Everyone loves a good mystery. Some, though, are more baffling than others. Take these 19 real-life cases, for example. All of these people died in circumstances so mysterious that not even professional investigators or coroners have been able to explain them. Will you be able to work out what really happened to them?
19. Zigmund Adamski
In June 1980 56-year-old miner Zigmund Adamski went out to do some shopping in West Yorkshire, U.K. Less than a week later, though, his body was found on top of a pile of coal 20 miles away, with his neck, shoulders and head covered in strange, unexplainable burn marks. Furthermore, his beard boasted just a day’s growth, yet he’d disappeared five days earlier. The case was such a head-scratcher that some even speculated that Adamski could have been abducted by aliens. To this day, moreover, no one has figured out exactly what happened.
18. The Jamison family
In November 2013 three bodies were found in the mountains of Oklahoma, faced down and arranged in a neat line. These were the remains of Sherilyn and Bobby Jamison and their six-year-old daughter, Madyson, all of whom had been missing for four years. Everything about the case was odd and confusing, including the discovery of their truck several miles away. And their relatives still don’t know what happened, with everything from witchcraft to botched drug deals having been put forward as potential theories.
17. The Somerton Man
When a 40-something man’s corpse was found on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia, police assumed he’d died of heart failure. Yet some aspects of the case didn’t add up. For starters, the body couldn’t be identified. Furthermore, there were no signs of a struggle, and he appeared to have been in excellent physical shape. The death of Adelaide’s “Unknown Man” – as his gravestone reads – remains a mystery 68 years later.
16. Michael Faherty
Three days before Christmas 2010, 76-year-old Michael Faherty was at home in Galway, Ireland, when he apparently just burst into flames. Those investigating his death could find no evidence that he’d accidentally set fire to himself, and there was no damage to the floor or ceiling. The coroner handling the case, Dr. Ciaran McLoughlin, recorded a verdict of “spontaneous combustion” – the first such conclusion in Irish history.
15. Miguel José Viana and Manoel Pereira da Cruz
In August 1966 the suited bodies of technicians Miguel José Viana and Manoel Pereira da Cruz were found on Morro do Vintém, a hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Somewhat bizarrely, they were both wearing lead eye masks. And while police didn’t find any signs of violence, they did discover a note which, translated from Portuguese, read, “16:30 be at the specified location. 18:30 ingest capsules, after the effect protect metals await signal mask.” Their deaths remain unexplained.
14. John Irving Bentley
Gasman Don Gosnell got a surprise when he visited the home of 92-year-old John Irving Bentley in December 1966. He’d traveled to the property in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, in order to read the meter. Instead, though, he discovered the charred remains of the elderly homeowner. Could Bentley really have spontaneously combusted in his bathroom? When the coroner later investigated, moreover, he ruled that Bentley had died “by asphyxiation and 90 percent burning of the body.”
13. Gilbert Bogle and Margaret Chandler
Investigators know that Gilbert Bogle and Margaret Chandler perished beside the Lane Cover River in Sydney, Australia, on New Year’s Day 1963. Quite how or why, though, has never been determined. According to eyewitnesses, the couple had been getting intimate in the bushes. Then in 2006 a theory was put forward that suggested the pair had died after breathing in hydrogen sulphide, which may have erupted from the contaminated riverbed.
12. Ricky McCormick
During the height of summer in 1999, the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick was found in a nondescript Missouri cornfield. Because he’d clearly been dead for some time, it was hard for investigators to determine the cause of death. Indeed, their only real clue was a pair of coded notes found in one of McCormick’s pockets. And despite the assistance of the FBI, no one has yet been able to crack them.
11. Mitrice Richardson
Mitrice Richardson’s family don’t believe that she suffered a fatal fall while hiking in a remote section of California’s Malibu Canyon. The 24-year-old had been missing for nearly a year when her remains were found on a pile of vegetation. What’s more, she had no cell phone or I.D. on her, there wasn’t a car nearby, and some of her clothes were found 100 feet away. The case surrounding her death remains open.
