This post is about Unsolved Mysteries, a 1987-2002 documentary show that profiled cases that dealt with crime, legends, lost loves and the paranormal. Hosted by Robert Stack, who reported cases in an eerie, monotone, yet warm and avuncular voice, this show was loved by Generation Y kids (myself included) all over the country for spooking us out weekday nights. The creepy electronic music helped too. This show was my introduction to cryptozoology, where I learned about Champ, Ogopogo and Bigfoot. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I’ve been able to watch the show and revisit many famous mysteries – some of which have been solved. But in the years since the show went off the air, I’ve come across many cases that were never featured on the show and I wished had been. So I’ve come up with a list of 10 cases that were never investigated by Unsolved Mysteries. Each case title will provide a link to an article or video that gives more information on the case. I will only list mysteries that happened before 2002, and I’m not taking into account the Dennis Farina series. What you are about to read is not a news broadcast.
Pay close attention. Perhaps you may be able to help solve a mystery.
Until the mid 20th Century, the North and South Poles were “the final frontier”. Underneath all that ice and snow, there are plenty of mysteries to explore. The first that comes to mind is the quest for the Northwest Passage. Why did so many expeditions fail, in particular the Expedition of Sir John Franklin? Now I know what you’re thinking: thanks to new forensic evidence and the discoveries of the shipwrecks Erebus and Terror, we’ve come close to solving the case of the missing Franklin Expedition. But in the 20th century the ships weren’t discovered yet and to this day there’s still unanswered questions: what killed Sir John Franklin so early in the expedition? What happened to Captain Francis Crozier? Why was the company contracted to provide the expedition with canned goods careless in their sealing methods that led to the downfall of the crew? Did Franklin pick the wrong route to travel in his quest for the Northwest Passage? If so, how could he – who had Arctic experience – pick such a disastrous route? Were there any survivors and did they spend the rest of their lives with the Inuit? Regardless, Franklin and his men were a big influence on Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who, thanks to his resourcefulness and humility, founded the Northwest Passage in 1906. But in 1928, while traveling by plane on a rescue mission, Amundsen disappeared. His body and plane were never found…
We’ve all heard of plane crashes involving rock stars but when it comes to planes and jazz legends, only one name comes to mind: Glenn Miller. A big band leader and trombone player, Miller was best known for songs like “Pennsylvania 6-5000” and “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”. Like other entertainers during World War Two, Miller traveled from base to base entertaining the troops. But on December 15, 1944 while flying in a UC-64 over the English Channel, he disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. What happened to Glenn Miller?
In 1955 12 eyewitnesses – Elmer and Vera Sutton, Billy Ray and June Taylor, J.C. and Alene Sutton, O.P. Baker, Glennie Lankford and her 3 children – told Hopkinsville, KY police that the Sutton farmhouse in Kelly was “attacked” by unwanted visitors resembling aliens resulting in a two hour shootout. There were estimated to be about twelve to fifteen invaders. Despite intensive police investigation, no evidence of alien contact was ever verified. Were the farmhouse residents really startled by the presence of “goblins”? Was it just a case of mass hysteria and mistaken identity? Or was it all just a hoax? You be the judge.
A case that still puzzles and disturbs people to this very day. On February 25, 1957 in Philadelphia, Frederick Benosis, a college student, came across a box filled with the remains of a little boy (estimated to be around 4-6 years old) covered with bruises, possibly malnourished and wrapped in a flannel blanket. What made this case even more difficult for police was that they couldn’t even figure out the identity of the little boy. And so he was christened “The Boy In the Box” and “America’s Unknown Child”. In the days following the discovery of the body, police did a thorough investigation of the crime scene, took postmortem photos of the child and distributed flyers all to no avail. The case remains open. Who was The Boy In the Box?
Lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards was a member of Manic Street Preachers, a Welsh alternative rock band. At 7 A.M. on February 1 1995, the day he and a friend were scheduled to fly to the U.S. for a tour, Edwards vanished from his room at the Embassy Hotel in London. He took with him his passport, wallet, car keys and some Prozac. He had also withdrawn £2,800 from his bank account. Although eyewitnesses have stepped forward claiming to have seen or encounter Edwards, he’s never been seen or heard from since. What happened to Richey Edwards? What drove him to walk away from his career? Did he commit suicide or was he murdered? Is he still alive?
While the Mothman was wrecking bridges, another bizarre legend arose in West Virignia in 1966. While driving home one night, sewing machine salesman Woodrow Derenberger came across a bizarre aircraft that stopped him in his tracks. Out came a man that looked like any other man save for one defining feature: he had a big grin frozen on his face. Communicating telepathically with Derenberger, he revealed that his name was Indrid Cold and that he would meet with Derenberger again, which he did. Derenberger reported this encounter to famed investigator John Keel, who then claimed to have received phone calls from the mysterious “Grinning Man”. But weeks before Derenberger and Keel had their encounters, two boys from Elizabeth, New Jersey – James Yanchitis and Martin Munov – were walking home when they passed by a fence and saw a man just standing there with a big grin across his face. It was the creepiest experience they ever had. Curiously the Grinning Man/Indrid Cold legend remains an event of the ’60s. There’s been no reported sightings since. Was Indrid Cold an actual alien? Was he just a drunken prankster? Or was this all a case of mass hysteria and frayed nerves?
4. Dune Tunes
Unsolved Mysteries once did a segment on mysterious hums and another segment on the Gurdon Lights. Now combine those two phenomena and you get singing sand dunes. Eye (ear?) witnesses claim to hear certain musical instruments (kettle drum, zither, tambourine, foghorn or harp) emitting from sand dunes. The most reported places are the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park and the Kelso Dunes. What causes this musical phenomena? Is it the dunes? Is it an echo from nearby cities? Or is it just the human imagination?
One thing we can say with conviction: it wasn’t Snoopy. On April 21st, 1918, German ace pilot Manfred von Richthofen, commonly known as “The Red Baron”, was shot down over Vaux-sur-Somme. He was 25 years old. Despite the roster of possible “suspects”, no one can pinpoint who fired the shot that ended the military career of the man with 80 victories under his belt.
Before Oprah Winfrey, there was Dorothy Kilgallen, an influential – and I mean influential – journalist who wrote play reviews in her column The Voice of Broadway. She also hosted a radio show with her husband, Breakfast With Dick and Dorothy. She was a recurring panelist on the game show What’s My Line and she covered crime cases on the side. It was her sharp journalism skills that helped acquit Dr. Sam Shepherd of the murder of his wife.
These skills would be used again in 1963 with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. After the assassination, arrest and murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kilgallen wrote in The New York Journal American: “The point in this historic case is that the whole truth has not been told.” In other words, Kilgallen wasn’t buying what the FBI – and the press – were reporting to the masses, so she decided to do some investigating of her own. Then in 1965 she was found dead in her New York townhouse. The coroner ruled it a suicide, then a drug overdose. But some believe it was murder. Did she know too much?
In 1959 nine Russian ski hikers were found dead in their tents in the northern Ural Mountains (Kholat Syakhl). Examinations of the remains found evidence of hypothermia, skull and chest fractures, missing eyes and tongue from one of the victims. During the night, the skiers, inadequately dressed for the sub-zero environment, tore out of their tents and flee into the night. What made the group abandon their camp? Was it an avalanche? An animal attack? Or something more sinister?
- Mount Rainier Flying Saucers
- The Disappearance of Jean Spangler
- The Murder of Christina Kettlewell
- Tahoe Tessie and the mobsters
- Murdered Women of the 1940s
For every mystery there is someone, somewhere who knows the truth. Perhaps that someone is watching. Perhaps…it’s you.
If you have any information, call us at 1-800-876-5353 or go to unsolved.com. Or just leave your thoughts in the comments section.