Came across a similar thread on my local forum and have been entertained at work Please contribute if you have your own stories or findings.
The Solway Firth Spaceman :
On May 24th, 1964, Jim Templeton, a fireman from Carlisle in North England, snapped some pictures of his young daughter out to the marches overlooking the Solway Firth. Although it was an uneventful outing, Templeton and his family noticed an odd "aura" to the area there - as if there was an electric charge in the air before a storm.
No storm came, but Templeton did observe that some nearby cows seems overly upset and spooked. A few days later, after the film was developed, Templeton was shocked to discover that a strange man appeared in one of the photos of his daughter even though they had been alone on the marshes. The man appeared to be wearing a space suit like an astronaut! Kodak offered a reward for anyone able to give a rational explanation for the space man picture, but no one was able to. Experts concluded that the picture was not the result of a double exposure, nor was it the result of tampering with the negative.
The mystery didn't end there.
Templeton reported that shortly after the picture became public, he was harassed by men in dark suits who asked him odd questions about the weather conditions on the marsh, bird behaviors, and what Templeton was doing out there on the first place. They then tried to make him admit that he had faked the picture and, when Templeton refused to, they became angry and left.
Ten very experienced ski hikers departed on a trip towards Russia's Otorten Mountain. On January 25, 1959, the group reached Ivdel and took a truck north to Vizhai.
It was the last time any of them were seen alive.
On the 26th, the rescuers came across the team's abandoned campsite. It was deserted and the tent was badly damaged as if something had ripped through it. Oddly, it appeared not as if something had tried to get into the tent, but rather like someone had ripped their way out. Tracks were found leading away from the camp and, 500 meters away, the found the first two hikers next to the remains of a campfire - both of them were dead, shoeless, and in only their underwear. Between the position of the first bodies, they found three more. The positions of the corpses suggested that they were trying to return to the original camp, but succumbed along the way. It was two months later that the remaining four hikers were found further into the woods.
A strange phenomena is happening in some Russian forests. People are finding strange, deep holes. They appear in the dense forest, in the places you can’t get on the car or truck to bring any device to drill the ground. There is no soil nearby that should be taken from such deep hole. When people are brave enough to venture into the holes, they find that they end abruptly in the darkness. There are no any reasonable ideas on how these holes appear and what they are being used for. No one knows who or what is digging these holes or why.
The Overtoun Bridge is an arch bridge located near Milton, Dumbarton, Scotland which was built in 1859 and has become famous for the number of unexplained instances in which dogs have apparently committed suicide by leaping off of it.
The incidents were first recorded around the 1950's or 1960's when it was noticed that dogs - usually the long-nosed variety like Collies - would suddenly and unexpectedly leap off the bridge and fall fifty feet to their deaths. In some cases, however, the dogs would survive, recuperate, and then leap off the bridge again.
The locals have a name for these dogs: second-timers. What makes this tragic mystery even more mysterious is that many of the dogs that jump from Overton Bridge jump from the same side and from almost the same spot: between the final two parapets on the right-hand side of the bridge.
In 1808 the wealthy Chase family of Barbados acquired a vault in which to inter their dead relatives. Already some eighty years old, the vault was built semi-underground and hewn out of the compacted coral that makes up much of the island’s foundations. Despite its age, the crypt had only housed a single occupant; one Thomasina Goddard.
The head of the Chase family, Colonel Thomas Chase, decided not to disturb Goddard and she was not moved to another vault. Indeed, she was soon saved from her lonely prostration when the young Mary-Anne Maria Chase joined her in lead-lined eternity. Four years later the vault was re-opened to allow Mary-Anne's sister Dorcas' entry.
The unfortunate Chase family suffered another death when Thomas himself passed away barely a month after Dorcas. Only upon this latest reopening of the vault did the foundations of the legend begin to take root. It was found that Dorcas' coffin had moved from its original position so that it now rested against the far wall "standing on end, with its head downward" (some sources insist that Mary-Anne’s coffin had already moved mysteriously by the time they opened the vault up for Dorcas). Blaming vandals or thieves, the funeral party replaced the coffin, slid the marble slab back over the entrance and left. From then on every time the vault was opened to allow the submission of another of the Chase's relatives the vault's contents would be in disarray. This included Thomas Chase's heavy casket which, according to sources, took eight men to lift. Four times over the following years would the marble slab be heaved aside and the sun's light would illuminate the enigmatic danse macabre that had thrown the coffins into morbid disarray. Finally, the strange activities attracted attention from the island's inhabitants and officials who attended Thomasina Clark's internment in great numbers.
