We all love spooky tales which defy explanation – which is clear from the popularity of our many unsolved mysteries lists. Therefore, we have dug around the vast body of literature on anomalous phenomena to present you with yet another list of mysteries of the unexplained. Because we have so many “unsolved mysteries” lists, it seems sensible to list them here so you can look over them before asking why we have not included your favorite in this list!
10. Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp
The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp is a humanoid cryptid which is said to inhabit areas of swampland in and around Lee County, South Carolina. He is described as being seven feet tall (over 2m), bipedal, and well built, with green scaly skin and glowing orange eyes. It is said to have three toes on each foot and three fingers on each hand which end in a circular pad on them that stick to walls. The first reported sighting of the creature was made by Christopher Davis, a 17 year old local, who said he encountered the creature while driving home from work at 2 AM on June 29, 1988. According to his account, Davis stopped on a road bordering Scape Ore Swamp in order to change a tire which had blown out. When he was finishing up he reported having heard a thumping noise from behind him and having turned around to see the creature running towards him. Davis said the creature tried to grab at the car and then jumped on its roof as he tried to escape, clinging on to it as Davis swerved from side to side in an effort to throw it off. After he returned home, Davis’ side-view-mirror was found to be badly damaged, and scratch marks were found on the car’s roof–though there was no other physical evidence of his encounter.
In the month that followed the Davis sighting there were several further reports of a large lizard like creature, and of unusual scratches and bite marks found on cars parked close to the swamp. Most of these are said to have occurred within a three-mile (5 km) radius of the swamps of Bishopville. Two weeks after the Davis sighting the sheriff’s department made several plaster casts of what appeared to be three-toed footprints – measuring some 14 inches (360 mm) in length – but decided against sending them on to the FBI for further analysis after biologists advised them that they were unclassifiable.
9. Hopkinsville Goblins
The Hopkinsville Goblins case, is a well-known and well-documented alleged Close Encounter event in the history of UFO incidents. The event occurred near the towns of Kelly and Hopkinsville, Kentucky beginning on the evening of August 21, 1955 and continuing through the next morning. UFO researcher Allan Hendry wrote “this case is distinguished by its duration and also by the number of witnesses involved.” Multiple eyewitnesses would claim that, for several hours stretching over a late evening and early morning, they repeatedly saw five glowing, silvery creatures, each three feet tall and seeming to float above the ground. The witnesses additionally claimed to have used firearms to shoot at the creatures, with little or no effect.
On the evening of August 21, 1955, Billy Ray Taylor was visiting friends for dinner when he observed strange lights in the sky to the west. He called the others outside. The group saw a luminous, three-and-a-half-foot-tall being with an oversized head, big, floppy, pointed ears, glowing eyes, and hands with talons at their ends. The figure, either made of or simply dressed in silvery metal, had its hands raised. When the creature approached to within about 20 feet of the Taylor home, the men began shooting at it, one using a shotgun, the other man using a .22 rifle. The creature, they said, then flipped over and fled into the darkness. As the men stepped from the porch to look for the body, a taloned hand reached from the roof and touched them. For the next few hours, all members of the household witnessed the creatures repeatedly moving toward the house.
8. Summerwind Mansion
Summerwind Mansion, formerly known as Lamont Mansion, is a now derelict cellar hole on the shores of West Bay Lake in Vilas County, North East Wisconsin. It is reputed to be one of the most haunted locations in Wisconsin. Due to abandonment, the elements and fire, little of the mansion currently remains standing. Summerwind was originally constructed during the early 20th century as a fishing lodge. In 1916 it was purchased by Robert P. Lamont, who employed Chicago architects Tallmadge and Watson to substantially remodel the property and convert it into a mansion. Lamont remained in Summerwind for approximately 15 years, during which time the maids told Lamont that the mansion was haunted, but he did not believe them. However, he is then reported to have abandoned the property suddenly in the mid 1930s after witnessing an apparition in the mansion’s kitchen.
After remaining vacant for some time, the house became the residence of Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw and their four children, who moved in during the early 1970s. It is from this time onwards that most of the haunting reports originate. After taking up residence, the Hinshaws reported a number of strange occurrences, ranging from flickering shadows that appeared to move down the hallways and soft voices that stopped when they entered rooms, to unexplained electrical/mechanical problems and sash windows that raised themselves. They also reported seeing the ghost of an unidentified woman who appeared several times in the vicinity of the house’s dining room. Within six months of moving into Summerwind, Arnold suffered a breakdown and Ginger attempted suicide. Arnold was sent for treatment and Ginger moved in with her parents in Granton, Wisconsin.