10. Gareth Williams
Given that Gareth Williams worked for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, it’s probably fitting that his unexplained death is like something from a spy novel. His naked, dead body was found inside a padlocked bag in the bathroom of an apartment in Pimlico, London, in August 2010. The key to the padlock? It was inside the bag, beneath his decaying remains. Furthermore, investigators could find no evidence of Williams’ DNA or fingerprints around the bathroom, on the padlock or on the bag’s zip. Was it murder most foul or a bizarre accident? We’ll probably never know.
9. Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon
In April 2014 21 year-old Kris Kremers and 22-year-old Lisanne Froon were traveling around Panama’s Voco del Toros region when they tried to call the emergency services. But since they never got through, nobody knows what emergency promoted them to pick up the phone. Several months later, body parts from both women were found scattered along a riverbank, roughly 12 hours’ walk from the Continental Divide of the Americas.
8. Frauke Liebs
The last time anyone saw 21-year-old Frauke Liebs alive, she was watching a soccer game in a bar in Paderborn, Germany. She left at around 11:00 p.m., and just under two hours later a text was sent from her phone, telling her roommate that she’d return later. But she never did – and police later found that the message had been sent from 20 miles away. Despite her vanishing, though, Liebs did speak to friends and relatives on the phone. However, four months later, in October 2006, her skeleton was discovered in a forest, clothed in the garments she’d been wearing when she disappeared.
7. Richard Lancelyn Green
Sherlock Holmes would have enjoyed the strange case of Richard Lancelyn Green, a world-renowned expert on the fictional detective’s creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. In 2004 Green was found dead in bed, with a shoelace around his neck; the latter had been tightened by a still-attached wooden spoon. Authorities couldn’t figure out whether it was murder or suicide, though prior to his death Green had loudly opposed a high-profile auction of Conan Doyle artifacts, which may have been a motive. Even Baker Street’s finest would struggle to solve this mystery.
6. Jonathan Luna
In December 2003 attorney Jonathan Luna was busy working on a case of two men accused of operating a drugs racket from a music studio. The night before his presentation in court, Luna went home early, apparently to work. The following morning, however, a couple of drillers working in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, discovered Luna dead in his car. His body had 36 stab wounds. Was he murdered? Did he take his own life? Either way, the case remains open.
5. Philip Michael Shue
Air Force Colonel Philip Michael Shue died in 2003 when his car ploughed into trees on a highway near San Antonio, Texas. But his cousin Rod believes that there was more to Shue’s death than meets the eye. Why, for example, was there a 6-inch wound in his chest? And why had his nipples been severed? If Shue really had committed suicide, as authorities believe, why would he have removed his own nipples before crashing his car?
4. Max Spiers
“If anything happens to me, investigate.” This was the text that 39-year-old Max Spiers sent to his mom just days before his death in Warsaw, Poland, in June 2016. An acquaintance subsequently discovered the British conspiracy theorist’s body on the sofa of an apartment he was staying in. Authorities quickly concluded that he had died from natural causes; however, Vanessa Bates, Spiers’ mom, said that he had been “digging in some dark places.” “I fear that somebody wanted him dead,” she added.
3. Ananda Mahidol
Ananda Mahidol, the brother of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, died in strange circumstances in 1946. He’d sustained a fatal gunshot wound, right between the eyes, for which three of his servants were executed. Many years later, though, King Bhumibol admitted to doubts about their guilt. “What happened is very mysterious because… immediately many of the evidence was just shifted… everyone was political. Even the police were political,” he told the BBC.
2. Annie and Robin Korkki
On September 22, 2016, American sisters Annie and Robin Korkki tragically passed away while on vacation in the Seychelles. A post-mortem revealed that the pair had excess liquid in their lungs, which may, investigators believe, have been brought on by excessive drinking. Medicines found in their room, however, are yet to be analyzed. Could they offer more conclusive evidence surrounding the sisters’ completely unexpected deaths?
1. Elisa Lam
The body of Elisa Lam was discovered in February 2013 by maintenance worker Santiago Lopez, who decided to check the water tank atop Los Angeles’ Cecil Hotel after receiving a complaint about water pressure. There Lam’s naked body lay face up, but how she ended up there, or why, has never been explained. The coroner ruled hers a case of accidental drowning, but reports of Lam acting erratically before her death have attracted attention from online sleuths and movie scriptwriters alike.