Mysteries are fascinating, but those that involve children always seem to be that bit more inexplicable. It is not just the strangeness of the circumstances themselves that can give us the heebie-jeebies it is the thought of how we might feel if the same thing were to happen to our family and us.
Some of these cases have an unexplainable sad ending, but others are just plain weird. A situation does not have to be violent or end in grief to give us the creeps and make us glad that we are not the ones in the story.
Many of these stories also demonstrate that it does not matter how loving or careful a parent you are, strange things you have no control over can happen right under your nose and there is nothing you can do to avoid them.
Perhaps the knowledge that, in reality, you do not have any real control over what happens to you or your loved ones is the scariest thing of all.
The world is a mysterious place but not all of those mysteries are a creepy as the ones that have made this list. Strange break-ins, inexplicable disappearances, abductions and reunions they are all here.
15An Unwanted Trim
The small town of Pascagoula, Mississippi was the location for an unsolved mystery that can still give us the creeps today. Beginning in June 1942 young blonde girls started to wake-up in the morning to discover they had been the victim of a man who became known as “The Phantom Barber.”
The intruder would slit a window screen to get into a house, tiptoe around inside and enter the rooms of young girls. The creepy clipper would then cut the girl's hair. We are not just talking a little curl either but some girls woke to discover most of their hair had gone.
Nothing else in the home would be damaged or taken and nothing else was done to the little girls. Bloodhounds were brought in to track the intruder to no avail and a $300 reward drew no help from the public.
The break-ins stopped as mysteriously as they had begun and nobody was ever cited as a suspect.
14Taken In The Night
Nima Louise Carter was tucked into her crib by her parents on the 31st October 1977. The nineteen month old girl was a bit fussy but her parents didn’t want to ‘spoil her’ so they left her in the crib until she settled down herself.
The next morning, Nima's mom went into her room and discovered her daughter wasn’t in her crib. As her little one had previously climbed out and toddled around the house, there was no immediate panic, and her father found it amusing that once again his mischievous daughter had hidden somewhere.
Amusement turned to alarm when they looked for Nima, and she was nowhere to be found. The doors and windows were all locked and after a search of the house mom and dad called the police.
It was assumed that Nima's abductor had been hiding in the closet in her bedroom and had waited until the family was asleep before taking the toddler from where she slept and disappeared into the night with her.
13Abandoned In The Washroom
Another mystery from Halloween happened at the Hilton Resort and Marina in Key West, Florida in 2004. A housekeeper discovered a newborn baby, with the placenta and umbilical cord still attached, in the garbage bin of a ladies' washroom.
Earlier a young pregnant woman had been seen going into the washrooms while three men, with whom she had entered the resort, waited outside. One person had used the restroom and heard a woman moaning in one of the stalls and asked the men waiting near the doors if they knew her. One man said that the woman was his girlfriend and he was heard to call out to her using the name “Samantha” or “Sonia”.
A second witness, a resort security guard saw a woman holding her abdomen, leave the washroom about 40 minutes later and when he asked if she was alright the men said she had been partying and had fallen ill.
As they were not staying at the resort, the security guard escorted them from the premises. Neither the woman nor her companions have ever been identified.
12An Abduction, A Suicide, And A Lingering Mystery
In Aurora, Illinois, on May 11 2011, Amy Fry-Pitzen arrived in a hurry at her son's school and had him taken out of class due to a family emergency. When he arrived at the school later that afternoon to pick him up as arranged, the boy's father knew of no such family emergency and was surprised to find his son, Timmothy had been withdrawn.
Multiple calls to his wife's cell phone went unanswered, and eventually, Timmothy’s dad called the police, but nothing criminal had taken place so there was nothing they could do.
Two days later Amy's friends and family received phone calls to say she and Timmothy were okay, and he could be heard in the background during the call. Shortly after her last call Amy committed suicide by slashing her wrists and overdosing in the Rockford Inn, Rockford, about 75 miles away from Aurora.
One of the three suicide notes she left stated in part that Timmothy was with someone who loved him and that he would never be found. Timmothy was never seen or heard from again.
11Who, What, Why, Where, And When?
When Tonya Dawn Tadlock died in a hit and run, the prime suspect was her husband Clarence Hughes. However, when police began investigating the accident, that occurred in 1990, they realized that both spouses had been living under false identities.
Clarance Huges was actually Franklin Delano Floyd, and he claimed to have been given custody of the young woman who lived as his wife when she was a child, but the police always thought he had actually abducted her.
