July 14, 2023 | Irit Chemel-Norton

Unsettling Small Town Mysteries

Small towns seem like dull places where everyone knows everyone and nothing ever happens—until something does. These brief, tragic instances remain without any answers or solutions, sparking the inner detective in us all. Here are some of the wildest unsolved cases from some of the least populated corners of the world.

1. High School Banksy

When I was a teenager, there was a spate of rude graffiti in my quiet, boring town of under 30,000 people. It was all obviously being done by the same person, as all the phalluses were drawn in a very unique style and signed "Frizzbee", with the Z's written in a distinctive way. There didn't seem to be any pattern of where they would strike either.

Every week or so, a new one would appear—on the wall outside the social club, in the highway underpass, inside the fish and chip shop toilet, etc. It got to a point where kids at school would keep track of where the latest Frizzbee painting had appeared, and it would be all anyone could talk about. In a way, they were the proto-Banksy. Everyone wanted to know the person's identity including law enforcement, but the situation just kept getting weirder and weirder.

Since our town had practically no misdemeanors other than the odd missing bicycle, the officers had the time and resources to come down hard on this one. It was (and still is) a solidly conservative town, so they were definitely under pressure from the local council to quickly address this shocking moral depravity and prevent the appearance of further enormous, stylized phalluses around town.

They went around the schools and interviewed several kids, looking for any clues that might lead them to the mysterious Frizzbee. Supposedly, they checked the school registration books and paid particular attention to any kid who had a name that might reasonably lead to that nickname. We all swore that we saw more law enforcement vehicles driving around than usual that summer, looking to catch the mystery artist in the act.

As far as I know, they never did get him or her. The graffiti just stopped appearing as suddenly as it started. Nor did we kids ever find out who it was. There were tons of theories, of course, with a lot of suspicion falling on a kid called Charlie in the year above me because apparently, he liked to doodle in his notebooks.

But when this girl named Debbie, who sat next to him in French class, sneaked a peek at his doodles one day, she made a shocking discovery. She reported that the vein structure running down Charlie's drawings was intrinsically different from those of Frizzbee's and therefore he was not a match. The mystery lives on.


2. Boy On Park Ave

There is a street in my city called Park Ave. In 2005, the body of a newborn baby boy was found near a factory there. Doctors could tell he was born alive and likely lived for a few hours before he passed on. I don't know if he was abandoned or harmed in some way; that info was never released. Officers released a statement saying, “Please come forward, we want to help you bury this child properly".

Since it was a small town, everyone assumed the mother got the message and that she would reveal herself. But she did something completely unexpected instead—she sent an anonymous letter to the station two weeks later. The letter didn't explain the circumstances, but it did say she was afraid. She never ended up coming forward. The baby was named "Baby Parker" and money was raised to give him a proper burial. People still leave gifts at his grave.

Jean Seberg factsShutterstock

3. Car Lock Mastermind

Picture a time when all car doors and house doors were opened with a metal lock and key. Our community was in a forest and it was almost exclusively made up of federal employees and their families...plus maybe a few concessionaires and contractors. We're talking about a very quiet residential community that had fewer than 200 people.

This happened before webcams or Ring cams were a thing and way before Wi-Fi was even possible in this location (come to think of it, those things are still not possible). With that stage set…One morning, I went out to my work vehicle and groggily put my key in the door, immediately meeting resistance. "Wha...huh?" I looked down and there was a sticky paper on the lock.

My key pushed through it but now there was sticky paper IN the lock. I got out my pocket knife, cleaned it out, then went about my day. I thought that'd be the end of it, but it was just the beginning of my nightmare. I got a radio from my significant other later that day and the same thing happened to him. More people showed up from our "neighborhood" and most of them experienced the exact same scenario. We assumed someone was playing a prank.

The next morning, I went out and there was a round sticker on my lock again. Frustrated, I peeled it off. I put the key in, turned the ignition, etc. This continued for TWO SOLID WEEKS. It was harmless, right? Well…some people weren't really looking every morning and a few vehicles g0t enough paper and adhesive in their door locks that it started getting difficult to open the doors.

We cleaned them out as best we could, but the stickers just kept popping up. We lectured every employee in the area and asked them to keep an eye on their vehicles. The stickers seemed to appear every night. It had to be a human…but, most people move through our area quickly, so it was probably not a visitor.

We started talking to the teens: "Guys, this isn't funny. If you know who's doing it...tell them to stop because it's property damage". Teens were swearing up and down that they were innocent. At that point, we decided that enough was enough—we used a trail cam to catch the miscreant. When we caught a glimpse of the culprit, our jaws dropped.

8:23 pm: a 13-year-old child came out with the family dog and a second child B who was four. The four-year-old had a roll of garage sale dot stickers in her overalls’ pocket. Every car she passed by, boop, in went a sticker on the lock. All the way down the row of cars. Boop. The 13-year-old was five to ten feet ahead, watching the dog and picking up dog waste. She never noticed what her sibling was up to.

We named her the Sticker Bandit. I felt like the evilest supervillain taking her stickers away.

Rich Kid Syndrome FactsShutterstock

4. Haunted House By The Church

There was a row of terraced houses next to the church. The one closest to it was occupied by two women—a mother and daughter—who had some mental incapacities. They basically only left the house to go to the supermarket. As the mother got older, only the daughter went out. Eventually, no one was leaving the house, which was peculiar.

The garden, which was already overgrown, got out of control. The poor structural condition at the back of the house worsened. This part was connected to the neighboring house, and after receiving no response, the neighbors eventually contacted the environment agency out of fear for their own houses. The environment agency then came around.

When they received no response at the door, they called law enforcement to assist with access. As soon as they opened the door, they froze in fear. Inside, letters were piled up behind the door, a desk fan was oscillating, and the daughter was found on the floor...lifeless. She had been for quite some time. Investigators came in and started searching the house. Bills were on direct debits, so they had all been paid automatically.

