Unexplained deaths are some of the most intriguing mysteries out there, and often become stories that people can't stop talking about, even after hundreds of years have passed. This is especially true in today's world, when it seems like researchers and doctors have an answer for almost anything. It seems almost impossible for deaths to occur that no one can understand — and yet, it happens. There are some real-life ways people have died that science can't explain that will probably always be interesting, weird, and endlessly creepy.
It's also scary to note that unexplained deaths aren't just something that happened back in the day, before technology and science became more advanced. Sure, perhaps investigating a murder now is much easier than it was in the 1800s thanks to things like DNA analysis, but unexplained deaths still do happen — and furthermore, when we're talking things like spontaneous combustion, those unexplained deaths turn downright scientifically mind-boggling.
If you really want to scare yourself, read more below for some of the strangest real deaths that can't be explained by science or investigators — then let the theories begin. And maybe don't think too much about it if you're about to go to bed.
1. The Man Who May Have Been Killed By A UFO
In June 1980, a 56-year-old miner named Zigmund Adamski was found dead in the middle of a coal yard in Todmorden, England. Doctors determined that he had probably died of a heart attack, but many of the circumstances surrounding his death are really weird and unexplained. His body was found placed on top of a pile of coal, but there were no signs of footprints or coal dust on or around him, so no one is sure how he got there. There were unexplained burns all over his head, neck, and shoulders, and some kind of gel-like ointment had been applied to these burns, although no one knew what it was.
According to a BBC article on the man's death from 2003, one of the policemen who found the body believes that Adamski had been abducted by a UFO and subsequently killed.
2. The Disappearance Of Flight 19
In December 1945, a group of five U.S. Nave Grumman TBF Avenger warplanes, called Flight 19, disappeared during a daytime training flight off the coast of Florida. All 14 airmen were lost, as well as 13 crewmembers on a Navy flying boat that was sent up to search for them. No wreckage or bodies from the Avengers or the flying boat were ever found. No one knows what happened to them, and the story is often linked to the many mysteries surrounding the Bermuda Triangle.
3. The Couple Who Mysteriously Died After Sex
One strange unexplained death involves Dr. Gilbert Bogle, a married Australian physicist, and his lover Margaret Chandler, the wife of one of his co-workers. On New Year's Eve 1962, the two were found dead on the banks of Lane Cove River, partially undressed. To this day, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, no one knows exactly how they died. There were no noticeable signs of foul play, and the lovers' spouses both had airtight alibis.
There were plenty of other theories, but none really checked out. Bogle and Chandler were surrounded by their own vomit and excrement at the scene, which means they must have been very ill before they died — but an autopsy found no trace of poison in their systems. A 2006 documentary says they may have had a fatal reaction to a cloud of hydrogen sulfide gas from the river, but many scientists say it's not possible.
4. The Man Who Burst Into Flames In The Middle Of The Street
On September 17, 2017, according to The Telegraph, 70-year-old John Nolan was walking down a street in North London when he spontaneously caught fire. Police and fire services tried to save him, but could not. Detectives investigating the case could not explain Nolan's death. No flammable objects were found near him, and specialist fire investigators couldn't find a reason for why he caught fire. According to The Telegraph, his family reportedly later revealed "he suffered burns to his internal organs." It's still not known how exactly Nolan caught fire.
5. The Painter Who Strangely Died On A Lake
In July 1917, Canadian painter Tom Thomson went out fishing in a canoe, and his body was found eight days later. According to the CBC, the circumstances surrounding the death make this one of Canada's biggest mysteries. A piece of fishing line had been wrapped around his ankle 16 times, and there was a wound on his temple.
6. The Tamam Shud Case
One of the creepiest unexplained death stories is the Tamam Shud Case, which refers to an unidentified man whose body washed up on Australia's Somerton Beach in Adelaide in 1948. There was no indication of his identity, and to this day it's still unclear who he was — and the only thing that was found on him was a piece of paper in one of his pants pockets that read "tàmam shud," which is the Farsi phrase for "finished." The paper had been ripped from the final page of a copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a Persian poet from the 1000s. Additionally, a suitcase believed to belong to the man was later found at the Adelaide railway station, though it too offered no indications as to who the man was.
When the copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam from which the "tàmam shud" scrap was torn from was found by authorities (accounts of how exactly authorities found the book differ), police discovered another level to the mystery: indentations of a seemingly encoded message and an unlisted phone number, indicating that whoever had previously been in posession of the book had written something on a piece of paper on top of the book, causing the pen's pressure to leave a trace of what had been written. The code was as followed:
To this day, the message has not been decoded, and the man's identity remains a mystery.