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10 Strange Mysteries From Around The World That Are Still Unsolved

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

All things that cannot be explained remain an intriguing conversation topic for many people around the globe. Some mysteries, however, are more interesting than the rest simply because of how weird they are.

10China’s Dwarf Village

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Villages, in general, are not strange. Villages in China are also not strange. There are many remote ones in this country, but one stands out from the others. Scientists and experts are extremely interested in the inhabitants of Yangsi, situated in the Sichuan Province. The reason? Not only are there only 80 residents in the village, but almost half of them are dwarfs.

According to those who live in Yangsi, Rumor has it that a mysterious disease befell the little village more than 60 years ago. Young children between the ages of five and seven were most affected, and the disease caused them to simply stop growing. Experts now know that stunted growth is only likely to appear in 1 in 20,000 people, so what happened in Yangsi is something very much out of the ordinary. Especially considering that historical sightings of the dwarfs claim that several hundred of them were residing in the Sichuan region at one point.[1]

As if the mystery affliction wasn’t bad enough, some of the children struck by it started suffering from various disabilities. As adults, some of the afflicted gave birth to children who also only grew to around 1 meter (3 ft) in height.

The Chinese government has never allowed visitors to the village, inevitably opening up the story to a host of urban legends. It has been said that the citizens felt dark forces had invaded their homes and started believing that they were cursed due to their ancestors’ anger over improper burials. Others apparently believe a turtle to be the source of the problem. Some of the villages cooked and ate a black turtle and, soon after, the strange disease hit Yangsi.

After all this time, however, it seems that the residents are growing out of the disease. The younger generation has seemingly been spared.

9Dorothy Eady And Omm Sety

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Dorothy Eady was a toddler, just like any other. She ran, played, and laughed all day and was a treasure to her doting parents. Then, the unthinkable happened. One morning, Dorothy ran down the stairs at her home near London when she slipped and fell. So severe was the fall that the three-year-old was pronounced dead on the scene.

But then something very unexpected happened: Dorothy woke up. For another four years, her parents had their beautiful daughter back. In 1908, however, everything changed.

On a regular outing to the British Museum, Dorothy’s parents first became aware that the girl was behaving strangely. As soon as they reached the Egyptian section of the museum, Dorothy was transfixed. She couldn’t get enough of the artifacts and sat with a glass-enclosed mummy for a long time, refusing to go home with her parents. Her parents even caught a glimpse of her running around the statues and kissing their feet.

After this incident, things took a turn for the worse. Dorothy became almost depressed and would stare at photos of ancient Egypt, insisting that the country was her home and she needed to return to it. A picture of the “Temple of Seti the First at Abydos” got her especially excited one day. She rushed to her father and shouted that this place was her former home.

Before she found the picture of the temple, Dorothy had dreams in which she saw the buildings and greenery of ancient Egypt. Her interest and love for Egypt skyrocketed, and she joined study groups to learn more about reincarnation and spirituality.

After marrying an Egyptian man, she finally moved to Cairo and gave birth to a baby that she named Seti. She herself would now be known as Omm Sety. Omm’s marriage didn’t last. Her habit of going into a trance and scribbling random hieroglyphics at night about her spirit guide completely freaked her husband out.

Her writings eventually amounted to around 70 pages and detailed Omm’s life in ancient Egypt. It stated that she was a priestess at the Kom El Sultan temple and had a child by Pharoah Seti at the young age of 14. However, she had broken a priestess vow by losing her virginity and took her own life to prevent the Pharaoh from being punished for this crime.

The hieroglyphics also contained accounts of spiritual encounters with Seti and plans to reunite with him in the Egyptian underworld.

