Military history always makes for an interesting, gripping read. People still remain fascinated by the most notorious war criminals of all time, enjoy reading about the greatest generals in history, and watch war movies because military life is so uniquely dramatic.
In most cases, the tales you hear about war and military life are pretty straightforward. People go to war and train, then they get sent off to the battlefield. There, they fight. It's simple, right?
Not so fast!
Once in a blue moon, something unexplainable will happen to soldiers who are enlisted in the military. These military mysteries leave people scratching their heads, unable to come up with any solution to the strange puzzles laid out before them.
Ever wonder what some of the bigger bizarre military mysteries have been over the years? Here are some that have defied any form of explanation or solution for decades.
What were foo fighters?
If you ask most people about foo fighters, they'll assume that you're talking about music. However, that's not the case here. Before the term "foo fighters" became associated with 90s alternative rock and David Grohl, it was a term that was used to describe one of the most baffling military mysteries of World War II.
During WWII, night flyers from the United States and Britain would see brightly glowing lights hovering in the sky. They often assumed that they were Russian and German aircraft... until they would do impossible twists and turns, then zip off at impossible speeds.
Unable to figure out what the lights were, or who piloted the strange crafts, soldiers gave them the nickname of "foo fighters." To date, the military has never figured out what the crafts were.
This may sound like science fiction, but records show that there were literally hundreds of such reports. In fact, written records exist showing that pilots had gotten into dogfights with them!
So, what were foo fighters, and why has no one ever come forth about being responsible for the strange flying crafts?
Who killed the Red Baron?
Without a doubt, the Red Baron was one of the most famous soldiers to have fought in World War I. Even though the first World War was over 100 years ago, the Red Baron's legacy still remains something relevant to pop culture. Even Snoopy of Peanuts fame made allusions to his greatness.
During his time in the war, the Red Baron had at least 80 confirmed kills and allegedly had dozens more that remain unconfirmed. Throughout most of World War I, the Red Baron remained one of the biggest threats to the Allies on the battlefield.
Then, all of a sudden, he was shot down. Due to the sheer amount of respect his fighting status gave him, he was given an honorable burial in France with the help of the Allies. While his funeral happened, people were scrambling to figure out who shot the infamous pilot down.
Despite all the searching for the Baron’s killer, no one really knows what happened out on the battlefield. Officially, it was a Canadian pilot by the name of Roy Brown who shot him down. However, most experts note that his account of the infamous dogfight didn’t really seem to add up.
Whoever shot him down would be a major figure in World War I history, if we knew who it was for sure. Sadly, that honor might never fully be known.
What happened to Bela Kiss?
When Bela Kiss enlisted in the Hungarian arm for World War I, no one bat an eye. In his hometown, he was known for being a jovial, charming man who always had a soft spot for the ladies. He gave his landlord notice of his time in the army, and off he went.
As the war continued to be fought, his landlord overheard a rumor that Kiss was killed in combat. Understandably, he went to Bela's home to clean things out and put it up for rent once more.
The cleanup started out pretty normally, but quickly took a turn for the horrifying. In Bela's home, the landlord and his friends discovered multiple dead bodies, all being preserved in alcohol. Each body, except for one, belonged to a woman who had gone missing in recent years.
An investigation revealed that Kiss was luring single women out of their homes with promises of marriage. When they would sign to be with him, he would kill them for his own financial gain.
Try as the police might, they could never find out what happened to Bela Kiss after the war. Bela himself was never seen in his village again, but sightings of him continued well into the 1930s.
One New York City janitor was suspected of being Bela Kiss, but much like what happened last time, the man disappeared before police could confront him. As a result, this remains one of the most disturbing military mysteries to involve serial killers that were never caught.
Who published the Deadly Double?
World War II was one of the most impressively expansive wars ever fought, and also remained one of the most espionage-heavy wars in recent history. Stories of spies who fought for the resistance, double agents, and bizarre communications have all been told for decades after the war ended.
One of the more bizarre military mysteries of this time deals with the strange world of espionage—and a very strange warning sent out via the New Yorker magazine. The warning in question was done via an advertisement for a game called "Deadly Double."
The ad was not quite subtle, considering that the copywriting involved the phrase, "Warning! Alerte! Achtung!" One of the other larger ads in the magazine also wrote:
"We hope you’ll never have to spend a long winter’s night in an air-raid shelter, but we were just thinking … it’s only common sense to be prepared. If you’re not too busy between now and Christmas, why not sit down and plan a list of the things you’ll want to have on hand. … And though it’s no time, really, to be thinking of what’s fashionable, we bet that most of your friends will remember to include those intriguing dice and chips which make Chicago’s favorite game: THE DEADLY DOUBLE."
The dice that were featured on the game were perhaps some of the most bizarre clues that something wasn't quite right. The dice featured numbers like 7, 20, and 12 on them—numbers unheard of on a regular six-sided die.
Many people theorize that the ads were a "heads up" to American spies about the pending attack on Pearl Harbor. What we do know is that the Deadly Double really was a game that was being sold, however, we don't know who placed the ad.
Could it be that the Deadly Double was actually a spy game hidden in plain sight? Though the creator's widow vehemently argues against it, people still believe it to be. Sadly, we may never know the truth.
