Human beings have an innate desire to discover the truth. If there’s something we don’t understand, it scratches our curiosity and holds our attention. But sometimes, the truth evades our grasp, and there have been many odd events over the years that have never been solved.
Whilst there are plenty of examples to choose from, these three cases are certainly some of the weirdest you will ever come across.
1. The Man in the Iron Mask
In 1698, an unusual prisoner was transferred to the Bastille, the infamous fortress in the capital of France. This new prisoner had already been incarcerated for many years in other prisons.
No one was allowed to know his identity, so he wore a mask to hide his face. The prisoner had to keep his mask on all the time, even when he was eating and sleeping. He wore lace and linen, played the guitar, and many believed he was an aristocrat of some sort.
He died at the Bastille in 1703, and over the years, there have been many theories about the identity of this man. There were rumors that he was related to King Louis XIV. The philosopher Voltaire — who questioned the guards at the Bastille — was amongst those who claimed the prisoner was the illegitimate half-brother of King Louis XIV.
Conversely, others have argued the prisoner was actually a woman who was the only legitimate child of King Louis XIII. The king had imprisoned her because he wanted a son to inherit the throne, even if he was illegitimate.
Novelist Alexandre Dumas popularized the mystery of The Man in the Iron Mask in the nineteenth century, and the story continues to intrigue people. However, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know the truth about this mysterious person.
2. The Disappearance of the USS Cyclops
The USS Cyclops was a 542-foot cargo ship. It belonged to the United States Navy, and the story of this mysterious ship still baffles people today.
Captained by George W. Worley, Cyclops was assigned to transport a load of coal from Norfolk, Virginia, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The coal would be used to refuel US ships in that area. Due to Worley’s poor navigation skills, Cyclops arrived late on the 28th of January 1918.
After unloading the coal, the ship took on 11,000 tons of manganese ore (a mineral used to make steel) and headed for Baltimore, Maryland. The ship made an unscheduled stop in the West Indies, as Worley wanted to take on more supplies. Cyclops left Barbados on the 4th of March, and it was never seen again.
By the middle of the month, a search-and-rescue plan was underway, focusing on the waters between Cuba and Puerto Rico. After several weeks of searching, no progress had been made. There was no wreckage. There was no debris. And there were no survivors.
Given this event took place during the First World War, some have argued that the Germans attacked Cyclops. However, extensive searches of Germany’s naval records indicate that no attack ever took place.
Others have suggested that the ship got caught in a storm, tilted to one side due to the heavy load, and started to sink. This is a more plausible theory, but it still doesn’t explain why no trace of the ship has ever been found.
3. The Disappearance of the Australian Prime Minister
On the 17th of December 1967, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a swim at Cheviot Beach. He was accompanied by his neighbor and several of her house guests.
Holt quickly changed into his swimming trunks and walked into the sea. He started to swim away from the beach, moving further and further away from the rest of the party. Indeed, the others became increasingly anxious about the Prime Minister’s safety.
Moments later, Holt’s head vanished beneath the water, and he was never seen again. Everyone assumed the Prime Minister had drowned. Divers searched the sea. Helicopters scanned the area. But the body was never found.
Some believe Holt committed suicide given that his two-year tenure as Australia’s Prime Minister had been full of troubles, whilst others believe Holt had faked his death. Journalist Anthony Grey even argued Holt was secretly a Chinese spy and that he had boarded a submarine and gone over to China. This theory, which was published in a book called The Prime Minister Was a Spy, was ridiculed by many.
All these years later, we still don’t know what happened to Holt, and the absence of a body is particularly strange. Did he commit suicide? Was it just an accident? Or did something else happen that day? Unfortunately, we’ll never know the truth.