The possibility to let your characters witness or even participate in [[BasedOnATrueStory events that actually happened]], is probably one of the most appealing aspects of HistoricalFiction, {{Flashback}}s, TimeTravel stories and the like. But sometimes it can be quite hard to shoehorn your characters in, if you don't want to [[YouFailHistoryForever sacrifice too much of historical accuracy]]. Especially if your character doesn't quite fit into the historical setting, because he is a NinjaPirateZombieRobot.

The solution: Take a famous historical event that is shrouded in mystery, an event of which not many details are publicly known. Then fill the gap of historical records with whatever you want, this way "revealing" what actually happened. This adds the bonus that everyone likes a good mystery (and its eventual solution).

Depending on the tone and genre of your work, your "explanation" can range from [[ScoobyDooHoax mundane]], over [[HistoricalInJoke humorous]], to [[ETGaveUsWiFi absolutely]] [[AncientAstronauts fantastic]].

The BeenThereShapedHistory person likes to cause these events. Of course {{Historical Domain Character}}s as well as fictional {{Public Domain Character}}s may be involved too. Perhaps they did even use a PublicDomainArtifact.

Anyway, in the end you can proudly claim that your story is VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory.

Closely related to HistoricalInJoke. Can also overlap with BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy, when the focus lies on specific historical individuals. Often happens at, and tightly involves, a LandmarkOfLore. Also, at least one of this events is a must-have for any ConspiracyKitchenSink story worth its salt.

Note that sometimes mysteries get solved, or even debunked as not having been that mysterious in the first place. In this case the work either [[DatedHistory was written in a time before the solution/debunking]], or the writer didn't get the memo, or he's just using ArtisticLicense. For [[RuleOfCool obvious reasons]], solutions that are perceived as "boring" are the most likely to be disregarded by writers.
!!Stock Unsolved Mysteries that have their own trope pages:

* [[PhlebotinumKilledTheDinosaurs The extinction of the dinosaurs]]
* [[PyramidPower How (and why) the Ancient Egyptians built the pyramids]]
* The legend of {{Atlantis}} and whether it might still exist.
* [[JesusTheEarlyYears The lost years of]] [[/index]]UsefulNotes/JesusChrist[[index]]
* [[LostRomanLegion The disappearance of Roman legions, especially the Legio IX Hispana]]
* UsefulNotes/FermatsLastTheorem
* The murders and true identity of UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper
* The UsefulNotes/LizzieBorden case
* TheTunguskaEvent
* [[DidAnastasiaSurvive The purported survival of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanova]] ([[/index]][[DatedHistory now disproved]][[index]])
* The disappearance of UsefulNotes/AmeliaEarhart
* [[RoswellThatEndsWell The Roswell incident]]
* Ships and airplanes disappearing within TheBermudaTriangle
* TheMenInBlack
* [[WhoShotJFK The assassination of]] [[/index]]UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy[[index]]
* {{Area 51}}
* The locations and abilities of miscellaneous {{Public Domain Artifact}}s

!!Stock Unsolved Mysteries without their own pages, and examples thereof:


[[folder: Mysterious Disappearances ]]

