The Heist, Jump and Disappearance of Dan Cooper
Between 1967 and 1972, 147 skyjackers took flight: Dan Cooper (an officer described him to the press as "D.B.") paid $20 for a one-way flight from Portland to Seattle aboard Northwest Orient Flight 305 on Thanksgiving Eve in 1971. Aboard, he handed the flight attendant a note that said, "I have a bomb," and demanded $200,000 and 4 parachutes. His demands were met; the plane was emptied and took off again. Flying at 10,000 feet, wings flapped at 15 degrees and in virtual landing mode, the plane was low enough for an easy jump.
At around 8:05 p.m., the captain asked, "Is everything okay back there? Anything we can do for you?" Cooper yelled, "No!" Jumping into a storm, he was never heard from or seen again. No one saw Cooper jump, whether his chute opened or whether he got his money. Some wonder why he did not ask to fly a precise route, request warm clothing or at least a helmet. To this day, Cooper pulled an anti-establishment move in an era of Vietnam, remaining, according to some, the one man who beat the established order, slipping past the feds and managing not to physically hurt anyone, although others would claim he ultimately hurt himself.
The Black Dahlia's murder
Imagine finding the naked body of a woman who had been cut in half at the waist, lying on her back with her arms raised over her shoulders, her legs spread eagle, her face and body slashed viciously, rope marks on her ankles, wrists and neck, suggesting a very nasty scene before she died. The victim of this brutal murder was a 22-year-old woman named Elizabeth Short a.k.a. The Black Dahlia -- an aspiring actress who often dressed completely in black. Like most pretty faces in her day, she was trying to break into the movie business, which meant that she had to get her break by meeting the right person at the right time.
The murder of the Black Dahlia was about as high-profile a crime as you could get at the time. Considered a sex crime, the cops rounded up the usual perverts. The detectives failed to capture tire tracks and shoe prints, thus further hindering the investigation. While some suspect that the Dahlia's fate was related to that of socialite Georgette Bauerdorf a few years back -- claiming that both were murdered by Jack Anderson Wilson a.k.a. Arnold Smith -- this was never proven, thus leaving the mystery of the Black Dahlia unsolved.
The Bermuda Triangle
The 20th century saw dozens of ships and aircrafts fade into oblivion in Devil's Triangle a.k.a. the Bermuda Triangle, a.k.a. the Hoodoo Sea. Most disappeared without a trace, without even a distress call or any sign of debris left over. Vincent Gaddis put the triangle on the map in his 1964 Argosy feature. Sizes of the areas described ranged from 500,000 to 1.5 million square miles. They say size does not matter after all: some inexplicable force within it causes ships and planes to vanish.
Man's knowledge of magnetism is not as profound as it could be, making a conclusive analysis difficult. Others attribute this to extraterrestrial activity. Many blame it on human error. The absence of bodies might be explained by the fact that the waters are infested with sharks.
Historically, man has explained odd incidents thanks to mythology, demons, monsters, or extraterrestrial invaders. When mankind is willing to set aside its preconceived notions, look at facts and draw up a conclusion, then answers will rise to the (water's) surface. But, before you think conspiracy, the area is notorious for unpredictable weather, so extreme, in fact, that it could annihilate any mass in the area.
Loch Ness is the largest of three lochs located in the Great Glen, dividing the North of Scotland along a line from Fort William to Inverness. Its depth is about 750 feet. Now the juicy part: for over a century, man has been fascinated by reported sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie. Much has been written on the matter, and while proof of Nessie's existence or supposed sightings have not to date been proven conclusively, the mystery remains: does Nessie really exist?
In October 1987, 20 cruisers swept the loch with sonar equipment bouncing sound waves from the surface down to the bottom, electronically recording all contacts. While the cruisers caught enough salmon to feed an army, there was no sign of Nessie. And while most scientists would bet that there is no monster, they do seem to hedge themselves and keep an open mind: they are awaiting conclusive proof in the form of skeletal evidence or the capture of the monster (they wish).
John Fitzgerald Kennedy's Assassination
One of the most glamorous, scandalous and riveting unsolved mysteries of all-time must be JFK's assassination. Most Americans accept that more than one man killed the President. Yet not a single journalist, historian or government investigator has come up with the killers. Was it really the "Military Industrial Complex?" Or was it the Mob that was trying to get back at Kennedy for his involvement with the glorious Marilyn? Perhaps, it was Cuban assassins that were upset about the Bay of Pigs incident?
