In 1986, a German teenager hit "record" on his cassette player to catch a New Wave song from the radio. But he missed the intro, and so had no idea what the song was called or who the artist was. Contacting music journalists in the 1990s proved unfruitful, so in 2002 he posted it online on his "Most Wanted" music page. For 11 years, the mystery song - known as Stay (The second time around) for its lyrics - was the source of intense speculation and detective work (including in AskMe), with dozens of potential matches eliminated. A YouTube post in 2007 broadened the search, but still yielded no answers. It wasn't until 2013, when a Swedish Radio host chanced upon a Reddit thread about the song and played it on air, that the mystery was finally solved by two listeners. [more inside]
Two men lie suffocated next to an igloo. A writer loses his concentration and dies. A sudden case of hiccups puts an old man in the hospital. What the hell is going on?
An hour of Murder She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher having Epiphanies by Isaac Royffe (actual epiphanies begin at 2:37)
The Orlandi Code: [Toronto Star] The Mafia, communist spies, the Pope and the twisted mystery of a kidnapped Vatican girl.
Things happen. "Psychic" events mainly take place in dramatic and family-based situations. Not in a lab. Here is one example. [more inside]
2014 Nobel Prize in Literature Goes to Patrick Modiano who is a French novelist and memoir writer. This article from 2011 is a good overview over his career and life. He was born in Italy to a Jewish father and a Belgian mother. Much of his writing deals with recent Jewish history such as in the book Dora Bruder. His detective novel Missing Person, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1978, has been called a postmodern mystery novel.
"The du Maurier sisters had, from their volatile, crowded childhood onward, formed this private country they could slip in and out of, where "menaces" and "Venetian tendencies" could be freely discussed. In other words, they found a way to use games of pretend to tell the absolute truth." - Carrie Frye on author Daphne du Maurier and her seminal gothic novel, Rebecca.
Three times she married, and all three times her husbands died. Her first husband, David Stegall, a young, talented dentist, shot himself to death in 1975. Her second husband, a popular hotelier and investor who conceived the luxurious Mansion Hotel on Turtle Creek, died of cancer in 1982. Her third husband, Alan Rehrig, a former college basketball star in Oklahoma who had come to Dallas to hit it rich in real estate, was found murdered in December 1985. [more inside]
A macabre-sounding headstone leads investigators to uncover a fascinating slice of American history. From the endlessly fascinating, and surprisingly long-running, Straight Dope message board.
In the pantheon of fictional detectives, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe is among the best. If you haven't met the fat, cranky, sedentary, orchid-loving gourmand of a detective, and his street-smart, wise-cracking, witty right-hand of an assistant, Archie Goodwin, this introduction to the pair may be of use. Between 1935 to 1974, Wolfe and Goodwin solved mysteries, captured criminals of all ilks, and on one notable occasion, got the upper hand on J. Edgar Hoover. The books are very much of their time. [more inside]
In 1985, the Mystery Writers of Japan (plus "508 people who love mystery novels") assembled two separate lists of the 100 best mystery novels: one each for the books of the East and West. A revised list came out in 2012. Both Western lists are remarkable for their comparative lack of overlap with the "100 best" lists produced by the American and British mystery writers associations. The Eastern lists are remarkable for the fact that fewer than a quarter of their entries have been translated into English. [more inside]
Leigh Bardugo writes haunting, Eastern-European inspired fairy tales (Previously) often highlighting the experience of women in a unfair world. Tor.com presents two new stories, the somber "The Too-Clever Fox" and the subversive "Little Knife."
Last week it was announced that "Bluefin-21 completed its last mission" and that "the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370". That news came two days after Malaysian authorities released a 47 pages long document of Inmarsat's raw data [pdf]. [more inside]
A bump on the head, a mysterious femme fatale and a strange encounter on a windswept peak all add up to a heck of a night for Manny Brot, Private Eye. Watch as he tries his hand at saving the dame and getting the cash! Shudder at the mind-bending geometric riddles! Thrill to the stunning solution of The Case of the Missing Fractals. (SLYT via via)
At the 2014 Game Developers' Conference, Jim Crawford (creator of Frog Fractions) gave a talk (transcript).
Man found in Oslo with total memory loss - He speaks 4 languages, including Russian, and calls himself John Smith.
Previous "mystery people" discussions: Seattle and UK
Previous "mystery people" discussions: Seattle and UK
How long can your digital life keep up the appearance of your actual life? A Michigan woman quit her job in 2008 and told her neighbors she was going abroad. Her bills were paid automatically and her neighbors mowed the lawn until her money ran out in 2013, when the bank foreclosed on her house. A mummified body believed to be hers was discovered in the garage, but authorities are struggling to definitively identify it. There's a Facebook page set up by her family dedicated to finding out what happened to Pia Farrenkopf.