* The case of Benjamin Bathurst, who disappeared from his hotel one day in 1809. (The actual truth is quite prosaic: Contemporary documents make it clear that he was almost certainly just mugged. Some of his personal belongings were even found during the search for him. It only became a mysterious mystery because of one particular account that made it sound like he'd disappeared into thin air in front of witnesses.)
** Creator/HBeamPiper, Creator/RobertBloch, Creator/LionelFanthorpe, and Creator/AvramDavidson, among others, have written stories in which Bathurst was transported to the future or to an AlternateUniverse.
** Simon Hawke's ''Literature/TimeWars'' series has a line in passing attributing his disappearance to somebody changing the past out from underneath him.
* The unknown fate of author, journalist and satirist Creator/AmbroseBierce, who vanished somewhere in Mexico in 1913 after time spent accompanying Pancho Villa's army as an observer.
** In ''Manga/DanceInTheVampireBund'' he turns up as a vampire, although the circumstances of his transformation and how he became a confidant of [[VampireMonarch Mina Tepes]] remains unknown.
** The third ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'' film attributes his disappearance to a run-in with vampires.
** Creator/RobertAHeinlein's novella "Lost Legacy" has Bierce surviving into the future and participating in a war to control humanity's nascent psychic abilities.
** Creator/CarlosFuentes's novel ''Literature/TheOldGringo'' is a fictionalized account of Bierce's disappearance which was later adapted into the film ''Old Gringo'' (1989).
* D.B. Cooper, also known as Dan Cooper, who vanished on November 24, 1971 with $200,000 after hijacking a 727 and parachuting from the stairs in the tail. The most likely hypothesis are a) he died in the parachuting attempt, or b) he survived the jump and simply went back to his old job and old life as if nothing has happened--Cooper was certainly nondescript enough to escape notice.
** In an episode of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'', appropriately titled "The D.B. Cooper Job", a federal agent hires the team to solve the case. The agent's father, a retired agent himself, is dying of cancer, and the D.B. Cooper case is the only one of his career he was unable to solve.
** ''Film/WithoutAPaddle'' involves a group of friends who decide to fulfill their childhood fantasies of locating D.B. Cooper's loot after one of their number dies unexpectedly.
** ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[ satirically suggests that]] he is none other than Tommy Wiseau, the maker of Film/TheRoom.
*** Others have offered this theory, with varying degrees of seriousness. For the record, Wiseau denies that he is D.B. Cooper.
** In one ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' comic, [[ Dogbert claims to have Cooper's remains]]. "He learned that you should never get your parachutes from the same people you're robbing."
** In ''Series/NewsRadio'', it is heavily implied that millionaire Jimmy James may be Cooper--it is implied hard enough that a cold-case investigation of the heist [[PutOnABus forces him to go the run for the better part of a season]], endangering the station's finances.
** ''Series/PrisonBreak'': It turns out that D.B. Cooper was never found because he was arrested (and sentenced to life) for a different crime shortly afterwards in his real identity, [[spoiler:elder Fox River convict Charles Westmoreland]]. An important sub-plot of the second season was the gang hunting down his buried loot in order to fund their getaway from the country.
** One of the legends investigated in the ''Heists'' episode of Series/WhiteRabbitProject.
* [[ Colony collapse disorder]]. The sudden vanishing of worker bees from their hives across the world (leaving even their queens behind), first reported in 2006. No conclusive explanation has yet been found, and most scientists now believe that [[ a combination of factors are at work]].
** ''Series/DoctorWho'' used it as a running joke throughout New Who series 4. It ends with the revelation that [[spoiler: the vanishing bees were actually aliens who became aware of what the Daleks planned to do to Earth]].
** ''VideoGame/TheSecretWorld'' trailers contain the ArcWords "The Bees Are Returning" (among other things), which is currently believed to have to do with the CCD.
** ''Series/TheXFiles'' used the bees as an integral part of the GovernmentConspiracy's EvilPlan ([[spoiler:to spread the deadly alien virus]]), about a decade before the CCD was first reported. However, the feral bee population across the world has been rapidly diminishing since 1972... and incidentally, said GovernmentConspiracy was founded in 1973.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "The Burns and the Bees", Lisa creates a bee sanctuary to combat CCD, which Groundskeeper Willie says is caused by loss of habitat.
** In the ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' episode "Absconded", a symposium on CCD is used as part of a ''really convoluted'' plot to kidnap a member of a royal family from the United Arab Emirates and ramsom him.
* The disappearance of the American labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975. The FBI are still looking for his body.