The inhabitants had been hoarders. The house took a very long time to sort through. Eventually, they realized they were missing someone. Where was the mother? They kept looking through the house, searching for any evidence of the mother or where she’d gone. In the bathroom, there was a huge pile of things on top of the bath. Mattresses, blankets, towels.

Underneath all this, they found the mother’s body, wrapped in a blanket, practically mummified...Such that it was impossible to ascertain how long she’d been dead for.

Hoarders factsShutterstock

5. Cult Complications

My family is from the small town where a prominent cult founder was born. 30 or so years ago, my uncle was on the city council when the cult came to town and offered boatloads of money to build a shrine and improve infrastructure. They didn’t have a bad reputation at that point, so no one suspected anything fishy about them.

The majority of the city council was drooling over the cash, but my uncle “12 Angry Men” -ed the situation, seeing the writing on the wall. Clearly, the cult had plans to overrun the town, and wooing the city council was the first step. One of the people he never convinced was the sheriff, but he still got his numbers. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story.

After this happened, my uncle received harassing phone calls every night and he would frequently have cars parked outside his house at odd hours. Since everyone knows everyone around here (the population is around 1,000), folks knew that these were not locals. It came to a head when his house got broken into.

Letters were left behind and they threatened my aunt and cousins, who were young children at the time. State law enforcement finally got involved, and the behavior immediately stopped. A few days later, the cultists packed up and left. Officially, the threats and break-ins were never solved, though every once in a while they would still get odd phone calls and blank letters in the mail (yay, anthrax scare).

Unofficially, everyone knows. A few years later, my uncle and family moved out into the country, and all the harassment stopped.

Satanic Panic FactsShutterstock

6. You Smelled Nothing

In the late '90s, a natural gas compressor station was built next door to me. Our entire neighborhood protested it HARD, but we were just dumb farmers, and gas companies had the money. Shortly after it was built in the middle of the night, it sprung a leak, and compressed gas spewed into the air like a geyser. There was now a jet-black cloud next door; not that I could see much anyway at that hour.

The sound it made was so loud, it would make a foghorn sound like a squeaky toy. Anyway, we quickly evacuated to the other side of town to some family and watched the news. Apparently, it ended quickly enough. They estimated 13 million dollars worth of natural gas was shot into the environment. So we went back. Reporters were talking to my dad when two shady men showed up.

They handed something to each news company, and the reactions were mind-boggling. They all left immediately. My family and my neighbors were standing there like "What the heck? Where did the reporters go?" Within the hour, it was no longer on the news. If you Google it, you'll find no trace of it. They just made that story disappear.

Horrible Bosses FactsShutterstock

7. Misdemeanor On Main Street

A few years ago in my town, an old man was sitting in his car at 5 am waiting for the newspapers on his route to be dropped off. He was parked on Main Street, but it would have been empty that early in the morning. It was a warm summer morning, so he had his window open. As he waited, someone rolled up on a bike.

As soon as the old man turned to see who it was, the biker unleashed his unexpected terror—he whacked the poor guy multiple times in the face with a machete and rode off! The old man was able to drive himself to the hospital and ended up being physically fine, despite some pretty horrific-looking wounds, but the attacker was never found. This was a few years ago and there have been zero follow-ups since.

It’s one of those inexplicable things that’s stuck with me for the last few years since it happened. Who would do something like that? I must assume that it was somebody high on something. I hope that he or she gets what’s coming.

These Fathers-In-Law Are Total MonstersShutterstock

8. Who Dunnit?

About 100 feet from the house that I lived in at the time, a little boy was hit by a car in broad daylight. The crash took him out instantly. The town rallied and tried to find the person that did it for months. The campaign was all over Facebook and newspapers. It even had a $500k reward for any information on the incident.

But here's the kicker—the whole town knows who did it. There’s not even a real question. It’s still set as “unsolved” even though the person responsible had their truck washed and cleaned professionally that very day. It was even fixed by the local body shop. For the record, he is a judge. So, yeah.

Biggest Work Mistakes factsShutterstock

9. Don’t Play With Fire

Many years ago, a house up the street from us burnt down. By the time that the firefighters arrived on the scene, it was completely engulfed in flames. The man who lived there was the one who set it ablaze on purpose, not long before going upstairs and shooting himself. His house was in complete destruction before the fire was even put out, and nobody expected him to live through the incident.

And he didn’t. But when the firefighters went to retrieve his body, they didn’t expect to see the bone-chilling scene that they saw. His body had no burns, not a single one. Somehow, the flames had completely avoided his body even though it hit the rest of the house. To this day, the truth behind the situation is still a mystery.

Need to Leave Now factsShutterstock

10. Clean Hands, Impure Heart

So this is not exactly an unsolved mystery, just unprosecuted. A boy about 16 years old took out a girl in a school shooting and wounded another before security stopped him. The boy had ended his own mother and his dog before coming to the school that day. The boy was quickly prosecuted and put into the state system.

The reporters closely covering this case were deeply troubled that only the boy was prosecuted. The boy's "best friend"—in quotes, because nobody needs a friend like that—had basically egged him on to it and helped prepare for months. The shooter himself was the "different" kind of high school kid. Not very mature, he didn't fit in, he was not adept at conversing or relating with people, he had few friends, and he was somewhat behind his peers in schoolwork.

The best friend, on the other hand, was a more normal-seeming kid—well-socialized, but with a reputation for using others for his own ends, without much regard for anyone else. He had started about a year prior to the event to totally overwhelm the kid with attention, apparently for the sole purpose of manipulating him at his will.

He eventually got him a pistol, taught him to shoot, and even organized a kind of practice out in an empty field somewhere. That was already scary enough, but it gets even worse—he also worked on the kid's dissatisfaction with his mother and home situation (there was nothing especially bad about it, just normal teenager angst) as well as the kid's anxiety over his inability to connect with other students, especially with the girls he liked.

A lot of what this guy did was reflective of things the Columbine shooters would do in a long preparation cycle. All during this time, the two boys were preparing for this day. The 'best friend' pretended that he was also going to be part of the event as well. They were going to do it together. The friend then backed out of the plan that morning with some excuse, but he pressured the boy to go through with it anyway.

