8 Strangest Solved Mysteries The phrase "unsolved mystery" brings up connotations of dedicated research, dangerous archeology, and that TV show from the '80s. But sometimes, these "unsolved mysteries" actually get solved—in fact, some of them were explained a long time ago. While the explanations for these crazy mysteries are often much less salacious than the mysteries themselves, they're no less interesting. Whether they're phenomenon thought to be ancient or extraterrestrial, or crazy detective stories that ended tragically, a solved mystery is worth reading about, especially since they offer that "creep factor" generally sought-after in these types of narratives. They can involve centuries-old building techniques, natural occurrences, or the disappearances of people. And they bedeviled professional and amateur investigators for years or decades, only to be cracked. Here are some of the strangest solved mysteries, and what really happened in these cases.
1. The Death of Bill Sparkman The part-time census worker found naked, bound and hanging from a tree had staged his suicide to make it appear like murder, authorities said today. When the body of Bill Sparkman, 51, was found near a rural Kentucky cemetery in September, he was gagged, had duct tape over his eyes and neck, his hands and feet were bound with tape, and he had "fed" scrawled on his chest. Authorities initially investigated whether Sparkman had been a victim of anti-government sentiment, but today they said in a statement that he died during an "intentional, self-inflicted act that was staged to appear as a homicide." Two life insurance plans had also been taken out by Sparkman, a single father, right before the time of his death, but payment for suicide was precluded, said police. If Sparkman had been killed on the job, his family also would have been be eligible for up to $10,000 in death gratuity payments from the government, according to the Associated Press.
He was not eligible for a separate life insurance policy through the government because his census work was intermittent, Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner said in September. According to the Kentucky State Police, DNA evidence shows that Sparkman was the only person who "handled the key pieces of evidence" and there was no evidence of involvement by other individuals. Kentucky State Police Capt. Lisa Rudzinski said an analysis found that "fed" was written "from the bottom up." He was touching the ground, and to survive "all Mr. Sparkman had to do at any time was stand up," she said. Sparkman had also "discussed ending his own life," according to the police statement, and had often talked about the "perceived negative attitudes toward federal entities" by members of the community. Sparkman's mother, Henrie Sparkman of Inverness, Fla., bristled at the conclusion.
"I disagree!" she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. Police said the official cause of death was asphyxiation and strangulation. Slain Census Worker Was Cancer Survivor. Jerry Weaver of Fairfield, Ohio, was in the area for a family reunion when he discovered Sparkman's body on Sept. 12 in Daniel Boone National Forest. Sparkman's truck was found nearby with his computer still inside. "His tailgate was down," Weaver told the AP at the time. "I thought he could have been killed somewhere else and brought there and hanged up for display, or they actually could have killed him right there. It was a bad, bad scene." Sparkman, his mother said, had moved to Kentucky to take a leadership position with the Boy Scouts of America. He, himself, was an Eagle Scout. A single father and non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, Sparkman was working two jobs — as a census worker and a substitute teacher — while he waited for a permanent teaching position to open up.
Carol Williams was Sparkman's course mentor in the teacher education program at Western Governors University, where he took online classes and graduated in 2008. "He was going to be a middle school mathematics teacher," she said. "From what I recall, he was an instruction aide, what we call a paraprofessional. He did a lot of things that teachers do." Williams said he was so devoted to education and such a hard worker that she nominated him to speak at commencement, which he attended in Salt Lake City after driving cross-country. In a 2008 profile in The Times Tribune, which covers southeastern Kentucky, Sparkman talked about juggling school, work, chemotherapy treatments and being a single father to a teenage son. "I know a lot of people were out there praying for me, and I have no doubt that it was a mixture of God's will, the doctors, and my friends and family that got me through this," he told the newspaper. The Census Bureau said Sparkman's death was the first suspicious death of a census worker since 1998, although a 71-year-old employee was killed by a dog in Nashville, Ind., in 2000.
