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Top 10 Crazy American Unsolved Mysteries

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Most events classified as mysterious in nature are shrugged off as ‘stuff and nonsense. Rightly so too. However, there are exceptions that baffle people so much they cannot stop talking about it on the internet and with their friends. A fairly recent example is the disappearance of flight MH370. While it’s commonly accepted that the airliner crashed into the sea, it remains unknown why exactly that happened. On this list are 10 mysterious events that were baffling enough to make the news. Are they stuff and nonsense too, or is there a real mystery behind these events? Read on and decide for yourself:

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10 The Vanishing Car

Video Of Purported Highway 1 Cliff Plunge Surfaces; Search For Driver Continues

On 30 December 2019, emergency services were called to Gray Whale Cove State Beach in California. An anonymous witness claimed he had seen a Lexus SUV driving over a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Officials immediately called in reinforcements, including the U.S. Coast Guard, and a six-hour search for bodies and the remnants of the vehicle ensued. The search was halted after water conditions became dangerous and daylight faded. The only evidence they found of a car leaping over the cliff was dashboard camera footage, some debris, and tire marks on the sand surrounding the edge of the cliff.

Suspicion arose that the video may have been faked, considering there was no car in the water or evidence of any human remains. However, on 16 January 2020, another witness came forward corroborating the story and saying that they too saw the car flying over the edge of the cliff.

Some car parts have washed up on nearby beaches, which police are sorting through, but to date, there have been no bodies found nor easily identifiable parts of a Lexus SUV. There is also yet to be a missing person or missing vehicle report filed that might be linked to the incident.[1]

9 The Man Bat

In an incident reminiscent of the Mothman stories, a father and son were driving along Briggs Road in Wisconsin in September 2006 when the headlights of their pickup illuminated a massive winged creature flying straight towards them. Terrified, all the duo could do was wait for the impact, but seconds before the creature hit their windshield, it let out a high-pitched wail and flew upwards into the night.

Afterward, the father and son both experienced severe nausea and were ill for at least a week. This sighting remains the only of the creature dubbed the Beast of Briggs Road, the Man Bat, because of its huge wings and bat-like features. The father, Wohali, also claimed that the creature had yellow eyes and rows of pointy teeth.

The strange encounter was to be included in a book detailing supernatural accounts in Wisconsin, but what exactly the two men witnessed that day remains a mystery.[2]

8 The Missing Town of Urkhammer

There are several tales of islands disappearing without a trace as well as entire communities that seem to have vanished overnight. Then there are the reports of entire towns vanishing, leaving little evidence behind that they had ever existed.

In 1928, the small town of Urkhammer in Iowa looked just how you would expect a small American town at the time to look. The grass was trimmed, the roads were maintained, with new buildings popping up every now and then. Strangely enough, when aerial photos were taken of the area, it seemed that no town existed in that spot. Fields were overgrown and clearly not looked after, and the place looked deserted.

It could have been written off as a mistake or photo anomaly, but then a report emerged from a tourist who stopped in Urkhammer to fill up with gas. Driving away, he realized his tank had never been topped up, and he drove back to Urkhammer immediately to demand the gas he paid for. However, he drove and drove but could not reach the town. Running out of gas, he got out and walked towards it, seeing it before him but unable to reach it.

More reports started coming in from people driving past the town. They claimed that the place was abandoned, and an investigation revealed rows of houses without occupants. Others claimed they saw the town evaporating into thin air. The reports were printed in several newspapers, but when the stock market crash of 1929 happened, the incidents were forgotten.

Years later, people moved into the area and found the remains of what used to be the town of Urkhammer. So, was it all just a scary story? Or was there really a town that vanished bit by bit, taking its citizens with it?[3]

7 The Unstoppable Stalker

Having a stalker is probably one of the scariest things you can have happen to you. Imagine a person turning your cell phone into a device with which he can spy on you and track your every move while threatening to kill you.

Three families in Washington had to endure this nightmare in 2007 with an aggressive person phoning them at all hours and threatening to kill their children, grandparents, and even pets. They would receive voicemails that played recordings of their conversations with the local police. The person would describe what they were wearing or what they were busy doing at any given time.

Police were powerless to do anything, as their investigations turned up no leads as to who the stalker could be. They even suspected the families of making the entire thing up. However, electronic surveillance experts agree that phones can be operated remotely, which means the reports could very well be true.

Whether this was a prankster that has gone too far or a true stalker meant to harm the families will probably never be established. The identity of the stalker remains unknown.[4]

6 Disembodied Footsteps

At the Gregg County Historical Museum in Texas, a century-old iron coffin is stored on the second floor. Larry Courington, who sits on the Board of Directors, spends a lot of time at the museum doing volunteer work. In 2018, he told 14 News that sometimes, when he is downstairs working, he can hear what sounds like the footsteps of a child running up and down near where the coffin stands.

Courington has also claimed that he wasn’t the only one to hear these footsteps but that others who sometimes work with him have also heard them.

Workers found the coffin near downtown Longview, and when it was opened, they discovered the well-preserved remains of a little girl. Courington said the estimation of the age of the girl was around 11 or 12. It is believed that she was on vacation in the 1880s when she died, and because they couldn’t get the body back to West Texas, her family opted to bury her in a donated casket. The girl’s remains were reinterred at Greenwood Cemetery, but the casket was given to the museum where it has been since 1980.

