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 This time, however, the paper contains real (and previously unpublished) results...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.
Yesterday, a New York Redditor was approached by a shaggy man and handed a $50 bill and a cryptic note. [more inside]
Toiling away in the obscure backwaters of Google+, mefi's own Shakespeherian has been engaged in a compelling serial storytelling experiment: three THRILLING TALES of MYSTERY and ADVENTURE in a Choose Your Own Adventure By Committee format:
- I: In which YOU determine the FATE of a man named BJORN! (begins here and continues here)
- II: In which YOU run away to JOIN THE CIRCUS...OR DO YOU?
- III: In which YOU are WRONGLY ACCUSED of MURDER and must detectivate to prove your innocence!
Sin Titulo (to page 1) is a webcomic by Cameron Stewart. Mentioned and recommended previously on Metafilter a few times in the comments, it is now being updated regularly after a long hiatus, which makes right now a promising time to start following the story. It is a mystery thriller and it contains occasional depictions of violence, so it is not suitable for all audiences. [more inside]
One of the side effects of being a 5-day, live show was that the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows featured regular technical and acting flubs. Many, many, many flubs [more inside]
A famously reclusive writer, John Swartzwelder is responsible for many of The Simpson's iconic episodes. He stopped writing for the show in '04 and began to self-publish a series of increasingly absurd Sci-Fi Detective novels.
The Big Sleep is a film I have found a very intense love for. The rotating cast of shadowy crooks and deceptive dames coupled with the roller-coaster plotting makes this classic movie endlessly entertaining. Bogart and Bacall are electrifying together and the supporting cast is equally captivating. Considering it’s over 60 years old, The Big Sleep still works in a big bad way and feels fantastically modern. It’s as if the film is simply too fast and too entertaining to age. It was crafted by the hands of some of Hollywood’s finest artists at the time and oozes quality as a result. Most of all though, this movie is just pulpy, fearless, fun and really, really cool. - Pictures and Noise [more inside]
"Vitamin R goes straight to the head. Ruby will teach you to express your ideas through a computer. You will be writing stories for a machine. The language will become a tool for you to better connect your mind to the world." Slate compiles the mystery of _why. (Previously).
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 (previously). 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]
Human foot washes up on beach near Vancouver for 11th time in four years Previously - The DNA matchup - previously again
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 has been leaving mysterious miniature paper sculptures in various locations in Scotland. They seem to all be tied to Scottish author Ian Rankin, twitter, and the magic of the written word. [more inside]
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 to film to sports 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]