The governor’s wife was present and writes:
"In my husband's presence, every part of the floor was sounded to ascertain that no subterranean passage or entrance was concealed. It was found to be perfectly firm and solid; no crack was even apparent. The walls, when examined, proved to be perfectly secure. No fracture was visible, and the sides, together with the roof and flooring, presented a structure so solid as if formed of entire slabs of stone. The displaced coffins were rearranged, the new tenant of that dreary abode was deposited, and when the mourners retired with the funeral procession, the floor was sanded with fine white sand in the presence of Lord Combermere and the assembled crowd. The door was slid into its wonted position and, with the utmost care, the new mortar was laid on so as to secure it. When the masons had completed their task, the Governour made several impressions in the mixture with his own seal, and many of those attending added various private marks in the wet mortar...”
A note of interest: Lord Combermere would return to England and, upon his death, leave a little mystery of his own.
Eight months passed until the vault was ordered to be opened once again. Rather than wait for the next Chase to expire, the Governor and a party of men assembled at the crypt. The cemented seals were found to be intact and no evidence of tampering could be found until, upon reopening the crypt, once again the contents were discovered to be in disarray. A chaotic scene greeted the onlookers; all the coffins were once again disorganised, some upended and on top of others. Mary-Anna’s coffin had come to rest against the left wall; a small chunk had been chipped off from it, seemingly from the violence of its journey. The floor's sandy coating was undisturbed and no sign of flooding or earthquake was apparent.
Nathan Lucas (who is quoted with the prefix ‘The Honourable…’ in some sources, suggesting that he was a member of The Barbados House of Assembly), another eyewitness describes the event:
"...I examined the walls, the arch, and every part of the Vault, and found every part old and similar; and a mason in my presence struck every part of the bottom with his hammer, and all was solid. I confess myself at a loss to account for the movements of these leaden coffins. Thieves certainly had no hand in it; and as for any practical wit or hoax, too many were requisite to be trusted with the secret for it to remain unknown; and as for negroes having anything to do with it, their superstitious fear of the dead and everything belonging to them precludes any idea of the kind. All I know is that it happened and that I was an eye-witness of the fact..."
After this incident the story ends abruptly. The bodies were moved to other burial sites in the Christ Church Parish cemetery and the Chase vault left empty. It still stands vacant to this day at Oistins on the island’s southern coast.
The strange happenings at the Chase vault are not unique. At least one similar case has been reported in Suffolk, England in the late 18th century. At some un-named church, just like in Barbados, a family vault was reopened to add another coffin to their number when several lead coffins that were already in residence, were discovered to have moved from their original places, causing great consternation and surprise to many of the locals. The wandering coffins were replaced and the vault carefully resealed. Some time afterwards, however, the same thing occurred. The vault’s contents were again restored. The events then occurred for a third time. To quote 'The Stanton Courier' Issue No 8 June, 1969:
“One coffin, obviously more nimble than its fellows, had managed to reach the fourth step leading to the vault. The services of eight good men and true were needed to raise it. Expert opinion maintained the weird happenings were caused by water flooding the vault, although on the three occasions it was opened no trace of water could be found. This is the obvious solution, of course, but is there another explanation? Could it have been caused by something else?”
For the Chase vault other theories abound; earthquakes and volcanic, seismic activity are suggested as causing the macabre movements, even proposals that Thomasina Goddard had been a vampire. Most researchers believe that indeed, the migration was caused by rising underground water levels which made the airtight coffins float, changed their positions, and then deposited them gently as it dispersed. The modern author Joe Nickell argues that actually none of this incident contains any true mystery and that it is all indeed all a Masonic hoax. At least one researcher, Andrew Lang, couldn’t find any reference to the baffling event in either the contemporary Barbadian newspapers or the church’s burial register.
Whatever the truth, the curious underground goings-on in the Chase vault are certainly interesting, and they make a macabre tale to recount after dark, remaining in the pantheon of supernatural legends for many years to come.
