How much do you love a mystery? A TV detective story, or an old school murder mystery perhaps? Or maybe you love getting lost in a good whodunnit book and you can’t help but turn the pages long into the night.
But what about actual real life mysteries? The strange goings on around the world, that make the headlines before disappearing without an answer. With our inquisitive human nature, we can’t help but get invested in these stories, and suffer frustration when there’s no plausible answer.
Here’s our top 30 unsolved mysteries of the universe – from missing people and disappearing planes to mysterious craters, orbs and lights that appear from nowhere. So get your detective hat on and open your mind, you’re in for a magical mystery tour!
A man turns into a mathematical genius
Of all the subjects at school that you wish you could’ve been better at, magically overnight, we’re willing to bet that it was maths. Well, that’s exactly what happened to one man, Jason Padgett, in 2002 in Washington, albeit after an upsetting and vicious attack.
Jason was attacked and left with severe concussion, PTSD and anxiety. But he was also left with something else – a mathematically genius brain and the ability to see the world through a complex mathematical lens. Not only that, he’s able to understand extremely complicated physics, too. His doctors think that although traumatic, the attack “unlocked” the part of the brain that’s responsible for seeing mathematical structure and geometry. Jason now “sees shapes and angles everywhere in real life”. Such after effects of a brain injury, where people develop amazing abilities (usually artistic or musical) is known as savant syndrome, which is extremely rare.
Everything to Jason is pixilated and he can see geometry in everything from a circle on a piece of paper to rain drops and within rainbows. It means he can draw extraordinary mathematical drawings. Whilst we’re not saying a knock to the head should form a part of our studies, what a strange concept to have to live with!
How do fireflies flash in unison?
Straddling the border of North Carolina and Tennessee sits the Great Smoky Mountains. These mountains are home to huge swarms of a certain species of firefly, one of the only type of firefly capable of synchronising their flashes from their light producing organs, called lanterns. The light of a firefly is beautiful but this mysterious phenomenon of tens of thousands of them all emitting synchronised flashing lights truly has researchers stumped. How do they do it?
This natural lightshow occurs for around two weeks each year during the mating season when the males flash their lanterns whilst seemingly dancing, to impress the females. Researchers think that they take their cues from each other to create a rapidly cascading wave of flashes and lights. This then looks like simultaneous flashes to the human eye.
But quite how thousands upon thousands of fireflies do this together, science simply cannot explain. Especially since one firefly can only communicate with the few immediately surrounding it. Mother Nature probably has the answer, but as it’s so often the case, she’s holding her cards firmly to her chest.
The bridge that bewitches dogs
If you own, or have ever owned a dog, then you’ll know that most of the time, they’re happy and excitable, especially when on a “walkies”. So it’s saddening to hear of this story, of a bridge in Scotland where hundreds dogs have all of a sudden, jumped from the bridge after seemingly being compelled to do so.
Owners have described the incidents as their dogs freezing and then becoming “possessed by a strange energy” before running and jumping from the Overtoun Bridge in Dumbarton. Since the 1950s, many have sadly lost their lives on the dangerous rocks below. The rational explanation is that they’re following the scent of small mammals who live under the bridge. But more mysteriously, Pagan Celts call this area a “thin place” where heaven and earth overlap. Many locals report seeing or feeling spirits in the area.
Scotland is known for being a spiritual place, full of superstition, and the ghost of the White Lady of Overtoun, a sad, grieving figure that has been reported more than several times, is said to roam the bridge. Could she be luring the dogs down to her to help her with her grief?
The Mystery of Forest Grove, Oregon
Residents of a pretty normal suburb of Portland, Oregon were given a rude awakening after a dark February night in 2016. The noise was described as piercing by some and as a “bad one note violin solo, broadcast over a microphone with nonstop feedback” by one particularly annoyed individual.
The noise would always occur at night and lasted for weeks. It became the hottest topic in town as residents tried to work out where the noise was coming from. A professor of physics even set up a crowdsourced map, where locals could drop a pin detailing where and when they heard the noise. Alas, the map didn’t give any indication what could be the source of such a strange noise in the middle of the night.
And so, speculation abound. Everything from street lamps with failing bulbs to an alien mothership attempting contact and the seven biblical trumpets sounding the end of time was put forward. But police assumed the noise was created by pranksters, hell bent on destroying the night time peace. In fact, the noise came to a halt a few days after the police issued a warning that anyone up to no good would be reprimanded. Prank put to an end by the police warning or phenomenon or being who happened to be scared of the authorities? You decide!
