The Biggest Mysteries of 2011 – Revisited


The Biggest Mysteries of 2011 - Revisited

The Jerusalem UFO Video

Just a few weeks into 2011 a stunning UFO video circulated around the world. On Jan. 28, a mysterious glowing light hovered high above the Dome of the Rock, an ancient Islamic shrine in Jerusalem.

It was touted as possibly the best video ever taken of an extraterrestrial spacecraft — made all the more apparently authentic because it was captured by at least two other people at the same time, from different angles. When the videos appeared on YouTube UFO interest was whipped into a frenzy;, “The news headlines read: “Holy Smoke — UFO in Jerusalem,” “Dome of the Rock Jerusalem light all proof UFO fans need that aliens exist” and “Credible? Jerusalem UFO footage captured from multiple viewpoints.”

Skeptical analyses soon suggested that the video had been faked, but true believers insisted that the videos were legitimate. Finally in March even MUFON, an organization dedicated to proving extraterrestrial visitation, joined the skeptics in branding the whole thing a hoax. Eventually even most diehard UFO believers grudgingly acknowledged that it had been faked.

The Mysterious Magnetic Boy

While the Internet was still abuzz with chatter about the Jerusalem UFO, another weird mystery emerged in February, from the country of Serbia. A seven-year-old boy named Bogdan made international news for his (apparently) paranoromal ability.”

According to MSNBC and The Daily Mail, household objects such as spoons, knives, and forks stuck to his skin with almost supernatural ease. Even stranger, other things stuck to him too, such as small plates and small flat glass objects. It was quite an unexplained mystery — until it was pointed out that whatever made the items to stick Bogdan’s bare skin, it was not magnetism, since many of the times were non-metallic. The mysterious ability was in fact due to simple skin friction.

The Beast of Gévaudan

Of all the monsters said to roam the earth, perhaps none was more feared than a mysterious creature that terrorized the French countryside in the 1760s. This monstrous Beast of Gévaudan, as it became known, killed peasants, farmers, and shepherds with impunity, often leaving its scores of victims a gory mess.

The identity of this monster has been a source of wild speculation, especially in France, for over two centuries. Many believe it was a werewolf; others say it was some sort of supernatural demon (owing to the fact that legends said could not be stopped by bullets); still others insist it was a serial killer (an early French Jack the Ripper).

The mystery has been told many times, including in the 2001 thriller film Brotherhood of the Wolf. In 2011 the mystery was finally solved; historian Jay M. Smith, in his book Monsters of the Gévaudan, convincingly showed that there actually was no singular Beast of Gévaudan responsible for the deaths, as widely assumed; in fact the killings were consistent with wolf attacks.

The Chupacabra

The Beast of Gévaudan was not the only monster mystery finally solved in 2011. Since the mid-1990s, people around the world (and especially in Puerto Rico and Latin America) have reported a bizarre vampire beast which became known as the chupacabra (Spanish for “goat sucker,” since it was said to drain blood out of small animals including goats). According to the first eyewitness, the chupacabra had two legs, stood 4 to 5 feet tall, and had spikes down its back.

The monster had long, thin arms and legs, and an alien-like head with red or black eyes. Later alleged chupacabras found in America (mostly Texas and New Mexico) turned out to be diseased dogs, foxes, and coyotes. Though widely believed to be a real creature, the chupacabra mystery was finally solved when the original eyewitness — whose description became the “standard” chupacabra image — was shown to have confused a monster from the 1995 horror thriller Species for something she saw in real life.

The Russian ET

In April, just a few months after the amazing UFO video footage over Jerusalem came out, a video of what appeared to be an extraterrestrial alien body recovered in Russia set off a new furor among UFO believers in the blogosphere. According to one story in The Daily Mail, “On its side with its mouth slightly agape, the slender, badly damaged body lies half-buried in snow close to Irkutsk, Russia.

Video of the alien’s corpse has become a massive worldwide hit with hundreds of thousands of followers after being posted on the internet. The corpse of the badly-damaged creature which resembles ET is two feet high. Part of the right leg is missing and there are deep holes for eyes and a mouth in a skull-like head.” The video’s authenticity was fiercely debated for weeks, until finally two Russian teens confessed to the hoax; police found the “alien” hidden in one of the teen’s bedrooms.

Mysterious Bee Deaths

The collapse of bee colonies has worried biologists for years. Since 2006, between 20 percent and 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States have suffered massive die-outs called “colony collapse.” Many explanations have been proposed, ranging from pesticides to cell phone signals to climate change. As Discovery stated, “scientists are fingering their latest culprit in the dramatic disappearance of honeybees: a fungus and virus team… The virus affects bees’ abdomens, often turning their tissues a purplish tone. The fungus, which also targets the bees’ guts, is called Nosema ceranae. Combined, it seems the duo prevent bees from getting enough nutrition.”

Though scientists have some important clues, a conclusive answer to the mystery remains elusive. Correlation does not imply causation, and just because all of the collapsed colonies had the virus and the gut fungus does not mean that the combination necessarily caused the bees to die; the presence of either one alone does not lead to colony collapse. How these cause colony collapse — if in fact they do — remains unknown.

thousands of previous failed prophecies. (For example in 2011 preacher Harold Camping famously claimed that the world would end in May, and again in October; at last report he was wrong.)

Others are less worried about a calendar’s expiration date than about what they see as more science-based threats, such as a collision with a (non-existent) planet called Niburu, or a predicted increase in solar flare activity next year which could potentially fry the world’s power grids. Will these predictions and concerns come true? Time will tell.