** In ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'', when Little Pete is tunneling under his house to escape from being grounded, he finds a wallet, looks at it and exclaims, "Hoffa!"
** In ''Film/BruceAlmighty'', Bruce uses his godlike powers to find the body in order to advance his journalistic career.
** The movie ''Hoffa'', starring Creator/JackNicholson, suggests that he was [[spoiler:assassinated by one of his mob allies after Hoffa threatened to reveal their connections]].
** In ''Film/NothingButTrouble'', it is discovered that Hoffa ended up in the town of [[TownWithADarkSecret Valkenvania]], a likely victim of the rather cruel, unusual, and deadly punishments meted out by the local justice system there.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Last Exit to Springfield" makes a nod to the mystery with Mr. Burns and Smithers mentioning that the previous head of the power plant's union "mysteriously disappeared" after vowing the clean up the union. A CutawayGag depicting a football player tripping over a man-shaped mound of dirt on the field references Hoffa's alleged burial under Giants Stadium. (which ''MythBusters'' even tested and busted)
** Elevated to a minor RunningGag in ''ComicStrip/PiranhaClub''. In one storyline, Ernie gets lost in the Himalayan mountains and discovers that there is no such thing as a [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Yeti]], it was just Jimmy Hoffa's frozen corpse all along. In a different storyline, Jimmy Hoffa's ShrunkenHead is [[Film/TheGodfather left in Uncle Sid's bed]] after some South American natives kidnapped Sid's pet piranha. Yet another storyline has Ernie and Arnold find Jimmy Hoffa frozen inside a glacier while scaling Mount Bayonne.
* The disappearance of the so-called "Jewels of Helen" excavated from the ruins of Troy was the subject of the Elizabeth Peters novel ''Trojan Gold''. (The mystery has since been solved, but that was after the novel's publication).
* The disappearance of the British peer Lord Lucan in 1974, shortly after his children's nanny was murdered. The nanny wasn't supposed to be in the house that night but had changed her night off, and it's believed the intended victim was Lady Lucan, the nanny being attacked by mistake when she entered the darkened basement. The two most common theories are that he committed suicide following the murder or that he's still alive somewhere (although the 2013 TV miniseries starring Rory Kinnear posits that he was shot dead and dumped into the English Channel on the orders of John Aspinall). Nevertheless, in 2016 he was finally declared legally dead.
** In Jake Arnott's ''The Long Firm'', [[LondonGangster Harry Stark]] is strongly implied to have been involved, but no details are revealed.
** ''Series/SpittingImage'' has a puppet of Lord Lucan (whom some viewers confused with Music/FreddieMercury) have a cameo in almost every episode as a RunningGag.
* The mystery of the sailing ship ''Mary Celeste'', whose entire crew did vanish in 1872 somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. The [[ current favourite]] realistic theory involves an alcohol explosion.
** The 1935 ''Mystery of the Mary Celeste'' with Creator/BelaLugosi posits that the crew was murdered by a serial killer.
** In the First Doctor ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''The Chase'', the crew were killed by Daleks. In the novelisation of the Third Doctor serial ''Invasion of the Dinosaurs'', The Doctor refers to the mystery of the Mary Celeste and states (with the confident finality that only a time-traveller who has seen the future can possess) "No one ever discovered what happened to the people on that ship, and they never will."
** In ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' episode "The Mystery of the Marie Celeste (solved)", Neddy Seagoon investigates in order to claim a reward offered for the solution to the mystery, only for the man offering the reward to mysteriously disappear himself.
** "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement", a short story by Sir Creator/ArthurConanDoyle, invented a number of details to make the event more mysterious which have subsequently been frequently included as fact in accounts of the real event.
** ''Series/SapphireAndSteel'' referred to the ''Mary Celeste'' affair as a past assignment, in Assignment 1. Sapphire, Steel, and Lead were apparently involved.
** In 1990, the Gibraltarian author Sam Benady published ''Franchise/SherlockHolmes in Gibraltar'', a set of two short stories set in the pre-Watson days. In the first one, ''The Abandoned Brigantine'', Sherlock Holmes solves the mystery of the ''Mary Celeste''.
* The disappearance of "The Princes in the Tower", the children of Edward IV whose uncle and Lord Protector UsefulNotes/RichardIII had them declared illegitimate to clear his way to the throne. (If you think you've spotted a likely suspect already, you're not alone, although "Ricardians" point the finger at his successor, Henry VII.)
** Shakespeare's ''Theatre/RichardIII'' has them murdered by assassins sent by Richard.
** In Kim Newman's ''Literature/AnnoDracula'' short story "Vampire Romance", [[spoiler:Richard himself, who happens to be a vampire, emphatically denies having sent assassins to kill the Princes -- he did the job personally]].
* The disappearance of the Roanoke Colony, an English colony in what is now North Carolina, a generation before the sailing of the ''Mayflower''. An additional point of interest is that among the disappeared colonists was the child Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America. The cryptic word "Croatoan", inscribed on a tree in the colony, is frequently expounded upon. The most likely result was that the colonists, facing harsh conditions, melded with a nearby Indian tribe; various reports over the following decades made reference to Indians with European features, such as gray eyes, living in the area.
