Bobby Dunbar was a four year-old boy that vanished in 1912, while on a fishing trip with his family in a Louisiana swamp. For weeks, searchers combed the area looking for him. The lake where he went missing was dynamited. Alligators were captured and had their bellies slit open to see if the body was inside. Nothing was found except a set of child's footprints leading to an old railroad trestle. Eight months later, the police found Bobby in the company of a drifter with a horse-drawn cart. He protested his innocence but was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Another woman came forward and claimed Bobby was, in fact, her son. But she was an unmarried fieldworker, and her claims were dismissed. The crime became a nationwide media event
and the boy was returned to his parents, and their hometown held a parade in his honor. Bobby returned to his life. Ninety-one years later, Bobby Dunbar's granddaughter uncovered the truth
posted by smoothvirus
on Mar 19, 2008 -
The Mystery of the Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa
. One of the most interesting mysteries of Death Valley National Park is the sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa (a playa is a dry lake bed). These rocks can be found on the floor of the playa with long trails behind them. Somehow these rocks slide across the playa, cutting a furrow in the sediment as they move. Some of these rocks weigh several hundred pounds. That makes the question: "How do they move?" a very challenging one. [Via].
For more in-depth information, including maps and additional pictures, see Paula Messina's website about the Sliding Rocks
posted by amyms
on Dec 2, 2007 -
Picking Up Women 101
, courtesy of the Internet. (warning: Youtube linkfest
) Author Neil Strauss
(The Game) introduces
us to the concept. Celebrated
(of VH1's 'The Pick Up Artist
' fame) shows us some
of his moves
. (Conan O'Brien makes light
of it all.) Self-described 'nerd' Ross Jeffries (who claims to be this inspiration for this
character) sells his line of Speed Seduction
using a hypnosis-based strategy called NLP
(neuro-linguistic programming) to get into girls' panties. You might want to check out a more straight-forward approach, highlighted by UK Channel 4's 'Speed School.' (parts 1 2 3 4 5
). [more inside]
posted by Mach3avelli
on Sep 16, 2007 -
is, by a wide margin, my favorite animated short ever produced. Set in the art deco Europe of the 1920's and (and released in 1997) it tells the story of a journey throughout several major vacation destinations of a wealthy tycoon, his young wife with wandering eyes, and a murderous turn of events. The story is told in reverse, from the final stage of the "vacation" back through each prior stop, and the artwork for each segment is painted in the style of the luggage travel sticker for that stop.
posted by jonson
on Sep 2, 2007 -
presents an extraordinary look at "one of the most ambitious search-and-rescue missions in history
," after one of Microsoft's researchers, Jim Gray
, and his boat, the Tenacious
, went missing
in the Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco in January 2007. Cartography meets law meets 2.0
technology. "First the Coast Guard scoured 132,000 square miles of ocean. Then a team of scientists and Silicon Valley power players turned the eyes of the global network onto the Pacific." Eventually, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, the US Navy, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium jumped in – "as did astronomers from leading universities." To this day, Jim Gray has never been found
, and his disappearance cannot be explained
. Read Wired
posted by BLDGBLOG
on Jul 22, 2007 -
Wittgenstein, in a letter to Norman Malcolm, wrote: "...A couple of years ago I read with great pleasure a detective story called Rendezvous With Fear by a man Norbert Davis. I enjoyed it so much that I gave it not only to Smythies but also to Moore to read and both shared my high opinion of it. For, though, as you know, I’ve read hundreds of stories that amused me and that I liked reading, I think I’ve only read two perhaps that I’d call good stuff, and Davis’s is one of them... It may sound crazy, but when I recently re-read the story I liked it again so much that I thought I’d really like to write to the author and thank him. If this is nuts don’t be surprised, for so am I..."
Though it is discussed by both Ray Monk, in his biography
of Wittgenstein, and Edmonds and Eidenow, in their popular book
about Wittgenstein's philosophical clash with Popper (and an aging Russell), it is always interesting to read about this strange man's love of detective fiction. Though I don't necessarily agree with the linked author's conclusions, it makes for a good read.
posted by voltairemodern
on Jun 19, 2006 -
Main Course or Colonel Kurtz?
Michael was a Harvard graduate, but otherwise refused to follow in his father's footsteps. After graduating cum laude and serving a hitch in the army, he went to New Guinea as a member of the Harvard Peabody Museum expedition. As he explained it, "I have the desire to do something romantic and adventurous at a time when frontiers in the real sense of the word are disappearing." In 1961, Michael Rockefeller
, fortunate son of the first order, disappeared while studying
the Asmat people
of New Guinea. Questions remain, however. Was he, indeed, eaten by the Asmat, who had a rumored history of cannibalism, or did he decide to go native? At least one documentary
has explored this.
posted by John of Michigan
on Dec 18, 2005 -
is no longer John Doe
. If you read the article noting every occurrence of the word "Madison" and how each differs from the others you'll see why I find this nifty. (I think they'll eventually decide it was suicide.)
posted by davy
on Oct 19, 2005 -
Scottish born singer Shelagh McDonald
was part of the late 1960s British folk scene and recorded two excellent albums
in the early 70s with production not unlike that of Nick Drake. With favorable comparisons to Sandy Denny
, Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill, larger success seemed right around the corner for this talented young woman. Then she vanished.
