As decades of police procedurals have taught us, no murder is unsolvable. Even if the circumstances of a crime leave everyone baffled, there is always one brilliant investigator capable of cracking the case with a smile and a pun. But that’s not how things work out in the real world, where bizarre murders only raise more and more questions, until you finally throw up your hands and say, “Uh, maybe it was vampires or something?”
#7. An Actor Dies In An Impossible Autoerotic Asphyxiation “Accident”
It seems straightforward on the surface. Albert Dekker was a quintessential Hollywood character actor with over 100 roles to his name, including in Sam Peckinpah’s classic western The Wild Bunch. Unfortunately for Dekker, he never got to see the movie. On May 5, 1968, the 62-year-old actor’s fiancee found him dead in his bathroom, hanging by the neck from a leather belt, completely naked.
Save for his glorious mustache.
After paraphernalia was found which suggested that Dekker was really into bondage, the coroner concluded that he had suffocated himself during an ill-advised attempt at autoerotic asphyxiation. Open and shut, right?
And Then It Got Weird:
It’s not unheard of for famous actors to die in wacky choke-wanking accidents, but Dekker was also blindfolded, gagged, and cuffed, with his wrists and ankles bound together. He was practically hogtied, which is a very difficult position to get into without help … or so we have heard. *cough* If that wasn’t weird enough, Dekker also had a hypodermic needle in each of his arms, and words were written all over his body in lipstick, including “slave” and “cocksucker.” Oh, and there was also a drawing of a vagina on his belly.
Have another picture, because like hell are we suffering through that mental image alone.
So did Dekker die by accident after inviting Zed from Pulp Fiction over to train him as the new Gimp? Could be, but after discovering the body, Dekker’s fiancee realized that their $70,000 in cash and expensive camera equipment were gone, suggesting that someone might have staged the scene to cover up a murder robbery. But there’s even a problem with that: The bathroom door was locked from the inside, which only Dekker himself could have done. It’s your classic locked room with naked tied-up sadomasochistic strangled celebrity mystery.
#6. A Man Appears To Have Been Murdered By A UFO
In June 1980, a 56-year-old miner named Zigmund Adamski went out to do some shopping in the town of Tingley, England and never returned. Five days later, Adamski’s body turned up in the middle of a coal yard 20 miles away in Todmorden. It was determined that he most likely died of a heart attack. Well shit, that’s not nearly as freaky as the last one.
And Then It Got Weird:
Adamski’s body was discovered on top of a pile of coal at approximately 3:45 p.m., so he must have been placed there in broad daylight without anyone noticing. Also, there were no signs of footprints on the coal, or any coal dust on the man himself — almost as if he was literally dropped there from the sky.
“To all officers, be on the lookout for one giant fucking bird.”
And even though Adamski was missing for five days, he looked well-fed and only had one day’s worth of stubble on his face. But the creepiest part was that Adamski also had unexplained burns all over his head, neck, and shoulders. Some sort of gel-like ointment had been applied to his burns, but no one could figure out what it was. So what the hell happened? “Aliens,” according to Alan Godfrey.
The original “Aliens” meme.
Godfrey was one of the policemen who found Adamski’s body, and also a firm believer that a UFO once abducted him and fixed his genitalia (no, really). He was convinced that the entire area was a hot spot for extraterrestrial activity, and actually became a little famous for his theories. Of course, most people laughed at him, but they were easily silenced whenever Godfrey asked how they would explain what happened to Adamski.
Look, we’re not saying it was aliens. We’re just saying that if it’s not, then the real story is probably even weirder.
#5. A Couple Dies During Secret Sexual Liaison, And No One Can Figure Out What Killed Them
Dr. Gilbert Bogle was a married Australian physicist specializing in lasers and the nether regions of Margaret Chandler, the wife of one of his co-workers. On New Year’s Eve 1962, Bogle and Chandler sneaked out to a local lovers’ lane, because the link between sex and creepy supernatural murder hadn’t yet been discovered.
“Hey, maybe that strange man over there with the hook hand will join us for a three-way?”
The next morning, Bogle and Chandler’s partially undressed bodies were discovered on the banks of Lane Cove River. So they were killed by the jealous husband, right? Or wife?
And Then It Got Weird:
Here’s the thing: No one could figure out how the victims died. There weren’t any noticeable signs of foul play, but Bogle and Chandler did leave samplings of their vomit and excrement at the scene, indicating that the couple became violently ill before they died. Since they were at a party, the most logical explanation was that someone might have poisoned their drinks, but an autopsy found no trace of poison in their systems. As for the obvious suspects (the lovers’ spouses), both of them had airtight alibis.
In 2006, a documentary suggested that Bogle and Chandler had a fatal reaction when a cloud of hydrogen sulfide gas bubbled up from the heavily polluted Lane Cove River. That sounds like a logical theory, but some scientists still dismiss it, since no one else in the surrounding area seemed to suffer any negative effects of sulfide gas during that time period. That’s probably for the best. No one wants to be remembered as the person killed by a nasty river fart.
Note that the producer/director of the film suggesting this theory was one Peter Butt.
#4. A Man Turns Up Dead With Strange Encrypted Notes In His Pocket
In June 1999, the body of Ricky McCormick was discovered in a rural cornfield outside St. Louis without a clear cause of death. Foul play was suspected, but McCormick had a history of chronic lung and heart problems, so it wasn’t unfathomable that he could’ve died of natural causes. It was a stumper, but the cops remembered that they were dealing with a 41-year-old high school dropout and quickly wrote him off as a statistic.
Yet another to add to the pile of “Murder Victims Who Seem
Surprised To Be Getting Their Picture Taken Right Now.”
And Then It Got Weird:
McCormick’s death had been all but forgotten for 12 years when the friggin’ FBI suddenly announced they were reopening the case. And it was all because of these:
Those two handwritten notes were found in McCormick’s pocket, and appear to be encrypted ciphers. Decoding them became a top-priority case for the FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, the same guys who cracked Nazi codes and have spent decades trying to break the Zodiac killer’s cipher. And what were their conclusions? A quiet “We … we have no idea what this is,” followed by them awkwardly shuffling their feet.
We know what you’re thinking — the guy was probably nuts, the notes full of random gibberish. And in fact, according to McCormick’s family, he had a very low IQ and was practically illiterate. But remember that the FBI disagreed. Experts who study this stuff for a living are pretty certain there is a specific pattern to the numbers and letters, and that a coded message has to be in there somewhere. It’s just that the smartest people in the world have no idea what it might be, despite looking into them and McCormick’s life from every possible angle.
“Be sure to drink your Ovaltine?”
Still, there is one thing we can say for certain about the notes: It’s good to always have something like that in your pocket, in case you get murdered and want the feds to investigate it.
#3. A Guy Is Beheaded In An Apparent Religious Ritual
On February 8, 1981, police responded to complaints about a transient in a sleeping bag in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The cops were about to rouse him, but it turned out the guy had a valid excuse for taking a siesta in a public park: His head was gone. A fingerprint check revealed that the victim was Leroy Carter, who had a history of criminal activity, but nothing that would suggest why anyone would want to behead him — especially with Sleepy Hollow being so far away.
And Then It Got Weird:
Not only was Carter’s head missing, but a chicken wing and two kernels of corn were put in its place. And a box containing more mutilated chicken parts was found nearby.
“My god …” *takes off sunglasses* “Tell the chief the Colonel is back in town.”
This was clearly not your typical homicide, so the department assigned Sandi Gallant to the case because of her experience with occult crime. She guessed that Carter was a victim of Santeria (specifically the Palo Mayombe variety), a syncretic Caribbean-African religion with a penchant for sacrificing chickens. This was great news. Not for Carter, obviously, but for the investigation, as Santeria custom dictates that a victim’s head be returned to its original location after 42 days, which is how long it takes for the murderer to extract the noggin’s magical powers.
No one on the police force bought Gallant’s theory, on account of it all sounding like a stoned rewrite of a Dungeons & Dragons manual … until Carter’s head turned up in Golden Gate Park exactly 42 days after the murder. Unfortunately, because of the department’s skepticism, nobody showed up at the park that day to catch the perpetrator in action, and the killer got away scot-free to do God knows what with all that magic head power he acquired.
“So that’s what that Sublime song is about!?” — Every stoned college kid right now
#2. A Man Is Found Dead In A Bathtub After Claiming A Witch Cursed Him
In April 1991, Seattle police burst into the apartment of Christopher Case after one of his friends said she was worried about him. It turned out her concerns were valid, as Case was found dead in his bathtub. The scene was unusual, because Case was fully clothed and the bathtub was empty. There were no signs of a break-in or foul play, so the coroner determined that Case’s death was likely caused by acute myocarditis — aka “His heart stopped, but fuck if we know why.”
And Then It Got Weird:
Upon closer inspection, it turned out that Case’s apartment was a quite creepy place. It was filled with crucifixes, candles, and even lines of salt poured along the walls and the front porch. But that was easy to explain. See, Case genuinely believed that a curse had been placed on him by a witch after he refused to date her.
“Begone from me, foul crone!”
When police questioned Case’s friend, they learned that during a trip to San Francisco, Case met a woman claiming to be a witch who developed romantic feelings for him. But after resisting her advances, the man claimed that unseen forces started tormenting him by cutting his fingers while he slept, and he soon started feeling unsafe in his own home.
Of course, no evidence was ever found to support Case’s wild stories, and if you’re an Occam’s razor type of person, you might assume the poor guy suffered some sort of mental breakdown. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Case was, by all accounts, a very healthy 35-year-old man who didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs, and had no history of heart trouble. How do you explain a guy like that suddenly having a coronary?
A rubber mask, an asshole friend, and a prank gone wrong?
#1. The Car Crash Victim With Missing Nipples
One morning in April 2003, United States Air Force Colonel Philip Shue left his Texas home for a seemingly ordinary workday, and two hours later died in a tragic car accident. What came next was even more tragic. According to a psychological autopsy report, Colonel Shue had been displaying erratic and paranoid behavior prior to his death, and their conclusion was that he plowed into a tree on purpose to take his own life.
And Then It Got Weird:
It might have been easier to believe the suicide ruling if two rather important items weren’t missing from the scene of the accident: Colonel Shue’s nipples. Someone had removed them before his death.
So we know that the perpetrator is probably from Astapor.
Shue was also found with a six-inch gash from his chest to his navel, as well as amputated fingers and earlobe, none of which happened during the crash. The investigators claimed that Shue inflicted all those injuries on himself, as a large amount of an anesthetic was found in his system. The main hole in that theory was that Shue’s wrists and ankles were wrapped in duct tape, and his fingerprints were not on that tape. The implication seemed to be that Shue was in the midst of being tortured somewhere, escaped, and then got into a fatal accident.
Shue’s ex-wife Nancy Timpson seemed like the most likely suspect, since she still retained a $1 million life insurance policy on the Colonel. The victim even received an anonymous letter warning him that his ex-wife planned to bump him off. But there wasn’t enough evidence of foul play to convince prosecutors (they believe Shue fabricated this letter himself). So if it wasn’t that, then what the hell happened? Feel free to try to figure it out yourself, since the odds are strong that we’ll never, ever know.