Human history certainly holds its fair share of mysteries. Not all ancient civilisations were attentive bureaucrats like the Ancient Romans – the people of ancient Rome were excellent at documentation, so we know a huge amount about them, their society and their traditions. Unfortunately for historians, the story of certain societies and their creations will always remain shrouded in an intriguing mystery with no concrete answers in sight.
A perfect example is the infamous Voynich Manuscript. The Voynich Manuscript supposedly originated in Italy. Carbon dating has put the handwritten manuscript around the early 1400s. For years, the nature of the Voynich Manuscript has puzzled all those who have come into contact with it. Why? The entire manuscript is written in a coded language, completely unlike any other language or form of writing that exists. No cryptographer has ever been able to decipher the code written in the book. Historians even enlisted the help of some expert code crackers who worked during World War II, but none have ever had any luck. The manuscript itself is a few hundred pages, and most pages even include diagrams of strange plants that don’t resemble any living species.
Although many historians and cryptographers have suggested that the book could be nonsense, many maintain that the care and attention the unknown author must have put in during the manuscript’s production suggests otherwise. It begs the question: why would someone spend hours and hours (plus a lot of money – manuscripts were incredibly expensive items in the 15th century) producing something of no value to anyone?
However, the number of mysterious monuments and places that left traces still visible today greatly outweigh the number of entirely mysterious artefacts that have been discovered. Some of the monuments left behind by ancient peoples are so strange, and so well constructed, that they have left historians mystified. Aside from monuments, certain places on earth have an inescapable air of mystery about them that remains unexplained to this day. If you’re a bit of a conspiracy theorist and you’re looking for a new adventure, the following 8 locations could provide you with endlessly compelling mystery.
Groom Lake, Nevada
Most of us know this place better as ‘Area 51′ – or, more officially, the ‘Nevada Test and Training Range’. A US Military base located in Southern Nevada, Area 51 is compelling fodder for all government conspiracy theorists. The CIA are in charge of the area, and any and all activity conducted there is Top Secret. Much hypothesising over what exactly goes on in Area 51 has led to some crazy theories over the years – including the somewhat outlandish notion that this is an area where the American government performs tests on alien species. While it’s recently emerged that a significant number of the activities here involve testing military aircrafts, the conspiracy theories persist…
Newgrange is a historical structure located in County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange is renowned worldwide for being one of the most mysterious historical places in the world. Dating back to over 3000 BC, Newgrange is still standing despite being almost 5,000 years old. Amazingly, the roof (constructed entirely out of flat stones) has never leaked since it was built, due to the extreme care taken in its construction. The inside of Newgrange consists of a passage that leads to a chamber. At the top of the chamber, there is a small gap. Newgrange is constructed in such a way that on the winter solstice every year (December 21st), the sun shines directly into the gap and illuminates the entire chamber. Due to the average size people would have been in the megalithic era (about four foot tall!), nobody knows how they managed to carry the giant stones and construct the building. The exact purpose of Newgrange, too, remains a mystery.
The Roanoke Colony was a plantation colony in the 16th century, when England first began to settle in the New World. Over 100 planters had been settled in the Roanoke Colony (near modern day North Carolina) and were equipped with large houses, boats and supplies. A few years later, some Englishmen were sent over on ships to check up on the progress of the Roanoke colony. What they found would shock them to the core: The entire colony had disappeared. The houses had been torn down, their supplies were gone and the people had disappeared. No bodies were ever found, nor any trace of the Roanoke colony. The only thing left was a tall fence that had been built around the now non-existent village. The word ‘Croatoan’ had been scratched into the fence – the only clue that was left behind.
Death Valley’s Sailing Stones have always been a mystery. These are stones, incredibly heavy stones at that, which appear to slide slowly across the sand unassisted in remote parts of Death Valley. Despite being investigated for over 100 years, scientists have yet to find a definitive explanation for the movement of the stones. Theories range from natural forces moving the stones, such as strong winds, to supernatural influences such as aliens. Although most crazy theories have been dismissed by scientists, no rational explanation for the movement exists. Nobody has ever seen the stones move. Sometimes, the stones completely change course and slide in another direction, which can be seen clearly due to the zig-zagged patterns they leave in the sand.
