30 Famous Mysteries That Actually Were Explained Scientifically

20. The Lost Grave Of Richard III Are No Longer Lost

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When the monastery that Richard III was buried in was bought by a private entrepreneur, his corpse was lost for centuries. The corpse of the dead king was feared gone, but scientists didn’t give up hope. In 2012, they caught a lucky break when an old grave was found buried under a parking lot in Leicester. DNA testing was able to reveal that the bones in the grave were indeed the long lost remains of Richard III.

21. It Wasn’t Scarlet Fever That Caused Mary Ingalls’ Blindess

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It Wasn’t Scarlet Fever That Caused Mary Ingalls’ Blindess.

If you’re a fan of the Little House on the Prairie book, you may recall that author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s real-life sister Mary allegedly went blind from scarlet fever at age 14. But although Mary Ingalls did indeed suffer from scarlet fever as a kid, and it can be a cause of blindness for some patients, physicians believe that wasn’t the case with Mary. Dr. Beth Tarini and her team discovered a letter written to Laura’s daughter in 1937 that mentioned Mary’s blindness. But it also mentioned that Mary had “some sort of spinal sickness.” Turns out, a doctor at the time inspected the nerves in Mary’s eyes and they were paralyzed. As Dr. Tarini dove deeper into the medical mystery, she found the articles from the local newspaper that said in Mary’s teenage years she suffered severe headaches and partial paralysis on one side of her face. The researchers came to a conclusion that it wasn’t scarlet fever that caused Mary’s blindness, but viral meningoencephalitis. The disease inflames the brain and spinal cord and can cause blindness in the optic nerves.

22. The Source Of Blood At Blood Falls Is Iron Oxides

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In 1911, explorer and geographer Thomas Griffith Taylor stumbled upon a bizarre sight at the edge Taylor Glacier in East Antarctica. Taylor noted the occurrence of red blood-colored water flowing out of the glacier. At first, scientists thought it was some sort of algae that gave the water the reddish color. They eventually realized iron oxides were the reason, but how this occurred remained a mystery for over 100 years. In 2017, scientists finally discovered the source. Using radio-echo sounding radar, they were able to uncover that the waterfall was connected to an iron-rich source of water trapped under the glacier. The briny water source is believed to be over a million years old — making Blood Falls one very strange and very old waterfall.

23. Will-O’-The-Wisps From Folklore Were Likely Inspired By Methane Gas Emanating From Swamps

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European folklore is full of fantastical creatures, from leprechauns to boggarts to the Baba Yaga, and one of the most enduring folk myths is the “will-o’-the-wisp.” Throughout history, people have reported seeing mysterious flickering lights floating over marshes and swamplands at night. Witnesses have speculated these lights are spirits stuck in limbo and wandering the Earth. Often, a will-o’-the-wisp sighting is considered a bad omen. Although the term originates from Great Britain, will-o’-the-wisps appear in different cultures around the world.

“Comparative mythology” is a term used when different societies have similar myths. Different cultures can have nearly identical folklore either because their folklore reflects a universal human concern (i.e. a belief in the afterlife) or they’re all inspired by the same natural phenomenon.

In this case, it’s the latter. Most likely, will-o’-the-wisp reports are really just swamp gas sightings. Usually when organic matter perishes, it decomposes. But in swamps, lifeless organic matter gets submerged and decomposes underground, without exposure to the air. This decomposition creates “swamp gas,” a combination of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, phosphines, and other chemicals. When swamp gas does get exposed to the air, it can spontaneously ignite and cause a flickering effect like the will-o’-the-wisp.

24. The Underground Secret Of The Easter Island Heads

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It was proven that the Easter Island statues could have been made with the tools used by the people of that time. Thor Heyerdahl launched an expedition to explore the island that led to the unraveling the secrets of the stone idols. Among the other things that the researchers discovered was that the Moai heads had bodies and that some of them even reached 20 feet in height.

25. The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film

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You’ve probably seen this image of ‘Bigfoot’ from the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin Film, shot in Northern California. It’s the most well-known piece of footage that supposedly proves the existence of Bigfoot.

However, a 2004 book by Greg Long proved that it was all a hoax: a local man, Bob Heironimus, told Long that he wore a suit. However, the stunt may not have been done with ill intentions. Even though Roger Patterson never paid anyone involved with the film and had charges filed against him to get him to return the camera he used, he likely did the whole thing as a stunt to provide for his family, as he was sick with cancer.

