Let’s explore some of the scary mysteries that have been solved by Reddit users. In today’s golden age of the internet, it seems like every day a new mystery goes viral. However, sometimes internet users are able to pool their collective knowledge and actually solve some of these bizarre mysteries.
5. The Strongsville Skeleton
In the subreddit called r/UnsolvedMysteries, a place full of scary mysteries, you can find countless cases of missing persons that haven’t been found and murders that haven’t been solved. In the case of the Strongsville skeleton, the detective work started by one user actually led to a break in the case that allowed the mystery to be solved by Reddit.
The case revolves around a skeleton found by three boys while they were exploring the woods near Strongsville, Ohio in 1975. The skeleton wore no clothes and its mandible was missing. Investigators determined that the skeleton belonged to a woman between the ages of 18 and 25 and that the cause of death had been a shot to the head. That is where the case went cold. Authorities scoured countless reports of young women who had gone missing but were unable to find a match for the eerie skeleton that had been left in the woods.
In 2015, 40 years after the skeleton had been discovered, the case made its way to Reddit. The user who posted the story, u/callmeice, decided to do some detective work. They contacted the Strongsville police and actually obtained some additional information from the case file, including a photo of the skeleton’s skull. The photo made its way to WebSlueth where a user who worked as a forensic artist used the picture of the skull to draw a recreation of what the woman’s face may have looked like.
Once he had his drawing, he compared it to missing persons listings online and found a match: 17-year-old Linda Pagano, who went missing in Akron, Ohio in 1974 after getting into a fight with her stepfather. The match was reported to police, who confirmed it with Linda’s dental records, bringing closure to Linda’s family and the Reddit community.
4. Grateful Doe
In 2014, another cold case stuck out among the other scary mysteries that end up being discussed on Reddit. A user called u/zombiegrey took to the site to spread the word of a case that had long been fascinating her: the case of Grateful Doe.
In 1994, a young student named Michael Eric Hager picked up a hitchhiker while traveling to his mother’s house. The hitchhiker was wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt, and Hager’s friends and family suspected that a shared love for music may have prompted Hager to pick up the stranger. At some point, Hager’s Volkswagen van went off the road and crashed into a tree. Both men died instantly.
While Hager was quickly identified by family and friends, the hitchhiker’s identity remained a mystery. He carried no identifying items, and the crash had made his face all but unrecognizable. The only clue was a cryptic note found in the man’s pocket. The case eventually went cold until u/zombiegrey revived it, hoping it could be solved by Reddit. They posted all available information about the case, including digital reconstructions of what Grateful Doe may have looked like before the crash. The case became wildly popular, attracting the attention of thousands of users.
One user began commenting about the similarity between the photos and his former roommate, Jason Callahan. The user hadn’t seen Callahan since 1995, but remember that he had been a big fan of the Grateful Dead. The information eventually made it to Callahan’s grandmother, who hadn’t seen him since he left to follow the Grateful Dead on tour in 1995. She filed a police report, and authorities were able to use DNA testing to confirm that the body was, in fact, Callahan’s. After 20 years, Grateful Doe finally had a name, all thanks to Reddit.
3. The Box of Crazy
Unlike the previous scary mysteries on this list, the Box of Crazy is an original story that a user named u/TramStopDan posted to Reddit in 2014. In the post, the user describes the contents of a wooden box that they found near a trash can. The contents ranged from the banal to the bizarre, and the user hoped that by documenting the contents, the creepy mystery could be solved by Reddit.
u/TramStopDan clearly had a flair for the dramatic. He first posted pictures of some of the more mundane items in the box, such as maps and technical drawings. However, things start to get interesting when you scroll to the photos of a drawing suggesting that the “artist saw something in Tampa, FL in 1977 that changed him.” The drawing appears to depict an alien abduction.
From there, the drawings get even more bizarre. The artist begins to draw depictions of entities that appear to blend extraterrestrial and religious elements. There was also a handwritten note describing an alien invasion that had apparently been covered up by the government.
Reddit users were fascinated by the drawings and accompanying notes. Many believed that the artist had, in fact, witnessed an alien visit and these drawings were his attempt to document the encounter. Users pointed to the precise, almost mathematical, skill of the drawings as proof that the man was of sound mind.
However, another user, u/Flyboy_Will, who was well-versed in the Bible, provided another explanation. He stated that the artist “was obsessed with ‘living creatures’ described in Ezekiel 10 that are described as having four faces: ‘the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.’” Others added onto the comment, speculating that the artist might have been a schizophrenic who obsessed over the idea of finding evidence of aliens in the Bible.
Although there is no way to prove that this theory is accurate, the community has accepted the explanation and considers the case solved by Reddit.
2. The Extension Cord Enigma
In 2014, a Reddit user called u/shadybusiness15 took to the site hoping that their own mystery could be solved by Reddit. The case quickly became one of the most legendary scary mysteries of the Internet.
According to the post, the user, a young student, had a scary moment when an extension cord in their room violently blew a fuse. While waiting for maintenance to come by, they decided to open up the power strip to see how bad the damage was. That’s when they found something that seemed oddly out of place.
The object appeared to be an old SIM card stamped with a serial number: something that would not typically be found in an extension cord. The user went to Reddit to find out if anyone had a possible explanation for what the mysterious piece of electronic equipment could have been doing inside of the extension cord. The answers were shocking.
According to more knowledgeable members of the Reddit community, the SIM card was clearly attached to a microphone, suggesting that the contraption was a recording device meant to spy on whatever was happening near the device and record the information. Although Reddit was able to solve the mystery of what the object was, it opened up a larger question: what was it doing there?
According to u/shadybusiness15, they had no idea who would have wanted to spy on them. They didn’t think their parents could be the culprit and described themselves as not interesting enough to be of interest to police or the government. They eventually decided to place a call to a phone number they located on the SIM card, but only received a message saying “the service is now closed and if you have voicemail you can turn it on.” They decided to directly contact the manufacturer of the SIM card but was told that they would need a warrant for additional information.
Users are still speculating about the origin of the mysterious bug.
1. The Cryptic Post-It Notes
This bizarre case began with a user, u/RBradbury1920, asking Reddit for legal advice in 2016. The user described a disturbing situation in which they found mysterious post-it notes around their home with handwriting on them that they didn’t recognize.
The contents of the notes were fairly banal: typically, reminders of tasks they should complete. One note said, “Our landlord isn’t letting me talk to you, but it’s important we do.” By this point, the user had set up a webcam to help solve the mystery but discovered that the footage had been deleted and the computer’s trash had been emptied. The user found no other signs of a break-in but they were understandably disturbed and asked Reddit for help.
One user who came across the post asked u/RBradbury1920 if they noticed having headaches recently. They pointed out that it seemed like u/RBradbury1920 had been writing the notes and forgetting about them. They stated that headaches and memory loss were possible signs of exposure to carbon monoxide.
After reading this comment, u/RBradbury1920 put up a carbon monoxide detector and discovered dangerous amounts of CO in their home. They immediately sought medical attention and had the problem in their apartment addressed. Other users lauded the commenter for saving the poster’s life, and the poster used Reddit’s tipping system to send their savior $10.
The case of the cryptic post-its is one of the few scary mysteries solved by Reddit that actually has a happy ending. However, it should still serve as a dire warning for anyone else who reads it.
So there’s our look at just some of the scary mysteries solved by Reddit. Have you heard of cold cases being solved by Reddit before? Let us know in the comments below or on any of our socials.