this is essentially a reboot of the historical oddities thread. But with a emphasis on mysteries, i wonder if anybody like catsmate can provide their explanations for mysteries and tapply it to the DW universe
1. The Dyatlov Pass Incident On the 27th of January 1959 a group of ten young Russians, experienced skiers and hikers mostly in their twenties and members of the sports club at the Ural Polytechnical Institute, set out from the small settlement of Vizhai towards Otorten led by Igor Dyatlov. The next day one of the group was forced by illness to drop out; of the seven men and two women remaining, none would be seen alive again.
Probably fairly mundane but leavened by weirdness, Soviet secrecy and strange things in the sky so there is plenty of room for aliens, Mad Science, time travellers, Things Man Was Not Meant To Know and similar.
2. Ships that disappeared entirely or mislaid their crews. The Zebrina Mystery: On 17 October 1917 the schooner Zebrina was found drifting off Rozel Point, near Cherbourg in northwestern France. The ship was undamaged in any way, with her sails all set, but with no-one on board. All five crew were missing. The Carroll A. Deering: A commercial schooner discovered run aground on the Diamond Shoals, off Cape Hatteras in North Carolina on 31 January 1921. None of the twelve crew were on board and no trace of them has been found.
What were the aquatic Silurians up to?
3. The Woodpecker, the Squeaky Wheel, the Pip and the Buzzer. These are currently operating (so not exactly historical mysteries from our perspective) shortwave radio transmitters that emit a characteristic tone occasionally interrupted by cryptic messages in Russian. Almost certainly operated by the Russian military or government as part of a communications system they may be part of the Perimeter nuclear weapons control system. But who knows?
4. The Lost Dutchman Mine. An enduring mystery that started in 1871 in a tavern (naturally). Two Americans (Jacob Waltz and Jacob Weiser) rescued a man (Don Miguel Peralta) from a brawl in Sonora, Mexico. Don Miguel invited the men to his home and there he proposed a strange business venture; he told them that for generations his family’s fortune had come from a secret gold mine in Arizona. Periodically the Peraltas would lead a party of workers to the mine and dig out a vast quantity of rich ore. However in 1864 the party led by Don Miguel's grandfather, Enrico, was killed in an attack by Apaches. After this the family lacked the resources to mount another such expedition against the hostile Indians.
How much of the stories are actually true is impossible to tell, but it makes an interesting premise for an adventure. Personally I'd replace the gold mine with a piece of alien ntech that can transmute material to gold, but slowly kills anyone nearby.
5. Jack the Ripper. Yes it's been done already (many times: Time After Time [book, film and series], Timecop, Fantasy Island, Babylon 5, Voyagers!, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, A Symphony of Echoes, and those are just the overtly sci-fi crossovers). Even Who had done it, several times (and all badly IMO). You can do better.
Personally I favour a relatively mundane explanation, a human killing for amusement/madness without overy sci-fi trappings.
6. The Other World's Fair. I wrote a pice about the possibilities of the 1851 London exhibition so it's time for a US equivalent: not The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 but the World's Columbian Exposition held in 1893 in Chicago. Interesting architecture, many exhibitions, an army of workmen constantly replacing light bulbs, an assassinated mayor and a serial killer stalking the city.
A perfect place for predators, whether human or not, to stalk.
Is this what you're interested in missyfan45? Or do you have other ideas?
Time, time,time, see what’s become of me. While I looked around for my possibilities... My AITAS files.
Some other, currently unsolved, historical mysteries and ideas on them.
1. The Tomb of Cleopatra. And Mark Antony, but he's often forgotten about. Several period sources say that Cleopatra VII and her lover were buried together in a tomb after their deaths in 30BCE. Plutarch, for example, said that the tomb was located near a temple of the goddess Isis and was a "lofty and beautiful" monument containing treasures made of gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony and ivory. However no proven tomb of the pair has even been found and it's still of interest to historians.
Now probably the tomb was found, opened and looted centuries ago. So time travel would be the only way to locate and document it (a task for Max Max and the crew from St. Mary's...). Naturally this could have complications. Time travelling thieves (the Alexandrian Society is tailor made), local tomb robbers, offworld 'archaeologists' searching for
Alternatively the tomb could be found (either in the present day, near future or UNIT era) and lead to complications. Other than the usual grave treasures what else might have been laid inside? Weird artefacts, like bits of Osiran tech perhaps? A slightly different idea for a tomb raid is to have the tomb last into the moderate future, like the aftermath of the Dalek invasion, and then be found. Enter multiple groups, human, alien, time travellers et cetera, all looking for the tomb and it's contents. What else might be buried in the sands of Egypt?
