In February 1959, nine ski-hikers mysteriously died in the mountains of what is now Russia. The night of the incident, the group had set up camp on a slope, had dinner, and prepared to sleep, but something went horribly wrong because the group never returned.
On February 26th, searchers found the hikers’ abandoned tent, which had been ripped open from the inside. Surrounding the area were footprints left by the group, some wearing a single shoe, some wearing socks, some barefoot, all of which continued to a nearby wood. This is where the first two corpses were found, shoeless and only wearing underwear.
The scene bore the hallmarks of death by hypothermia, but as medical examiners inventoried the bodies, as well as the other seven that were eventually discovered, hypothermia no longer made any sense. In fact, the evidence made no sense at all. One body had evidence of a blunt force trauma consistent with assault, another had third-degree burns, one had been vomiting blood, one had their tongue missing, and some of their clothing was found to be radioactive.
The theories that have come about include KGB interference, drug overdoses, gravity anomalies, UFOs, and the Russian version of the yeti. Recently, a documentary filmmaker present a theory involving a terrifying but real phenomenon known as “infrasound 2" in which the wind interacts with the topography to create a barely audible hum that can nevertheless induce powerful feelings of panic, dread, chills, nausea, breathing difficulties, and raised heartbeats. The only consensus remains that whatever happened that night was caused by an overwhelming and possibly “inhuman force.”
2. Do the Pollock Sisters Prove Reincarnation is Real?
Nowadays, 24% of Americans believe in reincarnation. Although scientists tend to ignore the possibility, every once in a while, a story comes about that is so compelling and otherwise inexplicable that it gives scientists pause for thought. This is what we have with the story of the Pollock sisters.
In 1957, two young English sisters, Jacqueline and Joanna Pollock, 6, died in a car accident. One year later, their mother gave birth to twins, Gillian and Jennifer. When they were old enough to speak, they began identifying and requesting toys that had belonged to their dead sisters, pointing out landmarks only their dead sisters would have known, and sometimes panicking upon seeing cars idling (“That car is coming to get us!” they reportedly shrieked on one occasion).
After they turned five, these incidents became less frequent, and the girls went on to lead normal lives. Still, the story of the Pollock sisters made its way to Dr. Ian Stevenson, a psychologist who studied reincarnation. After studying thousands of supposed cases, Stevenson wrote a book telling of 14 he believed to be real, including that of the Pollock sisters.
On December 4, 1872, a British-American ship called the “Mary Celeste” was found empty and adrift in the Atlantic. It was still seaworthy and had its cargo fully intact, except for a lifeboat, which it appeared had been boarded in an orderly fashion. But what happened? We may never find out as no one on board was ever heard from again.
In November 1872, the Mary Celeste set sail from New York for Genoa, Italy. She was captained by Benjamin Briggs and seven crew members, including his wife and their two-year-old daughter. They had enough supplies for six months and luxurious items such as a piano and a sewing machine. Experts generally agree that some extraordinary and alarming circumstances must have occurred for the ship to be abandoned. However, the last entry on the ship’s daily log reveals nothing unusual, and inside the ship, everything was in order.
Theories over the years have included pirate attack, mutiny, and an assault by a giant sea monster. In recent years, scientists have posed the theory that fumes from alcohol on board caused an explosion that, as a result of a scientific anomaly, didn’t leave behind any signs of burning – but was terrifying enough that Briggs ordered an evacuation.
4. What Really Happened to Young Walter Collins
In 2008, Clint Eastwood’s film Changeling reawakened interest in one of the most bizarre and tragic crime stories of the 1920s. In March 1928, single mom Christine Collins reported her nine-year-old son, Walter, missing from their home in Los Angeles. Five months later, the police brought “Walter” back to Christine, except it wasn’t Walter, and Christine knew it. However, the LA police dismissed her concerns, going so far as to accuse her of being a terrible mother and having her committed to a mental hospital.
The real Walter Collins was never found, and over time, authorities came to believe that he was one of the victims of child-murderer Gordon Stewart Northcott. Whatever happened to Walter, his body was never found, and no one knows what really happened. Nor has it been established with any real certainty why the police were so invested in covering up the boy’s disappearance that they brought a different child back to Christine and tried to convince her and the rest of the world that it was Walter.
The Overtoun Bridge, near Dumbarton in Scotland, seems to call dogs to leap to their death. Since the early 1960s, some 50 dogs have perished, and hundreds more have jumped but survived. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has sent representatives to investigate but to no avail.
In terms of scientific truth, it’s debatable, if not incredibly unlikely that dogs are capable of committing suicide. Yet, something is luring dogs off that bridge, often from the very same spot, and always on sunny, dry days.
Many theories have arisen, including that the bridge is haunted; a mink is marking the area with an almost irresistible scent, and a sound anomaly exists at the bridge that only dogs can hear. Whatever is causing this phenomenon, dog owners would be wise to keep their dogs on leashes when crossing this bridge.
6. The Big Gray Man
The Big Gray Man is an inhuman creature that is said to roam the summit and passes of the second highest peak in Scotland, Ben Macdui. Just like the Yeti of the Himalayas and Big Foot of the American Pacific Northwest, the Big Gray Man has been seen by a few eyewitnesses. What makes him particularly frightening is that his physical characteristics don’t resemble that of a bear, and thus sightings cannot be dismissed as mere bear-sightings.
Those who have seen the Big Gray Man describe it as being over ten feet tall and human-like, with short hair, broad shoulders, and long arms. Nearly all reports of sightings include the sound of gravel crunching beneath footsteps.
Scientists haven’t come up with an explanation for the sightings and the accompanying sounds, although psychologists have proposed that those who have supposedly seen and heard the Big Gray Man have been in a state of physical and mental anguish brought on by exhaustion and isolation.