The Mystery of the Millionaire Metaphysician
"In June 2000, the philosopher Dean Zimmerman moved from the University of Notre Dame to Syracuse University with his wife and three kids, only to see their new house catch fire the day they moved in." Months later, he received the second hopeful fortune cookie since the fire, which told him "A way out of a financial mess is discovered as if by magic!"; the next day, magic arrived in a letter offering Zimmerman a generous sum of money, which he later learned was $12,000, to review a sixty-page work of metaphysics titled "Coming to Understanding." [more inside]
Charlie Chan is more than a fictional character created the author Earl Derr Biggers
, or the star of 50 movies
(played by 8 different actors). His origin goes beyond the illiterate Chinese-Hawaiian detective with a bull whip instead of a pistol
). Charlie Chan is more than racial stereotypes and yellow-face. A part of his far-reaching story
is told inside. [more inside]
In the cufflink of Sherlock Holmes, as depicted in this stamp
, you will find the first clue. (It's the letter O.)
In the remaining stamps in this collection
you will find the remaining clues, which spell a five-letter word. [more inside]
In 1969, Sesame Street
put together an unaired pilot to test in front of children. The pilot contained the appearance of an actor playing Gordon different from the other three actors
who subsequently played that character. Sesame Workshop has no idea who this actor was and has exhausted all leads. Do you know who the mystery Gordon is?
Kei Igawa arrived in the US with a lot of fanfare in 2007. After failing miserably with the Yankees, he was sent to the minor leagues. Since then, he has existed in an uncomfortable limbo, not completely part of either world.
[Arthur Penn's Night Moves
] does belong to a traditional, indeed obsolescent genre, but the distance it keeps from it (not an ironic or critical distance, just a distance) is such that genre-related expectations become irrelevant. Most of the time, the story line seems to meander aimlessly, taking in extraneous material, doubling back, going round in circles (the aimless is deceptive, a smoke screen obfuscating the complex, rigorous organization of an exceptionally well-structured script). The "mystery" aspect of the plot is dealt with in the most peculiar, topsy-turvy manner, withholding not the solution of the problem but the problem itself until the very end, when, in a dazzling visual tour de force, both are conjured up almost simultaneously.
- Jean Pierre Coursodon [more inside]
A playful mystery
has been unfolding in Atlanta for a few months now, and has spread to other cities. Packages have been anonymously mailed
to various writers
, bookstores, publications
and organizations around the city. [more inside]
It started with a little girl who had polio
, who later became a seamstress and made clothing and little things, like little pin cushion elephants
. They were popular, not as sewing accessories, but as children's toys. The elephants would be joined by a menagerie of stuffed animals, including tigers and pigs
. Some animals were set on iron wheels
, including bears
. But it wasn't until US political cartoon featuring President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a small black bear
in November 1902 that "teddy" bears became popular, first in 1902 in the United States, made and sold by Jewish Russian immigrants, Rose and Morris Michtom
(who would ride the success of Teddy's Bear to form the Ideal Toy Company
). Back in Germany, Margarete Steiff's array of toy animals expanded to include a jointed, plush bear, 55 cm tall: 55 PB
(German Wikipedia page). Margarete's nephew, who came up with the design, took some samples to a German toy fair in the Spring of 1903, where there was no interest in the bears until a representative from a New York toy company
saw the mobile bears and ordered 3,000. A new factory had to be built, and bears were made, most likely shipped across the ocean, but their fate is a mystery
On April 15, 2005, Centre County Pennsylvania District Attorney Ray Gricar disappeared under mysterious circumstances
. A little over six years later, he was declared legally dead
. In early July, 2011, a mysterious man was arrested in Provo City, Utah and refused to give his name, baffling police
. One day after he was declared dead, people are asking could Utah's John Doe prisoner be Ray Gricar?
Someone used to great responsibility, and responsible in his authority. Someone too-conscientious...He had that incommunicable, that indescribable look that childhood suffering leaves behind it; less positive than the look on a cripple’s face, but as inescapable. This the artist had both understood and translated into terms of paint...He turned the portrait over to look for a caption. On the back was printed: Richard the Third.
From Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time
, "a book of singular originality, ingenuity and humanity"
often cited as one of the best of all mystery novels
. [more inside]
After over seven years, Stephen R. Donaldson, has stopped taking questions for his monumental and amazing Gradual Interview
"After May 21, 2011, the Gradual Interview will no longer accept new questions or messages. I will continue to work my way through the questions which have already been accepted, but I can't do more. I'm too far behind on too many things, and the strain is affecting my concentration. Discontinuing the Gradual Interview is one of several things that I'm doing to simplify my life."
The Gradual Interview is a fully-searchable question and answer session with his readers that currently contains over 2600 exchanges on topics including minutiae about his novels, his writing process, and many other interesting subjects. [more inside]
Et tu, Mr. Destructo?
is a funny, insightful blog that covers everything from politics
and mystery novels
The Lazarus File. "In 1986, a young nurse named Sherri Rasmussen was murdered in Los Angeles. Police pinned down no suspects, and the case gradually went cold. It took 23 years—and revolutionary breakthroughs in forensic science—before LAPD detectives could finally assemble the pieces of the puzzle. When they did, they found themselves facing one of the unlikeliest murder suspects in the city’s history." [more inside]
Where is the Puck?
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last season for the first time in 50 years. But what happened to the puck that was used to score what some are calling the "most famous goal in Chicago sports history?"
Bela Kovacs and the Trail of Blood
is an involving little flash mystery puzzler, mostly finding items and clues, but with more variety than the general escape-the-room game and nice atmospherics.
WANTED: Known as 'La Bête' but kills under three aliases. Reddish brown with dark ridged stripe down the back. Resembles wolf/hyena but big as a donkey. Long gaping jaw, 6 claws, pointy upright ears and supple furry tail - mobile like a cat's and can knock you over. Cry: more like horse neighing than wolf howling. Last seen by people mostly now dead.
Wolf, werewolf, hyena, baboon or mesonychid: In many respects the beast of Gévaudan was like other creatures in the annals of cryptozoology - but for one: historical records indicate that, over a 4 year span, it (or 'they') killed around 100 people - eating most of them
. [more inside]
On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets. The FBI is now asking the public to help them solve the murder.
An anonymous writer is sticking his or her novel, titled Holy Crap, to a series of street lamps in New York City's East Village, one page at a time.
New York Post report
Village Voice report
Picture of Page 7
Picture of Page 8
Winston Burdett, one of the original Murrow's Boys
, was a reporter for CBS Radio. He covered World War II, the invasion of Norway, the Axis retreat in North Africa (mp3)
, the invasion of Sicily (mp3)
, the invasion of Italy (mp3)
and the capture of Rome (mp3)
. But from 1940 - 1942 Winston Burdett was also a spy for the Soviet Union
. [more inside]
Is Jennifer Goodwin White really dead?
The Alaska State Troopers say she is. Facebook says different. [more inside]
The Story Beyond the Still
began with a film by Pulitzer Prize winner Vincent Laforet
who was given a still image to interpret into a short film shot with the Canon 7D
. This film became the first chapter in the Story Beyond The Still contest
which also ended on a still photograph for contest goers to interpret into the next chapter of the story. This pattern continued for another six user-generated chapters with each chapter winner continuing the story by interpreting the previous chapter's ending still image. Now, a year and over 275 submissions later
, the contest has come to a close and the final chapter is complete
and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 1933, a mysterious benefactor posted an ad
in the local Canton, Ohio paper, offering some Christmas funds to people who might otherwise shy away from asking for aid, even in those tough times. That Anonymous Giver went by the pseudonym "Mr. B. Virdot," and ended up giving some money to 150 families and people in town who wrote in with their personal stories. The unknown person's identity was never revealed, and his true identity was not even known to his grandson, until the mysterious benefactor's daughter gave her son, Ted Gup, a battered suitcase full of letters and checks signed by "Mr. B. Virdot"
. The mysterious man was Samuel J. Stone, a Jewish man whose family had fled Romania when he was young. Stone had done well in the United States, and owned a small chain of clothing stores in 1933. The story of the mysterious gifts hasn't faded from Canton
, and on November 5 of this year, Stone's grandson, Gup, gave a public talk to the community and decedents of the original recipients of Virdot's gifts.
