Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mysteries Among Us #3

Welcome back to "Mysteries Among Us," one of our rotating Thursday features. In this feature, our sleuths share mysteries that have caught our attention or intrigued us recently. They could be mysteries we've uncovered in the news or heard about in our own communities. They could be mysteries from the past that continue to haunt us. Mysteries are everywhere! Maybe some of what we've found will spark ideas for fictional mysteries. We'd love to know what mysteries you've come across lately too!

Laura Ellen:
I have always been intrigued by the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA.  This house was built by Sarah Winchester, supposedly to ward off ghosts and spirits that she thought were haunting her. The house is full of doors that lead nowhere, staircases that lead to nothing, and all sorts of other bizarre details. Here's a video clip about it from the Travel Channel, but if you want to learn more, visit the house's website at

Kristen Kittscher:
Halloween has me thinking more of ghost stories than mysteries this week. While sunny Southern California might not seem like a spooky setting, legends of hauntings abound. In fact, the "most haunted house in America" is allegedly right around the corner in San Diego: the Victorian era Whaley House ( The site of several hangings even before the Whaleys moved in in the late 1800s and met with several tragedies, the house is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Whaley, a mysterious child, and even a dog. Various workmen, volunteers, visitors -- and even celebrity Regis Philbin -- claim to have seen the Whaley ghosts, and there is remarkable consistency in their accounts. Have imaginations run wild or is the haunting real? Either way, I can't help but think the legends of this house would make a great setting for a gothic novel.

L.R. Giles: 
I love it when a mystery has a mythic kind of quality to it. Right now, the mystery of the Mary Celeste has got my creative juices flowing. For those who don't know, the Mary Celeste was a ghost set sail from New York in November of 1872 with 11 people aboard. The next time it was seen was early 1873. The crew and passengers were gone and there was no sign of a struggle. None of them were ever seen again. Imagining their fates has occupied my imagination on many nights.

Elisa Ludwig:
Last Monday, my cat Beau got out of the house. Beau is 15 years old and seems to be well suited to the luxuries of indoor living. He never tries to escape and he's not very fast these days. Somehow, though, he managed to sneak out while my husband was taking out the trash. But that's not the mystery. The mystery is what he was doing during the full 48 hours when he was gone and we were calling, searching, panicking. Because, only then, after we'd checked our yard multiple times and hung up flyers and sent out emails, he suddenly popped up under the apple tree. A neighbor called to alert me and I found him waiting, like it was completely normal, for me to take him in. Now I really wish he'd had a camera attached to him, because I would love to know where he went and what adventures he had. Until he learns to talk, all I can do is fantasize.

Diana Renn:
Here at Sleuths, Spies & Alibis, we are being haunted by some kind of malicious technological poltergeist. In the Yahoo group we use for internal communications, various members have been alternately blocked or dropped from the chain of communication for no known reason. Or they have been able to post messages but remain invisible; nobody sees their notes. Frustrating, since a similar curse afflicted our previous Google group.

More recently, we've received reports that some readers have been trying to comment on our posts but cannot. Others have said that the comments feature or the blog itself gets blocked by anti-virus software. And yet other comments do come through just fine. We have heard that Blogger can be buggy, and we are looking into the problem. Meanwhile, if you have unsuccessfully been trying to comment (for a book giveaway or in general), we apologize. Please feel free to email us at, and we'll be happy to add any blog posts comments on our end. We'd also like to hear from you if you're one of these unfortunate people who has been afflicted by our poltergeist. We are on the job, and hoping to solve this mystery very soon! (And if you are a technically-minded investigator and you think you can solve our Blogger or Yahoo group mysteries, we'd REALLY love to hear from you!)

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