To stay on schedule, he had to execute his mother (a single parent) and his dog, then go to the school and kill a particular girl plus anyone else he could manage to shoot. The two boys were on the phone with each other throughout. The investigators and prosecutors were very aware of this. One reporter wrote an extensive investigative newspaper article about the 'best friend.'

It was clear that this reporter thought that he was the mastermind. The shooter wasn't organized or purposeful enough, and he didn't really have a reason. But in the end, the prosecutors felt that they could not make a case against the guy.

Creepy DatesShutterstock

11. More Than 127 Hours

In July of 2019, a man and his wife decided to take a two-mile hike in the Mojave Desert. This wasn't unusual for them as they frequently explored this area (according to the husband). On the way back to their camper from the hike, the husband stated that he stopped to take a photograph while his wife continued ahead to the camper.

The husband then claimed that that was the last that he saw of her. He arrived at the camper to find it still locked with his wife nowhere to be found. He searched the area for her before deciding to contact 9-1-1. The wife was wearing a bikini, a baseball cap, and hiking boots, and she didn't have any supplies or a cellphone on her at the time.

At the time she went missing, temperatures in the area were exceeding 100°F (38°C). A search was launched and the husband was named a suspect in the disappearance of his wife. Approximately 18 months after her disappearance, her body was found deceased in the Mojave Desert near Essex, California. An autopsy was done, but the cause was never announced.

The wife's family members suspect foul play in her disappearance and demise.

Couples Remarried FactsShutterstock

12. The Banana Man

In my primary school, ages ago, there was one mystery. Someone would leave banana peels on top of the bins—not in the bins, on top—and we tried to figure out who it was. After a while, the person started writing messages like "You will never catch me" and "I’m too sneaky," but there was one message that stuck in my head: "I’m the banana man". So, my whole primary was dedicated to finding out who this banana man was and that’s the story of the banana man.

Banana Popsicle EditorialShutterstock

13. Lay Your Weary Head To Rest

The mystery of Amanda Goodman is ongoing in my town. She was a well-liked, local teen girl. She was hit with a round in the head on her way home from school, which was scary enough, but what was really shocking was how they found her. Whoever took her life laid her out under a tree as if she were asleep, carefully resting her head on top of a paper cup so that it wouldn’t be touching the ground.

Some people here think that she knew or saw something she shouldn’t have and was about to tell law enforcement. There are no suspects and I think the case is about 30 years old now. It’s very suspicious because you KNOW it was someone who cared about the condition of her body. It’s never gotten any big media attention, but I’ve always desperately wanted answers.

Astrid of Sweden FactsShutterstock

14. The House On The Bluffs

In my beach town, there was this beautiful old house, like the one in Dawson's Creek. It was still in great shape. A lovely old house on the bluffs, about 200 years old, with an overview of the lake. It was on a dead-end street with no paved roads. Well, about 10 years ago, this super-rich couple from out of town tore it all down as well as every tree on the lot (which was unlawful, since our trees are ancient).

They built this humongous metal and grey concrete monolith in its place (think the house in Parasite). Their house was so massive and expensive that it took them over three years to build. The family moved in before it was done and paid for. But that's just it—they never finished. The money never materialized. And the couple? They disappeared, right before the banks came calling.

Year after year, this hollow steel cage just sits there, rotting and slowly collapsing. The neighboring fauna and flora are slowly encroaching and reclaiming the hollow beast. Many have tried to get their hands on this huge lot. It has good bones, they say. They've tried to get a peek, only to return with horror stories of the life cycle of a raccoon, or the haunting pain of falling through the unfinished hardwood floor, long softened by cruel winters and neglect.

Fences come and go. Neighbors complain and grow tired of its ugly sight and wasted space. The only evidence of the house’s sole, yet brief, inhabitants is just as odd, for they went by fake names that they shed just as easily. On Google Maps there is one blurry shadow, and a darkened outline of a man's figure reading a book by the far window.

He is sitting on a sofa by an electric fireplace in the middle of winter. The room is otherwise vacant, completely unfurnished, and very unwelcoming. 

Caught on Home Security Cameras factsShutterstock

15. Origin Stories

Back in 1969, a 62-year-old man working at a local convenience store was stocking cans during his morning shift. At around 8 am, he was taken down with a shot to the back—however, no shells were found at the scene, possibly meaning that it was a double-barrel. Nothing was taken from the body nor the cash register.

The only "witness" was a young teenage boy who rode past the store on a bicycle at 8:10 am, who said he heard and saw nothing. The boy frequently stopped in that store for candy and sodas, but he didn't have any money that day and kept riding past. To this day, nobody knows who did it—there are no suspects and zero evidence besides the body itself.

However, it was later theorized that the man carried a gambling debt of a few thousand dollars, to whom we still do not know. But here's the best part—that little boy eventually grew up to become the current chief in the city, and he still occasionally works on the case whenever the precinct gets a tip.

Not What It Looks Like FactsShutterstock

16. Conspiracy Theory

The mysteries around Don Henry and Kevin Ives Alexander, Arkansas, 1987. This case was actually on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, but I don’t think it gets the attention it deserves…basically, a train comes upon two boys lying on a track, the train can’t stop in time and runs them over. The state coroner wrote the deaths off as an overdose.

He said that the boys had taken hallucinogens and then passed out on the tracks. But the widely believed theory is so much darker—people think the boys came upon a "drop" related to Iran contra deals, but that’s a whole other situation (I highly recommend watching “The Mena connection” on YouTube for more information about that).

The whole story is heartbreaking and terrifying from the perspective of Kevin Ives’ mother Linda Ives, who from the very beginning was unsatisfied with the investigation and continues to fight for any answers. She is constantly sabotaged by both local and state governments. The story just gets deeper and deeper and even implicates the then-governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.

It’s a fascinating rabbit hole to go down.

Cecil Hotel FactsShutterstock

17. A Girl And Her Dog

A 9-year-old girl, Erica Baker, disappeared in 1999 while walking her dog. A guy was then sentenced to six years for gross actions against a body. He admitted to hitting her with his car before he buried her, but wouldn't tell where she was buried. One of the guys who was with the driver at the time had already passed on, so the prosecutors went after the driver’s lawyer.

