30 Of The Famous ‘Unsolved’ Mysteries That Have Actually Been Solved
The most famous mysteries cannot be explained by science, right? I mean, that has to be the reason why they're still so popular. Well, actually, no; they can!
As human beings, we are constantly observing our world and trying to make sense of it. It's what we're good at. But traditionally, whenever we encounter something we can't figure out, we make up a story to explain it — surprisingly, we're good at it too.
Why do so many ships and planes go missing inside an imaginary triangle near Bermuda? Must be aliens! For years, such popular "explanations" have been enough. But as we progress, so does science, and it constantly provides actual evidence on topics that are so important to us. The problem is, we're not always listening.
Many of us still believe the myths rather than the facts. And I get it, mystical stories are more interesting. But that doesn't make them legit. Below is an eye-opening list of famous "mysteries" that are no longer mysterious at all.
Why The Mayans Vanished
It's one of the most prominent societal collapses in human history. The Mayans seemingly abandoned their complex civilization and disappeared into the Central American jungle. For centuries, people puzzled over the disappearance, theorizing everything from an internal peasant revolt, to conquest by an outside and unknown people, to a UFO holocaust.
It wasn't until 2005 that a legitimate theory was put forward to explain what happened, a theory confirmed in 2012. The Mayan civilization collapsed due to a self-created environmental disaster. The Mayans chopped down too many trees, which reduced the land's ability to absorb solar radiation. This made rainfall more scarce, which caused a crippling drought. The Mayans abandoned their land not due to aliens or revolt, but to find food.
The Death Valley Sailing Stones Don't Move On Their Own, They Float On Pieces Of Ice
The Racetrack Playa is a flat, dry lakebed in the middle of a desert with the lowest elevation in North America. It's also home to mysterious "sailing stones" that have baffled visitors since the early 1900s. To an untrained observer, it looks like these stones have moved across the surface of the lakebed entirely on their own, leaving tracks up to 1,500 feet long without any sign of human or animal interference. Many theories have been offered to explain this phenomenon, including strong winds, the pull of the Earth's magnetic field, a clever prankster - or, once again, aliens.
But thanks to a devoted team of scientists, we now know why these stones move. In 2011, researchers from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography attached GPS devices to 15 rocks and left to monitor them. Two years later, they returned to the site and were lucky enough to witness the phenomenon in person. When Death Valley receives a rare winter rainstorm, water can pool on the flat lakebed and freeze overnight, creating large panes of ice around the rocks. In the morning, the ice thaws and cracks into large sheets, and a light gust of wind is all that's needed to move the ice across the lakebed's surface. The ice sheets push the rocks across the lakebed and then melt, leaving nothing behind but the rock's tracks. The scientists called the phenomenon "ice shoving." One of them jokingly described the study as "the most boring experiment ever."
Aliens Are Not Responsible For This Ancient Iron Pillar Not Rusting
Likely built sometime around 450 CE, the 23-foot-tall iron pillar found in Delhi's ancient Qutb Complex amazed both locals and scientists because of its seeming resistance to rust. Theories about the "out-of-place artifact" abounded, with one explanation being that it was built by aliens, since local people at the time couldn't have built such an element-resistant object.
But recent scientific analysis showed that not only was such a feat well within the capabilities of ancient people, it also revealed exactly why the pillar doesn't rust. It's coated with a thin layer of iron hydrogen phosphate hydrate (also called misawite), which keeps the elements out. The film likely ended up on the pillar through a combination of impurities in the iron and the primitive ovens the metallurgists were using. No ancient astronauts needed.
Anastasia Romanov Did Not Disappear And Assume Another Identity; Her Remains Were Verified In 1991
The Romanovs' remains were rediscovered in 1979, and they were finally tested after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991
Male Woolly Mammoth Went Extinct Due To Poor Living Arrangements
Scientists were confused as to why a whopping 70 percent of mammoth fossils were males and those of females were so rare. In 2017, the Swedish Museum of Natural History found that this was due to poor male mammoth living arrangements.
When male mammoths reached adulthood, they were kicked out of the female-led herds. The males then either lived as hermits or formed bachelor herds. As such, the exiled males would engage in riskier behavior that would lead to a better chance of fossil preservation, like getting trapped in a sinkhole or a bog.