Russia’s drunken forest
Our bet is that you’ve probably seen a fair few people dancing that have perhaps had a few too many to drink. The dance floor of a family wedding is especially good for spotting a drunken dance.
But have you ever seen a tree that’s drunken dancing? No? Well, head to the Dancing Forest of Russia on the Kruglaya Dune of the Curonian Spit, and you’ll see plenty. Known locally as the Drunken Forest, there are dozens of trees with trunks contorted into all kinds of twists and spirals, exactly like the legs of someone under the influence and a little unsteady on their feet.
Originally planted to help stabilise the dune sands in the 1960s, no one quite knows how they’ve become so wiggly. Some say it’s the sand itself, others say it’s a type of caterpillar that damaged the shoots of the young trees. But spiritualists say it’s down to the fact that these dancing trees have been planted across positive and negative energy lines and that these opposing forces have caused this unique forest. Legend also has it that Christian Gods made the trees dance centuries ago in order to prove their existence, hence their twisted look. Either way, they’re stunning to look at. See more scientifically impossible places that actually exist
Why was Stonehenge constructed?
Perhaps one of the most famous landmarks of the South of England, Stonehenge stands proudly on Salisbury Plain. It’s also one of the most talked about megaliths and is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
How did these gigantic stones get to where they are, and why? The largest stones, called sarsens, are 9 metres tall and weigh 25 tonnes. It’s thought they came from Marlborough Downs, 20 miles away. Even the smaller stones weigh around 4 tonnes, relatively ‘light’, but they’re thought to have come from Wales, 140 miles away.
It’s thought the entire site evolved over a period of 10,000 years and was much, much bigger. The area we call Stonehenge was built around 5,000 years ago. Dozens of burial sites and shrines have also been found in this sacred area. As many of us learned in school too, the stones are aligned perfectly with the sunrise and sunset of the summer solstice. Because of its beauty and quite frankly, astonishing architectural prowess, perhaps it’s more romantic that we never quite know who put Stonehenge there and why? Maybe some things are just better left unexplained…
The mysterious “Candelabra of the Andes”
As far as mysterious etchings in the land, where there’s no record of who put it there, the Candelabra of the Andes takes some beating. Just like a crop circle that emerges overnight, this so called geoglyph (a land art made of part of the surrounding landscape) must’ve sure baffled those living in its shadow when it appeared, it’s thought, around 200BC.
Measuring 2 feet deep and around 600 feet from tip to tip, this massive geoglyph dug deep into the sand of the Andes in Peru resembles a “bulbous three pronged fork” and has been likened to a candelabra in recent years. But how did it get there and what does it mean? Some say it was to get onside with the Incan creator god, Viracocha. Some say it resembles a local weed called Jimson, which has hallucinogenic effects, meaning that it could’ve had a ritual significance.
As to how the ancient Incans created it, without the tools and architectural knowledge we have today, is anyone’s guess. It also begs the question, did whoever put it there, think that thousands of years later, we’d still be asking the same questions about it?
The purple orb
Close to the coast of California, you’ll find the Channel Islands National Park, a beautiful area of the world with outstanding views and stunning nature reserves. But it’s beneath the surface of the water that surrounds this eight island chain that things start to get mysterious.
In 2016, an exploration team sailed to the area and used an exploration vessel to submerge themselves, and it was here that they discovered a “strange bright purple ball” that they say looked like an unhatched Pokémon. The purple blob measured no more than a few inches across and it left the researchers stumped as a creature like it had never been seen before. Everything from a sea squirt to a sea slug and even something related to jellyfish and coral were posited, but it fails to tick all the criteria needed to be one of these creatures.
Once onboard the ship, things got even more mysterious, as it began to unfold into two distinct lobes. The team then thought it could be a new type of ‘nudibranch’ which are a type of sea slug. But others thought it could be an embryo, but an embryo of what, they’re not sure. So is it a new, undiscovered species? Or is it something altogether other worldly? Only time will tell…
The Gurdon Light
Unlike many mysterious sightings that may have had a fleeting glance or never been captured, the Gurdon Light has been photographed, seen on TV and is accepted as being one that actually exists. So the mystery here isn’t whether or not it exists, it’s what’s causing it. The Gurdon Light is eerily blue-white light above a still used railway in Arkansas and moves from side to side, swinging as if a lantern is being carried by an unseen being.
