27 Disturbing Unexplained Mysteries (And Murders) That Just Don’t Add Up

These stories from Ask Reddit will remind you to shut your windows tight tonight.
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1. The murder of Katarzyna Zowada

“A REALLY disturbing one that might be solved now: who killed Katarzyna Zowada? Warning: this is NOT for the faint of heart. I am dead serious, do NOT read this before eating.

She was a Polish college student, and thus most of the information is in Polish. There’s not much information on her available in English, which is honestly a surprise given the details of the case. She went missing in November 1998. Then on January 7, 1999, something got caught in a tugboat’s propeller so the operator stopped it to try to untangle it. He found something he described as pale and nondescript, with a really foul smell, and he couldn’t tell what it was.

Then he noticed an ear.

He didn’t find her body. He found her skin.

It had been neatly cut off from her body around the thighs and neck, missing her arms and face though still including her left ear. Investigators determined it had been in the river for two or three weeks by that point, and that it had been prepared to be worn like a suit. The rest of her body was never found aside from a leg found floating near a dam.

One of the most horrifying and disturbing cases I’ve ever heard.” — cannibalisticapple

2. Chris Benoit’s strange Wikipedia page edit and murder/suicide

“Chris Benoit was a pro wrestler who murdered his wife and child in their home before committing suicide, 14 hours before this was discovered, a wikipedia article noted he would be replaced by another wrestler in a match due to personal issues including the death of his wife:

The article originally read: ‘Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW World Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy.’ The phrase ‘stemming from the death of his wife Nancy’ was added at 12:01 a.m. EDT on June 25,[78] whereas the Fayette County police reportedly discovered the bodies of the Benoit family at 2:30 p.m. EDT (14 hours, 29 minutes later).

However Chris himself didn’t edit the page, the police traced this edit back to Stamford… where WWE headquarters is located

There are other strange things in the case too, like the bottles of alcohol and steroid needles littered around the scene but no alcohol or steroids being in Chris’ body.
Or that Chris had been paranoid that someone was following him in the weeks up to the murder, and had repeatedly texted one of his closest friends his address (despite the fact he came over regularly to visit and knew where he lived) in the moments up to the murder.” — tuento

3. The silent twins

“Two twins, they only spoke to one another in a language they created. They also tried to kill each other on occasion. They were committed, where they both eventually decided that in order to live a normal life, one of them would have to die…

So they decided which one of them would die, and then she did… Of heart failure… inflammation of the heart to be exact.

The other went on to live a perfectly normal life.

It’s not so much an unsolved mystery, as it is… Wtf was all of this?” — R50cent

4. The disappearance of Brandon Swanson

“In 2008 a teenager in Minnesota was driving to a friend’s party when he crashed into a ditch. He called his dad to come pick him up, but his dad was unable to find him, despite being a long-time resident of the area. Eventually Brandon started walking and described what he saw as a city up the road that he was heading to. Abruptly, Brandon cussed and his phone went silent. His car was later found abandoned in the ditch as he had described, but no city could have been in the area where he was walking. To this day he is still missing, with little evidence found since.” — User_Name_ASDF

5. FBI most wanted cases 

“FBI most wanted cases are always fun to look at. some of my favorites are…

Jason Derek Brown, former mormon, partier, surfer, and chill type of guy. Kills a security guard and runs off. Hasn’t been seen since 2005 ish except for a sighting in 2009

Robert William Fisher, former marine, kills his family and blows up his house. Hasn’t been seen since 2001. Last sign of him was his abandoned car and his dog Nobody knows if he’s still out in the woods or is just a pile of bones at this point.

Donald Eugene Webb had been on the list for 26 years. You’d think he’d be all over the place but he was really hidden by his wife and passed away in 1999 when his body was finally found in 2017.

Not a fbi most wanted case but John List managed to disappear after killing his family and created an entirely new identity and remarried before being caught after almost 18 years.” — donillarytrumpton

6. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

“I find the story of Kaspar Hauser, an anonymous teenager found wandering the streets of Nuremberg in in the early 19th century, fascinating.

He appeared out of nowhere with no family, friends or anyone who could confirm his identity. He claimed to have been kept in almost total isolation for his whole life up until that point. His linguistic skills were severely limited, consistent with someone who had grown up with very little human contact.

