of Flight 305 was made aware of the situation and contacted the airline’s president, who then authorized the crew to give full cooperation to the mystery man’s demands. The other passengers were told their landing would be delayed due to mechanical difficulties.
Upon arrival at the Seattle airport, a knapsack full of cash and the parachutes requested by Dan Cooper were delivered. Once the items were in his possession, he released the passengers and two of the flight attendants. He then ordered the plane to be refueled and informed the remaining crew that he intended a southeasterly route to Mexico with a stop in Nevada to once again refuel.
When the plane landed in Reno, Cooper was missing. It is assumed he made his exit by jumping out of the plane, but no body or parachute was ever recovered. The ransom money was never spent. However, in 1980, a family vacationing in Oregon came across several bundles of cash, identified by authorities as Dan Cooper’s ransom money using their printed serial numbers.
Despite this significant discovery, the fate of “D.B.” Cooper remains unsolved.
The Enigma of the Living Statues
Our final mystery was one I had never even heard of before, which is saying a lot since it is a subject I am highly interested in and love to research. Medical anomalies tend to be beyond our understanding and unexplainable until technology eventually catches up; if, in fact, it ever does.
From 1917 to 1928, half a million people fell victim to a frightening condition which was later dubbed “the sleeping sickness.” Although they were still conscious and alive, their physical bodies were frozen in time: locked up inside their own minds.
The medical term for the condition is known as Encephalitis lethargica and was first seen in Europe. It wasn’t long before the sickness spread to other parts of the world, including India and North America. It is estimated that a third of those who came down with the strange illness died from it. A large percentage of those who survived could no longer move their bodies and interact as they once had.
This immobility led to the appearance of “living statues” who were motionless for hours, if not for years. On rare occasions, victims of the disease were able to move their eyes, speak, and even laugh in some limited capacity.
Although the exact cause has never been discovered, scientists theorize that brain inflammation brought on by the bacteria, streptococcus, could be the culprit. The idea behind this is that the presence of the bacteria caused the immune system to attack the brain, shutting down many of the body’s major functions.
In 2004, 20 patients were analyzed and found to have very similar symptoms to “the sleeping sickness” but it hasn’t widely been seen since.
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