Unsolved Mysteries first arrived on our screens in 1987, presented by the smooth-talking Robert Stack, who stuck around as host all the way up to 2002. With a mix of supernatural phenomena, mysterious disappearances and some good old-fashioned murder, the show truly did have something for everyone.
The series showcased some of the both wider and lesser known mysteries of our time, cases which have boggled the mind of those who have tried to unravel their secrets, as well as some heinous crimes which have relied on audience tips to be solved.
If you’re an Unsolved Mysteries fan, you’ll know that there are some cases which truly stick with you. And if you’re not familiar, join us as we delve into some of the most intriguing mysteries the show has had to offer.
10. Resurrection Cemetery – Resurrection Mary
Resurrection Mary is a common fixture in Chicago, and is often referred to as the ‘vanishing hitch hiker’. As legend has it, Resurrection Mary takes the form of a pale, blonde woman dressed in a billowing white dress and can often be spotted outside the gates of Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois.
Sightings of this illusive phantom have been reported since the 1930s, with a number of men reporting that they offered the young lady a lift, only for her to ask to be dropped off outside Resurrection Cemetery where she subsequently vanished into the night. Resurrection Mary is said to be the ghost of a woman who attended the Oh Henry Ballroom with her boyfriend. The pair later got into a fight which led to Mary storming out and starting to walk up Archer Avenue.
Before she had made any serious leg way, she was hit by a hit-and-run driver. Her grief stricken parents then found her abandoned body and buried their beloved daughter in her best dress and dancing shoes. Numerous researchers have tried to link one of the thousands of gravestones in the cemetery to Mary, but although there are a few possibilities, it seems this is one mystery we will never truly understand.
9. Scared to Death – Cindy James
In October 1982, Cindy James began receiving phone calls from an unknown caller, many of which were threatening in nature. During the next seven years, Cindy would report nearly 100 incidents of harassment, including five physical attacks. After reporting the incidents to the police, matters would only get worse for Cindy. Cindy lived alone, and would often hear prowlers outside her window at night. Her phone lines were cut and her porch light shattered. It seemed someone was trying to scare Cindy to death. Quite literally, in fact.
The police expressed doubt over her story, instead suggesting it was Cindy herself behind the harassment. On May 25th 1989, Cindy vanished. Later that day, her car was found. Inside were her groceries and a wrapped gift. More disturbingly, there was blood on the driver’s side door.
Two weeks later, her body was discovered at an abandoned house. A stocking was tied around her neck and her hands and feet were bound tightly. An autopsy revealed Cindy had died from an overdose of morphine. The police ruled Cindy’s death a suicide. Still, many were sceptical, arguing that it would be impossible for Cindy to have staged the scene. The coroner ultimately ruled that Cindy died of ‘unknown causes’. To this day, Cindy’s parents believe that somewhere in Vancouver, there is a murderer on the loose.
“Couples See Man-Sized Bird … Creature … Something”. This was the headline in the Point Pleasant Register on 16th November 1966. However, this was not the first official sighting of the infamous Mothman and it certainly would not be the last… Just four days prior, four men had been digging a grave at a cemetery in West Virginia when they claimed to have seen a man-like figure fly over the trees above their heads.
On November 15th, two couples reported spotting a “large creature” with eyes that “glowed red” in their car’s headlights. They described the creature as a “large flying man with ten-foot wings” and told how it had followed their car for miles. Throughout the next year, there would be numerous sightings of this so-called “Mothman”.
Things came to a head on 15th December 1967 when the Silver Bridge collapsed, taking with it the lives of 46 people. Locals reported that many of the victims had had encounters with the Mothman, with the mysterious creature soon becoming synonymous with this tragic incident.
7. Georgia Rudolf – Reincarnation
Ever since she was a child, Georgia Rudolf of Macon, Georgia had had strange visions of an unknown woman from the early 1900s. Sometimes these visions would appear in the form of memories, other times in her dreams. Georgia would often draw pictures of this woman alongside a house. In 1984, Georgia underwent a hypnotherapy session during which she learned the woman’s name was “Sandra Jean Jenkins”.
She claimed that Sandra was born in 1895 and had a fiancee named Tommy Hicks, who had later died after falling off the side of a ship. Sandra had then learnt she was pregnant but, in a state of grief and despair, had tragically committed suicide.Whilst under hypnosis, Georgia repeatedly said the word “Maritetta”, which she later learned was a real place. Just one year later, Georgia travelled to the city of Marietta, and found that she recognised several places from her visions. Despite this revelation, Georgia could find no trace of “Sandra Jean Jenkins” in the city.
She travelled to the small town of Newport, just five miles away, where she discovered the house she had dreamt of for so many years. She also found the graveyard she had seen in her visions, and managed to the locate the grave of a woman she believed to be Sandra’s grandmother. She located members of Sandra’s extended family who showed Georgia a picture taken in 1908. In the picture was the woman Georgia had seen in her visions. The relative explained that Sandra was believed to have drowned in the river behind the house, yet no birth or death records for the young woman could be found.
6. Haunted mansion – Beaty Castle
In 1923, a wealthy New York advertising executive named Bill Beatty built Beatty Castle for his wife, Sarah. The couple moved into the castle with their four children, but tragedy struck when Bill suddenly died of flu aged just 45. Sarah never remarried and raised her children alone in the castle.
