There are certain mysteries that have kept the human race baffled for hundreds and hundreds of years. These mysteries have had us scratching our heads for so long that the majority of us will find it difficult to accept when they are finally solved. Because of that very reason most of us don’t even realise that most of our much loved mysteries of the world have actually already been solved.
1 – Stonehenge, UK
Stonehenge is arguably the most famous of ancient stone circles in the entire world. Located in the English county of Wiltshire, Stonehenge is a circle of enormous stones, some of which stand 7.5 meters high, positioned there sometime around 2,600 BC. Other than a very approximate date of construction we know very little about Stonehenge. No one seems able to agree on its purpose, who built it or how it was ever built without the use of modern day technology.
There have been many theories and ideas put forward over the years to explain all of this, some of them very simple while others are far-fetched and just plain silly. Some people simply believe that the stones, some weighing several tonne, were positioned by an army of thousands of workers while other people suggest that the giant stones were positioned with the help of alien intervention. Some people even think that they could have been put there by a strange wizard.
The theories as to how Stonehenge was constructed go on forever and ever but the most plausible of all came in 2004 when a Michigan based man named Wally Wallington (Yes, that is the dudes real name) managed to demonstrate techniques that allowed a single man, working alone, could actually move huge stones and actually build a full sized Stonehenge replica. He did this by using simple old school techniques that required the use of levers, pivots and counterweights. On top of this in March of 2013 it was proven that the stones used to construct Stonehenge were transported from Pembrokeshire which is located 150 miles north of Stonehenge.
Although we now know where the stones came from and how they were transported the actual purpose of Stonehenge remains a complete mystery. Some people think that it was a worshipping ground used during the summer and winter solstice and others think that it was merely a burial ground for the dead. Maybe we will never know the exact purpose behind Stonehenge but if you ever visit the area on a spring morning as the sun is just coming up you might get a little surprise by some of the strange and wonderful people who are said to dance naked around the stones. If it makes you happy, is all we can say.
2 – Fairy Circles, Namibia
In the desert plains of Namibia in South-West Africa there are quite literally thousands and thousands of these strange circular formations. They vary in size from 2 meters up to around 20 meters and are often surrounded with lust vegetation (very strange in the desert) and extend for 2,000 kilometres across the desert. Tales that explain these formations have been handed on down through the generations for thousands of years with the most popular tale suggesting that they are caused by a bad tempered dragon that lived under the desert sand and occasionally let slip a fiery bubble of breath. This scorching breath would then rise up through the surface of the earth and appear on land in a strange formation burning the area in the process.
Just like any other unexplained phenomena there are those out there who believe that these Fairy Circles are the work of aliens who secretly visit earth but thanks to modern science and research we now have a sensible explanation. Biology professor Norbert Jurgens from the University of Hamburg has discovered that the Fairy Circles are actually an ecological habitat of the sand termite Psammotermes allocerus. These strange termites actually feed on the roots of the grasses and vegetation that grows within the circle formations. This would depreciate transpiration (evaporation through plants) in the circle and lead to more water underground, sustaining the termites and promoting growth around the perimeter of the circle. As the termite colonies grow the circles then grow at the same rate and also attract other life which increases the biodiversity of the area.
Sure, this might not be as exciting as a mythical creature living under the desert but at least we know it is a scientific fact rather than an old wives tale.
3 – Lava Pillars, Iceland
Stonehenge is certainly not the only bizarre mystery regarding huge chunks of stone stuck into the ground. The Lava Pillars in the Skaelinger Valley, Iceland have had locals and scientists baffled and confused for many years. While that might not be amazing in itself what is amazing is that the official and best explanation behind these huge rocks is that they were the end result of a giant troll fight where the huge creatures used the rocks as projectiles.
