Mysteries have a tendency to capture the minds of the curious and European history is full of them. Mysteries can be found all over Europe from every century in recorded history, from disappearances to cryptid sightings, unsolved murders and beyond.
Mysteries in European History: The Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness monster is a cryptid that reportedly resides in a Scottish loch on Glen Mor. Modern sightings of this creature began in the 1930’s. However, local lore contains several stories that seem to describe the Loch Ness monster going much farther back in history. Lately, the story of the Loch Ness monster has come to be regarded as mistaken identity coupled with hoaxes. Nonetheless, supposed sightings persist and diehard “Nessie” fans continue to believe.
Loch Ness is a very large body of water. It is more than 22 miles long and more than 1 mile wide. It contains roughly 16,430,000 gallons of water. It follows that there is enough room for many things to hide in there. However, the Loch Ness monster is commonly described as a gigantic creature that is dinosaur-like in appearance. In other instances, it has been described as looking like a snake with a long neck and large head undulating on the water . If something like that existed in the loch for this long, it would have a family and some of them would have died by now. That many creatures would have a hard time eluding Nessie fans and scientists. Furthermore, their skeletons and carcasses would like have washed ashore. However, that has not happened, so we are left with speculation.
Mysteries in European History: The Bog Bodies
The Bog Bodies are mummies that have been found in sphagnum bogs. They are commonly found in northwestern Europe. They were not mummified before death, but have been preserved by the very earth in which they were discarded. Some of them date as far back as 160 BC. That is no mystery to us. What is mysterious is the manner in which many of them seem to have died.
Many of the Bog Bodies obviously were victims of murder. Why they were murdered and under what circumstances remains a mystery. They may have been criminals or sacrifices. However, criminal does not suit all of them. It could also be that these bodies constitute a mixture of random murder, sacrificial murder and the ‘lawful’ murder victims. Either way, it is and will likely remain a complete mystery. Without written records, there is no way to know why these people were killed, but we can certainly tell how.
Mysterious in European History: Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper is possibly the most infamous serial killer in history. He or she (most likely he) plagued the streets of the Whitechapel District in London at the end of 1888. At least five murders are attributed to this sadistic killer. Each had their throats savagely cut at least once, most of them twice. Most of them were dissected in some way. Some of them had organs removed and taken. One was so brutally murdered that not a single part of her body escaped her killer’s sadistic attention. In a word, Jack the Ripper was evil.
The known victims of Jack the Ripper are as follows:
Mary Ann Nichols, murdered August 31, 1888
Annie Chapman, murdered September 8, 1888
Elizabeth Stride, murdered September 30, 1888
Catherine Eddowes, murdered September 30, 1888
Mary Jane Kelly, murdered November 9, 1888
The identity of Jack the Ripper has never been ascertained. Many people confessed during the time the murders were taking place. Numerous letters were sent to police and papers, one of which is thought to have truly come from the murderer. Furthermore, theories have arisen consistently since the murders, brining the number of speculative suspects up to an absurd amount.
Mysteries in European History: The Princes in the Tower
Another infamous mystery that comes out of London is that of the Princes in the Tower of London. On April 9, 1483, King Edward IV died, making his 13-year-old son, Edward V, king. The care of the underage king and his younger brother, Richard, Duke of York, was left to their uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. It is thought by many that this man murdered his nephews to gain the throne.
Edward V was set to be crowned king at the Tower of London on June 22, 1483. He went directly to the Tower. His brother was coming from another location. Young Richard and his traveling companions were stopped along the way. Some of them were killed. Richard was brought to the Tower by the Duke of Gloucester’s men. He arrived on June 16, 1483.
Behind the scenes, a plan was in motion to have the boys seen as illegitimate. It worked. On July 25, 1483, the boys were stripped of the rights as heirs and Richard, Duke of Gloucester was made King of England. After that time, the princes vanished from history. It is thought that they never left the Tower of London. The skeletons of two children were found under a staircase in the Tower in 1674. It has yet to be determined if they belong to the doomed young men. However, it seems likely.
These mysteries are impossible to answer at this time. Therefore, the curious people who wonder about them are left to draw their own conclusions. In some cases, evidence leaves us with a likely answer. In other cases, the lack of evidence leaves us frustrated and hoping for a breakthrough. Perhaps one day we will get those breakthroughs and have answers to these intriguing mysteries.
Princes in the Tower, retrieved 8/28/10, castles.me.uk/princes-in-the-tower.htm
A Closer Look at Loch Ness, retrieved 8/28/10, nessie.co.uk/htm/about_loch_ness/lochness.html
Introduction, retrieved 8/28/10, casebook.org/intro.html