She chose to go to prison instead of telling anything for client confidentiality. They still search for the girl’s body to this day. The dog was eventually found and the last search was in April 2021. The driver was released from prison, took off, and hasn’t been seen since. Law enforcement is still searching for him.

Patients Faking FactsShutterstock

18. Too Many Connections

Bardstown, KY. There have been a series of bodies coming to light that have gone unsolved, which some have speculated may be connected. A young woman named Crystal Rogers went missing and was never found (not even her remains). A teacher and her daughter were found tied up in their home. An officer was ambushed and executed after his shift one night

A lot of people say the law enforcement there is corrupt, which may be accurate. I don’t know, but Bardstown is a sketchy place for sure.

Robert Redford factsGetty Images

19. The Girl Who Bowled

Back in the 1960s, my town had a 13-year-old girl go missing. She was riding the bus home after going to the local bowling alley to sign up for tournaments with her friend around 10 pm. The only reason she was reported missing was that whoever was suspected to have grabbed her drove a white-colored Ford, and her sister said she heard screams coming from the vehicle as it drove down their street that night.

To this day, no evidence has come up; however, her remains are believed to still be buried under the trunk of that white car. The scary part? It’s currently residing in someone's backyard. The family had done some ground testing and I believe that the main suspect had once owned the property.

Law enforcement seemed to be a little slow in helping the family. They were trying to acquire the property or the rights to dig it up, but the house was recently sold to someone, and who knows what will happen. I really hope she's found and properly buried. She was beautiful from the images I've seen, and I feel disgusted that the monster probably lives in my town.

Thinking of her family as well, I can't imagine the pain they went through. They still miss that angel. I’m also disappointed that law enforcement isn’t doing all they can, especially because our community has had several child abduction attempts in the past 15 years.

Creepy Moments FactsShutterstock

20. Close Encounters

It's actually been solved now, but back when I lived in Wichita, we had a man going around who was binding, torturing, and doing away with victims for several decades. When I was a kid in the '80s, everyone was terrified of him. But a few years back, he was finally caught and he ended up being one of the most infamous slaughterers in history.

Associated with this...I was about 10 years old and was playing in the backyard with my friend. His teen sister was back there hanging clothes. A man wearing only pantyhose, and another pair of pantyhose on his head, jumped over the fence, looked at us, then jumped the other fence. We were certain it was the BTK killer, and we swore we almost lost our lives. Law enforcement came and searched the neighborhood.

They found nothing on the BTK killer but they, unfortunately, managed to find Gary the neighbor’s grow-op. I liked Gary. He was like the cool stepdad to all the fatherless children in the neighborhood. He used to take my friend and me fishing, and he was always relaxed and cool. As I got older, I realized why.

Agrippina The Younger FactsShutterstock

21. Too Coincidental

Around 1993, my teacher was taken out while helping her “best friend” paint her house. Her husband claimed to have tripped with a hunting musket while going upstairs and it ended up embedding itself in her head. She survived a few weeks in ICU but ultimately passed on. Not long after, my teacher’s husband and her best friend got married.

My mom was one of the first on the scene, and there was a lot of evidence tampering already. Mom always believed it was a planned casualty, but it was recorded as accidental.

Mental Disorders factsShutterstock

22. The Missing Pumpkins

My town is really small. Only about 5,000 residents live here. It’s one of those places where it feels like everyone knows everyone. Not a lot happens here, either. However, on Halloween each year, somebody snatches all the jack-o’-lanterns from around town. Like, ALL of them. They might miss a few, but the vast majority are taken.

Nobody knows who it is, where they are from, or what they do with the pumpkins. But here's the crazy part—some of the elderly residents from my town remember their jack-o’-lanterns disappearing when they were children as well, meaning it’s been happening for at least the last 50 years.

Humiliating ExperiencePixabay

23. When You Go Out In The Woods Today

Around Christmas, a younger guy in his twenties went for a walk by his house and disappeared. His roommate, the roommate’s girlfriend, and law enforcement all said that he left his family and his job in the area and just took off. Two weeks later, law enforcement finally conducted a search in the woods around the house. They didn't find him...but they noticed blood.

The blood was in the house he shared with his buddy, as well as in the shed. Months later, someone found his body in an area that the search team already went over. The roommate and the roommate’s dad (who owned the house) were then charged with obstructing the investigation. His roommate was even seen wearing the guy’s sunglasses and was using his wallet and other items immediately following his disappearance.

So far, no one has been charged with this, and law enforcement still refers to it as an accident. But the community at large and the family’s private investigator are pretty certain he was done in by his roommate and that it was covered up by the house owner and the friend’s girlfriend. It's weird because these people talk shady about the victim on social media and have gone around town using his belongings. Everyone thinks they simply did away with him.

Creepy StoriesUnsplash

24. Parade Day Buffoonery

I grew up in a small farming town in Northern California. Every spring, we have a parade day and it's pretty much our biggest annual event. There are always a bunch of out-of-towners, but the locals always have parties and BBQs and whatnot. One year, I was driving home from a parade after-party a few miles outside of town.

It was well after dark and I was half-asleep driving on autopilot, minutes away from my parents' house. Suddenly, this freaking enormous cow appears out of the gloom, right on the road in front of me. I remember braking and swerving UNDER its head. Turns out, it wasn't even a real cow after all. It was a fifteen-foot-tall paper mâché cow from a nearby parade float.

Clearly, it had been kidnapped and left on the street in the dark to scare passersby. Naturally, I turned around and went back to the party, because I was now wide awake, and my friends had to see this themselves. We never figured out who took off with the parade cow.

Ridiculous 9-1-1 Calls factsShutterstock

25. Jurassic Golf

There is an ongoing battle in my town between a power company, local off-roaders, and a mini-golf course. The power company bought an abandoned dinosaur mini-golf course and ran electrical lines throughout the area. During the construction of the new power lines, all of the giant aluminum dinosaurs from the abandoned course disappeared.