It was first documented in the 1930s, shortly after the execution of a railway worker for the murder of a colleague. Could this be the apparition of a railway worker, swinging his lantern looking for revenge? Locals also say that it could be the ghost of an unfortunate man who fell into the path of the train and lost his head – which was never found. Could he be roaming the railway at night, looking for his head?
Local highway lights have been ruled out, as the sightings began long before the nearby highway was constructed. Scientists have also ruled this out based on the speed at which the light appears and disappears. It’s impossible to get close enough to the light to discover what it is, as it moves around continuously. So, could this be one of these mysteries that never gets solved?
The Lizard Man of Lee County
Lee County in South Carolina has its very own legend of folklore – the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, said to reside in the swamplands of the area. Sightings and damage said to be caused by the Lizard Man have been abound since the late 1980s.
It all began with damage to a car in 1988 when it was parked overnight next to the Scape Ore Swamp. The damage was reported as “toothmarks and scratches with hair and muddy footprints left behind”. This prompted another car owner to come forward to report damage to his car two weeks previously by a “green, wet like creature, about 7 feet tall with three fingers, red eyes, skin like a lizard and snakelike scales”. It was reported as walking towards him whilst he changed a flat tyre, and then damaging the car before chasing it as he drove off. The man describes a lucky escape.
The story has been scrutinised many times, with many pooh-poohing the idea that such a dangerous creature was hanging around, only making itself known once. But with no evidence to suggest the man was making things up, could there be a reptilian like creature on the loose in South Carolina?
The Dyatlov Pass incident
Russia’s Dyatlov Pass was the scene of the bizarre death of nine hikers in the winter of 1959. The team set off, pitched up and made camp on the snowy slopes of the somewhat aptly named Dead Mountain, or Kholat Saykhl on the night of February 1st… and nothing was heard from them again.
It was only weeks later that a search team found the tent, that had been cut open from the inside. Then, one by one, the nine bodies were found over the coming months, scattered around the area. Some in a state of undress, some with their skulls seemingly smashed open, others with missing eyes and one with a missing tongue. At the time, an “unknown natural force” was blamed and the notoriously secret Soviet Union didn’t mention the case again. Since then, in 2019, Russia reopened the case and a “small, delayed avalanche” is now officially to blame.
That is, despite the injuries sustained being blunt force trauma injuries rather than asphyxiation, which is normally the case in deaths by avalanche. Or there being any recorded snowfall that night. A freak and unusual avalanche? Or could that unknown natural force actually be something rather, unknown…? Maybe we’ll never know.
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
Perhaps one of the most harrowing in our list of unsolved mysteries, is the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. How can an entire Boeing 777 carrying ten crew and 227 passengers simply disappear without trace above the Indian Ocean? Yet it did, 39 minutes after take-off, the plane disappeared from the radar somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Vietnamese airspace.
Do the officials know more than they’re letting on? As soon as the plane disappeared from radar, it took a sharp and unplanned turn continued to fly in the wrong direction before disappearing again. This is backed up by secret Malaysian Airforce data, unreleased at the time, and officials say that as this took about an hour, they can’t rule out an accident.
Other satellite information suggests the plane actually continued for another six hours and places, via a satellite arc, in Kazakhstan if it turned North or the Indian Ocean if it turned South. The latter is the expert’s opinion, as is the theory that the plane then nosedived into the ocean at speed which would’ve broken it into millions of pieces. But why? Why did the plane continue in the wrong direction for hours, seemingly undetected and then abruptly fall from the sky?
The plain of jars
Travel to a remote corner of Laos and you’ll stumble across a range of fields covered in ancient stone jars. But as to who put them there, around 2,500 years ago, and why, no one is quite sure. These stone urns date back to the Iron Age and are scattered about, seemingly randomly, over hundreds of square kilometres. They’re randomly different in size, too, with some measuring an astounding 3 metres tall by a metre wide and weighing more than a few tonnes.
The area is rich in historic finds including human bones and stone lids. But why the stone jars? And by whom? Some archaeologists think that it’s a prehistoric burial site of a long forgotten tribe. Others think the urns could be part of a funeral rite and were used to decompose bodies.