The Black Sinkhole In Florida
The sinkhole in the Aucilla River, south of Tallahassee, in Florida, has been known by archaeologists for years. However, it is so dark that no divers would want to explore and examine it. But Jessi Halligan, a Florida State University professor, decided to conduct some research. The diving expeditions found mastodon tusks that had long grooves left by human tools. The discovery implies that humans inhabited the Florida area much earlier than had been thought initially thought, which dates back as far as 14,500 years ago.
The UFO That Crashed Near Roswell In 1947 Was Actually A High-Altitude Balloon
The "UFO" that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 wasn't alien at all. It's actually a high-altitude balloon designed to monitor Soviet atomic tests. However, the government's commitment to secrecy during the Cold War left the explanation as vague as possible, allowing decades for conspiracy theorists to spread their "work."
The Kidnapping Of Carlina White
Carlina White, who was kidnapped as a baby, was later reunited with her birth parents. On August 4, 1987, Carlina, who was only 19 days old, was rushed to New York's Harlem Hospital Center. Suffering from an infection and high fever, Carlina was admitted, but disappeared during an early morning shift change. Witnesses claimed they saw a woman dressed as a nurse somewhere near the NICU, however, the hospital's video surveillance system wasn't working, so an accurate description wasn't possible.
This incident was the first non-parental infant abduction in New York history. A reward was set up for Carlina's return, but she was never found. The parents sued the hospital, won a settlement, and eventually split up. The case remained cold for decades. For the next 23 years, Carlina was raised under a new name by Connecticut resident Annugetta "Ann" Pettway.
Carlina eventually became suspicious that she looked nothing like Ann. This suspicion was further heightened when she couldn't provide her with birth documents. Carlina began researching things on the net and eventually came across baby photos that matched those of her when she was small. She called the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and was reunited with her real parents in 2000. The kidnapper disappeared, eventually turned herself in, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, and was given a 12-year sentence.
The ‘Shroud Of Turin’ Was Carbon-Dated To A Thousand Years After Jesus's Birth
For millions of Christians, the Shroud of Turin is one of the most revered religious icons in the world. The shroud is a 14-foot piece of linen fabric that was purportedly used to wrap Jesus's body for burial. Most remarkably, the shroud features a negative image of an adult male, supposedly Jesus himself. The image, some have suggested, is actually an incredibly detailed bloodstain left by Jesus's body. Since 1578, the shroud has resided in the cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Turin, Italy, where it attracts thousands of visitors each year.
To some, the validity of a religious icon is a matter of faith, not science. But thanks to modern carbon-dating techniques, scientists have been able to prove that the Shroud of Turin couldn't have been Jesus's actual burial shroud. The Bible doesn't specify exactly what year Jesus perished, but most scholars agree it was the year 33 AD. In 1988, carbon-dating showed that the Shroud of Turin originated in the Middle Ages. Forensic scientists also examined the blood spatter patterns on the shroud and concluded they were made by someone sitting in a variety of positions, not lying flat like a cadaver.
Traditionally, churches and cathedrals like San Giovanni Battista have displayed holy relics purportedly belonging to Jesus, the saints, and other important religious figures. These holy relics weren't just objects of worship, but also big moneymakers that attracted thousands of pilgrims, just like they do today. Like the Shroud of Turin, the provenances of these relics are impossible to prove. In more recent years, the Vatican has officially classified the Shroud of Turin as "an icon" rather than a literal holy relic.
Crop Circles Can Be Created With Simple Ropes And Boards
Crop circles aren't evidence of aliens visiting Earth - the explanation is far more mundane. Reports of crop circles actually appear as early as the 16th century, however, they became an object of public fascination only in 1978, when one appeared in a field near Warminster, in Wiltshire, England. It was then that hundreds of crop circles appeared throughout southern England and all over the globe. As you could have expected, aliens were blamed by some for making them.. It was believed that crop circles were actually "flying saucer nests," or sites of UFO landings.
However, crop circles are all a hoax. Sorry, alien fans! Back in 1991, friends Doug Bower and Dave Chorley came forward and admitted they had created the original Wiltshire crop circle. They admitted they'd been inspired by a letter published in a 1963 issue of New Scientist about "flying saucer nests," and decided to have some fun and see if they could make one themselves. They even showed the BBC exactly how they made it: They used a contraption called a "stalk stomper," or a simple board with ropes tied on each end. One of them stood holding one end of the rope, while the other stretched the opposite end of the rope as far as it would go and walked in a circle, allowing the board to gently push over the plant stalks. Bower and Chorley admitted to making hundreds of crop circles across England, always working under the cover of darkness. Despite their admission, some people still believe that crop circles are UFO landing sites.
