When it comes to great American mysteries, one of the most puzzling is that of D.B. Cooper. In case you're not familiar with D.B. Cooper, he was a mystery man who boarded a plane in 1971, held the plane hostage for $200k, and then somehow managed to escape with the money in mid air.
It's one of the most insane stories in modern memory.
In November of 1971, a man by the name of Dan Cooper purchased a one-way ticket from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington.
According to passenger accounts, Cooper was an unassuming 40-something who calmly took his seat, lit a cigarette, and ordered a whisky and soda from the flight attendant. However, several minutes after takeoff, Cooper passed a note to flight attendant Florence Schaffner, who was seated near him. Schaffner initially ignored the note and dropped it into her purse...until Cooper leaned over and said to her, "Miss, you'd better look at that note. I have a bomb."
The note read, "I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked."
Schaffner sat next to Cooper, and he showed her the bomb that he had hidden inside his briefcase. He then conveyed his demands to Schaffner to the tune of $200,000 in "negotiable American currency," four parachutes, and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft upon arrival. She brought the note to the captain. The airline authorized payment of Cooper's ransom, and the pilot and staff were ordered to cooperate fully with their captor. The rest of the passengers were only told that they would be delayed in Seattle because of a technical difficulty.
After landing in Seattle and refueling, Cooper let the rest of the passengers off the plane and instructed the crew to take off and head toward Mexico City.
With just a skeleton crew aboard and his money in hand, Cooper gave the takeoff order. Approximately 30 minutes after takeoff, there was a sudden jolt on the plane that was consistent with someone opening a door and jumping out. When the plane landed in Reno, Nevada, for a second refueling, Cooper was nowhere to be found. He had jumped out of the plane.
Despite an intense search up and down the west coast, police never found Cooper.
In 1980, a young boy vacationing with his family in the wilderness of Washington discovered several bundles of money matching the serial numbers of the currency given to Cooper. While this touched off another round of investigations, police still came up empty handed.
So who the heck was D.B. Cooper?
Some believe that Jon Hamm's character on Mad Men was actually a portrayal of Cooper. This is obviously fictional, but a woman by the name of Lisa Lepsy recently came forward saying that she believes her father might have been the real-life D.B. Cooper. Lepsy said she was watching a TV documentary about Cooper when she recognized his face. "When the composite sketch of D.B. Cooper came on the TV screen, everyone looked at each other and said, 'That's dad! We were stunned because the resemblance was unbelievable, and my brothers and I were all sure he was our dad."
(via Unexplained Mysteries)
Whoever D.B. Cooper was, it's pretty obvious that he was a criminal mastermind. It's also very possible, however, that he died somewhere in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.