While media and pop culture speculation centered on lurid anti-Obama and anti-government conspiracies, the Kentucky State Police came out with a much more believable explanation. Sparkman was a cancer survivor, but likely believed his cancer had returned. He committed suicide and staged it to look like a homicide, in order to collect a $600,000 life insurance policy, which would go to his family. 2. The Blood Rain of Kerala Michael Crichton in his 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain deals with a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that rapidly and fatally clots human blood. A military satellite designed to capture upper-atmosphere microorganisms upon reentering the Earth wreaks havoc in Piedmont, Arizona, where the satellite lands. This may not seem like the stuff sci-fi anymore, now with some leading scientists claiming that the microorganism found in 'red rain' in Sri Lanka is of extraterrestrial origin. Red rain which caused fear and panic in four different areas in the country namely, Monaragala, Polonnaruwa, Sewanagala and Manampitiya leaving red frost in the latter two districts, continue to baffle local scientists still studying samples of the freak showers.
Similar showers of 'blood rain' were experienced in Kerala, South India during two consecutive months from July to September this year, spawning several scientific and non-scientific theories with regarding to its origin. So from where exactly does this mysterious rain originate? Is it from the earth whose natural elements we are familiar with having growing in these environments since the day we were born? Or from some extraterrestrial origins we are completely alien to? Was Sri Lanka's best known expatriate resident, Sir Arthur C Clarke was correct when he said that alien life existed wishing that he would live to see proof of this before his death? Are we at the brink of a close encounter with aliens, which has coincided with many other strange happenings occurring both here and in other parts of the world? For example the mysterious allergies in school children, the cause of which scientists are still trying to work out. Does the red rain have a cosmic ancestry – a hypothesis first trotted out by Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar (of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam) in a paper that won world recognition, which pointed to higher life forms including intelligent life? In a bid to allegedly prevent 'bio-scientific problems in the future' to quote a leading state paper, the Health Ministry is to dispatch six doctors to the affected areas.
The same paper states that further studies by the Industrial Technology Institute and Nano Technology Institute also found the algae was harmless and had no impact on human health. Meanwhile scientists studying samples of the red water at the Medical Research Institute and other institutes such as the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI) and universities told The Nation that they have yet to come to a definite conclusion, although not ruling out algae as a possible cause.While Health Ministry officials claim that the microorganisms contained in the 'red rain' is Trachelomonas, Medical Research Institute (MRI) Microbiologist Dr Sujatha Pathirage said that the microorganisms are usually found in contaminated water. "This is a very rare and unusual occurrence as we have never experienced red rain in this country before. But whatever microorganisms we have been looking at, appear to be living natural organisms usually found in contaminated water, which we can't co-relate to the red rain," said Dr Pathirage.
No definite conclusion has been reached by scientists studying the red rain samples in neighboring Kerala, either. "Kerala scientists have two theories which we share: That the red rain has been caused by algae from the ocean or from an asteroid from outer space," she told this writer in a telephone interview. "Like us they too have yet to come to a definite conclusion as to its source." She nevertheless admitted that in all probability it could be algae. "However I will be able to make a comment based on facts by next week when we expect the findings from samples we sent to the other institutes." She did add however that, "with the drastic climatic changes we are now experiencing, we can expect anything." Unlike in Sri Lanka, Kerala, red rain is by no means a rare phenomenon. Colored rain in fact has been reported in Kerala as early as 1896 and several times since then.
The longest 'blood rain' showers were experienced in 2001 when rain of multi-colored hues of yellow, green, black and red were reported for three consecutive months from July 25 to September 23, staining clothes and water as well as vegetation, according to news reports. The most recent of these red showers was in July this year, lasting for one week. It was initially thought that the rains were colored by fallout from a hypothetical meteor, but a study commissioned by the Government of India is said to have concluded that the rains had been colored by airborne spores from locally prolific terrestrial algae. Several groups of researchers analyzed the chemical elements in the solid particles and different techniques of study gave similar results. The particles were composed mostly of carbon and oxygen with lesser amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, silicon, chlorine and metals.
