Unsolved cases rooted in serial killers, treason, and mayhem haunt us to this day. Some of the scars left on history itself are full of unimaginable depravity that has horrified communities and left lingering questions for decades. No credible suspects have been found. No arrests have been made.
Some of the players will be names you recognise, like Jack the Ripper, but others will be wisps of memory that have remained hidden over the years.
All good stories need a hero, but equally, they need a villain. So sit back, relax, and take a journey with us and discover the 3 unsolved cases that still stump us to this day:
Jack the Ripper
London, 1888. Dread rippled through the streets of London’s East End and beyond. Grotesque scenes of mutilation blazed across the broadsheets, and rumour of death personified haunted waking dreams and living nightmares.
Women were his prey, and terror was his greatest weapon. Yet, Jack the Ripper had no true identity and still remains one of history’s most talked-about criminals.
Speculation and despair were fuel for the Ripper. Scotland Yard began to suspect that he was a butcher or a surgeon due to his signature brutality, gory method of murder, and remarkable skill with a knife.
Five voiceless victims perished under his grip – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly – all players to his swan song, The Whitechapel Murders. Each had their throats slashed, stomachs slit, and organs ripped before he abandoned their lifeless bodies on the streets.
Overpowering and overwhelming the local authorities, the 19th century was the perfect hideout for the Ripper to cause chaos that would ripple throughout history. To this day, only speculations remain. Everyone from Scotland Yard’s finest to the FBI, countless historians, and criminologists have never uncovered his true identity. In short, Jack the Ripper took his secrets to the grave, and that is where they will remain.
The Zodiac Killer
Not unlike the notorious Jack the Ripper, California’s The Zodiac Killer left a trail of destruction in his wake. Five seemingly random victims were shot by his hand between 1968 and 1969. But that in itself is not what makes the Zodiac’s impact so alarming. It was his craving for media attention and his flair for taunting law enforcement through his cryptic notes and chilling clues.
After one of his victims survived an assault, anonymous letters started appearing in the San Francisco Examiner. The letters contained coded messages explaining the killer’s motives, as well as a cypher to decode his identity.
According to FBI records, the Zodiac wrote:
“I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all.”
Unperturbed by his growing notoriety and without anyone coming close to cracking his code, the Zodiac struck again. His multiple victims were brutally stabbed and shot. The Zodiac heightened the nation’s fear by sending a piece of his latest victim’s bloodstained shirt to the Chronicle newspaper.
Later, he claimed that he had murdered dozens of victims in cold blood. Despite the terror, chaos, and unyielding torment to his victims and the public, the Zodiac Killer has never been found to this day, and his case remains open.
The Black Dahlia
Los Angeles, 1947. A mother and child took a walk through their local neighbourhood Leimert Park only to discover a sight that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
The victim, 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, lay completely naked, severed cleanly in half at the waist. That was strange in itself. But after further investigation at the scene, detectives found no trace of blood on her. She was quickly named the “Black Dahlia” by local journalists due to her dark hair and clothing.
Short became a haunting icon of the day. She had her whole life ahead of her. Instead of capturing her dream of glitz and glamour in the Hollywood Hills, she suffered a hideous fate that shook the world.
Over the years, several people have tried to take credit for the high-profile crime. After countless interviews and record checks on potential suspects, local authorities and the FBI have come up short. Like all the others on this list, the unsolved case remains open with little to no new information for investigators to go by.
True crime is calculated. Haunted by the memories of these brutal deaths, the killers left scandal and fear that went beyond the lives of their victims. Littering history with impossible clues, cryptic messages, and invisible bread crumbs, will these cases remain unsolved?