Mysteries We Can't Believe We Still Don't Know The Answers To

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Vote up the mysteries from history that capture your imagination.

What's worse than an unsolved mystery that keeps you awake at night? Not much! Sometimes investigators go at these conundrums with surprising findings and persistence, but they remain stubbornly unsolved. Where did Jimmy Hoffa go? What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Or for that matter, where do eels come from?

The world is a big place, full of things we still need to understand and solve. Add to that the human factor and a dash of chaos, and you have bona fide unsolved mysteries that most of us would love to see solved in our lifetimes. Here are some of them - the kind that can keep you awake at night, wondering who did it, and how.... 

  • Did The Missing Sodder Children Survive The Fire?
    Video: YouTube
    1,596 VOTES

    Did The Missing Sodder Children Survive The Fire?

    On the night before Christmas in 1945, George and Jennie Sodder were preparing for bed in their home in Fayetteville, WV. The couple, along with nine of their 10 children (one son was away in the Army), went to bed and woke up to pandemonium at 1 am - their house was on fire.

    By the time George got out, he could see 2-year-old Sylvia, 17-year-old Marion, 23-year-old John, and 16-year-old George Jr. safe outside. But Maurice, 14; Martha, 12; Louis, 9; Jennie, 8; and Betty, 5, were still inside the house. The elder George ran back inside; he sliced his arm open on a window but could not reach the children in an upstairs bedroom because the stairs were on fire. 

    He ran outside, but the ladder he always kept propped against the house was missing. He tried to drive his two coal trucks to use them to climb atop to reach the window, but neither truck would start. The water in the rain barrel was frozen solid, and all his desperate attempts to get his children out failed. The fire department was unreachable at the time, and even when they finally responded, they got to the Sodder home around 8 am. By that time, the house was a pile of ashes. 

    Now is when the real mystery begins. Not a single bone of any of the five children was found in the rubble. Conflicting stories began to arise, that of strange men and the threats George received because he was outspoken against Benito Mussolini. To add to the mystery, some people came forward and claimed they had seen the five children with men who spoke Italian. George himself was an Italian immigrant (born Giorgio Soddu), so the Mob lead was also explored, but nothing came out of it.

    The Sodders got to work. They put up a billboard with the photographs, names, and ages of their children, asking the public for help. Every lead was investigated by the Sodders or by private detectives they hired.

    In 1968, Jennie found an envelope in the mail addressed to her, postmarked in Kentucky. Inside was a photo of a man in his 20s, with a handwritten note that said, “Louis Sodder. I love brother Frankie. Ilil Boys. A90132 or 35." The resemblance to their 9-year-son was strong, but again, no leads were found. They added this picture to the billboard as well.

    The Sodders followed every lead they could find and investigated any children who looked like theirs, but the five children never turned up. But then again, neither were any remains found in the burnt home. 

    George passed in 1968, and Jennie became reclusive, wearing only black, until her 1989 passing. The surviving children took the billboard down. In 2021, Sylvia, the youngest of the Sodder clan, passed at age 79. With that, the story of the Sodder investigation came to an end. 

    But the question remains: did the five Sodder children survive the fire, and if so, what happened to them?

    1,596 votes
  • What Happened To The Real Bobby Dunbar?
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    On August 23, 1912, Lessie and Percy Dunbar went on a fishing trip to Swayze Lake in Louisiana, along with their children. Four-year-old Bobby vanished while wandering around the lake. The Dunbar family searched high and low for the little boy, but had to call in the authorities. First responders searched the lake, blasted areas with dynamite, and even had alligators caught and dissected. Still, there was no trace of Bobby.

    Eight months later, news came in that William Cantwell Walters, a traveling handyman, had been spotted with a boy matching Bobby's description. Walters claimed the boy was not Bobby, but Charles Bruce Anderson, the illegitimate child of his brother and a woman named Julia Anderson. Walters took the child away, saying he could not see his brother in disgrace.

    He brought Bruce to the Dunbars, and the thread began to unravel. Some say the meeting was joyous; others say the couple weren't sure that Bruce was Bobby. The Dunbars took him in, even though his alleged mother Julia tried to come and claim him as her son. Strangely, she could not recognize him in a line-up. Walters was imprisoned for two years before his lawyer reopened the case and maintained his innocence until the end. 

    Bobby/Bruce grew up, got married, had four children, and passed in 1966. In 2004, his son, Bob Dunbar, Jr., finally decided to take a DNA test, as his daughter Margaret was investigating claims that her grandfather Bobby Dunbar was in fact not Bobby Dunbar. The DNA test proved, without a doubt, that the man raised as Bobby Dunbar had no relation to the Dunbar family. 

    So what happened to little Bobby remains a mystery, after all. 

    1,017 votes
  • 3
    877 VOTES

    What Happened To Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or MH370, took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014. Not long after takeoff, it disappeared from the radar, never reaching its destination of Beijing, China. The Boeing 777-200ER had 239 people on board, and more than seven years after its disappearance, we still do not know what happened to it. 

    The last communication from the crew was recorded 38 minutes after takeoff, over the South China Sea. While the air traffic controllers lost track of the plane soon after, military radar tracked it for another hour and shows it deviated from its planned route and vanished 200 nautical miles (230 miles) northwest of Penang Island, Malaysia.

    There are two working theories as of now. 

    Andre Milne of Unicorn Aerospace believes he and his team have uncovered satellite imagery of an "impact event" deep in the Cambodian wilderness. Milne plans to have a helicopter recon mission launched in early 2022, although news of the same is awaited. 