The straits of Malacca near Sumatra have long borne witness to the passage of trading ships. Ivory, fabrics, perfumes, glassware and precious stones have passed through the strait’s Pacific waters, stowed in countless cargo holds, eventually to settle in far flung places around the globe. Over the centuries, most of these merchantmen reached their destinations safely. However, the quiet peace was broken one day in June 1947 when a forbidding SOS message drifted across the airwaves: “All officers including captain are dead lying in chartroom and bridge.” read the message. “Possibly whole crew dead." This was followed by some indecipherable Morse code chatter, probably more SOS signals, and then one final grisly message... "I die." And then, silence.
The macabre distress call was picked up by numerous ships and Dutch and British listening posts who, through triangulation, identified the vessel as the Dutch freighter SS Ourang Medan and located its approximate position within the straits of Malacca. Of the two American merchant ships that heard the Ourang Medan’s grim message, the 6,507tn Silver Star was the nearest and she raced to the aid of the stricken vessel.
Within a few hours, The Silver Star arrived upon a hushed sight. The calm sea gently lapped at the Ourang Medan’s stationary hull and the crew were nowhere to be seen above decks. The American ship hailed the Dutch vessel with whistles, calls and hand signals but there was no response. Nothing on board the strange craft moved. A boarding party was quickly assembled and what they discovered was such an alarming sight that it has made the Ourang Medan one of the strangest and disquieting nautical mysteries of all time, eclipsing even the Marie Celeste in macabre detail if not in infamy.
The SOS message proved correct; every member of the Ourang Medan’s crew lay dead. The crew’s corpses lay scattered on the decks. The captain laid dead on the bridge, his officers in the wheelhouse, chartroom and wardroom all deceased. More than this, their eyes were still open, faces upturned towards the pitiless sun, some with outstretched arms and expressions of sheer terror upon their features. As a May 1952 report of the Proceedings of the Merchant Marine Council put it: “their frozen faces were upturned to the sun, the mouths were gaping open and the eyes staring…” The Silver Star’s boarding party noted that even the ship's dog was dead, its face locked in a tormented grimace that mirrored that of its masters’. A trip to the communications room revealed the author of the SOS messages, also dead, his hand still on the Morse sending key, eyes wide open and teeth bared. Strangely, there was no sign of wounds or injuries on any of the bodies.
The decision was made to tow the mysterious ship back to port but before they could get underway, smoke began emanating below decks, probably originating in Number 4 hold. The boarding party hurriedly returned to The Silver Star and barely had time to cut the tow lines before the SS Ourang Medan exploded with such force that she "lifted herself from the water and swiftly sank”.
To this day, the exact fate of the Ourang Medan and her crew remain a seemingly impenetrable mystery. Speculation has been made that pirates killed the crew and sabotaged the ship, although this doesn’t explain the peculiar grimaces and lack of injuries on the corpses. Others have claimed that clouds of methane or other noxious natural gases could have bubbled up from fissures on the sea bed and engulfed the ship. Even more fantastical theories involving aliens and ghosts abound. Skepticism exists about the truthfulness of the entire story, suggesting perhaps that the ship may never have actually even existed, but what is certain is that while the Ourang Medan’s story is not the most well known, it refuses to disappear.
What really happened to the SS Ourang Medan? Over the decades several marine historians have sought to uncover the truth about the ship’s puzzling fate. Among these, Roy Bainton’s research stands out. He writes:
“Searching the Dutch Shipping records in Amsterdam seemed only to deepen the mystery. There was no mention of the ship at all, and my enquiries to the Maritime Authority in Singapore drew a blank.
“I was facing the distinct possibility that this was simply a hoary old fo'c'sle yarn… until Professor Theodor Siersdorfer of Essen, Germany entered the frame. He had read the plea [I placed] in ‘Sea Breezes’ [a British magazine for old sailors] and I suddenly discovered that I was not alone; Siersdorfer had been on the case for 45 years.”
It seems that Theodor Siersdorfer furthered Bainton’s progress, providing the names of the two American ships that had received the fateful ship’s messages: The Silver Star, owned by Grace Lines of New York and the City of Baltimore. Repeated attempts to get details from Grace Lines in New York of the Silver Star crew list and log book had been met with stony silence.
Bainton goes on to hypothesize that it was deadly leaking gas that caused the crew’s demise stating that the development of such nerve agents were outlawed under the Geneva Convention and thus perhaps shadowy governmental forces erased the Ourang Medan from the shipping registers –a cover up. He may not be far from the truth.
