The 5 Creepiest Unsolved Crimes Nobody Can Explain: Update
Dear Internet: We have to admit something -- we've been getting kinda cocky, recently. Whether we're explaining the phenomenon of alien abduction, debunking every textbook ever or doing some third thing, we've been spending a lot of time acting like we have all the answers. And it's started to go to our heads.
But that all changes now. If unsolved mysteries are good enough for Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, then by golly, they're good enough for us. So, in apology for our hubris, please enjoy this Cracked Classic, as well as these similar articles about unsolved mysteries and also that one article where we solved a bunch of mysteries no one else could 'cause we're so smart and dammit, we're doing it again. Please forgive us. We need you with us, Internet. At risk of sounding dramatic, we don't think we could go on without you.
There are unsolved crimes, and then there are the kind of creepy, "What the hell could possibly be going on here" capers that keep the cops, and anyone who hears about them, up at night.
Here are the real cases that almost fall into X-Files territory:
The Taman Shud Case
The victim was found dead at 6:30 am, December 1, 1948, under a street lamp at Somerton Beach in Australia. And with that, we have exhausted everything we know about the man. It's the things we don't know that have been baffling authorities ever since. Including the meaning of the apparently uncrackable secret code he left behind.
But more on that in a moment. Things first started to lurch towards the creepy when police noticed that all his clothes' identification marks had been removed. They were eventually and painstakingly able to place a jacket to America, which was strange because his dental records and fingerprints didn't match anyone who'd ever lived there... or anywhere else in the world. It was like the guy had never existed.
So the cops must have been half expecting it when the coroner returned with the cause of death: "Sudden, acute onset of damned if I know." The autopsy revealed exceptional health, a half-digested pasty in his stomach, and congestion in his brain and stomach that would have been consistent with poisoning if, you know, they'd found even a trace of poison anywhere in his body. For good measure, his spleen was three times too big.
Every breakthrough seemed to increase the mystery. They discovered a brown suitcase that had apparently belonged to the man, but that only revealed more clothes with the tags removed, and the aforementioned jacket.
The cops also discovered a secret pocket in the man's pants, which contained a scrap of paper with the words "Tamam Shud" printed on it (the words meaning "ended" or "finished").
The text looked like it was a scrap torn from a book. And it turned out it was; from a collection of poems called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. And not just any Rubaiyat, but a specific translation, and an extremely rare one at that.
This was pointed out after police did an Australia-wide search as if the book was the ark of the goddamn covenant, presumably braving Indiana Jones-esque temples and solving ancient aboriginal riddles before some dude mentioned he found a copy of that exact book in the back seat of his car right around the time and location of death.
Sure enough, "Tamam Shud" was missing from the books pages. Instead of a library card with the dead man's name printed on it or something even a little bit helpful, the book contained the clue that would take the mystery from "spooky" to "officially starting to piss us off."
It Gets Weirder:
In the back of the book, the cops found this code:
Five sets of seemingly random letters, the second of which is crossed out. So, what does this code tell us? Nothing. Nothing at all. To this day it remains unsolved.
Was the code the result of a disturbed mind, or chronic boredom, perhaps? Turns out, no. The most recent attempt to solve the case found the letters aren't random, just some mysterious cipher nobody was familiar with. Can you solve it? If so, you're about to be famous, considering people have been trying for more than 60 years.
The BC Feet Mystery
Feet, severed feet, usually lodged in shoes, are washing up on beaches in British Columbia.
For those of you who aren't familiar, that's a province in western Canada, north of Washington state. Now, all sorts of things wash up on shore, and it's not news that people drown or fall off of fishing boats. But how many severed feet would you have to find before you started to consider it a bit odd?
A total of eight goddamned feet have been found in the last few years, five of which have been put on a map for some reason. Strangely, almost all of the feet are in running shoes. Also, some creepy bastard stuck an animal paw into a running shoe as a hoax, after the story hit headlines.
Out of two pairs of feet and six lone wolves, one pair has been identified--the dude's left foot having been found four months after the right. Police mentioned the man was depressed and likely killed himself. Mystery solved?
It Gets Weirder:
Haha, no. The first two feet were found in the same week. They were both right feet and found in different places. Some theorize the feet are from a boating accident or plane crash, but they've been found in very different places and carried by different currents.
The other theory is the one you probably immediately thought of the moment we pointed out lots of severed feet were washing up on the beach: some psychotic killer is behind it.
If you're wondering why he hacks off the feet and throws them at the beach, the answer is he probably isn't. If there's a body decaying in the water, feet often rot off the relatively weak ankle. Tennis shoes float, so you wind up with free-floating feet. As for who the other feet belong to, and why they keep showing up on British Columbia beaches in running shoes, well, we probably won't know until we find the rest of the victims.
The Toynbee Tiles
These are cryptic messages found embedded in asphalt in various cities. The messages are thought to be layers of linoleum and asphalt crack-filling compound, and all tiles are found with variations of the same short message, referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey and suggesting we resurrect the dead on planet Jupiter.
Other than that, the only things setting these abnormally permanent acts of vandalism apart: They've been showing up out of nowhere, with no explanation for 30 damned years.
You can see the word "Toynbee" at the top, which is referring to a famous historian. And if you've seen 2001 you know that the planet Jupiter is involved. And... that's as much sense as we can make of it.
It Gets Weirder:
...only it can't be just one guy.
The tiles can be found across dozens of U.S. cities, and even South America. Unless we have an independently wealthy, globetrotting lunatic on our hands, there is a group of people who plant these tiles around the Western Hemisphere like the eco-terrorists in 12 Monkeys.
The cops did have a suspect once, one James J. Morasco. However, despite an interest in Toynbee and Kubrick, his widow swore up and down he couldn't possibly be the tiler, and that he did not have an interest in Jupiter. Oh, yes, we said widow. Even if he was the tiler, he died in 2003, and the tiles have not stopped. Also, dude would've been in his 70s when he laid the tiles.
There are over 60 in Philadelphia, which seems to be the Toynbee Tile hotspot, and the location of four tiles together that told a bizarre, rambling story how the mafia, FBI and the Soviets are out to get him.
Well they probably are out to get you now, buddy, if you started putting those fucking tiles on their streets.
The Glico Morinaga Case aka the Monster With 21 Faces
In the 1980s, the Japanese food giant Ezaki Glico was blackmailed by a mysterious group of apparent super villains, calling itself the Monster with 21 faces.
It started with two armed men who broke into the home of the president of Glico, kidnapping him in front of his family. The men held the executive in a warehouse, calling the company and demanding 100 million Yen and 100 kilos of gold bullion. The victim escaped the warehouse before he could find out whether or not his company was willing to pay to ransom his ass. None of the bad guys were caught and that's too bad, because the "Monster" wasn't through.
A couple of weeks later, several cars in the company parking lot were set on fire. Then, the "Monster" began to send letters.
In the first letter (sent in a plastic container along with hydrochloric acid because why the hell not?) the Monster claimed they had poisoned Glico's candies, which resulted in Glico losing $21 million dollars worth of product that had to be pulled from shelves. The number may be a coincidence, but then again, who knows? The Monster taunted the police by detailing in a letter its method of entry, what typewriter it used to write the message and where it found the container with the acid in it. It didn't matter; cops scoured the country for them and came up empty.
Soon enough, just to prove they were toying with everyone, the Monster suddenly sent a letter stating its forgiveness of Glico, and moved on.
It Gets Weirder:
The Monster then turned its attention to another food company: Morinaga. Another letter was sent, similar to the Glico one, only this time, investigations turned up a total of 21 packages laced with the highly toxic sodium cyanide. Being the polite kind of shadowy creepy terrorist/terrorist group, the boxes were helpfully labeled with "Contains Toxins," an example all criminals should follow.
The police, getting desperate, thought they caught a glimpse of the mastermind behind the Monster during a money drop (the group had demanded cash from another company). An officer described the criminal mastermind as a man having "eyes like those of a fox," which would give him the nickname "The Fox-Eyed Man."
The same mysterious man was spotted again later, in a car during a sting operation. He escaped, but the cops found the car, and a radio transceiver that he had been using to listen into all of the police communications during the sting.
So finally they've got a description of one of the bad guys! That resulted in... nothing. The Monster tormented several corporate giants for years, mocked the police, walked the streets as some of the most wanted men in the world and not a single one of them ever got caught. A police superintendent got so frustrated by being outmaneuvered by the Monster that he resigned in disgrace. Oh, wait, we misread that. He actually, committed suicide by fucking setting himself on fire.
Before disappearing into the night like goddamned Keyser Soze, the "Monster" released a letter mocking the dead man, and announced it would stop torturing food companies, apparently taking this entire thing as some sort of childish game. The Monster's final words to the public:
We are bad guys. That means we've got more to do other than bullying companies. It's fun to lead a bad man's life.
- Monster with 21 Faces.
The Lead Masks Case
In 1966, a Brazilian boy flying a kite happened upon the bodies of two engineers lying next to each other in the grass. There was no sign of how they had died before the boy stumbled across them and he claimed he found them that way. We're sure the cops took a good hard look at him to make sure he wasn't like that murderous magical kid from The Twilight Zone who could kill people with his mind.
Anyway, before long the hill was crowded with policemen, scratching their heads at an utterly baffling crime scene--if it was a crime at all. The two dead men were dressed for their funerals in fancy suits and impermeable coats. There was an empty water bottle nearby. There were no signs of violence on either of them.
Why is it called the "Lead Masks Case"? Well, that's the baffling part. The dead men wore lead masks, a type used to protect against radiation.
The police gathered evidence and eventually created a reconstruction of the day of their deaths. In it, the men buy their raincoats and go to a bar to buy bottled water. Whatever the reason, one of the men appeared rather nervous, and when they left the bar they went straight to the hill the boy found them at, then spontaneously dropped dead. Case closed.
It Gets Weirder:
A notebook was found at the scene. The notes inside translate to:
16:30 be at the agreed place.
18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for the mask sign
Well, they swallowed "capsules," so obviously that's what killed them, right? The problem is the note seems to imply they were waiting for something to happen after the capsules took effect, which means if they were poison, the two guys didn't know they were. Also, the men had a coupon to return the water bottle when they were finished with whatever they were doing, which also seems to imply they didn't plan on dying on that hill.
Toxicology tests could not be taken due to the victims' organs not being properly preserved (they were apparently left in storage too long, but we like to think the investigators took the idea of heart volleyball and ran with it).
So, what in the hell convinced them to go out to a hill, strap on radiation protection and swallow some strange capsules? What effect were they waiting for? What were the masks protecting them from? Was there some third party who convinced them to do all of this, saying the pills would, what, make them travel back in time? Or give them super powers? Was it all part of some 60s Brazillian version of Punk'd?
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