6 Amazing Historical Mysteries Uncovered by Reddit Users
There are a whole lot of strange mysteries from the past that are begging to be solved. So who better to unravel the secrets of the unknown than the Reddit community r/todayilearned, where users are regularly sharing stories about weird stuff happening and nobody having any answers? For this article, we have selected six such stories, along with our favorite Reddit theories.
1. The Secret Treasure of Oak Island
Looking for a real-life legend that involves creepy skeletons and zany, quick-witted pirates? We can’t help you with that, but we can tell you about mysterious things that are supposedly happening on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Supposedly, in 1799, a settler by the name of Daniel McGinnis was looking for a place to start a farm, and he encouraged an unusual circular depression in the ground. He surmised that it must have been a chest containing £2 million worth of treasure buried by Captain Kidd around 100 years earlier because, duh, why wouldn’t it?
The fact that countless people have spent the past 200+ years digging around without any success hasn’t stopped Reddit users from coming up with their own whimsical theories about what’s waiting to be rediscovered. Shakespeare’s lost manuscripts? The Ark of the Convent? Some claim that the treasure will only reveal itself once seven wealth-seeking adventurers have met their end looking for it. Which begs the question: Why seven and not, say, 700 hundred? Answer: Because who has the patience to wait for that many bodies to wash ashore?
2. The Disappearance of the Roanoke Colony
1587 was a very good year… maybe? Evidently, it was for the 120 English settlers who sailed across the Atlantic and made it to Roanoke Island, present-day North Carolina, in one piece. It wouldn’t remain that way, though. Just three years later, they disappeared without a trace, and the mystery has never been solved.
If you ask Reddit users, most are sure to insist that zombies played a role in their demise because that would be both the coolest and most horrifying explanation. But, alas, odds are they either assimilated with the local Native American tribes or died at the hands of them.
3. The Enigma of the Voynich Manuscript
The Voynich Manuscript is about as mysterious as manuscripts previously owned by Wilfrid Voynich could possibly get. This book contains all manner of seemingly fictitious species of plants, astronomical diagrams, and human figures. Based on carbon dating, it has been verified to have been made in the early 1400s, but that’s literally all we can confirm.
The world’s foremost cryptographers have had a crack at the unusual writings, but at this point have thrown their hands up in resignation. Could it be an elaborate hoax? A medieval science book? What do Reddit users have to say about this matter? You guessed it: written by aliens.
4. The Unexplained Phenomenon of the Dancing Plague
Place: Strasbourg, France. Year: 1518. Event: People partying like one would be inclined to do on New Year’s Eve 481 years later. The folks just couldn’t stop dancing. Whatever was happening, it was contagious. It was reported that over a period of several weeks, hundreds of people had caught the dancing plague, and the only “cure” seemed to be death by exhaustion.
The fine users over at Reddit have offered a few reasonable theories, with our favorite being ergot poisoning. Tripping on mushrooms, basically.
5. The Lost Roman Legion of Carrhae
Far be it from us to question the brilliance of Marcus Licinius Crassus, a Roman general who is credited with transforming the Roman Republic into the Great Empire that it became, but it can be objectively stated that 53 BCE was not one of his best years. More specifically, that’s when he was killed in action while leading tens of thousands of his men to a catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Carrhae in modern-day Turkey. We know that around 20,000 Roman soldiers were killed, but the fate of the remaining 10,000 captured by the Parthians will likely remain a mystery.
What do Reddit users think happened to them? Speculation abounds about enslavement, assimilation, or perhaps even migration to places as far away as China, where it has been said that the walls are great.
6. The Mysterious Disappearance of the USS Cyclops
In March 1918, the USS Cyclops, one of the largest U.S. Navy cargo ships at the time, just plain vanished while in transit from the West Indies to Baltimore. The ship, carrying a crew of 236 officers and enlisted men, along with around 70 others, and a precious cargo of sweet, sweet manganese ore, was last spotted off the coast of Virginia, but futile attempts to find wreckage or debris have led to a whole lot of head scratchin’.
Was it sunk by a German raider or submarine? For what it’s worth, they denied it at the time and there has never been any subsequent evidence pointing to our WWI foes as the culprits. Structural failure or weather conditions seem like the most likely explanations. But if Reddit users are to be believed, it’s pretty much certain that they strayed into the Bermuda Triangle and got zapped into another dimension where the pop music is probably so, so much better than the crap we have to listen to in our own version of reality.