** ''ComicBook/OneHundredBullets'' has the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony be the work of [[AncientConspiracy The Trust]], as the colonists refused to cede to the Trust's plans of pulling the strings of the American experiment.
** ''Literature/AbrahamLincolnVampireHunter'' reveals it as the result of a vampire attack. The sequel, ''Literature/TheLastAmericanVampire'', goes into more detail, since protagonist Henry Sturges is one of [[spoiler:three survivors of that attack, the other two being Virginia Dare and the vampire who wiped out the colony and turned Henry. Both of these play a significant role in the plot]].
** A {{Crossover}} between ComicBook/{{Batman}} and ComicBook/{{Spawn}} uses this as the backstory of the BigBad, a demon called Croatoan who intends to circumscribe Gotham with a massive pentagram pattern like he did the Roanoke colony (which nobody noticed because nobody flew a weather balloon up there) and condemn all its souls to Hell.
** The Literature/DoctorWhoMissingAdventures novel ''The Empire of Glass'' offers an alien-abduction explanation.
** The short story "Ezekiel" by Desmond Warzel explains where they went, and why.
** The Roanoke Colony mystery was a significant part of the MythArc of the TV series ''Series/{{Freakylinks}}''.
** The Roanoke Colony features in ''ComicBook/{{Marvel 1602}}'', and Virginia Dare is a significant character.
** ''Old Virginia'', a Franchise/CthulhuMythos short story by Laird Barron, had the colony fall victim to an EldritchAbomination.
** ''{{Literature/Phantoms}}'' posits that the town was devoured by an huge, ancient, shape-shifting monster.
** Grant Morrison's ''ComicBook/SevenSoldiers'' features the present-day descendants of the colony living in an underground town. The reason for their disappearance: [[spoiler:an immortal, dethroned, time-traveling king from a future Earth mated with their women and got them to hide underground, so that his former wife (the current monarch of the future Earth) wouldn't notice them, and that their descendants would one day help him overthrow her.]] Also, the underground town is inexplicably located close to a New York City Subway tunnel.
** Andre Linoge, the BigBad of Stephen King's ''Series/StormOfTheCentury'', claims to have caused the disappearance and death of the Roanoke Colony by forcing all its citizens to drown themselves in the sea when they would not "give him what he wants", and intends to repeat the tragedy on Little Tall Island. The word "Croatoan" is invoked by a later DrivenToSuicide member of the town, but is never fully explained.
** ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' attributes it to a demonic-originated HatePlague.
** The backstory of ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' has Roanoke wiped out when [[EldritchAbomination the Eater of Souls]] woke up. The word "Croatoan," famously found etched into a tree, was the name of the Native American werewolf tribe that gave their lives to put the thing back down.
** ''Fanfic/ParisBurning'' offers no new explanation for the disappearance of the colonists, but identifies "Croatoan" as the name of an EldritchAbomination that had taken an interest in the colony. The famous etching was done by the [[NationsAsPeople personification]] of the colony, whom the entity had chosen as its servant, as an invocation and prayer for help.
** In Creator/LJagiLamplighter's Literature/RachelGriffin series, the island was magically moved and is in fact in New York State now, and the site of the magical school, and Virginia Dare was a powerful magician; the Wise (those who know about magic) hid this from the Unwary (those who don't). As best we know. Though that piece of history has not been doubted in series, it has been established that just as the Unwary's history has been rewritten for them by the Wise, someone has been likewise hiding things from the Wise.
** ''VideoGame/JamestownLegendOfTheLostColony'' reimagines TheColonialPeriod on Mars rather than in America, including the eponymous Lost Colony of Roanoke which has been destroyed by the local wildlife BrainwashedAndCrazy. Sir Walter even finds Virginia Dare among ruins!
** In the ''Blue Bloods'' novels by Melissa de la Cruz, the Roanoke colonists (all Blue Bloods, fallen angels who live on earth as vampires) were killed by the Silver Bloods (former Blue Bloods who rejected the Code and now feed on the remaining Blue Bloods).
** ''Series/SleepyHollow'' posits that the village was magically displaced, and exists in a sort of pocket dimension in New York State.
** In ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryRoanoke'', the colonists simply moved inland to survive the harsh winter... and a while later they were all sacrificed by their leader, who was possessed by a pagan witch, and became ghosts.
** The WebSerialNovel ''Literature/HereticalEdge'' (which features a fully grown and immortal Virginia Dare as a supporting character) eventually reveals that the colonists moved further inland to protect Virginia from the Croatoans, who believed that the first English child born on American soil would eventually be used by a "Great Evil" to destroy the world. After the move, the Great Evil in question found and gradually wiped them out until Virginia was the only survivor.
* Michael Rockefeller, son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared in New Guinea in November 1961 after his rowboat capsized. After spending some time adrift on the wreckage with his partner, Rockefeller decided to try swimming to shore and was never seen again. Theories range from headhunters to crocodile attack to simple drowning. There are even claims that Rockefeller survived and joined a local tribe. Most recently, a 2014 book claims that natives killed and cannibalized Rockefeller, but met with considerable controversy.
** The 2007 [[FoundFootageFilms found footage film]] ''Welcome to the Jungle'' is about a group of modern tourists in New Guinea investigating stories that Rockefeller is still alive. As is par for the genre, the search doesn't end well for them...
** The novel ''The King of America'' is a RomanAClef based on Rockefeller's disappearance.