The First Doctor story The Daleks' Master Plan had an element set in ancient Egypt. Could a damaged Dalek have survived? Possibly signalled for help? Or maybe the Monk used his TARDIS's Fast Return switch to return to Egypt after his doiscovered his navigation system had been sabotaged? OK I now the episode was nominally set during the construction of the Pyramid of Khufu but Doctor Who's never been concerned at fudging a few centuries. Well twenty five....
2. The Shootout at the OK Corral. Yes I know Who's already done this one. And that it happened in the empty lot next to Fly's Photographic Studio. But as The First Doctor Sourcebook discusses, the version of the shootout in The Gunfightersdoesn't match any of the historical accounts particularly well. So enter a group of time travellers who want to solve the mystery.
Or better still several groups. The PCs, a team of historians (Mad Max again?) and a party of Disaster Tourists.
But the effect of four (or more) time travelling groups in one place/time causes a serious problem. There is 'leakage' from an adjacent, slightly divergent, timeline where events went differently. People start to wander between timelines, meeting and interacting with two version of the locals (and possible each other). What's going on? How do they 'fix' history?
3. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Specifically did they actually exist? While multiple ancient writers mention a magnificent series of gardens built at the city of Babylon it's far less clear when these gardens were built, by whom, why and what exactly they comprised. Certainly a few sources described them a "wonder of the world." The 'hanging' part comes from an account by Philo of Byzantium who wrote (about 250BCE) that the Gardens had "plants cultivated at a height above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth". Why?
There has been a lot of archaeological explorations and excavations of Babylon but no remains of a garden that meets this description have been found. There is some speculation that the gardens were actually in the Assyrian city of Nineveh, but no sign has been found there either.
So someone gets the idea of popping back and checking out the gardens (Sixie perhaps? Maybe taking a few cuttings for Peri and the TARDIS's greenhouse at the same time). What could go wrong? Given the turbulent history of the place, lots.
4. What happened to Henry VIII? On 24th January 1536 King Henry VIII, then aged 44, had a serious jousting accident at Greenwich Palace. One witness, Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, said of the incident:
On the eve of the Conversion of St. Paul, the King being mounted on a great horse to run at the lists, both fell so heavily that every one thought it a miracle he was not killed, but he sustained no injury.
The only other account is from Doctor Ortiz, physician to Katherine of Aragon, written to Empress Isabella and based on a letter to the King of France.
The French King says that King of England had fallen from his horse and been for two hours without speaking. "La Ana" was so upset that she miscarried of a son. This is news to thank God for.
The news of Henry's accident, which left him unconscious for two hours and caused many to think him doomed, did cause Anne Boleyn to miscarry a male child, Henry's heir.
Some historians attribute the change in Henry's personality in later life to the effects of the accident. Suzannah Lipscomb (for example) in her book 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII.
So did the accident happen? Was it an accident? Did something else change Henry's personality? (Alien parasite, failed mind control et ctera).
There's a wealth of period background in (sadly defunct) series of novels by Paul Doherty with Roger Shallot ("The Journals of Sir Roger Shallot Concerning Certain Wicked Conspiracies and Horrible Murders Perpetrated in the Reign of King Henry VIII". Shallot is distinctly worth mixing in to a story set in the period, a Tudor Falstaff/Flashman. There's also the fascinating character of Doctor Agrippa, adviser and perhaps wizard to Cardinal Wolsey, uncle of Shallot's master, Benjamin Daunbey.
A strange man, Agrippa...He was always cold and, whatever the heat, I never saw him perspire. He was a true magus. Yet, superficially, he looked like some benevolent village parson with his round cheery face sweet as a cherub's, neatly cut black hair, and that smile which failed to reach his eyes. He never grew old and, after Wolsey died, had the gift of appearing in the strangest places. Raleigh once told me......that he had seen Agrippa near Jamestown in Virginia. How he got to the New World God only knows! A spy reported he was in Madrid and, years later, when I was fleeing from Suleiman's stranglers. I caught a glimpse of his face in the crowd as I was being pursued through the filthy streets and alleys of Constantinople. I saw him at court once and, only fifteen years ago, he turned up at Burpham looking as young and fresh as he had in my youth. I asked him what the matter was. He only smiled and gave me warning that Mary, Queen of Scots, imprisoned at Fotheringay, was plotting Elizabeth's death. Then he disappeared. Agrippa was a magus with a gift for seeing the future and once told me I would die in a most unexpected way.
5. JFK A classic time travel favourite. From Who Killed Kennedy to Red Dwarf's Tikka To Ride, Twilight Zone's Profile in Silver to 11/22/63, and many more. The reality is prosaic; it's not that difficult to kill someone. But huge conspiracies, time travellers and aliens are more interesting.
Comments? Ideas? Suggestions?
Time, time,time, see what’s become of me. While I looked around for my possibilities... My AITAS files.