There are many fascinating stories about fascinating people, from amazing exploits to weird circumstances. This list presents ten such stories, weird and amazing stories of real people in unreal situations, and people whose stories have become legendary over the years.
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10. D. B. Cooper
The particulars of D.B. Cooper’s clever airborne crime and daredevil getaway have been pondered, picked over and recapitulated for three decades. In 1971, D.B. Cooper hijacked and threatened to blow up an airliner, extorted $200,000 from its owner, Northwest Orient, then leaped from the airborne 727 with 21 pounds of $20 bills strapped to his torso. He was never seen again—dead or alive. The crime was perfect if he lived, perfectly crazy if he didn’t. The case remains unsolved more than 30 years later, and D. B. Cooper has become the Bigfoot of crime, evading one of the most extensive and expensive American manhunts of the 20th century. The whereabouts of the man (or his remains) is one of the great crime mysteries of our time.
In either case, D.B. Cooper’s nom de crime—no one knows his real name—may be the most recognized alias among western felons since Jack the Ripper.
9. Daniel Dunglas Home
Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-1886), pronounced hume, was once described by Beloff as ”the most celebrated medium of all time. Legend has it thatt Mr. Home was an extraordinary man – a wizard, child of the devil, or fraud – depending on your point of view. In his presence, tables rose in the air, lights glimmered, ghostly hands stretched out to touch you and then vanished into thin air. Before witnesses, he levitated off the floor in a second-storey London room, floated out of the window, and returned through the window of another room.
Nothing less than a phenomena, Home conducted over 1500 séances and physic demonstrations. He was investigated by world famous scientists, his ‘acts’ always conducted in broad daylight, and in settings other than his own home. No proof yet exists that Daniel Home was anything less than the ‘real thing’.
Nostradamus, was born in 1503 and though he has often been referred to as a prophet, he emphatically said that he was not a prophet, but might have been more accurately known as a predictive researcher. His birth name was Michel de Nostredame and he was born in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France. His formal education began at age 15 at the University of Avignon. Some time in 1540?s, Nostradamus started his predictive research in hopes of writing an Almanac, which he actually did, and thereafter, published one Almanac per year.
In his work, he drew from the knowledge of the works of Mirabilis Liber who wrote about the prophecies of varied saints and seers. He also used horoscopy, which believes in the significance of the movement of the stars, comets passing through the sky and other heavenly occurences. He used divining equipment, depended on charts for astrology and prepared charts for people of note and the wealthy.
Nostradamus’ predictions over the centuries have proved to coincide with actual occurrences and the people who have affected our human history, including such notorious ones such as Napoleon, Hitler, and others, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and world wars. There has certainly been more than a grain of truth in his prophecies, with one significant one, which is yet to come…and is very close – the year 2012.
7. The Babushka Lady
The Babushka Lady is a nickname for an unknown woman who might have filmed the presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza during the John F. Kennedy assassination. She was called the Babushka Lady because she wore a headscarf similar to scarves worn by elderly Russian women or grandmothers. She appeared to be filming with an amateur movie camera.
She was in turn filmed by others, proving her presence on the square, but it is not positively known who she was. The Babushka Lady was standing on the grass between Elm and Main streets and she can be seen in the Zapruder film as well as in the films of Orville Nix , Marie Muchmore and Mark Bell. At 44 and 49 seconds into the Bell film, she can be seen standing and seems to continue filming. After the shootings, she crossed Elm Street and joined the crowd that went up the grassy knoll in search of a gunman. She was last seen walking east on Elm Street.
The Babushka Lady never came forward. The police and the FBI did not find her, and the film shot from her position never turned up, despite a request by the FBI to local photo processors that they would be interested in any pictures or films of the assassination.
6. Jack the Ripper
This is one of the best known unsolved mysteries of modern times. A serial killer murdered and mutilated at least five prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888 and because no one was ever arrested or tried for the murders, crime buffs are still fascinated with the Jack the Ripper case more than 115 years later. “Jack The Ripper” is the name given to unknown killer due to correspondence at the time from someone claiming to be the killer signed with that name. But while the murders were taking place, the assailant was know as the Whitechapel Murder or “Leather Apron.”
Because Jack the Ripper represents the classic whodunit. Not only is the case an enduring unsolved mystery that professional and amateur sleuths have tried to solve for over a hundred years, but the story has a terrifying, almost supernatural quality to it. He comes from out of the fog, kills violently and quickly, and disappears without a trace. Then, for no apparent reason, he satisfies his blood lust with ever-increasing ferocity, culminating in the near destruction of his final victim, and then vanishes from the scene forever. The perfect ingredients for the perennial thriller.
5. Mystery of the Somerton Man
Perhaps one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the past 100 years is the Somerton man, discovered leaning against a sea wall – dead – in the middle of Somerton Beach in Australia in 1948. The man was around 40 years of age and in top physical condition. Police who found the dead man with no identification; the only things on his body were a bus ticket to St. Leonards in Glenelg from the city he was discovered in, an aluminum comb, half a packet of chewing gum, a pack of cigarettes with the Army Club logo on it, but containing a different brand of cigarettes, sixpence, and a box of matches, partially used.