[[folder: Mysterious Documents ]]

* The [[ Voynich manuscript]], a manuscript dated to the 16th century, of unknown origin and written in an unknown script.
** Rather bizarrely, the writing from the manuscript appears in an obscure casual video game called ''[[ Blood Oath]]''. It seems to imply that [[BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy whoever created the manuscript was a vampire]], because in the game vampires write letters to one another with these letters, even though one might suspect it was used because the developers didn't want to create a new alphabet and borrowed one to which no one held the copyright.
** In ''[[VideoGame/BrokenSword Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon]]'', one of the characters deciphers the Voynich manuscript [[spoiler:and promptly gets killed, since it contains the key to waking the Sleeping Dragon]].
** ''Literature/CodexSeraphinianus'', created by Luigi Serafini in the 1970s, was inspired by the Voynich manuscript. Written in an indecipherable script, it appears to be an encyclopedia of an alien world. It was created in order to inspire in its readers the [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible feeling of impenetrable mystery]].
** ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' posits that the Voynich Manuscript is actually... [[ the manual for a centuries-old tabletop RPG.]]
** In Book 4 of ''VideoGame/DreamfallChapters'', the Voynich alphabet makes an appearance in notes and books that belong to one of the secondary characters. Said character lives in the world of magic parallel to "our" world, world of science, so the implication may be that the manuscript somehow got across the divide.
** ''Series/AncientAliens'', in its quest to link every mystery in human history ever to the so-called "ancient astronaut theory," claim that the Voynich Manuscript is in an alien language.
** ''Series/AssassinsCreed'' has pages from this document in its archives in the fourth game, but interestingly does NOT state outright that they are of Precursor origin.


