Bizarre Theories Surrounding the Death of Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel
Rudolf Diesel
Rudolf Diesel was the brilliant German inventor of the diesel engine. His invention was meant to be a cleaner, safer way to power ships, cars and much more. He was something of a visionary when it came to greener fuel, long before anyone had even conceived of “going green.” Unfortunately, his invention led the already depressed man to become more troubled. He was under pressure trying to fund his invention and sell it. Rudolf Diesel, who was once a rich man, found himself in debt from funding the development of his engine. The pressure he was under and the depression that he displayed for most of his life may have driven him to commit suicide. Or did it?

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel published a description of his invention in 1893 titled “The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine.” That very same year he built the first diesel engine and acquired a patent for it. He ran into some problems and had to work with it a lot to get it functioning properly, but he was diligent. He eventually had his engine running on peanut oil and later, vegetable oil. Wide use of Rudolf Diesel’s engine would have made petroleum-based fuel obsolete.

The idea to run the engine on hempseed oil came about as well. The idea was destroyed by marijuana prohibition after Rudolf Diesel’s death. Not that it would have mattered much. The change to “greener fuel” has yet to take place, more than one hundred years after Rudolf Diesel made that change possible.

The diesel engine eventually became a much sought after commodity. It would eventually replace the more cumbersome and dangerous fuels, such as coal, that were being used on ships and such, at the time. It would make these ships faster, cleaner and more efficient. If one country had a monopoly on these engines, it would have given them a strong military advantage.

On September 29, 1913, Rudolf Diesel was aboard the USS Dresden. The mail steamer was on an overnight voyage across the English Channel from Antwerp to Harwich. Rudolf was on his way to attend the opening of a diesel engine factory. He was in debt and reportedly very depressed, but he was by no means without expectations. He was seen eating dinner aboard the USS Dresden that night. Following dinner, he retired to his cabin. This was around 10:00 p.m. If he was ever seen alive again, the person or people who did the seeing never came forward.

On the morning of September 30, 1913, Rudolf Diesel’s cabin was found empty. The only evidence left of the man was a coat and hat that were discovered on deck. There were no signs of foul play and nobody witnessed any suspicious activity aboard the mail steamer. On October 9 a man’s body was found floating in the North Sea. The fishermen who had discovered the body took note of the dead man’s clothing, retrieved the man’s belongings and then threw the body back into the water. The man’s belongings were later identified by Rudolf Diesel’s son.

There is no doubt that Rudolf Diesel’s death has been sensationalized in the nearly one hundred years that have passed since it occurred. It has been officially ruled a suicide and there are many indications that this was so. However, there are a few conspiracy theories, regardless. It is thought that he may have been killed by the German government so that he wouldn’t share his ideas with other countries, thus giving them the advantage of more efficient vehicles. It is also thought that he may have been killed by a hitman hired by the leaders of the petroleum industry. However, this is unlikely. Back then, the petroleum industry was not the powerhouse that it is today. Another theory is that he was killed and his ideas for his invention stolen.

It is unlikely that Rudolf Diesel’s death was anything more than the suicide of a desperately unhappy man. Nonetheless, there will likely always be conspiracy theories surrounding his death. No one was there when the man went overboard, so we can’t know for certain what exactly occurred. Moreover, there was never a body to inspect, and the circumstances surrounding the discovery of his belongings are suspicious.


Rudolf Diesel: His Invention and Mysterious Death, retrieved 1/28/10,

Rudolf Diesel: 1858-1913, retrieved 1/28/10,

The Strange Case of the Count of St. Germain

Count of St. Germain
The Count of St. Germain
The Count of St. Germain may have been more legend than man. Yes, we know that he lived and we know some of what he did. However, there have been so many claims made about this man that it is difficult to sort the truth from the embellishments. Of course, many would claim that there were no embellishments and that he really was all that people said him to be. If this were so, it would mean that the Count of St. Germain was the Wandering Jew, an alchemist with the secret to eternal life, a man that could turn various metals into gold, a man that could melt diamonds and form them however he wished, a proficient musician, artist, linguist and so much more.

The Count of St. Germain may not even have been a Count. The place and circumstances of his birth are completely unknown. However, there have been many theories presented over the past few centuries. Some believe that he was a man of noble birth whose family was disgraced somehow and he therefore had to hide his true identity. Others believe that he was born long before his presence was documented and that he was immortal. Theosophists believe him to be an Oriental Adept. Whoever he was, he never divulged any information regarding his birth to anyone during his (known) lifetime.