Rumours began to circulate that he was actually a German prince who had been swapped at birth with a dead baby to prevent his succession to the throne by scheming relatives. Rather than kill him, they locked him up in complete isolation and left there to be forgotten, until somehow he was freed or managed to escape.

He attracted several wealthy sponsors over the course of his short life, but none were successful at solving the mystery of his origins. He died under suspicious circumstances (stabbed by an unknown assailant) 5 years after being found. Of course he may have just been a deranged fantasist or attention seeker – who knows!” — HunchyTheHuncher

7. The Sodder Children Disappearance

“To summarize: a fire starts in the Sodder house, and the parents and 4 of the 9 children there get out. The other 5 are never seen again, and the parents suspect that they were alive and had been taken somewhere else, because no bones or other human remains were found in the ashes.

There are many theories and explanations to support them. I would just like to know what happened that night.” — superuser1995

8. The murder of Tair Rada

“One of the most mysterious murder cases in the history of Israel is the murder of 13 years old Tair Rada.

In December 2006, 13 year-old Tair Rada reportedly decided to skip the last period of that school-day. She stayed outside in the school yard with friends for a while, before going back into the high-school building to get a drink of water.

She was last seen by several students going up a staircase leading to a mid-floor of 10th grade classes. Later that afternoon, when she failed to return home, her mother contacted the police, and a search throughout the town began.

Later that evening around 7pm, she was found murdered in a locked stall in the girls’ bathroom – her throat slit twice and multiple additional cuts to her face, torso, and hands.

According to news reports from the evening of the murder, the police’s initial estimate was that teens from the school were involved. It was abandoned soon after.

On the night of the murder, police detained a homeless person as a suspect. 3 days later police detained the school gardener as well. Both were released 2 days later due to the fact they weren’t at or near the school on that day and their alibis were confirmed.

On December 11, police detained and interrogated Roman Zadorov.

On December 19, 2 weeks after the murder, police announced in a press conference during prime time television, on the 8pm evening news, that Zadorov is held as the most likely suspect and that he had admitted and reenacted the murder.

A day later, his attorney informed that he had recanted his confession.

The motive for the murder, as initially stated by the police, was insults hurled at Zadorov after he denied Tair’s request for a cigarette. Both her family and friends, however, stated that not only did she not smoke, but she couldn’t even stand the smell of cigarettes.

They also stated that rude behaviour and cursing were very uncharacteristic of her. That motive was dropped. Police later claimed that the motive was sexual abuse Zadorov suffered by female classmates when he was an 8 years old in the Ukraine, which caused a rage fit after he suffered continuous pestering by the school’s students during his work, but that could not be confirmed.

No alternative motive for the murder was presented by police in the indictment.

Zadorov was convicted in court and was sent to life in person.

In early 2016, a four-part documentary TV series was aired in Israel, called “Shadow of Truth”, reviewing the Tair Rada murder/Roman Zadorov conviction affair. It caused a major media storm, raising many doubts regarding Zadorov’s conviction and pointing at many flaws in his investigation and trial.

The fourth episode revealed a never-heard-before testimony of a man (referred to in the series as A.H.), who told the police in 2012 that his ex-girlfriend had confessed to him on the day of the murder, and even showed him a knife and clothes soaked in blood. Following his testimony, his ex-girlfriend (referred to as A.K.) was then arrested by police and investigated under suspicion of murder.

While she was in house arrest, she left her home and tried to kill someone, and was subsequently sent to a psychiatric hospital without being further interrogated about her involvement in the Rada case.

Along with his own lawyer and Zadorov’s public defender, who are also interviewed in the episode, A.H. claims that the investigation had been whitewashed.

To this day Zadorov is still serving time for the murder and still Pleading ‘Not Guilty’.

Big part of the public in Israel believes he is innocent and there is a lot of pressure to reopen the case.

If you want to get more details on this story – recently Netflix bought the documentary TV series and you can check it over there.” — Yonski3

9. The suicide of Annandale Jane Doe

“A local suicide – she’s known as the Annandale Jane Doe.

December 1996. Under the cover of the night, she walked into small cemetery and sat up against a mausoleum overlooking the section where children were buried. She put on headphones, sipped the last of her brandy, and then slipped a plastic bag over her head. Next to her was a small Christmas tree, a backpack, and a minnie mouse fanny pack. She left a note, saying she was deceased by her own hand, along with two $50 bills for her cremation.