Ships Disappear In The Bermuda Triangle At About The Same Rate As They Do Anywhere Else
For decades, sailors, pilots, and travelers have feared the Bermuda Triangle. This area lies in the Atlantic Ocean, and at least 50 ships and 20 airplanes have "mysteriously" vanished there. Stories about disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle area date back centuries but the name "Bermuda Triangle" was coined in 1964 by pulp science-fiction writer Vincent Gaddis, who wrote an article about it for Argosy magazine. Over the years, many theories have attempted to explain these disappearances, including Earth's magnetic field interfering with navigational instruments; enormous bubbles of methane gas bursting on the surface of the ocean; cryptids like sea monsters or aliens; and something to do with the lost city of Atlantis.
The point is not to debunk these explanations, because the real flaw in the Bermuda Triangle theory is the premise that an unusually high number of mishaps involving ships and planes happen there. Pilot and author Larry Kusche spent years researching these disappearances, and he found that many of the reported disappearances didn't actually occur within the Bermuda Triangle. As for those shipwrecks and plane incidents, Kusche and others like the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have pointed out that maritime disasters occur at about the same rate within the Triangle as they do everywhere else.
The Loch Ness Monster Is Probably A Large Eel
For almost 1,500 years, people have reported seeing an enormous, mysterious creature living in Loch Ness, a freshwater lake near Inverness, Scotland. The earliest reference to a Scottish lake monster dates back to the biography of Saint Columba, which was written in 565 AD. Reports continued periodically afterward, but they kicked into high gear in 1933, when a road was built along Loch Ness's shore.
One year later, British doctor Robert Wilson shared the infamous Loch Ness Monster photograph, which purported to reveal the monster in its natural habitat (and in no way looks like a plastic dinosaur toy in a bathtub). Though Wilson later admitted the photo was a hoax, belief in the legend persists to this day. As of 2012, a quarter of Scots believed Nessie was real, or at least told a pollster they did. Some think the Loch Ness Monster is a prehistoric holdout, a dinosaur that somehow survived to the present day. Others think it's a cryptid.
There has never been concrete proof of a lake monster living in Loch Ness, not even a washed-up carcass. So why do so many people still believe it? As with a lot of these popular myths, it's not because people are delusional, or that they're seeing something that isn't really there; it's more likely they are seeing some kind of creature and misunderstanding what it is. Skeptics have suggested that many supposed Nessie sightings are really just large fish native to the area - possibly a wels catfish, a sturgeon, or a Greenland shark.
In 2019, a team of researchers from New Zealand analyzed water samples from Loch Ness and studied the DNA of every type of living organism found within it. They found no evidence of dinosaurs, sturgeon, catfish, or sharks, nor did they find the DNA of a previously unknown organism. However, they did find plenty of eel DNA. Like many freshwater lakes in Europe, Loch Ness is home to the European conger, a species of eel that spawns in the Sargasso Sea near the Bahamas and migrates to European bodies of water. European congers can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh up to 130 pounds, making them the likeliest Nessie candidate. If there is a bigger animal living in Loch Ness, it hasn't left any DNA behind.
The 'Flying Dutchman' Ghost Ship Was Likely The Result Of A Common Optical Illusion
Practically since sailing was first invented, sailors have reported seeing mysterious floating objects on the horizon. The most famous of these is the "Flying Dutchman," sightings of which likely originated in the 1600s - but persisted into the 20th century. Usually, these sightings had similar details: A ghostly ship appears just over the horizon, appearing to be lit by some kind of unearthly light, usually during a storm. Sailors theorized that this ghost ship was a former Dutch trading vessel doomed to sail the ocean for eternity, and whenever it appeared before living sailors, it was a bad omen. Poems about ghost ships helped spread these legends even further, like Walter Scott's Rokeby or Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Ghost ships are just one type of unearthly object people have spotted at sea. In 1643, the Jesuit priest Domenico Giardina reported seeing a floating city over the strait of Messina, just over the horizon. In 1810, cartographers Yakov Sannikov and Matvei Gedenschtrom reported seeing a floating land mass among the New Siberian Islands.