In an interview with The Nation last July, Buckingham University UK, Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology Director and Cardiff University Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe claimed that life could have hitched a ride on a comet to earth and evolved into the thousands of species that now inhabit the earth. Writing to The Nation regarding the 'red rain', Prof Wickramasinghe says, "We have not examined any samples of the red rain of Sri Lanka, but I have seen some electron micrographs of this material that were sent to me by scientists at the MRI." "At first sight it looks uncannily similar to the Kerala red rain which my colleagues and I have been investigating for over five years. The red cells causing the redness of the Kerala rain are undoubtedly biological cells resembling algae. But so far their attempts to identify this known terrestrial algae have proved difficult.
We conclude that they have all the characteristics of an alien microorganism."He added that the only reason that scientists have tended to dismiss this possibility is because it is held that life is a purely the Earth-based affair with life originating on our planet four billion years ago. "According to him extraterrestrial life is considered by many to be an 'extraordinary hypothesis' that needs extraordinary evidence to support it. "Not only is the evidence for panspermia (hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids) and extraterrestrial microbes overwhelming, the confinement of life to our tiny planet is the most extraordinary hypothesis of all.""Even in the past three months we have found evidence from astronomy, biology and geology that make the old theories of life confined to Earth indefensible. I think life is a truly cosmic phenomenon, and terrestrial life is a manifestation of such cosmic life. It is in this context that I think phenomena like the red rain could be connected with extraterrestrial microbes arriving at the Earth at the present time.
In the case of the Kerala red rain a sonic boom was heard prior to the rain. I think a fragment of a comet entering Earth exploded in the high stratosphere and released the red cells that formed the nuclei of raindrops."Prof Wickramasinghe's team in the UK have considerable work on the Kerala red rain that was published last year in a paper, 'Growth and replication of red rain cells at 121oC and their red fluorescence' co-authored (by Wickramasinghe, Rajkumar Gangappa, Milton Wainwright, Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar) and the results were presented at the SPIE meeting in San Diego, California. 3. The Death of Anastasia The horror of the October Revolution hit home in 1918, when Russia's Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family were executed by Bolshevik secret police.
Among them was 17-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna — better known simply as Anastasia? Because the bodies of the Tsar and his family were never found, rumors abounded that Anastasia had somehow escaped—rumors fanned by nearly a dozen women who claimed to be missing duchess. The most prominent was Anna Anderson, a German woman who claimed to be Anastasia in 1921, while living in an asylum. She claimed to have no memory of her escape. While Anderson managed to fool some people, survivors of the Romanov dynasty rejected her. Still, the story was made all the more intriguing by the fact that Anastasia's body was never found. Anastasia was born on June 18, 1901, in Petrodvorets, Russia. On the night of July 16-17, 1918, she and her family were executed in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Speculation arose as to whether she and her brother, Alexei Nikolaevich, might have survived.
In 1991, a forensic study identified the bodies of her family members and servants, but not hers or Alexei's. A 2007 DNA test of a second grave identified her and her brother's bodies. Anastasia was born Anastasia Nikolaevna (or Anastasiya Nikolayevna) in Petrodvorets, Russia—a town near St. Petersburg formerly called Peterhof—on June 18, 1901. Anastasia's mother was Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt, also known as Alexandra Feodorovna, who became known as Empress Alexandra after her marriage. Her father, Nicholas II, was Russia's final tsar, and part of the Romanov dynasty that had ruled the country for three centuries. Anastasia's parents married in late 1894, shortly after her grandfather, Tsar Alexander III, died of kidney disease and her father inherited the throne. Anastasia had four siblings: three older sisters named Olga, Tatiana and Maria, and a younger brother named Alexei, who was heir to the throne. In her younger years, Anastasia received her education from her mother, who taught the girl spelling and prayers.