It appears that the Count of St. Germain may have arrived on the scene in Europe as early as 1710. At that time, he appeared to be in his mid-forties. The story goes that he always appeared this way. He seemed to never age. From 1737-1742, he was supposedly in Persia studying alchemy. He went to Versailles in 1742 and then in 1743 he was in England for the Jacobite Revolution. He then went to Vienna to visit Frederick the Great and then to Edinburgh in 1745.

In 1755, Count St. Germain went to India. When he came back, he stayed in the Royal Chateau of Chambord in Touraine on King Louis XV’s invitation. There he rubbed elbows with Voltaire, who appeared to be impressed by the man. Count St. Germain left France and went to Hague and London in 1760. In 1762 he supposedly went to Russia and was involved in the revolution there under the pseudonym Graf Saltikoff. He later traveled to Germany and Bavaria. All the while maintaining a middle-aged appearance. Count St. Germain died on February 27, 1784. There is a record of his death and burial.

During his time in Europe during the 1700's, the Count of St. Germain’s acquaintances had an awful lot to say about this strange man. He was said to have had a striking appearance, especially his eyes. He was reportedly a very talented musician and composer who shared his work with Tchaikovsky and Prince Ferdinand von Lobkowitz. Two of his compositions dwell in the British Museum. One of them was written in 1745 and the other in 1760. He even performed on the harpsichord for Frederick the Great.

Count St. Germain was said to have knowledge of Sanscrit, Chinese and Arabic. He also spoke Swedish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Russian flawlessly. He was a painter of some renown. It is said that he could make the jewels in his paintings appear strikingly realistic. He was also a collector of diamonds and wore many of them to social events. There were claims that he could also fix flawed diamonds.

The Count of St. Germain was also said to have some very strange habits. Some people claimed that he never ate in public, but that he would drink a special tea frequently. There were also claims that he often made strange comments about his age. He would speak of times long since past as if he had been there. He reportedly told an acquaintance who had made a comment that he must be more than one hundred years old that it was “not impossible.”

Many people have claimed to be the Count of St. Germain in the centuries since his death. Others have claimed to have seen him in various places. He has been referred to as “The man who does not die.” He has been credited with the gift of eternal life, or at least of extremely long life, but are any of these claims credible? It is hard to be certain because there are so many of them. However, it is extremely doubtful, for obvious reasons.

The Count of St. Germain is credited with so many rare (and fictitious) abilities that it seems almost certain that his talents have been embellished over the years and during his lifetime. He may have encouraged this behavior, for all we know. It is quite possible that he was a very talented con man. Either that, or he was an exceptionally old, yet youthful man who was intelligent and talented. At this point, it is impossible to tell. The story of the Count of St. Germain has been told so many times, in so many ways, that the truth is probably quite different from what has been said. That leaves us with the possibility that we may never know the truth about the Count of St. Germain.


The Count de St. Germain, retrieved 12/29/09,

The Count of St. Germain, retrieved 12/29/09,

The Strange Disappearance of Judge Joseph Force Crater

Joseph Force Crater was a New York Supreme Court associate justice and the president of the Tammany Hall Cayuga Democratic Club. He grew up in Pennsylvania and went on to attend Lafayette College and Columbia University Law School. He started practicing law in New York City in 1913 and was a prominent figure in the city for the next nearly twenty years. He disappeared on August 6, 1930; he was 41 years old. He was known for some time after the incident as the “Missingest Man in New York.”

Judge Joseph Crater and his wife Stella were spending the summer of 1930 at their cabin in Belgrad Lakes, Maine, when Crater got a mysterious phone call. After the call, he informed his wife that he needed to go back to New York City to “straighten these fellows out.” He went to New York City the next day and then headed to Atlantic City with a showgirl. He returned to New York on August 3, 1930. On August 6, he went to his office and sorted through his files. He sent his assistant to cash two checks that equaled 5,150 dollars and then he left the office at 12:00 p.m. with his assistant and two briefcases.

Judge Crater went to his apartment and then dismissed his assistant. Later on, he went and bought a ticket to a show that was playing that night. He then headed to West 45th Street to eat dinner at the Billy Haas’ chophouse. He saw another lawyer there, who was an acquaintance, and so he sat down to eat with the man and his date. The man said later that there seemed to be nothing amiss with Judge Crater. He said that he behaved like his normal self. After dinner, the couple parted ways with the judge outside of the restaurant and Joseph Crater got into a cab. That was the last confirmed sighting of him. It is unlikely that he ever made it to the show.