Many lost faith in the Government, never accepting that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and ranking this conspiracy as the biggest piece of hogwash ever served to the public. Others add that Oswald could not have had the time necessary: the fact that the rifle's scope was badly misaligned and that Ruby must have killed him for a reason. This mystery remains the greatest shame on American intelligence and democracy, or lack thereof, as it suggests that the President may have been killed for going up against the powers that be.
If JFK is number 6, what on earth could 1 to 5 be?
On the vast and open down land of Salisbury Plain, you will find the Megalithic ruin known to mankind as Stonehenge. Standing two miles west of the town of Amesbury, Wiltshire, in Southern England, Stonehenge is not a single structure, rather, the magnificent mystery unites a series of earth, timber and stone structures that were revised and remodeled over a period spanning 1,400 years.
More than 4,000 years ago, the people of the Neolithic period decided, for some reason, to construct a massive monument; exactly why anyone would be driven to build such a monument is as great a mystery. Some theories range from religion, others to astronomy. Remnants of what was Stonehenge stand today: still beautiful, breathtaking, mysterious, and most definitely sacred. Stonehenge has been the subject of many pieces of literature, capturing the imagination of children and adults alike.
Shroud of Turin
A linen cloth dating back centuries bears the image and profile of a crucified man. One crucified man that has gotten much press is none other than Jesus Christ. See the issue? The unsolved mystery involved whether or not this crucified man is Jesus of Nazareth, and whether this cloth is the same one that wrapped his crucified body. Cynics disregard this claim, calling it a medieval forgery or a clever hoax perpetrated by an artist.
Thanks to modern science, the Shroud has become the single most studied artifact in human history, with over hundreds of thousands of hours of study and intense research. Despite all of this, no set answer. Imagine the confusion and doubts about Jesus Christ's own existence, role and figure -- multiply these and you get the confusion that surrounds the world famous Shroud of Turin.
The Lost City of Atlantis
Plato was always great at stirring up trouble. Two of his dialogues: Timaeus and Critias have served as the basis for the theory behind the Lost City of Atlantis. While many critics attribute this story to the creation of a philosopher' s imagination to illustrate an argument, proponents claim that it was the other way around; his dialogues were inspired by catastrophic events, leading to the destruction of the Minoan civilization on Crete and Thera.
So, did Plato have too much wine? Is Atlantis an exaggeration based on the ancient cities of Thera in the Mediterranean? Or could it be real? Is it possible for an advanced and rich civilization to have existed in the Atlantic Ocean circa 9,000 BC? By most accounts, the only written records of Atlantis are found in Timaeus and Critias. Another possible destination is around the Azores Islands, a group of islands belonging to Portugal, 900 miles west of the Portuguese coast. Some actually argue that these islands are the mountaintops of the sunken continent of Atlantis.
Life Away from Earth
Another finalist from the top conspiracy theories list, some have been busy trying to convince one another that Man is the only being inhabiting the universe. Hmm, who said egocentrism was dead? To pretend that no life form can exist anywhere in the world is close-minded, archaic, selfish, unrealistic, and ridiculous. Admittedly, expecting aliens to land on Independence Day to blow us into oblivion is also slightly inane.
Various specific events stand out, such as the Roswell incident, but they all belong to the greater potential of life abroad. To argue that life can exist elsewhere is reasonable. Clearly man as we know it cannot subsist in colder or hotter climates, but there is more than meets the eye. Didn't you see E.T. after all?
All jokes aside, the universe is too vast and Earth too small for us to be alone. When we learn to accept human beings from our planet as our peers and equals, only then will we be able to accept other forms of life beyond Earth's atmosphere that will surely not look like us.
For the Love of God
Undoubtedly, God's existence is the greatest unsolved mystery. Over the course of history, people used religion and God more as an explanation for matters they could not understand, and answers to questions that they could not answer. With time, science and research showed that things had other reasons behind them. Others have pointed to religion as a spiritual recluse, and a relationship between the individual and whom one perceives to be his Lord.
A look at ancient civilization points to a recurring cycle: people assume a certain social phenomenon to be God's will, convinced there is no other way than His. Plato wrote about virtue, and then the Bible told men how to live. As various people throughout history have claimed different things, it was possible that these were His words, but there was no guarantee.
Today, brother kills brother because of what God says, yet they are all following the same God, theoretically. The important factor was that it was the prophets' relationships with God that was important and influential. Today, most will agree that human beings are an extension of God just as much as God is an extension of the human mind, body and soul. We make God to be what we want Him, Her, or It to be. As we move onto the 21st Century, God still seems to retain his impact; it is his staff that is having difficulty standing.