Her ashes sit in the local police department, and to this day, no one here in the DC metro area knows who she was.” — Astridasteroid

10. The Hinterkaifeck Murders

“German farmer found footprints leading from the woods to his farm, but no footprints going back. Days later he was murdered along with his whole family.” — travelmore69

11. The disappearance of Maura Murray

“Disappeared after crashing her car into a snow bank in the middle of the night in the Kancamagus region of NH. Some witnesses saw the crash and even spoke to her, but by the time the police arrived minutes later, she was gone, her personal effects strewn around the car and a rag stuffed in the tailpipe. K9s were used to track her scent but it ended a few yards away from where she crashed. It’s presumed that’s where she was picked up or abducted by someone. Later that year a man approached her parents and claimed his brother had kidnapped and killed her, but it was never proven.” — MrMcSwifty

12. The Dancing Plague of 1518 

“The Dancing Plague of 1518 was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg in July 1518. Around 400 people took to dancing for days without rest and, over the period of about one month, some of those affected collapsed or even died of heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

Historical documents, including ‘physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council’ are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why these people danced, some even to their deaths.” — Ashtarr

13. The disappearance of Asha Degree

“She was a shy nine-year-old girl who randomly left her house around 2am on Valentine’s Day, 2000, in pouring rain. Her backpack was found later, but she never was. It’s even stranger because some of the more common explanations for child disappearances don’t apply here. For example, there was no computer in her house, so she couldn’t have met some stranger who lured her out. She did well in school and she had a supportive family, so none of the typical reasons children run away. She was also extremely afraid of dogs, so it was out of character for her to go walking around alone.

There were never any real clues to her disappearance, and the trail went cold basically the day it happened.” — Pyro00

14. The Campden Wonder

“In England, 1660, A 70 year old man named William Harrison was walking a few miles to the next village when he disappeared. Later, they found his clothes covered in blood, including his hat which looked like it had been slashed open. Harrison’s servant, John Perry, pleads guilty to the act and is executed along with his brother and their mother. Two years later, William Harrison returns to his village alive, having found his way back to England on a ship from Portugal.

The guy claims to have been sold into slavery in Turkey, but the story makes no sense because how would Turkish slavers get to England? And even then, why would they capture a frail old man to do slave labor? To this day, nobody has any idea why the servant confessed to murder they didn’t commit, or what actually happened to Harrison.” — StudebakerHotch

15. The disappearance of Rico Harris

“Rico Harris. He was a massive 6’9″ former Harlem Globetrotter basketball player who had drug issues earlier in his life, but had made a full recovery and was getting his life back on track. He was driving along California’s Interstate I-5, from his home in Southern California to Seattle, to live with his girlfriend. He was somewhere just north of Sacramento, exhausted, and told his girlfriend over the phone that he wanted to check out the mountains. All calls stopped since then.

His car was found a couple days later by a patrolman near a rest stop in the mountains. A massive search was launched. No signs of him. The strangest part? A driver later reported seeing a massive 6’9″ individual wandering down the highway, just a mile from where the car was found – a week later. A search was re-launched, massive size 17 footprints were found in the ground that were not there before, they were getting very close, and then… Nothing. No trace, no body, nothing.

Where did Rico go the first time he disappeared? Where was he for an entire week? And where did he disappear to again? The fact that someone could disappear twice, is what makes this so damn mystifying to me.” — WhyYouYelling

16. The Lead Mask Mystery of Brazil

“The bodies of two men found wearing lead masks covering their eyes with a notebook that mysteriously read ‘4:30 pm be at the determined place. 6:30 pm swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for signal’ in Portuguese.” — UIVEAyogapantsAppare

17. The Disappearance of Kyron Horman

“Kyron (9 years old in 2010) was allegedly dropped off at school by his stepmom but never made it to his first class. They never found any evidence of him and never charged the stepmother. For some reason this story totally upsets me.” — Bananas_are_theworst

18. The missing person in my hometown 

“So I have a personal experience, sort of. My father had a coworker who was a great guy. Good at his work, fun to talk to, nobody had any complaints about him. He lived in an apartment right next to work so the night watchman at the workplace would see him whenever he went out.