A subsequent search of his pockets by doctors revealed a note that said “Tamam Shud,” which means “The End” is known to be the last line on a page of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The words were discovered to have been torn from a page of a very rare copy with no text on the reverse side. The matching book to it was found when a man whose name and profession were suppressed by the courts came forward and revealed that the incredibly rare book had been found in the back seat of his car on the 30th of November in 1948. What they found in the book was possibly the most incredible aspect of the case. On one page of The Rubaiyat, was a code. Many interpretations of this code exclude the full text, but when examining a photograph scanned from the original document it’s clear the second line “MLIAOI” is possibly crossed out and possibly underlined.
Cryptographers, and members of several agencies from many different branches of the government in Australia, Great Britain, and The United States attempted to decode the message, and no one has yet been able to fully decode the message. Still today the code remains as much of a mystery as the man who was found dead and connected to it.
4. Count of St. Germain
Witch, alchemist, ascended master, consummate adventurer, notorious con-man… There are almost as many different theories regarding the Count de St. Germain as there are commentators on his extraordinary life. Despite being one of the most influential members of 18th Century society in Europe, he remains shrouded in utter mystery. One thing seems consistent in the historical accounts – during the period of over 100 years of his recorded activity in the highest social circles of Europe, he is known to have been active and maintained the appearance of a fit, handsome man of forty five.
Despite being one of the most influential characters in modern history, the Count de St. Germain is also one of the most enigmatic. Despite a horde of such accolades from nobility right across Europe, nothing whatsoever is known of St. Germain’s early life – not even when or where it started.
The legend is fascinating, but just too long to tell in this post – read the fully fascinating story here.
3. The Black Dahlia
On January 15, 1947 Elizabeth Short was found murdered, her body left in a vacant lot on South Norton Avenue between 39th Street and Coliseum. The murder was one of the most gruesome acts of violence ever seen in its day. A pretty young woman was found cut in half and posed in a sexually explicit pose in a vacant lot in would be sensationalized in the media as the “Black Dahlia” murder. In the media frenzy that followed, rumors and speculation were published as fact and inaccuracies and exaggerations continue to plague accounts of the crime until this day, yet it remains unsolved. The murder of Elizabeth Short has haunted the Los Angeles Police Department for over 60 years.
Close to 200 suspects were interviewed, sometimes polygraphed, but all eventually released. Exhausted efforts were made to run down any leads or any of the several false confessions to the killing of Elizabeth by both men and women. Despite efforts made by investigators, the case has remained one of the most famous unsolved cases in California’s history.
2. Donnie Decker
This story of this real life Rain Man occurred in 1983. The story goes that Don was with personal friends Bob & Jeanie Keefer in their home when strange things began to happen. Don went into a sort of trance-like condition and water started dripping off the ceiling and the walls. A mist filled the room. Not knowing what else to do they phoned the landlord who came and saw it also but he was just as dumbfounded. Leaky pipes could not be blamed for this.
Police officers John Baujan and Richard Wolpert were called in to investigate. They were likewise flabbergasted at the dripping and mist. They called in their police chief who got very angry with them and ordered them to not discuss the matter with anyone. He denied it happened and left the scene. Then Donnie went with some friends to a local restaurant to talk things over. No sooner did they sit down to talk about things than it started raining just over their heads just inside the restaurant. The owner of the establishment told them that Don needed an exorcism and that he was possessed.
Upon being jailed, he caused it to rain in his jail cell and his fellow prisoners were very upset with having to be in the same cell with him. He told the jailers that he could now control when and where it rained and he even caused the presiding officer on duty to get wet while sitting at his desk. Blackburn soon realized that Don was not faking it and the cell developed the same dripping, misty effect that had been seen in the Keefer home and at the restaurant. To this day it all remains unexplained – a total mystery.
1. Ice Woman of Minnesota
Jean Hilliard was a normal 19 year old woman who was discovered completely frozen from head to tow. Her neighbor discovered her first and immediately rushed her to the hospital. Jean had endured temperatures of twenty-five degrees below zero for an unknown amount of time.
She had been trying to make contact with the neighbor who found her when she had been trapped by the ice and frozen solid after her car wrecked after skidding on the ice. The weather was unlike anything the region had seen in years. One nurse who touched the ice woman said her skin was like ice itself.
The human body is composed primarily of water. And when water freezes, it expands. On a microscopic level, this means the cells in Jeans body were in danger of actually bursting if the water within them broke the cell walls.
Jean woke up and seemed completely unaffected by the incredible transformation from largely liquid to a pure solid block of ice. She was released a little over a month later with virtually no sign that there had ever been any danger at all. To this date it is a case of a largely unexplainable medical miracle.