10 real-life mysteries that no one has ever solved

Published on: 19 December 2017 Author: Susan Martineau

Susan Martineau, author of Real-Life Mysteries, gives us some extra spooky and kooky cases that are still as mind-bending as ever. You've been warned... 

Real-Life Mysteries is one of those books that will get everybody talking at the dinner table. 

It's little wonder that it was up for a Blue Peter Book Award in 2018 for "Best Book with Facts".

Written by Susan Martineau and illustrated by Vicky Barker, Real-Life Mysteries is full of unresolved mysteries that have baffled scientists as enthusiastics – sometimes for decades. From human combustion to ancient alien astronauts, not everything you read is true, which only adds to all the fun (and good for flexing those Sherlock muscles). 

Looking for more chills? Try these spooky reads

Read on for some extra cases: did they really happen? Why might they have happened? Why don't YOU investigate...

The ones that got away 

The Curse of Tutankhamun

The ancient tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter. Carnarvon and many other people who entered the tomb went on to die in mysterious circumstances. Were they cursed by the angry spirit of the dead Pharaoh?


Stories of bloodsucking demons have been told all over the world since ancient times. Vampires need to drink the blood of the living. They can hypnotise you and shapeshift into cats, dogs and, of course, bats! Look up El Chupacabra of the Caribbean or the Langsuir of Malaysia if you dare! 

The Siberian Hell Hole

Did scientists open a hole into Hell in Siberia, Russia in the 1980s? Reports say that their drill went down over 14 km (8.5 miles) and suddenly broke through into empty space. The temperature was over 1,100 ºC and the scientists’ microphones picked up noises that sounded like screams!

Faces in the Floor

In 1971, some mysterious marks appeared on the floor of a house in Belmez, Spain. They looked just like faces. Over the next few years, the faces would disappear and then come back. Weird! Were they the faces of long-dead people who had lived in the house – or fakes?

The Lost Land of Atlantis

Was an ancient civilization completely swallowed up by the sea thousands of years ago? Some people believe that a fabulous city called Atlantis was built by extraterrestrials. They say that these beings are still there and they travel through the depths of the ocean in their underwater craft. 

Spectral Black Dogs

These huge and scary beasts are said to haunt churchyards and crossroads. Their eyes are as big as saucers and burning red. They leave no tracks and make no sound as they walk. In 1577, the Black Dog of Bungay attacked people as they prayed in Church. Are these creatures an omen of death or a legend? 

Unquiet Spirits

Stories of haunted houses send shivers down your spine. The scariest tales involve poltergeists or ghosts that make a racket! These spirits cause all sorts of trouble from noises in the night to furniture being thrown around the room. Some stories say that they can even make nasty smells!


Can some people transform themselves magically into wolves? Are they doomed to change shape at each full moon? Be careful not to drink the water from the footprint of a wolf or this might happen to you! This is just one of many ways to become a blood-curdling, human-hunting werewolf.

Doppelgänger or Ghosts of the Living

Have you ever seen yourself walking along the street? The famous German author Goethe said he met his identical "double" when out riding one day. Can there be an exact copy of you or someone else, or is it some strange form of dream or imagination? 

Fish Rain and Other Weird Falling Objects

Sometimes strange stuff falls out of the sky for no apparent reason. There have been reports of many kinds of "mystery rain", from showers of fish to downpours of hot stones. In 1977, hundreds of hazelnuts fell out of the sky over Bristol! No one really knows what’s behind this freaky weather!

This feature was updated in August 2018

More about the Blue Peter Book Awards

See how the book was illustrated

Illustrator Vicky Barker: 'Brainstorm doodles after a meeting about the book. Noting down various elements we thought would work to make it look like an investigator's notice board, and working out how much of the amazing text we could include and what visuals we would need to make it as engaging as possible with the space.'

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Illustrator Vicky Barker: 'Spread taken a little further digitally, with text and rough elements in place. Each spread will be different depending on what evidence we have to show. Decided having tabs down the side of the spreads would be a cool extra feature and make it look like an actual case file!'

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Illustrator Vicky Barker: 'Final design with text and illustrations in place!'

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Illustrator Vicky Barker: 'Train doodles of potential Bigfoot designs! Wanting him to be fun and stylised.'

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Illustrator Vicky Barker: 'Further Bigfoot development sketches.'

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Illustrator Vicky Barker: 'From pencil sketch to digital sketch to a final digital illustration!'

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