Modern Unsolved Mysteries 4

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The mysteries continue, and many of them are so old they may never be solved. Just because they are old, though, doesn’t mean new information or technology could help make them any less weird or help solve them.

Gloomy Sunday Hungarian Suicide Song
“Gloomy Sunday”, is a song composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress and published in 1933.The original lyrics were titled Vége a világnak (The world is ending) and were about despair caused by war, ending in a quiet prayer about people’s sins. Poet László Jávor wrote his own lyrics to the song, titled Szomorú vasárnap (Sad Sunday), in which the protagonist wants to commit suicide following his lover’s death.

In Vienna, a teenage girl drowned herself while clutching a piece of sheet music. In Budapest, a shopkeeper killed himself and left a note that quoted from the lyrics of the same song. In London, a woman overdosed while listening to a record of the song over and over. The piece of music that connects all these deaths is the notorious “Gloomy Sunday.” Nicknamed the “Hungarian suicide song,” it has been linked to over one hundred suicides, including the one of the man who composed it. One thing’s for sure, though. “Gloomy Sunday’s” composer Rezso Seress did take his life, and the success of his greatest hit may have been a contributing factor.

c05af5a9f078778c780a60a05dda38d33f443387 Weight of a Soul?
Many people like to believe in the idea of a soul, and we often look to the empirical world to bolster our religious or spiritual beliefs, searching for corroborating physical evidence. Just such scientific proof seemed to come in 1907,when a Massachusetts doctor named Duncan MacDougall devised experiments that he expected would actually measure the soul. Using six terminally ill patients on a specially-constructed scale bed, he measured their weight before, during, and after death. His results were mixed, but he concluded that there was indeed a very slight loss of weight, 21 grams on average.

note2 Ricky McCormick and the Encrypted Notes
Two hand-written documents were found in the pockets of murder victim Ricky McCormick when his body was discovered in a field in St. Charles County, Missouri, on June 30, 1999. Attempts by the FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) and the American Cryptogram Association failed to decipher the meanings of those two coded notes, which are listed as one of the CRRU’s top unsolved cases. On March 29, 2011, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an appeal for help from the public in obtaining the meaning of the messages.

McCormick was a high school dropout who had held multiple addresses in the Missouri/Illinois region. He had a criminal record, At the time of his death, he was 41 years old, unemployed, and on disability. McCormick’s body was found on June 30, 1999 near a West Alton, Missouri cornfield by a woman driving along a field road off Route 367. The reason he was 15 miles away from his current address is another mystery, as he did not own a car and the area is not served by public transportation. Though the body had already somewhat decomposed, authorities used fingerprints to identify McCormick. There was no indication that anyone had a motive to kill McCormick and no one had reported him missing, so the authorities initially ruled out homicide, but no cause of death was officially determined at the time. McCormick was last seen alive five days earlier, on June 25, 1999, getting a checkup at St. Louis’ now-defunct Forest Park Hospital. News stories in 1999 did not mention anything about cipher messages, which were not announced until 12 years later when the FBI listed the death as a murder, and posted a notice for help on the main page of their website. Investigators believe the notes in McCormick’s pants pockets were written within the three days before his death.

milky-way Consistent Radio Signals from Outside Our Galaxy
Repeating radio signals coming from a mystery source far beyond the Milky Way have been discovered by scientists. While one-off fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been detected in the past, this is the first time multiple signals have been detected coming from the same place in space. FRBs are radio signals from deep space that last for just a few milliseconds. Since their discovery over a decade ago, scientists have been searching for more to try to understand their origin. At present, there are several theories as to what they could be, with most involving some cataclysmic event like a supernova or a neutron star collapsing into a black hole. All of the events seen so far appear to have been one-offs, with subsequent observations failing to find follow-up bursts coming from the same position as the original. However, an international team of researchers has now discovered an additional 10 bursts coming from the same direction as FRB 121102, using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

ourang-medan Ourang Medan Ship
According to widely circulated reports, in June of 1947 — or, according to alternate accounts, February of 1948 — multiple ships traversing the trade routes of the straits of Malacca, which is located between the sun drenched shores of Sumatra and Malaysia, claimed to have picked up a series of SOS distress signals. The unknown ship’s message was as simple as it was disturbing:
“All officers including captain are dead, lying in chartroom and bridge. Possibly whole crew dead.” This communication was followed by a burst of indecipherable Morse code, then a final, grim message: “I die.” This cryptic proclamation was followed by tomb-like silence.

