Top 15 Unsolved Paranormal Mysteries15. The Enfield Poltergeist
The unexplained paranormal events at an Enfield, England council house in Brimsdown are some of the strangest and most fascinating happenings in haunted British history. From 1977 to 1979, poltergeists were alive and well in the home – or, rather, dead and unwell. They disturbed the residents’ children, including two sisters, Janet and Margaret, ages 11 and 13. Flashback to 1977, when Peggy Hodgson alerted the police that her two daughters had heard knocking sounds on the walls of their home and had witnessed furniture shaking. When the police constable arrived, she experienced even more paranormal activity – a chair scraping across the floor without any explanation.
Even further than a few muffled knocks and moving furniture, others alleged to have heard demonic voices, seen rocks and toys thrown across the home, and even witnessed the children levitating. Reports of this paranormal activity came to an end in 1979, but not before infatuating the British press and serving as inspiration for books, TV series, and horror films. The activity has yet to be explained. Though many believe the girls were behind it and the whole thing was a hoax, photographer Graham Morris and two members of the Society for Psychical Research claimed the haunting was genuine.
14. The Seriously Strange Sunnyvale Toys ‘R’ Us
From Chuckie dolls to haunted figurines, toys are often objects of paranormal activity. So it may come as no surprise that the Toys ‘R’ Us in Sunnyvale has played center stage to strange unexplained paranormal events since the ‘70s. What kind of events? Whispered names, chilly breathes of air, strange odors, the stacking up of toys and, of course, objects moving around all by their lonesome. Female employees seem to be the target of the paranormal events, as the unseen force has been known to play around with their hair and turn on the faucet in the women’s bathroom. Legend has it that the alleged ghost who haunts the store is looking for his love, which would explain why women are targeted.
In fact, the site of the 130 East Camino Street Toys ‘R’ Us was once atop farmland owned by a man who had hired a Scandinavian immigrant, by the name of Johnny Johnson, to work the land. Johnny fell hopelessly in love with Elizabeth, the owner’s eldest daughter. But, alas, she’d already been won over by another. Johnny also suffered from an acute brain inflammation, called encephalitis, which resulted in confusion, memory problems, and hallucinations, making many in Sunnyvale nickname the poor guy “Crazy Johnny.” In 1884, Crazy Johnny died by bleeding to death from a self-inflicted axe wound made when he was chopping wood. This is the ghost who is said to haunt the Toys ‘R’ Us and continues to haunt it to this day. There seems to be no other explanation for these paranormal events
13. The Sarah Joe Shipwreck Shiver me timbers
This strange unsolved shipwreck will send shivers up and down your spine. It all started in 1970, when five Maui men set sail on the open sea aboard their fishing boat, the Sarah Joe. Unfortunately for them, the perfect storm was a-brewin’, and the sea seemed to swallow them whole, vanishing the entire crew and its ship. For nine years, no wreckage from the ship was found, and the men were all assumed long dead. But in 1988, on an island more than 2000 miles beyond, scraps of the Sarah Joe had washed ashore.
Even more mysterious was the shallow unmarked grave discovered on the island. Beneath a rockpile was laid to rest Scott Moorman, one of the ill-fated fishermen. The other four men were nowhere to be found. And what’s stranger is that several years prior, this same island had been searched, and the search party turned up nothing. Neither the grave, nor the scraps of Sarah Joe had been there. The unexplained event leaves many questions and no answers: Where are the remaining fishermen? Were they the ones to bury Scott Moorman? If not, who? And where had Scott been all this time? Did he die in the storm or did he face some other ill-fated end? A mystery on the open sea.
12. The Doppelganger of Emilie Sagee
Some people have twins; others have ghostly doppelgangers. Emilie Sagee seems to be one of the latter. The 32-year-old French teacher had moved around for sixteen years, changing schools nineteen times, and finally arriving at an exclusive girls’ school in 1845. The strangest thing about it was that Sagee, herself, didn’t seem to see the spectral doppelganger, although nearly fifty people paid witness to its appearance alongside her. First it appeared within her vicinity, mirroring her movements. Then, when Emilee was outside the classroom, working in the garden, the spectral doppelganger appeared in the classroom in her stead.
