Unexplained physical wonders exist in the world that cannot be easily made clear, leaving people curious about how and why they occurred. People have hypothesized and theorized the cause of many of these mysteries, while others have blamed aliens or looked at reasons a little more realistic. 

There have been countless speculations through the years as to what causes many unexplained occurrences. And while there are a myriad of explanations to why many exist, lots of questions still remain. From England’s Stonehenge to Namibia’s fairy circles, the world is full of occurrences that have no valid explanations. But Crescent Magazine decided to take a look at four that seem to defy logic. 

The oldest puzzle in U.S. history involves the lost colony of Roanoke. Established in 1585 on Roanoke Island in what is known today as the outer banks of North Carolina, Roanoke was the first settlement in the New World. But that is not what makes it notable. It is the fact that more than 100 colonists disappeared and left only the word “croatoan” behind.

The most obvious questions to researchers were what does croatoan mean, where did the settlers go and what caused them to leave? Daniel Byrne, associate professor of history, narrowed the possible explanations. He said what most likely happened is that the colonists ran out of supplies after not receiving any for two years. With no other options, they could have decided their best course of action was to move inland toward civilization for help. 

“Ecological disaster and economic collapse is what usually causes people to disappear like that,” Byrne said. 

Some researchers pointed out that if they merged with mainland Native Americans, there should be traceable evidence. But over time Native Americans reused burial sites, making it impossible to correctly date the bodies that were buried. 

Croatoan was the name of an island about 50 miles south of Roanoke, now Hatteras Island, which at the time was home to a Native American tribe of the same name. It is possible many settlers migrated there as they searched for help. Even though this theory is plausible, many agree that there is still not enough evidence to say for sure that this is what happened.

Another puzzle is Overtoun Bridge. Located near Dumbarton, Scotland, Overtoun Bridge has been the site for at least 70 years of more than 600 dogs that have leapt to their deaths at the exact same spot — between the last two parapets on the right side of the bridge. 

In addition to happening in the same space, all of these incidents occurred on clear and relatively sunny days. Even creepier is the fact that long-nosed breeds, such as Labradors and collies, are the only ones that had the urge to jump. 

Many residents wonder what could possibly be causing the dogs to act this way. When the number of canine deaths rose to more than 50, experts made their way to the bridge to determine if some sound or smell could be the cause. They soon decided that there was nothing auditory to blame, but when they investigated smell, they found a believable answer. 

Several nests of squirrels, mice and minks resided in the area under the bridge. David Sexton, an animal habitat expert, wanted to pinpoint which exact smell was driving the dogs crazy, so he performed a test in an open field with the effected breeds and the odors of the discovered rodents. It was determined that the mink’s smell was the culprit. On clear days, nothing dampened the strength of the scent, which the dogs could easily catch. 

But disputing this was a local hunter who had lived in the area for 50 years. He told The Science Channel in 2014 that mink did not live in the area surrounding Overtoun Bridge. 

Smell might not be the only culprit. From a dog’s view, all they could see from the bridge was marble. The high ledges block both a dog’s view and sounds, possibly sending their sense of smell into overdrive to compensate. 

Regardless of whether sight or smells are the causes, to this day, no definitive answer has been found and about one dog per year continues to jump off the bridge. 

While that mystery has somewhat of a logical answer, the Taos, N.M., hum does not. Residents of this town started reporting a humming sound in the early 1990s that has no valid source. What makes it more mysterious is that only 2 percent of the town’s population can hear it. 

Because Taos is located near the infamous town of Roswell, N.M., known for its conspiracy theories about UFO and extraterrestrial sightings, many have claimed that aliens have to be responsible. Because there is little physical evidence, extraterrestrials are still one of the theories.

What is known is that the hum is persistent for those who can hear it — never completely going away even when they wear earplugs or use other sound-blocking devices. Many say the noise seems to get louder when they are in a closed space. 

Experts were called in after people contacted lawmakers for help in 1993. The investigation fully took off in 1997 when experts started to interview those affected. And they were shocked to find people were suffering from other problems too, like nosebleeds and sleep disorders. 

