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.
- 11,445 VOTES
A Perplexing Suicide Note Led Police To Discover Pots Of Body Parts In A Kitchen
On an October night in 2006 in New Orleans, the body of Zachary Bowen, an Iraq War veteran who was just 28 years old, was found on top of a parking garage. In his pocket, police discovered his dog tags, a suicide note, and a key to his girlfriend's apartment. The note read:
This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took. If you send a patrol car to 826 N. Rampart, you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge and a full signed confession from myself... Zack Bowen.
When police arrived at Addie Hall's apartment, that is exactly what they found. Her head was in a pot on the stove, as were her hands and feet, and her legs and arms were covered with seasoning salt on a roasting pan in the oven. Upon further searches of the scene, police found Bowen's journal, in which he calmly described how he strangled Hall to death and, not surprised that he had no remorse for the act, decided it was time to leave this world.
- 22,250 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.
- 32,086 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.
- 41,154 VOTES
A Missing Young Woman Was Finally Found When Her Kidnapper Went Out With Their Children
Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped in 1991, but the mystery of her whereabouts wasn't solved until 2009, when she was rescued from her kidnappers, Phillip and Nancy Garrido.
Dugard was 11 when the couple kidnapped her as she walked to the school bus stop in her neighborhood in Meyers, CA, near South Lake Tahoe. Philip and Nancy (a certified nursing assistant) held her in captivity in a labyrinth of sheds and outbuildings Philip had built in their backyard. He regularly sexually assaulted Dugard and forced her to raise the two daughters she had with him.
In August 2009, Phillip went to UC Berkeley to inquire about hosting religious events on the campus and brought along the girls. A campus staff member, Lisa Campbell, immediately became suspicious of him and requested a background check, which revealed Phillip was a registered sex offender. He was required to attend a parole meeting, where authorities uncovered that the children were Dugard's, and she was the girl who had been kidnapped in 1991.
Shortly afterward, police raided the Garrido home and arrested Phillip and Nancy, charging them collectively with 29 felony counts. Phillip was sentenced to 431 years in prison, while Nancy received 36 years to life. Dugard was reunited with her family, and has since published two memoirs.
- 52,076 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.
- 61,149 VOTES
The Lake Of Skeletons In The Indian Himalayas Contains The Remains Of Up To 800 People
Roopkund Lake sits roughly 16,000 feet above sea level in the Indian Himalayas and is frozen for parts of the year. In 1942, a ranger happened upon it and noticed something horrific: skeletons in and around the water. Further investigation yielded the remains of hundreds of people. Who were they, and what happened to them?
Excavations and analyses attempted to find some answers. Among researchers' theories is that a hailstorm claimed the lives of Roopkund Lake's people, especially because the remains dated to around 850 CE. Subsequent investigations challenged those findings, however, including the dating of the remains.
Even 80 years after the so-called “Skeleton Lake” discovery, researchers are still puzzling over the mysterious and chilling site.