Someone is leaving what appear to be coded messages in the stacks of Weldon Library at the University of Western Ontario. (via)
The infamous, sprawling Winchester Mystery House has plans to allow overnight stays and full onsite alcohol consumption
In August 1989, 23-year-old professional ice-hockey player Duncan MacPherson travelled from New York to Europe, to enjoy a holiday before starting a new job in Scotland. He hired snowboarding gear and took a lesson on the Stubai Glacier. Then, according to the Austrian authorities and the owners of the ski resort, he simply disappeared. In Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, John Leake details the coverup and corruption that started then and continued for years after MacPherson's body melted out of the ice in 2003. Warning: the website contains close-up pictures of MacPherson's damaged body. [more inside]
A natural occurence of the rare and mysterious weather phenomenon known as ball lightning has been captured on video by researchers in China. [more inside]
Welcome to Introduction to Forensic Science, the murder mystery that doubles as a university course. Enrol here.
The Lead Masks Case is the name given to a bizarre incident in August of 1966 in which two Brazilian television repairmen were found dead of unknown causes, wearing radiation-proof lead eye masks and raincoats, on a hilltop just outside the city of of Niterói in Rio de Janeiro. Along with a bizarre note left by one of the men which reads (in English), "16:30 (04:30 PM) be at the agreed place. 18:30 (06:30 PM) swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal," the unusual circumstances have prompted decades of speculation. [more inside]
On January 5th 2012, an image was uploaded to various image boards. It contained two messages. One was obvious & easy to read. In white letters on a black background it said:
Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck. 3301As promised there was another message hidden inside the image. It was the start of a bizarre, as yet unexplained chain of complex hidden messages leading those who could solve them on a journey across the Internet and around the world towards a destination none of them could predict with certainty. Is it a highly evolved ARG? Is it a recruitment campaign for the NSA? Welcome to the mystery of Cicada 3301.
Fraudulent & hoax manuscripts submitted to academic journals typically present false findings by real authors. This time, however, the paper contains real (and previously unpublished) results... by fake authors. (via retractionwatch) [more inside]
The 1991 CBs made-for-TV movie adaptation of Shadow Of A Doubt and the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock version are based on the same source material and contain many of the same lines, beats, and scenes. So why is one considered a classic film noir and the other a flop? The Dissolve puts the two movies next to each other and tries to find out.
Barbara Mertz, whose writing career encompassed over sixty books and three nom de plumes, has died at the age of 85. As Barbara Mertz, she wrote scholarly books on Egyptology after receiving a doctorate from the from the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago in 1951, but then turned her hand to writing fiction under the names Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. [more inside]
In the pre-podcast days of 1999, the then Sci-Fi Channel website worked with the Seeing Ear Theater and Bablyon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to produce a series of Twilight Zone-inspired radio stories called "City Of Dreams" along with a cast that included Steve Buscemi, Tim Curry, Kevin Conway, and John Turturro. 13 episodes were planned, but only 8 got produced, and with the decline of Real Player and the Seeing Ear Theater, the episodes were thought to be lost to the mists of internet history. Until someone uploaded all of them to Youtube. (each episode about 30 min, link goes to the first video for the episode) The Damned Are Playing At Godzilla's Tonight!. Rolling Thunder .The Friends Of Jackie Clay . The Tolling Of The Hour. Night Calls. Samuel Becket, Your Ride Is Here. The Alpha And Omega Of David Wells . MSCD 00121J [more inside]
Hey, remember when archaeologists discovered the remains of Richard III under a car park in Leicester? Well, apparently they also unearthed a stone coffin dated to at least a century before Richard. When it was opened, it was revealed to contain... another coffin, sealed and made of lead. None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before, says one of the archaeologists. Oh sure, it's probably just the remains of one of the founders of the monastery that used to be there, but if the movies have taught us anything, it's that if something is mysterious, it must also be evil, right?
For 30 years, an ex-con drifter from Saskatchewan named Dennis Melvyn Howe has eluded police in connection with the abduction, rape and murder of a 9 year old Toronto girl. In 2008, an Idaho man named Robert James Miller wrote two long, bizarre posts on the forum at unsolvedcanada.ca. He claimed to have identified Howe and turned him in after seeing a 1998 episode of America's Most Wanted. The FBI is now investigating the possibility that Miller himself is Dennis Melvyn Howe. [more inside]
The pseudonymous author behind the critically-acclaimed mystery novel The Cuckoo's Calling has been outed. And it's J. K. Rowling.