Along with the construction, they also gated off a path used by locals for off-roading. Nowadays, the gates keep getting taken—every time the power company replaces them, they go missing a few days later. On top of that, every now and then, a pile of gates appears in the middle of the power company’s parking lot, topped with one of the aluminum dinosaurs.

Neither law enforcement nor the power company has ever caught anyone in the act of taking the gates or placing them, along with a dinosaur, in the parking lot. They also haven't found where the dinosaurs and gates ended up. To add another frustrating bit, every time it happens, all the security cameras are disabled first.

Thought We Were Friends factsNeedpix

26. Female Hannibal

Good Ole Belle Guinness is the only thing that the town I'm from is known for. She was a serial murderer in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. She would claim to be a wealthy widow looking for a husband. When interested men would arrive, she would execute them. Eventually, families in the area began to grow suspicious of her.

When authorities started closing in, she staged her demise in the most shocking way—she first took out her children and a maid, if I remember right. Then, she burnt her farmhouse down and the maid’s body was assumed to be Belle. Later, authorities realized that she escaped when the skeleton they assumed was hers didn't match her recorded height. She got away and nobody ever found her again.

Weird Delivery factsPixabay

27. Bike Bank Burglary

My small town used to host a large bike race. Literally, hundreds of cyclists rode around the parks' 3/4-mile loop track (and maybe engaged in some road racing as well, I can't remember). Anyway, the large gathering required all the local law enforcement to be on hand, and with the jam of cars, bicycles, and people, it was really hard to get in or out.

A bank heister dressed in full cyclist gear came into a bank just a block away from the park, robbed them blind, and then hopped on his getaway bicycle and rode into the crowd at the park. By the time that law enforcement could respond, he was in the mix of people and to this day no one has ever been charged…it was something of a stroke of genius.

Lin-Manuel Miranda FactsShutterstock

28. Inspired By Real Locations

I grew up in Lake Ozark, Missouri. In the mid-1980s, a company called "CompTec" appeared in town and overnight started buying up properties and businesses. They had vans with their logo on them and suddenly there were a dozen or more of these vans all over town. The weird thing was nothing ever happened with the properties or businesses they bought.

Any property that they acquired was closed and didn't reopen. There was a LOT of speculation about what was going on. This went on for about two years, and then overnight the company, the vans, all were gone. I never heard what happened to the stuff they owned.

The creator of the Netflix show Ozark lived in the area at this same time, so I'm certain this is where his idea for the show came from.

Two businessmen gesturing.Getty Images

29. Don’t Go Near The Hills At Night

My town is about an hour away from a mesa that is largely populated by people who choose to reside in sustainable homes and live off the grid entirely. In the winter, this mesa is mostly inaccessible to any vehicle that isn’t a four-wheel-drive hunk of post-apocalyptic horror. Growing up, I remember going to friends’ houses and being told not to go down certain roads or to stay away from certain people. Of course, there was always a strictly enforced curfew whenever I spent the night.

I never knew what that was about. Then I got older and learned the horrifying truth about the area. It’s basically ignored by both local and federal law enforcement that certain mob groups use the mesa as a safe house for some of their more morally questionable ordeals and there are some seriously damaged people that live in the remote areas. I’ve personally had friends of the family go missing there. Overall, this place is safe to go if you’re a local or with a local who knows the area well but it’s still not advisable as we really have no idea to what extent the evil goes.

Worst Father-In-Law factsPxfuel

30. No Pick-Up

I live in a town of about 20,000 people in southeast Oklahoma. A new taxi service using electric cars started around 2019, and for New Year’s Day, they gave free rides home for people who had been drinking from 11 am to 8 am the next day. Dustin Parker was a driver for this taxi service. At approximately 6 am on New Year’s Day, he was fatally shot in the driver seat of the taxi while dropping off a passenger.

Dustin was married with two children. Nothing has been done and no one has been detained. They questioned some people a day or two later and then released them. It is infuriating and heartbreaking that while doing good deeds for others and attempting to help keep others safe, this man was gunned down in his car.

Here's where it gets sketchy—Dustin received two phone calls for a pickup at 6:19 and 6:20 AM. His wife said he was in a hurry and rushing out the door, saying the client was being impatient. Law enforcement never subpoenaed who the phone number belonged to, and that number is no longer in service. The taxi service then had somebody call and book a ride with free tickets from the bag Dustin was carrying the night he was done in.

No one would have those tickets except for the person who took his life. They picked those people up, recorded their conversation with them, recorded and asked those people where the tickets came from, etc. Still no arrests. Atrocities go on with no retribution in small towns like this.

911 CallsShutterstock

31. Missing In Mormon Country

My wife's grandmother went missing one day from her ranch home in Snowflake, AZ, and was never seen again. There were no signs of struggle—her bowl of cereal was half-eaten and nothing was missing from the house. She was a widow who was very close to her family, and she lived on over 10 acres of land. Her car was still at the house.

She was a mail lady, and a lot of people speculate that she saw something she wasn't supposed to on her route to a bad area of town where a lot of addicts live, but no one really knows. There’s been no leads, no nothing. It's a very rural Mormon town, so it was a big mystery and a huge deal, yet nothing. It's been over 15 years now. The hardest part for my wife and her family is that there's never been any closure. I think probably no one will ever know.

Hardest News They’ve Had To Break factsPixabay

32. Haunted Hotels

The Gunter Hotel, room 636, in the 1960s. A maid walked in despite the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door handle. The guest was past his checkout time. She opened the door to Walter A. Emerick, standing beside the bed and tying a blood-soaked bed sheet. He put his finger to his lips and told her, "Shhh" as she began to scream.

He ran off into the night with the bloody sack and hid the evidence in an unknown location. Law enforcement found him checked into St. Anthony’s hotel down the street and they knocked on his door. A pistol went off and law enforcement immediately rushed in. Inside, the scene was not only shocking, but it was also completely baffling—they found him in bed with a GSW in the head. They found blonde hair in the room where it took place, a cheroot with lipstick and meat stuffed into the drain of the bathtub.