[[folder: Mysterious Fires ]]

* UsefulNotes/{{Hamburg}}, 1842
** A [[GermanMedia German novel]] called ''Der Funke des Chronos'' deals with TimeTravel, alchemists, and the Great Fire of Hamburg.
* UsefulNotes/{{London}}, 1666
** The Great Fire of London is a plot point in ''Literature/TheBaroqueCycle'' by Creator/NealStephenson. While it isn't exactly presented as something mysterious, one character (the father of Daniel Waterhouse) [[MistakenForApocalypse firmly believes that this is the Apocalypse]]. [[spoiler:He dies in the fire and thus never learns his error.]]
** The ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "The Visitation" ends with the Great Fire of London being accidentally started during a showdown with aliens planning to wipe out humanity.
** Ra's Al Ghul claims credit for the London fire on behalf of the League of Shadows in ''Film/BatmanBegins''. The British Empire was getting too big for its britches, you see. Which is bizarre, since the British Empire had barely started in 1666.
** ''Series/WizardsVsAliens'' "The Cave of Menla-Gto": Moon mentions that the Great Fire was caused by a dragon who thought that there were actual puddings in Pudding Lane.
* The Reichstag (UsefulNotes/{{Berlin}}), 1933
** In ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'', the Reichstag fire was neither set by the [[DirtyCommies Communists]], nor the [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazis]] in order to [[RedScare frame said Communists]], but instead [[spoiler:by an Italian who merely wanted to sabotage the electric lighting, and [[EpicFail grossly overestimated his electrotechnical competence]]]].
* UsefulNotes/{{Rome}}, 64
** In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "The Romans", UsefulNotes/{{Nero}} hires arsonists to set the fire so he has an excuse to embark on some major building works he has planned. He gets the idea when the Doctor accidentally sets fire to a map of Rome by focusing sunlight through his reading glasses.
** The episode featuring ''Film/SpaceMutiny'' in ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' ended with [[ItMakesSenseInContext the crew finally escaping Ancient Rome]], with [[TheDitz Professor Bobo]] [[ItMakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext knocking over a candle while stealing a cheese wheel.]] The next episode begins with Mike confirming [[MikeNelsonDestroyerOfWorlds the fire burned down the rest of Rome.]]
* UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco, 1906
** In the Literature/DoctorWhoNewAdventures novel ''All-Consuming Fire'', the fire is started during a showdown with invading aliens.


[[folder: Mysterious Monumental Damage ]]

* How did the Great Sphinx of Gizeh lose its nose?
** ''[[ComicBook/{{Asterix}} Asterix and Cleopatra]]'' has Obelix accidentally de-nosing the Sphinx while sightseeing. (In the movies, he goes on to deprive the Venus de Milo of her arms in ''WesternAnimation/TheTwelveTasksOfAsterix'' and knock a great big hole in the Colosseum in ''WesternAnimation/AsterixVersusCaesar'' -- the latter a particularly impressive feat considering that the Colosseum wasn't built until over a century after Caesar's reign.)
** In ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', the Sphinx's nose is knocked off when the sculptor applies his chisel too strongly, because he's surprised by Aladdin and Jasmine flying past on their date.
** ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' shows the Sphinx getting its nose knocked off.
* What happened to the left eye of the [[ bust of Nefertiti]]?
** In ''Manga/AnatoliaStory'', the bust of Nefertiti only has one eye because the eye was made out of a piece of jewelry that had sentimental value to Nefertiti, and there was only enough material for one eye. When the sculptor points this out, Nefertiti replies "Who cares? It's just a bust, it's not like it's very valuable anyway."
* What happened to the rest of the [[ Athenaeum portrait]] of UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington?[[note]]The actual answer is, "Nothing, the painter just never got around to finishing it."[[/note]]
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Jebediah Springfield is responsible for damaging the portrait.


