[Written By: Liam James]
While most people see August as the perfect time to plan a sunny escape, I see August as Spooky Season prep month. I’m already dreaming of dark nights, chilly mornings and knitwear. Lots and lots of knitwear. Anyway, with all that in mind and to whet your appetite for spooky things ahead, we are going to take a deep dive into some strange and unusual unexplained mysteries. So get yourself settled, put your tinfoil hats on, hang up those “I want to believe” posters and off we go!
1. The Body on Somerton Beach
It was a beautiful morning in Adelaide, Australia. The date was December 1st, 1948 and people flocked to the beach for an early morning swim. As locals strolled along the beach, a figure was spotted, slumped against the sea wall; a well-dressed, middle-aged man in a suit and polished, leather dress shoes. A concerned beachgoer approached the figure, and swatted away a cloud of mosquitoes from their face to check for a pulse but could not find one. The body was taken away for investigation and the cause of death was ruled as heart failure brought on by poisoning but no trace of poison was found. There was nothing to identify the body; his pockets only contained cigarettes, matches and gum. There was no wallet, no formal identification, the fingerprints were completely unidentifiable and, peculiarly, all the tags had been removed from the man’s clothing. Photos of the body were released to the press in an effort to find the identity of the man but nothing came from this. Four months later, further investigations led to the discovery of a secret pocket sewn into the man’s trousers, containing a singular, rolled up piece of paper. Printed on this were the words ‘Tamám Shud’ – a Persian phrase that translates to ‘it has ended’. Consulting library experts, the police found that the mysterious scrap had been torn from the last page of a rare copy of ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.’ The police launched an investigation to find the exact copy of this book, hoping that this would lead to some answers but alas, none were found. Local authorities decided to bury the man after they had taken a cast of his face in the hopes that they would someday be able to close this case for good.
But wait…there’s more. Almost a year later, a local resident came to the police and claimed that not long after the body was found, the resident found a copy of the Rubáiyát on the backseat of his car. He thought nothing of this until he came across the story of the investigation in a newspaper. The book contained the ripped page that matched the paper found on the body and inside the book there was a phone number and an indecipherable code that was only visible when viewed under a UV light. The phone number led the authorities to a local woman named Jessica Thompson who was then taken in for a formal interview. During this, Thompson appeared evasive and fainted when shown a photo of the body yet she denied knowing or ever meeting the mysterious man. Under questioning, she recalled that sometime the previous year, her neighbours had told her that an unknown man had called at her residence, asking for her. He did not say what he wanted, and had not been seen again. Unable to crack the code, and with no leads into the identity of the man, the police concluded their investigation. They assumed wthat the cause of death was most likely suicide, although they had no clue as to the motivation of this. A final, official re-examination of the evidence and testimony, conducted by the coroner’s office in 1958, was inconclusive. Recent re-investigations have been launched in an effort to bring a final conclusion to this mysterious case.
2. The Mystery of Overtoun Bridge
There lies a bridge in Scotland that dog-walkers are warned against crossing. The bridge seemingly calls for our canine companions to take their own life. Since the 1950’s, over fifty pooches have perished, and hundreds more have lept but survived with some even returning for a second leap onto the perilous rocks that lie some fifty feet below the accursed bridge. Scientifically, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs are even capable of suicidal thoughts, so what is causing this tragic phenomena? Experts have proposed that the scent of the natural fauna is causing dogs to become overstimulated, resulting in their strange behaviour but this has yet to be proven. The owners of the bridge, and nearby Overtoun House, claim that the area is haunted and that there is a sinister presence that is luring the poor pooches to their doom. To further add to the mystery and tragedy of Overtoun Bridge, In October 1994, a man threw his two-week-old son from the bridge as he believed that his son was the antichrist. He then attempted to take his own life by leaping from the bridge but his attempt failed. He admitted to choosing the specific location due to it being a site associated with sinister, dark and mysterious energy, in tales that go back thousands of years. The man was then detained and placed in a secure mental health facility. People often comment on an unnerving feeling as they cross the bridge to this day and dog-walkers are warned to steer clear of the area.
3. The Tunguska Event
June 30, 1908. The early morning summer inertia was interrupted by a 12 megaton explosion in Siberia, Russia. An explosion with enough force to flatten over 80 million trees across a 820 square mile sparsely populated forested area – the force is comparible to 1000 atomic bombs detonating at once. Witness accounts report of a bluish fireball light up the sky followed by a blinding flash and a sound that resembled loud artillery fire. Hundreds of miles away, a huge shockwave broke windows and knocked people off their feet and the effects were felt as far away as the UK. Due to revolutions and war, this event was not formally investigated for almost two decades when a scientific team, led by Leonid Kulik, undertook an expedition to the Siberian wilderness in 1927. Now this is where it starts to get really juicy. The Tunguska Event is famous for being the largest asteroid impact in recorded human history but that’s the thing…there has never been any evidence of an impact. No crater has ever been found and no meteor fragments or particles have been discovered. Common theory suggest that the meteor exploded before impact and that the force of this atomized it, explaining why nothing was found. Other theories are more interesting. Popular amongst the Siberian Evenki people is that this was a warning from Agdy, their Lord and God of Thunder. There have been theories suggesting that the explosion was due to an alien spaceship crash-landing in a nearby lake. There is also a theory that the explosion was caused by Nikola Tesla as he was experimenting with a secret “death ray”.
4. The Voynich Manuscript
A codex hand-written in an unknown language, containing illustrations of unknown plants and animals as well as astrological symbols, naked women and unidentified objects. First discovered in 1912 by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, the codex has baffled experts across the
world and has sparked a cult phenomenon. The origin of the manuscript remains unknown and the text, made up of strange glyphs and symbols, remains largely undeciphered, however thanks to carbon-dating, it has been determined that it was created some time during the 15th century somewhere in Western Europe. There are 28 missing pages which have yet to be found and those studying the codex are keen on finding these. The manuscript has gained a cult following, with some believing it to be a lost artefact from a hidden, magical realm that exists alongside our world, which would certainly explain the fantastical illustrations contained within it. Since 1969 it has been housed in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and has been carefully scanned and uploaded for all to read online. Will you be the one to break the code and explore the mysteries contained within its pages?
5. Big Blue Balls
I want to take a moment to talk to you about balls. Blue balls specifically. No, not that kind…get your head out of the gutter! I’m talking about the mysterious blue jelly balls that rained down upon Dorset, UK in 2012 during a hailstorm. Dorset resident Steve Hornsby discovered blue balls in his back garden (oi oi) that were described as slippery and difficult to pick up which led to Hornsby using a spoon to acquire them from the ground. The UK went mad for Steve’s balls. Theories about his balls ranged from alien eggs, angel poo, evidence of government weather control and marine invertebrate eggs which could be transferred from the feet of birds (boring). The balls were taken away for study and scientists reported that the balls were organic in nature. Research Assistant, Josie Pegg, discovered that the balls were made of sodium polyacrylate which is commonly used in gardening but both Hornsby and his wife insisted that they never used this. So how did the balls get into their garden? Does Dorset have some kind of mysterious, flora-enthusiastic super hero? Were the scientists lying to cover up evidence of the UK’s weather manipulation machine? We will be pondering Steve Hornsby’s blue balls for quite some time now.
Well that’s your lot for this month, folks! I hope that has got you out of the summer slump and has your skin itching for the spooky season ahead. If you have enjoyed this (I know that I have) then be sure to share it far and wide and who knows…maybe I’ll treat you all to some more mysteries (and balls) sometime soon.
As always you can find us anywhere online @superfreakmedia and remember…
Keep it Creepy!