Courington has had a paranormal team come to the museum who told him the place had five specific hauntings. There was, however, no clarity on whether the little girl was the one running around her century-old coffin on the second floor of the museum.[5]

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5 Birds of a Feather

Las Vegas residents were astonished to see a pigeon with a tiny cowboy hat glued to its head walking in the streets towards the end of 2019. Then he was joined by another pigeon also sporting a tiny hat. Naturally, footage of the pigeons went viral in no time. However, pigeon rescuers were less than amused, considering that the glue used to stick the hats to the pigeons’ heads was harming their skin and feathers. One of the birds died soon after.

In January 2020, the anonymous pigeon-adorner struck again, this time with a tiny sombrero glued to the head of another pigeon. It remains unknown who the person is that is sticking hats onto the heads of these birds, but officials are investigating as they are concerned for the birds’ wellbeing.[6]

4 Is It a Bird, Is It a … Drone?

Mysterious objects identified as drones flying over Colorado’s Eastern Plains made headlines in December 2019, and sightings continued into 2020. As many as 23 drone activity reports were received by police between 6 and 13 January but the drones remain unidentified and it is still unknown who was operating them.

It was first reported that a large band of drones would hover around 300 feet in the air over northeast Colorado and then start flying around in square formations. It was estimated that there were about 17 drones and that they were active between 7 pm and 10 pm. Local authorities were interviewed, including the Air Force and the Department of Defence, but none knew why the drones kept appearing.

Drone sightings have since been reported from Nebraska, California, and North Carolina, but now some media outlets claim that the reports may have stemmed from misconceptions. They have used examples such as a pilot claiming to have struck a drone in 2015, and it was later revealed he actually hit a bird. Another pilot reported having hit a drone near Heathrow Airport, but it was later established he might just have hit a plastic bag.

And now the drone sightings have all but ceased, and it seems unlikely that the mystery will be solved. Were there drones to begin with? And if there were, why were there so many? And where are they now?[7]

3 The Gurdon Light

The Gurdon Light, Arkansas’s greatest paranormal mystery

Weird floating lights have been seen all over the country, but there’s something different about the mysterious light floating near the railroad tracks in Gurdon, Arkansas. For one thing, it isn’t elusive. It’s not part of a local legend because some kids saw it once, and everybody had to take their word for it. The Gurdon Light has appeared for hundreds of people, and some townspeople have seen it so many times that it’s become an ordinary part of their life. It is said to be an eerie white-blue, sometimes orange, glowing light.

There’s no rational explanation for the light, but there are legends. One has it that a railroad worker was hit by a train and decapitated, and the light comes from a lantern as his ghost continues to walk the tracks, looking for his disembodied head. Or it may be the ghost of a railroad foreman, murdered by one of his employees with either a railroad spike or a hammer. (The light started appeared shortly after the crime, which is why this story continues to be a popular one.)

One possible explanation for the Gurdon light is that underground quartz crystals in the area are under constant stress and cause an electric reaction that results in the glow. Unlike other mysterious lights, the Gurdon Light is reported to always be present but only visible at night. The light has been chronicled by the television show Unsolved Mysteries and remains a Halloween favorite for locals.[8]

2 The Boy in the Chimney

At 18, Joshua Maddux was a free spirit who followed his own rules and was much loved by his family and friends. Being a huge fan of nature, Joshua often went for walks and spoke of going on a great adventure one day. His brother’s suicide in 2006 hit him hard, but he found a way to start moving forward again. Then in 2008, Joshua disappeared after telling his sister he was going for a walk.

Joshua’s fate remained unknown for 7 years. In 2015, Chuck Murphy finally demolished his wood cabin that hadn’t been used for years. A new property development was going to be erected in its place. Inside the remains of the chimney when they pulled it down was the body of Joshua Maddux. He was cramped up in the fetal position inside the chimney, his legs above his head. The cabin where the discovery was made stood less than a mile from Joshua’s home.

An autopsy revealed that Joshua had no drugs in his system, and there was no outward trauma on his body. A ruling of ‘accidental death’ was made after a coroner concluded that Joshua had climbed into the chimney from above, gotten stuck, and died of hypothermia. Chuck Murphy disagreed with this, saying that Joshua was wearing only a thin shirt when his body was discovered, and the rest of his clothes were folded up next to the fireplace inside the cabin. Murphy believed foul play was to blame and that someone forced Joshua into the chimney. The truth remains elusive.[9]

1 The Nevada Triangle

For some reason there are several ‘triangles’ around the world that seem to be black holes of mystery and death. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Bermuda Triangle which is purported to have swallowed up dozens of ships and airplanes.

There is yet another triangle in Nevada that covers a vast area close to Area 51! More than 2000 planes have vanished, seemingly into thin air, with most of them never found. The most well-known missing plane and pilot story is the one that tells of billionaire Steve Fossett, a very experienced pilot who went missing on the California/Nevada border in 2007. The wreckage and some of Fossett’s remains were discovered a year later. The reason for the crash remains unknown, despite a multitude of theories, including downdrafts. Other disappearances in the Nevada Triangle include a B-24 bomber that went missing in 1943 and was found submerged in a reservoir in 1955. In 1957, another military plane went missing, and after an extensive but fruitless search, the plane’s pilot was declared dead. However, 54 days after the crash, the pilot pitched up in Kings Canyon National Park. He said something had unexpectedly exploded inside his plane, and he ejected from the plane. He survived on fish and hunted small animals for food until he eventually reached the park.

There are several theories on why the Nevada Triangle seems to swallow up planes, including aliens, mountain waves etc, but the truth is yet to be revealed.[10]

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fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.