For those of you who failed basic history, well-known playboy (and American president) John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX, in November of 1963.
There's probably a movie about it somewhere.
Kennedy was shot by a local communist named Lee Harvey Oswald from a building across the street from Kennedy's passing motorcade, but there are a number of major conspiracy theories that postulate that either the actual killer, or least a second shooter, was positioned on a small embankment now known as "the grassy knoll."
People present at the assassination saw what happened -- some a little better than others. Among these, probably the best-known person never to be identified is the "babushka lady." While wearing said babushka, she is seen in the Zapruder film (the only recording of the assassination) standing directly across the street from the motorcade when the car was fired upon. Even more, she was taking pictures of it ... pointing her camera right at the grassy knoll.
"Wow, I have a great view of all those Cubans and mafia members with those rifles!"
Essentially, if the conspiracy theories are true and there was a secret shooter over on the grassy knoll, it's pretty likely that, unless she had her lens cap on the whole time, the babushka lady took several pictures of him.
So Who Was She?
Amazingly, despite numerous clear photos of the woman that day, no one has yet been identified. Only one person has really even come forward. In 1970, a late night dancer (i.e., stripper) named Beverly Oliver came forward as the babushka lady. She even wrote a book, claiming federal agents came and took her film, never to give it back. Convincing, until you look at the little things like the fact she doesn't have proof she was even there, or that she claimed to use a camera model not made until the late 1960s, or how video experts say the woman was clearly middle-aged, while Oliver was just 17 at the time.
Well, maybe 17 in Russia.
Of course, what makes the JFK assassination conspiracy so fascinating to people is the idea that someone could actually have gotten away with killing a world leader. From John Wilkes Booth to Gavrilo Princip, assassins usually wind up with their names in the pages of history books. But not ...
In 1986, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, was on his way home from a movie with his wife in downtown Stockholm. A man holding a handgun leaped out of the shadows and pointed the gun at him. But Palme's bodyguards quickly overpowered him, right? Well, no, as Palme did not really believe in bodyguards, because Sweden is safe and everything. Kind of a mistake, because he was shot and soon died.
Something tells us Cancer Man is behind all of this.
The killing raised several questions about Prime Minister security, gun control in Sweden and, probably most urgent, who the hell did it. Assassins are always out for the spotlight, right? To promote whatever insane cause turned them into assassins? And even if not, it's not like they could survive a nationwide manhunt. Right?
Unless he hid in the cinema at a time where there would be no other witnesses,
like during a showing of Police Academy 2.
So Who Was He?
It would be more than two years before a suspect was even arrested. Palme's wife picked a junkie named Christer Pettersson out of a lineup, but he was let go because the weapon wasn't found, he had no real motive to commit the crime and Mrs. Palme doubted herself in picking him.
Apparently looking like a criminal isn't an offense.
With no suspect, Swedish authorities have gone international. Numerous theories have been put forth, ranging from German terrorist groups to Yugoslavian hitmen. But perhaps most convincing is the argument for apartheid-era South Africa ordering the hit.
Or according to the film, a random British guy, which is the go-to bad guy for all films everywhere.
Palme was known to speak out against apartheid, and one week before he was killed had said, "Apartheid cannot be reformed, it has to be eliminated." Palme was also working on getting an early release for Nelson Mandela, who could have been president much earlier than his election in 1994. Former South African police have even given Swedish authorities the names of the men who they claim ordered it and did the shooting. But, as of now, the assassin remains the only killer of a Western prime minister or president in history to ever escape unknown.
When the words "serial killer" and "Victorian era" are combined, chances are you land on pretty much the best-known serial killer of all time: Jack the Ripper. Terrorizing London's prostitutes in 1888, Saucy Jack managed to kill five prostitutes while leaving London all aflutter on who it was, thinking up insane theories, calling for blood and criticizing the police.
So pretty much like today, except their political drawings were comprehensible.
The London police did all they could: going door to door asking about the murders, investigating suspects, erasing vital clues written on city buildings and pretty much doing the equivalent of a 19th century CSI team. Yet nobody brought in Jack or came forward claiming to be him, and by 1890 the hysteria had died down.
English authorities got back to what they did best: harassing the Irish.
So Who Was He?
Despite being a cold case pretty much from 1888, we still have no idea who the guy was. Pretty much any detail about the case is disputed. For example, police thought, due to the way the killings occurred, that the Ripper could be a surgeon or a butcher. Others said it was impossible, as the killings required almost no skill. The press and the police at the time also did not agree on the suspects. The police mainly favored immigrants and eccentric citizens, while the press suspected anyone from doctors to mental patients with syphilis. Even today's researchers can't agree, with new suspects including members of the royal family and Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.
"Oh dear," Alice said, "my experiences with prostitutes seem to always end the same way."
Like the Zodiac Killer, Jack also left a number of clues. At one murder scene he scrawled, "The Juwes will not be blamed" on the wall. And as Cracked has noted elsewhere, he actually mailed a letter to the police, with a half-cannibalized human kidney enclosed. Unfortunately, the police actually lost all evidence of the letter and kidney, thus ensuring that modern day DNA, fingerprinting, handwriting and paper-type analysis would have no chance of revealing the identity over a century later.
We are still no closer to finding the killer than we were over 100 years ago, and it will probably stay that way.
Jack the Ripper Tour
But seriously, how hard is it to find a ghoul with "CRIME" written on his forehead?
For more secret identities (that we eventually found out about), check out 6 Real People With Secret Identities Nobody Saw Coming and 11 Celebrities Who Were Secretly Total Badasses.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover who the real master of the Internet is.
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