The history of the United States is short when compared to that of other countries. Nonetheless, there are many mysteries. Assassinations, disappearances, murders, and more have left history experts and buffs baffled. The following famous mysteries continue to intrigue us, even though they occurred so long ago. What is about these events that seems to fascinate every succeeding generation?
Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
President John Kennedy or J.F.K. was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, at about 12:30 p.m. He sat next to his wife when a bullet struck him in the neck. The second shot hit him in the right side of his head. He was declared dead half an hour later. The nation was shocked. America still sees this as one of the most tragic events and one of the most famous mysteries in United States history to this day.
Later on that day, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of the president and a police officer who attempted to question him. Oswald worked for the Texas School Book Depository, from which the shots appear to have come. A rifle and three shell casings were found near a sixth-floor window in the building. Oswald maintained his innocence while in custody, though the evidence against him was, and is, strong. He never did get the chance to stand trial. He was murdered by Jack Ruby on November 24. Ruby shot Oswald while he was being transferred by police.
Many questions remain regarding the murder of this beloved president. Did Oswald do it? If so, (and it seems so) did he act alone? Was there another shooter? Was Oswald part of a conspiracy? Some evidence points to another shooter and/or a conspiracy. Jack Ruby claimed all sorts of heroic reasons for killing Oswald. Nonetheless, he comes off as an unsavory character, the type who would murder a man to keep him quiet. Alternatively, he could have murdered him because he was paid to do so. None of these questions has suitable answers.
Related: The Kennedy Family Curse
Black Dahlia Murder
On January 15, 1947, a body was found by the side of a road just outside of Hollywood. The body belonged to the victim of a particularly gruesome murder. Her name was Elizabeth Short and she would become known as the Black Dahlia.
Short had been cut in half, her lips sliced from the corners up her cheek on either side, giving her a grotesque grin. She had been disemboweled and there was bruising on her wrists and ankles. This is just a glimpse of the many ways she was reportedly defiled. Pictures of her poor, brutalized body hit the papers and the nation became enthralled and terrified.
A large-scale investigation into the murder was conducted, but it turned up nothing useful. To this day, the murder has not been solved. In fact, the case has gone cold and the police refuse to reopen it. There was so much hype that the investigation was severely impeded. Even now, people come forward claiming that they have clues regarding the murder. Sadly, Beth’s murderer will never be brought to justice. Chances are he or she is long dead, along with the struggling actress whose life was ended at the age of 22.
Lost Colony of Roanoke
Another of our famous mysteries was the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony. On July 22, 1587, a group of settlers from England arrived at the island of Roanoke in what is now Virginia. They were led by a man named John White – the only settler whose fate is known. Shortly after they arrived, they concluded that they did not have the resources to survive in hostile territory. John White decided to return to England for help. He was unable to return for three years.
John White arrived at Roanoke on August 18, 1590. Not one settler remained. John Whites’s daughter and granddaughter were among the missing. There was no sign of foul play and no suspicious remains. The only clue was two carvings, one in a post, and the other in a tree. The first read Croatoan. The second read Cro. Croatoan was a nearby island, where the settlers might have gone. Unfortunately, John was unable to investigate. No one is sure where the settlers went, if anywhere.
Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was a beloved and exceptionally famous aviatrix. She was a dynamic go-getter and record-setter. Therefore, it became a highly publicized event when she attempted to be the first person to fly around the world. However, her disappearance went on to become one of the most famous mysteries of all time.
During the last leg of Amelia Earhart’s flight, she vanished somewhere near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. Her last transmission went out on July 2, 1937. She, her plane, and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were never seen or heard from again. Her plane was low on fuel and Howland was the only land in the area. Chances are she and Fred’s aircraft landed in the ocean and died as a result of the crash or from drowning. Some believe that she survived and ran off. This is highly unlikely, given the circumstances of her disappearance. She was declared dead in 1939.
Unsolved Famous Mysteries
There is something sad about famous mysteries like these going unsolved. That may be why each of these mysteries has been written about, made into movies, and talked about since they occurred. We would like to see their families find closure. Most importantly, we want to know exactly what happened.
Amelia Earhart Biography, retrieved 8/28/10.
Scheeres, Julia, Black Dahlia, retrieved 8/28/10, trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/famous/dahlia/2.html
Krajicek, David, JFK Assassination, retrieved 8/28/10, trutv.com