National Geographic has compiled a list of five most intriguing mysteries on Earth:
A volcanic island with hot springs and fertile land – this is how Plato describes the mythical island of Atlantis in ‘Timaeus’ and ‘Critias’. This mythical island, though advanced and culturally superior to the rest of the world, supposedly sunk to the ocean depths long ago. Could such place have existed? Possibly, yes. One version is that it was the ancient settlement of Akrotiri, which was located on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini. Could it have been the way Plato had described it? Most likely not. Plato spoke of a utopian society model in his work. The planet often experiences intensive natural catastrophes. The climate and sea level change as well. With that, it is no surprise floods had wiped out many of the world’s coastal settlements over the ages.
We’ve all heard stories about brave King Arthur, who led the British to battle Saxons in VI century. For ages historians have been trying to determine if such a person had even existed in the first place. King Arthur is mentioned in manuscripts written a Welsh cleric called Nennius who details twelve battles King Arthur supposedly took part in. Battles described by the Welsh cleric took place in such different locations and at such different times that it is unlikely that one and the same person took part in them. Arthur’s biography is mentioned for the first time in the The History of the Britons, which dates back to XII century. It also mentions King Arthur’s sword Excalibur, loyal knight Lancelot, Queen Guinevere and Merlin the sorcerer. It is quite possible that King Arthur was a hero of folk tales.
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper, who terrorized London in 1888, is the world’s most infamous serial killer. The fact that he was never apprehended only adds to the legend. The killings ended just as suddenly as they had started. It is unknown for certain how many victims there were. Five? Six? Eleven? The nickname comes from an anonymous letter British police received from the killer. The letter was signed ‘Jack the Ripper’. The press played a major role in the story, as it was the time of great change – printed newspapers allowed people to get their hands on the latest news quicker. Nevertheless, the killer’s identity remains unknown to this day.
Children of the wilderness
Stories about children raised by animals are common myths. Trues children of the wilderness are those who grew up from infancy alongside bears or apes without any contact with humans. Such stories have a long history, starting with Romulus and Remus, who were raised by a wolf and ending with Mowgli from the Jungle Book. There is evidence to suggest such a thing is possible. The book Unexplained Mysteries mentions that a 12-year-old boy was found near the German city of Hamelin in 1724. This boy allegedly did not speak and ate only vegetables. It was later uncovered that this and many other such stories were made up. Nevertheless, such stories fascinate people to this day because they symbolize mysterious relationships humans have with other animals.
Life on Mars
Perhaps there is some form of life on Mars. Modern scientists picture life on Earth’s neighouring planet in the form of bacteria and microbes, not as combative and armed to the teeth Martians. Regardless, the red planet and its possible inhabitants have inspired the minds of those on Earth for as long as astronomy has existed. In 1784, Sir William Hershel considered the possibility of civilizations existing on planets other than Earth. He claimed ‘their everyday routine is similar to ours’. In 1877 Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli observed a dense network of linear structures on the surface of Mars which he called channels. The all-time most popular story involving Mars and its civilization is Herbert Wells’ War of the Worlds. A radio play based on the book caused real panic in 1938 – listeners actually believed the attack was real. In regards to the channels discovered by Schiaparelli it should be added that they turned out to be nothing more than an optical illusion.