Students thought it was Emilee but, looking outside, saw that she was still in the garden. Two of the braver students even approached the twin to touch it. They reported that she felt empty like cobwebs. The school’s official records even reported that Emilee looked “listless and lethargic” every time the doppelganger appeared. Emilee, herself, reported that her thoughts and desires at the time of the doppelganger’s appearance mirrored those of the doppelganger’s. Did the specter disappear? Did the school find fault in Emilee Sagee? The answer to both those questions is no. The apparition remained and its appearance became a not-so-unusual occurrence, although it did make some parents pull their children out of school. This resulted in the school firing poor Emilee Sagee, despite the fact that she was a wonderful teacher. And, unfortunately, no one ever got to the bottom of the mystery of Sagee’s spectral twin.
11. The Taured Tale
As the story goes, during a sweltering day in July, 1954, an average-looking Caucasian man from Taured arrived at Tokyo airport. When requested, he handed over his official looking passport. Nothing strange here…apart from the fact that there’s no country on Earth named Taured. Becoming suspicious, Japanese officials pulled the man aside to interrogate him. They asked him to locate his country on a map. He pointed to Andorra but, in seeing that the country was indeed not Taured, the Tauresian (as I assume he would be called in his imaginary native land) grew confused. He told the Japanese officials that Taured had been in existence for over a thousand years.
When further examined, the man’s passport showed it had been in use all over the world, accepted and stamped – even in Tokyo! The man also held various currencies, along with official documentation for the company he claimed to work for. Customs placed him in a guarded hotel room with no balcony, on an upper-level floor, while they tried to figure out what in the world was going on. They found that his so-called employer had no knowledge of him, neither did the hotel he’d reserved in Tokyo, neither did the businessmen he’d come to do business with. After their investigation, they returned to the man, opened his hotel room door, and found he’d vanished without a trace, never to be seen again. A man from an unknown land with no discernible links to anything or anyone vanishes into thin air, along with his documents from airport security? This paranormal event is bizarre and remains, to this day, entirely unexplained.
10. Amityville Ghost
Most horror fanatics know of the Amityville Horror – and all the films that followed the home’s history. But what about the photo of the Amity “ghost boy” that’s been at the center of paranormal debate for years? The haunted pic appeared in George Lutz’s collection of photos, while investigating the 1976 haunting. Ed and Lorraine Warren, famed demonologists, were looking into the allegedly haunted house, when the photo was snapped. In it appears a young boy with glowing eyes. Some have thought the boy was a demon, while others have suggested he was one of the murdered DeFeo children, come back to haunt Amityville. Still others have taken a more realistic view that the “boy” is actually a man kneeling: Paul Bartz, to be exact, who was helping the Warrens the night the photo was taken. The latter seems to offer the most level-headed explanation. But can we be sure it was Bartz? Will we ever be?
9. The Buzzing in Taos
What’s that noise? If you visit Taos, you might go insane trying to figure it out. For many years, those who’ve lived in the small New Mexican city have been Chinese water tortured to death by the mysterious low-frequency noise that seems to buzz like electricity through the desert air. But not everyone hears the torturous noise, which has been described as a buzz or a hum. In fact, only around 2 percent of residents have heard it, and most of them describe the sound differently. There have been a range of theories as to what is causing the buzz: strange acoustics in the desert or perhaps some dark secret plot a la Stranger Things. And still others suggest mass hysteria has driven everyone sick with the crazies. Whatever it is, the mystery remains, because not a single soul has yet located the originator of the sound. Maybe it’s a supernatural colony under the earth. Maybe it’s some deep, dark government secret. Or maybe the entire population of Taos needs to clean out its ears. Whatever the case, this paranormal event remains unexplained and, until we get to the bottom of the mystery, all we’ll be hearing from Taos, New Mexico is buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
8. The Immortal Count Count de Saint
Germain has made so many appearances throughout history that it’s safe to say he truly is immortal. With no known origin or birthdate, some claim he was born in the late 1600s, while others believe he was alive and well even earlier, around Christ’s time. Whatever the case, he keeps popping up, again and again, and is always around the same age when he does – a young 45 years old. A number of famous people knew the Count – from Voltaire to Catherine the Great, from Casanova to George Washington – , and his immortality has been connected to many a conspiracy theory, legend, folk story, and secret society, including the Illuminati and the Freemasons.
