Everyone loves a mystery. But part of the fun is being able to solve it. Unfortunately, some mysteries remain unexplained, even after hundreds (or even thousands) of years. Check out some of the world’s most interesting unexplained mysteries, ranging from UFOs to the inexplicable reason why certain rocks move on their own in Death Valley.
Nazca Lines In Peru
These strangely beautiful ancient geoglyphs are located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. There are hundreds of them, of which more than 70 represent animals such as birds, fish, jaguars and monkeys. There are also human figures, trees and flowers.
Experts including archaeologists, ethnologists, and anthropologists have examined the lines and figures as well as the ancient Nazca culture in order to determine their purpose. One theory is that the people created them so they could be viewed by the gods in the sky. It’s also possible they are related to astronomy and cosmology or may be an ancient observatory similar to Stonehenge in England.
Why People Yawn
You may be surprised to learn that scientists aren’t exactly sure why people yawn. One theory is that people don’t breathe as deeply when they are bored or tired. Yawning helps bring more oxygen into the blood and move more carbon dioxide out. However, some studies have shown that breathing more oxygen does not decrease yawning nor does breathing more carbon dioxide increase yawning.
Yawning may also help stretch the lungs and lung tissue, thereby increasing the heart rate to wake you up. The act of yawning may help redistribute a substance called surfactant that helps keep the lungs lubricated and prevent them from collapsing.
The Disappearance Of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared with 239 passengers and crew members on board. The flight ended somewhere in the Indian Ocean, according to Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, but many have questioned official statements about the disappearance.
Some believe the plane may have been hijacked, either electronically or by an unknown person or people. Others have speculated that it was an act of terrorism and/or it was shot down. Several people have theorized that there was a fire on board, perhaps in the cockpit or cargo compartment. Nine percent of people in a CNN survey believed it was an alien abduction.
Experts are still investigating the incident.
Moving Rocks In Death Valley National Park
There’s a really cool phenomena that occurs at Racetrack Playa in California. Small rocks and pebbles and even giant boulders weighing up to 700 pounds move and leave tracks on the desert floor without animal or human intervention. These walking rocks are known as sailing stones, sliding rocks, rolling stones and moving rocks.
Scientists have a theory about the movement. At night, the ground freezes. When the sun comes up in the morning, the ice sheets melt, allowing the rocks to “walk” across the ground until the surface is completely melted. While scientists have been able to prove the theory on bigger stones, they have not been able to explain it with smaller rocks and pebbles.
The Identity Of Jack The Ripper
Five women were murdered between Aug. 31 and Nov. 9, 1888, in the East End of London. The perpetrator was given the name Jack The Ripper. The serial killer targeted female prostitutes, cutting their throats and mutilating their abdomens. He may have also been responsible for 11 additional killings in 1891 in the Whitechapel area of London.
Police were never able to solve the murders. Some believed he was a doctor due to his penchant for dissecting some of the victims and removing their organs. Authorities were never able to agree on the identity of the killer. Over 100 suspects have been named over the years.
The Taos Hum
A certain segment of people have claimed to hear The Hum, an invasive, low-frequency sound that not everyone can hear. These hums have been widely reported in areas located in both the United States and United Kingdom.
Scientists studied the Taos Hum in New Mexico and determined that at least 2 percent of people could hear it but at different frequencies. In addition, people could move away from it and still hear it. Middle-aged people were more likely to hear it than other people.
No one is exactly sure what the cause of the hum is, although it’s believed some people may just be experiencing tinnitus.
Why Some People Are Left Handed
About 10 percent of the world’s population is left handed. These individuals favor using their left hand in daily activities, including writing and throwing a ball. People who are left handed often struggle to use everyday items mass produced for right-handed people, including scissors and cameras.
In the past, people who were left handed were often considered cursed and unlucky.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure why most people are right handed while only a small percentage are left handed. The trait tends to run in families, so scientists believe there may be a genetic component; however, they haven’t conclusively determined that there’s a gene related to left handedness.
Naga Fireball/Mekong Lights
Citizens of southeast Asia have regularly witnessed an unusual occurrence on the Mekong River, which they have dubbed “bung fai paya nak.” They report seeing glowing balls of fire rising from the water into the air. The objects have been described as red in color, and they range in size from sparklers to basketballs.
According to witnesses, the fireballs (thousands of them) can fly up to several hundred feet into the air before vanishing.
It’s possible that flammable phosphine gas from the marshy water is the cause of these fireballs. However, it’s unlikely they would spontaneously ignite. There is no clear explanation for their origin.
D.B. Cooper’s Identity
On Nov. 24, 1971, an unidentified man hijacked a Boeing 727 between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. The FBI gave into his ransom demands — $200,000 in unmarked bills (or $1,180,000 in today’s terms). The hijacker then parachuted out of the plane.
The media dubbed the man “D.B. Cooper.” Most experts believe he probably did not survive the jump from the airplane. However, that didn’t stop authorities from searching for answers for the next 45 years.
The bureau has had over 1,000 “serious suspects” in the case over the years. The FBI closed its active investigation of the case in 2016.
Sacsayhuaman is an ancient town near Cuzco, Peru, that was partially built by the Killke before the Inca inhabited the area. Structures in the town date back 1,000 years.
Although experts have been able to identify the date of the structures and determine that they were custom built, they do not know how the stones were moved. The structure is built on the mountainside and is very stable despite the lack of mortar to keep them together. In addition, some of the stones weigh a staggering 175 tons.
In 2008, archaeologists discovered additional ruins in the area. Some were ceremonial in nature, but their exact function is unknown.
A Cow’s North/South Eating Habits
Google Earth has introduced some interesting observations to the world. One is particularly strange: scientists have only recently discovered that cows face either north or south when eating. Apparently, eating while looking east or west just doesn’t happen.
There are a couple of theories for the bovines’ unusual eating habits. One is that the animals can sense magnetic north or south and are naturally drawn toward these directions. This is true for naked mole rats, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
The other theory is that the cows are avoiding the way the wind blows, which rarely happens from the north or the south.
The Identity Of The Babushka Lady
“The Babushka Lady” was present at President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. It’s believed she may have photographed the events surrounding the incident at Dealey Plaza. Eyewitnesses spotted her holding a camera, and film accounts also show her wearing a head scarf and seemingly filming the procession.
In one video, she is seen still standing with a camera at her face after shots were fired and most people around her took cover. Neither she nor the film she may have taken has ever been identified. In every photograph or video, her face is either obscured by her camera or she’s looking away. It’s unclear whether she was involved in the assassination.
The Location Of A Lost Inca City
Paititi is a legendary lost Inca city that is said to be full of gold and other valuable items. The city is reportedly located somewhere east of the Andes. Some believe it is tucked inside the remote rain forests of southeast Peru, northern Bolivia or southwest Brazil.
According to Peruvian legend, the hero Inkarri founded Q’ero and Cusco before relocating to the jungles of Pantiacolla to live the rest of his life in Paititi. Another version of the legend describes the city as an Inca refuge located between the borders of Bolivia and Brazil.
There have been dozens of expeditions spearheaded by those hoping to find the lost city. None have succeeded.
The Voynich Manuscript
The Voynich manuscript has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century. It is an illustrated, hand-written codex with an unknown writing system that was possibly created in Northern Italy during the Renaissance.
Experts, including cryptographers and code breakers, have been unable to decipher the text in the manuscript. Many people have tried to determine its purpose. Some believe it relates to early modern medicine due to the various botanical illustrations. However, that’s only one section of the book.
There are actually six sections: astronomical, biological, cosmological, herbal, pharmaceutical, and recipes. There are many theories about the book’s origin, none of which have been proven.
The Greek Parthenon is a former temple built in 438 BC that was dedicated to the goddess Athena. There are many questions related to the creation of the Parthenon. For one, it’s unclear how the ancient Greeks, with only access to primitive tools and resources, were able to transport the marble from Mount Pentelicus to the site.
It’s also remarkable that the builders were able to create such a precise and accurate structure without the help of modern technology. The workers were somehow able to construct the Parthenon with incredible proportions and form, something that would be challenging even today. Experts still don’t know how they did it.
Kenneth Arnold’s UFO Sighting
On June 24, 1947, a man named Kenneth Arnold was flying a private plane near Mount Rainier when he claimed to see nine unidentified flying objects in the sky. He estimated they were traveling at a staggering 1,200 miles per hour.
Arnold was interviewed by the press the next day, and the news of the suspected sighting went nationwide. Over the following few weeks, several other people came forward with their own UFO sightings. After the incident, the terms “flying saucer” and “flying disc” became common vernacular for describing UFOs. Arnold believed that if they weren’t military vessels then they were extraterrestrial in origin. Possible theories are that they were actually clouds of snow or even spots of water on the airplane’s windows.
The Creation Of The Antikythera Mechanism
In 1900, a group of Greek sponge divers found the Antikythera Mechanism in a shipwreck. Part of a larger bronze sculpture, the piece is over 2,000 years old. According to scientists, it includes more than 30 bronze gears that were used to follow the movement of stars, planets and eclipses. The device was even used to track the cycles of the Olympic Games.
About 82 pieces of the Antikythera Mechanism have been discovered at the bottom of the ocean. What makes it very mysterious is that scientists have been unable to figure out how this highly sophisticated, advanced technology was created.
Unusual nocturnal lights have been reported in the rural area of Hessdalen, Norway, since at least the 1930s. No one knows the origin of the lights, which appear at night above the valley.
The lights are white, yellow or red and have appeared both above and below the horizon. They light up the sky for as little to a few seconds to as long as an hour. The lights have been spotted moving very quickly as well as floating slowly back and forth. Sometimes they just hover.
It’s been theorized that the lights are caused by ionized iron dust or they are a product of piezoelectricity, an electric charge.
The Petralona Skull
In the late ’50s, a shepherd in Greece found the Petralona cave that had a human skull embedded on the wall. The skull was named Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis by Aris Poulianos, the former head of the Anthropological Association of Greece.
Scientists determined that the skull was approximately 800,000 years old — the oldest European hominid ever discovered. However, the Anthropological Association determined that the Petralona skull evolved separately in Europe and was not related to any species that came out of Africa, directly contradicting the “out of Africa” theory in which early humans expanded into Eurasia.
Strangely, the Greek government has banned further research on the cave on several occasions.
Masonic Initiation Wells
Every year, thousands of tourists visit Sintra, Portugal, to see the lavish estate Quinta da Regaleira. Visitors enjoy looking at the architecture, which combines Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance styles, but they also travel there to see something underground — a set of wells that look like underground towers with stairs.
What is unusual about these wells, known as “Initiation Wells” or “Inverted Towers,” is they were never used and their purpose was not to collect water. These unusual towers were intended for ceremonial purposes and mysterious Tarot initiation rites. The spacing of the landings and the steps are connected to Tarot mysticism.