Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World

Patrick Lynch - July 20, 2017

There is something about the unsolved that captivates the imagination. The thrill of investigating something that is ‘unknown’ is too good to miss for those who dream of becoming a sleuth. In many ways, popular mysteries are a matter of timing. In most cases, the initial ‘buzz’ wears off and the story is forgotten by all except those directly affected.

Years and even decades can go by and suddenly, a new piece of evidence is uncovered and the mystery once again captivates the public’s imagination. In this article, I look at 6 mysteries involving murder, ghost ships, and strange occurrences. While there are potential explanations for every mystery on the list, nothing is set in stone.

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
Jonathan Luna. Lancaster Online

1 – Jonathan Luna’s Strange Suicide – (2003)

Jonathan Luna was a 36-year old prosecutor based in Baltimore and on December 4, 2003, his body was found in a Creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Federal authorizes such as the FBI leaned towards suicide as the cause, but the Lancaster County coroner’s office disagreed and believed it was a homicide. The main point of contention is the fact that Luna had 36 stab wounds from his own penknife and ended up in a creek; hardly the typical suicide.

On December 3, he left his office in Baltimore at 11:38 pm and was presumably intent on driving home, which was also in Baltimore. It would be remiss to discount suicide because on the night in question; Luna acted unusually. Instead of going home, he made the long trip to Delaware and withdrew $200 from an ATM. For reasons that have never been explained, he then drove to the state of Pennsylvania. When police found his body, they spotted the $200 scattered inside his car along with a blood-stained ticket; Luna received it when he crossed a toll road.

His blood was all over the back seat which means the stabbing obviously took place there. Whatever the reason for Luna’s weird journey, he was in a hurry because he left his glasses back in his office. Those who believe it was a suicide point to the fact he was $25,000 in debt and was about to take a polygraph test relating to a bank robbery case where $36,000 went missing.

However, the pooling of the blood in the back seat suggests that Luna was stabbed there and someone else was driving. Then there is the small matter of him driving to Delaware to withdraw a small sum of money before going to Pennsylvania where he was stabbed dozens of times. His throat was also slashed, but the cause of death was actually drowning. It is certainly a mystery that will never be solved, but the evidence points to murder. As a prosecutor, Luna would have made enemies, so there is no issue with motive. It is the bizarre nature of his actions on his last night and the sheer lack of suspects that is utterly confounding.

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
Ogletree and the Hotel President. Cool Interesting Stuff

2 – Murder in Room 1046 – (1935)

The murder of Artemus Ogletree is the kind of mystery one would associate with the imagination of a crime thriller writer. It is a genuinely bizarre unsolved crime that occurred in Room 1046 of the Hotel President in Kansas City in January 1935. The story begins with a young man named Roland T. Owen checking into the hotel. He was tall and had a cauliflower ear and a facial scar. He arrived with no luggage and asked to stay for one night. Owen confided in the bellboy and explained that his first choice of hotel, the Muehlebach, was too expensive. Once in the room, he removed a comb, brush, and toothbrush from his pockets.

Later that day, a maid arrived to clean, and Owen allowed her to do so. He told her to leave the door unlocked as he was expecting a visitor. She noticed that the young man was extremely nervous and has drawn all the curtains; he relied on a lamp to light up his room. He left before she had finished cleaning but was lying on the bed fully clothed when she returned at 4 pm with fresh towels. The maid noticed a note on the table that said: “Don, I will be back in fifteen minutes. Wait.”

There is no information available relating to what happened between that time and 10:30 am the following morning when the maid entered the room. She noticed that Owen was sitting in the dark. The phone rang while she was still in the room and he answered it. The person on the other end spoke first, and Owen replied: “No. Don. I don’t want to eat. I am not hungry. I just had breakfast.” After hanging up, he mentioned the Muehlebach to the maid who in a hurry after Owen engaged her in a rambling conversation.

The maid came by later with more towels and heard two male voices. The second one brusquely told her that they didn’t want the towels. A new guest checked in and ended up in the room next to Owen’s. That night, she heard an argument coming from the room involving one male and one female. The next thing she heard was the sounds of scuffling followed by a gasping noise she believed was the sound of snoring. The night elevator operator spotted a woman in the hotel several times, once in the company of a man. Both had left by 4:15 am, and neither was ever identified.

At 7 am, the hotel’s phone operator noticed the phone in Room 1046 was off the hook. After three hours, the bellboy came to the door and demanded that the receiver be replaced. Eventually, the staff broke into the room and found Owen lying naked on the bed. The hotel staff assumed he was shaking off the effects of a hangover and left him alone after they replaced the phone receiver. An hour later, the phone was off the hook again.

One of the staff entered the room again only this time, Owen was crouched over on the floor. His head was bleeding, and the walls were covered in blood. Owen claimed he had fallen in the bathtub before he fell unconscious once again. He died en route to the hospital. Owen had been tied up, beaten, strangled and stabbed several times. Moreover, every piece of his clothing and everything else in the room was gone.

