2017 saw several new developments for a number of iconic mysteries that have vexed researchers for decades.
Although breathless headlines from the mainstream media declaring these cases 'solved' proved to be incorrect more often than not, in some instances these stories appear to have possibly provided some promising new clues.
That may most apply to the infamous D.B. Cooper skyjacking mystery, where researchers uncovered a significant new clue after examining evidence from the case using an electron microscope. The discovery of a possible parachute strap from the caper in August and a previously-unseen Cooper letter released by the FBI in November also provided what appear to be fresh leads for the 1971 case.
When it came to Amelia Earhart, 2017 was a roller coaster of a year befitting the case's 80th anniversary. Most notably was the high profile TV special which trumpeted astounding new evidence in the form of a purported photo of the aviatrix in Japanese captivity (seen above). The image in question, however, was quickly debunked only days after the program aired in one of the most demoralizing paranormal blunders in years.
On the opposite end of the spectrum and receiving far less media attention that the TV special disaster was the possibility that cadaver dogs had uncovered something worth looking into on an uninhabited island in the Pacific. And, conflating the story further, was also a new, second-hand witness who emerged with claims of seeing Earhart in captivity following her disappearance, leaving the mystery essentially where it had been at the start of the year.
Rounding out the trio of aviation mysteries is the MH370 case which showed further signs of gestation from an initial incident into what is poised to be a future 'iconic' disappearance as the official search for the lost airliner came to an end with a thunderous final report calling the vanishing 'almost inconceivable.' Meanwhile, the unsettling murder of an official tasked with collecting MH370 debris stoked further conspiracy theories.
On the 'legendary cryptid not named Bigfoot' front, Nessie had something of a banner year as the creature went from being presumed possibly dead to triumphantly returning and thriving by producing a record number of sightings this century. This was all despite cries of Nessie seekers that the beast might be annoyed by all the wind turbines and obscured by trees near Loch Ness.
The Tasmanian Tiger continued its ascension as a cryptid to watch with a number of new photos and videos emerging that might show the thylacine still alive. The 'lost' creature received another boost when a team of academics announced plans to search for the declared-extinct animal using game cameras, although another team of researchers issued a study saying that scientific models suggest the quest will be in vain.
Speaking of studies and mysteries, the result of research projects over the last year seemingly solved the enigma of Minnesota's Devil's Kettle and Namibia's fairy circles. Conversely, a pair of studies cast doubt on previous scientific conclusions regarding Illinois' Tully Monster and the famed Tunguska incident of 1908.
Other events that should inspire you to make some notations in your Time Life Books collection on classic cases were two new alleged clues found in the legendary Jack the Ripper case, a 'fiery' theory on why the Titanic sunk, and a claim to have decoded crop circles. Also worth mentioning was November's much-hyped JFK file release which turned into the debacle that many had worried it would.
The year ended with what may someday be hailed as an enormous breakthrough that could define 2017, though for now must withstand the test of time: the Pentagon UFO research project revelations. While the ultimate impact of this story is to be determined, it should give hope to fans of the aforementioned mysteries that, on any given day, a new bombshell could drop for one of these cases and spawn a fresh chapter in their storied history.