As she grew older, Anastasia was assigned a Swiss tutor. Anastasia and Maria were looked after by a governess, while their older sisters were cared for by their mother's lady-in-waiting. The tight-knit Romanov family lived peacefully at Tsarskoe Palace until Nicholas II generated increasing public hostility during World War I. In March of 1917 as soldiers launched a mutiny and began seizing royal property, Nicholas II agreed to abdicate the throne in hopes of preventing a Russian civil war. Anastasia and her family were then exiled to the Ural Mountains and placed under house arrest. Unfortunately, a civil war could not be prevented. On the night of July 16-17, 1918, as Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin fought to replace imperial rule with a new Communist regime, the Romanov family was awoken and told to get dressed.
On orders of the Supreme Soviet council of Russia, Yakov Yurovsky, commandant of the Special House of Purpose, led Anastasia and her family down to a basement under the pretext that they were being protected from the impending chaos of advancing counterrevolutionaries. The family was met by a group of executioners, who opened fire on Anastasia, her parents and siblings, a few of the family's remaining servants and Anastasia's pet dog. The Romanov legacy seemed to have been silenced forever in that cold basement in Yekaterinburg, Russia. In the years following the Romanovs' murders, speculation arose as to whether Anastasia and her brother might have survived the execution. Rumors circulated that they were shielded from the bullets by family jewels that had been sewn into their clothing for safekeeping. Anastasia's fate was particularly prone to these conjectures, as a number of women claiming to be the grand duchess periodically surfaced. Among the best known of these women was Anna Anderson (aka Franziska Schanzkowska), who, beginning in the early 1920s fought to prove herself the rightful claimant of Anastasia’s inheritance.
Anderson's suit was rejected in 1970, and the mystery of the Grand Duchess Anastasia remained unsolved. Anastasia's dubious whereabouts inspired books, plays and movies, including an Academy Award–winning film starring legendary actress Ingrid Bergman. In the 1970s an amateur archaeologist found a shallow grave containing the well-aged skeletons of six adults and three children. He suppressed these findings from the public until the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s. A forensic investigation in 1991 identified the nine bodies as belonging to Anastasia’s family members and servants, but Anastasia and her brother's bodies still appeared to be missing. In 2007 a new DNA analysis of another grave, discovered near the first, conclusively identified Anastasia and Alexei's bodies, closing the door on nearly 90 years of mystery and speculation. 4. Why the Mayans Vanished The collapse of the Maya civilization is considered one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the ancient world.
One can only speculate their downfall from the numerous explanations presented by researchers. The differences of their accounts imply the Maya and their way of life is virtually a complete mystery to our modern way of thinking. How did this advanced society disappear without leaving any solid evidence of their downfall? Is this a sign of a sudden collapse from a cataclysm or, like some believe, abandonment as the result of political upheaval? With the absence of any concrete evidence there are many possibilities of their decline and the same can be said about their belief system as well. The main clues are from paintings on walls, pottery, and very few writings in the form of deciphered hieroglyphs. It’s very difficult for researchers to piece together this ancient culture without information being left out or interpreted incorrectly. Only recent discoveries have been used as evidence to explain how they lived and what happened to their lost civilization.
During its reign there is no doubt this amazing civilization was far beyond it’s time in comparison to other cultures but there are still many unsolved mysteries surrounding this extraordinary people and their beliefs. Clues and evidence support the idea the Maya possessed superior knowledge in mathematics and astronomy. The keen observation of the night’s sky and its relation to their calendar and monuments must have had significant meaning in their way of life. For the time and effort it would have taken to advance to the level of knowledge they processed, it seems this information must have had important meaning to them. Some of this wisdom would take decades of observation and the use of very sophisticated mathematics to calculate the astronomical cycles which take thousands of years to complete, such as precession. How did the buildup of this knowledge completely disappear without someone passing it along unless something happened to the entire culture, taking their accomplishments with it? The Maya left behind the evidence to prove their knowledge of mathematics and astronomy was superior but why did they practice sacrificial rituals and bloodletting? Was this their way of population control or to please the Gods of the underworld as most believe? These rituals were a complete mystery until the Bonampak murals were discovered during an excavation in 1949.