So one night, he went out in his pajamas, talking on his cell phone, nodded at the watchman. The watchman didn’t think much of it, after all, it’s not all that weird to take a walk even though it was quite late. He didn’t think much of it. The watchman didn’t see him come back, but he figured he missed him when he went on his bathroom break probably.

But the guy didn’t show up at work the next day. Someone from work went to check up and he wasn’t there. Nothing was disturbed, he was just gone. Everyone thought he had dropped dead – killed by thugs or an accident or some medical condition. The workplace filed a police report. Here’s when it gets weird. It turns out, the guy had created a fake identity. Any credentials he had given were fake. The references he had given had never heard of him. The family address he’d given didn’t exist. The police didn’t find anything illegal in the apartment, but they didn’t find anything that would give a clue as to who he was either.

We moved away a few years ago, but I don’t think the case was ever solved. It’s definitely the best unexplained mystery that I’ve personally come across.” — vault-of-secrets

19. The East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker

“I’d say the East Area Rapist/ Original Night Stalker’s identity is one of the craziest mysteries to me. He committed 40-50 rapes, around a dozen murders, called a few of his victims and still nothing is known about the guy.” — samuraimegas

20. The disappearance of Brian Shaffer

“He was a 27 year old medical student caught on camera entering but never leaving a bar in Columbus, Ohio.” — EarthboundBetty

21. The disappearance of Nicolas Barclay/Frederic Bourdin

“In 1994, San Antonio, Texas, 13 year old Nicolas Barclay disappeared from his home. 3 years later, Barclay was found huddled next to a phone booth halfway across the world in Linares, Spain. Authorities picked him up and reunited him with his family.

However, certain things didn’t add up. Barclay had very little memory of what happened to him, and couldn’t give police a real answer as to how he ended up in Spain. Plus, his English was terrible, and when he did speak English it was with a heavy accent. This doesn’t make sense for someone who spent the first 13 years of his life in the United States, but these discrepancies were explained away by the fact that Barclay was probably just coping with the emotional trauma of being kidnapped to a foreign country and kept away from his family for 3 years. One thing no one could explain though, was that when Nicolas returned to the United States, his eyes were a different color than when he originally disappeared. Barclay tried to resume a normal life, enrolling back into his old school, moving back in with his family, etc.

About four months after reuniting with his family, a private investigator discovered that Nicolas Barclay actually wasn’t Barclay, but a con artist named Frederic Bourdin. Bourdin was wanted by Interpol because he had a habit of stealing the identity of missing youths. Bourdin was arrested, but this brought about even more disturbing questions about Nicolas’s disappearance.

Apparently, Nicolas was a very unruly and problematic child. He was always getting into trouble at school, and there were several police reports from his family’s house about domestic disturbances and arguments that worsened in the months before he went missing. Nicolas’s mom moved her brother into their house (Nicolas’s uncle) shortly before he disappeared to help give Nicolas some structure. It is rumored that he couldn’t handle Nicolas and instead killed him. This would explain why the family was so willing to accept someone who wasn’t their son as their lost boy. If it was believed that Nicolas was alive, any murder investigation would come to a halt.

Even more interesting? After Bourdin was arrested police began re-opening and investigating the case, Nicolas’s uncle promptly killed himself.” — KissedByFire2194

22. The Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery

“Probably my favorite unsolved mystery is the Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery. Basically the three lighthouse-keepers dissapeared from the island. Inside the lighthouse they found uneaten meals on the table and missing coats among other weird things.. The creepy part is the log book. It’s supposed to be used strictly for logging work related entries, but they started using it as a sort of journal/diary. It was explained in the log book how there was a terrible storm the was lasting for many days and that one of the keepers, an old, weathered seaman, was crying in fear. The last entry said that the storm had ended and everything was calm and fine. A neighboring island reported that there was never a storm.” — angrymoose93

23. The encephalitis lethargica epidemic

“The encephalitis lethargica epidemic that struck between 1915-1926. No one knows why it happened, nor has there been a recurrence since the initial outbreak.

From Wikipedia:

“The disease attacks the brain, leaving some victims in a statue-like condition, speechless and motionless. Between 1915 and 1926, an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica spread around the world. Nearly five million people were affected, a third of whom died in the acute stages. Many of those who survived never returned to their pre-existing “aliveness”.