The Secret History of Privacy. "Something creepy happened when mystery became secular, secrecy became a technology, and privacy became a right..." [Via]
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has found something in the sonar data from their 2012 summer expedition to Nikumaroro atol.
Abbi Jacobson got a letter in the mail, sent from Lt. Joseph O. Matthews, addressed to his wife, and was sent to her exact MacDougal Street address 70 years ago. [more inside]
In 1942 a British forest guard in Roopkund, India made an alarming discovery. Some 16,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a small valley, was a frozen lake absolutely full of skeletons.
51 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, including couchward, extemporize, fringy, revirginize and chappelled have quotes from the same source, a mysterious book published in 1852 called Meanderings of Memory, written and published by Nightlark, a "well-known connoisseur". There are only two evidences of the book's existence. If you happen to have a copy of Meanderings of Memory sitting on your shelf, please contact the OED [previous OED mystery].
A blog discussion of Charles Palliser's intriguing novel, The Quincunx, began in 2003, and is still going. Despite a wealth of theories, the participants are still no nearer solving the book's key mystery - who is the hero's father?
It's been five years since the death of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus. No one ever claimed responsibility for killing him. Hezbollah publicly blames Israel's Mossad, a charge they unsurprisingly deny. So, who killed The Driver? [more inside]
Zvyagintsev claims that the idea for Elena originated with an invitation from the British producer, Oliver Dungey, to participate in a multinational project in which four directors from different hemispheres would each produce a film about the apocalypse. Zvyagintsev ultimately bowed out of the project, but the film that resulted is certainly eschatological. Russian culture has a long tradition of allusions to the Book of Revelation - Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov is obsessed with the idea that Napoleon is the Antichrist and many of Dostoevsky's characters read the last book of the Bible - and Zvyagintsev was a natural fit to take up the theme. [more inside]
Greg Fleniken was a decent, honorable, smart, and successful man whom people liked. The sort of man nobody would murder—yet somebody had. But why? And how had The Body in Room 348 received its internal injuries? [more inside]
A long long time ago, a web site called YTMND had a meme involving people whose facial expressions seemingly never change. But this meme has an unusual origin. Back in 2005, a SomethingAwful user received a series of flirtatious IMs from a person he'd never talked to before. The photos "she" sent him were used for the original meme – but there was no proof that they belonged to the IMer. Over the course of two weeks and 63 pages, forum users collaborated to figure out just what the hell was going on – and the story, as it unfolds in real time, is twistier and more unexpected than real life usually ends up being. [use the MAJOR UPDATE PAGES at the top of the thread to navigate; search for "The Pitbull" to jump to updates from the OP]
A Cat’s 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists Guessing [NYTimes.com] "Nobody knows how it happened: an indoor housecat who got lost on a family excursion managing, after two months and about 200 miles, to return to her hometown."
The Bloop is a mysterious recurring sound in the world's oceans that has puzzled many over the years (previously). Now scientists think they know the answer: icequakes.
This week in Scotland, it is Book Week. Many note authors are supporting it with free events. And so is the mysterious sculptor who seized the imagination of people worldwide with her books made sculpture. She (one of the few things known about the sculptor) has done a series of five mystery hidden sculptures to help celebrate Book Week. Each of them is related to a Scottish story or author. [more inside]
Davy Rothbart, perhaps best known for the Found magazine and series of books, got a random drunken phone call in a motel room from a breathy woman wanting phone sex. He somewhat cheekily "obliged," and continued to take her calls, less cheekily. It turned out to be quite a journey, and a destination. What Are You Wearing? [more inside]
Through the examination of carbon-14 formation in tree rings (abstract, main article paywalled), scientists have concluded that about 1200 years ago, the earth was bombarded by intense high radition, as if from a solar flare or supernova. The problem? Such an event would've been highly visible and documented at the time, and scientists were unaware of of any such record. At least until an ungrad in biochemistry googled it for them. [more inside]
Peter Cheyney was a prolific author of pulp thrillers, whose tin-eared appropriations of American hard-boiled detective fiction were nevertheless wildly popular in Britain and France in his mid-20th-century heyday. Among his creations were the cynical British detective Slim Callaghan; the debonair Belgian assassin Ernest Guelvada (one of the lead characters in the so-called ‘Dark’ series of spy novels), and the oddly-named, trenchcoat-wearing FBI tough-guy Lemmy Caution, played on-screen in a series of French movies by the American-born actor & singer Eddie Constantine, a role he would later reprise to striking effect in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 movie Alphaville.