Before this time it was believed they were a peaceful non-violent culture. The most popular belief, that they performed ceremonies to please the gods, follows the same patterns as other cultures such as the Aztecs. It is believed from the depictions on ancient walls that members of the royal families practiced bloodletting and self-sacrifice for the sake of contacting the gods or their ancestors. It seems an advanced society would have plausible reasons to practice this sort of custom. Researchers believe the walls also depict prisoners of war as victims to human sacrifice. They determined these different ceremonies were held on certain days of the Maya calendar year or during celestial events, why would these dates be important for the type of rituals they performed? For what is believed as entertainment, the Maya played a ballgame called poc-ta-poc. The game involved a rubber ball they would strike with their hips trying to bounce it through a stone circle usually mounted high on a wall.
With the existence of over 550 of these ball courts discovered so far, this evidence should determine the importance of the games to their everyday lives. It is believed by many that the games were the most sacred practice of the Maya and the winners were sacrificed with honor. Others find this speculation hard to believe with the idea of all the best players being killed off leaving no competition for future games. For this reason, they believe the losers were sacrificed. If it was an honor to win the game only to be sacrificed they must have believed it was for a valid reason and this would encourage future team members to compete harder. What if the ballgames were not for entertainment purpose but were instead used to determine who will enter the afterlife? Was this part of their beliefs of entering the next life with royalty and honor? The depiction on walls of the players wearing their headdresses and royal jewelry should indicate they were of high rank on both sides.
Even if the losers were sacrificed, why would they risk their lives to please the gods or for the sake of entertainment? It seems they would want to hold their positions by sacrificing someone of less importance as the ancient Roman gladiators did. 5. The Kidnapping of Carlina White It was an abduction that made headlines and stunned the authorities: A 3-week-old infant, taken to a Manhattan hospital in August 1987 for treatment of a fever, was snatched by a woman dressed in nurse’s clothes and never heard from again. Two decades later, with investigators stumped and the case cold, the parents of the abducted girl refused to give up hope, believing that someday their daughter might return. Their prayers were answered. Carlina White, now 23 and living in Georgia, was reunited on Friday with her biological parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson, bringing an end to one of the most baffling missing persons cases in the New York Police Department’s files.
The reunion brought elation to a mother and father racked by pain and anger for over two decades, and a new family for a woman who had long held suspicions about her past. On Friday, Carlina White and her biological family met for the first time since her abduction, at the Bronx home of Sheena White, an 18-year-old half-sister who until recently Carlina did not know she had.“We spoke and got to know each other, and she looks exactly like my mom,” Sheena White said. “It felt like we knew each other before we met.” The improbable case began on Aug. 4, 1987, when Carlina, 19 days old, was taken to Harlem Hospital with a fever. About two hours after being admitted, Carlina disappeared from a pediatrics ward, and detectives quickly narrowed in on a mysterious woman who had consoled Carlina’s worried mother and had been seen lingering around the hospital in a nurse’s uniform. A suspect was later questioned but could not be connected to the abduction.
“We had a description, back then, of a woman who picked up the baby who acted as if she belonged there, or worked there,” Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, said Wednesday. “Obviously, it has been an open investigation; some leads did not work out, and obviously had not resulted in her being found.” Carlina was taken to Connecticut and then Georgia, the police said, raised under a different name by a woman who treated her poorly. Carlina’s suspicions started to grow around her 16th birthday, partly “because the family and her don’t resemble each other,” Sheena White said. Mr. Browne said, “She has held the view, for a long time, that she did not belong to the family she was living with.” As her suspicions grew, Carlina White started to investigate, at one point visiting the Web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It was on that site, Mr.