In reality, reports of ghost ships, ghost cities, and ghost islands are all examples of a common optical illusion called "Fata Morgana." (The name derives from the character Morgan le Fay, a sorceress from the legend of King Arthur who could create beguiling illusions.) A Fata Morgana is caused by the way our eye perceives light when it passes through spaces with different densities. At the ocean's surface, the water keeps the air relatively cool. Above that layer of cool air is another layer of warmer air. These differences in temperature create atmospheric layers with different densities. When light passes through them, it refracts, or bends. The human eye assumes the light it can see travels in a straight line, so from a distance, refraction can make an object on the water's surface appear as if it's floating above it. Most likely, superstitious sailors probably were seeing real ships. They just looked like they were floating in the air.
Fata Morganas are convincing enough that even though we now know their cause, we can still fall for them. In 2015, residents of Foshan and Jiangxi reported seeing a floating city in the sky. Once again, it was just a mirage.
A Man Missing For Nine Years Spotted On Google Maps
72-year-old David Lee Niles disappeared after leaving a bar in Byron Township, Michigan, in 2006. Niles had been suffering from both cancer and depression, so his family had assumed the worst, that he'd taken his own life, even putting out an obituary for him in 2011. It took nine years for them to figure out what happened—but the answer would turn out to be startlingly obvious. The answer was always there.
A maintenance worker installing Christmas lights with a crane on a nearby funeral home saw a car in a small lake nearby, and police divers confirmed that it was Niles when they found his wallet. But the twist is that the car was clearly visible on Google Maps. Anyone looking at the lake could have seen it.
The Egyptian Secret To Moving Stone Blocks For The Pyramids Wasn't Aliens, It Was Sledge
Aliens seem to get a lot of credit from conspiracy theorists! Aliens didn't help build the Egyptian pyramids, even though the stones would have been difficult to move. In 2014, physicists from the University of Amsterdam dispelled rumors by putting a method found on an ancient tomb drawing to the test. They determined that the workers hauled the massive stone blocks on a sort of sled. By pouring water on sand or slippery clay as a type of lubricant, the workers reduced the friction of their path and drag the large blocks to construct the pyramids.
How Did The Ancient Indus Survive In The Desert Without A River?
The Indus civilization stood around 5,000 years ago in what now is northwest India and Pakistan. The civilization was known for cotton and date farming and some of its cities even had plumbing and a working sewer system.
Scientists were confused about how the civilization thrived in the desert without a nearby river source. Though there was a glacier-fed river there once, historians once believed that the civilization dried up as soon as the river did. But recent research revealed that the river dried up 3,000 years before the collapse of the Indus civilization. Meanwhile, the civilization relied on monsoon flooding to trap groundwater in the clay in order to extract it and feed their crops.
Jaw Pain Drove The Tsavo Lions To Hunt People
During a nine-month period in 1898, two lions named "The Ghost" and "The Darkness" killed and ate an estimated 135 railroad workers in Kenya. The story was a worldwide sensation in the newspapers and even resulted in a Hollywood movie in the 1990s. What perplexed animal experts was why the lions had developed an insatiable taste for human flesh before they were finally shot dead. In the past, experts believed it was hunger but new research in a jaw study of lions suggest it was likely jaw pain. Researchers believe that jaw pain in the lions would have made hunting and killing their normal large prey incredibly painful and picking off humans was easier on the lions' jaws.
Paul Fronczak’s Real Identity
Paul Fronczak’s Real Identity.
The story of Paul Fronczak has shaken the US as it became the second-longest cold case in US history. Still a baby, Paul was abducted from his parents and later found abandoned in a stroller in 1965. Initially, The Fronczaks were sure that they had found their lost child, but over time, doubt settled in. As Paul was getting older, the family noticed that he looked less and less like either of the Fronczaks and the family decided to order a DNA test.
But in 2012, a test concluded that the child was not the Fronczaks’ and Paul suddenly had no idea who he was. Paul was eventually able to track down his true identity of Jack and learned that both his parents had died. While the mystery did help Paul Jack discover who he was, he also learned that he had a twin sister known as Jill who remains missing to this day. Unfortunately, the Fronczaks still don't know what became of their biological child either.
The Mysterious 'Starchild Skull' Came From A Human With Congenital Hydrocephalus
Back in 1999, paranormalist and former Magnum, P.I. writer Lloyd Pye introduced the world to a misshapen skull he claimed as proof of extraterrestrial life. The so-called "Starchild skull" is child-sized and features an enlarged cranium, a flattened back, and no sinuses. Pye also claimed the skull's teeth were much more worn down than a child's would be, and that it was made of organic materials supposedly unknown to science. Pye believed the skull belonged to an alien-human hybrid with a human mother and extraterrestrial father, resembling the "little grey men" that were depicted by sci-fi author Whitley Strieber and the TV show The X-Files.