In June 1988 Summerwind was struck by lightning several times, resulting in a fire that destroyed much of the mansion. Oddly, lightning struck the house, not the taller trees around it. Today, only the house’s chimney stacks, foundations, and stone steps remain.
7. The Clapham Wood Mystery
The Clapham Wood Mystery is the name given to a collection of unusual events which are associated with the Clapham Wood, West Sussex, England, resulting in the area developing its own lore in popular culture. Events have included reports of people making unusual sights or experiencing unusual phenomena, and of family pets disappearing or sickening. There have also been several human deaths associated with the location. Since the 1960s the area has experienced a rash of UFO sighting, reports of people, experiencing nausea or the sensation of being pushed by unseen forces, or of witnessing patches of strange grey mist developing suddenly on pathways through the woods. Some people have also reported a strong sense of being followed. Studies with a gieger counter have revealed slightly elevated levels of background radiation in the area, which is surprising since the area is situated on chalk which is normally low in radiation. Early photographs of the wood appear to show a large crater or depression somewhere in the wood, though now the area is highly wooded and difficult to search.
Four deaths have occurred either in or close to the woods and have since become part of the lore surrounding it. The first death was in June 1972 when police officer Peter Goldsmith disappeared while hiking in the region. His body was discovered 6 months later. The second death was that of Leon Foster whose body was discovered in August 1975. He had been missing for 3 weeks. The third death was of Reverend Harry Neil Snelling, the former vicar of Clapham. He disappeared in October 1978 and his body was not found until 3 years later. English coroners ruled open verdicts in all three cases.
6. The Bridgewater Triangle
The Bridgewater Triangle is an area of about 200 square miles (520 km2) within southeastern Massachusetts in the United States. Since colonial times the area has been a site of alleged paranormal phenomena, ranging from UFO and “black helicopter” sightings (including many with multiple points of corroboration including police and a local news team), to poltergeists and orbs, balls of fire and other spectral phenomena, various “bigfoot” sightings, giant snakes and ‘thunderbirds’, as well as the mutilation of cattle and other livestock. Central to the area is the mysterious and largely untouched Hockomock Swamp, which means “the place where spirits dwell”, and which was called “The Devil’s Swamp” by early settlers. The Triangle also has been known to house several Indian burial grounds.
One of the most common phenomena reportedly observed in the area is “spooklights” or what otherwise matches the description of will-o’-the-wisp, sometimes known as ghost lights which are typically seen in boggy or swampy areas. The behavior of this phenomenon is consistent with mysterious lights allegedly observed within the Bridgewater Triangle, including those which are said to appear along train tracks every January.
5. The Mad Gasser of Mattoon
The Mad Gasser of Mattoon was the name given to the person or persons believed to be behind a series of apparent gas attacks that occurred in Botetourt County, Virginia, during the early 1930s, and in Mattoon, Illinois, during the mid-1940s. The first reported gasser incident occurred at the home of Cal Huffman, in Haymakertown, Botetourt County, where there were three reported attacks over the course of a single night.
At about 10:00 pm on December 22, 1933, Mrs. Huffman reported smelling an unusual odor, and was overcome by a feeling of nausea. The odor and the nausea returned again at about 10:30pm, at which time Cal Huffman contacted the police. A third attack occurred around 1:00 a.m., this time affecting the entire house; in total, eight members of the Huffman family were affected by the gas, along with Ashby Henderson, a guest staying at the house.
The next recorded incident occurred in Cloverdale on December 24. Clarence Hall, his wife, and their two children returned from a church service at about 9:00 p.m. They detected a strong, sweet odor and immediately began to feel weak and nauseated. Police investigating the case discovered that a nail had been pulled from a rear window, near where the gas appeared to be the most concentrated, and presumed that the nail hole had been used to inject it into the house. A third incident occurred on December 27, in which Troutville resident A. Kelly and his mother reported similar signs and symptoms to the Huffman and Hall cases. A fourth and fifth incident occurred on January 10, when Mrs. Moore, a guest in home of Haymakertown resident Homer Hylton, reported hearing voices outside before gas was injected into the room through a damaged window. The second attack that night was reported in Troutville, at the home of G. Kinzie.