But locals have their own theories ranging from potent rice wine vessels to celebrate mythical giants to whiskey jars for giants to drink from. Either way, like the mysteries surrounding many megaliths, how on earth did these enormously heavy jars get there? Maybe those giants weren’t so mythical after all?
Did the Pollock Sisters re-incarnate?
A sad story took place in Northumberland, England, in 1957. In a tragic car accident, a woman took the lives of two sisters, Joanna Pollock, 11, and her sister Jacqueline, 6.
A year later, Joanna and Jacqueline’s parents had twin girls, Gillian and Jennifer. Shortly after the twins were born, strange similarities began to appear between the children and their older sisters, who had disappeared the previous year. For example, Jennifer had a birthmark identical to Jacqueline’s and a scar above her eye, also identical to the one Jacqueline had suffered in a childhood accident.
The twins’ childhood also has many similarities, such as the toys they play with, their habits and personalities, which echo those of their older sisters. Although they left their home town when they were young, when they returned they knew where they were and both were very afraid of cars. As adults, Gillian had visions of a certain sandpit, which she had never visited, but which Joanna had. Had the twins inherited their parents’ grief or had they developed a learned behaviour? Or is this the most convincing case of reincarnation that has ever existed?
The Flannan Isle mystery
The first sign that something was amiss in the lighthouse on the Isle of Flannan in Scotland in 1900 was an absence of lights, noticed by the crew of a passing ship. Docking three days later and reporting their concern, the Lighthouse Board dispatched the lighthouse relief boat to investigate.
On arrival, and after climbing all 160 steps to the living quarters, the relief keeper discovered no sign of the three keepers on watch. He only found a stopped kitchen clock, an uneaten meal and a knocked over chair. Calling up the other crew members, the men began to look further and discovered signs of severe storm damage on the island, including twisted metal railings and train track, and torn up turf.
The fate of the three men? Officially, they were “swept out to sea” after trying to secure the area mid dinner and mid storm. But locals insist otherwise and blame everything from sea serpents, ghost ships and foreign spies. All made more credible by the fact that on the same night, a passing ship noticed no lights on, stated that all was calm. If anyone had died in the storm, surely it would’ve been recorded? Sadly, we’ll never know what happened to these three men, and it remains one of Scotland’s most baffling maritime disappearances.
The Patomskiy Crater in Siberia
Of all the unsolved mysteries in this list, not many have such a huge number of theories surrounding its whereabouts. The Patomskiy Crater was first discovered in 1949 and is described as an oval, conical crater with a small ball shaped mound at its centre.
Made entirely of grey limestone, it measures 160 metres across and is 80 metres high. Despite being surrounded by trees, no trees grow on the actual crater itself, making the immediate area a strange, barren place surrounded by greenery. The creation of this weird anomaly attracts theories that range from a Stalin-era uranium mine to alien landing site to underground gas explosion, meteorite landing and a metallic strike of unknown origin.
The local indigenous population called the Yakut, stay well clear of the crater, and keep their animals well clear too, as they consider it a bad place since so many have died there. Could they avoid the area now because they know something we don’t? Or sense that there’s strange goings on that created it? Or could it be that the uranium theory does make scientific sense and radiations are to blame for people and animals falling sick when they’re nearby? Maybe one day, we’ll find out!
The seal and the eel
It’s quite often that we’ll see cute pictures of an animal caught being naughty. Chewing slippers, getting into a pickle and stealing food are all common pastimes for some animals – but they tend to be domesticated pets, rather than those in the wild. So when researchers studying the lives of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal found one with a spotted eel hanging from its nostril, they were stumped. Are wild animals just as playful and carefree as our cats and dogs?
The photo of the unassuming seal with an eel stuck up its nose is kind of cute, but the poor creature must have felt like it had the worst blocked nose ever. Researchers at the US National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) have been studying these seals for 40 years, and surprisingly, this isn’t the first time they’ve found one in this predicament.
Since 2016, they’ve found a handful of them with eels up their noses. They think it could be down to one of two things – the eel could have slipped into the nostril of a seal when the seal was foraging for food by poking their nose and face into rocky crevices and corals. Or, it’s common for seals to regurgitate their food and vomit it through their mouth and nose. Could they have consumed an eel by mistake? The truth is though, they simply don’t know. Who knew seals could be so secretive?
What happened to Elisa Lam?
Elisa Lam was a 21 year old student from Canada when she went missing during her travels across the US. Her last known spot was the Cecil Hotel in downtown LA, a hotel with a fairly bad reputation for housing criminals and down and outs as well as backpackers like Elisa.
