9 Totally Bizarre Unsolved Crimes

Grab your magnifying glass. Can you crack these creepy crime mysteries? Tune in to Ripper Street, premiering Saturday, January 19th at 9/8c only on BBC America for more murder mystery action.

1. The Zodiac Killer

This guy really liked killing people. He was active in Northern California for about 10 months toward the end of the ’60s. The Zodiac killed at least 5 people, but what made him really creepy were the coded letters he sent to local Bay Area press. He sent a total of 4 cryptograms, however, only one has been solved:

“I LIKE KILLING PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH FUN IT IS MORE FUN THAN KILLING WILD GAME IN THE FORREST BECAUSE MAN IS THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL TO KILL SOMETHING GIVES ME THE MOST THRILLING EXPERENCE IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN GETTING YOUR ROCKS OFF WITH A GIRL THE BEST PART OF IT IS THAE WHEN I DIE I WILL BE REBORN IN PARADICE AND THEI HAVE KILLED WILL BECOME MY SLAVES I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MY NAME BECAUSE YOU WILL TRY TO SLOI DOWN OR ATOP MY COLLECTION OF SLAVES FOR MY AFTERLIFE EBEORIETEMETHHPITI”

2. The Gardner Museum Art Heist

In 1990, two guys dressed as Boston cops pulled off the biggest art heist in history. After conning their way into The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the two men gathered and tied up all on duty guards before stealing pieces by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, and Manet. All in all, the two thieves walked away with what has now been valued at over $500 million in paintings, sculptures, and artifacts. Empty frames remain in place at museum where the pieces once hung. A $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen artwork remains open.

3. The Tylenol Killer

This is perhaps the most influential mystery on the list. In the early fall of 1982, seven Chicago-area people died from taking Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide. Following the deaths, Tylenol was pulled from shelves and police took to the streets blaring warnings from loudspeakers about the deadly drug. Within six months, federal anti-tampering were put into place to prevent any similar tragedies. No arrests for the murders have been made.

4. Jack the Ripper

The Whitechapel district of London in 1888 was a hard place. Jack the Ripper roamed the streets, and got away with several murders, typically going after prostitutes. His name came from a letter supposedly written by the serial killer, however, some believe the letter was actually written by a journalist to draw more interest to the story.

5. JonBenet Ramsey

Step aside, Honey Boo Boo. Who can forget this 1996 murder mystery centered around a 6-year-old beauty pageant winner and her pristine family? A ransom note demanding $118,000 was discovered only 8 hours before the little girl’s body in her Boulder, CO home. The three people known to be present in the home at the time of the murder, JonBenet’s 9-year-old brother and their two parents, have all been dismissed as suspects in the case. The couple published a book titled “The Death of Innocence” in 2000 while they were still suspects. JonBenet’s mother passed away in 2006 of ovarian cancer. Her father continues to track down his daughter’s unexplained third party killer.

6. The Lead Masks Case

This one gets really weird. The year is 1966 and a little boy is flying a kite in Brazil. What does that little boy find? Two dead bodies. The uninjured bodies, both wearing sharp suits, were identified as two local electronic technicians. The only clues to their deaths were an empty water bottle nearby, radiation protective lead masks that both men were wearing, and a small notebook that read: “16:30 be at the agreed place. 18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for the mask sign.” So obviously the capsules killed the men, but detectives were unable to determine what the capsules were and why the men took them.

7. Harry Winston Heist

Dudes in drag stealing diamonds. This has got to be a movie somewhere. In 2008, a group of four guys dressed as women charged into an exclusive Parisian jewelry store armed with a .357 Magnum and a hand grenade. A classic smash and grab job. The four men, since nicknamed “The Pink Panthers,” made off with $108 million in precious diamonds. A $1 million dollar reward remains intact for information leading to an arrest.

8. The Somerton Man

We look to the Aussies for this totally wild murder mystery tale. A man is found dead on the beach in 1948. What’s so weird about that? Well, to start, the man was completely healthy, there were no signs of trauma, and no traces of poison. So how did he die? NOBODY HAS ANY CLUE. To make things more interesting, all of the identification tags on the man’s clothes had been removed and there was a strange note inside a secret pocket in his pants that read “Tamam Shud,” which means “ended.” Police later discovered that the note had been ripped out of a rare collection of poems called “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” that was found in a car nearby the scene. And then it gets even stranger. Inside the book there was a small coded message that to this day remains unsolved.

9. The Black Dahlia

Elizabeth Short’s 22-year-old body was discovered in LA on January 15, 1947 cut in half and drained of blood. The corners of Short’s mouth had also been sliced 3 inches on either side in a creepy clown-like smile. The strangest part about this case, however, was not the murder, but the investigation. Police worked side-by-side with the press to release information and clues about the case to the public instantaneously. Word spread quickly of the gruesome details from the young actresses murder throughout the show biz capital. Newspapers named the case “The Black Dahlia” because of her dark wardrobe and adventurous lifestyle. No arrests have been made in the case despite the several movies, television specials, and books that have been made about it.

Inspired by Ripper Street

Now that you’ve read about some bizarre unsolved crimes, you’re ready to watch BBC America’s new crime drama, Ripper Street, premiering Saturday, January 19 at 9/8c. Set in 1889’s London, Ripper Street follows the aftermath of the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.

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