Browne said, where she found a photo of an infant and believed it was a photo of herself. She then called her biological mother, Joy White, who in turn called the police, not knowing if the young woman really was her daughter. The call was routed to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s liaison unit, where Detective Martin A. Brown answered. “She was reaching out to the N.Y.P.D. because she knew the N.Y.P.D. had taken a report on it and wanted to know if we could assist to match some of the DNA,” Detective Brown said Wednesday. Detective Brown said Ms. White’s story “sounded very unusual and very dramatic,” and so he decided not to simply refer her to the department’s missing persons’ investigators. Rather, he called them himself to relay the details. Those investigators eventually took DNA samples from Joy White and Carl Tyson, who separated years ago and went on to raise separate families, and checked their DNA against Carlina’s. “The daughter’s natural instincts were confirmed with DNA swabs,” Mr.
Browne said. The detectives from the original case, he added, “are elated.” “It has always bothered them that this kid was never found,” he said. Mr. Browne said the case was still an active criminal investigation and would not discuss or name any suspects. “Obviously the missing-person aspect of it is closed, but the abduction part of it is not,” he said. “We have our suspicions of who may be responsible, but not enough probable cause to permit an arrest.” Detectives got the official word of the DNA match on Tuesday night. But even before then, Carlina White and her biological family felt so strongly about their connection that they did not wait for the test results: They reunited on Friday night in the Bronx.
She could not be immediately reached for comment. On her Twitter account, she noted that she planned to move to New York City and was looking forward “to Sunday dinner.” Her mother, who always contended that her daughter was alive and even used Carlina White’s name as her e-mail address, was overwhelmed. “I know that she never gave up,” Sheena White said. 6. The Missing Teens of Oklahoma Pearl Guzman always hoped her son would come home after he and two classmates disappeared while driving to a high school football game in 1970, so the distraught mother insisted on staying in her small Oklahoma town for years even though the case quickly went cold. By the time two rusted vehicles were found in a mucky lake last week, including an old sports car with the remains of three people inside, it was too late for Guzman to learn that the years she stayed in Sayre – blanketing the town with posters, driving to neighboring areas on hunches – her son's grave had likely been a few miles away. She died, her children say, heartbroken in 2010.
"Mom didn't ever want to leave Sayre because she told us if Thomas came back, he'd be looking for us," said Lucia VanZandt, Thomas' sister. "Since we didn't have a body to lay to rest, it was just like he vanished." Thomas Michael Rios was 18 when he and two friends, Jimmy Williams and Leah Johnson, vanished along with Williams' 1969 Camaro after leaving for a football game on Nov. 20, 1970. When Thomas failed to return that night, his parents assumed he had gone hunting. But hours turned into days, which quickly gave way to panic. His parents called anyone who may have known their son – old girlfriends, high school buddies, friends 100 miles away in Oklahoma City, from where the family had moved the year before – and drove to talk to many of them. They were desperate for any scrap of information, according to VanZandt and two of her sisters, Linda Childress and Amanda Gusman. "Everything stopped for us when that happened," said Gusman, who was 16 when her brother vanished.
The seven surviving children soon watched their mother shrink from life. She became quiet and depressed, refusing to get out of bed for days. "She was beside herself. She couldn't cope," VanZandt said. She said her mother eventually pulled herself out of her near-catatonic state with the help of her strong Christian beliefs. Yet she was haunted by a seemingly off-the-cuff comment Thomas once made about being able to disappear, if he wanted, in a way that nobody would find him. "Teenagers say those kinds of things, but mom was holding out for that hope that maybe he had decided to leave town and was alive somewhere," said Childress, who said she was 12 or 13 when her older brother went missing. "They were grasping at straws." Her parents called police regularly, a duty that fell to their children in later decades. Their calls began yielding little, if any, new information about the case, or even confirmation that investigators were still looking.
