Web Culture

6 Unsolved Mysteries Solved On Wikipedia

Dave Parrack 09-05-2013

unsolved mysteriesWikipedia is often mocked for its perceived lack of truth. Because it’s an encyclopedia built entirely on the contributions of random people, it has a reputation for not always being accurate and truthful. In some ways this assertion is fair… little-known entries (such as those for people you’ve likely never heard of Wacky Wiki: 6 Fascinating People on Wikipedia Most people approach Wikipedia as they approach Google: they head there with a search term already in mind. But that approach may mean you miss out on much of what Wikipedia has to offer. It... Read More ) can be manipulated by pranksters or editors with an agenda, but it’s far from the norm, especially on popular, oft-visited entries.


In fact, Wikipedia can be an important and exhaustive repository of knowledge 5 Interesting But Useful Ways Of Using Wikipedia For Information Junkies There are many ways to look at and browse through Wikipedia. From browser extensions and plugins to web apps that make browsing Wikipedia more than a scholarly exercise. The vast bank of human knowledge stored... Read More , helping to demystify myths and explain unsolved mysteries. With a good amount of sources cited, and the evidence stacking up until it becomes overwhelming in its conclusions, urban legends can be explained away on Wikipedia with surprising ease.

What follows are six well-known unsolved mysteries or strange phenomena that have been solved to such a degree that a simple visit to Wikipedia is enough to inform you of the truth. Not all are 100 percent foolproof solutions, but all have been de-mythologized by a consensus of overwhelming evidence.

Gravity Hills

unsolved mysteries

The Mystery: Gravity hills, also known as magnetic hills or mystery hills, are places where the laws of gravity would appear not to exist. If you parked your car on one of these hills and left it out of gear it would appear to travel uphill rather than down.

The Explanation: Gravity hills are the result of nothing more than an optical illusion, though one which suggests nature is trolling us all. When the surrounding landscape is pitched just right and the horizon is obstructed then slight inclines can be mistaken for slight declines.


TL;DR: Gravity hills have more to do with perspective than supernatural forces.

Numbers Stations

unsolved mysteries wikipedia

The Mystery: Since World War II people have been hearing strange broadcasts made over shortwave radio. These broadcasts consist of nothing but a series of numbers (and sometimes words or Morse code) being read out in an artificially generated voice.

The Explanation: Numbers stations are used to convey messages to spies, with the seemingly random sequence of numbers actually containing messages for those with the key to decoding them. Some criminal organizations are also believed to use them.


TL;DR: Numbers stations are a simple method for sending messages to spies.

Klerksdorp Spheres

unsolved mysteries wikipedia

The Mystery: These spherical or disc-shaped objects have been found underground in deposits dating back 3-billion years. And yet they have parallel grooves or ridges scored around their circumferences. How could they have possibly got there?

The Explanation: These seemingly out-of-place artifacts look like they’ve been manufactured by intelligent beings, but the uniform shape and lines can be easily ascribed to natural geological processes.


TL;DR: Klerksdorp spheres are natural, and not manufactured by ancient intelligent beings.


unsolved mysteries wikipedia

The Mystery: The story of Atlantis is one that has been written about for more than 2,000 years. It claims that a naval power based on the island of Atlantis sank into the sea overnight, with explorers having been searching for it ever since.

The Explanation: There likely never was an Atlantis. Instead it was probably a legend borne out of other, older legends or historical events. The latter including volcanic eruptions that wiped out whole cities. Some scholars blame Greek philosopher Plato.


TL;DR: Atlantis is unlikely to have existed; instead being an amalgamation of historical events.

Crop Circles

famous unsolved mysteries

The Mystery: Each and every year strange concentric circles and patterns appear in fields thanks to the crops being flattened. They have appeared in multiple countries over the past few decades, but the majority occur in England.

The Explanation: While there are some crop circles that remain unexplained, the scientific consensus is that the vast majority are man-made. Natural or meteorological phenomena may account for the others, with extraterrestrial involvement unlikely.

TL;DR: Crop circles are overwhelmingly considered to be entirely man-made in origin.

