Who doesn’t love to dig into a long-unsolved mystery here and there – the creepier the better? I think it’s because we’ve all got a little Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys stuck inside us from childhood, or maybe we’re all just a little bit morbid.
Either way, here are 6 of the creepiest unsolved mysteries of all time – guaranteed to get your brain juices flowing and have you wondering whether you’re too old to sleep with the light on at night.
#1. The Hinterkaifeck Murders
This creeptastic story is a tale of a murderous ghost…or maybe just a murderer. In the days leading up to the murders in 1920s Germany, a slew of strange happenings took place around the Hinterkaifeck farm. A maid quit, claiming the house was haunted. They noticed footprints in the snow around the house, footsteps in the attic, and even found a newspaper in the home that no one had purchased. Keys went missing.
Not long after, neighbors noticed they hadn’t seen anyone from the family lately and went to check on them – only to find all of them dead. Most of them had been led to the barn and slaughtered there with some sort of axe, while the maid and youngest son were killed in their beds. The youngest daughter survived the attack and lived for a few hours before dying, pulling out chunks of her own hair along the way.
The police never found the murderer, although they did surmise that he or she spent time in the home after committing the heinous acts. There was smoke curling from the chimney and some food had been consumed.
The murders are still unsolved to this day. Chilling!
#2. The Disappearance of the Sodder Children
This one is, in my opinion, one of the weirdest mysteries of all time. At 1am on Christmas Eve 1945, the Sodder family woke up to find their West Virginia house was on fire. They managed to get 4 of their 9 children out of the home safely, after which the father went to get a ladder so he could access the second floor and rescue the remaining 5 children from their rooms.
The ladder was missing.
He went to get his trucks.
They wouldn’t start.
They tried to call the fire department but got no response. The water in the rain barrels was frozen solid. Eventually, the neighbors saw the smoke and went for the fire department, who arrived 7 hours after the blaze first began. They found no remains in the home, not even bones, and declared the 5 children dead.
It is unclear whether a house fire could burn hot enough to completely consume bones, but that’s not the only reason the Sodder parents believed their children could still be alive. In the weeks leading up to the incident, they had not one, but two people threaten that their home would burn down. One of the older boys noticed a man by the road watching the younger children walk home after school. They received a strange phone call just minutes before the blaze broke out, and since the fire, they’ve received tips and letters from people claiming to have seen their children around the United States.
For more details on the family’s ongoing investigation, go here.
More after the jump!
#3. The Missing Lighthouse Keepers
On a remote island off the coast of Scotland, 3 lighthouse keepers lived and worked in a peaceful environment. On December 26, 1900, a supply ship arrived and found the island eerily deserted. From a diary found inside the abandoned lighthouse, they began to piece together a strange and still unsolved mystery.
Two of the three waterproof coats were missing. Dinner was left, half-eaten, on the table. The log described a great and terrible storm, one that had terrified one of the keepers into muteness and reduced another to inconsolable tears. They sat together while the storm raged.
The thought is that the three of them were swept out to sea during the storm, never to be seen or heard from again.
But why wouldn’t they have been safe in the lighthouse? Why would a storm, even a bad one, reduce such seasoned mariners to tears? Why would one of them have left the lighthouse without a coat in December, and why would all 3 have left their post together?
To add to the mystery, their final journal log reports “The storm has passed, the skies are calm, God is over all.”
And then there’s the fact that the powerful storm described in the log never happened.
There were no storms reported in the area. In fact the skies were calm all day.
#4. The Crew of the Sara Jo
In 1979, five men on a small whaling boat set out from Hawaii. A storm hit and they never returned to shore. Not so odd, perhaps, and even though a search was performed of several neighboring islands, no remains were discovered.
At least, not until 1989, when their boat was found on the shores of one of the smallest of the Marshall Islands.
There was a shallow grave that contained the bones of one of the fishermen, but no other clues or signs of life. What was most odd is that oceanographers estimate that it would only have taken the boat about 3 months to drift onto the island, which means the boat, grave, or remaining crew should have been there when a government survey of the island took place in 1983.
But they weren’t. So where was the Sara Jo and her crew for the 4 years between the disappearance and survey of the land? What happened to them afterward?
We may never know.
#5. The Villisca Axe Murders
On the night of June 10, 1912, in the quiet town of Villisca, Iowa, the Moore family returned from a night at church. The two parents and their four children, plus two girls from a neighboring family who were sleeping over, settled down to sleep.
The next morning, the neighbors found all eight of them hacked to death with an axe.
There was no sign of forced entry, and only one child was found out of bed. It’s believed that the murderer had climbed into the attic while they were at church and waited for everyone to fall asleep before coming downstairs to commit the crime. One of the only clues was a pile of cigarette butts in the attic.
Though there have been several suspects over the years – a bitter business partner, a suspected lover, a traveling preacher (who confessed but didn’t know any details of the crime scene), and more than one drifter – the case has never been solved. The house is supposedly haunted by both the family and the man who committed the crimes – and you can even stay overnight. If you dare.
Full case details are here.
#6. The Dyatlov Pass Incident
On February 2, 1959, a group of 9 college-aged hikers camped for the night in the Ural Mountains of Russia. When they didn’t arrive at their final destination, a rescue party set out…and ultimately stumbled onto a truly bizarre scene.
Their tent was ripped open from the inside. The bodies were found frozen in the snow, none of the students wearing outerwear – most of them in underclothes and a few without shoes. They died of hypothermia, though 3 of the 9 also had mysterious physical injuries. Two of them sustained significant head trauma or brain damage, while one was missing her tongue.
No one knows what happened out there. There have been theories that range from animals, to government conspiracies, to a murderous party member who had turned back a few days prior to the deaths. They were officially ruled dead of a “compelling natural force.”
More details here.
These are my six favorite creepy unsolved stories, but you can read a whole lot more here!
h/t: Thought Catalog