This fantastical story has been discarded by many as the ramblings of a crazy person up until the day that Omm Sety helped archaeologists find the exact location of the Temple Garden. She also led them to an undiscovered tunnel at the north side of the Temple. Omm Sety died in 1981 after having lived the rest of her days at the Temple of Abydos. No rational explanation for her memories, dreams, and knowledge of Egypt has been offered, and many skeptics find themselves wondering if Dorothy Eady was, in fact, the reincarnation of the ancient Egypt priestess, Omm Sety.[2]

8Francis Leavy’s Handprint

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Francis Leavy was a dedicated firefighter during the 1920s. He loved his job, and his peers loved him. He was a pleasant man, always ready with a smile and a helping hand. On April 18, 1924, Francis’s colleagues became aware of a change in his demeanor. Suddenly, he was an unsmiling, grunting guy washing a large window at the Chicago Fire Department, not looking at anyone or talking.

After a few minutes, Leavy suddenly announced that he had a strange feeling—a feeling that he might die that very day. At that very moment, the phone rang and broke the heavy atmosphere brought on by the fireman’s words. A fire was raging at a building quite a long way from the fire department, and no time was to be wasted.

In just a few minutes, Francis Leavy and his fellow firefighters were on the scene, assessing the situation and helping those trapped on the top floors. Everything seemed to be on track to rescue everyone from the building. Then, suddenly, the flames engulfed the lower part of the building, and the roof caved in. As soon as this happened, the walls came crashing down, pinning many people under the rubble—including Leavy. Leavy’s grim premonition came true. He lost his life that day, trying to save others.

The very next day, trying to come to terms with the loss of Leavy, his colleagues sat at the firehouse thinking about the events of the previous day. Suddenly, they noticed something strange on one of the windows. It looked like a handprint smudged onto the glass. Eerily, it was the very same window that Francis Leavy was busy washing the day before.

The firemen cleaned the window again, but the print stubbornly refused to disappear. For many years, the handprint remained on the window despite chemicals used to try and remove it. The strange mystery remained unsolved but came to an abrupt end when a newspaper boy threw a paper against the window in 1944, causing it to shatter into pieces.[3]

7Jeannette DePalma

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In 1972, a dog brought something very strange to the back door of his owner’s home. He had sniffed out an almost completely decomposed human forearm on a clifftop in Springfield, New Jersey, and dragged it back to its master, who realized with a great shock what it was. The man informed the police and, after a short search, they found the remains of the body to which the arm belonged. The remains were that of Jeannette DePalma, a teenager who had been missing for six weeks.

Not only did they find her decomposed body, but there were strange objects on the ground where it lay. Rumors began to fly that a local coven of witches had sacrificed the girl. Others believed that Satanists murdered her for occult ritual purposes.

However, the strangest thing about the murder was the fact that no one wanted to speak about it when an article about the incident was in its planning stages. Even after 30 years, people who lived in the area refused to comment or give their opinions on what they believe happened. Not one person who was interviewed wanted their real name used, including the local police department.

Leads in the case did not come in the traditional manner. People sent in anonymous letters omitting their addresses and names. One of the letters stated that logs had been placed around Jeannette’s body and that the writer of it couldn’t reveal his name for many reasons, which he couldn’t reveal either.

Another anonymous writer wrote that he or she knew about a coven of witches in the area who were planning to murder a kid over Halloween. The writer was a child at the time and remembered being terrified of going out trick-or-treating for the holiday. Yet another letter stated that the writer’s mom knew DePalma and that they were about the same age in 1972. This letter also mentioned animals being murdered and strung up in the trees after the murder took place.

In all of the letters, witches or Satanism was mentioned. One of them reiterated that DePalma was a very religious girl who wouldn’t get mixed up with satanic practices. However, the writer also mentions that Jeannette DePalma started becoming a little “wild” as she got older.

The murder of Jeannette DePalma was big news for around two weeks after her body was found, and then the absolute silence around it started and remained. Her murderer has never been identified.[4]

6The Toxic Lady

The death of Gloria Ramirez is one of the most mysterious and sensational medical case studies of recent decades. In 1994, the 31-year-old woman was rushed to a hospital in California. Within a matter of hours, several medical staff who had come into contact with her fell acutely ill. Many had to be hospitalized. Dubbed by the media as the “Toxic Lady,” the case remains debated in the scientific community, but a few varying theories have been put forward over the years.