To this day, they don’t know who did him in. This has always been my favorite ghost story. They say that a woman’s ghost haunts room 636 at the Gunter. They also say that Walter haunts the room of his demise, in the St. Anthony's Hotel down the street. They said he asked for room 636, but it was taken. They say he’s not very nice to the living.

Large haunted hotel in Alberta (Banff Fairmont)Getty Images

33. The House With No People

There's a really nice house in my old neighborhood. The street outside is always lined with nice cars, usually about ten of them. The cars change frequently and sometimes they are really expensive ones. I lived there for ten years and I'd never seen anyone leave or enter. The house itself isn't all that ostentatious and it's in a very regular neighborhood.

An old friend of mine lived across from that house and he never saw anything extraordinary. But he did mention something interesting—there's a statue near the front door that contained several security cameras, and so did most of the house. No one ever answers the door, either.

The best theories I've heard are that it's a bawdyhouse or a set for licentious films. I've never met anyone who has been in the house or knows the owner. I've been meaning to plan a 48-hour stakeout, but I'm not sure I'm ready to brave that adventure alone. Part of its glorious infamy in my hometown community is how much of a complete unknown it is to the general population.

Roger Federer FactsShutterstock

34. First, Take The Lawyers

If you haven't heard about the Murdoch case in Beaufort, SC, you're going to soon. It's wild. An intoxicated underage trust fund kid drove his boat into a bridge piling at 2 am and he hit a young girl. His rich daddy lawyer went to the hospital with booze on his breath to try and "get everyone's story straight," intimidating witnesses and likely obstructing justice in the meantime.

Fast forward a few years and karma would eventually catch up to them. The underage trust fund kid and his mom were targeted in a double slaying. No one knows what the heck happened. Seriously, it's wild. I don't even know most of the details since I've just been following it from afar, but it's some major mystery stuff and it just happened in my little Forrest Gump hometown.

Gut Feelings BehemothShutterstock

35. Real-Life Ghost Town

One of the kids I went to high school with was born in a tiny old mining town somewhere in the Nevada desert (like, maybe 50 people lived there, max). It had one “doctor,” and a single diner that was the only food other than the gas station and general store. His family moved out pretty early in his life but one day he decided to go back and check it out since it was only a short detour in a road trip he was taking.

When he got there, he was totally spooked by what he saw. The place was completely abandoned. There was no one to be seen, but all their cars were still there and the doors to houses and businesses were left wide open. He spent some time looking around. All the things in houses were boxed up like people were moving and there was old food still on the store shelves. He never found any evidence as to where everyone had gone, but there was graffiti inside the gas station back room.

The chilling message on the wall was: “It returned". It still sounds like a made-up ghost story to me (especially that last part), but there’s plenty of towns out here where the citizens have basically disappeared out of the blue, whether just moving to better areas or something else.

Ghost Towns FactsWikimedia Commons

36. Too Many To Count

A lot has happened in my small town over the past decade. Some years ago, a local officer was slain around 3 am on a local highway while trying to clear a branch out of the road. There was also a murder involving a teacher and her teenage daughter in their own home. But the one case that has me up at night involves a mother who suddenly went missing —they found her car abandoned on the highway with all her stuff in it, and no one had seen her.

Her boyfriend is a suspect and his brother, who is an officer, had to resign after he was accused of trying to help cover it up. Still, they haven't proven anything yet and no one has been charged. Later on, the missing woman's father was found shot in the head while hunting and they're not sure who did it. There have been rumors about who's responsible, but nobody is sure.

The town has gone to heck over the last decade or so, which is one of the reasons my family and I don't live there anymore. So many shady dealings go on and it's destroying lives. Personally, I think one of the Mexican cartels is involved. I knew someone who took some product from them and they threatened to end him and his entire family if they didn't get their money back.

Pete Burns FactsShutterstock

37. A Homeless Problem

I grew up in Hawaii on the Big Island. Our downtown wasn't big then, so you get to know everyone. The homeless population in the town was pretty friendly, so you get to know them. There was Old Man Ocean, a.k.a Freddy, a.k.a Dreddy Freddy, and there were these two guys that looked like the albino twins from The Matrix who fell on hard times. There was also the hat guy trying to sell palm tree frond hats to tourists. Anyway...

This ex-army guy (we'll call him GI Jim) moved into town and he was a typical white redneck retiree in Hawaii. He bragged about his pistol that he always carried and even pulled it out in a fight at a bar. He'd get into trouble often for hitting on all the local girls whilst getting into fights with local guys. He got 86'd from every bar downtown. Little did we know his mischief was a precursor for darker things to come...

A lot of people hitchhike into the town where I'm from, just to get to work quicker or to hit the beach. My co-worker did and he got picked up by this GI Jim guy. As they drove, they saw a homeless guy and GI Jim said that it's disgusting that these homeless people are so common. He said they were polluting the place, disrupting the peaceful island, and that someone should do something about it.

Somebody should clean up the town. Somebody should get rid of them. Somebody should just end them all because who would care and or notice? My friend asked to get let out immediately. Flash forward a few weeks later and a co-worker who had been transient up until a few months before came in asking if anybody had seen Tyler.

Tyler was his homeless friend with the dog who would come around and get food and stuff from us behind the kitchen. Nice guy, nothing shady; just a former homeless guy trying to help his friends. Nobody had seen him for a little while...until his picture showed up in a shocking news story. He was found later that week cut in half behind a dive shop. Throughout the month, there were more and more accounts of homeless people being found lifeless in gruesome manners.

At the same time, people noticed that GI Jim had taken leave from the island; or, at least, nobody had seen him. Hawaii is notorious for not reporting these stories so as to not deter tourists (one of our economic pillars) from coming to visit. So, nobody really got to the bottom of it. But we're pretty sure it was GI Jim, there's just no way to be sure.

Not supposed to seePexels

38. Pond Scum

Near our town, Molly Bish, a 16-year-old girl, went missing at a local pond where she was a lifeguard. Her mother remembers seeing a suspicious-looking person there but didn't really think anything more of it. The next day, her mother dropped her off at the pond, and she never saw her again. Her body was found three years later, about four miles away.