It turned out that Roland T. Owen was a fake name so it appeared as if he would be buried in an anonymous grave. However, when the information became public, someone phoned up and offered to pay for a proper funeral. The money arrived in the mail along with roses, and a card signed: “Love forever – Louise.” 18 months later, a woman identified the mystery victim as her brother Artemus Ogletree. His family hadn’t seen him in almost three years, but they received typed letters from him after his death. His mother also received a mysterious phone call which said Artemus had married a wealthy woman in Egypt.

No one knows who killed Artemus Ogletree or why. Nor do they know who paid for his funeral. The identity of ‘Don’ or the female in his room have never been determined, and it’s safe to say that the murder in Room 1046 will forever remain unsolved. One other fact about the case is that the day before the murder, a man named Robert Lane picked up a hitchhiker dressed in pants and an undershirt who swore to get revenge the following day. Lane later identified the man as Owen.

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
Dramatisation of what the demon might have looked like. Listverse

3 – The Methuen Water Demon – (1963)

The vast majority of hauntings in homes are normally explained away by witnesses having overactive imaginations. In famous cases such as Borley Rectory, the people involved confessed to making things up so what makes the Methuen Water Demon any different? It turns out that the affected family endured this seemingly demonic presence in three different properties for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained.

The Martin family first encountered the water demon in October 1963 when Francis Martin, his wife, and their children noticed a damp patch on the wall in the den. They watched in disbelief as the patch grew larger and eventually, it sprayed extremely cold water for about 20 seconds before stopping suddenly. Francis tried to rationalize the issue but knew it couldn’t be a case of frozen pipes because the temperature was too high. Besides, he recently had the pipes cleaned.

The very next day, the same thing happened in a different part of the house. The problem continued to occur in every room in the house at 15-minute intervals. The family’s furniture and floors were soaked, as were the Martins. A non-family member also witnessed the phenomena on at least one occasion.

Normally, ‘hauntings’ are confined to one home, but when the Martins moved to a relative’s house, the water jets started there too. They couldn’t believe what was happened and returned to their home where Francis switched off the water at the mains. This tactic did not work because the next day, water gushed from the walls from several spots at once. The Martin family moved away once again, but the problem followed them.

Eventually, they returned to Methuen, and the water ‘demon’ gradually eased off until one day, the water stopped spraying altogether. The official story was moisture build-up, but it doesn’t explain why the problem happened in three different locations.

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
Kaspar Hauser. Alchetron

4 – The Life & Death of Kaspar Hauser – (1812 – 1833)

On the surface, this is a tragic tale of a young boy who was seemingly unwanted but managed to carve out a life for himself. Just when it seemed that things were getting back on track, he was murdered and the culprit was never caught. In fact, the truth may be simpler than it initially seems. However, most of Kaspar Hauser’s life is a complete mystery as no one can say who he was nor can they determine why he was murdered; or even if it was murder.

Hauser was probably born in 1812, but his story really begins on May 26, 1828, in Nuremberg, Germany. On this day, residents of the city saw a young man wander around the streets mumbling incoherently. He carried two letters. One was addressed to a Captain von Wessenig, and the writer said the boy had been placed in his care as an infant on October 7, 1812. The letter continued by saying the author had educated the boy in writing, reading and the Christian religion but he had never allowed the boy to leave the house.

It also said that the young man’s father was a cavalryman and that the boy wanted to follow in his footsteps. It concluded cruelly as the author said that von Wessenig could care for the boy or hang him. There was a second letter, supposedly from the boy’s mother to the caretaker. It said his name was Kaspar, he was born on April 30, 1812, and his father, who was a member of the 6th regiment, was dead. Handwriting experts later found that the same person wrote the two letters and they believe it was Kaspar himself.

Kasper was taken to von Wessenig’s house and repeated the words ‘cavalryman’ and ‘horse’ over and over again. He was taken to the police station where he wrote his name as Kasper Hauser. As he had no way of providing an account of himself, the boy was thrown in prison as a vagabond. Eventually, he was able to discuss what had happened to him. According to Kaspar, an unknown person kept him in a cell for an indeterminate amount of time. The captor provided Kasper with some food, water and a couple of toys.

A schoolmaster named Daumer took Kasper in and found that the boy had a natural talent for drawing. 18 months after his mysterious appearance, Kasper was allegedly attacked in Daumer’s home. However, critics believe Kasper made the entire incident up to elicit sympathy. Daumer was known to think the boy had a tendency to lie and he was transferred to the home of Johann Biberbach. On April 3, 1830, a gunshot was heard from Kasper’s room in Biberbach’s house. His escort found him bleeding from a wound to the head and Kasper claimed it was an unfortunate accident. Again, it is possible that he orchestrated the incident to gain sympathy.

On December 14, 1833, Kasper returned home with a serious wound in his chest. He claimed that a stranger gave him a bag, stabbed him and left him for dead. The bag contained a note with mirror writing. He died from his wounds three days later. It is now believed that Kasper stabbed himself but penetrated too deep. He almost certainly wrote the note.

Even if Kasper Hauser was a con man, and the evidence suggests he was; his origins are a complete mystery. There was a claim he was the lost prince of Baden who supposedly died in 1812, but genetic tests have debunked that theory. He is buried in Ansbach, Germany with an apt epitaph: “Here lies Kasper Hauser, enigma of his time… mysterious his death.”

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
CB Radio. 1428 Elm

5 – Lost Boy Larry – (1973)

The strange ‘Lost Boy Larry’ case divides opinion as to whether it involved a distressed young boy or was simply a cruel hoax. On August 7, 1973, CB operators in New Mexico were shocked to receive a call from a young boy who was pleading for help. He said his name was Larry and was trapped in a red and white pickup with his father who was possibly dead. He claimed they were hunting rabbits but the truck was involved in an accident and the vehicle overturned.

Other CB radio operators said they heard the transmission and a frantic search for the boy began. The big problem with the case is that the young boy never gave his last name and offered varying reports about the condition of his father and the nature of the accident. In one communication, he said his father died from a heart attack in the accident, but in a later call, he said his dad was alive but unconscious.

The operators were frustrated to find that the signal kept fading in and out. The atmospheric conditions resulted in Larry’s pleas being heard in Wyoming, California and several other locations. The authorities began their search in New Mexico, and thousands of volunteers started to search for the missing boy. His signal grew ever weaker, a sign his battery was running out. To make matters worse, practical jokers got involved and made calls where they mimicked his voice.

On August 12, no one had found any sign of the boy or his truck, and his signal disappeared for good. Authorities came to the conclusion that the entire escapade was nothing more than a hoax. During the search, one rescue worker said the boy called himself David during a call. Larry also claimed to have seen the search lights of an airplane as it looked in Albuquerque’s Manzano area. An army sergeant claimed he spoke to Larry for three hours on August 12 but did not get any information on the boy’s condition or location. The search was called off on August 13.

While those who spoke to Larry believe he was real, the evidence suggests it was a hoax. It is unlikely that the battery would have lasted that long and a CB radio signal in the truck would surely not have been strong enough to reach across the U.S. and into Canada. Also, if the truck was upside down, the antenna was almost certainly broken. On the other hand, if it was real, then a young boy and his father died all alone in the desert.

Murder, Ghost Ships, and Strange Occurrences: 6 Peculiar Unsolved Mysteries From Around the World
SS Baychimo. Historic Mysteries

6 – The Disappearance of the Baychimo – (1931)

The SS Baychimo was a steel-hulled cargo steamer that went missing in 1931 along the Alaska coast. It was spotted in 1969 but has not been seen since. The Baychimo was constructed in 1914 and launched the following year. It was destined to sail over treacherous waters as its main mission was to carry furs, pelts and other cargo between the trading posts of the icy Arctic waters. It also made trips to Alaska and British Columbia with passengers and cargo.

After nine successful journeys over the harsh seas, it hit trouble on October 1, 1931, when on a routine journey to Vancouver with a cargo of furs. Alas, the crew did not realize that winter had come early that year, so the ship had to face icy waters and blasts of freezing wind. A sudden blizzard descended and trapped the ship and its frightened crew. The captain of the Baychimo knew that the crew had to abandon ship and they proceeded to the town of Barrow on foot.

They safely made it to the town and stayed there for a couple of days before returning to discover the fate of their ship. To their surprise, they found the Baychimo had broken free from the ice and was drifting aimlessly on the water. The captain elected to wait for an opportunity to retrieve the ship and set up camp. However, the weather worsened, and on October 8, the ship was trapped in ice once again.

On October 15, the Hudson Bay Company, the owners of the vessel, took action and sent a rescue team to help the crew. 22 people were rescued, but the captain and 14 others refused to leave and elected to remain in the camp. A blizzard on November 24 took the ship out of the captain’s line of sight. The dejected crew packed up and left, but one week later, an Inuit seal hunter said he saw the Baychimo drifting 45 miles from its last location. The captain found the ship but decided it was not seaworthy so the crew salvaged as much as the cargo as they could and finally abandoned ship forever.

Incredibly, the Baychimo survived the winter and tales emerged of it sailing around the north Atlantic waters. It followed a strange pattern as sometimes it was out to sea and on other occasions, it was near the coast. Some intrepid explorers tried to board the ship, but it evaded their efforts very skillfully for a vessel without a crew. On other occasions, sailors claimed it vanished in front of their eyes.

The last sighting of the Baychimo was in 1969. Despite concerted efforts to locate the vessel, not a trace has ever been found. Perhaps it finally sank, or else it was salvaged in secret? How did it manage to avoid being boarded despite dozens of attempts? It is incredible that it survived almost 40 years in some of the world’s most unforgiving waters; it seems improbable that it could last another 50 years because surely, its hull finally gave way and it sank?