If you don’t happen to be a scientist and are actually a sensible person it is easy to see that the idea of giant trolls creating this site is simply ridiculous and nothing more than a local legend. It was not until 2010 that anyone carried out any proper research into the Lava Pillars. Top American geologist, Stacy Gregg was the man behind the project and research and she was the first to suggest that behaviour of underwater lava flows which were cooled by the surrounding water then solidified into rock spirals bared a striking similarity to what is found in the Skaelinger Valley.
Until Gregg put this theory forward no one had ever seen such examples on land but she managed to show these formations from underwater lave flows came about in the same manner found at Skaelinger Valley, in this case most likely a result from the Laki Eruption which occurred in 1783. The Laki Eruption was so powerful and big that it managed to kill at least half of Iceland’s livestock and well over quarter of the countries human population.
4 – St Louis Light, Canada
If you were to travel to near Saskatchewan in Canada you might encounter a paranormal phenomenon that has not only been scaring the hell out of locals for decades but keeping them baffled for just as long. What happens here is described as a ridiculously bright and piercing light similar to a light on the front of a train appears in the distance but always appears in the exact same spot. To make things even more mysterious and even scary the light appears at the very point where a disused rail track once lay but has since been torn up. As you can imagine this has led to locals and visitors to the area believing that the light is that of a ghost train which is haunting and terrorizing the area. The superstitious locals along with those who love a good ghost story have also, over the decades, added their own little details to the story of the ghost train but none of them appear to have any proof that they are true. All that is known is that the phenomenon of the strange and distant light appearing at the exact same point really does happen.
Amazingly not even the locals are aware that science has been hard at work and has actually managed to explain this strange light. This was done by having someone drive their car to a location at least five miles away and then flash their lights at them. What happens is a scientific phenomenon of diffraction which is the magnification of light die to their being bordered by something impenetrable, such as trees. Diffraction is said to account for the brightness of the lights at such a vast distance and this is said to prove that the light which has spooked locals for decades is nothing more than car headlights or car brake lights.
5 – Princess Anastasia, Russia
For a very long time people have spent many hours debating as to whether or not the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II managed to escape the horrific and brutal execution that were inflicted on the rest of her family. No skeleton or remains were ever found for the young women and over the many years that have followed many claimants have come forward claiming to be Princess Anastasia. As you can imagine every single one of these claimants have been proven to be completely crazy or simply liars hoping for a quick payday.
While the mystery surrounding Princess Anastasia provides countless hours of drunken conversation the truth is far less glamorous than any theory put forward to explain what happened to her. In 2008 excavations of the Romanov burial site where her family were buried led to the discovery of the real Princess Anastasia’s body which was located a mere 200 meters away from the rest of her family.
The burial site had, for many years, been inaccessible because of the cold war which leaves you to only make the statement that they should have done a proper search in the first place and none of the bizarre rumours or speculation would have ever occurred.
6 – Darwin’s Dilemma, Earth
Darwin’s Dilemma is occasionally referred to as the Cambrian Explosion which is a period of time in the Earth’s history occurring half a billion years ago. It was at this point that the rate of evolution suddenly and unexplainably accelerated to an alarming rate. The end result was a huge increase in the number of and wide range of new species of animals. All of which seem to have appeared out of absolutely nowhere. Not even Darwin himself could explain what happened here and it left him completely baffled until the day he died.
Thankfully, with thanks to modern science, a valid explanation now exists. During the August of 2013 Australian scientist took another look at the maths behind this period of time and discovered that the rate of growth was not actually so strange and was indeed consistent with the rest of Darwin’s theories. What this means is that Darwin may well have been a brilliant man who gave the world some fantastic discoveries but when it came to maths he totally dropped the ball and got it all wrong. Similarly, such mathematical blunders regarding the origins of the Falkland Islands wolf also serve to explain its existence. Contemporary scientists, Darwin among them, believed the wolf had appeared on the islands as early as 330,000 years ago. Once again, re-checking the sums found someone had forgot to carry a one or something, and that in fact the dog only appeared there 16,000 years ago, during a glacial era when ice bridges would have allowed it to cross to the Falklands.