Below, read about five unsolved mysteries that are still making the police scratch their heads. The world is full of mysteries. Unfortunately, most real-life mysteries don’t feature a series of well-placed clues like the ones you’d find in an Agatha Christie novel. In fact, some mysteries remain unsolved for decades, much to the chagrin of authorities.
5. Unsolved Mysteries – The Circleville Letters
Circleville, Ohio is a small town with just over 13,000 residents. It was the type of town that you might describe as “sleepy” or “quaint.” However, in 1976, a series of mysterious letters sent the entire town into a panic, beginning one of the country’s creepiest unsolved mysteries.
These letters, mailed to several Circleville residents, were filled with vicious threats, vulgar drawings, and personal information that the recipients believed to be closely guarded secrets. The letters had no return address and used the same distinctive block lettering: likely an attempt to disguise the writer’s actual handwriting.
Most of the Circleville residents who were targeted received only a single letter. However, Mary Gillespie was unlucky enough to find multiple letters in her mailbox over the course of several months. Mary was a school bus driver. She received multiple letters accusing her of having an affair with the school’s superintendent. The writer demanded that she put an end to the behavior, saying that they would be watching her closely.
Mary attempted to hide the letters. Then, things took a turn: another letter arrived addressed to her husband, Ron Gillespie. Ron was instructed to put an end to the affair; if he failed, he would die. Mary denied the claims, but her reputation was permanently ruined by the accusations. Then, on August 19th, 1977 Ron received a phone call. He seemed angry and left the house with a gun. He was later killed in a car crash. The death was ruled an accident, but later letters suggested that the sheriff was covering up the truth.
The letters ramped up after Ron’s death, one even including a crude trap meant to kill Mary. Unable to take the pressure, Mary admitted to the affair. Her brother-in-law was accused of writing the letters and was arrested, but the letters continued during his confinement. No other suspects were ever identified.
4. The Bridge at Overtoun
The Overtoun Bridge in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland was built in 1895. On first glance, it appears to be a completely ordinary structure. However, it is actually the sight of one of Scotland’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries.
There are many mysteries surrounding bridges. Bridges are symbolic of crossing over, making them a common setting for eerie ghost stories and urban legends. However, the Overtoun Bridge is unique; while it is the site of numerous unexplained deaths, those deaths have primarily been those of canines.
According to locals, over 50 years, approximately 50 dogs have died there. The dogs were seen crossing over the bridge when they became agitated before eventually leaping over the side of the bridge. 50 dogs died from injuries sustained by landing on the rocks below. Another 600 dogs have been reported to have jumped from the bridge but survived. All of the dogs who have jumped from the bridge are breeds that are typically used for hunting. The leaps always occur on clear, sunny days from between the last two ramparts on the right side of the bridge.
One theory purports that this particular spot on the bridge represents an area where the world of the living is in close contact with the world of the dead. These dogs, with their keen senses, are able to discern the closeness of this other world and jump towards it, unknowingly leaping to their deaths. The nearby town of Dumbarton also has an abnormally high suicide rate, leading many to believe that the area is home to some sort of supernatural activity leading many to seek their own deaths.
Others are more skeptical. One researcher has asserted that there is a strong animal scent coming from below the bridge that may have attracted the dogs. That, combined with unique geography that makes the area around the bridge appear to be an even plane rather than a steep drop-off, could have led the dogs to accidentally fall from the bridge. However, this explanation doesn’t account for the increasing suicide rate in the nearby town.
3. Unsolved Mysteries – The American Dyatlov Pass
In 1959, nine hikers mysteriously disappeared near the Dyatlov Pass in Russia. Almost twenty years later, on February 24, 1978, a similar disappearance occurred near Palmetto, California. Because of the similarities between the two unsolved mysteries, the later incident became known as the American Dyatlov Pass.
The case began when Gary Mathias, Jack Huett, William Sterling, Ted Weiher, and Jack Madruga left a basketball game in Chico, California. None made it home. Their families quickly organized a search that eventually located the car in which the group had been traveling. The car was stuck in the mud near Palmetto, 30 miles from Chico. Even though the car was stuck, the five men could have easily gotten it out. The car had adequate gas and no other signs of a problem. Yet, there was no sign of the missing men.