Ramirez, who was undergoing treatment for late-stage cervical cancer at the time, was rushed to the hospital and suffered a cardiac arrest upon her arrival. Things took an unusual turn when a nurse carried out a routine blood test on the patient. Shortly after drawing the blood, it was reported that a strong ammonia smell started to fill the room. Doctors also noticed that the blood sample took on an unusual appearance as if it contained white crystals.

As these peculiar factors emerged, some medical staff started to feel acutely sick, suffering from a range of symptoms including fainting, convulsions, difficulty breathing, and vomiting. The number of people affected varies from report to report, some stating as few as six, with others as high as 23. At around 8:30 that evening, the hospital decided to evacuate its emergency room, treating patients in the parking lot while workers wearing HAZMAT suits tested the air in the emergency room.

Ramirez passed away later that same night. In late April 1994, a coroner report revealed that she had died of kidney failure brought on by cervical cancer. But the mysterious illness experienced by the medical staff remained uncertain. Early media reports suggest that the nurses and doctors were poisoned by noxious fumes emitted from the dying woman’s body. Ramirez’s family claimed it was a cover-up to hide that the hospital made an error in her treatment. Others claimed it was a simple case of mass hysteria. Autopsies of Ramirez’s body and investigations at the hospital did not clear up much of the confusion, revealing no presence of organophosphates nor any other suspicious agents.

For now, it seems, the case will remain unsolved.[5]

5DB Cooper

The story behind history’s most infamous skyjacking began in Portland, Oregon, the afternoon of November 24, 1971, when a middle-aged man paid cash for a ticket on flight 305 bound for Seattle. He bought the ticket under the name Dan Cooper (the suspect was later named DB Cooper due to a reporter’s error). Once the flight was underway, at about one-third of its capacity, Cooper politely ordered a bourbon and soda. After receiving his drink, he handed a flight attendant a hand-written note. Cooper politely whispered to her, “Miss, you’d better look at that note. I have a bomb.”

After showing her the “bomb” in a briefcase, Cooper gave her his request—$200,000 in “negotiable American currency,” along with four parachutes and a refueling truck on the runway in Seattle. The flight circled Puget Sound for two hours to allow authorities time to organize the parachutes and other demands. When the flight landed in Seattle later that evening, the 35 passengers—most of whom had no idea a skyjacking was transpiring—disembarked, leaving some of the flight crew still on board.
Cooper waited on the runway for approximately two hours with the cabin shades down to ward off potential snipers. The authorities delivered four civilian parachutes and $200,000 (equivalent to about $1.3 million today) in unmarked $20 bills, which the FBI had photographed the serial numbers to track them.

The plane then took off for Mexico City, with an anticipated refueling at the Reno, NV, airport. However, when the plane landed in Reno, Cooper, two parachutes, and the money were not on the plane. Cooper had jumped from the plane, likely somewhere near the Oregon-Washington border. Almost immediately, the FBI began one of the most intensive manhunts in modern history, occupying several hundred agents and spanning four-and-a-half decades. Many believe Coope died from the jump.

In February 1980, an eight-year-old boy camping near Vancouver, Washington, found several packets of the marked money. Scientific study shows the bills were likely buried at the site in the spring or summer, months after Cooper jumped. This raises questions about Cooper’s survival and where he has been all this time. Did he actually pull off one of the greatest heists in history, or did he die trying?[6]

4Le Loyon

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Something creepy is taking place in the woods in western Switzerland. A man dressed in a military uniform with a gas mask over his face seems to be “haunting” the place.

