When a political or religious figure suddenly passes, conspiracy theories seem to fall from the trees. We know that not every demise of a person with ties to politics has to do with shadowy government figures and encoded messages. Yet, the unsolved offenses on this list are sketchy enough to make us doubt even the most open and shut case. It's entirely plausible that cases on this list have a simple explanation, but after reading up on each of them, we're not so sure. The only thing that we are sure about is that you'll be as intrigued as we are after you read this list of mysterious political demises.
Some of these unsolved mysteries are cases that have long gone cold, the perps either deceased or so well connected that they can't be touched. Some of the other cases are still open, but little hope is held for resolution. And the biggest mysteries that we've collected were, in some cases, possibly committed by the US government. We tried to shy away from the circumstances surrounding JFK's passing (don't worry, he's on here), but there were a lot of deceased people involved in that case. These conspiracies tend to go deep, so get ready to put your detective hat on and spend a lot of sleepless nights cutting out newspaper articles.
- Photo: Hank Walker/Contributor / The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Probably the most famous and debated political demise of all time, JFK was struck down while visiting Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Despite apprehending Lee Harvey Oswald as the trigger man, JFK's targeted passing has spawned an exhausting number of conspiracy theories.
In 2013, a poll showed that 61% of Americans believe that a group of conspirators — and not a single man — were responsible.
Prior to 1815, Napoleon had conquered most of Europe and was on his way to being the King of the Eastern Hemisphere, but he was ultimately defeated. Afterward, Napoleon was sent to a private prison island, Saint Helena, where it's still debated as to what ended him.
Some say stomach cancer, while others insist he perished from unknowingly ingesting arsenic.
- Photo: STRINGER/Stringer / AFP/Getty Images
Alexander Litvinenko was a Russian defector from the Federal Security Service (FSB). In 1998, he and several other FSB officers publicly accused their superiors of ordering the hit of a Russian Mafia leader. Afterward, he fled to London where he lived with his family in exile.
In 2006, after naming Vladimir Putin as the culprit behind the passing of a Russian journalist, he mysteriously fell ill with a sickness related to radioactive polonium-210. Most theories point to someone in the Russian government as his assailant, although some believe there was British involvement in his demise.
- Photo: Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F065018-0020/Reineke, Engelbert / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE
Uwe Barschel was a West German politician, and from 1982 to 1987, he was the minister-president of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He was charged with ordering his media advisor to spy on the Social Democratic Party of Germany's top candidate for the upcoming state elections, in order to bring about false claims of evading tax payments.
Barschel resigned on October 2, 1987, and on October 11, he was found in his room, fully dressed and lying in a bathtub filled with water. His passing is still considered a mystery, with multiple parties under suspicion.