Then four decades later, the case broke wide open. Law enforcement officials were testing sonar equipment last week in Foss Lake, not far from Sayre, when they stumbled across two cars submerged side-by-side, about 50 feet from the end of a boat ramp in water just 12 feet deep. A mud-caked 1969 Camaro was recovered on Tuesday, with skeletal remains inside, along with a 1950s Chevrolet possibly containing remains of a woman and two men who disappeared from the area in 1969. Custer County officials believe the three teens died after Williams' car plunged into the lake. Sheriff Bruce Peoples said both cars easily could have driven off a nearby country road and down the boat ramp. DNA tests are being done on the badly decomposed bones, but Peoples said he's confident the remains found in the Camaro are those of the three long-missing teenagers. Much of the family had moved away from Sayre by the 1980s, and with the case long cold, Guzman reluctantly moved to Bristow, about 200 miles away in northeastern Oklahoma, her daughters said.
"The grandkids started coming. I guess you kind of – I hate to say give up – but we hadn't heard anything for years," Childress said. Now, the sisters said, they hope to bury Thomas' ashes next to their mother's grave in Bristow. "She always wondered what happened to him, where he was," VanZandt said. "I'm sure she's happy now because she knows where he is. We're just glad we got some closure." VanZandt also noted that another brother, Ray Vasquez, died only nine hours before the family learned the Camaro had been found. "How God has his way of making things work out it's just really amazing," she said. Still, Thomas' case remains clouded in mystery.
The Sayre Police Department doesn't have any records from the 1970s. The sheriff's office in Beckham County, where Sayre is located, was able to provide only a four-page incident report listing each teen's name, age, height, weight, race and date of birth. The three are listed as missing persons. No summary, interview or investigative notes were included. Peoples, the Custer County sheriff, said the remains are with the Oklahoma medical examiner's office, which will investigate to see if any foul play was involved. The office said testing could take a few days or a few years, or possibly be inconclusive, depending on DNA samples that can be pulled from bones that may have been submerged for four decades. It wasn't until 2013 that the mystery was solved, or at least as much as it could be. Their Camaro was found in a nearby lake where local police were testing sonar equipment. Sure enough, three bodies were found inside the car, which was submerged in just 12 feet of water, 50 feet from a boat ramp.
The bodies were identified as the three teens, and while it isn't clear whether they drove the car in accidentally or were killed, at least their families can stop looking for them. 7. A Man Missing for Nine Years Spotted on Google Maps A car that was recovered Tuesday from a Michigan pond with a man's body inside has been visible on Google Maps for years. Davie Lee Niles disappeared on October 11, 2006 after he was seen leaving his regular watering hole, Jake's Bar, in Byron Township, Michigan, WOOD-TV reported. At the time, his family said he met a friend there and then left abruptly, because he was dealing with the discomfort caused by cancer. His family lost hope of finding him, and in 2011 they published an obituary for the 72-year-old man. 'Davie Lee Niles, age 72, of Wyoming, passed away and only God knows the time and place,' the obituary read online. While decorating a tree for Christmas outside of Cook Funeral Home in Byron Center, Brian Houseman was on a lift when he spotted a car submerged in a pond. 'All of a sudden, it's like, 'Whoa, there's a car out there,' Houseman told WOOD-TV.
'No one could ever see it. It was murky and things moved around.' The car with Niles' body inside is even visible on Google Maps. Not knowing that he just solved a nine-year-old mystery, Houseman called the Kent County Sheriff's Department to notify them about the submerged car. The Kent County Sheriff's Office Dive Team responded to the scene on Tuesday around 9am and confirmed that there was indeed a vehicle in the pond and wrecking crews pulled it from the water just before 11am. Niles' skeletal remains were discovered in the driver's seat of the mud-covered car in the pond, which is located about half a mile from where he was last seen, WOOD-TV reported. His relatives came to the scene Tuesday and said the discovery of his remains gives them the closure they've been waiting years for. 'For us today, it's a closure of a long search,' Niles' son-in-law, Scott Hathaway, told WOOD-TV. 'Why God waited nine years, I have no idea, but we're happy.
