Mysteries of the Unexplained. “Is there intelligent life in other worlds? What special powers do our minds have? How can people suddenly disappear? Are there really monsters and ghosts? Read about some of the world’s most frightening and exciting mysteries – mysteries that science cannot explain!”–
Chapter 1: Other Worlds
He saw the machine disappearing into the sky. All the plants on that piece of ground were dead.
When you look up into the night sky, what are you thinking? Do you believe that there are other worlds out there? Is there life in those worlds? Is it like life on Earth?
- What’s out there?
Space is perhaps the most exciting mystery – the last big adventure.
Governments have spent millions of pounds trying to discover its secrets.
So are the stories of aliens and UFOs true? There have been thousands of reports from ordinary people. But space travellers say that they have also seen UFOs. When Apollo 11 made the first famous landing on the moon on 21 July 1969, the spacemen were not alone. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin saw two very large mysterious things’ with bright lights. ‘They are watching us,’ Armstrong reported. This information was kept secret for years by the US government. But there have been many more reports of UFOs from space travellers and pilots of aeroplanes.
Have UFOs and aliens visited Earth? Many people say that they have seen them. Some people have taken photographs. Here are some of their stories.
- Mysterious visitors
Socorro, New Mexico, US, 1964
Policeman Lonnie Zamora was driving home when he saw a fire in the hills. Was it a car accident? As he drove nearer, he saw a large, egg-shaped ‘machine’ about five metres long. It had four legs and no windows or doors. Two very short ‘men’ were standing by it. Zamora knew they weren’t from Earth. The machine suddenly made a loud noise and left the ground. Fire poured from it. It stayed silently in the air for a few minutes. Then it disappeared into the sky. When more policemen arrived, Zamora’s face was white with fear. Trees in the area were burning and the ground looked strange – like glass. There were four holes in the ground from the four legs.
UFO experts believe Zamora’s story. He was usually a very calm person. There were also other reports of a strange thing of this description in the sky that night.
Valensole, France, 1965
Farmer Maurice Masse saw two very short, strange ‘men’ in his field. They were standing by a strange-looking machine. When he came closer, they pointed a long stick at him. A light came from it, throwing him to the ground. He couldn’t move. After some time he was able to sit up. He saw the machine disappearing into the sky. All the plants on that piece of ground were dead.
After this, Masse felt very tired for weeks. When UFO experts asked him questions, they showed him a painting of a UFO. His face went white. ‘Where did you see my machine?’ he asked. It was a painting of the UFO that policeman Zamora saw the year before in New Mexico.
The green children
In the 1100s, a boy and a girl were found near the village of Woolpit in England. They were completely green. They didn’t know where they were. They didn’t speak the local language and only ate green vegetables. The boy soon died, but the girl began to eat the local food and lost her green colour. She learnt the language and talked about her life. In her world, all the people were green. One day, the sun became very bright and the air temperature changed. She and her brother fell asleep and then woke up in this new place.
The Roswell crash happened many years ago, but it is still one of the most important and famous of the UFO stories. People started to ask questions: Have aliens really landed on Earth? Are governments hiding important information from us? Roswell began the great interest in UFOs. Hundreds of books and famous films like The X-Files have followed.
Roswell is a town in the US state of New Mexico. It was just another small, unimportant town until July 1947.
A farmer, William (‘Mac’) Brazel, was checking his fields after a terrible storm and found many pieces of metal. He thought they were from a plane crash. So he reported the crash to the police. He also took some of the metal for them to look at. The police passed the information to the military. They tested the metal and made a discovery. They couldn’t break it or burn it. There was also strange writing on it in a language that no one could understand. They decided that the metal wasn’t from Earth. In their opinion, it was from a UFO.
The military then reported the UFO crash to the local radio station. People were very interested and visited the crash area. The newspapers quickly printed this exciting story and soon people everywhere knew about Roswell.
