48 Eerie Unsolved Mysteries That Will Keep You Awake at Night

These mysterious cases continue to terrify.

unsolved mysteries

A young girl goes for a walk in the woods, only to vanish without a trace. A man is found dead on a beach, his identity unknown. An entire American colony disappears completely, with only mysterious tree carvings as evidence. These are just some of the bizarre unsolved mysteries we’ve covered on The Lineup.

These stories continue to frighten and mystify. Here are 48 of the most bone-chilling tales of unsolved disappearances, perplexing deaths, baffling murder mysteries, and more. See if you can crack the code on these bewitching cases.

1. The Chilling Disappearance of Brianna Maitland

brianna maitland
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It remains one of Vermont's most enduring mysteries. On March 19, 2004, Brianna Maitland closed out her shift at the Black Lantern Inn around 11:20 P.M. and climbed into her car. Exactly what happened next is unknown to this day. READ MORE 

2. Can't Wait Any Longer: The Disappearance of Jean Spangler

jean spangler disappearance
  • Photo Credit: World Mysteries

On October 7, 1949, aspiring Hollywood actress Jean Spangler kissed her daughter on the cheek, then vanished into the night. To this day, no one knows what happened next. READ MORE 

3. Lady of the Dunes: Was the Unidentified Cape Cod Murder Victim an Extra in Jaws

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  • Photo Credit: Universal Studios

She's known as the Lady of the Dunes. To this day, her death remains a mystery. Recently, however, horror author Joe Hill floated an intriguing theory about the case. READ MORE 

4. Face on the Milk Carton: What Happened to Johnny Gosch?

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On the morning of September 5, 1982, 12-year-old Johnny Gosch vanished while on his paper route in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. The case is heartbreaking, and made all the more unsettling by the strange theories that now seek to explain his disappearance. READ MORE 

5. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Jim Thompson, Thai Silk King

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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

Jim Thompson built an empire in Thailand, then the home of his dreams. Then, on Saturday, March 25, 1967, he went for a walk and was never seen again. What happened to the Thai Silk King? READ MORE 

6. The Babysitter Who Vanished: What Happened to Evelyn Hartley?

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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

On October 24, 1953, in the quiet town of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 15-year-old Evelyn Grace Hartley went on a babysitting job and was never seen again. READ MORE 

7. Lord Lucan: The Murder Suspect Who Vanished Without a Trace

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Was he running from the law or for his life? The disappearance of Richard John Bingam, 7th Earl of Lucan, after allegedly murdering the family nanny remains one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved cases. READ MORE 

8. Gone in the Night: The Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Rudolf Diesel

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Rudolf Diesel is perhaps best known as the inventor of the diesel engine. And yet, his baffling disappearance on September 29, 1913 left behind a mystery nearly as enduring as the legacy of his invention. READ MORE 

9. A Killer Calls: The Unsolved Murder of Dorothy Jane Scott

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  • Photo Credit: Crime Vault / YouTube

Dorothy Jane Scott disappeared from a parking lot in the middle of the night in 1980. Soon after the disappearance, her family began receiving disturbing calls from an unidentified caller READ MORE 

10. What Happened to Brian Shaffer?

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It would be the ultimate April Fool’s Day prank, if only it had a punchline. In the early on the morning of April 1, 2006, Brian Shaffer seemingly disappeared into thin air while partying with friends at a bar. He was never heard from again. READ MORE 

11. Spy in the Bag: The Mysterious Death of Gareth Williams

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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

When an MI6 worker's body was found padlocked inside a duffel bag, the case could only get stranger. The fate of Gareth Williams has never been fully explained. READ MORE 

12. The Strange Case of Zebb Quinn’s Disappearance

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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

17 years after Zebb Quinn disappeared, questions remain about his baffling case. Has Quinn's killer been brought to justice? READ MORE 

13. Multiple Women Have Disappeared from Ireland’s ‘Vanishing Triangle’

ireland vanishing triangle
  • Photo Credit: Giuseppe Milo / Flickr (CC)

Between 1993 and 1998, numerous women disappeared from an area of Ireland dubbed the 'Vanishing Triangle.' To this day the Vanishing Triangle cases remain unsolved. READ MORE 

14. 5 Creepy Unsolved Mysteries You’ve Likely Never Heard About

unsolved mysteries
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

These eerie enigmas continue to mystify. From a phantom barber to disappearing blimp and ship crews, these lesser-known yet totally creepy unsolved mysteries will terrify and confound you. READ MORE 

15. Into the Storm: The Vanishing of Ambrose Small  

  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

December 2, 1919: after signing the biggest deal of his life, Canadian theatre impresario Ambrose Small walked into a snowstorm and was never seen again. READ MORE 