    Meanwhile, British aeronautical engineer Richard Godfrey has calculated the flight crashed in the Indian Ocean. He had spent more than a year tracing the tragedy and feels the impact site may lie 2,000 km (1,273 miles) west of Perth, Western Australia. He also believes that the wreckage may lie as deep as 4,000 m (2.5 miles) in a gorge or ravine on the sea floor, although his area of search is a rather compact 40 nautical miles (46 miles).

    The search for the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight continues, while the families of the victims hope for closure.  

    877 votes
  • Who Is The Somerton Man?
    Photo: Australian Police / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    928 VOTES

    Who Is The Somerton Man?

    The mystery of the Somerton man starts on the evening of November 30, 1948, when jeweler John Bain Lyons and his wife strolled along Somerton Beach, a seaside resort a little south of Adelaide, Australia. As the couple walked, they noticed a sharply dressed man lying on the sand. 

    His head was propped against the sea wall with legs outstretched and crossed, and he seemed to be trying to light a cigarette, drunkenly. Half an hour later, another couple spotted the same man, this time lying motionless. They assumed he was in a drunken stupor, unbothered by the mosquitoes swarming him.

    By the morning, all signs of life were gone; the well-dressed man on the beach was deceased, with the medical examiner estimating the time of death at around 2 am. The mystery then arose: who was the man and how did he perish? He had no wallet or ID. Even his clothes had been stripped of labels. 

    The autopsy revealed an enlarged spleen, a blood-distended liver, and a stomach full of blood as well - all signs of poisoning. But no poison was present in his system. To add to the confounding nature of the mystery, the man's calf muscles were athletically developed and his toes showed that he wore pointy shoes or high-heeled boots.

    The medical examiner consulted experts and was told the poison had to be rare, and the kind that leaves no trace. By January, the authorities still had no identification for the man, so they widened the search to abandoned luggage in hotels and cloakrooms. A suitcase found abandoned at a train station contained an unusual orange thread that matched the thread used to mend the man's pants, but this clue ultimately lead nowhere. 

    Another expert minutely examined the body and finally found a tightly rolled paper in the secret pocket inside the man's trousers. It bore the words "Tamám Shud," a Persian phrase meaning "it is ended." The words had been torn from a rare New Zealand edition of the book The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

    When the police began to search for the book, one man came forth after many months, having found a book inside the car he had parked at Somerton Beach. The last page was torn; this was the page that bore the words. A telephone number inside led the police to a woman, who remained anonymous. She said she had gifted the book to a man named Alfred Boxall. However, Boxall turned out to be alive and still had the book. When the police went back to the woman and showed her the photograph of the dead man, she nearly fainted at the sight but claimed she did not know him. Faintly stenciled inside the book were some jumbled letters, like a sort of code. It has never been deciphered. 

    Theories abounded of the mystery man being everything from a spy to a ballet dancer, but the investigation ran aground, although the case is still open. In 2021, he was exhumed so experts could run a DNA check on him, which revealed European ancestry.

    For now, the Somerton man is still waiting for a name. 

    928 votes
  • Who Killed JonBenét Ramsey?
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Fair Use
    751 VOTES

    Who Killed JonBenét Ramsey?

    JonBenét Ramsey was a precocious 6-year-old, a child beauty queen and pageant winner, when she was reported missing by her mother Patsy Ramsey on December 26, 1996.

    Patsy said she discovered her daughter was missing when she found a ransom note inside their home that demanded $118,000 for JonBenét's safe return. Despite the note stating that if the police were called, JonBenét would be harmed, the Ramseys called the cops. John Ramsey, JonBenét's father, also told the authorities that the $118,000 ransom was odd, as it was the same amount he got as a Christmas bonus the year before. 

    Sadly, just a few hours later, JonBenét's body was discovered in a basement room. She had been struck on the head, strangled, and sexually assaulted. 

    Initially, Patsy and John were under suspicion, as was their 9-year-old son, Burke. The parents were even indicted with child abuse in 1999, but the DA refused to prosecute. When the DNA of an unknown male was found on JonBenét, suspicions were lifted from the family in 2008.

    After having processed more than 1,500 pieces of evidence and conducting more than 1,000 interviews, authorities are hopeful the slayer will be caught. However, to date, JonBenét's murder remains an unsolved mystery. New DNA techniques do offer a ray of hope for the future, and the case remains open.

    751 votes
  • 6
    681 VOTES

    Where Is Xavier Dupont De Ligonnès?

    On April 21, 2011, authorities discovered a gruesome scene in a family home in Nantes, France. The cadavers of Agnès Dupont de Ligonnès, her children Arthur, Thomas, Anne, and Benoît, and the two family dogs were found buried under the terrace. The patriarch of the family, Count Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, was missing. 

    According to Netflix's House of Terror, Ligonnès, who hailed from a noble French family, was ashamed of the debt the family was in. Rather than letting his family face the shame and ruin, he decided to slay them. In the weeks before the murders, he first learned to operate a .22 caliber rifle he had inherited. He also purchased a silencer and set up an elaborate story, telling friends that his family had to go into US witness protection. The children's schools were told they were moving to Australia. Between April 3 and 5, Ligonnès allegedly drugged and murdered his family. 

    He not only buried them, but also removed all traces of blood, DNA, and other evidence. He boarded the house up and then left. For the first few days, he was visible. He used cards, his own name, documents. But when the bodies were found, Ligonnès arrived at a small hotel in Roquebrune-sur-Argens. He parked his car, took his bag, and walked into the woods. And that was the last anyone saw of him. 

    There have been sightings, but nothing has been confirmed, and neither has Ligonnès ever been caught. He did allegedly send a postcard to the media years later, but there has been no confirmation. Is he alive? And if so, where is this alleged murderer? No one has the answer yet - at least, not with proof. 

    681 votes