And now, Canton residents are bringing back the spirit of Virdot
. [more inside]
Did you know that there's an art museum on the moon? A tiny, tiny one. The Moon Museum
features works by Forrest "Frosty" Myers
(the instigator), Robert Rauschenberg
, Claes Oldenburg
, Andy Warhol
, David Novros
, and John Chamberlain
, inscribed on a little chip of silicon and surreptitiously transported
to the moon's surface on the Apollo 12 mission. But of course there's a mystery, in this big of a secret: who is John F.
, the engineer at least partially responsible for smuggling the chip onboard the lunar lander?
Related: other stuff people have left on the Moon
James Hadley Chase's No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1939) did for the gangster novel what Raymond Chandler’s
The Big Sleep did in the same year for the private-eye novel. Both works were clarifiers, intensifiers, transformers. ... But, as so often happens, Orwell raises the important questions, and it is his essay that has kept
No Orchids for Miss Blandish alive for serious consideration. (links may contain mildly NSFW cover art) [more inside]
History and mystery wonderfully blended.
Although doubtless well-known to UK Mefites, I was only recently directed to this marvelous and engaging TV series featuring Michael Kitchen as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. It's a refreshing change from American fare, entirely adult, with crisp dialogue and meticulous attention to detail and historic accuracy. Speaking as a Yank weary of plasticity, it's also wonderful to see actors with real faces. The series can be seen on Youtube in pieces that can be viewed fairly seamlessly: Series One: The German Woman
, The White Feather
, Lesson in Murder
, Eagle Day
. Series Two: Fifty Ships
, Among the Few
, War Games
, The Funk Hole
. Series Three: The French Drop
, Enemy Fire
, They Fought in the Fields
, War of Nerves
. Series Four: Invasion
, Bad Blood
. Series Five: Bleak Midwinter
, Casualties of War
. Series Six: Plan of Attack
, Broken Souls
, All Clear
. [more inside]
The 727 that Vanished.
Interesting article that recounts a mystery still unsolved. Prev, from 2003.
Umineko no Naku Koro ni (warning: that entire description is possibly a lie)
is a dojin visual novel (or, as the creators prefer, a sound novel) that has recently reached its seventh chapter Japanese
. In addition, a group called the Witch Hunt
has recently released an English patch for the sixth chapter. Forming the third and fourth part of the When They Cry series
that began with Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
, Umineko cranks the concept of metanarrative up to 11 and then breaks the knob. [more inside]
(an original paperback publisher that distributes the Hard Case Crime
series and is home to Leisure Books
, which is "the only mass-market house with dedicated lines for Westerns [four books a month] and horror [two books a month]," and which also publishes a romance line that features six to eight titles monthly) will transition to an e-book only model.
Perhaps only temporarily?
Perhaps not so temporarily after all
! Currently, e-book sales account for just 12% of Leisure's business, and their overall sales saw a 25% loss over the course of 2009. Popular horror novelist Brian Keene has already jumped ship from the house, citing lack of payment for his work.
The 12th-century English chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall
relates a strange story
: two lost and distressed children appeared in a local village, speaking a language no-one could understand, and, most strikingly, with strangely green-coloured skin. [more inside]
After the fiasco of their premier episode - a lavish live production of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye
during which a corpse unwittingly got up and walked off stage on camera - CBS's Climax! Mystery Theater
was looking to adapt something less high-profile. Say, the debut spy thriller by a struggling British journalist willing to let the rights go for $1000. The result: 1954's "Casino Royale
Barry Nelson as Jimmy "Card Sense" Bond of American intelligence, Michael Pate as his British counterpart Clarence Leiter, and Peter Lorre
as the first-ever Bond villain. Now on Youtube 2 3 4 5 6
The concealed artist behind the
quirky videos posted on the iamamiwhoami account
on YouTube has uploaded another video, and in the process helped to reveal her identity. [more inside]
Digital: A Love Story
a mystery/romance downloadable game for windows/mac/linux by Christine Sarah Love
set in the days of BBSes. Features a glorious retro-OS style interface. Mini review
by indie dev Auntie Pixelante
/Anna Anthropy (recently
). Writeup at and via TIGSource
Margie Profet was the "It Girl" of the 1990s, being awarded a McArthur Grant for her work in evolutionary biology in 1993
despite a lack of formal scientific training. Her papers on motherhood and the evolutionary influences on menstruation
and morning sickness
were hailed as revolutionary by some, but also dismissed as unscientific and criticized for numerous flaws in logic
by others. As pressure mounted, she became more involved in her work, and less connected with her family and friends. [more inside]
Wired's Mystery Issue, guest-edited by J.J. Abrams,
is a quizzical amalgam of puzzling things both obvious and less obvious... apparently the print edition's misspelled words, irregular borders, and seemingly random placements of numbers are all part of the game too.
