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Unexplained Mysteries Throughout History That Were Finally Solved

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Vote up the mysteries with the most surprising explanations.

Part of the allure of enduring mysteries is that they don't have answers - and in the absence of answers, anything is possible. Still, the best kind of creepy mystery is a solved one, especially if it involves lost lives or wronged people. 

Many mysteries that have long stumped professional and amateur investigators have now been cracked. Whether a dark true crime story, a historical event, or a natural phenomenon, the best-solved mysteries in history have been answered through scientific analyses, thorough investigations, accidental discoveries, and a little bit of luck.

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  • Azaria Chamberlain's Parents Claimed A Dingo Stole Her, But Authorities Refused To Believe Them 
    Photo: Lankner / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
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    Azaria Chamberlain's Parents Claimed A Dingo Stole Her, But Authorities Refused To Believe Them 

    In August 1980, Michael and Lindy Chamberlain of Australia and their three children - Aidan, Reagan, and 9-week-old Azaria - went camping near Uluru in the Northern Territory.

    The camping trip ended in tragedy when they discovered Azaria was missing from the campsite. A bereft Lindy told authorities a dingo (a wild Australian dog) had taken her baby from the tent.

    Though the medical examiner initially accepted Lindy's story, other authorities remained unconvinced. Instead, they detained, convicted, and imprisoned Lindy for the murder of her daughter - even though Azaria's body was nowhere to be found. 

    What happened to Azaria?

    Azaria's body has never been discovered, but a key piece of evidence has. In 1986, a tourist fell from Uluru (a large rock in the area) while hiking. The search for the tourist actually turned up the dress Azaria had been wearing when she disappeared - and it was found near a dingo den. Lindy's original story, it seemed, was correct.

    In 2012, Azaria's death certificate was finally changed to state death by dingo.

  • It Took Decades For The Identity Of The Golden State Killer To Be Revealed
    Photo: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    The so-called Golden State Killer began his spree in California in the 1970s: He typically went into homes, where he raped and sometimes murdered.

    The culprit eluded detection. His tendency to commit offenses in different parts of the state confounded investigators, who initially didn't realize one person was responsible. As a result, his identity remained a mystery for decades.

    But DNA testing finally solved the mystery. In 2018, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo was caught. Investigators identified him through DNA that a relative had uploaded to a genealogy website.

  • King Richard III of England was slain at Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485. But what happened to his body?

    Although Richard's life definitely ended at Bosworth Field, many believed his body was lost to time. Historical records indicate that Richard's remains had been taken to Greyfriars Church in Leicester. The problem? The church no longer exists. Greyfriars was a casualty of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, where Roman Catholic buildings were demolished and orders were disbanded during the English Reformation.

    In 2012, researchers located the site of Greyfriars Church beneath a parking lot in Leicester. With the location of the church found, investigators excavated it to find Richard's remains. In early 2013, they announced that a skeleton they had discovered was in fact the remains of Richard III.

    The discovery of Richard's bones also gave researchers an opportunity to explore the king's physical condition. They found that, though Richard had scoliosis, he wasn't the hunchback of popular imagination. They also concluded that he was infected with an intestinal parasite. His demise seems to have been terrible - he was likely overwhelmed by a group of soldiers. 

  • The Cadavers Of Two Missing Women Were Found After 40 Years When A Creek's Water Level Was Low Enough To Reveal Their Car
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    The Cadavers Of Two Missing Women Were Found After 40 Years When A Creek's Water Level Was Low Enough To Reveal Their Car

    Teenagers Cheryl Miller and Pamella Jackson were supposed to attend an outdoor party near their hometown in South Dakota in May 1971. But they never made it. For decades, the mystery of the young women's disappearance haunted their community.

    Decades later, Miller and Jackson's families finally got an answer.

    In September 2013, a drought caused water levels in the area to drop. The water level in a nearby creek was low enough to reveal an old Studebaker, wheels-up in the shallow water. 

    It was soon clear that Miller and Jackson's remains were in the car; investigators even found Miller's purse still inside. 

    The discovery helped authorities determine that it had been a tragic incident. Somehow, the driver lost control of the vehicle as they headed to the party, and the Studebaker ended up in the creek, trapping the passengers inside.