This week’s Wait, What?! Wednesdays! features a boatload (lol) of unsolved historical mysteries. It’s up to you, dear reader, to see if you can make heads or tails of these three wild cases.
How can a ship with no crew sail across the ocean?
G-G-G-GHOSTS! Just kidding. But maybe not. Or am I?
On December 4th, 1872, an American merchant ship named Mary Celeste was found floating and deserted in the Atlantic, just off the coast of the Azores Islands. The Canadian crew that found her discovered the Mary Celeste in a dishevelled but still seaworthy condition (what’s that aboat? Lolz Canadian humor...).
The last entry of the ship's log was dated 10 days prior, there were plenty of provisions on board, and all the crew’s personal belongings were undisturbed… but where was the crew???
With no convincing evidence supporting the “normal” theories such as mutiny, piracy, or insurance fraud, speculation has been… overblown. Waterspouts, giant squids, paranormal activity (argh, there be The Black Pearl!) have all been thrown into the pot of possible solutions, but there has never been a definitive solution...
Have you turned into a living statue or are you just happy to see me?
It’s winter in Vienna, circa 1916. You’re living your life, enjoying your Vienna sausages, when BOOM, encephalitis lethargica AKA “the sleeping sickness” starts. It ravaged Europe then quickly followed up by heading to North America & India.
Coinciding with the Spanish Flu of 1918, it was a wicked time to be alive. From 1917 to 1928, over a million people were afflicted by the statue-like condition. They were left speechless and motionless but still very much alive for hours, weeks, or for some unfortunate souls… years. (I know we’re all trying to collectively forget Game of Thrones, but some strong greyscale vibes here.)
The strange thing is that the cause is unknown. No recurrence of the epidemic has since been reported, though isolated cases continue to occur…
In Mother Russia, Giant Fireball is Normal Occurrence
The Tunguska Event was a massive explosion that occurred over the Eastern Siberian Taiga in 1908, flattening over an estimated 80 MILLION trees over an 830 square mile area. It is generally assumed that an iron meteoroid about 330 feet in size entered the atmosphere and disintegrated at an altitude of 3-6 miles above the surface of the earth, and that disintegration burst caused the event. However, no impact crater has ever been found...
Considering the remoteness of the site, the limited technology available at the time, and the general less globular connectivity of the world at the time, much of modern day conclusions come from modern day interpretations, over a hundred years after the event happened. In 2013, a research team published results of an analysis of land near the center of the blast site, showing fragments that may be of extraterrestrial origin.
Now, we’re not saying it’s aliens (it’s aliens) but there are plenty of dissenters over what is considered the largest impact event on Earth IN RECORDED HISTORY. It’s kind of a big deal. Other possible solutions: natural gas explosion from the earth & the verneshot hypothesis.
Do you have any mysteries or unknowns you’ve come across this week? Let us know and we’ll cover them in next week’s WWW!
-Andy & Mark
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