16. Disturbing Unresolved Mysteries the Internet Can’t Get Over

Andy Puglisi unresolved mysteries
  • Photo Credit: HaveYouSeenAndy.com

For years, internet sleuths have joined forces to try to crack cold cases. These are the most fascinating unresolved mysteries Redditors have dug up. READ MORE 

17. 8 Strange, Unsolved Crimes That Are Sure to Haunt You

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  • Photo Credit: Alchetron

These unsolved mysteries will give you the creeps. Head down the rabbit hole of unsolved crimes with eight of the most bizarre, haunting cases we've seen yet. READ MORE 

18. The Sudden, Unsolved Disappearance of William and Margaret Patterson

william and margaret patterson
  • Photo Credit: “Who Drove Pattersons’ Car?” Photo: El Paso Herald-Post

Aside from the family cat, the Patterson household was eerily devoid of life. On the evening of March 5, 1957, El Paso, Texas couple William and Margaret Patterson left their home at 3000 Piedmont Drive and vanished, leaving behind a stockpile of possessions. READ MORE 

19. 7 Cases of People Who Vanished Without Explanation

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  • Photo Credit: North American Missing Persons Network

Don't read after dark... These men, women, and children disappeared so completely that it seems they may have entered a different dimension. READ MORE 

20. The Unsolved Disappearance of Dorothy Arnold

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Young Dorothy Arnold lived a life of class in early 20th century New York. Then she disappeared without a trace. What happened to the vanished heiress on that fateful winter evening in 1910? READ MORE

21. Up in Smoke: The Sodder Children Disappearance of 1945

sodder children
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1945, a mysterious fire on Christmas morning gutted the Sodder family house with five children still inside. Authorities believed the youngsters died in the blaze, but surviving family members thought otherwise. What was the fate of the five Sodder children? READ MORE

22. Lady Vanishes: The Mysterious Agatha Christie Disappearance

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She was the reigning queen of detective fiction’s Golden Age – but Agatha Christie’s most intriguing mystery is her bizarre disappearance in 1926. The event triggered a massive manhunt across England. And while Agatha survived, the true story behind her vanishing remains unresolved. READ MORE

23. The Bizarre Death of Elisa Lam

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The body of this 21-year-old University of British Columbia student appeared face-up and naked in a Los Angeles hotel’s rooftop water tank. Her body was discovered almost a month after her disappearance, and only after guests at the hotel—then the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles—began reporting problems with their water. The details of her disappearance and death leave more questions than answers. READ MORE

24. Lost at Sea: 6 Unsolved Maritime Mysteries

maritime mysteries
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Grab your life vest before diving into these mysteries of the sea. From the curious case of detached human feet in the Salish Sea to the famed Ghost Ship of the Arctic, set sail for these six unsolved maritime mysteries. READ MORE

25. Russia’s Mysterious Dyatlov Incident

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A group of college kids went camping on a Russian mountain, only to be found slaughtered and scattered across the landscape. One girl was missing her tongue, others were found in nothing but underwear. We still don’t know why. READ MORE

26. Vanished: The Unsolved Disappearance of Paula Jean Welden

Paula Jean Welden Seated
  • Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images

One winter day in Bennington, Vermont, 18-year-old Paula Jean Welden walked into the woods and vanished. Despite a massive search, her trail went cold. To this day, the young woman’s fate remains a mystery. READ MORE

27. Why Do Dogs Keep Killing Themselves at Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge?

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

They call it the “Bridge of Death” and for good reason. As many as 50 dogs have thrown themselves off the cursed overpass to the craggy rocks below. Step onto Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge … if you dare. READ MORE

28. 6 Mysterious People at the Heart of Unsolved Cases

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Here are six bizarre tales of mysterious people, whose lives, deaths, or in some cases, both, were never explained. READ MORE

29. The Eerie Coincidences of the Erdington Murders

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  • Photo Credit: Birmingham Mail and Find a Grave

There’s a dark chapter to Erdington, England’s history that continues to haunt its residents—the unsolved murders of two young women with details too similar to ignore. The catch? The twin slayings occurred 157 years apart. READ MORE

30. Pauline Picard: The Unending Mystery of a Little Girl’s Disappearance

pauline picard
  • Photo Credit: Occult Museum

When Pauline Picard vanished in 1922, her family was devastated. Then authorities found a little girl wandering alone, 250 miles away. But was it really Pauline? READ MORE 

31. Cold Case: The Somerton Man

somerton man case
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The body of a suspected Soviet spy was found propped up against a wall on Somerton Beach in Australia. In a concealed pocket, they found a scrap of paper with the words: Tamam Shud. “It is finished.” Police have tracked down ciphers, suspects, and a possible illegitimate son, but they still can’t crack this case.  READ MORE