“What follows is pure speculation, but there is a tantalising, possible explanation as to her crew's demise and her disappearance from the records. A fellow researcher, Otto Mielke mentions a mixed, lethal cargo on the Ourang Medan 'Zyankali' (potassium cyanide) and nitro-glycerine. How this mixture could have gone unrecorded is a mystery, as the controls on such lethal cargoes, even 50 years ago, would have ensured reams of paperwork.”
Unit 731 was a secret research and development department within the Imperial Japanese Army that was dedicated to biological and chemical warfare. They used human beings as part of their experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II and thus were responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel. Unit 731’s research methods were unremittingly appalling. However, after the war ended, Douglas MacArthur (the then the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers) secretly granted immunity to many of Unit 731’s personnel in exchange for providing The United States with their biological warfare research. Shiro Ishii, the department’s head moved to Maryland to work on bio-weapons research. Bainton continues:
“So how was this deadly cargo moved around the South China Sea and through the Straits of Malacca during this troubled period? Not by air; the prospect of a cargo plane crashing with several tons of deadly gas on board was too horrendous to consider. No, you hired an insignificant old tramp steamer, preferably with a low paid foreign crew, stowed the cargo in disguised oil drums and, like all serious smugglers, hoped for the best, and a blind eye from authority. If we accept, due to the nature of her crew's deaths, that she was carrying deadly gas or chemicals and if indeed she was a Dutch vessel had this news broken it would have been a major embarrassment for any government involved, especially in the light of the Geneva Convention. Hence the dead ends faced by any researcher. The story exists because, like the gases, it escaped.”
As with many of these mysteries, it is unlikely that the truth will be uncovered and for now at least, the Ourang Medan remains a dark tale to tell on stormy nights.
One of the most controversial and complex theories was put forward by Robin Gardiner in his book, Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank? In it, Gardiner draws on several events and coincidences that occurred in the months, days, and hours leading up to the sinking of the Titanic, and concludes that the ship that sank was in fact Titanic's sister ship Olympic, disguised as Titanic, as an insurance scam.
Olympic was the older sister of Titanic, built alongside the more famous vessel but launched in October 1910. Her exterior profile was nearly identical to Titanic, save for small detailing such as the promenade deck windows.
On 20 September 1911, the Olympic was involved in a collision with the Royal Navy Warship HMS Hawke in the Brambles Channel near Southampton. The two ships were close enough to each other that Olympic's motion drew the Hawke into her after starboard side, causing extensive damage to the liner - both above and below its waterline (HMS Hawke was fitted with a re-inforced 'ram' below the waterline, purposely designed to cause maximum damage to enemy ships). An Admiralty inquiry assigned blame to the Olympic, despite numerous eye-witness accounts to the contrary.
Gardiner's theory plays out in this historical context. As Olympic was found to blame in the collision (which, according to Gardiner, had damaged the central turbine's mountings and the keel), White Star's insurers Lloyds of London allegedly refused to pay out on the claim. White Star's flagship would also be out of action during any repairs, and the Titanic's completion date would have to be delayed. All this would amount to a serious financial loss for the company. Gardiner proposes that, to make sure at least one vessel would be earning money, Olympic was then converted to become the Titanic. Gardiner states that few parts of either ship bore the name, other than the easily removed lifeboats, bell, compass binnacle, and name plates. The plan, Gardiner suggests, was to dispose of the Olympic in a way that would allow White Star to collect insurance money on the ship. He supposes that the seacocks were to be opened at sea to slowly flood the ship. If numerous ships were stationed nearby to take off the passengers, the shortage of lifeboats would not matter as the ship would sink slowly and the boats could make several trips to the rescuers.
Gardiner uses as evidence the length of Titanic's sea trials. Olympic's trials in 1910 took two days, including several high speed runs, but Titanic's trials reportedly only lasted for one day, with (Gardiner alleges) no working over half-speed. Gardiner says this was because the patched-up hull could not take any long periods of high speed.
Gardiner maintains that on 14 April, Officer Murdoch (who was not officially on duty yet) was on the bridge because he was one of the few high-ranking officers who knew of the plan and was keeping a watch out for the rescue ships. One of Gardiner's most controversial statements is that the Titanic did not strike an iceberg, but an IMM rescue ship that was drifting on station with its lights out. Gardiner based this hypothesis on the idea that the supposed iceberg was seen at such a short distance by the lookouts on the Titanic because it was actually a darkened ship, and he also does not believe an iceberg could inflict such sustained and serious damage to a steel double-hulled (sic) vessel such as the Titanic.
