15 True Crime Cases, Scientific Anomalies, And Other Unsolved Mysteries People Can't Stop Thinking About

WARNING: This post contains mentions of kidnapping and death. Please proceed with caution. 

If you're anything like me, you love trying to put the pieces of a mystery together. Whether it's something spooky or scientific or even a true crime case, there's nothing like putting your thinking cap on and getting to work.

"Okay, here we go."
"Okay, here we go."


Every couple months, I ask BuzzFeeders like you to share the unsolved mysteries they simply cannot stop thinking about. Here are 15 of those yet-to-be-solved mysteries:

1.The culprits of the Gardner Museum art heist. In April of 1990, $500,000 worth of art was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. At 1:24 in the morning, the thieves — dressed in stolen police uniforms — were buzzed into the museum, claiming to be responding to a disturbance call. They duct taped the security guards to a bench in the basement, disabled the cameras, and proceeded to steal 13 pieces of art. They even went so far as to cut the canvases out of the frames they were in. While they took some of the museum's finest pieces, they left the most valuable one untouched. None of the stolen art has ever resurfaced, and the culprits remain at large.

You can read more about it here, and see the stolen art for yourself here.

Suggested by: u/ipelican17

People in an art museum
Brooks Kraft / Corbis via Getty Images
Sketches of the suspects
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

2.Alexis Patterson's disappearance. In 2002, 7-year-old Alexis went missing right outside of her school, Hi-Mount Community School. Her stepfather reportedly walked her there that morning, but she never made it back home at the end of the day. While teachers claim that she didn't show up to any of her classes and that they saw neither her nor her stepfather on campus that day, some students reported having seen Alexis on the school's playground both before and after school. Despite DNA testing and interviews, nobody knows what happened to Alexis or where she went.

You can read more about Alexis's case here.

Suggested by: ohia_lehua

3.The unusual crooked forest. Located in Gryfino, Poland, about 400 trees have a peculiar, J-shaped bend. Essentially, it makes them look like they're kneeling. They're lined up neatly in rows and all bow at the same direction, with the tops pointing upwards like normal. The trees are estimated to have been originally planted in the 1930s.

There are several theories as to why they look the way they do. Some believe they were engineered this way for curved furniture, but had to be abandoned during WWII. Others think the trees were buried under heavy snow early in their lives. Some think the curve is a result of the gravitational pull of the area. And, of course, others believe there might even be a paranormal explanation.

You can read more about the forest here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

Crooked Forest
Fhm / Getty Images

4.Okiku, aka "the haunted doll of Hokkaido." The doll belonged to a 2-year-old girl named Okiku, and was given to her by her older brother, Eikichi. Okiku loved the doll — she was always playing with it, and even named it after herself. Unfortunately, a year later, Okiku died of a cold. Filled with grief from their loss, her parents kept the doll in memory of her, putting it in a place of honor at their altar. They prayed at their altar daily, and — one day — they noticed something was a little different about the doll. Instead of the short haircut it'd originally had, the doll's hair seemed to be getting longer on its own.

How or why this happened is a mystery, but it's alleged that the family believed their daughter's spirit lived in the doll. They kept the doll until they moved out of Hokkaido. Not wanting to disturb their daughter's spirit by relocating her, they offered the doll to Mannenji Temple. There, the monks cared for Okiku, and even gave it haircuts when its hair grew too long. The doll can still be found at the temple today.

You can read more about Okiku — and see a picture — here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

5.The Tara Calico mystery. In September of 1988, 19-year-old Tara left her home in Belen, New Mexico on her neon pink mountain bike to take her daily 36-mile ride. That morning was the last time her family ever saw her. Several witnesses saw her riding down the highway; some reporting that she appeared to be being followed by a Ford pickup truck with a camper attached to the back. Neither she nor the truck were ever found. Nine months later, though, the case took an unexpected turn.

In Port St. Joe, Florida —1,200 miles away from where Tara went missing — a woman noticed a white van next to her when she parked. The van was gone when she returned from her shopping trip, but a polaroid picture was left face-down in its place. The photo was of two teens with their mouths duct taped shut and their hands tied behind their backs. The photo seemed to have been taken in the back of that very van.

