Looking for unsolved "real" paranormal stories.
August 9, 2009 7:23 AM   Subscribe

What are some (non-Roswell) examples of unsolved "paranormal phenomena"?

I'm looking to find some great examples of unsolved paranormal events/happenings. While Roswell is the biggie, of course, I'm looking for things that didn't make it onto the radar of most people. Good examples would be the Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter and, to a lesser degree, the Bell Witch (lesser only because of the popularity of the films it spawned; otherwise, this is a perfect example).

So, what are some other examples that are (a) still "unsolved" and (b) have their own set of adherents/researchers who believe it actually happened?
posted by jbickers to Grab Bag (29 answers total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Joplin Spooklight.
posted by nitsuj at 7:25 AM on August 9, 2009


Tunguska - There is a theory that it was UFO crash site.
posted by nikkorizz at 7:50 AM on August 9, 2009


Marfa Lights.

Tammy Wynette's Hair.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:54 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


2008 Stephenville Texas UFO sightings.
posted by jayder at 8:13 AM on August 9, 2009




Tunguska isn't unexplained, it was a meteoroid. Only "unexplained" to those wishing to turn it in to something paranormal.
posted by aleahey at 8:41 AM on August 9, 2009


Where's the meteoroid, then?

Tunguska is weird for many reasons, not just because of the size of it. An asteroid or meteor of that size would leave some trace, and people have looked, if for no other reason than meteors and asteroid remnants are fabulously valuable.

A comet is a more likely explanation... but there are problems with that hypothesis, too.

Unsolved paranormal - UFO, cryptid, ghost or weirder? (Yes, we got weirder stuff out there for your perusal. Everything from talking animals, the blood of a saint in a glass reliquary that re-liquifies on occasion, abandoned ships, etc, etc, etc...)
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:55 AM on August 9, 2009


As a fan of the show Supernatural, I've found the Wikipedia page listing each episode to be highly informative. The Wikipedia page links to the source legend or story for each supernatural being/situation the characters come into contact with. While some are werewolves or demons and would not be of interest to you, there are several, like Cold Oak-Dudleytown that fit your criteria. Might be worth working your way through that list.

Some, like Croatoan are pretty well known, and referred to by name within the show, but often the writers have changed the name or details from the original story or legend, obscuring the actual story enough that I would not consider them to be "on people's radar" like the Bell Witch story you mentioned.
posted by terilou at 9:01 AM on August 9, 2009


CSICOP
posted by elektrotechnicus at 9:04 AM on August 9, 2009


I think what you want is the Forteans. That's what they're all about.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:16 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The best single paranormal case of the 20th century would be Arigo. This book is an amazing read.

Then there's this book, about the Eddy brothers of Vermont. Fascinating case, and the that link is the entire book - download the PDF, check it out, and look into the author, quite the character.

As far as contemporary UFO cases, the standout of the last quarter-century would definitely be the Rendlesham/Bentwaters case. Listen to this episode of my show, you might find it interesting.

Feel free to MeMail me, sadly, I know far too much about this overall topic.
posted by dbiedny at 9:30 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, what are some other examples that are (a) still "unsolved" and (b) have their own set of adherents/researchers who believe it actually happened?

You need to be looking up "mass" events, where not one crazy lady with 40 cats noticed aliens, but 50 crazy ladies including several law enforcement personnel noticed it.

You should REALLY look up "The Tinley Park Lights".

I'm pretty much a skeptic on most phenomena deemed "paranormal"...but its really HARD to refute an entire town (including an 20,000 OzzFest attendees) seeing the same thing. Its also all over youtube from multiple angles, and people.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:52 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mothman. While the film The Mothman Prophecies was very enjoyable, it really dialed back the crazy of John Keel's book.
posted by SPrintF at 9:55 AM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is an awesome thread.

The archives at Damn Interesting have articles on a lot of these types of phenomena. Most are explained, but they're still nice reads.

Dudleytown has a perfectly reasonable explanation, actually. It's an urban legend that got built up within ghost hunting circles. The wikipedia entry points to the Warrens as a key instigator in that build-up, which seems likely. The Warrens are an evangelical Christian couple who have long promoted themselves as ghost hunters. They are easily debunked. (They gave an assembly at my school when I was a senior in high school and even then you could see right through them. One of their claims was that 3:33 in the morning was the most dangerous minute in the day because it was "the devil's favorite". It was a fun assembly, though, if you didn't take it seriously.)

