There are some things in this world that should not exist. These unexplained relics unearthed by modern humans should have been impossible to create, yet we can see them, touch them, and hold them in our hands. Theories about their origins can be scientifically sound, beyond crazy, and everything in between.
Was it divine inspiration or assistance from another world that led to their creation? We will probably never know, but it’s fun to think about.
Dodecahedrons of Rome
The ancient Romans were notorious for keeping records. They recorded troop movements, social calendars, even what they had for dinner. While this may just sound like an ancient version of Instagram, it has been enormously helpful in understanding the world that they inhabited. Even so, there are a few mysteries that persist. One of the strangest comes in the form of a small trinket. Known as Dodecahedrons, they are twelve-sided objects, with holes in each wall, and little nubs at each corner.
There are many theories about their use, from being a means of measuring the cosmos to holding waxy candles. In truth, they was probably used to assign skill points and determine a critical hit with a plus one gladius.
The lost city of Atlantis is, possibly, the most famous mystery in history. The Greek philosopher Plato first described Atlantis in 360 BC and its existence has been debated ever since. In 2014 an ancient Greek shipwreck was discovered in the Mediterranean sea containing possible evidence of the fabled city.
In his philosophical text, Critias, Plato describes a mythical metal said to originate from Atlantis known as ‘orichalcum’. Until now, the only examples of ‘orichalcum’ have been tiny ornamental objects, but the greek shipwreck sank with large ingots of the precious metal on board.
The London Hammer
In a small room of the Somerwell Museum sits an altogether impossible object. The object in question is an iron hammer, with a wooden handle, encased in a solid piece of rock. The hammer was discovered by a couple while hiking in London, Texas and has baffled the scientific community.
The hammer head is 96.6% pure iron, a concentration that can only be obtained by using relatively modern smelting technology, but the rock that surrounds it has been dated to over 400 million years ago. How did a modern hammer become encased within a rock that was formed before the dinosaurs were alive?
The Baigong Pipes
China’s vast landscape is littered with mysterious places. One of the most remote is Mount Baigong in Qinghai Province. In the naturally formed pyramid that crowns the impressive mountain, there are three caves that contain a series of iron pipes. The pipes allegedly travel deep inside the mountain, all the way to a saltwater lake several hundred feet away. Scientists agree that indoor plumbing on a mountain in the middle of the Chinese wilderness is unusual, but when they attempted to see how old these pipes were they found something really strange.
According to the Beijing Institute of Geology, these rusty iron tubes are over 150,000 years old! If true, this would entirely rewrite human history in the region and has led to speculation that ancient aliens may have been involved. Even Yang Ji, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, admitted the theory is “understandable and worth looking into … but scientific means must be employed to prove whether or not it is true.”
The Baghdad Batteries
Alessandro Volta probably thought he was pretty smart when he invented the battery in 1791. Little did he know the ancient Sumerians beat him to the punch by about two millennia. In 1938, at an archeological site just outside of modern Baghdad, Wilhelm Konig discovered an unusual clay pot.
The pot contained an iron rod encased in a copper cylinder, and signs of corrosion pointed to an acidic solution surrounding them. Incredibly, this is the exact same technology used to power your remote control! Subsequent examinations and tests, including an episode of Mythbusters on the Discovery channel, have confirmed that this 2,000-year-old device could definitely have held an electrical charge.
The Lizard Men of Ubaid
It is sometimes easy to forget that the region we now know as Iraq was once known as the cradle of civilization. More than 7,000 years ago humans set up the first permanent settlements, towns, and even cities here. Most of these societies fell to rubble long ago, but the people of the city of Al Ubaid left us a little something extra. Archeologists have found a wealth of artifacts, including a number of humanoid figures with oddly reptilian faces.
There is no evidence to suggest that they are religious in nature. It couldn’t be that the Ubaid people had contact with some sort of subterranean lizard people… could it?
Everyone knows about Stonehenge. It’s that ring of big heavy rocks that turns into a music festival for hippie witches and creepy warlocks every summer solstice. What gets confusing is exactly how this megalithic structure was built. The design consists of massive stones, the largest of which are 30 feet tall and weigh 25 tons standing upright and stacked on top of one another.