But after a few weeks, the military’s report changed. The metal in the field wasn’t from a UFO; it was from a military plane. They immediately closed the crash area, but they continued to take things away. For many years after this, the US government refused to say anything about the crash.
In 1994, the military told a new story. The pieces of metal weren’t parts of a military plane. They came from special equipment for spying on the Soviet Union. Many people don’t believe this story. They think that the government is keeping important information about UFOs from us. There have been many stories about small aliens who were found in the area around the crash in 1947 — some alive and some dead. In 1995, the military showed a film from the time of the crash. In the film, there was an examination of the body of a small alien by military doctors. But other people don’t believe that this is true.
For years, experts have tried to find out what really happened at Roswell. But many important government papers have disappeared, so we will probably never know the true story.
They took us away!
There have been thousands of reports of aliens taking people onto UFOs. Are these stories true? Were the people dreaming? UFO experts believe some of the stories.
- In 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were driving from Canada to New Hampshire, in the US, when they saw a light in the sky. It followed them until they stopped. They saw a large, yellow thing. Through a window, they could see strange people’ inside. Mrs Hill was frightened, so her husband started driving again. Then they suddenly felt very tired.
The Hills woke up an hour later in a different place – fifty-six kilometres away. How did they get there? What happened in the missing hour?
Later, they had terrible dreams about aliens, so they told their story to the military. Doctors asked them questions. Slowly, they began to remember what happened. They were taken onto the UFO by aliens. Alien ‘doctors’ examined them. They also gave them information about the position of different stars. Scientists agreed that this information was correct.
- In 1975, Travis Walton was working with other men in a forest when they saw a UFO. A green light pulled Travis up into the UFO. It then disappeared. When Travis was found five days later, he couldn’t remember anything. He was much thinner and his arm was cut.
- In November 1989, a woman phoned the police with a strange report. Aliens were flying with a woman in the sky. Then two New York policemen reported the same thing! They saw a woman ‘flying’ out of a twelfth floor window. There were ‘little people’ flying around her. The aliens took her up into a UFO. The UFO then quickly flew away.
They found an empty ship! Food, equipment and clothes were all still there — but no people.
Unexplained disappearances aren’t new. All over the world, people or things have disappeared for no reason. We still don’t know why.
– The Bermuda Triangle
The Bermuda Triangle is an area of the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of Florida, in the US. This area is famous for the disappearance of hundreds of ships and planes. Stories like the two below have given experts some information about this mystery.
- On 5 December 1945, five military planes were flying near the coast of Florida. Suddenly, the pilots didn’t know where they were. One of the pilots phoned with these words: ‘We seem to be lost… Everything is wrong … We can’t be sure of anything … Our equipment has stopped working … Even the ocean doesn’t look right… ’ Then the phone went dead. The planes were never seen again. More than a hundred ships searched for them, but they were never found.
On 11 June 1986, Martin Caidin was flying in good weather through a clear blue sky. Suddenly, the sky around the plane became very cloudy. Then it changed to bright yellow. It was so bright that Caidin couldn’t see. His equipment ‘went crazy’ and stopped working. Above the plane, there was a hole and he could see blue sky through it. Below the plane, there was another hole. Fie could see the ocean at the end of it. Caidin stayed calm and flew the plane for four hours.
When he finally got back into blue sky, the plane’s equipment immediately started working again. Fie looked back but he could only see clear blue sky.
Many ships have also disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. People have tried to explain this mystery, but they have different opinions:
– It is the perfect place for alien activity.
– The lost city of Atlantis pulls these ships and planes down under the sea.
– The weather is unusual there.
– These ‘strange’ disappearances are ordinary accidents.
But if these disappearances are ordinary, why haven’t searchers ever found any pieces of the planes and ships? Why does equipment stop working? Why does die sky change colour?
The Mary Celeste, ‘The Ghost Ship’
One of the strangest mysteries of the sea is the disappearance of the people on the ship, the Mary Celeste. The ship left New York on 7 November 1872. Benjamin Spooner Briggs and his family, and seven other men, were sailing to Genoa, in Italy.