The girl suffered constant abuse while she was raised as Floyds daughter and they moved around the country, never living in one place for too long. In 1988 the woman had a baby boy who was placed into foster care after his mother's death. At this point, it was also discovered that Floyd was not the boy's father.
When Floyd was released from prison in 1994, he abducted the boy, Micheal, from his school and when Floyd was arrested two months later, Micheal was not with him.
Currently serving time on Florida's death row for an unrelated murder, Floyd has never revealed the true identity of the girl, Micheal's biological father or what happened to Micheal himself.
10There's No Safety In Numbers
A Christma shopping trip ended in mystery when, on December 23rd 1974, 9 year-old Julie Ann Mosely, 14 year old Lisa Wilson and 17 year old Mary Trilica disappeared. The three had gone to the Seminary South Shopping Center in Fort Worth, Texas and after they failed to return home, the area was searched and their car was found in the parking lot. Inside the vehicle there were Christmas presents but there was no sign of the girls.
On the 24th of December, Rachel’s parents received a letter said to have been written by her which said the three girls had gone to Houston, 260 miles away, for a week and would be back after that.
A number of witnesses came forward but none of their stories matched and no solid leads were available to the investigators. Nothing in the background investigation gave any indication that any of the girls would run away. The girls were never seen nor heard of again.
9Mothers Always Know
Ten year old Walter Collins disappeared from his home in Los Angeles while his mother was at work. A massive police hunt did not turn up anything until, after five months, Walter was located almost 2000 miles away in DeKalb Illinois.
When the LAPD reunited Walter and his mother, Christine the mother tried to tell the police that the boy they had returned to her was not her son. The police were so insistent that this was Walter, they finally had Christine committed to an asylum.
The boy did look like Walter but he confessed that he was actually a 12 year old called Arthur Hutchins Jr. After seeing a picture of Walter and noticing the resemblance between them, Arthur had claimed to be the missing boy to get a free trip to Los Angeles.
Christine was released and never gave up hope that she would see Walter again.
8 A Strange Man In The Woods
For over ten years the children of the Maules area of Switzerland have been too afraid to go into the woods because of a mysterious man the police say they can do nothing about.
The man, although people are just assuming it is a man, they have no proof, is around 6 foot 6 inches tall. He is dressed in a dirty boiler suit, a military cape and wears a gas mask on his head. By wearing gloves as well, the mysterious figure ensures nobody has ever seen so much as a hint of skin, let alone see his face.
Nobody has ever been hurt by the strange figure but he does approach people, looming over them, staring down and then walking away without a word. It has become so scary that children no longer play there, but because “Le Loyon” or "The Ghost of Maules", as he has been named by the locals, has never threatened anyone let alone harmed them, the police are powerless to intervene.
7An Entire Family Gone
On February 4th 2010, Summer McStay and her husband Joseph left their home in Fallbrook California, with their sons Gianni 4 and Joseph Jr, 3. The family were caught on camera when they left their home but nobody knows what they did or where they went before their abandoned vehicle was found on February 8th at a strip mall just a couple of blocks from the border with Mexico.
Surveillance cameras caught a group who may have seen the family crossing into Mexico but the quality of the images on the footage is so bad, nobody can be sure if it is or is not them. Meanwhile there are questions about the four day period between when they left home and when their vehicle was discovered.
The family were found in two shallow graves near Victorville, over 100 miles from their home.
6 Only One Was Returned
Marilyn Damman went shopping to a supermarket in East Meadow New York, with her three-year-old son Steven and her seven-month-old daughter Pamela in her baby carriage. Marilyn allowed Steven to wait outside with his sister, but when she came out ten minutes later both children were gone.
Pamela's baby carriage was found a block and a half away a short time later, and Marilyn's daughter was safe and sound inside it. Unfortunately there was no sign of Steven. Despite an extensive search no trace of Steven could be found. No witness saw the carriage and little boy being walked away and nobody saw the carriage being abandoned.
At one stage the police thought Steven might have been the “Boy in the Box”, a still unidentified boy whose body was discovered inside a cardboard Sears box in Philidelphia in 1957. This theory hung about for some time being neither proved nor disproved until DNA testing was available and made it clear the boy was not Steven.
Where Steven went, who took him and what became of the cheery three year old may never be known.
5Back As Bizarrely As He Was Gone
Bloodhounds were called in to help search for a seven-year-old Arizona boy who just vanished from the front yard of his home one afternoon. The highly trained and odor sensitive dogs were unable to pick up a scent trail, in perfect conditions, even though the boy had been present only hours before. Helicopters and hundreds of searchers turned up precisely nothing.