Bermuda Triangle

unsolved mysteries

The Mystery: The Bermuda Triangle is the name given to an area in the Atlantic Ocean running from Florida to Puerto Rico and Bermuda. It has obtained a reputation thanks to the number of aircraft and ships that have disappeared while in the region.

The Explanation: The total area of the Bermuda Triangle is as much as 1.5 million square miles, and it gets a lot of commercial shipping and flights crossing it. The number of disappearances is no more than anywhere else on Earth.

TL;DR: The Bermuda Triangle is a manufactured mystery built on misconceptions.


At the very least you should now be more informed about the unsolved mysteries or myths included in this list. And you have Wikipedia The Origins of Wikipedia: How It Came To Be [Geek History Lesson] Read More to thank for that enlightenment, with just a smidgen of help from myself. The next time someone brings one of these subjects up in conversation you’ll be able to hold your own. You may want to hold off telling everyone you sourced your information from Wikipedia though, as its (unfortunate and mostly unfair) reputation precedes it.

What are your feelings on Wikipedia as a source of information? Do you trust the knowledge garnered from the online encyclopedia, or do you prefer to use a different domain for sourcing accurate accounts of people, places, and events? Let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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  1. Kannon Yamada
    May 13, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Awesome article! I've been been hooked on reading Wikipedia mysteries for a while now, like the fabled money pit. Atlantis has been among my favorites. The answer provided there actually sounds like the truth.

    They say that 99% of human habitation has been along coastal regions which were lost to archaeological record because of rising sea levels - so places like Atlantis are actually common.

  2. Graylin G
    May 11, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    When you wander off into territory you know nothing about you run a serious risk of getting lost in the wilderness. I would suggest that you confine yourselves to the paved roads.

  3. Chris Marcoe
    May 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    All of the quotes in this article, from the wikis, are cut off on the right side for me...

    Otherwise, this is a great article.

    • Dave Parrack
      May 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      They're screenshots, just click the links to read the actual entries.

  4. Bud
    May 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    The over-simplified answers are a myth unto themselves. Who the hell is
    Dave Parrack, anyway? What is his background and possible agenda? Having experienced a "gravity hill" location in an area south of San Francisco, I and all other visitors there, and there were many hundreds, did NOT experience a "mass optical illusion, as "suggested" by this writer (sic) ! Let us remember that there was a time when "scientists" claimed the Sun revolved around the Earth, and the world was flat !

    • Dave Parrack
      May 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      I'm a freelance writer. I have an ordinary background and no agenda whatsoever. I love mysteries and believe in the paranormal to a certain degree, but it's important to keep a perspective on these things. Of the things mentioned in this list I still have doubts that all crop circles can be explained away as man-made, so I mentioned that in the article. This is a technology site and the main point of the piece was to point people towards Wikipedia as a way of finding out the consensus of opinion on some famous mysteries.

  5. Scott M
    May 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I just finished watching a movie titled Number Stations.They posited a very interesting explanation for their use as spy broadcasts.

    • Dave Parrack
      May 10, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      I'd be interested in seeing that. Regardless of whether their mysterious nature has been solved or not they're still fascinating.

      • Scott M
        May 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm

        Its called The Number Station and it stars John Cusack.It was just released in 2013.

        • Dave Parrack
          May 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm

          Cool, I'll definitely check that out, thanks :)

  6. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    May 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Wikipedia is a good starting point, but using it as main source for anything serious and academic is likely asking for disaster. I like reading random articles just for fun, but for research I'd start from an article, reading the reference links and conduct cross-checking from reputable sources before using the 'facts' stated on the page.

    • Chad
      May 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      I don't do much in the way of academics, but I used (when I was in College) go to Wikipedia to get the overview of the subject, and then follow the Reference links to actual (credible) sources, and follow THIER references, etc. and base my paper off of what I gathered throughout there. If a professor ever noticed, they didn't say anything.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        May 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

        That's a good way to gather references. What I'm against of is if you take whatever Wikipedia offer you without checking the facts somewhere else.

        • Chad
          May 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm

          Right - in that sense then, I certainly agree.

    • Dave Parrack
      May 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      I completely agree. The source links are where the real action happens.

    • Rama moorthy
      May 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      ya , me too .. mostly use the sources .