A CCTV video that captures her last known moments shows her in a lift at the hotel. The lift doors don’t close despite it being a couple of minutes long and it looks like she’s speaking to someone but no one can be seen.
She jumps nervously in and out of the lift as if looking for someone and then hides to one side of the lift before looking around again, making some odd hand gestures to the empty lift. Then she vanishes. 19 days later, her body was found in a water tank on the roof of the hotel.
Strikingly similar to the plot of the horror film Dark Water, many conspiracy theories exist, mostly involving ghost or alien kidnappings and an evil presence that took over her. Her disappearance and death are still unsolved, and remain one of the most mysterious disappearances of all times. Whatever happened to her might remain a mystery, but her memory is sure being kept alive.
An immortal jellyfish
Benjamin Button might have had an ailment that meant he aged backwards, with a heavy sprinkling of Hollywood to make it believable. But what if we told you of the presence of a type of jellyfish that really does grow backwards from an adult to a baby? Well, it’s true! And what’s more, they’re capable of doing it again and again.
The so called immortal jellyfish is only the size of a human pinky fingernail, and is pretty unremarkable. It’s ‘born’ as a result of the normal meeting of free floating sperm and egg but then if it’s under stress from injury or starvation, it can transfer all of its cells to a younger state.
It then transforms from adult, albeit small, jellyfish, to a blob-like cyst, which is pretty much a baby jellyfish. It can then produce identical copies of itself that then become adults and these are now overtaking the world’s oceans. This has caused marine biologists to rethink what they know about jellyfish reproduction. They say the ocean has many secrets, but could this be the secret for anti-ageing humans? Who knows!
Are we alone in the universe?
A conundrum of anyone who’s ever lived and the subject of many a late night discussion is whether or not we’re alone here on Earth. Are there strange alien beings in our solar system or beyond? If there is life on another planet, how alike are they to us? How intelligent are they?
Scientists know that the universe stretches some 93 billion light years across, with 2 trillion galaxies, each with millions of stars and planets. In fact, some say there are 100 quintillion (1 with 20 zeros) of them. Others say more.
So the chances are, we’re not alone, despite no evidence being found, yet, of other life, intelligent or otherwise. Besides, wouldn’t it be rather haughty of us to think that we’re the only ones here? Could anything else be more intelligent than us, and be watching, and laughing at us?
Some scientists say that the universe is teeming with life and that the Big Bang that created Earth and subsequently life on it, is actually a common event within the expanses of the universe, rather than a unique or random one off event. As space viewing technology comes on in leaps and bounds and we can peer deeper and deeper into the universe. Are we about to find little green beings asking to be taken to our leader? Only time will tell!
Mysterious whale swarms in South Africa
Humpback whales are known for being solitary animals, usually found on their own or in groups of no more than three or four. So scientists in South Africa were left perplexed when they started to notice “swarms” of the creatures – around 200 of them – gathering in an area of ocean no bigger than a football pitch.
Even more confusing is that this was during the summer, and humpback whales normally only visit these waters during the winter to feed on small fish, shrimp and plankton.
Various explanations have been put forward, one is that because they were seen to be hunting (which for humpback whales means diving and then lunging into the water to catch their prey), they simply may have decided to stay put, rather than migrating north. Or, some say it’s because population numbers have improved, and therefore, could this be normal behaviour for the species when numbers are flourishing? Either way, something is changing the behaviour of the whales. Could climate change be affecting their behaviour or their available prey? Or is a sinister undercurrent something scientists need to consider?
Lars Mittank, where are you?
According to YouTube, Lars Mittank is the world’s most famous missing person. The 28 year old German was on holiday on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria with friends in June 2014. For a few days, Lars and his friends partied at the infamous Golden Sands resort, but then he got into a fight and suffered a ruptured eardrum. He disappeared for the rest of the night, returning the next morning saying that the guys he got into a fight with had hired more men to beat him up further. Doctors then prescribed Lars a strong antibiotic for his ear, and advised him not to fly.
His friends said they’d stay with him and fly when it was safe, but Lars said he’d be fine on his own. Lars then checked into a cheap hotel near the airport where he was seen on CCTV pacing and looking paranoid. Upon arriving at the nearby Varna Airport a few days later, Lars became visibly panicked. He then scaled the 2.5 metre high fence and jumped into the dense forest surrounding the airport and has never been seen or heard from since…
Speculation suggests that the attack combined with the strong antibiotics unlocked some kind of severe mental health struggle. But with no history or family history of anything like that, Lars’ disappearance continues to be investigated.