The Yonaguni Monument is one of the most mysterious structures in the world – probably because the entire structure is submerged off the coast of the Ryukyu Islands off the coast of Japan. The Yonaguni Monument is a pyramid style structure, with many ledges, ramps and steps. One of the structures is almost 100 foot high. It was discovered by divers in 1986, and since then scientists have been divided as to whether the structure is man made or not. The even levels of the structure suggest that it was made by human hands, and tool marks have been found on the surface of some of the rocks. It is estimated that the rock itself dates back to before the ice age, and has since fallen into the ocean due to a natural disaster. If the structure is in fact man made, this would completely rewrite history. Ancient Asian people who lived at this time were believed to be quite primitive – however, if they were capable of making a structure like this, this would mean that they were much more advanced than Westerners at the time.
Stonehenge is the fabled stone structure that has stood in Salisbury, United Kingdom for thousands of years. The mystery of Stonehenge is still unanswered. Many are still puzzled as to what role the structure had in the lives of ancient people, but others are more baffled by how it was built. The stones that it is constructed from each weigh a few tonnes each, and some of the stone used originates in Wales. It is uncertain how people transported the stones to their current location. The purpose of the monument raises more questions. Exploration of the area and study of the soil has revealed that wooden pillars were once erected on the hill, long before the stones were placed there. This suggests that the location was seen as significant for many thousands of years. Since the people of the era had not developed any form of writing, working out the exact purpose of Stonehenge is guesswork. Like Newgrange, the monument appears to be orientated around the Winter solstice. Study of the soil shows that certain people were buried there – but once again, the significance of the burial place is unknown.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the most mind boggling structures in history – so much so that it is one of the fabled wonders of the world. The famous pyramid still overlooks Cairo as it has done for thousands of years. The pyramid of Giza remains a mystery because of how complex it is. The pyramid is a truly unbelievable feat of engineering that still leaves experts puzzled to this day. The weight of stone used to construct the pyramid actually outweighs the weight of all the stone used in the construction of every church and cathedral in the United Kingdom since the birth of Jesus Christ! The construction of the pyramid is difficult to comprehend, but even more so is the production of the blocks used to build it. Each granite brick used in the construction of Giza weighs a couple of tonnes. These blocks were mined and cut out of solid rock in the earth’s surface. How the ancient Egyptians managed to do this is still a mystery to this day, considering the fact that the tools recovered from the time are too weak to carry out such a feat.
The Bermuda Triangle is a part of the world that has long been the subject of debate, and since the early 20th century has permeated the public consciousness. The Bermuda Triangle is a triangle of water located in the Atlantic ocean, between Florida, Puerto Rico and Bermuda itself. The triangle of water is allegedly cursed, due to reports of many sea vessels and aircraft meeting their doom within the triangle. Reports range from unexplained disappearances of aircraft flying over the triangle to ships which have emerged from the triangle with no crewman left on board. Explanations for these mysterious happenings have ranged from the supernatural to the scientific: some blame aliens, others blame magnetic fields and wormholes in time.
However, recent researchers suggest that many of the mysterious disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle have been greatly exaggerated or even fabricated, raising questions as to whether or not there’s really anything strange happening around the ‘Triangle at all. Of course, reports of anomalies occurring within the Bermuda Triangle continue to emerge, so the mystery persists.
Easter Island, located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile, hosts some of the most unusual and mysterious historical structures known to man. Easter Island is the home of the Moai statues – a total of almost 900 giant humanoid stone sculptures that were made sometime between the years 1250 and 1500. The statues have torsos which are often buried beneath the soil. The Moai are scattered all over Easter Island and are all positioned so that they are facing inwards towards the land. It has remained a mystery as to how these structures were moved around and positioned by the islands native inhabitants, the Rapa Nui people. The meaning of the statues also remains elusive.