However, scientists who examined the Starchild skull didn't agree. A dentist who examined the skull's teeth concluded that it belonged to a child aged about 5 years old. A neurologist found that the skull's deformations are consistent with congenital hydrocephalus, and DNA tests concluded the remains were entirely human in origin, not alien.
The Lost Grave Of Richard III Are No Longer Lost
When the monastery that Richard III was buried in was bought by a private entrepreneur, his corpse was lost for centuries. The corpse of the dead king was feared gone, but scientists didn't give up hope. In 2012, they caught a lucky break when an old grave was found buried under a parking lot in Leicester. DNA testing was able to reveal that the bones in the grave were indeed the long lost remains of Richard III.
It Wasn't Scarlet Fever That Caused Mary Ingalls' Blindess
It Wasn't Scarlet Fever That Caused Mary Ingalls' Blindess.
If you’re a fan of the Little House on the Prairie book, you may recall that author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real-life sister Mary allegedly went blind from scarlet fever at age 14. But although Mary Ingalls did indeed suffer from scarlet fever as a kid, and it can be a cause of blindness for some patients, physicians believe that wasn't the case with Mary. Dr. Beth Tarini and her team discovered a letter written to Laura's daughter in 1937 that mentioned Mary's blindness. But it also mentioned that Mary had "some sort of spinal sickness." Turns out, a doctor at the time inspected the nerves in Mary's eyes and they were paralyzed. As Dr. Tarini dove deeper into the medical mystery, she found the articles from the local newspaper that said in Mary's teenage years she suffered severe headaches and partial paralysis on one side of her face. The researchers came to a conclusion that it wasn't scarlet fever that caused Mary's blindness, but viral meningoencephalitis. The disease inflames the brain and spinal cord and can cause blindness in the optic nerves.
The Source Of Blood At Blood Falls Is Iron Oxides
In 1911, explorer and geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor stumbled upon a bizarre sight at the edge Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica. Taylor noted the occurrence of red blood-colored water flowing out of the glacier. At first, scientists thought it was some sort of algae that gave the water the reddish color. They eventually realized iron oxides were the reason, but how this occurred remained a mystery for over 100 years. In 2017, scientists finally discovered the source. Using radio-echo sounding radar, they were able to uncover that the waterfall was connected to an iron-rich source of water trapped under the glacier. The briny water source is believed to be over a million years old -- making Blood Falls one very strange and very old waterfall.
Will-O’-The-Wisps From Folklore Were Likely Inspired By Methane Gas Emanating From Swamps
European folklore is full of fantastical creatures, from leprechauns to boggarts to the Baba Yaga, and one of the most enduring folk myths is the "will-o'-the-wisp." Throughout history, people have reported seeing mysterious flickering lights floating over marshes and swamplands at night. Witnesses have speculated these lights are spirits stuck in limbo and wandering the Earth. Often, a will-o'-the-wisp sighting is considered a bad omen. Although the term originates from Great Britain, will-o'-the-wisps appear in different cultures around the world.
"Comparative mythology" is a term used when different societies have similar myths. Different cultures can have nearly identical folklore either because their folklore reflects a universal human concern (i.e. a belief in the afterlife) or they're all inspired by the same natural phenomenon.
In this case, it's the latter. Most likely, will-o'-the-wisp reports are really just swamp gas sightings. Usually when organic matter perishes, it decomposes. But in swamps, lifeless organic matter gets submerged and decomposes underground, without exposure to the air. This decomposition creates "swamp gas," a combination of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphines, and other chemicals. When swamp gas does get exposed to the air, it can spontaneously ignite and cause a flickering effect like the will-o'-the-wisp.
The Underground Secret Of The Easter Island Heads
It was proven that the Easter Island statues could have been made with the tools used by the people of that time. Thor Heyerdahl launched an expedition to explore the island that led to the unraveling the secrets of the stone idols. Among the other things that the researchers discovered was that the Moai heads had bodies and that some of them even reached 20 feet in height.
The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film
You've probably seen this image of 'Bigfoot' from the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Film, shot in Northern California. It's the most well-known piece of footage that supposedly proves the existence of Bigfoot.