A British ship, the Dei Gratia, also left New York on that day. On 5 December, the Dei Gratia sailed near the Mary Celeste. Was the ship having problems? Some of the men from the Dei Gratia went on the Mary Celeste to find out. They found an empty ship! Food, equipment and clothes were all still there — but no people. The men found Briggs’s notebook. Nothing strange was written in it, but there was no writing after 25 November.
Where was everyone? Why did they leave? Perhaps the other men killed Briggs. Perhaps a sea monster attacked the ship, or there was a terrible storm. But why did the ship look so tidy? People have tried to explain this mystery for over a hundred years.
- Ordinary people
Here are some famous old stories of ordinary people who disappeared. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? No one has been able to answer these questions.
On 23 September 1880, David Lang, a farmer, disappeared in front of his family and friends. He was walking across a field towards them waving ‘hello’. Suddenly, he was gone. The area was searched for months but nothing was found. The family were very frightened. But Mrs Lang refused to move her family away until her husband was found.
Seven months later, while she was playing, their daughter heard her father crying for help. She found a circle of dead grass in the place where he was seen for the last time. She screamed for her mother and Mrs Lang ran to her daughter. She saw the circle of dead grass, but she couldn’t hear her husband. This frightened her again, and she moved her family to another town.
The Vaughan children
In 1906, three young children disappeared while they were playing in a field near their home. Searches quickly began, but after three days the children were still missing. On the morning of the fourth day, a farm worker found them lying asleep on the ground.
The children were clean, and they weren’t hungry or frightened, but they didn’t remember anything. They were very surprised that everyone was looking for them. They could only remember waking up. For the rest of their lives, the children didn’t know what happened to them during those three days.
The next morning, he saw large footprints in the snow. They were thirty-five centimetres long and eighteen centimetres wide.
There are many strange living things on land and in the sea that are still a mystery. Some of them seem to come from another time. Some aren’t often seen or photographed. But enough people say that they have seen them. As a result, we want to find out more.
The Loch Ness monster
‘Nessie’, the Loch Ness monster, is probably the most famous lake monster in the world. There are well-known lake monsters in Canada, the US, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and other countries. But Nessie feels like part of the family to many of us because we have known about her for so long.
The first description of a monster in Loch Ness, Scotland, was more than 400 years ago.
There have been many reports since then. Some of these have been honest mistakes. But sometimes people have lied to make money from the Nessie story. No one has proved that a monster really lives in Loch Ness.
But some people have taken good photographs. Experts and ordinary people have watched the lake for years. They are still trying to explain the mystery.
Many tourists come each year to try to see the monster. ‘Nessie watchers’ travel to Scotland to look for her. Since 1930, more than 3,000 people have reported seeing the Loch Ness monster.
The first newspaper story about Nessie was in 1933. Mrs Mackay was driving along the lake when she saw something moving in the water. It was a very large, black animal and it was moving up and down. Her report gave a lot of information.
Then, in 1934, Dr Kenneth Wilson took one of the most famous black and white photographs of Nessie. There wasn’t a better photograph until 1977. In that year, Doc Shiels took some colour photographs of the monster while he was on holiday. Some of these photos were lost or destroyed. This has often happened. People have broken or lost their cameras – and sometimes important photographs, too! It’s part of the mystery.
Many scientists agree that there is ‘some kind of living thing’ in the lake.
This ‘thing’ is very large and has a long neck. But no one has proved that a monster lives in Loch Ness.
Don’t go in the water!
You are lying on a beautiful beach, looking at the lovely blue water … But what is under the water, deep down in that terrible black world? Some people feel that sea monsters are the most frightening of all monsters. In Herman Melville’s book Moby Dick, a fisherman fought a long, bloody war with a terrible whale. When Steven Spielberg’s film Jaws was first shown, people of all ages screamed in cinemas around the world.
