10 Must-Visit Spots for Mystery Lovers - Atlas Obscura

10 Must-Visit Spots for Mystery Lovers

Atlas Obscura readers recommend their favorite enigmatic objects and locales.

The world is full of mysteries that will likely never get solved.
The world is full of mysteries that will likely never get solved. João Silas/Public Domain

Put on your deerstalker cap and get out your magnifying glass (or your smartphone, because it’s 2019), it’s mystery time! Part of what makes the world such a wondrous place are the unanswered questions associated with many artifacts and historic locations. Whether it’s a curious contraption from antiquity, or a grimly fascinating unsolved crime, the mysteries of the world keep us guessing, and many of them are tied places you can visit (even if they still refuse to give up their secrets). We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers in our Community forums to tell us about the mysteries that fascinate them, and they led us to some truly enigmatic places.

Check out some of our favorite recommendations below, and if you have a mysterious place of your own that you just can’t stop thinking about, head over to our Forums and keep the conversation going. True mysteries might not have easy answers, but you don’t need to be a detective to be fascinated by where they took place.


FBI/Public Domain

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft

Boston, Massachusetts

“The artifacts they stole were just so random, and the fact that they still have the frames hanging up in there is pretty cool.” meltingknight


Shane McGraw/Used with Permission

What Happened to the Cox Children?

Imler, Pennsylvania

“Personal favorite, relatively local to me and I got to add it to the Atlas (squee)!” — Shane_McGraw


Bletchley/Public Domain

The Case of the Tamam Shud Man

Adelaide, Australia

“1948—A dead man is found sitting at the beach. He has no wallet, no money, no hat, and the labels are removed from his clothes. He does have a comb, an unused rail ticket, and a scrap of paper ripped from the final page of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat. It reads ‘Tamam Shud’, Persian for ‘It is ended.’ The book is later found in the back seat of a parked car. Indentations on the pages show a phone number and encrypted text. The text has never been decoded, the man has never been identified, and every step of the investigation just led to weirder and weirder questions.” tralfamadore


Christina Rutz/CC BY 2.0

How Was the Coral Castle Built?

Homestead, Florida

“It may forever remain a mystery how this single person, singlehandedly and secretly, carried all that heavy coral to build his castle. There was a will and there was a way, we just don’t know it yet (or we may never know).” — CDVV86


John White/Public Domain

The Lost Roanoke Colony

Roanoke Island, North Carolina

“An obvious one, but the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony. It has fascinated me since I was a kid!” allisonkc


Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library/Public Domain

The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript

New Haven, Connecticut

“I’m still hoping for someone to decipher it and publish their findings.” La_Belle_Gigi


Marsyas/CC BY 2.5

What is the Antikythera Mechanism?

Athens, Greece

“I find this beguiling. Clearly a mystery if for no other reason than its intended purpose. Add to that mystery the estimated age and you’ve got a million more unanswered and potentially unanswerable questions.”gustae


Andreas Biegleder/Public Domain

Who Killed the Gruber Family?

Waidhofen, Germany

“The Hinterkaifeck farm murders creep me out. The whole family was brutally murdered (seriously, it was brutal—don’t read about it if you’re squeamish) and in all likelihood the murderer was living hidden somewhere on the property for a few days before the murders. Why did he wait?!” mmstrick


tosh chiang/CC BY 2.0

The Origin of the Georgia Guidestones

Elberton, Georgia

“A little closer to home for me are the Georgia Guidestones. It’s a huge Stonehenge-like memorial with strange advice for the world in several different languages. Nobody knows who commissioned the monument and, amazingly, no one has ever come forward to admit it was them. Some killjoys suggest it was a hoax perpetrated by the owner of a local marble quarry to drum up business, which, as much as I love a good mystery, makes sense in a way. Because why else put something like this in the middle of nowhere Georgia?” mmstrick


Дмитрий Никишин/Public Domain

The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Yekaterinburg, Russia

“I’m very surprised that no one has mentioned the Dyatlov Pass Incident, all the facts about the people just don’t make any sense. Why leave the tent in the middle of the night? Why weren’t they dressed properly? Why a single file line? How’d they get beat up? Sooooo many unsolved questions.” britnylk