At least 10 other cases were reported in Botetourt, and 10 years later, over 20 new cases were reported in Mattoon. One witness claimed to have seen the gasser and described “him” as a tall thin woman dressed as a man and footprints belonging to a woman were discovered at some of the scenes.
In the mid-eighteenth century, hunters in the Ochamchir region of Georgia (a Province of Russia on the edge of the Black sea) captured a ‘wild woman’ who had ape-like features, a massive bosom, thick arms, legs, and fingers, and was covered with hair. This ‘wild woman’, named Zana by her captors, was so violent at first that she had to spend many years in a cage with food being tossed to her. Eventually, she was domesticated and would perform simple tasks, like grinding corn. She had an incredible endurance against cold, and couldn’t stand to be in a heated room. She enjoyed gorging herself on grapes from the vine, and also had a weakness for wines, often drinking so heavily she would sleep for hours. As Colin Wilson points out in The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries, this is likely how she became the mother of many children to different fathers. These children usually died when she tried to wash them in the freezing river. The villagers started to take her children away from her and raise them as their own; unlike their mother, the children developed the ability to communicate as well as any other villager. Zana died in the village about 1890; the youngest of her children died in 1954. Her story was researched by Professor Porchnev who interviewed many old people (one as old as a hundred and five) who remembered Zana, as well as two of her grandchildren. The grandchildren had dark skin, and the grandson, named Shalikula, had jaws so powerful that he could lift a chair with a man sitting in it. It is believed that Zana may have somehow been a surviving member a previous evolutionary state of man.
3. The Devil’s Footprints
The Devil’s Footprints was the name given to a peculiar phenomenon that occurred in Devon, England on 8 February 1855. After a light snowfall, during the night, a series of hoof-like marks appeared in the snow. These footprints, measuring 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide and eight inches apart, continued throughout the countryside for a total of over 100 miles, and, although veering at various points, for the greater part of their course followed straight lines. Houses, rivers, haystacks and other obstacles were travelled straight over, and footprints appeared on the tops of snow-covered roofs and high walls which lay in the footprints’ path, as well as leading up to and exiting various drain pipes of as small as a four inch diameter. Reports of similar anomalous, obstacle-unheeded footprints exist from other parts of the world, although none is of such a scale as that of the case of the Devil’s Footprints.
2. The Death of Mary Reeser
Mary Reeser, born in 1881, was found almost completely consumed by fire in her Florida home in 1951. The odd thing about the discovery of her body was that part of her left foot was left completely unscathed, and the extremely high temperature required to cremate a human body did not cause damage to the room or objects around the pile of ash which remained. The FBI investigators called in Professor Krogman from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, in the hopes that he might explain the mystery. He said: “I find it hard to believe that a human body, once ignited, will literally consume itself — burn itself out, as does a candle wick, guttering in the last residual pool of melted wax Just what did happen on the night of July 1, 1951, in St. Petersburg, Florida? We may never know, though this case still haunts me. I cannot conceive of such complete cremation without more burning of the apartment itself. In fact the apartment and everything in it should have been consumed. I regard it as the most amazing thing I have ever seen. As I review it, the short hairs on my neck bristle with vague fear. Were I living in the Middle Ages, I’d mutter something about black magic.” The mystery has never been solved.
1. The Amityville Incident
There won’t be many people reading this list who have not heard of the Amityville horror movie – and the majority will no doubt have watched it. What you may not know is that it is based on true events. The authors of the original book (George and Kathy Lutz) were convinced right up to their deaths that the story was true. In 1975, the couple moved in to a home in Amityville, New York. Unbeknownst to them, 13 months earlier, the son of the previous owners shot and killed all six members of his family – claiming to have been directed by voices in his head. The killer (Ronald DeFeo) is still in prison in New York and will remain there until his death. Most strangely, all six of the victims were found lying face down in their beds with no signs of a struggle or sedatives having been administered.
Within 28 days of moving in to the house, George and Kathy Lutz fled – claiming a series of horrific experiences forced them to leave. The family experienced foul smells, loud voices, physical attacks, and unexplained noises. All members of the family, at one time or another, witnessed glowing red eyes in the house. Kathy discovered a small hidden room that was painted red and the family dog refused to go near it. A priest was called in to bless the house and he also witnessed some of the phenomena which he later testified to on camera. The current owners, and those after the Lutzes claim to have had no unusual experiences in the house. The distinctive Dutch style windows have been remodeled to keep curiosity seekers away.