Some of the most intriguing mysteries are the ones we are still unraveling in real life. From ancient Egyptian curses to fish rain, here are five real-life mysteries that will fascinate you and spook you.
Humans can be quite superstitious, but some historical curses appear too real to be simple coincidences. A curse is an utterance to cast punishment or assign consequences to the recipient for some transgression already committed or one that they might commit.
One famous example of a historical curse is the curse of Tutankhamun. The tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun was uncovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter. Carnarvon and some others who entered the tomb later died under mysterious circumstances.
Are ghosts real? A 2019 Ipsos poll indicated that 46% of Americans truly believe in ghosts. From the oldest of myths to the ghost stories people exchange today, that belief is an age-old human thing.
According to various personal stories, ghosts can haunt people, places, and things. (Yes, like Annabelle the possessed doll from “The Conjuring.”) Some ghosts seem to relay messages to grieving loved ones for healing or warn others of dangers ahead. Other ghosts, rather than being aware of living humans, seem more interested in repeating patterns or memories they may have already experienced—such as normal household routines or even their deaths.
A 2014 study created a ghost illusion in the lab after analyzing twelve patients with neurological disorders. By blindfolding participants, they found they could generate the feeling of a presence nearby, creating an eerie dissonance. Each participant was told to move their hands in front of their body, and a robot reproduced those movements behind them, eventually touching them on the shoulder. Interestingly, scientists noted that this experience or feeling can occur under normal circumstances. It’s not proof of ghosts, but it also doesn’t disregard the possibility of there being something more than we know now out there.
Faces in Trees and Inanimate Objects
Ever felt like you were being followed in the woods, only to see a face in a tree or other objects? The phenomenon is called facial pareidolia—those with dementia or other neurological disorders are more likely to recognize faces in inanimate objects, but this ability is also associated with high levels of creativity. Researchers note that much of what we see isn’t really out there but is actually processed by our brains.
Doppelgänger or Ghosts of the Living
Ever did a double take and thought you saw a friend? Ever seen yourself walking down the street? German author Goethe once said he met his identical “double” when out horseback riding one day. Legend has it that if you see your double, your death or bad news may be on the horizon. Either way, you pay attention.
The University of Adelaide notes that you have one in a trillion odds of having a body double, but the researchers also indicate that camera surveillance and database comparison are eerily good at recognizing who you are.
Other sources claim that you have at least six people in the world who look like you. If you want to find your look-alike, you can visit a site like twinstrangers.net, which compares photos you and others have uploaded to find your “double.”
Fish Rain and Other Weird Falling Creatures
The Bible and other ancient texts discuss plagues of locusts and other weird falling creatures. We now know that some insects have long cycles of mating seasons and their eggs hatch at once, and as they migrate, they destroy crops and other property. Such natural occurrences used to be blamed on witchcraft.
We anticipate “plagues” of locusts and other insects seasonally or every few years, but what about fish, frogs, and other creatures that rain down on you far from their natural habitats?
Fish rain, frog rain, and other types of animal rain are often due to natural but extreme weather, from tornadic waterspouts to cyclones. For example, a cyclone picks up fish or other unidentifiable marine life and animals and drops them hundreds of miles from their habitat. It can even rain snakes!
Reach for the sky!