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4 Of the Strangest Unsolved Mysteries of All Time

 Despite technology getting more and more advanced, the world is still filled with unsolved mysteries. Just take a look at our previous spooky installment - 6 Strange and Unsolved Mysteries. From historical head-scratchers to chilling murder mysteries, the following strange yet true stories have remained an enigma. To this day scientists and investigators are unable to get to the root of these incidents. Read on, and see if you have your own theories...

1. The Sickening Noise4 Infamous Unsolved Mysteries in History, man covering his ears

In December 2016, a CIA officer -some call him patient zero- checked into the American Embassy’s health office in Havana and complained he was suffering from nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Zero mentioned hearing strange noises outside his home, right before getting sick. His next-door neighbor confirmed that he, too, heard the noise and that it was “mechanical sounding.” Days later, two more embassy staffers in Havana reported similar ailments. By late 2018, the number grew to 26 Americans and 13 Canadians experiencing a range of terrifying symptoms associated with the strange sound - memory loss, mental stupor, hearing problems, and more.

The descriptions of the mystery noise were varied. One person said it was high pitched, while another described it as a beam of sound, pointed into their room. Some insisted the noise more closely resembled marbles rolling on the floor. Two scientists who studied recordings of it believe what they captured was the sound of lovelorn male crickets.

In any case, medical experts were at a loss. No one could decipher why this sound was causing illness in humans, and where it was coming from. Was the Cuban government up to something? That was the first question on some people’s minds, but the Cubans vehemently denied it, and many American investigators tended to believe them.

One theory holds that a pair of covert eavesdropping devices placed too close to each other by Cuban agents could have inadvertently produced such a reaction, similar to the kind of feedback you hear when someone stands too close to a microphone. But the FBI found no evidence to substantiate that argument. Some studies suggested it was a case of psychological contagion or a result of the stress associated with the post of being a diplomat in Havana. 

Despite many studies and attempts to explain what had really happened, the seemingly airborne cause of this illness is still a mystery.

Related: 8 Infamous Historical Crimes

2. The Disappearance of the Sodder Children4 Infamous Unsolved Mysteries in History, burned down house

Around 1 AM on the night before Christmas in 1945, George and Jennie Sodder and nine of their 10 children (one was away in the army), woke up to a terrible fire that broke out in their home. Four of the children escaped, but the other five were never seen again. And by that, we don’t mean they perished in the fire. Zero physical evidence of the children were found in the house, which is virtually impossible from a scientific standpoint. 

There were a few other things that seemed off about the happenings of that night. Marion, the eldest daughter of the Sodders, ran to a neighbor's house and made a call to the Fayetteville Fire Department but couldn’t get a response from the operator. Another neighbor tried to call from a nearby tavern, but again no operator responded. Eventually, that same neighbor drove into town and tracked down Fire Chief F.J. Morris. The fire department was only two and a half miles away, yet the crew didn’t arrive until 8 AM. 

George recalled that a few months before the tragic incident, a man tried to sell his family life insurance and become irritated when he refused. “Your *** house is going up in smoke,” the salesman warned, “and your children are going to be destroyed". The Sodder family theorized that the missing children have been kidnapped - perhaps in an attempt to extort money, perhaps to coerce George into joining the local mafia (the Sodders were Italian immigrants), or perhaps in retaliation for George’s outspoken criticism of Mussolini and Italy’s fascist government.

From the 1950s and until Jennie Sodder’s death in the late 1980s, anyone driving down Route 16 near Fayetteville, West Virginia could see a billboard bearing the images of the five children and offering a reward for information. The last known surviving Sodder, Sylvia, 69, still doesn’t believe her siblings had perished in the fire. 

3. The Bay of Jars4 Infamous Unsolved Mysteries in History, Roman jars

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 1982, marine archeologist Robert Marx unearthed something that is as exciting as it is intriguing. In an area of Rio de Janeiro’s harbor, Marx discovered some 200 Roman ceramic jars, a few fully intact, lying in an underwater field the size of three tennis courts. The jars appeared to be twin-handled amphorae that were used to transport foods such as grains and wine in the third century. But the first Europeans didn’t reach Brazil until 1500, so how did they get there?

Is it possible that the Romans discovered Brazil 1,700 years earlier than the Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral? The Romans traded primarily in Mediterranean port cities and the Middle East. While they sailed as far as India, they generally had little incentive to invest in ships that could cross oceans. It could be a case of an untrained navigator who lost his way in a storm or a derelict ship, abandoned and left to blow across the Atlantic ocean.  

We may never know the truth. Brazil closed the Bay of Jars to further research in 1983 in order to deter looters, allegedly. According to Marx, however, the government didn’t want the area to be explored because the findings might challenge the country’s traditional history and its strong cultural ties with Portugal. Whatever the reason, it's very unlikely that this mystery will be solved in the nearest future. 

 

Related: 9 Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe

4. The Circleville Letters4 Infamous Unsolved Mysteries in History, letters

“I know where you live. I’ve been observing your house and know you have children. This is no joke. Please take it serious,” so read the first letter received by Mary Gillespie, a resident of Circleville, Ohio, in December of 1976. Pretty terrifying, right? It was only the beginning of the Circleville Letters saga. 

The disturbing letters were all handwritten and postmarked from Columbus. The author knew an awful lot about the private lives of Circleville’s residents, and worryingly, most of the letters were hitting the mark with their accusations. In Mary Gillespie’s letter, she was accused of having an affair with Gordon Massie, the superintendent of the school district she worked for as a school bus driver. Soon, her husband Ron received a letter of his own, informing him of the affair. 

Matters continued to escalate until August 19, 1977, Ron’s truck was found crashed at the end of the street with Ron dead behind the wheel. When the Sheriff ruled the death to be an accident, however, even more letters arrived at several mailboxes around town, accusing the Sheriff of a cover-up.

In 1983, Paul Freshour, the ex-husband of Ron’s sister Karen, was convicted of writing the letters and attempting to murder Mary with a booby-trap-rigged pistol. But even after the prison doors shut behind Freshour, the letters kept arriving. He even received one himself. Paul was paroled in 1994, after spending 10 years in prison. He maintained his innocence until his death in 2012. Interestingly, the letters also stopped in 1994. The true identity of the author is still unknown. Some believe it was Mary herself, and that she used the letters to plot the murder of her own husband.

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