The picture made its rounds in national news, leading Tara's parents to find it and identify Tara as the girl in the photo. The boy alongside Tara was also identified by his parents as Michael Henley, who'd gone missing the year before on a camping trip with his dad. Unfortunately, neither Tara nor Michael have ever been found, and the identity of their kidnapper is still unknown.

You can watch the Unsolved Mysteries episode here.


A camera and polaroids
Blanchi Costela / Getty Images

6.The abduction of Angela Hammond. In April of 1991, 20-year-old Angela dropped her fiancée — Rob Shafer — off at his home in Clinton, Missouri. Rob was going to babysit his little brother until his mom got home, then meet Angela downtown. Angela promised to call him before then. She did exactly that just an hour later, calling from a payphone in town. The two were talking when Angela noticed a truck had been circling the block. The car — an old, green Ford pickup truck with a decal of a fish jumping out of water on the back windshield — eventually stopped circling and parked right by the phone booth.

On the phone, Angela explained that the man got out and used the payphone next to her. He then went back in the truck and began looking for something with a flashlight. Rob thought perhaps the other phone was broken, so Angela offered hers. The man declined, saying he'd try again in a minute. Angela and Rob continued talking as they normally would when all of a sudden, Rob heard Angela scream.

The payphone  was only about seven blocks from Rob's home, so he rushed to his car and sped into town. On the way there, a pickup truck sped past him in the opposite direction. His suspicions were confirmed when he heard someone yell "Robbie!" out the window. Rob turned and chased after the truck for as long as he could, but unfortunately, after two miles, his transmission started to give out. He watched the truck turn right, unable to stop it. Investigators took on the case, but ultimately came up empty-handed. With no leads there and no other witnesses, all they had to work with was Rob's story.

Angela has never been found, and detectives have unearthed more questions than answers in their search. This includes the prospect of a serial killer on the loose — connecting her to other missing persons cases in the area — and that Angela might've been mistakenly abducted in place of the daughter of an informant in a narcotics case, also named Angela.

You can read more about her case here, or watch her Unsolved Mysteries episode on Amazon Prime.

Suggested by: Anonymous

7.Planet X. According to NASA, researchers at Caltech hypothesize that an additional planet — Planet X, or Planet Nine — exists in our solar system. Given what they know, researchers believe it could possibly have a mass 10 times greater than that of Earth. Based on mathematical modeling and computer simulations, they believe the planet also revolves around our sun, but could take between 10 and 20 thousand years to complete one full orbit. This would mean it's located far beyond Pluto and the rest of our known solar system, and thus, there has been no visual confirmation that the planet does, in fact, exist. It's hypothetical existence, though, could explain other unsolved mysteries in space, such as the unusual orbit of some objects in the Kuiper Belt.

You can read more about it here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

Hypothetical Planet X
Lev Savitskiy / Getty Images

8.The disappearance of Branson Perry. In April of 2001, 20-year-old Branson was at his home in Skidmore, Missouri with a family friend. Branson's dad had been in the hospital, so the two were getting the house ready for his return. Branson went to the shed near his family's home to put a pair of jumper cables back and simply never returned. He left all his belongings — including his car — behind.

One officer on the case suspects Branson's disappearance may have been a drug-related kidnapping. In 2012, his stepfather purchased him a burial plot. While his name is on the headstone, the plot remains empty.

You can read more about his case here.

Suggested by: u/1401238754

A person holding jumper cables
Machine Headz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9.The St. Louis Jane Doe. In 1983, two men were having car trouble and decided to check inside a nearby abandoned apartment complex for a quick fix. Making their way into the basement, they found the headless body of the St. Louis Jane Doe. It wasn't until officers examined the body more closely that they realized it was actually the body of a young girl.

