Aug 7, 2009
This is for people about whom there is (or was for a long period) a mystery as to their identity,immediate origins, or life.
The Dancing Man
The Dancing Man is the name given to the man who was filmed dancing on the street in Sydney, Australia, after the end of World War II. On August 15, 1945, a reporter took note of a man’s joyful expression and dance and asked him to do it again. The man consented and was caught on motion picture film. The film and stills from it have taken on iconic status in Australian history and culture, and symbolise victory in the war.There has been much debate as to the identity of the dancing man. The identity commonly accepted, though, is that he is Frank McAlary, a retired barrister who claims that he was the man photographed pirouetting in Elizabeth Street, Sydney, on August 15, 1945. A Queen’s Counsel, Chester Porter, and a former Compensation Court judge, Barry Egan, both claim to have seen Mr. McAlary being filmed dancing.
The television programme Where Are They Now, produced by Australia’s Seven Network, attempted to solve the mystery of the dancing man’s identity. The network hired a forensic scientist who examined the film reel and picture and came to the conclusion that it was indeed McAlary.
The Royal Australian Mint, however, chose to portray Ern Hill as the dancing man on a 2005 issue $1 coin commemorating 60 years since the World War II armistice. Mr. Hill has made a statement that, “The camera came along and I did a bit of a jump around.” The coin does not bear any name.
Rebecca Keenan of Film World Pty. Ltd., says the dancer may be one Patrick Blackall. Mr. Blackall has claimed, “I’m the genuine dancing man,” and has signed statutory declarations that he is the man in the film.
Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask (French: L’Homme au Masque de Fer) (died November 1703) was a prisoner who was held in a number of jails, including the Bastille and the Chateau d’If, during the reign of Louis XIV of France. The identity of this man has been thoroughly discussed, mainly because no one ever saw his face which was hidden by a mask of black velvet cloth. Later retellings of the story have claimed that it was an iron mask.
In popular myth he is believed to have been the twin brother of Louis XIV, but there is little actual evidence for this.
What facts are known about this prisoner are based mainly on correspondence between his jailer and his superiors in Paris.
Charles Johnson – Pirate biographer
Captain Charles Johnson is the author of the 1724 book A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates, though his identity remains a mystery. No record of a captain by this name exists. Some scholars have suggested that “Charles Johnson” was really Daniel Defoe writing under a pen name, but this is disputed. His work was influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, and is the prime source for the biographies of many well known pirates.
While Johnson’s identity is unknown, he demonstrates a knowledge of the sailor’s speech and life, suggesting he could have been an actual sea captain. He could also have been a professional writer, well versed in the sea, using a pseudonym. If this is true, the name was perhaps chosen to reflect the playwright Charles Johnson, who had an unsuccessful play with The Successful Pyrate in 1712, which glamorized the career of Henry Avery and had been something of a scandal for seeming to praise a criminal. Following it, however, many authors would rush forward with biographies and catalogs of criminals, including catalogs of highwaymen and prostitutes. By this theory, the pseudonymous “Charles Johnson” of the pirate catalog was merely taking part in a burgeoning industry in criminal biography. In 1934 John Robert Moore, an American scholar of Daniel Defoe, announced his theory that Johnson was really Daniel Defoe writing pseudonymously. He eventually published Defoe in the Pillory and Other Studies, in which he compared the style and contents of A General History to Defoe’s works, noting that the frequent meditations on morality are similar to Defoe’s work, and that Defoe wrote several other works on pirates. Moore’s study, and his reputation as a Defoe scholar, was so convincing that most libraries recataloged the A General History under Defoe’s name. However, in 1988 scholars P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owen attacked the theory in The Canonisation of Daniel Defoe, in which they point out that there is no documentary evidence linking Johnson to Defoe, and that there are discrepancies between A General History and Defoe’s other works
Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper is an alias given to an unidentified serial killer (or killers) active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area and adjacent districts of London, England in the late 19th century. The name is taken from a letter sent to the Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer.
The victims were women allegedly earning income as prostitutes. The murders were perpetrated in public or semi-public places at night or towards the early morning. The victim’s throat was cut, after which (in some cases) the body was mutilated. Theories suggest the victims were first strangled in order to silence them and to explain the lack of reported blood at the crime scenes. The removal of internal organs from three of the victims led some officials at the time of the murders to propose that the killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge.
Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era, bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer owing to the savagery of the attacks and the failure of the police in their attempts to capture the murderer, sometimes missing him at the crime scenes by mere minutes.
Due to the lack of a confirmed identity for the killer, the legends surrounding the murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, folklore and exploitation. Over the years, many authors, historians, and amateur detectives have proposed theories regarding the identity (or identities) of the killer and his victims.
Unidentified body on Christmas Island
The body was found on or about 6 February 1942. It is reported that an inquest was held on Christmas Island, soon afterwards. The remains were later buried with military honours, in an unmarked grave, in the Old European Cemetery on the island. Christmas Island was captured by Japanese forces on 31 March 1942 and remained in their hands until 1945. Relevant records, including any relating to the inquest, appear to have been lost or destroyed during this period.
