8 Never-Explained Mysteries As Told Through Vintage Newsreels, Because You're Supposed To Spend October Totally Freaked Out — VIDEO
Well, friends, October is very much upon us. 'Tis the season for pumpkin-flavored everything, pretty leaves, and mercilessly scaring ourselves — so here's a great spooky starter pack from British Pathe, featuring eight mysteries that have never been explained. The best part? They're told through vintage newsreels, because nothing is freakier than ancient news footage. Just... maybe don't watch it right before bedtime, right?
In the time before Instagram and Twitter and smartphones, broadcast journalism relied on, like, y'know, film. "Newsreels," they were called, all those many, many years ago. While that method of information collection may be a bit outdated, it's still fascinating to see moving images from the turn of the century, and British Pathe has the largest collection of these in the world. So, yeah, go British Pathe. You're responsible for my significant dip in productivity recently.
As a way of highlighting some of their favorite clips, the folks over at British Pathe have begun a monthly "List of 8," which utilizes actual news clips and voiceovers. Furthermore, they pick a theme for the channel each month, and for October, that theme is "The Things That Scare Us." Put the two things together, and voila: A "List of 8" feauring eight mysteries that have never been solved. Spooky, no?
From the Bermuda Triangle to the myth of the Yeti, they cover all those pop culture touchstones that you always knew existed but couldn't really speak about at length. Well, you're welcome. Here are four of my favorites; scroll down to watch the full video. Get ready to feel a little uneasy, all you ghouls, because it's about to get real weird up in here.
1. The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping
"Baby Lindbergh," the 20-month-old child of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, was kidnapped from his second floor nursery in March of 1932 while both his parents and nanny were home. A ransom note was found at the scene, demanding $50,000.
The media immediately jumped on the trial, declaring it the "Trial of the Century." A second ransom note was received, demanding a revised sum of $70,000. A total of 13 notes were received over a two month period, leading investigators on a wild goose chase that ended aboard a ship docked at Martha's Vineyard. In May 1932, Baby Lindbergh's body was found in a shallow grave four miles away from the Lindbergh estate, badly decomposed with evidence of blunt force trauma.
In 1934, Richard Hauptmann, a German immigrant, was arrested and convicted for the murder, though the trial relied on purely circumstantial evidence. No fingerprints or footprints were ever recovered from the scene. Hauptmann was nonetheless executed.
2. The Bermuda Triangle
Also known as the Devil's Triangle, the Bermuda Triangle has, for decades, been regarded as an area in which a high number of planes and ships disappear under mysterious circumstances. In 1918, a Navy cargo ship called the Cyclops with over 300 sailors sunk without a single trace of wreckage. In 1941, two of the Cyclops' sister ships vanished along the same route. In 1945, five Navy bombers practicing bombing runs, became severely lost, ran out of fuel, and crashed into the ocean. By the time Vincent Gaddis published "The Deadly Bermuda Triangle" in Argosy magazine in 1964, officially coining the term, three passenger flights had mysteriously gone down as well.
So where is this mythical death trap, exactly? The three points are considered Miami, Fla.' San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the island of Bermuda. There has yet to be a single explanation for the mass number of disappearances and crashes, although survivors have reported their compasses going awry.
3. The Curse of King Tut's Tomb
"Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King." This warning was supposedly engraved on the opening to King Tut's tomb, which was discovered in 1922 by a British archeological team.
Beginning with Lord Carnarvon, the financier of the expedition who died four months after opening the tomb from an infected mosquito bite, a series of accidents and mysterious illnesses ultimately claimed the lives of 11 people connected with "disturbing the peace of the King" — from the radiologist who scanned the Pharaoh's body to, finally, Howard Carter, the man who actually opened the tomb.
4. The Yeti
To be honest, I imagined "Yeti" truthers to be, like, 40-year-old dudes living in their parents' basements. As it turns out, the myth of the Yeti is ancient, derived from the communities living along the base of the Himalayas. "Yeti" means "magical being" in Tibetan. I feel very foolish now.
It wasn't until Western adventurers, hellbent on conquering the world's highest mountain, began streaming into Nepal that the concept of the "Yeti" that we all know and love, a hairy, bi-ped, human-monster hybrid, really hit pop culture. Climbers reported seeing Yetis from a great distance, walking like a person but resembling something between a monkey and a bear. While the idea of a real live monster is unlikely, there also has never been a concrete explanation for the sights that locals and international visitors alike have seen for centuries.
Check out the full video below:
Images: Wikimedia Commons; British Pathe/YouTube (4)