Voltaire described him as “a man who never dies, and who knows everything.” Some claim that he had Transylvanian blood, so perhaps the immortal count is a vampire. Others claim he was an accomplished alchemist, so maybe it’s more likely that he discovered a potion for immortality. Whatever the case, he traveled throughout Europe for decades at a time and never did age. He was also greatly accomplished: apart from his work as an alchemist, he spoke more than a dozen languages, was a brilliant painter, and played the violin. He also seemed to be incredibly wealthy, with jewel-studded clothing, and enjoyed dining out with company, while offering up remedies for various ailments. Is he a man, rekindled? Or has he always been alive?
7. The Dancing Disarray of the Chase Family Vault
The well-to-do Chase family purchased an eighty-year-old vault, whose only occupant was Thomasina Goddard, whom they left to rest in the tomb. The vault was beautifully structured out of the island’s compacted coral and laid underground. The first Chase to perish and join Goddard in the vault was Mary-Anne Maria. In the years that followed, Thomas Chase also joined them. The strange thing was, when the marble slab was slid away, the young Chase’s coffin had moved to rest “standing on end, with its head downward,” on the far side of the vault. The incident was blamed on vandals, and not much else was thought of it. That is, until the next time they opened the vault to find Thomas’ heavy coffin – a coffin that took eight men to carry – flung in disarray around the vault.
The vault was opened four more times over the next several years, and each time, the contents seemed to have danced in disarray while no one was looking. Eight months after cement seals had been placed on the vault in order for officials to discover any tampering, the Governor and several men checked on the contents again. They found the seals in place and, outwardly, no indication of vandalism or theft. But when they opened the vault, it was a mess, with all the coffins set askance from their final resting places. The Chase family was moved to a new burial site, leaving the vault empty. One can only guess who or what wreaked such havoc on the crypt. Did Thomasina Goddard not warm to the intruders sharing her grave? Was there an undetected earthquake or flood below ground? Did thieves tunnel their way in through some other entrance? The mystery remains unsolved.
6. Time Traveler Rudolph Fentz
Is time travel real? Follow the odd case of Rudolph Fentz, and you might become a believer. The curious event took place in 1950, when a Victorian-dressed man with mutton chops suddenly appeared in Times Square. A moment later, he was smacked into by a car and died instantly. Witnesses of the incident say that the man look shocked when he appeared there, as though he was completely out of place. And he was. When he was taken to the morgue to be examined, several strange items were found on his body, none of which showed signs of aging: $70 in old banknotes, a copper token for a 5-cent beer at an unknown saloon, a livery stable bill for the washing of a carriage and horse care, Rudolph Fentz’s business cards, listing a Fifth Avenue address, along with a letter posted to this same address, dated June 1876.
Captain Hubert Rihm followed up on the case, checking NYPD’s Missing Persons’ Department to see if Fentz had been reported missing. He also checked up on the Fifth Avenue address and the man’s fingerprints. You can probably guess all of this was for naught. Nothing was found. Being a true detective, however, Rihm didn’t let the case drop. He investigated the Fentz family name, which is when he discovered that the last Fentz died five years prior. But, through that man’s widow, Rihm learned that her husband’s father had vanished at 29-years-old in – you guessed it! – 1876, the date of the letter he’d received. The man is said to have gone on a walk, never to have returned again. While some claim that the story is a work of science fiction, the story’s source has never been verified. So what are we to believe? I’d err on the side of caution and say that we’ve got a time traveler on our hands – albeit, this one didn’t live long enough to disrupt anything in the future.
5. Déjà vu
Though not a specific set of circumstances, déjà vu is a paranormal event that nearly each and every one of us has experienced at one time or another. It’s that eerie sensation of the familiar within some place, person, thing that is unfamiliar. Take, for instance, entering someone’s apartment – an apartment you’d never been in before – and feeling a distinct flash of memory. It is an intimate feeling, a familiar feeling and, yet, a wholly unexplained feeling. The knowledge that your memory is betraying you, and you’ve never truly been here before, is what makes the whole scenario so spine-tingling. And even though most have experienced the stomach-turning, skin-crawling sense of déjà vu, it continues to be a mystery. Taken from the French phrase, “already seen,” déjà vu has puzzled scientists and psychologists for centuries.