32. The Real Story Behind Edgar Allan Poe’s Death

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Was it alcoholism, rabies, or a violent election day scam? More than 160 years later, the burning question remains: What killed Edgar Allan Poe? Here are 6 intriguing possibilities. READ MORE

33. Norway’s Greatest Mystery: The Isdal Woman

the isdal woman

On a chilly November day in Norway’s Death Valley, a hiker discovers the charred remains of a naked woman at the end of a remote hiking trail. Is it a tragic act of suicide or a brutal execution? Decades later, the Isdal Woman mystery continues to transfix investigators across the globe. READ MORE

34. Eternal Beauty: The Death Mask of L’inconnue de la Seine

L'Inconnue de la Seine
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When they pulled her from the River Seine in the late 1800s, authorities could not identify the body—nor could they get over her incredible beauty. This is the case of L’Inconnue de la Seine, an unknown Parisian woman who found life after death as the inspiration to countless painters, writers, and artists. READ MORE

35. 6 Unsolved Rock Star and Rapper Deaths

  • Photo Credit: Express / Getty Images

Their songs live on … but the events surrounding their tragic demises remain a mystery. Here are six of the most well-known unsolved rock star and rapper deaths. READ MORE

36. The Disappearance of Charley Ross

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Your parents always told you to never accept candy from strangers—and for good reason. In 1874, little Charley Ross followed two strangers into a buggy and vanished from the streets of Philadelphia, never to be seen again. READ MORE

37. America’s First Mystery: The Lost Colony of Roanoke

lost colony of roanoke
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1587, a group of 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children settled at Roanoke Island … only to vanish a mere three years later in one of the greatest world mysteries. The only clues they left behind were the words “CROATOAN” and “CRO” carved into their fort and a nearby tree. READ MORE

38. The Mysterious Disappearance of the Beaumont Children

beaumont children
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On a bright summer day in 1961, three children vanished from a popular south Australian beach. Nearly 50 years later, their fate remains a mystery. READ MORE

39. The Vanishing Crew of the Carroll A. Deering: A Maritime Mystery

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The cargo ship coming from South America was spotted in North Carolina under suspicious circumstances. Days later, the crew and their belongings had disappeared. READ MORE

40. Without a Trace: The Unexplained Disappearance of Maura Murray 

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  • Photo Credit: Oxygen

Her mysterious disappearance sparked a true crime phenomenon. One February day in 2004, Maura Murray climbed into her car and drove away from her dorm room at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She headed north, destination unknown. READ MORE 

41. The Sinister Mystery of the Circleville Letter Writer

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  • Photo Credit: Eric Thayer / Getty Images

For years, the residents of a sleepy Ohio town were plagued by messages that exposed their darkest secrets. Who held the poison pen to this handwritten mystery? READ MORE

42. Double Vision: The Strange Case of Emilie Sagee

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  • Photo Credit: General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

Emilie Sagee had her students seeing double … literally. The 19th century instructor was haunted by a spectral twin, whose mirror-like movements terrified all those who saw it. READ MORE

43. The Smiley Face Killer: If He Exists, He’s One of the World’s Most Prolific Murderers

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  • Photo Credit: Jim Parkinson / Flickr (CC)

Is there a serial killer stalking college-aged men? At least 45 deaths of young men are attributed to the Smiley Face Killer, and yet most police departments say he doesn’t exist. READ MORE 

44. Clairvius Narcisse: The Real-Life Vodou Zombie of Haiti

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  • Photo Credit: Mental Floss

Eighteen years after doctors declared him dead and family members buried his body, Clairvius Narcisse returned from the grave. Unearth the mysterious case of Haiti’s real-life vodou zombie. READ MORE

45. 13 Weird and Mysterious Old Hollywood Deaths

mysterious hollywood deaths
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

These stars made headlines for their work on stage—and their untimely, tragic deaths. READ MORE

46. The Mysterious Faces of Bélmez

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Common

Deep in the heart of southern Spain, eerie faces have appeared on the kitchen floor of one family’s home. Are they the pained expressions of long-lost souls or a trick of the imagination? Peer into the empty eyes of the Belmez Faces. READ MORE

47. Bodies on the Hill: The Enduring History of the Lead Masks Case

lead masks case
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On a hill in Brazil were the bodies of two men, dressed in formal suits with homemade lead masks draped over their eyes. What is the truth behind the Lead Masks Case? READ MORE

48. 7 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the World

unsolved mysteries
  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

From the Shroud of Turin to Stonehenge, These mysteries will make you believe in the impossible. READ MORE 

Featured photo includes: Gabriel / Unsplash 

Published on 10 Aug 2016