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History's mysteries part 2

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The first set of five mysteries predated the twentieth century. The final set all occurred within a 45-year stretch between 1932 and 1977. Two involve famous aviators in the Great Depression. The other three mysteries date from the mid-1970s. One may involve extraterrestrials while the other two occurred in Michigan.

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The Lindbergh baby (1932): Kidnapping the rich, or their relatives, became popular in the thirties. Kidnappers hoped to acquire quick money by trading their targets for cash. Aviator Charles Lindbergh fell victim to this criminal fad in 1932. Charles Lindbergh Jr. was taken from his home on March 1, 1932. His body was found on May 12 with a massive skull fracture. Two years later, police arrested Bruno Hauptmann for the crime. Evidence implicated Hauptmann, but some believe Hauptmann was scapegoated for the crime.

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance (1937): Aviatrix Amelia Earhart decided to circumnavigate the globe in her Lockheed Model 10 Electra. She departed with navigator Fred Noonan from Miami on June 1, 1937 and arrived in New Guinea on June 29. She had about 7,000 miles to go and continued her flight on July 2. The pair experienced difficulties somewhere around Howland Island in the South Pacific and went down. A massive search could not find the missing plane. Earhart and Noonan’s disappearance has been the subject of speculation ever since. In 2007, some artifacts dating to the period were discovered at Gardner Island. Five years later, possible aircraft wreckage was found in the area. The evidence supported the possibility that the pair crashed at Gardner Island, but was not conclusive.

Jimmy Hoffa (July 30, 1975): Former teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa wanted to run the organization again. The Mafia did not want Hoffa back in power. He agreed to meet two mob members at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan on July 30, 1975. He was never seen again. Rumors have swirled around the disappearance and have taken on a life of their own. Hoffa was probably taken to a house in the neighborhood, shot, and disposed of. Nearly 40 years later, many of the particulars have passed away, are extremely old, or have given contradictory stories about the incident. As a result, confirmation of Hoffa’s final disposition is unlikely to ever come forth.

The Edmund Fitzgerald (November 10, 1975): The Great Lakes are basically inland seas. Many ships have gone down in rough weather. The Edmund Fitzgerald is the most famous Great Lakes shipwreck. The vessel went down in a storm on November 10, 1975. It left Superior, Wisconsin the day before loaded with ore. A monster storm complete with hurricane force winds and 40 foot waves blasted the region. Shortly after 7pm, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in over 500 feet of water. The end came suddenly, without a distress signal, or any other signs of problems. All 29 men died. Theories about the ship’s demise have abound. Most likely, the vessel fell victim to a rogue wave that engulfed her. However, other possible explanations exist. In 1976, Gordon Lightfoot immortalized the disaster in his classic, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

The WOW! Signal (August 15, 1977): The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project broadcast signals into space hoping to receive a response. The group used Ohio State University’s Big Ear telescope and one day got an unexpected surprise. Earth received a 72-second signal that appeared to come from outside the solar system and was not natural in origin. It appeared to be an actual response to their message. One scientist wrote “WOW!” in the margins of the printout, but they have been unable to detect it again. If the message was indeed artificial, then it came from a super advanced civilization.

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