Both the identity of the killer and the girl remain unknown. Her head has never been found and — despite publicizing her case in newspapers, magazines, and on the Oprah Winfrey Show — nobody ever came forward to identify her. Detectives reached out to schools in the district in search of any 8 to 11-year-old young Black girls who stopped showing up to school or had gone missing, but they'd all been accounted for. This, in turn, has lead them to believe that the girl was likely not from St. Louis or the surrounding area.

You can read more about her case here.

Suggested by: stlcardsdiva

10.The disappearance of Jennifer Lynn Fay. In 1989, 16-year-old Jennifer was asked by her mom, Dottie, to watch her younger siblings. Jennifer argued, wanting instead to go out with friends. Eventually, Jennifer agreed, but as soon as her mom left, she called her cousin to watch the kids and snuck out. Dottie called later that night to check in on them and rushed home when she heard the cousin's voice instead of Jennifer's. Unfortunately, Jennifer never returned home.

Police assumed Jennifer was a runaway, thus taking a whole three years to look into her disappearance. There was no initial search or investigation. The last person so see Jennifer was a drunk teenager who claimed she was talking to someone in a brown pickup truck. Police determined there were two trucks that matched its description in the area, and one had conveniently disappeared around the same time Jennifer did. When pressed about what happened, Jennifer's friends who were with her that night have remained tight-lipped.

Dottie worked with a group of private investigators to follow a lead in Corpus Christi, Texas of a woman who showed up with no verifiable information prior to the time Jennifer went missing. They looked eerily similar, too. But when Dottie went in person to talk to her, she knew it was not, in fact, her daughter. The case has since gone cold.

You can read more about her story here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

An old pickup truck
Marcia Straub / Getty Images

11.The Hinterkaifeck murders. In 1922, six people were killed on Hinterkaifeck farm in Bavaria, Germany. The victims included mother and father Cazilia and Andreas, their daughter Viktoria, her two children, Cazilia and Josef, as well as the family's maid. Strangely, it was the maid's first day working on the property. The family's previous maid had quit six months earlier, claiming that the house was haunted. She reported hearing footsteps and voices that didn't belong to any of the home's residents. The family didn't believe her at first, but then, they started noticing strange, odd details around the house themselves.

First, it was little things, like hearing footsteps or keys going missing. But then, things started feeling a little less paranormal and a little more human. A newspaper was found in the house that didn't belong to any of them. They found the door to the toolshed scratched up, like someone had tried picking the lock. Footprints were seen in the snow leading up to the house, but not away. It seemed as though someone was in the house with them.

Soon after, the murders happened, and things got even more strange. For a week, the killer continued to live in their home. They fed the cattle, cooked and ate meals in the kitchen, and lit the fireplace. The killer did not appear to rob the house or steal any of the family's money, either. To this day, the killer remains unknown.

Suggested by: Anonymous

You can watch the BuzzFeed Unsolved episode about it here:

12.The great glitter mystery. In December of 2018, the New York Times published an article all about glitter that revealed that the glitter industry is wildly secretive. In it, Caity Weaver reached out to Glitterex — one of the largest glitter-producing companies — to tour their factory. Caity wasn't allowed to see or even hear how the glitter was made, let alone be in the same wing of the building it was made in. Eventually, Caity was invited to Glitterex headquarters for more information, but even then, what she learned left more questions than answers.

During the interview, Caity asked Lauren Dyer — the Glitterex manager who was her tour guide — about what industry purchased the most glitter from the company. While some might expect a straightforward answer like nail polish or paint, Lauren remained tight-lipped about it, simply responding to the question with, “No, I absolutely know that I can’t [tell you].” When asked if she knew what it was, she replied, "Oh, God, yes. And you would never guess it...they don’t want anyone to know that it’s glitter." Caity pressed further, gathering details such as that one probably wouldn't know it was glitter just by looking at it, but that they'd be able to see something.

Since its publication, the mystery seems to have taken the internet by storm, trying to figure out who and what needs all this glitter. From TikTok to Twitter to Reddit, some of the top guesses include making spacecrafts, automotive paint, or even food products.

You can read Caity's article here.