Gardiner further hypothesizes that the ship that was hit by the Titanic was the one seen by the Californian firing distress rockets, and that this explains the perceived inaction of the Californian (which traditionally is seen as failing to come to the rescue of the Titanic after sighting its distress rockets). Gardiner's hypothesis is that the Californian was not expecting rockets, but a rendezvous. The ice on the deck of the Titanic is explained by Gardiner as ice from the rigging of both the Titanic and the mystery ship she hit. As for the true Titanic, Gardiner alleges that she spent 25 years in service as the Olympic.
Researchers Bruce Beveridge and Steve Hall took issue with many of Gardiner's claims in their book, Olympic and Titanic: The Truth Behind the Conspiracy. Author Mark Chirnside has also raised serious questions about the switch theory.
On September 3, 1873, a man named James Worson had accepted a challenge to race, in record time, from the town of Leamington to the town of Coventry, a 20-mile trek. He had been boasting of his foot skills and then was asked to prove them, so, with sporting good spirits, he set about to do just that. Two friends, Hammerson Burns and Barham Wise, followed behind in a horse-drawn gig. Burns brought along his camera. Worson was never out of their sight, and would often turn around while running to exchange some friendly words with the two riders. Running in the middle of the road, Worson suddenly appeared to stumble and pitch forward, having time enough for only one short, piercing scream. Wise later said, “It was the most ghastly sound ether of us had ever heard.” But as Worson pitched forward with that terrible cry, instead of falling to the ground as he appeared to be about to have done, he completely and totally vanished in mid-fall, before ever striking the ground. The road itself told the story and Wise took the pictures to prove it. There, in the soft dirt, were Worson’s footprints.They led down the middle of the road, looked as if the runner stumbled, and there they disappeared. A search was called and the locals scoured the area for James. The bloodhounds used in the search were strangely reluctant to approach the spot where Worson disappeared. He was never seen or heard from again.
Chances are you have not heard of BEKs (Black Eyed Kids) yet. Sightings of them are few and far between but via the internet they are growing in number, and the reports describe close encounters that are not only weird, but also frightening.
The stories almost always start with a ring of the doorbell. One, two or more children appear on a ‘victim’s’ doorstep and ask for help: they need to use the toilet, make an urgent phone call or relate another tale of distress. They ask to come in, plead in some cases, but the homeowners never let them in due to an unexplained feeling of terror that overcomes them. Perhaps it is the BEKs’ entirely black eyes that induce the overwhelming horror; perhaps it is because, as one ‘witness’ described, their faces appear as slightly blurry. The mysterious encounters don’t stop there, either: “For a period of three days straight, [the BEKs] kept showing up on my driveway. When the police came they were nowhere in sight. After that, they never showed up on my driveway, but every once in a while, I will see them in the downtown area, like they are following me. They will be behind a tree, I will drive to another section of Sacramento and I would see them again or I will see them on the side of the road as I am driving by and they will stare at me.”
One man did let the children in. They claimed to need to use the toilet and phone, but it was only when they entered into the house that he saw their peculiar eyes and felt the full force of dread. The BEKs moved towards him, saying that ‘they had come to collect him’. He fled the house in terror.
In January 2006 in New York, the patient of a well-known psychiatrist draws the face of a man that has been repeatedly appearing in her dreams. In more than one occasion that man has given her advice on her private life. The woman swears she has never met the man in her life.
That portrait lies forgotten on the psychiatrist's desk for a few days until one day another patient recognizes that face and says that the man has often visited him in his dreams. He also claims he has never seen that man in his waking life.
The psychiatrist decides to send the portrait to some of his colleagues that have patients with recurrent dreams. Within a few months, four patients recognize the man as a frequent presence in their own dreams. All the patients refer to him as THIS MAN.
From January 2006 until today, at least 2000 people have claimed they have seen this man in their dreams, in many cities all over the world: Los Angeles, Berlin, Sao Paulo, Tehran, Beijing, Rome, Barcelona, Stockholm, Paris, New Dehli, Moskow etc.
At the moment there is no ascertained relation or common trait among the people that have dreamed of seeing this man. Moreover, no living man has ever been recognized as resembling the man of the portrait by the people who have seen this man in their dreams.