The lost city of Atlantis
The subject of much fascination since the days of Greek philosopher Plato, almost 2,500 years ago, the lost city of Atlantis was described by Plato as a “powerful and advanced kingdom, that sank, in a night and a day, into the ocean around 9,600 BC”. But was this true? Was it all based on hearsay, apparently handed down to him by his grandfather who himself had been told the legend of this lost island from the Athenian statesman, Solon?
Plato regaled the story many times, and it’s found in his famous dialogue, Critias. In Critias, he describes Atlantis as an island in the Atlantic near what is now known as the Strait of Gibraltar. The residents of Atlanta grew powerful and in doing so, their ethics declined Conquering much of Africa and Europe, they were eventually pushed back by an Athenian led army. The Gods then apparently punished Atlantis with floods and earthquakes until it sank into the ocean.
If the legend is true, it’s thought that the Greek island of Santorini, which is half submerged after an ancient volcanic eruption and resulting tsunami, could be what’s left of Atlantis. But who knows? May researchers one day find other evidence? Or was Pluto spinning a yarn that’s befuddled humankind for 2,500 years?
The ocean floor
When you think of the ocean floor, what do you imagine? If you’re anything like us, we would’ve said flat and sandy, just like when you dip your toes in the sea. But in reality, the ocean floor is as diverse as the land, with numerous craters, valleys and mountain ranges. It’s thought that we know more about the surface of the moon than what lies beneath. Yet these seascapes are critical to fisheries feeding billions, underwater cables supplying the internet to billions and even how our weather behaves.
Which is why scientists are spending so much time attempting to map the ocean floor. In doing so, rich treasures have been found – but not the chests full of pirate gold that we might think of. Instead, the ocean floor hides a copious supply of rare minerals, precious metals, oil and even diamonds.
But should we start mining the ocean floor? Could it uncover problems that we don’t even know about yet? What about the ecological damage human life has caused to the earth? Could we do the same to the ocean floor? Who even owns the ocean floor anyway? For these reasons, should we leave it alone? Or should we risk it for the plentiful and valuable resources?
Where did the water on Earth come from?
Have you ever thought about where our water comes from? The tap, might be the obvious answer, but what about before that? What about before all of that, before the oceans? When earth was forming, where did the water that covers so much of our planet, come from? Our rich water reserves (both salty and fresh) have been around for a few billion years and for a long time, modern scientists have though it came from comets and asteroids – in other words, space. Or at least the hydrogen and oxygen molecules that make water did.
But they’ve long held the belief that there must’ve been other sources, because there’s simply so much of it. Now, they think that these molecules came from both rocky sources such as comets, as well as gaseous sources such as those found in the solar nebula, a cloud that formed after the formation of the sun.
How this might’ve happened involves a lot of complex astrophysics. But in a nutshell, it involved lots of water containing comets bombarding a very young earth when it was just hot magma and noble gases. At the same time, hydrogen and oxygen gases from the solar nebula were dissolved in this magma. Fast forward a few billion years, and we dabble our toes in it, use it to make our coffee and shower in it. Far-fetched? You decide!
When was Brazil really discovered?
Christopher Columbus is widely credited with discovering the Americas in 1492 on board his ship, the Santa Maria. But could Roman sailors have accidentally happened across the small matter of Brazil, 17 centuries earlier?
Top underwater archaeologist and sunken treasure hunter, Robert Marx certainly thinks so. In the 1980s, he found artefacts buried in the waters of a bay near Rio de Janeiro that he thinks came from a Roman vessel. These are artefacts in the form of amorphas, tall jars that were carried by Roman ships way back in the second century to transport everything from oil and water to wine and grains. Robert Marx thinks they had been on a Roman ship that was then caught in a storm.
The fact that the amorphas have been found in a harbour suggests that the ship was actually navigated there, rather than blown off course, perhaps in order to shelter from the storm. Therefore, humans would’ve seen the land of Brazil. These barnacle encrusted, coral covered artefacts could well hold the secret to when Europeans first saw or even landed on the Americas, blowing the Columbus historical record out of the water.
What really happened to the dinosaurs?