Her mother has had investigations opened since then, and just this month, information about a possible location of the suspicious person’s vehicle popped up. It is thought that the vehicle was buried underground. Investigators have been searching through the area with ground-penetrating radar.

Memorable teachersUnsplash

39. Never Seen Again

In my hometown, there was a woman who was friends with my aunt. My aunt worked at the prison, and the two of them had a bit of a record for sleeping with the guards. My aunt and her friend made plans to go out, but she never got a call from her. The woman worked nights and lived down a road that had three other houses around hers, but they were all spaced fairly far apart.

That morning when she returned home, she called her mom and presumably went inside to sleep. Her family was out of the house, so no one had contact with her for the rest of the day. When her family returned later, they were caught off-guard by a truly horrifying scene—they found blood on the pillars of the house where it looked like she had held on for dear life while being carried out. When they went inside, it was said that it looked like a pig had been slaughtered.

Investigations from the local law enforcement started, but it was also said that they were careless on the scene and so it was useless to try and distinguish between what was real evidence and what wasn't. Some people believed that it may have been part of a string of violence and terrorizing of towns along the interstate.

But everyone I've spoken to believes that she was having an affair with a concrete worker and had some conflict with him. They say she's in the foundation of one of the houses. It's also said that some people in the town know what happened but won't speak up. Whatever happened to her, it puts a sour taste in my mouth to think that she's still around there somewhere and that this person is possibly still under everyone's noses.

Jimmy Hoffa FactsGetty Images

40. Just A Small Town Girl

I formerly lived in Bloomington, IN during the time Lauren Spierer disappeared. Her face was posted everywhere, and I couldn't go out without seeing a poster. There was even one posted inside my complex. It was a catastrophe of a story. A girl in a college party town drinking at a popular bar just disappeared. She left her phone and shoes in the bar.

She was intoxicated, short and blonde, weighing like 100 lbs, walking alone in the middle of the night. She had a heart condition as well, so they were worried about that. They even got her on camera, and it didn't help. My coworkers and I would speculate what happened to her. I saw her dad in McDonald's one time asking to put up more posters. There's even a website dedicated to her called Find Lauren. They never did and it's been 6 years.

Scary People FactsShutterstock

41. Suddenly, A Snake

I'm from Salem, Indiana. There was a roughly 16-foot python released at one of our little lakes around nine years ago. I saw it twice over the course of that summer (I was a young man in high school looking for adventure and I searched for it). It was so gorgeous, but I was always afraid to get in the water where I saw it.

I was hoping I'd find it on or near land and be able to capture it and get it taken somewhere it wouldn't freeze when winter hit. I unfortunately failed. Nobody knew where it came from but there were stories in the paper and pictures for weeks. Somebody probably just got tired of their pet that was big enough to be eating whole roosters. I still feel bad such a pretty animal was just thrown away.

Deadly Animals FactsPixabay

42. Hidden Hut

In the village I went to every weekend, there was a massive grow-op found in a moderate size clearing in the woods beside a hut that was built to comfortably seat several people. Law enforcement vehicles were all parked beside the main road by the woods. A dog walker found the stash. There were several large boxes constructed partially from wood filched from a nearby sawmill and they were lined with tin foil and had glass lids so the sunlight could get in.

Law enforcement obviously seized the product with the boxes the plants were growing in and the whole village knew about it. They didn’t destroy the wooden hut, as it was also built from good quality wood that was later taken. Due to the clearing being very out of the way, it would be hard to get out if you didn't know the way well, so they never bothered to set any type of trap to catch those who returned to the scene.

It was in the local paper, but nobody was ever caught. The last rumor I heard was that they figured it was just some small-time guy looking to make a quick buck. So, how do I know the product was being grown in wooden boxes lined with tin foil and with glass lids? How do I know that all the wood was taken from the sawmill? How do I know the hut in the clearing could sit several people comfortably?

Here's a plot twist you probably weren't expecting—it was six friends and me who took the wood, built the hut, then over a year later took more wood to grow the plants. The stuff was being grown for us personally, and we had no intention to sell. We were using the hut as a hangout area. We'd light a fire, sit and chill with some drinks, and just shoot the breeze. We were out of the way, and we loved it because we were never disturbed.

One of the other guys and I were on the way to the hut when the guy with the dog found it. There was a second way to the clearing that we always used. We'd walk through a friend’s garden which would lead into a forest. Walking through it, you'd come to a train track. If you followed the track and crossed a massive bridge the tracks crossed, you'd get to the same woods the clearing was in.

The path to the clearing was visible from an area just after the bridge but it wasn’t a real "path"—there were just some obvious signs that it was being walked on often (flattened long grass, etc.) We arrived at the edge of the clearing the day the guy was there with his dog. He was just standing around, looking to be inspecting the craftsmanship of the hut at the time. I’m fairly sure he'd called law enforcement by that point…

The friend and I left before law enforcement came, unseen by the guy with the dog. We were never caught or even suspected.

Scary Driving FactsMax Pixel

43. An Avuncular Mystery

In the '80s, my uncle shared a car with his wife who worked one town over. She would always call him before she left work at night and then drive the 15 minutes home. After half an hour, she still hadn't made it home, so he called the convenience store where she worked, and they said she had already left. He waited another half hour, and she still wasn't home.

Finally, he borrowed a friend's car to go look for her. He found her car down by the river with the front door wide open and his wife was nowhere in sight. He immediately went to a nearby gas station and called law enforcement. The next day, the local authorities called him up with disturbing news—they found her six miles away from her car, completely lifeless with a cut across her throat.

My uncle had an alibi and was never a suspect. They never found out who did this to her, but they still look at her case every now and then. A lot of the evidence from the case was destroyed in Hurricane Rita, though, so they don't have much to work with.

