Spooky Unsolved Mysteries Segments II!

Old news, but still big news: Unsolved Mysteries is now streaming on Amazon, and for free if you’re a Prime member.

I’ve already written about five spooky segments from Season 1, but they’ve since added two more seasons. Season 2 admittedly misses more than it hits, but Season 3 is loaded with all-time classic segments. (It even has the one where that woman sweats gold foil.)

Below are five more segments that I’ve deemed CREEPY, from the show’s second and third seasons. Not all of them are scary in an on-the-nose sort of way, but the thing about Unsolved Mysteries is that the segment could be about long-lost cousins and you’d still wanna shit.

Stockton Arsonist
On Amazon: Season 3, Episode 1

This segment KILLED me as a kid. A family discovers a videocassette on the side of the road, which contains evidence of arson from an unknown locale. The video was recorded by the arsonist himself, who gnarls over footage of a house set ablaze with supernaturally-charged gibberish.

I suppose I should’ve known from the barely-pubescent monster voice that this was just an idiotic prank gone too far, and sure enough, we’re later informed that the culprit was a troubled young man who flirted with satanism. (Specifically the sort of satanism that normally only exists on bad television, where all of the evil paraphernalia looks like junk from Pier 1.)

Course, when the segment first aired, that information hadn’t yet been tacked on. I was ten years old at the time, and the idea of devilish boogeymen setting our house on fire and then doing spooky play-by-play from down the street kept me up night after night after night.

SCARIEST PART: The arsonist said many strange things during the recording, but the line that struck everyone most was “LOOK AT IT, OMAR!” We were never given any information about who Omar might’ve been, but I pictured Lucifer from Ghosts ‘n Goblins.

The Blinking Crucifix (aka Miracle Cross)
On Amazon: Season 2, Episode 2

This segment wasn’t intended to be creepy, but I’d still call it one of the all-time scariest. Catholicism is filled with spooky imagery, and with no disrespect meant, I think a life-sized ceramic Jesus hanging bloodied on a six foot cross is waaay past my personal threshold.

Making matters eerier, the segment suggests that the statue’s eyes may be opening and closing, meant as a sign from God. The witnesses interviewed sure seem to believe it, even if half of them appear more spooked than blessed. (For a segment about a religious miracle, there’s a pretty undeniable air of dread.)

The shaky evidence was later dismissed by the Catholic church. Unsolved Mysteries tried to put a good spin on it, but research indicates that the pastor who originally went public stepped down soon after that dismissal.

Skeptics could easily surmise that the miracle was simply invented to “drum up business,” so to speak, but that was certainly never proven, and it’s at least true that some people really truly believed that Jesus was blinking.

SCARIEST PART: I don’t know if the statue used in the segment was the genuine article or a ringer, but boy was it hard to look at. The statue was cut to and zoomed in upon in ways that seemed specifically devised to make Jesus look spookier. The second image shown above stuck with me for years.

Kelsay House Ghost (aka Samuel’s Ghost)
On Amazon: Season 3, Episode 16

Objectively, the scariest-ever “ghost segment” on Unsolved Mysteries was Tallman House — aka Tallman’s Ghost — which if you’ll recall was the one about imaginary fires and invisible witches tormenting a family in every room of their house.

Tallman House is not yet on Amazon, but this is a nice substitute that plays out like a diet version of that segment. It’s kind of a winding story, but here are the basics:

Family buys old house. Old house is filled with spirits. Spirits “adopt” the family and randomly materialize as they see fit.

It was an excuse for Unsolved Mysteries to dust off its most beloved effect, where you see glowing, semi-transparent people dressed like the cast of Westworld. Any segment that featured one of those ghosts was an auto-win, but this segment featured hordes of them.

SCARIEST PART: After the homeowners move and rent the house to new tenants, the ghosts become more aggressive. One of them chases a little kid out of the house, and then evilly grins at him from the front window. It was obviously bullshit, but the shot of Grandpa Ghost peeping into the front yard was among the most chilling in Unsolved Mysteries history.

On Amazon: Season 2, Episode 17

This segment isn’t exactly “creepy,” but I needed to work a cryptid in somewhere.

Many of my favorite Unsolved Mysteries segments dealt with super fake but plausibly-possible creatures, ranging from Bigfoot to the Loch Ness Monster. It’s just pleasant nonsense to me now, but back in the day, I accepted even the worst evidence as concrete and imagined a world filled with apemen and Laprases.

In this case we had Ogopogo, a sea serpent said to live in British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake. Remember Elliott from Pete’s Dragon? Take his head and throw it on a 50 foot snake body. That’s Ogopogo.

This segment didn’t do much for Ogopogo’s credibility, as it leaned heavily on “serpent” footage that is outright proven to be a goddamned beaver. Stack is scripted to cast doubt, but the comparison photos could’ve only been more identical had they actually been identical. Sorry, Ogopogo. You’ll get ‘em next time.

SCARIEST PART: There’s nothing inherently frightening about this segment, but the beauty of Unsolved Mysteries’ cryptid studies was that they left you imagining encounters with creatures that were even more bizarre. If you weren’t careful, you’d cook up serious nightmare fuel.

Scared to Death (the Cindy James case)
On Amazon: Season 3, Episode 18

I’ve written about the Cindy James case several times before, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

After reporting incidents of harassment and violent attacks for years, Cindy James is found dead outside of an abandoned house. It absolutely looks like a murder, but it was almost certainly a suicide.

It’s a creepy segment for sure, and it stays creepy no matter who you believe. It’s also a perfect example of why you should use Unsolved Mysteries more as a jumping-off point than a final word.

If a particular segment seems fascinating, I strongly encourage you to look up more about its subject. Unsolved Mysteries naturally had to truncate these stories, but it often left out hard facts that would’ve completed altered how you perceived things.

Given that this segment featured interviews with Cindy’s parents and hired investigator (all of whom believed in the “murder” scenario), the show treats the possibility of suicide with heavy skepticism.

Having read several books about Cindy James, she was obviously the architect of her own harassment campaign, which culminated in what may have been an accidental suicide, but still a suicide.

SCARIEST PART: It’s gotta be the shot of Cindy’s private investigator finding her unconscious with a threatening note stabbed through her hand. That actually happened in real life, and it’s so frightening to imagine Cindy doing it to herself.

Look for more Unsolved Mysteries tributes in the near future. Hell, I could probably get two more articles out of Season 3 alone. It’s the show that keeps on giving, assuming that what you want is trouble sleeping.