The world is full of the inexplicable. Not everything can be categorised and understood using the knowledge we have today. Some things defy understanding and their existence cannot be accounted for by scientific analysis. It’s not always clear, there will always be different explanations, some fantastic and others mundane, but there’s no way to know for sure. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, or open to the paranormal, then check out this list of twelve of the strangest pictures science can’t explain.
1. The out-of-time watch
This picture shows a Swiss-manufactured watch from the mid-1800s. What makes it unusual is where it was found. This small ring-sized watch was discovered in an ancient Chinese tomb that had been sealed for 400 years in the Southern Province, Shangsi. How, exactly, did this watch appear in a tomb thousands of miles away from where it was made? How did it appear in a sealed tomb that had been unexplored for 400 years? Explanations typically include time-travel, but experts have also suggested that the simplest explanation is best; an enterprising person in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century found the tomb and dropped their watch but, for some reason, their discovery of the tomb went unrecorded until it was rediscovered in 2008.
2. The Phantom Thumb
This picture looks unremarkable. It just shows a bunch of kids posing and having fun while their mother takes a picture. However, afterwards, the mother noticed that the number of thumbs in the picture doesn’t add up. As you can see, circled in red, is a hand that doesn’t appear to belong to any of the boys in the picture. The mother swears she doesn’t know who it belongs to and all of the other boys who it could belong to have their hands clearly visible. Some doubters have pointed out that the likeliest explanation is that there’s another boy ducking out of sight. The mother swears that isn’t the case.
3. Giant Mummified Finger
In 1988 a Swiss club owner in Egypt was given the opportunity to photo a remarkable artefact by a mysterious old man who belonged to a long dynasty of grave-robbers. The old man took the club owner and offered him the chance to see and photograph a mummified finger. Normally this wouldn’t be too exciting in the land of mummies but what makes this find truly remarkable is the size. The finger is a whopping fifteen inches in length making it longer than most people’s forearms! A lot of people argue that this finger is proof that the Biblical Nephilim walked the Earth and that Darwinism is wrong. Unfortunately the club owner was never able to find the old man again to get more definitive proof. As a result a lot of people simply say the photo is fake and the club owner has pants that are on fire.
4. The Death of John Irving Bentley
On December 5th 1966 the 92 year old doctor John Irving Bentley died. Police discovered the body had burned almost entirely to ash in an extremely localised way. As the photo shows John’s leg was almost completely untouched. The parts of John that burned did so at high temperatures without spreading to other parts of his body, or to the surrounding house. At first the coroner thought he lit himself on fire with his pipe, but his pipe was lying next to him on a small table, intact and unharmed. Two theories currently suggest that either he lit himself on fire with his pipe before putting it down and moving towards the bathroom where he then burned to death, the other suggests spontaneous human combustion.
5. Hinterkaifeck Murders
Not all mysteries are disputed. This isn’t some doctored photo of a made-up monster, it’s a real photo of a real-life murder whose chilling details are not up for debate. About 40 miles north of the German city Munich a family of five and their maid were discovered in their barn having been murdered. The youngest was two, the oldest was 72. Weeks before Andreas Gruber, the father, mentioned to neighbours that he had discovered footprints in the snow leading to his house but not away from it. The family reported missing food, footsteps in the attic, and Andreas found a newspaper he did not buy. Their old maid left, claiming the house was haunted, and on the day their new maid arrived the entire family was dead, killed by a pickaxe. It gets creepier. The family was not found for several days, and during that time neighbours report the chimney still smoked. Police found that food had been eaten, the cattle and livestock fed, and other utilities had been used. One of the children had also torn her hair out in stress, suggesting she’d been alive after the rest of her family were killed. Finally, whoever committed the murders did not do so for money, because the family’s savings were left untouched. To this day no one knows what happened to this family, or who was responsible.
6. The Skunk-Ape
In 2000 a woman photographed the above creature in her backyard. She insists it was an escaped orangutan who had been taking apples from her porch for days but after seeing the picture experts have claimed that she actually snapped the rare cryptid Skunk-Ape. Similar to Bigfoot, Skunk-Ape is a large ape-like creature that walks upright and remains undiscovered. Other, less exciting explanations, suggest it’s just a dodgy photograph of a racoon.
7. Black Knight Satellite
This photo taken by NASA shows an undocumented object in orbit over Earth’s atmosphere. It appears to show a satellite that was not put there by NASA and which does not conform to the shape or size of any other known satellite. Theorists claim that the photo proves the existence of the Black Knight Satellite, a supposedly 13000 year old alien satellite that NASA has worked to cover up and hide from public knowledge. Others argue it looks an awful lot like a piece of random space junk of which there is plenty…
8. The unexplained Pterodon photo
This Civil War era photograph appears to show six soldiers standing over a dead Pterodactyl. Its origin is a mystery and it has been implicated in incredibly complex conspiracy theories. However, as compelling as the photo is, no one knows who made it or when it was taken. As cool as the idea of Civil War soldiers shooting dinosaurs is, it’s hard to argue with the simplest explanation for this strange photo – it’s fake. It’s as fake as an Instragram post, faker than Donald Trump’s hair, faker than Hillary Clinton’s smile. Fake. Fake. Fake. Super fake… But yeah, it’s still pretty cool to imagine right? After all, while it’s probably fake, we don’t know for sure.