While the "master puzzle" was recently solved, there are reportedly still some codes left to crack. [more inside]
Read all about it! Discover all the news! Read all about it! Track down all the clues!
With interesting people there's a mystery to be solved! An adventure is unfolding, so why not get involved? Come on and
READ ALL ABOUT IT.
Young Chris is left an old coach house by his missing uncle. As he and his two friends fuddle with the lock, a strange figure watches. The kids do not yet know the building is the entrance to a mystery that spans time and space! Aided by Otto the IBM Selectric
robot typewriter and Theta the spooky as hell
talking viewscreen, they will find that the concerns of an alien tyrant reach into the government of their own town. (24 of 40 15-minute episodes, including the entire first season, of this early-80s TV Ontario-produced "educational" show are on YouTube
.) [more inside]
The Musical Mystery of Connie Converse "To survive at all, I expect I must drift back down through the other half of the twentieth twentieth, which I already know pretty well, the hundredth hundredth, which I have only read and heard about. I might survive there quite a few years - who knows?"
This was the cryptic note Connie Converse left her family in 1974, and no one heard from her again. She had spent the 1950's in New York City
, trying to promote her music
- haunting, melancholy folk tunes, but never made a go of it. Her songs very nearly disappeared into the ether, but thanks to Lau derrete Records
, her first album is now available to the public, fifty years after the songs were recorded. (via Spinning On Air
Today marks the 200th birthday of Edgar Alan Poe
, and as happens every year the mysterious Poe Toaster
marked the date by placing three red roses and a half-filled bottle of cognac at his Baltimore grave. The identity of the toaster isn't the only question surrounding Poe - his presence in Baltimore and the circumstances of his death remain a mystery
. Some speculate that he may have had rabies
, others that he may have been a victim of cooping
. And while Baltimore embarks on a year long celebration of Poe
some argue that his body shouldn't be there at all
Mongo the Magnificent.
"Out of nowhere, believing that it is good for the soul to have one insane idea a day, whether you need it or not, the notion of a dwarf private detective came to me [...] I considered such a character bizarre and absurd, unworkable and unpublishable, and thus a waste of time to spend and length of time trying to develop it. I kept searching, but the damn dwarf just wouldn't go away. [...] It was to be a satire. Halfway through, I discovered a key to the man's character was a simple quest to be taken seriously, for dignity. That touched me, and I started over again, this time doing it "straight" (or as straight as I'm able). I gave Mongo
dignity, and in return he gave me a career. The diverse background was, I thought, necessary in order to properly equip him in a "world of giants"."
, RIP [more inside]
What happened to Dorcas Snodgrass?
I don't know who did this research on this nurse, but she's haunting me and the articles hint at a tragic mystery but leave many unanswered questions.
The realistic style is easy to abuse: from haste, from lack of awareness, from inability to bridge the chasm that lies between what a writer would like to be able to say and what he actually knows how to say. It is easy to fake; brutality is not strength, flipness is not wit, edge-of-the-chair writing can be as boring as flat writing; dalliance with promiscuous blondes can be very dull stuff when described by goaty young men with no other purpose in mind than to describe dalliance with promiscuous blondes. There has been so much of this sort of thing that if a character in a detective story says, "Yeah," the author is automatically a Hammett imitator.
Raymond Chandler, "The Simple Art of Murder" (1950)