How did Pete Ellis know about Pearl Harbor?
It was 1920, and Lieutenant Colonel Pete Ellis was enlisted in the Navy out near Washington. Known for keeping to himself and being locked in his office for late hours, Ellis became somewhat of an enigma among his fellow soldiers.
When Ellis was asked what he was doing at night, all he'd tell anyone is that he was working on "a special project." Then, in 1921, things all changed. He left his office with a huge description of the following scenario:
- Japanese military would infiltrate and attack a slew of islands on the Pacific. He mentioned Wake, Guam, the Philippines, and Hawaii.
- Our base in Hawaii would be targeted. Yes, he somehow was able to forsee Pearl Harbor's bombing 20 years before it happened.
- The attack would involve torpedo airplanes. It's worth pointing out that these had not been invented yet.
- Americans would then retaliate using stations in the Pacific. This all happened.
Upon finishing his 30,000 word prediction of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ellis requested a 90-day leave from his higher ups. Shockingly, the Secretary of the Navy personally approved it, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps called him before he left. Prior to leaving, he was given a sealed envelope.
He was sent out to leave for Europe, but never made it. Soon after, word got out that a man named Pete Ellis was spotted in Japan, getting treated for alcoholism and nephritis.
He soon died under mysterious circumstances, with Japanese officials refusing to let foreigners on the island. One man who knew Ellis went to investigate, only to be found dead later on.
This story offers several military mysteries in one. First, how did Pete Ellis figure out that Pearl Harbor would be bombed, 20 years before it happened? Most people didn't even think of Japan at this point.
Even his death remains a baffling puzzle. No one knows how he died, and a key witness who could have solved it all died along with him. Also, why did he go to Japan, and why did he start drinking? Could it have been something else he saw?
What the heck happened to Paul Whipkey?
In the 1950s, very few people had a military career as impressive as Paul Whipkey's. The Lieutenant had held a very high position at the United States Air Force base in California and was even offered a special seat to witness some of the first atomic bomb tests.
Then, things changed.
Whipkey began to act increasingly strange and was regularly seen talking to two unknown men in suits while on the base. He started to become increasingly paranoid and agitated day after day. More notably, the "mystery men" he'd speak to made him incredibly tense.
One could blame it on the stressors of being a military member, but it became this wasn't just mental illness. Something was terribly, terribly wrong.
By 1957, his body had started to deteriorate in a bizarre way. He began to catch colds on a regular basis. All his teeth fell out, strange black moles began to grow on his body, and he lost weight.
On July 10, 1957, Whipkey told people that he would be going out to visit his friends in Monterrey. He never made it there.
Over the course of the next couple of days, strange sightings started to happen. One person claimed that they saw military personnel driving Whipkey's car without the lieutenant being present.
The Army immediately cleaned out his apartment the day he vanished, and within a month, labeled him a deserter. It took around eight months before the Army was willing to search for him.
The strangeness continued long after his alleged desertion. In 1977, all files involving Whipkey were destroyed. Years later, he was labeled "killed in action" instead of being a "deserter."
This remains one of the most chilling military mysteries out there, simply because you have to wonder what the US government was hiding. And more worryingly, why would the Army do that to one of their own people?
Did Vietnam soldiers run into mythical creatures?
The Vietnam War was one that was filled with chaos of the highest order, and to a point, also had some of the spookiest ambiance on the battlefield thanks to the "Ghost Tapes" they would play to strike fear into combatants' hearts.
However, the weird moaning of the tapes isn't the only potentially paranormal thing about the war worth mentioning. Both American and Vietnamese troops regularly reported run-ins with a group of strange, hairy humanoid creatures.
These creatures were known to locals as nguoi rung, or "Rock Apes." These apes were known for having orangey hair, ape-like features, and aggressively throwing rocks at soldiers. The problem is? Vietnam has no known apes at all.
Another strange creature that had been allegedly spotted was a snake that measured around 100 feet in length, with a head that measured around three feet wide. This was reported by an American soldier, who would later be told that what he saw was a creature known as a "Bull Eater" in Vietnamese lore.
The jungles of Vietnam are very thick, and for the most part, undisturbed. Could it be that soldiers may have found some cryptids in their midst? Or, is this just another one of the more baffling military mysteries that's really just pure fiction?
Where are the Easton graves?
When the American Revolution started, soldiers quickly began to get injured and hurt. In the still-growing town of Easton, Pennsylvania, this led to a hospital being erected.
Throughout the Revolution, Easton's hospital treated soldiers and did work as a place to house criminals deemed unfit for social integration. Obviously, with 18th-century medicine being pretty terrible, this meant that countless people died at the hospital over the years.
As centuries progressed, very few medical records remained intact from those times. That being said, there were a lot of deaths that were undoubtedly tied to the hospital. So far, so good, right? Not quite.
What makes this one of the more bizarre military mysteries is the fact that no one knows where the dead are buried. Somewhere in or around Easton, it's surmised that a mass grave exists with Revolutionary War soldiers' bodies.
The mass grave has never been found and no one knows where it could be, making it one of the stranger unsolved mysteries in America's history.