If you get chills from learning about cold cases, you’re in luck. Every single one of these cases is soooo incredibly cold, it makes us shiver just thinking about them.
On the night of July 25, 1841, Mary Rogers, who lived in New York City, told her mother and fiance she was spending the evening visiting relatives in New Jersey. The 21 year old left and never returned home. Three days later, her badly beaten body turned up floating in the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey. No one could imagine who might have had a motive to harm Mary – other than her fiance. However, he had an airtight alibi. Mary attracted a slew of admirers, who knew her as the “Beautiful Cigar Girl,” from her job working in a downtown cigar emporium. No one seemed to suspect a stalker might be involved in her disappearance. The only witness claiming to have seen Mary that night told a story involving an illegal abortion ring that didn’t seem to fit and couldn’t be corroborated. Within a year, the case had gone cold and Mary’s fiance committed suicide by overdosing on a type of opium on the very shores her body had washed up. The whole tragic tale might have faded from history, except that author Edgar Allen Poe, who had become obsessed with the case, memorialised it in The Mystery of Marie Rogêt. Similar to its real-life counterpart, the tale ends with the trail going hopelessly cold.
Jack the Ripper
Between August and November 1888, five prostitutes turned up dead on the streets of London’s Whitechapel neighbourhood. All were found within a mile of one another – two on the same night – and all had their throats slashed from left to right. The lead investigators on the case suspected the killer was left-handed. All but one had been gutted with precision, leading investigators to suspect the killer might have been trained as a butcher or surgeon. The killer managed to commit these murders and escape undetected, which suggested the killer was familiar with the rhythms of the neighbourhood. The murderer, whom the press referred to as “Jack the Ripper,” was never identified. Perhaps, Jack the Ripper died before he was able to carry out any additional murders? Or perhaps his killings evolved over time, as other murders occurred in Whitechapel over the next three years, which bore some similarities to Jack’s work. In either case, Jack the Ripper is now long gone, and it appears he has taken his identity with him to the grave. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from speculating as to who he might have been.