From the depths of human civilisation to the infinite boundaries of time and space, there have been several structures, events, and phenomenon that have challenged the foundations of reasoning and logical conclusions. Over the centuries they became the biggest unsolved mysteries of the world with scientists and anthropologists groping to find explanations behind their emergence.
Here are some of them.
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None knows who built this massive stone structure and the purpose behind it. What baffles scientists is that the Stonehenge came up long before the faintest traces of modern technology came into existence. The Neolithic structure was built with 25 tonnes of sarsens (a hard-type sandstone) transported from beyond 18 miles from the spot. Five thousand years later, the prehistoric monument at Salisbury, England, is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries ever. Archaeologists are still clueless about how it was built.
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The Moai statues at Easter Island, southeastern Pacific, have drawn archaeologists and armchair historians in hordes, ever since Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovered the island on Easter Sunday, 1722. There are more than 900 Moai statues scattered across the island, erected by the Rapa Nui people of Eastern Polynesia, between 1250 to 1500AD. Rapa Nui had its own language, Rongorongo, which means ‘to recite’ or ‘chant’. Rongorongo is believed to be one of the world’s few languages that evolved independently. Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to decode the language. The texts were generally written on wooden objects, and nearly half of them are in good condition even now, well preserved in museums and private collections. Nobody knows when this writing system was invented and by whom. The oldest tablets date back to 17th century.
3. Nazca Lines
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It’s one of the biggest unsolved mysteries till date. The lines were first spotted from air in 1939. Around 700 geoglyphs were drawn on the Peruvian desert by the ancient Nazca people. These are zigzag lines, figures of a dog, humming bird, camels, monkeys and even a 196 feet long snake. The mystery behind drawing such lines has been debated for decades. The geoglyphs were drawn by a single line which never cuts itself and are believed to appeal god and bring rain on the desert. Besides pottery designs, flowers, plants and trees, there are several complex geometrical structures as well. It is said that the figures can only be seen from air which has fuelled conspiracy theories about alien involvement. American historian Paul Kosok addressed the Nazca Lines as “the largest astronomy book in the world.” But the mystery behind the purpose of these lines still remains. Who made these geoglyphs?
4. Taos Hum
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People of Taos, New Mexico, have experienced a strange sound since the early 1990s and it is considered as one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, since close to the last three decades. The mysterious and low frequency hum in the air, however, is heard by only two percent of the city’s residents. In 1977, residents of Taos sent nearly 800 letters to a British newspaper complaining of headaches, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and inability to concentrate because of the constant hum. No convincing reason has been unearthed behind the sound. Some say that the hum is created by a military communication system to contact submarines.
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“Do aliens really exist?” It’s the biggest question human civilisation has faced for centuries. Are we alone or some other living beings do exit somewhere in outer space? People have often claimed to have seen mysterious and unknown creatures and suspected them to have come from outside the planet. Many scientists have reportedly received strange signals from space but couldn’t detect the source. Mars, also known as the Red Planet, has been the centre of attraction for decades because of its near-resemblance atmosphere to Earth. But no presence of life has been has been life on the planet.
6. Sailing stones
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Also known as the sliding rocks, sailing stones are said to be one of the biggest unsolved mysteries. Heavy rocks seem to slide themselves across the surface of Death Valley National Park. The weird movement of these rocks have been attributed to magnetic fields, pranksters, and even aliens. But the fact is that none has actually seen the rocks move. Only the trails prove that the rocks have moved from their place.
7. Mummy of Lady Dai
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Digging in an air raid shelter near Changsha, south-central China, archaeologists found a tomb with the perfectly preserved mummy of Xin Zhui, also known as Lady Dai, a prominent lady of the Han dynasty, along with several artefacts. The artefacts were in extremely good condition despite the passage of two millenniums. The skin of the mummy still glows and is moist, and the body joints are flexible. Every feature—from hair to eyelashes—remains almost the same. Scientists were left surprised after a forensic test revealed that the body seemed like just-dead. But the mystery behind how a body could be preserved for more than two thousand years is still baffling.
8. Dancing Plague
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Way back in 1518, in Strasbourg, France, people danced themselves to death for no reason. The dancing plague is among the biggest unsolved mysteries ever. A lady started the start dance and others joined her. There were around 400 people dancing at Strasbourg within a month. Many died from exhaustion and strokes. The mass hysteria began when Frau Troffea had continued her dance over six days at a stretch. There has been no explanation for this mysterious dance epidemic that caused many deaths.
9. The Wow! signal
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The sound of extraterrestrials was believed to have been heard for the first time in 1977. The Wow! signal was detected by Ohio State University astronomer Jerry Ehman. It was actually a radio signal which was coming from a group of stars called Chi Sagittarri in the Sagittarius constellation. Ehman received a powerful radio wave which lasted for 72 seconds. He circled and wrote “Wow!” beside it. Since the last 40 years, the signal is believed to be proof that we are not alone in the universe. But it is still considered among the biggest unsolved mysteries of the world.
10. Jack the Ripper
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The infamous serial killer of 1888 London. The murders took place at East End, London. The victims—Mary Nichols, Elizabeth Stride, Annie Chapman, Mary Kelly, and Catherine Eddowes—were all prostitutes. The name Jack the Ripper was probably coined by a journalist and generally believed to be a man. The reign of terror lasted only for a few months, but he is popularly considered the most infamous murderer. Jack the Ripper would typically slit the throat of his victim and then remove internal organs through abdominal mutilations, giving rise to speculation that the killer may have been a doctor. But Scotland Yard could never identity the killer.
11. Placebo effect
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The placebo effect is largely considered a fake treatment for diseases. Placebo is generally used by researchers to understand what effect a new drug will have on a particular condition. Research says that the placebo focuses on the mind and body relationship. The most important thing in placebo effect is the expectation of a patient to get cured. If this person expects a medicine to do something, then there is a possibility that the body’s own chemistry will change with the expectation. It’s all about how strongly a patient expects to have positive results. The same can be said about negative effects as well. Scientific explanations are still at large.
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