Investigators found that the only realistic explanation is what is called spontaneous otoacoustic emissions, which is when a person’s ears naturally create their own subtle noise. These spontaneous emissions are sounds that are released from the ear without any external stimulation and are measurable with sensitive microphones in the external ear canal.

 Research has revealed that there is not a single identifiable sound people hear but several different ones. Some describe it as a whir, hum or buzz. But the auditory diagnosis is just an assumption and no one has been able to truly determine what causes these hearing issues in Taos. 

It is interesting to note that whatever is causing these sounds is not just causing them in Taos. There have been similar reports of humming in such places as Bristol, England, and Sydney, where the noises are just as unexplained as in Taos.

 Another curiosity that has been shared throughout various cultures for centuries is that of will-o’-the-wisps. Also known as fairy lights and ignis fatuus, these balls of light have been observed in marsh areas and are described as flickering lanterns. 

Since they were first noticed, people have tried to determine what could cause these eerie little orbs to exist. During the Middle Ages, the lights were often thought to be evil omens or the souls of the dead, wandering and trying to trick travelers into following them. 

More likely, they are balls of marsh gas igniting in the night, but even this theory has some debated. The fact that they are often seen moving and do not seem to emit heat contradicts the theory. 

What has also not been explained is why the wisps can be yellow, white, blue or green. Scientists say that if wisps were truly gases lighting, the methane inside would burn yellow and none of the other colors would be observed. 

While the question remains as to what they really are, David Batema, chemistry lab supervisor, said there is an answer as to why they look as if they are always moving away. He said as people move toward light in an area that surrounds water, the water is disturbed and causes the gases on the water’s surface to disperse, creating the illusion of movement. 

There will always be mysteries like these that will continue to bewilder us, leaving us wondering the causes behind their existence. But the truth about any long-standing phenomenon is that no matter the evidence, the answer to the mystery may never be solved or believed.


There are countless unexplained happenings in the world. Some may never be solved while a checkmark can be placed in the solved column for others. Here are just a few that might leave you scratching your head.


The Mary Celeste was found abandoned in 1872, skirting the coast of Portugal without a soul onboard. The only things out of place were the missing lifeboat, a broken pump and the fact that there was no one around. Blame has been placed on everything from sea monsters to pirates, but none held when seriously investigated. A recent theory is that the captain sailed the ship farther west than he believed he had. Being off course and not able to pump water from below deck, he could have decided to abandon ship and row to shore instead. But it does not make sense that an experienced captain would lose direction when he was on the open sea. No one knows why the crew abandoned ship, but whatever the cause, the sailors were never seen again.


Evenly spaced across the Namib Desert in Namibia, barren patches of land called “fairy circles” have confused scientists for decades. These dead areas are 10–65 feet wide and span about 1,100 miles. Two arguments have outshone the rest and have the most supporting evidence: one claims termites destroyed the nearby grasses while the other thinks the vegetation formed naturally around nutrient rich ground. A few scientists claim both sides are valid and work together to create these marvels. But, the truth is uncertain.


Stonehenge was built about 2600 B.C. but who built it is still a mystery. Since its discovery, there have been speculations on what it was used for and how the stones were moved into place. A project was launched in 2010 that used underground imaging to reveal the surrounding areas. It showed that Stonehenge sat in the middle of a web of buried structures, all within five miles. With this, the purpose of the structure was said to be a rest stop on a processional route for religious ceremonies.


The unusual moving of the rocks in Death Valley National Park was first noticed in the 1900s and has been watched ever since. Stones have periodically changed positions despite their weight, with the heaviest being about 700 pounds. Trails follow behind the rocks, marking their passage and stretching up to 1,500 feet in some places. Like all mysteries, some people claim aliens are involved but there is a more realistic theory. The rocks and surrounding areas are covered with rain during the winter months and then freeze. It has been found that the thin sheets of ice around the rocks crack and bunch when melted by the sun, propelling them forward and making it seem like they are moving.

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