The Five Greatest Mysteries Of Human History

Published September 17, 2011
Updated March 12, 2024

From the bog bodies of Europe to Jack the Ripper, we look at the mind-boggling unsolved mysteries left by our ancestors.

Greatest Mysteries Of Human History

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.

City of Atlantis Greatest Mysteries

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

Bog Bodies History Mystery

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.

Biggest Mysteries Of Human History Bog People

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.

Bog Bodies Greatest Mysteries Of Human History

Jack The Ripper

Jack the Ripper Letter

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.

Jack the Ripper Greatest Mysteries Of History

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.

Jack the Ripper Letter To Police

The Greatest Mysteries Of Human History: Stonehenge

Stonehenge Sunset Panorama Photograph

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 Landscape Greatest Mysteries

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.

Stonehenge in the Winter Snow Picture

King Arthur

King Arthur Painting

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.

King Arthur Greatest Mysteries Of Human History

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.

Knights Of The Roundtable

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.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.