26. Chemtrails Are Caused By Hot Plane Exhaust Quickly Freezing In The Cold Upper Atmosphere

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Conspiracy theories linked to health are nothing new. One of these theories has to do with chemtrails. Some people believe that the US government is secretly dumping chemicals on the American public using jet engine exhaust. Some conspiracy theorists believe chemtrails control the weather. Others think the government uses chemtrails to test how harmful certain chemicals are. While still others think it’s a way to weed out the sick and feeble. There are also some who think it’s a form of mind control, or even mass sterilization.

However, chemtrails are actually called “contrails,” and they’re simply hot air and water vapor from a jet engine that freezes on contact with Earth’s very cold upper atmosphere. Just like any engine exhaust, contrails aren’t entirely harmless. They contain carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfate particles, and soot – all forms of pollution that contribute to climate change. But there’s no proof contrails have ever contained any kind of unusual chemical or substance. Even if they did, any chemicals released at such high altitudes would be dispersed by the winds. So, if a shadowy and clandestine organization really did want to dose the public, chemtrails would be the least effective way to do it.

27. The Location Of The Lost Santa Maria Ship Of Christopher Columbus Was Discovered In 2014

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37. The Location Of The Santa Maria Ship Of Christopher ColumbusIn 1492, Christopher Columbus’ ship the Santa Maria ran aground near Hati. Columbus recorded the location of the ship’s wreckage in his journal and historians for years searched for it to no avail. That all changed in 2003, when a team of archaeologists led by Barry Clifford finally found the lost vessel. It would take years after making the discovery to determine if it was indeed the Santa Maria. Then in 2014, all the clues such as Columbus’ description of the ship, an old cannon, and the wreckage itself led Clifford to concluded that it most likely is the Santa Maria.

28. The ‘Yeti’ Is Most Likely A Rare Species Of Bear

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For thousands of years, native Himalayans and visitors have been convinced that the Himalayas are home to a mysterious, bipedal, apelike creature called the Yeti. (Just like Pacific Northwesterners have believed in Sasquatch.) Stories of the Yeti date all the way back to the Lepcha culture in modern-day Bhutan and Nepal, and they’ve persisted into modern times. But like most cryptids, there has never been concrete evidence of the Yeti’s existence, like a living specimen or even a carcass. The best Yeti enthusiasts have been able to offer is shaky proof like footprints or samples of doubtful origin.

In 2016, a documentary film crew gathered some of these “Yeti” samples and asked a team of biologists at the University at Buffalo to examine them. The team examined a collection of hair, bone, skin, and excrement supposedly belonging to a Yeti. DNA analysis revealed the samples mostly came from either Himalayan brown bears or black bears.

Like the Loch Ness Monster, it’s most likely that people have been mistaking a relatively common animal sighting for something fantastical. The fact that so many cultures around the world have reported seeing cryptids like the Yeti means one thing: Brief encounters with apex predators can confuse pretty much anyone.

29. The Cause Behind The Great Potato Famine

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The Great Potato Famine was devastating to Ireland in the mid-1800s and resulted in one million deaths. Scientists new that a potato blight was to blame for the mass starvation, but the precise strain of the pathogen that triggered it was unknown until fairly recently. “We have finally discovered the identity of the exact strain that caused all this havoc,” study co-author Hernán Burbano said. The study named the deadly strain HERB-1 and its discovery was the work of 11 historic samples of potato leaves that were collected about 150 years ago throughout Europe and North America. It’s believed that HERB-1 didn’t originate in Ireland, but emerged out of Mexico before arriving in European ports.

30. The Ourang Medan Ghostship Is A Myth


Far from every story that you hear is true. In 1952 the United States Coast Guard published a story that referred to a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper that reported of a two American ships receiving a radio distress call from the SS Ourang Medan ship that read in Morse code: “We float. All officers including the captain, dead in chartroom and on the bridge. Probably whole of crew dead * * *.”

One of those American ships, the Silver Star reportedly found the Ourang Medan and saw its crew dead, with mouths gaping in fear and eyes staring into the sky. That’s when a fire broke out and the Ourang Medan sank. However, there was a catch: the Ourang Medan never existed in the first place. There are no records of this ship even existing. No registration records for a ship by the name of Ourang Medan could be located in any country. What’s more the ship logs for the Silver Star show no record of any such rescue attempt.