Two days later the boy was found 20 miles from home, in the Arizona desert. The boy was dazed and confused but, despite the soaring daytime temperatures, was not dehydrated. Equally as astonishing was that he suffered no ill effects from the plunging nighttime temperatures which dropped below freezing. In fact the boy was in excellent physical condition.
The boy was unable to say what had happened to him or where he had been for the past two days. It is still a mystery how he could disappear in the few moments it took his mom to go inside and get his drink, how the expansive search could find no trace of him, a track, or a scent trail, or how a seven year old covered over 20 miles in harsh, rugged terrain and survived perfectly healthy with no supplies.
It was an average day when 12 year old Sheila Lyon and her 10 year old sister Kate went to Wheaton Plazza Shopping Center in Wheaton Maryland. When the girls failed to return that evening in 1975, they called the police and the most extensive search for the area in history took place in an attempt to locate the sisters.
A week and a half later, the parents received a ransom demand and they left the $10,000 as instructed in the washroom of a local courthouse. Nobody ever came for the money.
Witnesses claimed to have seen a man in the mall with a tape recorder and microphone. It was unclear what he was doing but they said he had been talking to the sisters. Another witness said they had seen the two girls being driven away, bound and gagged in the back of a station wagon. However, they waited two weeks before coming forward with this information. This witness had no explanation for why they did not report two young girls tied up in the back of a vehicle at the time
None of the leads amounted to anything and although the case is officially still open, no trace of the girls has ever been found and police never expect to find them.
3From The Foot Of Their Bed
A parent's worst nightmare became reality for Gil and Bernice Abeyta when they went into their son Christopher's room and discovered their seven month old baby boy gone.
They had put Christopher to bed in his crib at midnight and gone to bed themselves but for some reason, never explained, the front door of the house had been left unlocked.
As is usual in these kind of cases, the police devoted a lot of time and energy investigating the parents. They discovered that up until recently, the Abeyta’s had been separated due to infidelity by Gil and that the night Christopher went missing was actually the first night his father had spent in the family home as the couple tried to reconcile.
It also emerged that the couple had received numerous telephone calls in the months leading up to Christopher's disappearance in which the caller hung up when the call was answered. These stopped when Christopher disappeared but began again six months later.
The calls were traced to Emma Bradshaw, the woman with whom Gill had been having an affair and who had been implicated in stalking incidents reported by other married men with whom she had affairs.
The family maintain a website about Christopher and his disappearance and there is still a $100,000 reward for information leading to a resolution of this mystery.
2How Did He Get There?
Kenny Miller was 12 when he went missing in Yosemite National Park in 1992. He had been on a hiking trip with his family, and they were walking the Pacific Crest Trail when the developmentally disabled boy just vanished into thin air. Kenny had been throwing stones into a creek when one moment he was there; the next the boy was gone. Search teams combed the Meiss Meadows are where he vanished but there wasn’t a single hint as to where he had gone or what had happened to him.
One month later, hikers found Kenny's body in an area west of Meiss Meadows. His remains were discovered on a ridge in dangerous, rocky terrain covered in tightly packed bush in an area only accessed by the most experienced and well equipped climbers. The ridge was 1,500 feet higher than the trail he had disappeared from, and investigators are still unable to establish how a boy who was said to have the mental capacity of a four-year-old, got there. What happened to Kenny Miller has never been determined.
1Twice The Mystery
In a case that is really two mysteries in one, a young boy, just a toddler, was abandoned in his stroller outside a store in New Jersey. Extensive investigations failed to find out who he was, he was placed in foster care and named Scott Mckinley.
Eventually someone made the connection between the boy in the stroller and a baby boy who had been abducted from a hospital nursery in Chicago the year before, 1964. DNA testing was not available at the time, but the blood testing they did have available indicated that the boy in the stroller could be the abducted Paul Fronczak.
Paul was reunited with his parents but as an adult he felt he looked nothing like the rest of his family and in 2012 took a DNA test that proved he was not related to his ‘parents’. The investigation into the abduction of the real Paul Fronczak has been reopened and the man who was raised as Paul has reverted to the name his foster parents gave him, Scott McKinley while police attempt to discover who he is and how he ended up in a stroller in New Jersey.
Sources: Listverse.com, News.google.com/newspapers, Jacksonville.com, CNN.com, BBC.com/news
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