In a world overrun with people and technology, you wouldn't think anything of value could remain lost for long. For instance, somebody has surely stumbled across the warehouse and the specific crate that contains the Ark of the Covenant by now.
But there are some great treasures of both wealth and knowledge that remain determinedly out of sight, despite the fact that someone has to know where they are. Such as ...
Built in 1701, the Amber Room was one of Russia's greatest treasures, and had even been called "the eighth wonder of the world." A spectacular chamber constructed out of amber, gold leaf and mirrors, it is exactly the kind of thing Indiana Jones would fight Nazis to obtain.
Via Wiki Commons
The setting of the rap video to end all rap videos.
The entire piece changed palaces a few times until it landed in a St. Petersburg Palace, where Hitler's army stumbled across it in 1941. Unable to move it to safety, the evacuating Russians had simply wallpapered over it, hoping the Germans wouldn't ask why a room in a palace would have such tacky wallpaper. But they did and brought the entire room back home to Germany.
Once in Konigsberg, the room was set up in a castle and proudly displayed. By 1945, with the Russians advancing, Hitler personally ordered it to be taken down and sent to a secret location. The record indicates that the room was taken to a railway station, packed up and then the record screeches to a stop like someone told a racist joke at the Apollo. That was the last anyone ever heard of it.
Via Wiki Commons
"How many decade's worth of Argentinean hookers do you think this is?"
How exactly do you lose an entire room full of gold and amber? Some say it was put on a boat that was sunk by the Allies. Other reports place it in a hidden bunker under the city. Meanwhile, the Russians have been searching for it like crazy. Since the end of the war, several expeditions have been mounted all over Europe, with sightings supposedly in abandoned mines, lagoons and caverns. And new investigations even go so far as to say the whole room was destroyed, and the Soviets covered the entire thing up.
The Soviets covering things up? That's a reach.
The room has since been reconstructed in St. Petersburg, but certain pieces of the original pop up now and then just to keep the mystery alive, including a piece of a mosaic a German soldier took out when he helped move the room in 1945. Whoever finds it is going to be able to be rich enough to, we don't know, build a room out of freaking gold.
In 1945, with Berlin about to fall to the Soviets, Adolf Hitler decided to kill himself, his new wife Eva Braun and their dog, Blondi (he also ordered her puppies shot. What did you expect? It was Hitler.) The Soviets came in and found the bodies in a bunker about seven hours after he died. After they were buried, Stalin figured Hitler shouldn't get off that easily, so he had their burned corpses exhumed and reburied, then took a part of his skull and his jawbone, because evidently Stalin didn't think much of photographic evidence.
Via Hyperborean Vibrations
"That could just as easily be Charlie Chaplin."
Later, in 1970, the site that held the remains was set to be given back to East German control, but fearing a shrine or monument to their former adversary, the Soviets had a KGB team come in the middle of the night, dig up the bodies again, cremate them and spread the ashes in the Elbe River. For the Russians, the case was finally closed.
That is until 2009, when testing on "Hitler's skull" revealed it to have belonged to a woman under 40. Whoops. Either they got the wrong skull or Hitler was hiding a huge secret.
"And this is where the Fuhrer's high-heels and extra brassieres were buried."
This hastily reopened the question: What happened to his body? The jawbone, also alleged to be Hitler's, is also in Russian possession, suspiciously being guarded under the pretense that it is "too fragile." With pressure building on the Russians to release it for testing, the mystery remains open. And there's always the outside chance that we'll find a 120-year-old Hitler living comfortably in a mansion in Argentina.
He finally gave up genocide for a shot at engaging his true passion: performance art.
In October 1888, all London was aflutter about the granddaddy of serial killers, Jack the Ripper, whose identity to this day has never been discovered. The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, an organization of volunteers, was doing its best to keep the streets safe at night (or at least a little less murdery than usual), as was the London police department.
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George Lusk, president of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, ready to examine the shit out of things.
One day, the head of the Committee, Dean Lusk, received an unmarked package. Inside were two things. The first was a note from Jack taunting the Committee and gloating about the other item in the box. That other item was a half-cannibalized human kidney.
Unlike the hundreds of other letters supposedly written by Jack the Ripper, many scholars believe this letter, signed "From Hell," to be one of the few likely authentic ones. Partly because it was packaged alongside a kidney, which are not exactly easy to acquire. Based on the fact that the Ripper was a known kidney thief, the letter was generally agreed to be from the killer. It was subsequently put in a file in the police station and was never seen again.
He either misspelled Mister or the killer was Sean Connery.
Today, with modern analyzing techniques with ink types, paper types and possibly even century-old smudged fingerprints, it's conceivable that we could put the mystery of Jack the Ripper to rest once and for all. At least we could let the cast of CSI give it their best shot. But with the letter and the preserved kidney both lost to terrible record-keeping procedures, we may never know.
Seriously, we understand losing a piece of paper, but a kidney?