[[folder: Mysterious Murder Cases ]]

* The [[ Axeman of New Orleans]], an unidentified serial killer present in New Orleans in the late 1910s.
** Appears in ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryCoven''. The night he threatened to murder anyone who wasn't playing jazz music in their home, he [[MuggingTheMonster attacked a witch coven]] and was killed for his troubles.
* Bible John, unidentified serial killer active in Glasgow in the late 1960s.
** The Creator/GrantMorrison[=/=]Daniel Vallely comic book ''Bible John: A Forensic Meditation'' is a surreal, hallucinogenic speculation on the unidentified SerialKiller's possible motivations.
* The death of Mary Rogers, found floating in the Hudson River in 1841.
** Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's story "Literature/TheMysteryOfMarieRoget" shows his detective protagonist Literature/CAugusteDupin solve a thinly-veiled version of the real-life mystery. [[DatedHistory Most students of the case now accept a different solution.]]
* There was some controversy between the police and coroner at the time, but five-year-old [[ Elsie Paroubek]] was almost certainly murdered. Dredged from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal a month after her disappearance in the spring of 1911, her killer was never found. Miss Paroubek's story, and her photo, published in the Chicago ''Daily News'', were among the inspirations for Creator/HenryDarger's monumental amateur novel ''Literaure/InTheRealmsOfTheUnreal''.
* The gruesome unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, nicknamed "Black Dahlia", 1947 in Los Angeles.
** The book ''Literature/BlackDahlia'', and [[Film/TheBlackDahlia the 2006 movie adaptation]].
** In the '90s adventure game ''VideoGame/BlackDahlia'', it turned out to be part of an ancient magical ritual carried out by [[{{Ghostapo}} Nazis]].
** "[[ The Black Dahlia]]", an episode of ''Series/{{Hunter}}'', has Hunter and [=McCall=] investigate after new evidence comes to light; it aired on the anniversary date of the original murder.
** Is a major part of the plot in ''VideoGame/LANoire''. (It turns out that [[spoiler:the killer was the half-brother of a very highly-placed politician, so after you find and kill him, the whole matter is sealed up and quieted down]].)
** In the ninth episode of ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'', Elizabeth Short is shown to be one of several victims of the "Murder House".
* The Zodiac Killer, unidentified serial killer active in northern California in the 1960s and 1970s; sent cryptogram messages to the press, some of which remain unsolved.
** ''Film/DirtyHarry'' was heavily inspired by the Zodiac Killer; its murderer is named Scorpio (and is never explicitly identified), and shares the real-life Zodiac's penchant for mailing newspapers and even copies some of his threats (eg., hijacking a school bus). Of course, the movie has a happier ending than real life.
** David Fincher's film ''Film/{{Zodiac}}'' strongly suggests that a real suspect in the officially unsolved Zodiac Killings was the guilty party.
** ''Film/SevenPsychopaths'' reveal that three serial killers who were never caught (the Zodiac Killer, the [[ Phantom Killer]] and the [[ Cleveland Torso Murderer]]) were in fact killed by a couple of {{Serial Killer Killer}}s.
** During Ted Cruz's unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign, internet users opposed to the Texas senator jokingly accused him of being the Zodiac Killer, based on noted physical similarities between Cruz and a police sketch of the killer; the joke became popular enough to be referenced on [[Series/TheDailyShowWithTrevorNoah the Daily Show]] and for Creator/LarryWilmore to openly take part in it during the 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner.[[labelnote:Note]][[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement Regardless of your opinions on Ted Cruz]], note that he is physically unable to be the Zodiac Killer. The killings occurred during the 1960s and early 1970s; Cruz was born in 1970.[[/labelnote]]


[[folder: Mysterious SCIENCE! ]]

* The Philadelphia Experiment, allegedly conducted by the US Navy in 1943, involving the destroyer escort ''USS Eldridge'' [[InvisibilityCloak turning invisible]] and [[TeleportersAndTransporters being teleported]].
** In the novel ''The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unknown'' by Paul Malmont, PulpMagazine sci-fi writers are tasked by the US Government in World War II with creating {{Death Ray}}s and other such [[WeirdScience miracle weapons]]. Creator/RobertAHeinlein creates the experiment as an all-done-with-mirrors (and a model) illusion in order to get an ObstructiveBureaucrat off his back. Meanwhile the crew of the real Eldridge gets drunk, leading the bureaucrat to assume from their vomiting and odd behaviour on their return that the experiment has driven them mad. This gives Heinlein's team the excuse to say that further tests will be aborted until they've fixed the problem.
** The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin appropriately titled]] movie ''Film/ThePhiladelphiaExperiment''.
** Part of the backstory of ''ComicBook/{{RASL}}''.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'', the Philadelphia Experiment is revealed in the Allied campaign to be a test run for the Chronosphere project.
** The found footage horror film ''Film/DevilsPass'' connects the experiment with the [[ Dyatlov Pass incident]], as the cast finds photos relating to the ship's supposed failed teleportations inside a secret bunker found under the pass.