A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) archaeological expedition in September–October 2006 recovered the body. Although DNA has been recovered from the remains, DNA testing to determine the identity of the body has so far been unsuccessful. Researchers are attempting to locate relatives of crew members from Sydney, for the purposes of DNA matching.
Another version was taken by photographer Stuart Franklin of Magnum Photos. His photograph has a wider field of view than Widener’s picture, showing more tanks in front of the man. Franklin subsequently won a World Press Award for the photograph. It was featured in LIFE magazine’s “100 Photos that Changed the World” in 2003. Variations of the image were also recorded by CNN and BBC film crews, on videotape, and were transmitted across the world.
The still and motion photography of the man standing alone before a line of tanks reached international audiences practically overnight. It headlined hundreds of major newspapers and news magazines and was the lead story on countless news broadcasts around the world. In April 1998, the United States magazine TIME included the “Unknown Rebel” in its 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
The Zodiac murdered five known victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. Others have also been suspected to be Zodiac victims, but there has been thus far no conclusive evidence to link them to the killer.
In April 2004, the San Francisco Police Department marked the case “inactive”, but reopened it some time before March 2007. The case remains open in other jurisdictions as well.
The Crucified Soldier
Nevertheless, the story made headline news around the world and the Allies repeatedly used the supposed incident in their war propaganda, including an early propaganda film titled The Prussian Cur which included scenes of an Allied soldier’s crucifixion. It bears relation to other propaganda of the time like the Rape of Belgium and the Angels of Mons, and the German corpse factory or Kadaververwertungsanstalt. A three-foot bronze sculpture by British artist Francis Derwent Wood of a crucified soldier titled Canada’s Golgotha was included in an 1919 exhibition of wartime art in London, but the sculpture was withdrawn from the exhibit after protest. The sculpture was also displayed at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2000, again provoking some controversy. Even during World War I the German government protested the falseness of this atrocity story and after the end of the war they formally requested the Canadian government provide proof. With no knowledge of the identity of the soldier and having only a few eyewitness accounts, the crucifixion story was left unproven by a British inquiry after the War.
In a 2002 programme for Channel 4′s Secret History, British documentary filmmaker Iain Overton claimed to have uncovered new historical evidence which identified the crucified soldier as Sergeant Harry Band of the Central Ontario Regiment of the Canadian Infantry, who was reported missing in action on April 24, 1915 near Ypres. Other soldiers in his unit wrote to Band’s sister Elizabeth Petrie to express their condolences; a year later, one of them finally confirmed in a letter to her that her suspicions her brother had been “the crucified soldier” were true. Band’s body was not recovered, and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial. Some accounts erroneously name the soldier identified in Overton’s documentary as Harry Banks, thus creating an apparent contradiction in that the only Canadian soldier of that name enlisted into the Over-seas Expeditionary Force on September 1, 1915 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, some five months after the supposed crucifixion. In addition, Banks appears to have survived the War, as he is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the agency responsible for recording the deaths and grave or memorial sites for Commonwealth soldiers killed in the both World Wars. In fact, the surname of “Banks” is not mentioned in the Overton documentary at all.
The “crucifixion of the soldier” story resurfaced during the First Chechen War, according to which an unnamed Russian soldier was supposedly crucified during the Battle of Grozny in 1995
Whether Juba is a real individual is unknown, but the sheer number of attacks claimed and the arrest or capture of at least two people claimed to be Juba suggests he may be a fictional composite of several or more insurgents.
Deep Throat (Mark Felt) was an important source for The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who wrote a series of articles on the scandal, which played a decisive role in exposing the misdeeds of the Nixon administration. The scandal would eventually lead to the resignation of President Nixon as well as prison terms for White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, G. Gordon Liddy, Egil Krogh, chief counsel Charles Colson, and presidential adviser John Ehrlichman.
Howard Simons, the managing editor of the Washington Post at the time, dubbed the secret informant “Deep Throat” as an allusion to the notorious pornographic movie of the same name. The name was also a play on the journalism term “deep background,” referring to information provided by a secret source that, by agreement, will not be reported directly. “Deep Throat” came to public attention when Woodward and Bernstein wrote All the President’s Men, a book also made into an Academy Award-winning movie. In the movie, Deep Throat was portrayed by Hal Holbrook.
For more than 30 years, the identity of Deep Throat was one of the biggest mysteries of American politics and journalism, the source of much public curiosity and speculation. Woodward and Bernstein insisted they would not reveal his identity until he died or consented to have his identity revealed. On May 31, 2005, after W. Mark Felt revealed himself in a Vanity Fair magazine article, Woodward, Bernstein, and former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee confirmed that Felt was the source they called “Deep Throat.”
V–J day in Times Square
Because Eisenstaedt was photographing rapidly changing events during the V-J celebrations he didn’t get a chance to get names and details. The photograph does not clearly show the faces of either kisser and several people have laid claim to being the subjects. The photo was shot just south of 45th Street looking north from a location where Broadway and Seventh Avenue converge.
In its August 1980 issue, the editors of LIFE Magazine asked that the kissing sailor come forward. In the October 1980 issue, the editors reported that eleven men and three women had come forward to claim to be the kissers.