Somerton Man

44. The Story Behind Confluence

There's actually a movie that was made about these unsolved disappearance cases in my hometown. It's called Confluence and I'm sure you can find it on the internet somewhere. Back in the early '80s, these two girls went out in the evening to go to a gas station. On their way, they passed our local community theater, which is this giant Gothic-looking building that people say is haunted.

They went down towards a large hill just past the theatre and were never seen again. A guy who liked to practice his clarinet at this theatre after work also went missing some time in the early '80s. Around this time, a young girl (maybe 12 years old) went missing when she was walking back to her house from the county fair. None of them were ever found.

None of these disappearances have ever been solved, but there was one guy who was connected to all of them, and just thinking about him sends chills up my spine. I think he was a janitor at the theatre for a while. Law enforcement questioned him, but they were never able to get enough proof to arrest him. He ended up moving away from my hometown and lives somewhere on the East Coast now.

Creepiest WierdosShutterstock

45. Hidden Treasures

Sam Bass was a local outlaw in the 1860s who robbed railways going through Ft. Worth. There's a hill on the south side of town near where I live called The Knob. This used to function as his lookout as it is the highest point for miles and it supposedly once had caves. That's where the mystery comes in. Eventually, Sam Bass was taken out in a shootout with Texas law enforcement.

However, they never discovered the $60,000 in gold he had taken from the railways. It's believed to be buried on The Knob somewhere, and Bass's illegitimate son allegedly detonated dynamite to collapse the cave it was buried in. Today, there are no visibly accessible caves on the hill; however, all county records suggest at one point there were, in fact, caves.

Two known ones, at least, and possibly more. Nobody has ever really figured it out. If someone were determined enough, they could be rich. $60,000 worth of 1861 gold bars are probably tons more now.


46. An Inconvenient Store

This occurred nearly 20 years ago and it is still unsolved despite many theories. For background, the convenience store was located about a three-minute walk from where my family lived when I was about three years old. My mom knew the lady and was friends with her as they both worked at the store, albeit at different hours. Also, it was store policy to only have one person working the graveyard shift. This may seem senseless now, but it'll come up later in the story.

The woman came up missing within an hour of her husband seeing her at the store. The store was robbed of just the cash in the drawer; however, her purse and jacket were still behind the counter. There’s no proof that whoever took and executed her also robbed the store. It seemed like she left willingly with whoever took her since she had the keys to the store on her and there were no signs of a struggle.

But let's skip to when she was reported missing. Law enforcement woke up my mom by knocking on the apartment door asking if she's seen the woman, thinking maybe she would run there if something happened at the store that scared her. I guess the manager told them we lived nearby and mentioned how my mom was friends with her. My mom had been asleep all night and no one had been by since the day before.

Later on, the local authorities made a grim discovery—the woman's body was found at a pretty good distance from the store—at least a 45-minute drive away.

She had been shot twice in the head at close range. The incident happened on location, near a busy area and only a short time before her body was found. There were no signs that she was bound or restrained at any time. The keys to the store were also in her hand. It was well known she was cheating on her husband with a boyfriend, but both were cleared due to having alibis at the time of the incident.

Now here is where it gets weird. The boyfriend was cleared because he was at work and several people had seen him and there was proof. The husband was cleared because he was at home when law enforcement called after arriving at the scene and for some reason they cleared him. I always felt it was the husband since he could have had her there at home when they called, then taken her and done her in afterward.

But law enforcement never thought he did it because there were no signs of her being restrained and he didn't own a pistol. Back to the story, the store policy of only having one person work those hours ended quickly once every employee refused to work there without a second person on shift. Oddly enough, the store was still in business last time I checked.

Urban ExplorersShutterstock

47. The Alaskan Racer

Alaska, like every state, has small Independence Day celebrations all over. But everyone will tell you that the ONE place to be on July 4th is the small town of Seward, about two hour's drive south of Anchorage. Something like 20,000 people crams into town for the festivities, the highlight of which is the Mount Marathon Race.

The name notwithstanding, the race isn't a marathon. It's a race through town and then up the very steep slopes of Mount Marathon, directly behind the town. It brings in mountain racers from all over, and there is a lot of lore associated with it. I think it's the oldest organized race in the U.S., after the Boston Marathon.

In 2012, a straggler on his way up, Michael LeMaitre, encountered one of the official race timers who was descending. That was the last time anyone is known to have seen LeMaitre, alive or dead. He simply never came back down, and no one ever saw him again.

Terry Fox FactsPxfuel

48. She Did A Full 180

When my dad was a kid, there was a lady who was super rude and always scowled at the kids as they walked home from school. Then, one day, she suddenly transformed and became super friendly, offering big trays of cookies for the school children. When I knew her, she was the sweetest old lady ever, a favorite in the community. When my grandma told me the truth about her personality change, it sent chills up my spine.

According to my grandma, her husband used to routinely beat the stuffing out of her. She had a 180-degree personality change on the day he suddenly passed on in his mid-30s. Everyone thinks she offed him herself, but there's no evidence and, to be honest, no one ever really cared to investigate.

You Are Not The FatherShutterstock

49. That Town Ain’t Right

A man rented a room at a guest house. When he left, the host went to clean the room and prepare it for the next occupant. He didn't expect it to be too messy because the man had only stayed for one night, but when he entered the room, his heart stopped. The entire place was covered in blood. In the shower, there was a chair with a pool of blood, and the local authorities assumed a person perished in the chair.

The baffling part is that there was a camera hooked onto the room's door. The man entered and exited alone without a speck of blood on him. The blood was later believed to have belonged to a woman whose body was found in a nearby dam, but when they tested the blood...it didn't match.

Strangest SightingsPexels

50. Next Door Neighbor

The Grim Sleeper. This guy literally lived two houses down from my best friend and a few blocks away from my aunt. I have seen him in his yard a few times and he always seemed like a nice guy. He would always wave to me and ask how my day was. Imagine my shock when I saw his face on TV—the news story involving him made my blood run cold. Turns out, he was convicted as the longest-running serial slayer in the state of California. I feel fortunate to never have anything happen to me or my friend, as we fit his victim profile being young African American females.

Ruined Life FactsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,



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