%%Please only add new mysteries when you can also provide examples in fiction. If there are no examples, then it's not a stock mystery.
!!Works dealing with more than one example of this trope:


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The comic book series ''ComicBook/{{Planetary}}'' has this in almost every issue.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'' had many mysterious disappearances including [[ Flight 19]] and the ''[[ SS Cotopaxi]]'' explained by alien abductions.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Creator/MatthewReilly's ''Jack West'' series of novels do this quite a bit. For example, the plot of the first book revolves around the real life mystery of what happened to [[MonumentalDamage the missing capstone on the Great Pyramid of Gizeh]].
* ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' touches on several of these mysteries. Ambrose Bierce is encountered in a strange limbo-space in between worlds, complaining to an equally bemused passer-by that ''I only walked around the bloody horses!'' The shape of the Pentagon is explained as a geometric prison for an otherworldly entity which lives on the energies of death and destruction. Pyramids are meant to be flying machines based on principles of paracosmic science, but the secret of levitating them has been lost since the fall of Atlantis. And so on.
* In ''Literature/TheMissing'' series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, it turns out that [[spoiler: future entrepreneurs went back in time to take many of the most famous missing children of history, such as Princess Anastasia, the Lindbergh baby, or Virginia Dare.]]
* The ''Literature/SecretHistories'' series, as befits its [[ConspiracyKitchenSink secret agent]] [[FantasyKitchenSink sorcery-and-superscience]] setting, has this in spades- the being originally known as UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper turns up in several books, while the third book ''The Spy Who Haunted Me'' challenges the protagonist to solve six classic unsolved mysteries: the [[StockNessMonster Loch Ness Monster]]; {{Bigfoot|SasquatchAndYeti}}; a Russian "science city", not far from Tunguska (although TheTunguskaEvent is covered in another book), in which everyone [[GoMadFromTheRevelation spontaneously]] [[AxeCrazy killed each other and/or themselves]]; the Philadelphia Experiment; and [[RoswellThatEndsWell Roswell]].


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* ''Series/AncientAliens''. Not a spoiler: everything will be aliens, somehow.
* The Various ''Franchise/StarTrek'' incarnations did a few, be it UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper, (''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]]''), {{Roswell|ThatEndsWell}} (''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]]'') or UsefulNotes/AmeliaEarhart (''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager VOY]]'').
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' is intimately familiar with this trope. For example the disappearance of Creator/AgathaChristie was given a supernatural explanation in "The Unicorn and the Wasp".
* ''Series/TheXFiles'', being an epic ConspiracyKitchenSink and all.
* The ''Series/InSearchOf'' television series hosted by Leonard Nimoy deals with most if not all of the mysteries on this page.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'', ''every'' weird event and person from Adam and Eve to Jesus to King Arthur to UsefulNotes/RasputinTheMadMonk to Tunguska are explained by the {{Precursor}} technology left behind which inspired all the religions in the world. The exception is the aforementioned Manuscript.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' had a [[ strip]] dedicated to this trope, referencing UsefulNotes/AmeliaEarhart, the Roanoke Colony, Franklin's lost expedition, and Jimmy Hoffa.
** Both of the ships from Franklin's expedition were [[ eventually located]], one in September 2014, the other two years later.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' short "Space Probed", Yakko, while on an alien cruiser, stumbles on a room containing Elvis Presley, Amelia Earhart, Bigfoot, and Jimmy Hoffa.
-->'''Yakko:''' Everyone's been looking for you guys!