It's still unknown whether she went back to Scotland or elsewhere entirely, but now her musical catalogue is back in print
, prompting renewed interest. Perhaps she'll come forward at last to receive the royalties she's owed or, if we're lucky, step onto the stage once again.
posted by ktoad
on Sep 1, 2005 -
"In those days, there wasn't a lot of talk about gay priests. People didn't want to believe it."
On Dec. 4, 1982, a deeply suntanned man, about 40 years old, walked into the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Boise, Idaho, and readied himself for confession. As he waited, the man swallowed a cyanide capsule. A few minutes later, he was dead. He had no identification, and a note in his pocket said only that the $1,900 he carried should be used for his burial, with any remainder donated to the church. The note was signed with what turned out to be a false name. To this day, no one has been able to identify the man, nor to determine why he had come to the church to absolve himself of his sins. On the answers to that mystery may hang the fate of a small, quiet, meticulous man who now lives in South Austin
, and who spent 20 years in a Texas prison for a murder he says he did not commit
, but which investigators believe may be connected to the dead man at the Boise Sacred Heart Catholic Church. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Jun 22, 2005 -
Legend has it that Charles Dellschau (1830-1923)
was the draftsman
for the secret Sonora Aero Club
, a collective of 60 or so mostly German immigrants who reportedly constructed dirigible like aircraft
in California in the 1850's. One club member was said to have discovered suppe
-- the magic antigravity fuel alleged to have lifted the craft. There were sightings of these 'airships'
, tenuously linked back to the club, up to the end of the 20th century
, described variously as butcher, inventor, civil war spy, scientist and America's first visionary artist
, retired at age 70 in Texas and spent the last 2 decades
of his life as a recluse, producing mixed media art works
that record the craft
and workings of the fabled Sonora Aero Club. They are accompanied by cryptic symbols
, newsprint about aircraft and detailed notebooks and were salvaged from the garbage in 1967. His artworks were selling for $15,000 each 5 years ago
. A would-be author and long-time sleuth believes he has unlocked the mysteries of Dellschau's cryptic accoutrements
and may be publishing a book on the legends
this year. via
posted by peacay
on Jun 15, 2005 -
Unidentified Titan Object
Saturn's moon Titan shows an unusual bright spot that has scientists mystified. The spot, approximately the size and shape of West Virginia, is just southeast of the bright region called Xanadu and is visible to multiple instruments on the Cassini spacecraft.
posted by Diamornte
on May 25, 2005 -
The mystery of Stefan Mart and the 'Tales of the Nations'.
"The Tales of Nations" was not an ordinary book that you could buy in a book store, and it's mysterious narrator/illustrator disappeared into the darkness of Hitler's Germany, seemingly without a trace. Learn the background, read the stories, and view all 150 fabulous colour illustrations — "small in size, but strong in expression, each a microcosm packed with action, each a feast for the eyes like a beautifully set jewel".
posted by taz
on Jan 9, 2005 -
"Writing a whodunit may sound like an odd thing to do when you are running an insurgency"...
Nevertheless, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
, the mysterious, offbeat leader of the Zapatistas
, and Paco Ignacio Taibo II
, a Mexican crime novelist, are coauthoring a mystery novel live--alternating chapters each week--in the pages of the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada
. So far, they have finished chapters one
(pdf) of Muertos Incomodos, (The Awkward Dead)
. Is there a precedent for this experiment? I love this sort of thing but, unfortunately, my Spanish is insufficient. Any Spanish speakers care to review?
posted by boo
on Dec 22, 2004 -
The Deadly Necklace.
The current issue of the New Yorker has a fascinating story about Richard Lancelyn Green
, a preeminent Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes scholar
who died under mysterious circumstances
in March. At the time of his death, Green had been looking into the provinence of an archive
of Conan Doyle’s papers
[reprint of a NYTimes article], which he believed (perhaps wrongly)
had been stolen, and he'd hinted that there had been threats to his life. Soon afterward, he was found garroted by a shoelace in his room. The magazine does not provide the article online, but does offer this Q&A
with the author. I cannot recommend it highly enough, but to get you started while you're still at work, here's some more about Green's death from a Holmes message board
; a discussion of the curse of Conan Doyle
, which holds that Holmes scholars can meet an untimely end; and info on Doyle's belief
in the supernatural
posted by owenville
on Dec 9, 2004 -