Currently viewing the tag: "mystery"

The first record that something was untoward on the Flannan Isles was on 15 December 1900 when the steamer Archtor, on a passage from Philadelphia to Leith, noted in its log that the light was not operational in poor weather conditions… The lighthouse was manned by three men: Thomas Marshall, James Ducat, and Donald MacArthur, with a rotating fourth man spending time on shore.

On arrival, the crew and relief keeper found that the flagstaff had no flag, none of the usual provision boxes had been left on the landing stage for re-stocking, and more ominously, none of the lighthouse keepers were there to welcome them ashore. Jim Harvie, captain of Hesperus, gave a strident blast on his whistle and set off a distress flare but no reply was forthcoming.

A boat was launched and Joseph Moore, the relief keeper, was put ashore alone. He found the entrance gate to the compound and main door both closed, the beds unmade, and the clock stopped. Returning to the landing stage with this grim news, he then went back up to the lighthouse with Hesperus’s second-mate and a seaman. A further search revealed that the lamps were cleaned and refilled. A set of oilskins was found, suggesting that one of the keepers had left the lighthouse without them, which was surprising considering the severity of the weather on the date of the last entry in the lighthouse log. The only sign of anything amiss in the lighthouse was an overturned chair by the kitchen table. There was no sign of any of the keepers, neither inside the lighthouse nor anywhere on the island.

Moore and three volunteer seamen were left to attend the light……the men scoured every corner of the island for clues as to the fate of the keepers. They found that everything was intact at the east landing but the west landing provided considerable evidence of damage caused by recent storms. A box at 33 metres (108 ft) above sea level had been broken and its contents strewn about; iron railings were bent over, the iron railway by the path was wrenched out of its concrete, and a rock weighing more than a ton had been displaced above that. On top of the cliff at more than 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level, turf had been ripped away as far as 10 metres (33 ft) from the cliff edge. The missing keepers had kept their log until 9 a.m. on 15 December. The entries made it clear that the damage had occurred before their disappearance –Wikipedia
Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about people who go missing and the search for what happened.

Journaling Prompt: What have you lost that you have never been able to find?

Art Prompt: Lost without a trace

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the Flannan Isle lighthouse keepers’ disappearance.

Photo Credit: The lighthouse on Eilean Mor on Wikimedia

Nancy didn’t talk to anyone the first week, nor the second. The boys in Jack’s cabin said Nancy had escaped from juvenile prison and was hiding out. Other cabins had their own rumors.

Nancy was a Kennedy.

Nancy had her tongue ripped out by wolves.

Nancy ripped out her own tongue.

Nancy had tattoos.

Nancy had no parents.

Nancy had seventeen parents, the result of a series of divorces, kidnappings, and illegal adoptions.

Nancy was an alien.

Nancy was a witch.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about a new girl at school and the mystery of who she is.

Journaling Prompt: Write about someone you didn’t understand.

Art Prompt: Shy girl

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about a mysterious person you met.

Photo Credit: Darla دارلا Hueske on Flickr

But increasingly, she couldn’t help thinking that perhaps there was something ultimately inexplicable about all of this; that even when explanations were found, there would always be more to decipher, to unravel, to undo . . . like a knot. But not exactly. When one undid a knot, it didn’t explain the knot; it just made the knot cease to exist. –Tiffany Tsao, The Oddfits

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who knows something is not right, but must investigate to find out what it is.

Journaling Prompt: What is your intuition telling you right now?

Art Prompt: Perplexing

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how they can benefit from listening to their intuition.

Photo Credit: Kathryn on Flickr

Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan (born 18 December 1934; presumed dead), commonly known as Lord Lucan, was a British peer suspected of murder who disappeared in 1974. He was born into an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family in Marylebone, the eldest son of George Bingham, 6th Earl of Lucan, by his marriage to Kaitlin Dawson…. He developed a taste for gambling and, skilled at backgammon and bridge, became an early member of the Clermont Club. Although his losses often exceeded his winnings, he left his job at a London-based merchant bank and became a professional gambler…

Once considered for the role of James Bond, Lucan was noted for his expensive tastes; he raced power boats and drove an Aston Martin. In 1963 he married Veronica Duncan, with whom he had three children. When the marriage collapsed late in 1972, he moved out of the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, in London’s Belgravia, to a property nearby. A bitter custody battle ensued, which Lucan lost. He began to spy on his wife and record their telephone conversations, apparently obsessed with regaining custody of the children. This fixation, combined with his gambling losses, had a dramatic effect on his life and personal finances.