Where did all of those stones come from? The majority of them are from a quarry about 20 miles away, which sounds difficult. A few of the stones traveled a bit farther, as in 120 miles farther! That’s right, somehow an ancient people managed to transport massive slabs of rock over 140 miles of hilly, muddy, altogether unpleasant British soil. Science has no idea how this would have been possible given the technology at the time.
The Legend of the Crystal Skulls
No, this is not the ill-fated sequel to a horrible Indiana Jones film. The crystal skulls are a very real phenomenon, with very mysterious origins. Roughly a dozen skulls have been discovered in archaeological sites all over Mexico and Central America, some sites dating back over 1,300 years. A few are life-sized and extremely detailed. So detailed, in fact, that it would have been impossible to create them using the technology of the time.
On top of that, the skulls are said to possess magical powers and wisdom. If they do know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything they are keeping their lipless mouths shut.
The Ancient Greek Computer
In the early 1900s, a group of aquatic archaeologists began to recover shards of a mysterious mechanism from an ancient shipwreck dated from the first century BC. The device was named the Antikythera mechanism after a nearby Greek island, and has perplexed scientists for decades. It wasn’t until 2006 that we discovered how insanely complex the mechanism is.
CT scans revealed a complex network of gears and levers with intricate inscriptions that have yet to be fully deciphered. The Antikythera mechanism has been dubbed “an ancient Greek computer” as it is believed to be used to calculate celestial movements. It is unclear, as skilled as the ancient Greeks were, how they were able to design such a complicated and accurate device.
The Sri Lanka Meteorite Fossils
There are a lot of theories that these unexplained objects are either inspired or produced by aliens. These are often impossible to prove, but there is one exception. In 2012 a bright flash lit up the skies of Sri Lanka. The light was a meteorite plummeting to earth, but this was no ordinary piece of space rock. Three pieces were recovered and, upon analysis, an international team of scientists made the announcement. Proof that aliens exist!
Sadly the evidence doesn’t point to the gray, bug-eyed, take over the world sort of aliens. The extraterrestrials come in the form of microscopic organisms, similar to earthly marine algae. While this doesn’t give the X-Files fanboys and Roswell truthers much to cheer about, it is verifiable proof that life is out there.
The Devil’s Bible
There is a book that has fascinated and perplexed scientists and theologians alike. It is an ancient manuscript, written on pages of animal skin, and supposedly penned by the devil himself. The Codex Gigas, or The Devil’s Bible, is steeped in mystery. The legend tells of a monk sealed alive in a tomb. As he waited for death the condemned holy man wrote the entire book in one night. This would seem impossible, but he had a very prestigious co-author. Satan himself guided his hand, making this the most sinister collaboration in history.
Beelzebub, not known for his subtlety, even included a truly haunting full page illustration of himself. Though the story is most likely religious propaganda, the aura of mystery persists and there really is now way to prove one way or the other.
The Voynich Manuscript
There are mysterious books, and then there is the Voynich Manuscript. The manuscript was written in the early 1400s by an unknown author. It contains illustrations of plants, star formations, strange rituals, and countless pages of mysterious text. The text is mysterious, not because of any cryptic information it expresses, but because no one has any clue what it says.
The book is written in an as-yet-unidentified language that can not be deciphered and has never been used before or since. Some of the best code breakers in history have tried to unravel the enigma of the Voynich Manuscript, but all have failed.
The Williams Enigmalith
Despite having what is easily the coolest name on this list the Enigmalith looks rather unimpressive at first. At a distance, it looks like a simple stone that has been worn by time into a soft oval shape. On closer inspection we find what appears to be a modern-day electrical component embedded in this piece of granite.
Very few scientists have bothered to study this marvel, even though its owner John J. Williams has offered to subject the rock to any test so long as he is present. It has been successfully dated to 100,000 years old. That is roughly the time early humans first traveled out of Africa!
The ingredients for building a society are as follows: First, you invent farming, then you invent building, then you invent religion. For centuries this has been the understood order of early man. Then someone discovered Gobekli Tepe and ruined a perfectly good timeline. Gobekli Tepe is believed to be an ancient religious site located in Turkey, but it’s not just any religious structure. This ruin might be the original religious structure, or at least the oldest we have discovered thus far.
Gobekli Tepe predates any human farming in the region, and this throws a massive wrench into the accepted theory of cultural evolution. How did the people of this region make the massive leap, from nomadic hunter-gatherers to faithful worshipers, without learning to cultivate their own food first?
Disappearance of the Sanxingdui
It sounds strange, but sometimes the mystery of something that is there is overshadowed by the mystery of something that isn’t there. The ancient Sanxingdui civilization existed in the early history of what is now China and created some of the most incredible artifacts. Using an extremely advanced method the Sanxingdui people created bronze statues and masks that are bigger and grander than anything on earth at that time.
This prosperous society thrived until approximately 3,000 years ago when it suddenly vanished. There is no concrete explanation for why such a sophisticated people vanished from the face of the earth.
The Prehistoric Russian Gear
Deep in the wintry world of Russia, while preparing to light a coal fire, a man discovered a proverbial diamond in the rough. A small metallic shard was protruding from a lump of coal. Curious, the man brought it to a local scientist who inspected the object. The metallic item turned out to be a thin piece of aluminum with small teeth protruding from one side, not unlike a short piece of a gear wheel. According to Sputnik, a Russian government-controlled news agency, “The metal detail was supposedly 300 million years old and yet the scientists suggest that it was not created by nature but was rather manufactured by someone.”
Though there is much conjecture, and there are many tests to do, science has yet to answer the question: How did a man-made gear fragment wind up in a 300,000,000-year-old lump of coal?
The Copper Scroll Treasure
Who hasn’t dreamed of finding a treasure map and following it to a mountain of riches? Sadly, treasure maps to rare valuables only exist in childhood dreams and Hollywood flops, or so we thought. A long thin sheet of copper was found bundled along with 800 other documents, known collectively as the Dead Sea Scrolls. This copper scroll contains directions to find what is possibly the greatest treasure in history, the Ark of the Covenant.
The scroll contains not only the locations of the ark but hundreds of other sacred treasures that were lost when the Babylonians destroyed King Solomon’s temple in 587 BC.
Nazca’s Lines in the Sand
There are few mysteries that exist on a grander scale than the Nazca lines. Scratched in the floor of the Peruvian desert, these enigmatic etchings cover over 50 square miles and contain pictographs of plants and animals up to 1,200 feet long. There are two major mysteries surrounding the lines: why were they created, and why are they so huge? There are more than 800 straight lines that don’t seem to correlate to anything in the landscape, and the pictographs are so massive they can only be recognized from high above.
This culture, with no concept of air travel, felt compelled to draw pictures in the earth that no one would see for thousands of years. This is one of those head-scratchers that makes you seriously consider extraterrestrial interference.
The Piri Reis Map
In the age of GPS and google it seems silly to get excited about a hand-drawn map, unless that map contains something that is simply not possible. Piri Reis, a Turkish admiral in the early 1500s, combined 20 source documents into one extremely detailed map of the Atlantic ocean and the surrounding coasts. Precise depictions of the coastlines of Europe, Africa, South America, and Antarctica. That last one is a bit surprising, considering Antarctica wasn’t officially discovered until 300 years later.
Things get really crazy when you look closer and notice that the continent, normally covered in glacial ice, looks surprisingly bare. Somehow Piri Reis was able to depict what the uncovered coast of Antarctica looks like, more than 6,000 years after it was encased in hundreds of feet of solid ice.
Shroud of Turin
These days science and faith seem to be at war, and the Shroud of Turin sits squarely in the middle of this debate. The shroud is believed to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ himself. In 1898, a photographic negative revealed that an image of a bearded man, looking quite a lot like Jesus, was somehow imprinted on the cloth. The shroud immediately became a religious icon and was hailed as proof of divine power. Never one to let such claims go unchallenged, the scientific community rallied to debunk the Jesus theory and explain the phenomenon.
117 years and thousands of scientific investigations later, science has failed to provide a rational explanation of what caused the image of a dead man to be emblazoned onto this thin piece of fabric.