Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mysteries Among Us #9

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!

W.H. Beck: I was sucked into a story recently on NPR about a recent rash of tuba thefts in schools in the Los Angeles area. It seems that in the last year, 23 tubas have been stolen from eight different schools. While authorities think they know why the tubas are being stolen--for either scrap metal or to supply Mexican polka bands (I am NOT making this up!)--the mystery writer in me can't help but think that maybe there's more to the story.

Kristen Kittscher: This past week in Dublin someone stole a man's heart -- literally! Authorities are studying closed circuit footage to determine who sneaked into Christ Church Cathedral, cut the iron bars of the cage that housed the heart of Dublin's patron saint, and fled. I always troll for news items about odd crimes, but this is one of the strangest I've happened upon lately. It's interesting to think about the criminal's motivation. Did he/she imagine having the heart would help them through a trying time? Was it a lover of puns who couldn't wait to read the "stolen heart" headlines? Is there a Da Vinci Code-esque story lurking there?

Elisa Ludwig: Thanks to my record-collecting husband, I was recently alerted to the mystery of musician Jim Sullivan, an L.A. songwriter who disappeared into the New Mexico desert in 1975, never to be seen again. There are a number of odd and fascinating things about this story: Sullivan was struggling with his career and had recently decided to move to Nashville—he was supposedly on his way there. He had checked into a motel but the key was left locked inside the room. His car was found locked and parked outside of a ranch nearby; his wallet, clothes, records and guitar were left inside. Some have said that the people who owned the ranch had mob ties. He was known to have a problem with alcohol. He had recorded a record titled UFO in which songs discussed leaving his family, alien abduction and long highways. Some people, including his wife, believe that he may have been abducted by aliens. He had also told a friend that if he were to die, he would just "disappear into the desert." The whole thing gives me the chills, and his lonesome, plaintive music just adds another dimension of interest. UFO was recently reissued by Light in the Attic Records (

Laura Ellen: The Bermuda Triangle has intrigued me my whole life. For centuries, this triangle shaped area of the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Florida, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico has been the last known sighting of many ships and planes -- disappearing into the abyss -- while others have come close, reporting weird circumstances and strange weather patterns that can not be explained by anything short of paranormal or alien-esque causes. Is there really an area on earth, a void of some sort, like a doorway into an alternate universe? You be the judge. Here's some great articles and video clips on the Bermuda Triangle:

L.R. Giles: There's a mystery I stumbled upon while planning a vacation. In 1968 divers discovered an odd formation off the coast of North Bimini Island in the Bahamas. The pattern seemed to suggest some sort of primitive thoroughfare and was given the name The Bimini Road. Let's back up a sec. It's a road. Underwater. Which begs several questions. Road to where? Who built it? Why? Could this be a lost civilization similar to legends of Atlantis? I suppose it could be all of those things or none of them. The possibilities are fun to consider, though. Don't be surprised if you see some of my thoughts on the matter pop up in a future story or two. This one is just too good to leave alone."


  1. Oh such excellent mysteries this week! Elisa, yours reminds me of the movie Eddie and the Cruisers. Love that movie. Perhaps Jim Sullivan is in LA now and in need of several tubas?

  2. I think he took the tubas up the Bimini Road and ended up with them in the Bermuda Triangle.

  3. Ha! Becky, the tuba story caught definitely caught my eye as well -- it makes for a perfect middle grade mystery (though rife with potential ethnic stereotyping pitfalls, given the police theories)


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