Suggested by: runner1399

Karina Eremina / Getty Images

13.Brooke Greenberg, aka the girl who didn't age. While Brooke unfortunately only lived to be 20 years old, her body never physically developed past the age of 5. Her parents knew something was wrong, but their fears were confirmed when her younger sister began developmentally surpassing her. Doctors labeled her condition "Syndrome X," as they know so little about it. Researchers studied Brooke's DNA, but there were no abnormalities in any of the genes associated with aging. There was no history of it in her family, and her siblings had no traces of the syndrome. There have been some other cases of "Syndrome X" around the world, but there are still far more questions than answers surrounding it.

You can read more about Brooke here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

14.The Franklin Expedition. In May of 1845, the Franklin Expedition — led by Sir John Franklin — left from Kent, England. The 128-man expedition was made up of two ships, The Erebus and the Terror, with the goal of navigating the Northwest Passage through the Canadian arctic to get to the Pacific Ocean. The passage was difficult and had claimed the lives and ships of travelers before them, but these two particular ships were much better equipped. For a while, the journey went as planned. In July of the same year, some European whalers saw the ship in Baffin Bay. None of them knew that it was the last time any of its passengers would ever be seen again.

After two years, people grew worried, and search parties were sent out. They found an abandoned camp on Beechey Island and the graves of three men alongside it, all of which were members of the expedition. In 1859 — after Parliament had ceased their search efforts — Franklin's wife dispatched a private search. On King William Island, the crew found a cairn with two messages inside — one good and one bad. The good one was dated May of 1847 and shared that the expedition was going well, and that they'd "wintered" on Beechey Island, as the search parties had discovered. The second, dated just two weeks after the first message, explained that 24 members of the expedition had died, including Franklin. It informed them that the rest of the crew would be heading south. Additionally, one more body was found.

It wasn't until 2014 that more information was uncovered about the expedition. Finally, one of the ships — the Erebus — was found. It was in the Queen Maud Gulf, sunken in about 36 feet of water. Two years later, The Terror was found just south of King William Island. Even more confusing — the ships were in the wrong place. They were 60+ miles from where the letters said they'd be.

There's still tons of mystery surrounding what exactly caused such a swift shift between the first and second letters, or why none of the 128 voyagers were ever heard from again. Inuit oral tradition suggests that the ships were caught in ice, and the men died slowly. Research from today suggests that many died from illness such as scurvy, and others resorted to cannibalism to survive.

You can read more about the expedition here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

Old drawing of a ship
Universal History Archive / Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Old news article
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

15.And finally, the Carlton Hotel. According to the Guinness Book of Records, this was the biggest jewelry robbery in the world. In August of 1994, three thieves entered the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France right before it was about to close. People ducked as machine guns went off, and the thieves looted the hotel's jewelry shop. They made off with about $43 million worth of jewelry. After the thieves had fled the scene, employees and witnesses alike were shocked to discover there were, in fact, no bullet holes. They'd been firing blanks.

The mystery doesn't quite stop there, though. Despite this story being covered by large, reputable outlets like CNN and BBC a couple years after the fact, there are no actual articles about it or photos of the scene prior to its Guinness title. Neither Guinness nor the Carlton's owners can find a record that it happened. Whether or not the robbery ever actually happened remains a mystery.

You can read more about it here.

Suggested by: Anonymous

The Carlton Hotel
Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

If you enjoyed reading these, you can read even more of them here and here.

Are there any unsolved mysteries like these you can't get out of your head? Whether it's a true crime case, something paranormal, a scientific anomaly, or an urban legend, I wanna hear about it! In the comments below or via this 100% anonymous form, please share the unsolved mystery as well as a brief explanation of it. It just might end up in the next installment of this series!

Note: Submissions are edited for length, clarity, and to include the most up to date information on these cases.

If you've experienced an unsolved mystery like these yourself, you can also submit those in the comments section of this post or via this anonymous form.

If you or anyone you know has information on a missing person case, call local law enforcement first. You can also contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (THE-LOST) or visit the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System site for regional case assistance.