When the circumstances of a murder case are largely unknown, imaginations are left to wander... or is it imagination? Is it not possible that, in this great and mysterious world of ours, there are things beyond our understanding; things that stem from murky paranormal roots?
If you have an incurable interest in the odd and unexplained, check out The Darkness. This is one movie that doesn't shy away from the things hiding just out of sight, choosing instead to look straight at the weird phenomena that terrify us in the darkness...
While you're waiting for The Darkness to lead you through the nebulous terrors beyond our ken, check out five unexplained deaths so weird and horrifying they simply must be paranormal...
1. The Murders At Hinterkaifeck
On the night of March 31, 1922, six people were murdered on the tiny farmstead of Hinterkaifeck, around 40 miles outside of Munich, Germany. Andreas Gruber, 63, and his wife Cäzilia, 72, were lured to the barn where they were battered to death with a mattock, an old farming implement similar to a pickax. Their maid, Maria Baumgartner, 44, their widowed daughter Viktoria, 35, her two children, Cäzilia, 7, and even 2-year-old Josef — rumored to be the child of incest between Viktoria and her father — were also brutally bludgeoned to death.
Strange events arose at Hinterkaifeck before the murders; days before, Andreas reported seeing unknown footprints in the snow from the forest to the farm, but none leading back. The Grubers' previous maid had left Hinterkaifeck months earlier, insisting that the place was haunted. Her replacement Maria Baumgartner only arrived at the farm a few hours before her death.
2. My Heart Will Go On
A heated argument between South Carolina couple Terry Cottle and his wife Cheryl ended horribly — Terry took his own life, firing a .22-caliber handgun into his brain. Terry was only 33 years old, but gave another person the chance to live; his heart was donated to 57-year-old Sonny Graham, who had been awaiting a healthy organ to save him from a life-threatening heart condition.
Here, the story gets weird. Sonny wrote to then-28-year-old Cheryl to thank her for her husband's organ donation, then the two met — and instantly fell in love. Sonny described their first encounter:
''I felt like I had known her for years. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.''
However, this tale does not have a happy ending. A few years after Sonny and Cheryl were married, they had a terrible argument, culminating in Sonny killing himself with his gun. He loved and died in exactly the same way as his heart donor.
3. The Case Of The Taman Shud Man
Early on the morning of December 1, 1948 in Adelaide, South Australia, a body was found on a beach, the only clue to his identity being a scrap of paper in his pocket. It was the final page of a copy of a centuries-old collection of Persian poems called The Rubáiyát Of Omar Khayyám. The scrap of paper simply read "tamám shud," which translates to "finished" or "ended."
Dental records and fingerprints revealed nothing of worth, and more than 250 "solutions" to the case have been tried by police over the years, including identifying the body as one E.C. Johnson — a theory that was disproved when Johnson walked into a local police station, alive and well. Theories of spies and suicide by untraceable poisons abound, but nobody has ever identified the Taman Shud man, or deciphered the scribblings on the reverse side of the page found in his pocket. See if you can...
4. Up In Smoke
On December 22, 2010, a concerned neighbor went outside to check on the home of Michael Faherty of Galway, Ireland. With the fire alarm sounding loudly and smoke pouring from the house, the neighbor had no choice but to wake locals and call the authorities.
A forensic team searched Faherty's home and found something strange: The fire was entirely localized to his body, with the rest of the home unscathed. No accelerant was found, nor the usual traces of fire damage; origin points, scorch marks or materials used to begin the blaze. A doctor on the scene said:
"This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation."
5. Monozygotic Mirroring
Even the least superstitious among us usually feel something unseen exists between twins that the rest of us are not privy to. This idea manifested dramatically in 2002, when two very odd road accidents were reported:
''Two twin brothers, seventy years of age, died just hours apart, in separate accidents, on the same road. Not only that but the circumstances surrounding the deaths were exactly the same. They were both riding their bikes across the road and both were hit by a truck. The second brother who got hit had no idea that his brother had just been killed on the road, as the police had not notified family members of the death yet. Police officers stated that the road is busy, but is not known to be an accident-prone street. It seems that twins are not just genetically connected but can also be connected in death.''