For more than 10 years now, locals who live near these woods have reported seeing the man walk the same path every day. They have given him the name Le Loyon, and they are terrified of him. He doesn’t speak and, when he encounters someone, he simply stares at them, and then walks away in silence. A photographer who tried to take a picture of the mysterious man reported him to be almost 2 meters (6’6″) in height.

Children are too scared to play in these woods anymore, even though the man doesn’t seem to be threatening in any way. At one point, people saw him carrying what looked like flowers while slowly walking down a pathway in the woods. According to the authorities in charge of the area, there is nothing that can be done to get the man to leave the woods since he is not trespassing and has done nothing wrong.

At one point, his clothes were found abandoned in the woods with a note saying he was leaving because “The risk of a hunt for the Beast” was too great.

It is unknown where the man lives, why he wears a gas mask, and why he doesn’t speak. Several theories speculate that he might be mentally disturbed or have a skin disease which would cause him to not want to be seen by others. But, until someone gets him to take off the mask, or at least speak out, the mystery man will remain a mystery.[7]

3Hoia Baciu

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Believed by many to be the most haunted forest in the world, Hoia Baciu in Transylvania is the setting for many unexplained, spooky tales. It also doesn’t help that the trees are bent and twisted in seemingly unnatural ways, giving the woods a horror movie feel.

Several visitors to the Hoia Baciu have returned from their trip terrified, claiming that burns and rashes have appeared on their bodies for no apparent reason. Some even claim to have skipped a few hours during their exploration among the creepy trees. They have no explanation for why they cannot remember what happened during the ”missing” hours.

Many people are truly convinced that ghostly apparitions hang around in the forest, and the locals absolutely refuse to set foot in it. Especially since rumors of floating heads and voices emanating from the darkness started making the rounds.

It all seems to have started back in 1968 when Alexandru Sift took a photograph inside the forest of what many continue to believe was a UFO. Another persistent story tells of a shepherd venturing into the woods with 200 sheep, never to be seen or heard from again.

Ongoing ghost hunts have turned up no clue as to what might be behind all the weird events taking place here, but paranormal experts are not giving up the ghost just yet when it comes to studying Hoia Baciu and revealing its creepy secrets to the world.[8]

2Cosmic Radio Bursts

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Since their discovery in 2007, cosmic radio bursts or “blitzars” have been a source of fascination to scientists around the world. The nine blitzars that have been studied in the years since their discovery have all been plucked from historical data.

Then, in January 2015, scientists announced that they identified a blitzar in real-time. This means that whatever event caused the radio burst to happen was happening when the scientists caught it.

It is unknown what causes these radio bursts, and experts have guessed that it might occur due to collapsing neutron stars or flares. The bursts have a length of one millisecond and, during this minuscule amount of time, they create the same amount of energy that the Sun would create over the course of one million years.

Emily Petroff, a researcher in Australia, stated that these blitzars occur at a distance of more than five billion light-years away from Earth, and the real-time blitzar was noticed near the Aquarius constellation. She said that she and her team would continue looking out for blitzars to try and gather some information and, hopefully, get behind the mystery of their origin one day.[9]

1Bukit Timah

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During World War II, Japanese soldiers stationed in Singapore glimpsed a strange version of Bigfoot there. Many reported seeing a primate-like creature covered in gray hair and standing up to 2 meters (6’6″) tall in the Bukit Timah rain forest.

Sightings peaked during the war, but there are also a few present-day sightings reported every now and then. The Bukit Timah area is now a biodiverse nature reserve that housed several creatures, including tigers, not too long ago.

Although it is still a mystery what the soldiers and others were actually seeing in this area, some people believe they might have confused macaques for primates. However, according to most experts, this would be unlikely as the macaques in Singapore resemble Japan’s, and the soldiers at least would know what they were looking at. The last sightings took place in 2007 when visitors told stories of seeing an ape-creature being run over by a taxi and another scratching around in trash cans.[10]

Estelle lives in Gauteng, SA. She wishes there were cooler mysteries here.

fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.