Unsolved Mysteries

Ted Serios and his Thoughtographs

Theodore Judd Serios (1918-2006), a bellhop from Chicago who appeared to possess a genuinely uncanny ability. By holding a Polaroid camera and focusing on the lens very intently, he was able to produce dreamlike pictures of his thoughts on the film; he referred to these images as "thoughtographs..."

Full article here.

Collection of thoughtographs here.

Wikipedia page here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 28, 2018 - Comments (4)
Category: Eccentrics, Freaks, Oddities, Quirks of Nature, Photography and Photographers, Unsolved Mysteries, 1960s

Money in sock disappears

To this day, the mystery remains unsolved.

The Louisville Courier-Journal - Dec 5, 1953

Man Puts $40 and Foot In Sock, but Loses Cash
Seattle, Dec. 4 (AP) — John E. Trimmer reported to police yesterday that before retiring Wednesday night he put $40 in his sock, bolted the door of his apartment from the inside, put the sock on his foot, climbed into bed, and went to sleep.
When he woke up in the morning, he reported, the $40 was gone, but the sock still was on his foot.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 20, 2016 - Comments (13)
Category: Unsolved Mysteries, 1950s

Mystery Balloons

In 1967, the U.S. Coast Guard found a crate containing seven inflated yellow balloons floating off the coast of Florida. The crate was marked "made in U.S.S.R." and was addressed to "The institute of mineral resources of Cuba."

Why were the Soviets shipping seven balloons to Cuba? Why were the balloons inflated? How did the crate end up floating in the ocean? As far as I know, these questions remain unanswered.

Chicago Tribune - June 30, 1967

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 10, 2014 - Comments (15)
Category: Unsolved Mysteries, 1960s

Mystery Postcard

Here's one of the mysteries of the Internet. Over at, people have been debating for many years over what this postcard might mean. It appears to have been manufactured in the early 20th century (circa 1907) and bears the statement: "Health Must Be Earned, Get it — you Lobster."

Some of the theories are that "lobster" was slang for a sluggish person or dullard, or that it was referring to an "overweight sunbather." But no one really knows for sure.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 28, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Unsolved Mysteries

The Great Mull Air Mystery


In 1975, a pilot in a small plane makes a mysterious unscheduled night flight, and goes missing.

Several months later, the pilot's body is found, close by the air base from which he took off.

His plane is found even later, sunk in the ocean.

Did he jump from the plane in mid-air? No injuries consistent with that.

Did he escape the downed plane and swim to shore? No traces of sea water on the corpse.

Read the details here of this still-baffling enigma.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Apr 13, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Tragedy and Pathos, Unsolved Mysteries, Air Travel and Airlines, 1970s

The great hose mystery of 1955

Back in 1955, a mysterious phenomenon was reported. Garden hoses started to spontaneously burrow their way into dirt. It began in the garden of California resident George Di Peso. His 12-year-old daughter stuck the nozzle of a hose into the dirt to make the job of watering the garden easier, and then the hose (with the water running) started to burrow downwards. Over 20 feet of the hose disappeared into the earth.

The same phenomenon was then reported in Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Florida, Ontario, and Kansas.

Geologists speculated that the rapid flow of water was creating a vacuum at the nozzle causing the hoses to slide downward into the earth. The burrowing could be stopped by turning off the water. But Di Peso never did recover the 20 feet of hose lost in the earth. He eventually cut the hose off where it went into the earth, saying "I couldn't stand it any longer. This thing was getting out of hand. My life has been made a big mess."

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 29, 2013 - Comments (9)
Category: Unsolved Mysteries, 1950s

Garlic Fog Invades Los Angeles, 1949

Back in late 1949, people throughout Los Angeles County reported a strong odor that smelled like garlic. The smell persisted for weeks, periodically increasing in intensity. Some residents took to wearing gas masks. There were reports of the fumes being so strong that they discolored fences and buildings. There was a widespred fear that it was a poison gas attack.

Despite a lot of speculation, I'm not sure that the source of the mystery odor was ever identified, although leading theories were that it was either coming from the Los Angeles River bed, or from a chemical factory. It became known as the invasion of the Garlic Fog. [Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 7, 1949] (via Buried Words and Bushwa)

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 14, 2012 - Comments (6)
Category: Unsolved Mysteries, 1940s, Weather

Noah’s Ark Found—in Alaska!


The supposed remnants of Noah's ark have been "discovered" in a wide range of places.

But this 1902 discovery in Rampart, Alaska, on the Porcupine River, seems totally forgotten now.

I wonder if a followup expedition ever was mounted...?

Original article here.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Nov 13, 2012 - Comments (10)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Regionalism, Religion, Unsolved Mysteries, Myths and Fairytales, 1900s, North America, Native Americans

Flora Marian Spore


Original story here.

The woman depicted above went from female dentist to occult artist. Not the most common career path. She turned out many paintings "inspired" by ghosts.

Unfortunately, despite a fairly substantial career, none of her paintings seem to have survived or been recorded, except for the one depicted below.


Photo from the blog of Jim Linderman.

Wikipedia entry.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Oct 16, 2012 - Comments (10)
Category: Art, Outsider Art, New Age, Paranormal, Unsolved Mysteries, 1920s

The Phantom Whistler of Louisiana

Back in 1950, newspapers were full of the story of the Phantom Whistler of Louisiana. The Whistler was terrorizing a young woman, 18-year-old Jacqueline Cadow. He would hide in the shrubbery outside her house at night and whistle a funeral dirge. Sometimes he would follow this with a "blood-curdling moan."

When she got engaged to state trooper Herbert Belsom, the harassment grew worse. He started to make threatening phone calls to the family, threatening to kill Jacqueline if she went through with the wedding.

On several occasions, a few people besides Jacqueline heard the whistling and moaning, but the strange thing was that no one ever saw the Phantom Whistler. And eventually the Sheriff began to suspect that the entire thing was an "inside job and a hoax." Later the Sheriff modified this to say that he had solved the case, but he refused to disclose who or what the Whistler was because he didn't want to "embarrass" the people involved. Jacqueline and Herbert got married without incident.

Some more details here and here.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 09, 2012 - Comments (4)
Category: Unsolved Mysteries

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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