After Crater had been gone for ten days, his wife got nervous. He had said that he would be returning to Maine, so she called a few friends of his and asked if anyone knew of his whereabouts. She learned nothing. No other searches were conducted until he failed to appear in court on August 25, at which time his co-workers began to search for him. The police were not alerted until September 3, nearly a month after the man had vanished. A grand jury called up 95 witnesses and a total of 975 pages of testimony was acquired, but no one knew where the judge had gone or what happened to him.

Judge Crater’s safe deposit box was empty and no one is quite sure what was in the two briefcases he had brought home the day he disappeared. He also had dealings with corrupt politicians. All of this points to the possibility that the judge slipped away on purpose. However, no one could turn up a reason for an abrupt decision to leave. There is also the fact that he seemed to have a good relationship with his wife, despite his liking for showgirls, which makes one wonder why he would leave without telling her. Crater also left some cash, checks, stocks, bonds and insurance policies in a bureau in his apartment. Why would he leave without these things?

There is also the possibility that Judge Joseph Crater was murdered after he got into that cab. It is possible, if not likely, that he made enemies during his career and that one of those enemies thought it was a good idea to get rid of him. He may have known something that he wasn’t supposed to know or have done something he shouldn’t have. However, there is no proof of any of this. At this point, and possibly forever, we can only speculate about the fate of Judge Crater. There is simply not enough evidence to tell us what happened to him. He was declared dead on June 6, 1979.


Taylor, Troy, Judge Crater Vanished, retrieved 11/3/09,

Maeder, Jay, Missing Person: Judge Crater, 1930,`mornj/ww2/popups/crater.htm

Roopkund Lake: Home of Unidentified Human Skeletons

Skeletal Remains at Roopkund Lake
Photo by Schwiki
High in the Indian Himalayas lies a glacial lake known as Roopkund Lake. This lake also goes by a descriptive epithet–Skeleton Lake, named so for its contents. Skeleton Lake is more than 16,000 feet above sea level and it is nestled in a valley with steep sides. No one lives there and there is strong evidence of how simply passing through the area can be fatally dangerous.

In 1942, a forest guard stumbled across Skeleton Lake. He saw something there of which some locals were aware, but of which the Western world had never learned. At the shores of the lake, he saw numerous human skeletons. During the thaw, it became apparent that there were many more skeletons where those came from. This discovery sparked a race to find out from whence the skeletons had come. The political and military climate of 1942 led to the immediate assumption that the skeletons were related to the war. However, it was soon revealed that these skeletons were much older than first assumed.

A study was done on Skeleton Lake's skeletons to see whom they belonged to and how these people had died. The study was inconclusive, but it did show that the skeletons did not date from modern times. They had been there for a long time. There were more than 200 skeletons in and around skeleton lake and perhaps more in the depths of the lake and beneath the soil, yet none of these skeletons revealed their origins or cause of death initially. The typical theories were postulated, of course. Perhaps they had died of a virulent disease, famine, massacre or natural disaster. It was not until 2004 that a viable cause was backed up by the study of the skeletons by scientists with modern equipment and knowledge.

The Skeleton Lake skeletons were finally dated in 2004. They date from roughly 850 A.D.E. They may have belonged to a group of travelers, as evidenced by possessions found on the skeletons and the fact that there is no evidence of a settlement. The reason they were traveling is unknown, though it could have been a religious pilgrimage. They were not necessarily traveling next to or even very close to Roopkund. Their remains could have been pushed into the valley by glacier movement. 

Every skeleton of Skeleton Lake shares evidence of intriguing injuries. They all have suffered blunt force trauma to the head and shoulders. The wounds appear to have been inflicted by round objects. This is most likely the cause of death. That does not sound like war, disease or famine. The scientists concluded that the trauma was caused by an extreme hailstorm.

The idea that so many people could be killed by a hailstorm is a strange one. However, these people had nothing to protect them from such weather. There is no shelter that could protect all of them near Roopkund. Of course, that still begs the question, why are the wounds only about the head and shoulders? Furthermore, it seems unlikely that none of them sought to protect each other, therefore leaving some of the skeletons with few or no wounds. These questions lead many to believe that the fate of these mysterious skeletons is still open for debate and possible further study.


The Skeleton Lake of Roopkund, India, retrieved 5/24/11,