Months later, Ted Weiher’s body was found on a mattress in a cabin about a mile away. His shoeless body was covered by a makeshift shroud and surrounded by open food cans. There was no sign that the cabin’s heat had been turned on or that a fire had been made. Weiher had lost a significant amount of weight and grown a beard before dying of starvation, suggesting that he was alive for several months after his disappearance. Authorities were puzzled; how could he have died of starvation when surrounded by open food containers? Why wasn’t he wearing shoes and who had covered his body?
The skeletal remains of three of the other men were later found nearby but provided no additional clues. The prevailing theory is that the men’s mental illnesses were to blame for the incident. George Mathias, who has never been located, suffered from schizophrenic episodes, and the other four men had various mental illnesses. Authorities theorize that Mathias had a stress-induced episode, and the others left the car to avoid being harmed. However, this theory doesn’t explain why Weiher would have slowly starved to death in a cabin full of food or why the others would have left the safety of the cabin. The mystery officially remains unsolved.
2. The Delphi Murders
On February 13, 2017, Abigail Williams and Liberty German disappeared from the Delphi Historic Trails in Delphi, Indiana. Authorities assumed that the girls had gotten lost when they failed to appear at their check-in location. However, their bodies were found the next day near the trail where they had disappeared. The details of their deaths are unknown, but authorities determined that they had been murdered.
What seems like a simple, yet tragic, case quickly became one of the area’s eeriest unsolved mysteries. Soon after the girls’ bodies were discovered, police discovered strange recordings on Liberty German’s phone. A muffled voice can be heard saying, “Guys, down the hill.” It appeared that the girl had begun recording while her phone was inside her pocket. Authorities have called these actions heroic. The eerie recordings were circulated in hopes that someone would recognize the voice and allow authorities to bring the killer to justice. Thousands of tips poured in, but none led to the killer’s identity.
Police later released a longer recording, but parts of the video are still being kept under wraps. Followers of the case believe that the recording captured the girls’ deaths and that authorities are reluctant to make that portion of the video public.
Cameras on the trail captured a grainy shot of a man walking alone on the trail near the time that the girls went missing. Authorities believe that this man may be the culprit but have been unable to identify him. Despite the evidence captured in the Liberty German’s frightening recording, the murderer remains at large.
1. Unsolved Mysteries – The Disappearance of Asha Degree
February 14, 2000, was a windy, rainy day in Shelby, North Carolina. Early that morning, before the rest of the family was awake, 9-year-old Ash Degree packed some items into her backpack and left the house. Between 3:45 AM 4:15 AM, several motorists saw her walking along Highway 18. When one attempted to approach her, she left the road and ran into the woods. This is the last time anyone saw her. She was soon reported missing, setting into motion one of America’s longest unsolved mysteries.
At first, many believed that Asha had simply run away from home. Her life was sheltered, spent primarily with family and at church. Some investigators suggested that she had run away to escape these restrictions. However, Asha’s family described her as an extremely shy child who would be unlikely to set out from home alone. Upon further investigation, authorities found nothing in Asha’s life to suggest that she would have reason to run away. Yet, all of the doors and windows in the house had been locked, indicating that Asha left the house under her own volition and locked the doors behind her.
During an extensive search, a few of Asha’s personal items were located in a shed near the spot where Asha disappeared into the woods. No further clues were found until a year and a half after she went missing when Asha’s backpack was located during excavation for a construction project along Highway 18. The backpack was wrapped in plastic, but additional information about this vital clue has not been made public.
Years later, the FBI publically asked for information on two other possible clues: a copy of “McElligot’s Pool” by Dr. Seuss that had been checked out from the school library and a white t-shirt featuring “The New Kids on the Block.” It is unclear how these items relate to the disappearance as investigators have been tight-lipped about the case.
Why did Asha leave her house on that gray, rainy morning? What happened to her after she left? Authorities are still struggling to answer these questions.