However, a 2004 book by Greg Long proved that it was all a hoax: a local man, Bob Heironimus, told Long that he wore a suit. However, the stunt may not have been done with ill intentions. Even though Roger Patterson never paid anyone involved with the film and had charges filed against him to get him to return the camera he used, he likely did the whole thing as a stunt to provide for his family, as he was sick with cancer.
Chemtrails Are Caused By Hot Plane Exhaust Quickly Freezing In The Cold Upper Atmosphere
Conspiracy theories linked to health are nothing new. One of these theories has to do with chemtrails. Some people believe that the US government is secretly dumping chemicals on the American public using jet engine exhaust. Some conspiracy theorists believe chemtrails control the weather. Others think the government uses chemtrails to test how harmful certain chemicals are. While still others think it's a way to weed out the sick and feeble. There are also some who think it's a form of mind control, or even mass sterilization.
However, chemtrails are actually called "contrails," and they're simply hot air and water vapor from a jet engine that freezes on contact with Earth's very cold upper atmosphere. Just like any engine exhaust, contrails aren't entirely harmless. They contain carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfate particles, and soot - all forms of pollution that contribute to climate change. But there's no proof contrails have ever contained any kind of unusual chemical or substance. Even if they did, any chemicals released at such high altitudes would be dispersed by the winds. So, if a shadowy and clandestine organization really did want to dose the public, chemtrails would be the least effective way to do it.
The Location Of The Lost Santa Maria Ship Of Christopher Columbus Was Discovered In 2014
37. The Location Of The Santa Maria Ship Of Christopher ColumbusIn 1492, Christopher Columbus' ship the Santa Maria ran aground near Hati. Columbus recorded the location of the ship's wreckage in his journal and historians for years searched for it to no avail. That all changed in 2003, when a team of archaeologists led by Barry Clifford finally found the lost vessel. It would take years after making the discovery to determine if it was indeed the Santa Maria. Then in 2014, all the clues such as Columbus' description of the ship, an old cannon, and the wreckage itself led Clifford to concluded that it most likely is the Santa Maria.
The 'Yeti' Is Most Likely A Rare Species Of Bear
For thousands of years, native Himalayans and visitors have been convinced that the Himalayas are home to a mysterious, bipedal, apelike creature called the Yeti. (Just like Pacific Northwesterners have believed in Sasquatch.) Stories of the Yeti date all the way back to the Lepcha culture in modern-day Bhutan and Nepal, and they've persisted into modern times. But like most cryptids, there has never been concrete evidence of the Yeti's existence, like a living specimen or even a carcass. The best Yeti enthusiasts have been able to offer is shaky proof like footprints or samples of doubtful origin.
In 2016, a documentary film crew gathered some of these "Yeti" samples and asked a team of biologists at the University at Buffalo to examine them. The team examined a collection of hair, bone, skin, and excrement supposedly belonging to a Yeti. DNA analysis revealed the samples mostly came from either Himalayan brown bears or black bears.
Like the Loch Ness Monster, it's most likely that people have been mistaking a relatively common animal sighting for something fantastical. The fact that so many cultures around the world have reported seeing cryptids like the Yeti means one thing: Brief encounters with apex predators can confuse pretty much anyone.
The Cause Behind The Great Potato Famine
The Great Potato Famine was devastating to Ireland in the mid-1800s and resulted in one million deaths. Scientists new that a potato blight was to blame for the mass starvation, but the precise strain of the pathogen that triggered it was unknown until fairly recently. "We have finally discovered the identity of the exact strain that caused all this havoc," study co-author Hernán Burbano said. The study named the deadly strain HERB-1 and its discovery was the work of 11 historic samples of potato leaves that were collected about 150 years ago throughout Europe and North America. It's believed that HERB-1 didn't originate in Ireland, but emerged out of Mexico before arriving in European ports.
The Ourang Medan Ghostship Is A Myth
Far from every story that you hear is true. In 1952 the United States Coast Guard published a story that referred to a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper that reported of a two American ships receiving a radio distress call from the SS Ourang Medan ship that read in Morse code: "We float. All officers including the captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead * * *."
One of those American ships, the Silver Star reportedly found the Ourang Medan and saw its crew dead, with mouths gaping in fear and eyes staring into the sky. That's when a fire broke out and the Ourang Medan sank. However, there was a catch: the Ourang Medan never existed in the first place. There are no records of this ship even existing. No registration records for a ship by the name of Ourang Medan could be located in any country. What's more the ship logs for the Silver Star show no record of any such rescue attempt.
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