Science has pulled humanity out of superstitions and weird beliefs by explaining natural events and phenomena that previously perplexed the human mind. It has made us question every claim about unusual events and incidents with logic. But some mysteries have managed to elude all rhyme and reason and continue to bemuse the masses and researchers alike. Here’s our list of 10 such mysteries that even science can’t explain;
1. Dubbed as the “human cork” by fans and journalists, Angelo Faticoni was popular for his mysterious ability to remain afloat on the water in unnatural positions for hours, even with lead weights weighing down his body. With his untimely death in 1931, he took the secret of his buoyancy to his grave.
Angelo Faticoni was a freak show artist who baffled and bemused the crowd by staying afloat in water for long hours. He was able to do so without any effort. He could even sleep while performing the feat.
His performance was once reported by a journalist in the New York Herald Tribune. Here, he was sewn in a sack and thrown in freezing water with a 20-pound cannonball tied to his legs. Faticoni’s head soon emerged from the sack and he continued to float motionless for eight hours.
It was clear from the beginning that his feat was no illusion. Medical authorities concluded that his internal organs were different from other humans, giving him this “supernatural” power. However, authorities at Harvard University failed to provide any supporting evidence for this theory after examining him.
2. “Upsweep” is a seasonal sound recorded by autonomous hydrophones in the Pacific Ocean. First discovered by the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in 1991, the source of this underwater sound is still a mystery.
Since 1991, ”a long train of narrow-band upsweep sounds lasting several seconds” has been recorded in the Pacific Ocean. The sound level reaches its peak in fall and spring and is strong enough to be detected all across the Pacific.
With the help of an “underwater listening network,” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been researching it to identify the sound’s source without any success.
Researchers have ruled out the possibility of any biological source such as undiscovered sea animals due to the lack of variation in the tone of the upsweep sound.
3. In Turkey, a sheep fell off a cliff, following which 1,500 other sheep voluntarily jumped off the same cliff.
In 2005, shepherds from the eastern Van Province in Turkey were horrified as 400 sheep from a flock of 1,500 sheep jumped off a cliff. They seem to blindly follow a lone sheep that went over the edge and fell. The first 400 to leap off the 15-meter cliff died but cushioned the later 1100 sheep that followed.
Similar case was reported in Turkey in 2010. A total of 52 sheep voluntarily jumped off a cliff and died when herder Mejmet Gana was traveling on a mountain range with his flock.
A sheep’s natural instinct to follow one another can be attributed to these two peculiar incidents. However, animals also have a strong survival instinct. So blaming the natural instinct of a sheep to blindly follow the flock seems inconclusive and unsatisfactory. (1, 2)
4. “Ball lightning” is a mysterious phenomenon that has been sighted during thunderstorms across centuries. People who have seen ball lightning describe it as a floating orb that glows, ranging in color from orange to blue to yellow.
The first recorded sighting of ball lightning was in 1638. It was described as a “great ball of fire” that entered a parish church in England. As a result, the church caught fire causing a few casualties.
The electric orbs are reported to last for about 10 seconds before disappearing with a hissing sound. They have been recreated in laboratories, and are the subject of many studies.
Theories explaining the phenomena vary from “light being trapped inside thin air” to “vaporized elements from the soil reacting with oxygen owing to a ground strike.”
However, to this day, scientists are unclear about the exact nature of these orbs. Since details of this phenomenon are solely based on eyewitness accounts, the many reports have many inconsistencies. (1, 2)
5. In 1994, a rainstorm descended on Oakville in Washington. Soon, people of the town realized that what rained down was not water droplets. They were mysterious, translucent, mushy blobs that made people ill.
Officer David Lacey noticed something unusual when he turned on his windshield wipers to wipe off the rain that began pouring at 3 a.m. Instead of getting clearer, his windshield became smeared with a mysterious gel-like substance blocking his view.
The blobs, which were half the size of rice grains, poured down covering twenty square miles. People reportedly fell ill after coming in contact with the blobs.
Sunny Barclift’s mother felt dizzy and nauseated shortly after the rain and was hospitalized. Barclift’s adopted kitten died, and she herself complained of fatigue and nausea.
Though the mother and the kitten were sick even before the blob-rain, and a direct connection between the two incidents could not be established, the doctor agreed to have the substance tested in a lab. The lab technician concluded that the blobs contained human white blood cells. Later testing concluded that the cells contained a “definable nucleus” which are present in animals.
The town’s people believed that the source of the gelatinous substance was jellyfish. The U.S. Air Force was dropping bombs some 10 to 20 miles off the Washington coast. The citizens concluded that the remains of jellyfish must have exploded and been suspended in the clouds, later dispersing with the rains.