We fall into a certain order in our lives, completing the same tasks day to day, assuming we know what's coming and having the peace of mind that we know what to expect.
When the unexplainable happens, it can become a point of obsession. We must know all the pieces of the puzzle, and why. Over the last year, we've discovered many unexplainable mysteries - some with the pieces revealed, while others remain hidden.
These are the most compelling mysteries we saw in 2022.
- 11,133 VOTES
Bobby Dunbar Was Supposedly Kidnapped, Then Found, But The Boy Who Returned Wasn't Actually Bobby
In the summer heat of August 23, 1912, the Dunbar family decided to cool off with a vacation to Swayze Lake in Louisiana. More swamp than lake, it was full of alligators. At some point in the night when the family was asleep in their tents, Bobby Dunbar, the family's 4-year-old son, wandered off and disappeared, launching an eight-month-long search.
A Louisiana newspaper from the time, The Caldwell Watchman, covered the search:
When [Bobby] was missed, a search traced him to the banks of Lake Swayze... At first, it was feared that he [had] drowned, but the lake failed to give up the body and the little boy’s hat was found some distance from the lake a day or so later.
With hope of finding Bobby waning, the town continued to search for the boy, offering cash rewards equivalent to $125,000 today to anyone who could lead authorities to him.
On April 13, 1913, police finally thought they found little Bobby Dunbar alive, traveling with a drifter named William Cantwell Walters in Mississippi. The only problem? The Dunbars didn't recognize him.
Regardless of the less-than-ideal reaction from the family, police matched up identifying markers like birthmarks to prove the boy was Bobby. The town celebrated his arrival, despite the Dunbars' doubts.
Meanwhile, accused kidnapper Walters protested his arrest from jail, claiming the boy was the illegitimate son of his brother and his servant. Julia Anderson (pictured), the woman who claimed to be the boy's real mother, paid a visit to the Dunbars to claim her alleged son, Bruce Anderson. After seeing him, she claimed he was, in fact, Bruce, not Bobby. A public trial decided that the Dunbars would keep Bobby, and Julia Anderson would return to Mississippi.
Years later, “Bobby's” granddaughter, Margaret Dunbar Cutright, received a scrapbook of articles about the mystery of her grandfather's identity. She allied with Linda Traver, granddaughter of Julia Anderson, and the two began searching for the truth. After uncovering letters and court documents, Cutright persuaded her father to give a DNA sample to finally end the mystery. The DNA was compared to “Bobby's” younger brother Alonzo. The test proved the present-day "Bobby Dunbar" was not the same boy who went missing in the swamp in 1912. He was Bruce, the son of Julia Anderson all along.
What happened to the real Bobby Dunbar is still a mystery, as is the question of whether or not his parents knew the boy was not really theirs.
- 21,139 VOTES
The 'Boys Of Yuba County Never' Came Home
In 1978, five California men with varying intellectual and psychological disabilities went to watch a basketball game at California State University at Chico and never came home. Their mental states were such that they were often called “boys” rather than men, although they were in their 20s and 30s; all lived with their families.
Inexplicably, instead of going home, the friends drove 70 miles east from the university and up a mountainous, snow-covered road. There, they abandoned their Mercury Montego and disappeared into the night. Later, a snowstorm caused authorities to call off the search.
In the thaw, authorities found the bodies of Bill Sterling, 29; Jackie Huett, 24; Ted Weiher, 32; and Jack Madruga, 30 (who still possessed the keys to the Mercury). The fifth man, Gary Mathias, 25, was still missing. Strangely, Weiher had apparently starved to death in a trailer full of food and with an unlit propane tank heater; he also had no shoes. The other three bodies were outside. Two of their families were only able to recover bones.
No one knows what happened to the "Boys of Yuba County" and why they perished in the snow. Mathias remains missing.
- 31,639 VOTES
The Unknown Culprit Behind The Hinterkaifeck Slayings May Have Been Living In The Victims' Home
On March 31, 1922, six people were slain at the Hinterkaifeck Bavarian homestead in Germany. This included the five members of the Gruber family - Andreas, his wife Cäzilia, their widowed daughter Viktoria, and her two children, Cäzilia and Josef - as well as their maid, Maria Baumgartner.
A week earlier, Andreas had noticed footprints leading toward the farm from the woods, but no returning prints. Previously, he had complained to friends and neighbors for months about hearing creaking and footsteps in the attic, as well as finding a newspaper in his home that he hadn't purchased. He also revealed the keys to his tool shed had gone missing, which happened to be the place his pickax - which eventually became the murder weapon - was stored.
Months prior to the slaying, the Grubers' previous maid had quit, claiming the house was haunted by ghosts after she heard mysterious voices and footsteps.
Not until April 4, after young Cäzilia was absent from school and the mailman reported the mail piling up, were the police told to check on the Hinterkaifeck farm. Investigators interviewed more than 100 suspects, some as recently as 1986, and eventually came to the conclusion that the culprit was likely living in their house for at least six months prior to the slayings. There was never enough conclusive evidence to close the case, so almost a century later, it remains unsolved.
Perhaps even more unsettling is the fact that livestock were still being fed, and neighbors saw smoke coming from the chimney from March 31 to April 4, indicating the culprit remained in the house for a few days after doing away with the family.
- 41,428 VOTES
Security Cameras Caught A Missing Man Walking Into A Bar But Never Leaving
In 2006, Brian Shaffer was a 27-year-old medical student at Ohio State University. In the early morning hours of Saturday, April 1, he walked into the Ugly Tuna Saloona with his roommate, Clint Florence, to celebrate the beginning of spring break. He was scheduled to take a trip to Miami with his girlfriend, Alexis Waggoner, the following Monday.
Around 2 am that morning, closed-circuit TV footage showed Shaffer talking to two young women just outside the bar, then reentering. When the establishment closed, Florence tried calling Shaffer, with no luck, so he headed home without him. No one saw or heard from Shaffer all weekend. When he missed his flight to Miami, his family filed a missing person's report.
An investigation found that the cameras did not capture Shaffer leaving. Florence refused to take a lie detector test, and the two women Shaffer was seen talking to were never asked to take one. Waggoner tried calling his phone every day, but it went straight to voicemail. One day, it rang three times, then hung up, which could have been a glitch, according to the phone company, or possibly a clue. The phone pinged at a location 14 miles outside Columbus, but the exact location could not be tracked.
Authorities, friends, and family are stumped by the disappearance. No foul play was indicated, and Shaffer didn't seem to be running away from anything. His phone and credit cards had not been used.
There was some false hope in 2020 that a homeless American living in Mexico might be Shaffer, but the FBI ruled that out. His younger brother Derek - and only surviving family - still hopes for a break in the case of his disappearance.