From the bog bodies of Europe to Jack the Ripper, we look at the mind-boggling unsolved mysteries left by our ancestors.
The Greatest Mysteries Of Human History: The Lost City of Atlantis
The Lost City of Atlantis is one of the oldest and greatest mysteries of the world. Since ancient times, people have been trying to locate Atlantis, which is believed to have submerged after an earthquake or tsunami.
Greek philosopher Plato described Atlantis as a large island located near the Rock of Gibraltar, home of the most advanced civilization and being of unrivaled refinement with a glorious palace. Among its other traits, Atlantis was filled with beautiful citizens, a Poseidon temple and concentric walls and canals.
To date, nobody has been able to find the city – underwater or otherwise – though this hasn’t discouraged numerous theories about its possible location.
Countless historians and explorers have attempted expeditions to find the underwater island, but whether in South America (as recently reported), off the Greek Islands, or near Antarctica, Atlantis has remained elusive and one of the greatest mysteries of human history.
The Greatest Mysteries Of The World: The Bog Bodies
The bog bodies, or bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses that were found in the sphagnum bogs in Northern Europe. Rather than decomposing, the bog provided the perfect conditions to preserve the bodies, leaving the skin and internal organs relatively intact.
The thousands of bodies found can be dated back to the Iron Age and many reveal signs of being murdered. It is widely believed that the bodies are sacrificial victims of pagan rituals or a form of criminal punishment.
However, there is no conclusive evidence as to why the thousands of bodies were dumped, especially since the bodies have been found sporadically throughout Germany, Ireland, Britain, Netherlands and Denmark.
Jack The Ripper
The most notorious criminal of all time, Jack the Ripper’s identity still remains one of the greatest mysteries in the history of crime.
A serial killer who went on a rampage in London between August and November 1888, Jack the Ripper was responsible for the brutal murders of at least five prostitutes in Whitechapel, London. This much is clear.
However, everything else – the actual identity of the perpetrator, the number of victims, and the manner of killing and enigmatic letters he sent to police – is a hazy cold case.
Considering the ambiguity, there are wildly different theories in circulation, including placing the blame on the Royal family, famous author Lewis Carroll, and even a woman, Jill the Ripper. Whoever he or she may be, the legacy of Jack the Ripper, who instilled fear in an entire Empire during its most poverty-stricken era, is hard to deny.
The Greatest Mysteries Of Human History: Stonehenge
Stonehenge stands in all its beautiful and enigmatic glory on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. The site contains numerous carved bluestones that each weigh six tons and are stacked on top of each other.
Archaeologists have ascertained that the stone monument dates back to 2500 – 3000 BC and believe that it was erected by Neolithic inhabitants.
Stonehenge’s purpose and creation still remains one of the most highly debated and greatest mysteries of human history. The theories, thus, are extensive. Some believe it to be a result of glacial movement or a man-made miracle, while others believe it foretells of alien invasion or is a place filled with healing powers.
The most commonly accepted theory is that Stonehenge is a burial ground. This was substantiated by archaeological evidence in 2008, when cremated remains around the site matched the estimated date of Stonehenge’s creation.
King Arthur, a sword in the stone, his faithful magician, Merlin, and a roundtable of knights – the stuff legends and myths are made of. Apparently though, the entire King Arthur story was a fabrication that was created to boost the morale of the English troops.
The mythology stems from various literary sources, which all glorify Arthur as the king who led a victory over the Saxons and created a ruling empire over England, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul in the sixth century.
Though there is no real proof such a man existed, historians continue to debate the fact. There is evidence to suggest Arthur may have been a composite character, with most semblances to a Roman commander, Lucius Artorius Castus, who lived in the second century. Despite the widely accepted belief that King Arthur was a fictitious creation, there are still a number of people who argue otherwise.
If you enjoyed reading about the five greatest mysteries of the world, check out our posts on ancient history’s greatest mysteries and the amazing sunken cities of the ancient world. And if you like All That’s Interesting, sign up for our newsletter!