Dudleytown itself is debunked in detail here. (WARNING: Lots of lovely geocities-style design. Plus every page seems to have a wav file that starts up automatically.) The debunker sounds as crazy as the folks he's trying to combat, but seems to have undertaken an actual investigation involving public records, genealogy, etc, which is more than any other page on Dudleytown seems to have done.
posted by greenland at 12:21 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The RB-47 case is my favorite.

The creepiest to me is the Cumbrian Spacemen.
posted by @troy at 12:34 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This doesn't answer the question directly, but if you're really interested in this stuff there might be some examples closer to home than you think.

Someone I know well has worked in care homes (old people's homes) as a nurse for most of her working life and every once in a long while she'll tell me a story that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The thing that really gets me is that she's generally a rational level-headed person. The person that gets cast as the sensible one in a group, not prone to hysteria. She's told me of a number of occasions when a group of nurses, carers and other staff have had unexplained experiences (doors shaking, voices, a sense of a presence and so on) dating from her days as a fearless newly trained cadet right up to the present. These things don't really spook her very much and because she's the one ultimately responsible for the night shift she can't let them interfere with the residents' care, but she does seem to genuinely, dispassionately, accept them. I don't really like to think about this too much because she's so credible, and the stories are so creepy... But if you're interested, speak to someone you know who works with the old or dying, or even on an accident and emergency ward.

I have to wonder why anyone would seek out unexplained phenomena. It seems to me that some of these stories could consume your whole life. If [insert any paranormal story] checks out, if the witnesses are reliable, if there isn't a simpler explanation, how do you go on living your life, knowing that?
posted by SebastianKnight at 1:49 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


FWIW, Roswell is not unsolved--it was a crashed balloon carrying instruments to detect Soviet nuke tests.
posted by Camofrog at 3:45 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder why anyone would seek out unexplained phenomena. It seems to me that some of these stories could consume your whole life. If [insert any paranormal story] checks out, if the witnesses are reliable, if there isn't a simpler explanation, how do you go on living your life, knowing that?

Well, imagine when something odd happens to you, not some third party, multiply it by a lifetime, and you have an idea of what I deal with in my life. It's the sole reason I do a paranormal podcast, and I'll tell you, it hasn't been a great thing as far as my professional career goes. Ignorance is indeed bliss.
posted by dbiedny at 3:53 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and here are some other interesting UFO cases.
posted by dbiedny at 3:58 PM on August 9, 2009


The Joplin Spooklight is reflected headlights from the highway.
posted by LarryC at 5:11 PM on August 9, 2009


it was a crashed balloon carrying instruments to detect Soviet nuke tests.

LOL. Jesse Marcel's son, one of the surviving witnesses, might beg to differ.

I find the set of facts surrounding Roswell endlessly fascinating.

The only nuclear-capable bombing wing reports to its HQ that it finds a saucer, and releases a press release to that effect for some reason -- and its intelligence officer is supposed to have confused some sort of standard balloon rig for a varied collection material with rather reportedly strange properties like lightness, malleability, and strength.

Now, I'm officially agnostic about drawing any conclusions from the various collections of testimony, but the testimony is interesting.

It is possible that Marcel indeed confused standard radiosondes etc for the stuff he and his son said he found, but it really doesn't explain the evidence as described.

The deeper you investigate Roswell the more it becomes a rabbit hole.
posted by @troy at 6:38 PM on August 9, 2009


I just watched this randomly the other day. It's about a UFO crash in Needles, CA in May 2008.
posted by o0dano0o at 6:55 PM on August 9, 2009


The Hum remains in many cases unexplained. If you Google a bit around the specific associated locales you can find a few proposed paranormal explanations, although non-paranormal hypotheses appear to be dominant.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:42 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]




Great thread. All (?) nonsense of course, but spooky.
posted by greytape at 12:45 PM on August 10, 2009


I have to wonder why anyone would seek out unexplained phenomena. It seems to me that some of these stories could consume your whole life. If [insert any paranormal story] checks out, if the witnesses are reliable, if there isn't a simpler explanation, how do you go on living your life, knowing that?

Troll.
posted by humannaire at 6:34 PM on August 11, 2009


The Dylatov Pass Incident

And...SCAAAARY!!!
posted by humannaire at 6:40 PM on August 11, 2009


If you're still interested, you might want to check out the Mystery category on Listverse.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:07 PM on January 14, 2010


Colonel Buck's cursed tomb.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 6:40 PM on January 20, 2010


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