Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mysteries Among Us #12

Welcome back to "Mysteries Among Us." In this feature, we share mysteries that intrigue us. They could be mysteries in the national news, in our own communities, even in our own families. Or 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 fascinate you too!   

Kristin Kittscher: Several mysterious packages from Paris bearing money and odd objects have been showing up in New Zealand. A few contained envelopes with sizable amounts of cash and notes thanking the recipients for their friendship. Others had objects like a hairdryer or a pen. Authorities are scratching their heads. Why would someone send a stranger money or a hairdryer? Is someone testing the customs to see if they can launder money through the mail? Has someone won the lottery and felt like sharing? They even wondered if a marketing ploy might be behind it. Whatever the reason, it strikes me as a starting point to a very intriguing middle grade mystery . . . 

Elisa Ludwig: I heard this captivating story this week, about a kid who stumbled upon a Polaroid camera at a garage sale and found a photo of his dead uncle inside of it. It's the kind of amazing coincidence that makes you think it has to be more than coincidence. And it's the perfect premise for a paranormal mystery novel! 

Photo source: The Japan Times
Diana Renn: Imagine this: you live in Alaska, and you're strolling along a beach in March when you find a washed-up soccer ball with Japanese writing on its surface. This happened to David Baxter, more than once; balls from Japan, washed away in the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, have been turning up on a beach near his home. This week, an article in the Japan Times reports that he managed to trace one of these balls to its point of origin: Japan's Miyagi Prefecture, one of the hardest-hit areas during the disaster. The ball's seven-year-old owner, it turns out, did survive. I love the heartwarming story, and the happy ending of a mystery solved. Yet this short article raises so many questions for me. How does someone in Alaska trace the origin and owner of a soccer ball in Japan? Where would he even begin? And what would motivate someone to begin such a search? More haunting to me is the idea of the lost balls whose owners have not been traced, mysteries whose endings I'd rather not know.



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