They would be conscious and aware – yet not fully awake; they would sit motionless and speechless all day in their chairs, totally lacking energy, impetus, initiative, motive, appetite, affect or desire; they registered what went on about them without active attention, and with profound indifference. They neither conveyed nor felt the feeling of life; they were as insubstantial as ghosts, and as passive as zombies.'” — idunniu

24. The Great Attractor

“It’s a supermassive something (not a black hole, by the way) which is inexorably dragging everything nearby – including the entire Milky Way Galaxy – towards it. Nobody knows what it is, though it’s been theorized to be an incredibly dense cluster of galaxies (equating to the better part of a hundred thousand Milky Ways).” — ItsAesthus 

25. The Villisca axe murdurs

“I don’t know if its the best unexplained mystery but its a good one and from my state. A whole family was murdered in their sleep, the case was never solved.

The house still exists as a tourist attraction. You can even spend the night in it.” — Kimpak

26. The Crewe murders

“The Crewe murders is a pretty good one.

A farming couple were murdered and their bodies were dumped in a river. After they were missing for a week, their home was searched and their still-living baby daughter was found there. The wife’s father was convicted of the crime, but later released when it was discovered that the detective inspectors in charge of investigating had falsified evidence to implicate him. The actual murderer has never been identified.

What makes it interesting is that doctors believe that during the week her parents were at the bottom of the river weighted down with car parts, someone was regularly feeding the baby.” — I_throw_socks_at_cat

27. The murder of Julia Wallace

“Wallace, aged 52, attended a meeting of the Liverpool Central Chess Club on the evening of Monday 19 January1931, to play a scheduled chess game. While there he was handed a message, which had been received by telephone about 25 minutes before he arrived. It requested that he call at an address at 25 Menlove Gardens East, Liverpool, at 7.30pm the following evening to discuss insurance with a man who had given his name as “R.M. Qualtrough”.

The next night Wallace duly made his way by tramcar to the south of the city at the time requested, only to discover that while there were Menlove Gardens North, South and West, there was no East. Wallace made inquiries in a nearby newsagent’s and also spoke to a policeman on his beat, but nobody he asked was able to help him in his search for the address or the mysterious Qualtrough. He also called at 25 Menlove Gardens West, and asked several other passers-by in the neighbourhood for directions, but to no avail.

After searching the district for about 45 minutes he returned home. His next-door neighbours, the Johnstons, who were going out for the evening, encountered Wallace in the alley, complaining that he could not gain entry to his home at either the front or the back. While they watched, Wallace tried the back door again, which now opened. Inside he found his wife Julia had been brutally beaten to death in their sitting room.

Up to his arrest two weeks later, Wallace made two voluntary statements but was never intensively questioned by the police although he was required to attend CID headquarters every day and was asked specific questions about whether the Wallaces had had a maid, why he had asked the man who had taken the telephone message at the Chess Club to be specific about the time he took it, and whether he had spoken to anyone in the street on his way back to his house from his abortive attempt to find Mr. Qualtrough. The police had evidence that the telephone box used by “Qualtrough” to make his call to the chess club was situated just 400 yards from Wallace’s home, although the person in the cafe who took the call was quite certain it was not Wallace on the other end of the line. Nevertheless, the police began to suspect that ‘Qualtrough’ was William Herbert Wallace. Yet, even when they arrested and charged him, they did not ask him any further questions.

The police were also convinced that it would have been possible for Wallace to murder his wife and still have time to arrive at the spot where he boarded his tram. This they attempted to prove by having a fit young detective go through the motions of the murder and then sprint all the way to the tram stop, something an ailing 52-year-old Wallace probably could not have accomplished. The original assessment of the time of death, around 8 pm, was also later changed to just after 6.30 pm, although there was no additional evidence on which to base the earlier timing.

Forensic examination of the crime scene had revealed that Julia Wallace’s attacker was likely to have been heavily contaminated with her blood, given the brutal and frenzied nature of the assault. Wallace’s suit, which he had been wearing on the night of the murder, was examined closely but no trace of bloodstaining was found. The police formed the theory that a mackintosh, which was inexplicably found under Julia’s corpse, had been used by a naked Wallace to shield himself from blood spatter while committing the crime. Examination of the bath and drains revealed that they had not been recently used, and there was no trace of blood there either, apart from a single tiny clot in the toilet pan, the origin of which could not be established.” — Jaumej19 TC mark

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