Observational and experimental studies have been done on the topic, and although déjà vu was found to occur in those who are younger, the cause for déjà vu remains unknown. An examination of those with temporal lobe epilepsy shows that many report experiencing déjà vu directly prior to a seizure, suggesting that the eerie occurrence may be connected to the brain’s temporal lobe. As a result, it’s been hypothesized that déjà vu may be a brief seizure in the temporal lobe. It’s also been suggested that these glimpses of pseudo-memory are the recollections of a past life or some strange psychic tendency. Who knows? The answer could lie in the realm of paranormal activity or could be scientifically explained. Until concrete evidence of either is unearthed, the mystery remains.
4. Human Combustion
Here’s something entirely unexplained: spontaneous human combustion. This event involves the – you guessed it – spontaneous human combustion of a human body for no apparent reason and with no source of inflammation. The victims’ torsos are burned completely, with limbs remaining intact – often, creepily, the skull and a few bones. Hundreds of cases of spontaneous human combustion have been reported, leading forensic analysts to investigate the causes and mechanisms of the event. They’ve studied everything from the victims’ alcohol consumption to their behavior to their proximity to flammable sources of ignition. And, yet, no explanation has surfaced.
One of the greatest folk-loric paranormal mysteries of all time involves the simian-like humanoid, Bigfoot – aka Sasquatch. This enormous, hairy beast is said to lurk around the forests of the Pacific Northwest. While most reputable scientists call hoax on Bigfoot, casting shade at the paranormal activity by deeming it folklore and human error – i.e., misidentification of other living animals, like black bears – , other “investigators” have reported sightings of the 7 to 9 foot creature all over the place. The paranormal being is said to have dark brown, red, or black hair, big eyes and forehead, with a low pronounced brow. The head, itself, is said to be shaped similarly to a gorilla’s, and the beast supposedly gives off a putrid smell.
Last, but certainly not least, the characteristic that most exemplifies Bigfoot is, of course, his big feet, said to stretch about 2 feet long and 8 inches wide. The creature is also said to be nocturnal and omnivorous. As mentioned, many have tried to explain away the existence of this paranormal creature, but few have been able to provide concrete evidence as to how the mysterious wild man is entirely a hoax, when many have paid witness to it. One-third of sightings have happened in the Pacific Northwest, but they’ve also been claimed in the Southeast and in the Great Lakes region. Cryptozoologists claim Bigfoot is a yet unidentified ape, while others ascribe its existence to various other phenomenon. Will we ever know the truth about Bigfoot? Unlikely.
2. The Baltic Sea Anomaly
The “Ocean X” diving team uncovered a true phenomenon in the Baltic Sea: a 200-foot by 26-foot rock disk in the seafloor, at the very center of the Bothnian. The strange rock formation stands atop a pillar, with a staircase-like structure winding its way into a hole. The diving team said it appears that a runway lies not far from it, leading many to believe the anomaly is a vessel of some kind. What type of vessel? Maybe an anti-submarine relic from World War II, perhaps a flying saucer, maybe a gun turret from a battleship? Or perhaps nature created the perfect natural formation, as some geologists have suggested. Whatever it is, the findings have led many to suspect underwater sorcery of some kind.
1. The Locked-Door Mystery of Elisa Lam
On January 26, 2013, 21-year-old Canadian tourist, Elisa Lam, checked into the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. She was alone when she checked in and, five days later, her parents reported her missing when she failed to answer her phone. The police department began their investigation and found video footage of Lam. She was captured in an elevator security camera, acting strangely. She is seen leaving and entering the elevator, chatting and motioning in the hallway, and seeming to hide in the elevator, itself. The entire episode is unsettling, leaving many to suggest paranormal activity must have occurred.
Flash forward a month later. Management at the hotel began to receive reports of water pressure problems in various rooms, strange discoloration, and an odd taste to the water. When maintenance staff investigated the issue, they found Lam’s body in the hotel’s rooftop water tank, naked, with many of her clothes and personal items floating alongside her in the water. There was no evidence of physical trauma. The autopsy reported that the death was an accident. But was it? Or was Lam murdered? Did she kill herself? Why would she do so in the water tank? So many questions left unanswered and unlikely to ever be explained.
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