On the evening of 7 November 1974, the children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Lucan family home. Lady Lucan was also attacked; she later identified Lucan as her assailant. As the police began their murder investigation, Lucan telephoned his mother, asking her to collect the children, and then drove a borrowed Ford Corsair to a friend’s house in Uckfield, East Sussex. Hours later, he left the property and was never seen again. The car was found abandoned in Newhaven, its interior stained with blood and its boot containing a piece of bandaged lead pipe similar to one found at the crime scene. A warrant for Lucan’s arrest was issued a few days later, and in his absence the inquest into Rivett’s death named him as her murderer, the last occasion in Britain a coroner’s court was allowed to do so.

Lucan’s fate remains a fascinating mystery for the British public. Since Rivett’s murder, hundreds of reported sightings have been made in various countries around the world, although none have been substantiated. Despite a police investigation and huge press interest, Lucan has not been found and is presumed dead; a death certificate was issued in 2016. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a famous person who gets away with murder by disappearing.

Journaling Prompt: Write about how you feel about royalty and their lifestyles.

Art Prompt: Mysterious disappearance

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the disappearance of Lord Lucan.

Photo Credit: Lord and Lady Lucan on Wikipedia


The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse. –War in Heaven by Charles Williams

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel when someone doesn’t pick up your call? Why do you feel that way?

Art Prompt: The corpse in the room

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story about a mystery in your life.

Photo Credit: Esparta Palma on Flickr


Cryptanalysis (from the Greek kryptós, “hidden”, and analýein, “to loosen” or “to untie”) is the study of analyzing information systems in order to study the hidden aspects of the systems.[1] Cryptanalysis is used to breach cryptographic security systems and gain access to the contents of encrypted messages, even if the cryptographic key is unknown.

In addition to mathematical analysis of cryptographic algorithms, cryptanalysis includes the study of side-channel attacks that do not target weaknesses in the cryptographic algorithms themselves, but instead exploit weaknesses in their implementation.

Even though the goal has been the same, the methods and techniques of cryptanalysis have changed drastically through the history of cryptography, adapting to increasing cryptographic complexity, ranging from the pen-and-paper methods of the past, through machines like the British Bombes and Colossus computers at Bletchley Park in World War II, to the mathematically advanced computerized schemes of the present. Methods for breaking modern cryptosystems often involve solving carefully constructed problems in pure mathematics, the best-known being integer factorization. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or poem that involves breaking a code.

Journaling Prompt: What is the toughest personal mystery you have had to solve?

Art Prompt: Cryptanalysis

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of the code breakers that changed history.

Photo Credit: National Cryptologic Museum on Wikimedia


The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and it may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912.

Some of the pages are missing, with around 240 still remaining. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams.

The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story inspired by an ancient manuscript that cannot be decoded.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever created a code for your journals? If so, why? If not, is there a circumstance when you might?

Art Prompt: Voynich Manuscript

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of the Voynich Manuscript and include your speculation about the mysteries it might reveal.

Photo Credit: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library on Wikimedia


Very few poisons are really undetectable. The best people can do is commit murder with a poison that’s relatively rare. –Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that involves a poison.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite mystery story. What is it that appealed to you in the story? What did you learn from it?

Art Prompt: Poison

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the types of poisons that  characters use in mysteries and the psychology of a poisoner.

Photo Credit: Mark Knobil on Flickr

Bertha is 300 feet long and five stories tall, making it the largest tunnel-boring machine on the planet. It was brought to Seattle to help with the construction of a two-mile-long, $3.1 billion highway tunnel along the city’s western edge.
Bertha should be able to punch a hole through anything, and yet two weeks after first contact with the Object, engineers are no closer to knowing what stands in the machine’s way… speculation on the Object’s nature is running rampant. People have suggested everything ice age boulders to downed alien spacecraft and dragon eggs. One of the more plausible theories is that the obstruction is a piece of old Seattle, swallowed by the mucky waterfront centuries ago –Daniel D. Snyder

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about what they find when they uncover the Object.

Journaling Prompt: What is the most intriguing mystery in your town?

Art Prompt: The Object

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story about a local mystery.

Photo Credit: TranBC on Flickr


The Mary Celeste (or Marie Céleste as it is fictionally referred to by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others after him) was a British-American merchant brigantine famous for having been discovered on 4 December 1872 in the Atlantic Ocean, unmanned and apparently abandoned (one lifeboat was missing, along with its 7 crew), although the weather was fine and her crew had been experienced and capable seamen. The Mary Celeste was in seaworthy condition and still under sail heading toward the Strait of Gibraltar. She had been at sea for a month and had over six months’ worth of food and water on board. Her cargo was virtually untouched and the personal belongings of passengers and crew were still in place, including valuables. The crew was never seen or heard from again. The Mary Celeste crew’s disappearance is often cited as the greatest maritime mystery of all time. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a mysterious disappearance.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite unsolved mystery and why?

Art Prompt: Mary Celeste

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about your favorite unsolved mystery and share your favorite hypothesis for what really happened.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia