Friday, 9 September 2011
To the lighthouse! Confessions of a unsolved mystery addict
As a wiser (and more male) man than I once said, "Joe Public loves a good mystery blaze" - but seriously, is there anyone alive that doesn't thrill to read an unsolved mystery? Somewhat tragically, I found my childhood obsession with unexplained disappearances, ghoulish foretellings and, er, ghost ships reignited by this phenomenally creepy account of a 1957 camping trip in the Urals that went spectacularly wrong for ten US skiers, who ventured into the mountains never to be - ah, you've guessed it.
So if you too owned and loved the Reader's Digest Strange Stories, Amazing Facts - a book whose total penetration throughout every British household during the early 90s is an unexplained mystery in itself - I present to you the Top Five Creepy Mysteries that unsettled my nine year-old self most. As my new compatriots might say: addicting!
5. The Roanoake Colony
Where did those 90 men, 17 women and 11 children go? (Tedious adult answer: probably somewhere else.)
4. Picnic at Hanging Rock
I genuinely believed this one to be fact, so imagine my childish disappointment when I discovered it to be invented for a novel. (See also: Jurassic Park.)
3. Amelia Earheart
A cautionary tale against the dangers of flying round the world alone, and/or reckless female independence.
2. The Mary Celeste
The Ur-Mystery of them all, although - as any good mystery spod knows - stories of still-warm cups of tea left untouched are piffle.
1. The Flannan Isles Lighthouse
Ah, the perfect storm. Isolation; madness; lighthouses - all the ingredients for a grade-A mystery combined into a delicious mystery cassoulet. Served in a lighthouse.
So, tell me: have you ever disappeared in mysterious circumstances?