So, you’re well aware of history’s biggest enigmas. You know all about Amelia Earhart. You have your own theories about D.B. Cooper. You figured out what happened to all those missing socks. But do you know about these lesser-known yet equally creepy unsolved mysteries?
1. The Ghost Blimp
In the summer doldrums of 1942, the people of a small town outside of San Francisco saw something strange in the skies. A sagging, broken-looking blimp was falling out of the sky. On its way down, the blimp stopped on a rooftop then ran into a group of powerlines. The blimp’s weight was enough to take down the powerlines, causing a huge amount of damage to the surrounding area. Nearby citizens rushed to assist the crew of the blimp—only to discover there was none.
Everything within the blimp’s cab looked normal, with radio and engine functioning perfectly. Perhaps even more oddly, none of the parachutes or lifeboats were missing. So where did the crew go? When the blimp had left a Naval station that morning, it had been crewed by two men, Lieutenant Ernest Cody and Ensign Charles Adams. The men were never seen again, although the blimp was repaired and used for another 40 years.
2. The Flannan Isles Lighthouse
On a beautifully gloomy island off the coast of Scotland, you’ll find a small, 75-foot lighthouse, built in the 1880s. The picturesque lighthouse will likely look like any other to the average tourist. But the Flannan Isles Lighthouse has a strange history.
In 1900, a steamer passed by the island. The weather was poor, so they were in need of a lighthouse to help them navigate safely. However, there was no light to be found. The steamer ran aground, not far after passing where the lighthouse should have been. A few days later, after the ship was saved, the captain sent a crewman to the shore to find out what had happened.
The man discovered that all the doors were closed, but not locked. The beds in the lighthouse had been left unmade, a clock unwound, a chair knocked over by the kitchen table, and one of the keepers’ raincoat left behind. But there was no sign of any of the three men supposed to be there.
Their fates have never been discovered.
3. Ourang Medan
In 1947, American vessels were navigating through the strait between Malaysia and Singapore when they received a distress call unlike anything they had heard before. It said “S.O.S. from Ourang Medan. We float. All officers including the Captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead. I die.”
One of the nearby ships found and boarded the Ourang Medan. When the crew entered, they discovered a multitude of corpses, with their eyes and mouths gaping open. Before the crew was able to explore further, a fire broke out on the doomed ship. After the American crew left, they watched the Ourang Medan explode and sink.
Few records confirming this mystery's occurrence still exist, but the story has been repeated over the years. Some people believe that the ship was transporting chemical weapons, and therefore was undocumented by its government. The chemical weapons could have leaked, causing the deaths on board, and hastening the sinking of the Ourang Medan. Others maintain the chilling tale is a seafaring legend, shared among sailors on those long nights at sea. Either way, it makes for a spooky story.
4. The Phantom Barber
This incredibly strange rash of crimes occurred over two months in 1942 in the small town of Pascagoula, Mississippi. Someone was creeping into people’s homes and cutting off locks of hair from the sleeping residents.
The Phantom Barber never hurt or killed his victims and didn’t steal anything except the hair. Regardless, and understandably, citizens were on edge. Eventually, a man named William Dolan was arrested. He was convicted for attempted murder in another case, but never for the Phantom Barber’s crimes—which a lie detector test cleared him of in 1951. Today, it’s unclear if Dolan committed any of the crimes, let alone the Phantom Barber's. The shearing sneak could still be out there.
5. The Devil's Footprints
Snow fell on the night of February 8, 1855 in county of Dover in England. When the residents awoke the next morning, they discovered sets of hoof-like footprints surrounding their homes. The marks were about four inches long and three inches across and covered somewhere between 40 and 100 miles of tracks.
The hoof marks were all in a single line—which a four-legged creature could not produce. Terrified citizens believed that the devil had come to Dover. Some locals had the footprints leading straight to their front door, leaving them especially spooked. There have been many theories about what caused these prints, but none of them have ever been confirmed.