8 Books About Unsolved Historical Mysteries That Will Make You Question Everything
So, unless you've been living under a proverbial rock, you've probably heard of this gal Amelia Earhart. The pilot's mysterious disappearance cropped up in everyone's lives/newsfeeds recently when a photo of Amelia Earhart surfaced, seeming to imply that she had survived her plane crash long enough to chill on a dock with some dudes. The photo has already been discredited by most experts (well, it was fun while it lasted), but if you're looking for a good historical mystery, there's plenty more where that came from. Here are a few books about real historical mysteries that are still unsolved to this day.
After all, there's just so much about history that we'll never know. Who were the strange "sea people" who decimated so much of the ancient Mediterranean? What happened to the vanished crew of the Mary Celeste? Why did I think that a rolling backpack was a good idea back in the seventh grade? We may never know for certain. But, if you're a history buff and/or a talented armchair detective, you can read up on all the latest theories.
From lost civilizations to grisly murders to alien conspiracy theories, a lot of weirdness has gone down over the course of human history. Here are a few books for all fans of the strange and historical:
'The Daughter of Time' by Josephine Tey
OK, so The Daughter of Time is actually a novel, but the mystery discussed and all of the evidence is totally real. While stuck in the hospital, Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. The king supposedly murdered his two nephews after locking them in a tower... but he looks like such a nice guy. The bed-bound inspector sets off on a fascinating journey to discover the truth of what really happened to the princes, and why it's been hidden from the public for so long.
'The Sound of Wings' by Mary S. Lovell
The Sound of Wings is considered the definitive biography of Amelia Earhart. If you're looking for to learn a little more about the woman behind the mystery, this is the book for you (and yes, it does mention some of the more plausible theories of what happened to her). Earhart was a pretty incredible person before she went missing, after all, and Mary S. Lovell is here to debunk some of the myths surrounding her legacy.
'The Complete Jack the Ripper' by Donald Rumbelow
Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous serial killers of all time. He's been dragged into multiple novels, comic books, Sherlock Holmes nonsense, and a surprising amount of science fiction. But who was he? The Complete Jack the Ripper has all of the clues, all of theories, and all of the gruesome murders that you could possibly want out of a book on the legendary, forever anonymous Ripper himself.
'Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew' by Brian Hicks
On December 4th, in 1872, the Mary Celeste was discovered floating in the Atlantic Ocean, without a crewman in sight. There was no sign of violence or attack, no damage, no hint to where the captain and his family had gone—just an empty ship. Brian Hicks takes this famous mystery and spins it into a suspenseful, tense, and entirely true story of one of the strangest disappearances ever recorded.
'Witness to Roswell: Unmasking the 60-Year Cover-Up' by Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt
Break out your tinfoil hats, because this book might just make you believe that there were actual aliens at Roswell. At least, a number of eyewitnesses firmly believe that that's what they saw. Witness to Roswell explores the controversial incident in incredible detail. Is there any conclusive proof of extraterrestrial activity? Maybe not, but there are plenty of clues to keep you up at night.
'Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony' by Lee Miller
In the 1500s, the British settled a colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina—which promptly vanished. One hundred and fifteen people were suddenly gone without a trace. The only clue they left behind was the word “Croatoan” carved into a tree. Roanoke dives right into this bizarre, historical puzzle, uncovering a web of deceit that goes all the way up to Queen Elizabeth.
'Monster Hunt: The Guide to Cryptozoology' by Rory Storm
OK, to be fair, Monster Hunt isn't about one specific historical mystery, it's about a whole slew of them. Going back centuries, humans have been sighting weird, strange monsters in the woods/lakes/mountains. Some of them, like Bigfoot or Nessie, have become household names. This book takes us on a world wide tour of "cryptids" ("hidden" animals), the evidence for them, and some theories on what might really be going on.
'Atlantis: The Antediluvian World' by Ignatius L. Donnelly
This book might just be the granddaddy of out there, historical mysteries. Does it lean towards the conspiracy theory side of the spectrum? Maybe. Have a lot of the "facts" in this book since been debunked? Sure. It was written in 1882. But the possibility of a real, historical Atlantis still stands, and this is the book that got everyone to believe that there was more to the Atlantis myth than pure fantasy. Ignatius Donnelly digs into Plato's account of the fabled Atlantis, and a lot of Donnelly's theories of what might have happened to this lost civilization still hold water.