The chilling distress call was picked up by two American ships as well as British and Dutch listening posts. The men manning these posts managed to triangulate the source of these broadcasts and deduced that they were likely emanating from a Dutch freighter known as the SS Ourang Medan, which was navigating the straits of Malacca. A conscripted American merchant ship called the Silver Star was closest to the presumed location of the Ourang Medan. Originally christened “Santa Cecilia” by the Grace Line (W. R. Grace & Co.), the vessel had been renamed the Silver Star when the United States Maritime Commission “drafted” it in 1946. Noting the terrified urgency in the message that came over the airwaves, the Captain and crew of the Silver Star wasted no time in changing their course in an effort to assist the apparently incapacitated ship. Within hours, the Silver Star caught sight of the Ourang Medan rising and falling in the choppy waters of the Malacca Strait. As the merchant craft neared the ill-omened vessel, the crew noticed that there was no sign of life on the deck. The Americans attempted to hail the Dutch crew to no avail. That’s when the Captain of the Silver Star decided to assemble a boarding party. As they left the safe haven of the Silver Star, these unfortunate souls had no idea that they were about to walk into a living nightmare. As soon as they boarded the Ourang Medan, the men swiftly realized that the distress calls were not an exaggeration. The decks of the vessel were littered with the corpses of the Dutch crew; their eyes wide, their arms grasping at unseen assailants, their faces twisted into revolting visages of agony and horror. Even the ship’s dog was dead; it’s once intimidating snarl frozen into a ghastly grimace. The boarding party found the Captain’s remains on the bridge, while his officers’ cadavers were strewn about the wheelhouse and chartroom. The communications officer was still at his post, as dead as the rest, his fingertips resting on the telegraph. All of the corpses, according to reports, bore the same terrified, wide-eyed expressions as the crew on deck.

crime-scene-taped-off Sam Borg
The Melbourne, Australia cafe owner was found beaten to death in his bedroom on May 30, 1960. The door to the room was nailed shut from the inside, and there was a loaded gun under his pillow. Apparently, he forgot to lock a window. The killer and the motive were never discovered.

holt-portrait-5410eef3adaea-30fb505b1907fbed715f495a8a613e6bc750e078 Australian Prime Minister, Harold Holt
round 11:30 a.m. on December 17, 1967, Holt met four friends at a neighbor’s house and then went with them to the military Quarantine Station, where they were all waived through the security checkpoint.

After watching a ship pass through the Heads, Holt and his friends drove over to Cheviot Bay Beach, a beach that Holt often frequented.

Stepping away from the others, Holt changed into a pair of dark swim trunks behind an outcropping of rocks; he left on his sand shoes, which were missing laces. Despite the high tide and rough waters, Holt went into the ocean for a swim.

Perhaps he had become complacent about the dangers of the ocean since he had a long history of swimming at this location or perhaps he didn’t realize quite how rough the water really was that day.

At first, his friends could see him swimming. As the waves grew more ferocious, his friends soon realized that he was in trouble. They shouted at him to come back, but the waves kept him away from the shore. A few minutes later, they had lost him. He was gone.

A monumental search and rescue attempt was launched, but the search was eventually called off without ever having found Holt’s body. Two days after he went missing, Holt was presumed dead and a funeral service was held for him on December 22. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, and many other heads of state attended Holt’s funeral.