Known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction, or K-T event, the phenomenon that caused the dinosaurs to die out is something that puzzles us all, from kids at school to the world’s top paleontologists. What is known, is that it happened 65.5 million years ago. From the early days of modern science until the 1980s, scientists thought that it was down to some kind of slow burn climate change that halted their food supply, causing a gradual but epic die-off.
But in the 80s, whilst everyone else was concerned with huge shoulder pads and even bigger hair, a father and son team discovered what is now accepted as the true reason. They discovered a layer of iridium in the geological record, that is normally only found in space. This therefore means that a huge meteor impact probably wiped them out in one hit. The Chicxulub Crater at the Yucatán Peninsular in Mexico is the likely strike spot.
So, a single catastrophic event seems likely – a 6 mile in diameter rock, hurtling towards earth at 40,000 miles per hour sure would cause some damage including severe and instant global climate change. But this is currently still a theory. As ever, we put our faith in the researchers to come up with conclusive evidence!
How did Earth get its name?
How on earth? What on earth are you doing? These are common phrases, aren’t they? However, if we actually stopped to think about it, where on earth do they come from?! It probably won’t take us long to think, well of course, it’s because something is so absurd or out of the ordinary, that it couldn’t possibly exist or be happening in the entire world. But where did the name “earth” actually come from? Who named the planet we live on, earth?
The truth is, no one actually knows. What we do know, is that the word earth is derived from the English and German words “earth” and “erde” that both mean “ground”. But as to who actually decided that earth was going to be called earth, we don’t know.
Interestingly though, earth is the only planet in our solar system that isn’t named after a Roman or Greek god or goddess. For example, Mars the God of War, Venus the Goddess of love, Neptune the God of the Sea and Mercury the Messenger of the Gods. So why plain, ungodly earth? We guess we needed to be around at the time of Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom, to truly understand that one!
Strange waves ripple around the world
Imagine rumbles in the earth, so strong that they reached more than 11,000 miles away from where they began, yet no one on earth felt them?
That’s exactly what happened in November 2018, when just north of Madagascar, seismic waves began to occur, reaching as far as Hawaii and crossing huge expanses of ocean. And they continued to do so for 20 minutes. One person spotted them – an amateur earthquake enthusiast who saw them on real time seismogram monitoring by the US Geological Survey. After posting these curious zig zags on Twitter, professional earthquake researchers took note and began investigating.
Measuring different wave patterns and certainly length of time to ‘normal’ earthquakes, these global ripples are still the cause of many a head scratch in seismology circles. Some think that there might be new volcanic activity occurring where the ripples began, but there hasn’t been much in the area in the past 4,000 years. Others propose that a huge “magma body” is pushing its way up from the ocean floor, causing these strange ripples and activity. Something is causing them, but as to what, scientists can only speculate. It could after all, be something completely unexpected and other worldly!
How will the universe end?
We’ve left perhaps the most all-consuming question to last – how, and crucially, when, will the universe end?! Scientists think that we have at least 1.1 billion years left. So nothing to worry about in the immediate future before earth gets to the point where no life can exist. They also think, that when it does happen, it’ll be down to one of four events, known as the Big Rip, the Big Freeze, the Big Crunch and the Big Slurp.
The Big Rip will be down to dark energy and the fact that the universe is constantly expanding. Eventually, it’ll be so vast that it can no longer hold itself together and it’ll rip apart. The Big Freeze is also based on our ever expanding universe, but in this scenario, it’ll get so big, everything will pull so far apart that light would no longer exist from suns and moons, and it’ll get colder and colder until all life stops.
The opposite of the Big Bang that formed everything, the Big Crunch posits that the universe doesn’t go on expanding, but will reach a point where it collapses in on itself until everything falls into a black hole. Finally, the Big Slurp has the newly discovered Higgs Boson particle at its centre. Somehow this is linked to the possibility that a bubble from another universe could infiltrate ours, causing it to literally swallow us up. We’re not entirely sure which one sounds the least awful – good job we won’t be around to witness it!
So, what do you think? Do you have your own theories on some or maybe all of these unexplained mysteries? Could some be explained away by a simple coincidence? Does science have the answer? Are some of them a playful joke blown way out of context? Or is there something more sinister at play? Are we alone on Earth? In the universe? Could we be being watched and tested by extra-terrestrial beings that we haven’t caught up with yet? Who knows? But it sure is fun thinking about them all!