I'm still haunted by the mystery of my hometown's banana peel pile. What strange things can you just not shake?
When I was in high school, a giant billboard sign went up on the main highway into my smallish hometown. It was a black field with white letters, and it just read, "Your wife knows," and it stayed up for a month. People began to speculate, and pretty soon the consensus was that it had to be someone about to be very publicly blasted for having an affair.
The next month, the same billboard, same styling, read, "Your neighbors know." Speculation continued, but by this point, people had started to actually make some guesses, mostly based on who would have the money to do something this public for this long.
Month three, the billboard read, "Everyone knows." And at this point, it was practically common knowledge among teachers and kids and parents, at work and in church, that it was Dr. M****s' wife, because he was surely a known philanderer and she was a merciless bitch who would absolutely drag him like this.
The fourth month, the billboard read, "Everyone knows that the best deals on a Toyota are at Riverside Toyota," and the whole town had slandered a man.
My hometown has a mystery monkey colony that recently got a happy ending.
For about 70 years, there's been a colony of vervet monkeys that lives near Fort Lauderdale's airport, not far from the port and the beach. They'd occasionally cause trouble on the runway or at people's homes, but mostly they stayed away from people. They were well-known and part of local lore to the point that for years, the local teen get-up-to-no-good spot was unused scrubland near the port called Monkey Road. (It's been off limits since post-9/11 port and airport security tightening; one of the local breweries now makes Monkey Road Red.) Occasional stories about them were always vague on how they got there; sometimes it was a "roadside attraction" that they escaped from in the '50s, sometimes a zoo that closed in the '40s. Nobody ever seemed to know for sure how these monkeys got here.
Then, several years ago, scientists started studying them. And now, they're getting their own sanctuary, on land near where they've always lived. https://wsvn.com/news/special-reports/monkey-mission-dania-beach-wild-monkey-colony-finally-has-a-sanctuary-of-their-own/
This one is pretty benign, but it's in my neighborhood and I think about it often: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/woodstock-mystery-hole-skb
Waterbury, CT - a prominent cliff right in downtown that used to be home to a Christian theme park called "Holy Land, USA" that was tended to by a convent of nuns, festooned by a 60 foot tall illuminated cross that you could see for miles.
When it was abandoned in the 80's all the buildings and statues and nativity scene type shit fell into disrepair and it became a hiding spot for homeless folks and junkies. By the time I was a child in the 90's, there had been a few murders up there and it was mostly the setting for all kinds of wild urban legends. The cross remained lit every night and never became deteriorated.
By the time I was in HS, a few people managed to go up there for fun, only to find insanely creepy shit like beheaded statues of the Virgin Mary and nooses around the Wise Men and whatnot. As of the time of writing this comment, the cross remains lit every night and has never become deteriorated.
I haven't lived there for almost 15 years now but it is the first thing you see on I-84 to let you know you're home.
Clearly Doc was harboring some primates rescued from a brain testing program at UofM. Now, he's in the cage, they're running the show, and are sick and tired of bananas. They've moved on to foods they prefer and not a post-punk cook's idea about what primates like to eat. Next time you visit your hometown it will look like Planet of the Apes. I am sorry for your loss.
As far as I can tell, Doc still lives there. He's just gone into remission or something.
I'd have to say harboring a huge pile of bananas is almost the most normal thing he's ever done.
I spent 18 years of my adult life in Okemos and often drove by that house. I never knew the story behind it until reading this post though. But just down the road toward Jolly on the left is a small, ancient cemetery with tiny headstones. I always drove by and wondered what it was all about, but then would forget to look it up by the time I got to my computer. Finally, I remembered to Google it. It’s called the Poor Farm Cemetery, and it’s where people who lived on the Ingham County Poor Farm were buried because they couldn’t afford their own burials. Sad, but a very interesting part of the local history.
Gravity Hill (or sometimes called Mystery Hill) in southern Benzie County, Michigan where I used to live is mysterious and beyond explanation: http://www.upnorthmichigan.com/Wonders/gravity.aspx
A local legend in Hillsborough/Pinellas County, Florida is that the area will never be hit directly by a hurricane because the once-local Tocobaga tribe put a blessing on the land to protect their burial mounds. I am not sure why they didn’t use this remarkable power to save themselves from becoming extinct centuries ago but perhaps their powers were limited to weather control.
My hometown of Johnston, Iowa is mostly unremarkable, save for being the hq of Pioneer and the nearby Camp Dodge, which was overrun with the Flu back in 1918. According to "reputable sources", my house and the neighborhood it's in were built on or near an unmarked grave for victims of the outbreak. I've yet to see any concrete evidence that this is true, but it's never been disproven, either. Guess I won't know for certain until the dead walk the earth.
This story really got me laughing! What a weird ‘banana pile’ mystery! Dart and his cardboard signs; so very odd!
Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Like most major cities, it was built on a river. Two rivers, actually, the Bow and the Elbow.
The rivers are pretty lazy, not shipping rivers or anything anymore. The Elbow is really slow through the city, so we tempt Neptune yearly and get drunk floating down the river. Very few people die!
In 2016, people started getting sick on the Elbow, and some quick sampling revealed troubling amounts of fecal coliform in the water. The river was full of poops and people getting it in their mouth and eyes were getting diseases associated with poo rivers. Weird for city fairly well known for good water quality and sitting at the foot of the Rockies getting all that good, healthy snow run-off.
Four years later, 2020, today, a chunk of the Elbow is still mad dookie water. The signs are still up to avoid the doodies with your mouth and other holes because *nobody knows where the shit is coming from*.
That's not a huge mystery, and it's not an important river, and nobody has died, but the idea that there is mad coilers leeching into a river in the fourth biggest city in a G8 country and we can't figure out why always amused me. Like, we split the atom, we put a man on the moon, we can point rays at the body and see tumours growing, and a million other miracles regularly, but we still can't adequately deal with our dumps sometimes. Sometimes the brown river remains brown and dangerous because finding the poop is beyond our capacity millions of years since the species first evolved. Amazing.