But sea monsters aren’t only in films and books. People have discovered ‘real’ monsters in the seas and oceans. These are often more frightening than a monster from a story.
The idea of a giant squid is very frightening, but people have seen them. A US military ship was sailing near Newfoundland, Canada, when suddenly a very large whale jumped out of the water. It was fighting with a giant squid. The whale looked about eighteen metres long, but the squid was trying to kill it with its long arms. The squid was as big as the whale! The men on the ship were very frightened. They didn’t want to get close enough to take photographs. These giant squid are true monsters. It still isn’t understood why they grow so large.
This is probably the most unusual monster. In November 1922, people on a beach in South Africa watched two whales fighting with a sea monster. The fight continued for hours. The monster sometimes jumped six metres out of the water and hit the whales with its tail. The whales won the fight and swam away.
The dead monster was then pushed onto the beach by the water. People couldn’t believe what they saw. It was a very large, shapeless thing, with a long neck and no head! It was fourteen metres long, three metres wide and one and a half metres high. No expert could name the animal. Many people, often fishermen, have reported seeing these large, ugly monsters.
Monsters that walk the Earth
There are monsters in mountains and wild areas. Many people have seen monsters in China, Nepal, Russia, North America and other places that are half man and half animal’. No one has ever caught one. Here are the two most famous of these monsters.
Yeti’ have walked in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal and China for hundreds of years. Reports from climbers in the Himalayan mountains have described them as very tall – nearly three metres. A Yeti stands like a man and has hair all over its body.
It is dangerous and can attack people. Most people have seen signs of the Yeti in the snow. These have t lie shape of a man’s foot but are very large. They can’t be the feet of an animal.
The most famous report came from Don Whillans, a British climber, in 1970. In the mountains of Nepal, he watched a Yeti playing in the snow by the light of the moon for about twenty minutes. The next morning, he saw large footprints in the snow. They were thirty-five centimetres long and eighteen centimetres wide.
‘Bigfoot’ is the American ‘Yeti’. The Native Americans* first saw the monster and named it Sasquatch. Reports of Bigfoot have continued since the early 1900s. Descriptions are similar to descriptions of the Yeti.
The most frightening story came from Albert Ostman, a Canadian, in 1924. A large, strange- looking animal picked him up and carried him for three hours.
But before the year ended, twelve of the twenty scientists from his team were dead!
We are learning about new mysteries every day. There are reports of alien activity, strange new ‘monsters’, unexplained stories in medicine, strange activity in space. It seems that the number of mysteries is growing. Or are we just more interested? Examples of mysteries come from the early days of our life on earth.
How did they do it?
Stonehenge, in the UK, is different from anything of its kind in Europe. After 5,000 years, it is still standing. But why was it built? Was Stonehenge used like a giant computer to make predictions from the position of the sun, moon and stars? This is the most popular opinion.
How was it built? Many of the heavy stones were brought from 240 kilometres away, so 1,500 men had to work every day for over five years, in one expert’s opinion. The very large top stones fit into the smaller standing stones.
This needed tools and skills that people didn’t have at that time. Experts agree that a higher intelligence was needed. So who built Stonehenge? No one knows. For this reason, it is still one of the world’s most interesting mysteries.
The Easter Island statues
The island of Rapa Nui, in the Pacific Ocean, was named Easter Island when it was ‘discovered’ by Europeans on Easter Day in 1722. It is famous for over 800 stone statues, called moai. The statues are between one and ten metres tall and have similar faces. They stand by the sea, facing the land.
Why did the people of Easter Island build them? Some experts think that the statues were the ‘homes’ of ghosts of people from the island’s past. The ghosts looked through the statues’ eyes and guarded the island. People built the statues and then moved them to another part of the island (twenty-five kilometres away) and put them on platforms. In the early 1990s, forty scientists moved fifteen of the statues and put them on new platforms. They used modern equipment and worked every day, but it took them four years. So how did the people of Easter Island move more than 300 statues? Scientists have found no answers.
Mysteries of Egypt
The three most famous Egyptian pyramids are in Giza. They were built for the bodies of the pharaohs after they died almost 5,000 years ago. The pharaohs’ gold was put with them for the ‘next life’. The Great Pyramid is the largest. It is 140 metres high and 228 metres wide at its widest point. King Khufu’s body is there. People think that the pyramid shape helped the pharaohs climb to the sky after their death. So how were the pyramids built? That is still not known. Scientists think that over 100,000 men worked for more than twenty years to build the Great Pyramid. More than two million stones were used. The stones were very large and very heavy. How were they lifted to the top?
* The Great Sphinx
The Sphinx guards the pyramids. It is twenty metres high and more than seventy-three metres long. The face is four metres high and each eye is nearly two metres long. The Sphinx has the head of King Khufu’s son, King Khafre.
The body of an animal shows how strong the king was. Experts still can’t explain how it was built.
The Valley of the Kings is near the city of Luxor, in Egypt. The bodies of the most famous pharaohs were put in special rooms there. An Englishman, Howard Carter, searched for years for the place where King Tutankhamen’s body was kept. In 1923, he found a large room filled with gold and other beautiful things. He took many things away. But Carter and his team paid a terrible price for their discovery. A sign at the entrance promised death to the people who opened it. Carter didn’t believe this. But before the year ended, twelve of the twenty scientists from his team were dead!
Were there really ‘perfect’ civilizations thousands of years ago? Were the people beautiful and intelligent? Did they live without war? Were their lives more wonderful than we can imagine? Or is this just our hope for a perfect world?
The Greek writer Plato told a story about an island in the Adantic Ocean called Atlantis. It was a beautiful place. The people were intelligent and had many interests. The land was rich with plant and animal life. The people used their skills well, so the island was a centre for farming and business. Their buildings were beautiful and well built. Their kings and queens had great power in Europe and Africa. This was more than 11,000 years ago – and then the city disappeared under the sea.
Was there really an Atlantis? If there was, why did it disappear? Some experts agree on one idea: perhaps the story of Atlantis is really the story of the Greek island Santorini. People still want to know about Atlantis. They are still looking for this lost civilization.
There have also been reports about the ancient civilization of Mu, near Japan. There are photographs of this ‘mystery city’ under the sea. People believe they have seen buildings, statues and roads.
The Nazca Lines
In Peru, very large ‘drawings’ of animals and 1,300 kilometres of straight lines cover more than 500 square kilometres of land. These were made by the Nazca people thousands of years ago. Scientists have travelled to Peru to study these shapes and lines. Many of the animal shapes are as big as two football fields. You can’t see them from the ground because they are so large. So scientists have to take photographs from the air. There are many questions about the Nazca Lines. Why are they so large? How could the Nazca people make perfect shapes like these when they couldn’t see them from the ground? Who or what were they made for? Perhaps they were used to predict the weather and the best time for planting crops. Some people think the lines have a religious meaning.
He used the power of his mind to change the shape of metal things like spoons, forks and keys.
We know that our bodies aren’t just simple machines. But what powers do our minds have over our bodies? How can an ordinary man suddenly lift a car to save someone’s life? How do people walk on fire without feeling pain? What is the mind? Science is still not sure.
- The power of the mind
Uri Geller became famous in the 1970s. He used the power of his mind to change the shape of metal things like spoons, forks and keys. He has shown his very unusual skills many times. He can ‘see’ when his eyes are covered. He can describe a picture or ‘read’ a letter. He has stopped clocks working. Geller discovered his powers when he was only four years old. Scientists still can’t explain how he does these things. Not everyone believes in his powers. But no one has proved that they aren’t real.