It's good to have him home.' Authorities say they are waiting on dental records to positively identify the remains, but they do believe it is Niles because the vehicle was his and they also found his wallet in the car. Foul play is not suspected and it's unclear what exactly happened to him. 8. The Iron Pillar of Delhi In the Qutb complex of Delhi stands one of the most curious metal objects in the world – the so called “Iron Pillar of Delhi”, which does not seem to rust, despite being over a thousand years old. The height of the pillar, from the top of its capital to the bottom of its base is 7.2 metres, of which 1.1 metre is underground. The base rests on a grid of iron bars soldered with lead into the upper layer of the dressed stone pavement. The pillar's lower diameter is 420 mm (17 in), and its upper diameter 306 mm (12.0 in).
It is estimated to weigh more than six tons.” While several inscriptions are found on the pillar, the oldest one is a six-line three stanza Sanskrit inscription in verse form. As the name Chandra is mentioned in the third verse, scholars have been able to date the making of the pillar to the reign of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375-415 A.D.), a Gupta king. Although it stands in Delhi today, how this pillar got there, and its original location is still a subject of scholarly discussion. One theory suggests that from its original location, the pillar was moved and erected in the main temple at the fortress city of Lal Kot at Dhilli (modern Delhi) when it was developed by the Tomar king, Anangapala II, in A.D. 1050.
This is based on an inscription found on the pillar itself. In A.D. 1191, Anangapala’s grandson, Prithiviraj Chauhan, was defeated by the slave army commander of Muhammad Ghori of Ghazni, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, and Lal Kot fell into the hands of the invading Muslim army. In order to commemorate his victory, Aibak erected a mosque, called the Quwwat-ul-Islam (Might of Islam), in Lal Kot. This mosque was built on the base of a temple, albeit not the one where the pillar was erected. Using archaeological evidence, and facts based on temple architecture, it has been proposed that the pillar was moved from the Tomar temple to its present location in front of the mosque in the Qutb Complex. As mentioned earlier, one of the most interesting qualities of this pillar is its resistance to corrosion. Several theories have been put forward to explain this phenomenon. These theories fall into two main categories – material factors (favoured by Indian investigators), and environmental factors (favoured by foreign investigators). One of these theories, the “Mixed Potential Theory” suggests that there is a co-relation between the processing, structure, and properties of the pillar’s iron.
Based on scientific analysis, it has been shown that these three factors work together to form a protective passive layer of rust on the Iron Pillar of Delhi. As a result, the pillar does not undergo further corrosion, and appears to have not rusted over a thousand year. Nevertheless, this ability to resist corrosion is not unique to the Iron Pillar of Delhi. Research has shown that other large ancient Indian objects have a similar property. These include the iron pillars at Dhar, Mandu, Mount Abu, Kodochadri Hill, and iron cannons. Hence, it may be said that the ancient Indian iron-workers were highly skilled at forging iron objects. In a report published in the journal Current Science, R. Balasubramaniam of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, stated that the pillar is "a living testimony to the skill of metallurgists of ancient India" One final thought regarding the Iron Pillar of Delhi: What man can make, man can also destroy. In 1997, a fence was erected around the pillar as a response to the damage caused by visitors.
According to a popular belief, it is considered good luck if one could stand with one’s back to the pillar and make one’s hands meet behind it. Consequently, the protective passive layer of rust on the surface of the iron would have been inadvertently removed by visitors over time, leading to significant wear and visible discoloration on the lower portion of the pillar. It would be a great shame indeed if such monuments that reflect mankind’s ingenuity fall victim not to the ravages of time, but to the actions of man himself..