In 1972, Don and Carol Burlingame moved into Beaty Castle. Carol reported she could sense a “presence” in the house, and the couple soon started to hear hammering noises coming through the walls as well as unexplained footsteps going up and down the stairs. One day, the couple went out and left their windows open. The area got hit by a huge rain storm and the pair expected to return to a house soaked with rain. They were surprised to find the windows had been closed and latched shut in their absence. Carol believed this was the work of their resident ghost.
Whilst researching the castle’s history, they came across a man named Eugene Melville. Eugene had worked for Sarah Beatty after her husband’s death and reported a ghostly encounter he had had whilst working in the mansion. Three years after Bill had died, Eugene was helping Sarah to locate a bracelet she had lost. Suddenly, they looked up and saw Bill standing on the balcony. The Burlingames have since passed away, yet the ghost of Bill Beaty is reported to still roam the halls of the castle he once called home.
5. Missing – Michaela Garecht
Michaela Garecht was just nine years old when she was abducted from a car park in Hayward, California. Michaela and her friend, Katrina, had ridden their scooters to a local store to stock up on snacks and drinks. The girls left their scooters outside the shop’s front doors.
Upon leaving the store, the pair realised one of the scooters was not where they had left it and was now placed near a parked car. Michaela walked over to retreive the scooter and was promptly grabbed by an unknown man who proceeded to put Michaela in his car and drive away.
The abduction took place in 1988, and to this day, detectives have found no trace of Michaela Garecht. Her disappearance still haunts the local community, and her mother has vowed never to give up on finding her lost daughter.
4. Hudson River UFO
Throughout the 1980s, more than 5000 people reported seeing unidentified flying objects over the cities in the Hudson River Valley of New York. In 1983, police deputy Dennis Sant saw large, dark grey metallic object over his home next to Interstate 84. He likened the object to a “city of lights”. Just a few miles away, traffic was brought to a standstill when motorists stopped their cars to catch sight of this mysterious flying object, with some even capturing the incident on camera.
The next sighting came just a week later when officer Andi Sandhoff saw a number of lights in the sky. She initially assumed the lights came from a plane, but soon realised it was too large. The UFO seemed to hover above her car, and was oddly silent.
Since then, there have been thousands of sightings of this mystery aircraft. Some have tried to explain the objects away as being a group of aeroplanes flying in close succession, but this does not explain its lack of noise and ability to “hover”. To this day, the true identity of the “UFO” remains unexplained.
3. Little Miss Panasoffkee
On February 19, 1971, two teenagers were hitchhiking along Interstate 75 when they discovered the body of a young woman who had been thrown from the Lake Panasoffkee Bridge in Florida. The woman, who was estimated to have been in her late teens or early twenties, had been dead for several weeks and carried no identification on her person. She had been strangled, the belt still wrapped around her neck.
Despite detective’s best efforts, the true identity of Little Miss Panasoffkee has never been discovered, nor that of her killer. She was laid to rest six months after her body was discovered.
The woman had had at least one child, and showed signs of having undergone extensive surgery and dental work. Police believed she may have been a run away. In 2012, isotope testing revealed the woman may have originated from Greece. Despite her case being aired on a Greek missing persons show later that year, no new leads were generated and her identity, and that of her murderer, seems unlikely to come to light after all these years.
2. The Black Dahlia
The Black Dahlia is one of the most famous unsolved murders in history, and identifying her killer has become the pet project of many the amateur sleuth. The body of Elizabeth Short, posthumously nicknamed The Black Dahlia, was found in the vacant lot of a Los Angeles housing development on 15th January 1947.
At first, the passerby who discovered the body assumed it was a mannequin because it had been neatly bisected at the waist. Chillingly, the body was completely drained of blood and had been severely mutilated.
Elizabeth had moved to the city to pursue dreams of being an actress, but soon turned to prostitution to make ends meet. She was last seen leaving a diner in San Diego with an unidentified man. Throughout the investigation, the killer taunted police with letters and a packet of Elizabeth’s belongings. He has yet to be identified.
1. The Ice Man
The Ice Man was an unidentified creature who, throughout 1967 and 1968, was exhibited at the Chicago Stock Fair and several other carnivals in the Mid West. The creature was six feet tall, covered in a thin layer of hair with both man and ape-like features. The creature was frozen in a block of ice, and although thousands of visitors came to see the body, its origins could not be traced.
Dr. Terry Cullen was a zoological and veterinary researcher who first saw the creature when he was 17. The side of its face was described as being “bashed in” and Dr Cullen was adamant the body was real, not made from wax as others had claimed. A man named Frank Hansen took over possession of the “Ice Man” in 1967 and over the years, several scientists have examined the body but to no avail.
In 1969, the FBI became involved with the case, believing the body could be that of a murder victim. An officer met with Frank and promised to come back with a pathologist the next day. That night, Frank took the Ice Man and disappeared. He returned to town a month later, now exhibiting a replica of the creature. Several scientists believed the Ice Man to be the body of a prehistoric man who had somehow survived into the 20th century but, to this day, the truth behind the strange creature has yet to be discovered.