Would you like to see into the future? Do you know anyone who has this power? The earliest known person with this power was Michel Nostradame, ‘Nostradamus’ (1503-66). He had great skill as a doctor and he was very brave. When the ‘Black Death’ killed thousands of people in France in the 1500s, he saved many people. But he couldn’t save his wife and children from this terrible illness. When they died, he left his home. He travelled around Europe and became interested in mysteries. Other people soon discovered his power to predict the future. He became very well known in Europe and wrote a famous book, Les Propheties, of more than 1,000 predictions. These predictions were about times that were 500 years into the future.
Nostradamus correctly predicted many important things: the power of Hitler in Germany, the Second World War, and the deaths of some important people.
He wrote of President Kennedy, ‘His death will be sudden and sad.’
Nostradamus even correctly predicted his own death. He described exactly how he would die. When something important happens in the world, experts still read his predictions. Other people with this power have become famous since Nostradamus’s time, but Nostradamus’s work still interests people after 500 years.
# Dreams of the future
Some people have a strange feeling (often a dream) that something – usually bad — is going to happen in the future. They can’t explain the feeling but they are very sure. Many people have ‘seen’ terrible things that have happened in the world. They have known about them before they happened!
- A girl had a dream about the end of the great ship Titanic on the night that it happened. She saw a large ship with many people on it. Suddenly, she heard a loud scream and one end of the ship went up into the air. The ship then disappeared quickly into the sea. Ocean travel was dangerous in those days, but how can we explain stories like hers?
- In 1979, David Booth had the same dream night after night. In his dream, he saw a plane crashing and burning near buildings. He told people about his dream, but he couldn’t give them the time or place. The next day, a plane crashed at Chicago Airport and everyone on the plane was killed.
- The night before the attacks on New York in September 2001, a woman dreamt that she met a friend in New York. He was crying and pointing to two tall buildings. They were burning. The next morning, the attacks happened.
- John Snell lived in Poole, in England. On holiday, he paid a woman to look into his future. She told him, ‘You will die on your forty-fifth birthday.’ He wasn’t frightened because he didn’t believe her. For twenty years, he worked long hours and enjoyed drinking. But as his forty-fifth birthday came nearer, he started to worry. He stopped drinking. On his birthday, he refused to go out. The next day, he read a local newspaper report about the death of John Snell of Poole on his forty-fifth birthday. The woman was right and wrong. There were two John Snells living in Poole. The other John Snell died!
- Body mysteries
Some of these stories show the power of the mind over the body. Others show frightening things that have happened to people’s bodies. All are mysteries.
How can a person suddenly start burning for no reason? There have been many terrible examples of this. The person is burnt to death very quickly, but nothing around them is burnt.
Jacqueline Fitzsimmon, a seventeen-year-old student, was walking down the college stairs with two friends when she suddenly started burning. Three people tried to stop the fire, but it was too fast. She died in minutes. Firemen and police could find no reason for the fire or why it was so sudden.
The ‘light’ woman
In April 1934, a young woman from Pirano in Italy began to have a very strange problem. When she was sleeping, a blue light came from her body. When she woke up, it disappeared. Her family called in scientists. The scientists watched her sleeping for a week, but they couldn’t explain it. After three weeks, the blue light disappeared and never returned.
We have heard stories for many years about religious men walking on fire. In 1935, this was tested for the first time. An Indian man, Kuda Bux, walked over a fire. The fire’s temperature was 300oC, but his feet weren’t burnt and he felt no pain. Scientists watched and it was filmed. Scientists now agree that this is an example of the power of the mind over the body. In this photo a fire-walker in Sri Lanka walks calmly across hot stones.
Up, up and away
Some people are able to lift themselves off the ground and stay in the air with no help. Most reports of this are about religious people. The most famous story from Europe is of an Englishman, Daniel Douglas Home. In 1868, while people watched, he ‘flew’ out of a third-floor window. He then flew back into the building through an open window in another room. Asian countries have many stories like this. A Tibetan religious man, Milarepa, slept, ate and walked in the air!