6 Iconic Figures Whose Identities We Still Don’t Know

Last updated on February 11th, 2023 at 04:53 am

One thing you will expect from historical figures is that their identity will be known to all. I mean, how do you achieve historical and potentially legendary status and still not be known? Some would say it defeats the purpose of being more than a footnote in history, but the people on this list would disagree.

Whether it is because they did not know they were making history, for political reasons, or committed gruesome acts, these are some historical figures we have has us biting our nails for some time now to know who they were.

Ötzi The Iceman

This is more than a walk down memory lane; it is more like taking a time machine.


The Otzal Alps on the border between Austria and Italy to see Otzi, the Iceman. A historical figure that has played an enormous role in piecing together the unending jigsaw puzzle that is human history.

A Forensic recreation of Ötzi The Iceman. Photo: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology)

He is a natural mummy, preserved very finely in ice, that lived some 5000 years ago, specifically between 3350 and 3150 BC. He gives us an unprecedented look into the copper age, allowing us to better understand ourselves as a species as we look at our almost literal footsteps.

Our reunion with our long-lost ancestor turns dark when we discover he was murdered. An arrowhead in his left shoulder and other wounds paint a clear picture about our Otzi breathed his last.

Adorned in a cloak made from wooden grass and a belt, loincloth, leggings, and waterproof shoes, all from different skin leather, and 61 tattoos of varying thickness, we can infer that our man Otzi had style, even more than some of us these days.

Otzi has shared so much about our history, and we can not even thank him by his real name because I am sure you would have caught on that he was named after the Otzal alps, where he was found in September 1991.

His body currently rests in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy. So if you are ever in the area, say thank you to this unknown historical figure that has given so much, yet thankless.

Tsugumi Ohba

Anime fans would immediately recognize the name. Some might not know that it’s just a pen name or pseudonym. Apparently, the brilliant Japanese manga writer most known for the Death Note series does not want to be known.

You would think it would be impossible to hide when you have a manga series like Death Note, with 30 million collected volumes in circulation, and also the Bakuman manga series, with about 15 million copies.

Tsugumi Ohba has other works with other artists, and you could almost consider them the person with the Midas touch in the manga industry, and they still would not disclose their identity.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine. So, what do we know?

Ryuk from Death Note

We know their identity is closely guarded (obviously). But the shocker comes when we find out that they were not expecting to be a manga creator, let alone successful.

Tsugumi Ohba expected Death Note to be passed on by Weekly Shonen Jump — they were wrong. We also know that Tsugumi Ohba is a teacup-collecting “clean freak” that only cleans up once daily. Clean, maybe, freak, unlikely. They do not read much but prefer movies, especially comedy citing Akira Kurosawa and Charlie Chaplain as favorites.

So we can establish they (Tsugumi Ohba) would very much like to remain anonymous, so you’d expect fans to respect that. Not quite, there is a theory going around that Tsugumi Ohba is the pen name for the manga artist Hiroshi Gamo, and when you see the evidence, you will find yourself thinking the same.

The first clue is in Tsugumi Ohba’s Bakuman manga series, where the main character has an uncle that is a one-hit wonder manga artist, like Gamo, that worked on a superhero manga, like Gamo’s Tottemo! Luckyman. Another is the Tottemo! Luckyman storyboard style is very similar to Ohba’s.

Are these enough? You be the judge.

The Stig

In the famous words of former BBC broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson, “and he is called the Stig!”

But who is the stig? The Stig is an anonymous weird character created by the producers of the show, notably Jeremy Clarkson, to drive exotic cars around the track really fast, setting insane lap times.

Full disclosure, like Agent “007” in the James Bond Franchise, there is more than one stig. In fact, till the Top Gear program was discontinued by the BBC, the show had three stigs.

The first was the most standout; you can call him the “original” stig or the black stig as he was in an all-black outfit. He appeared in 22 Top Gear episodes before the producers killed the character off.

We then found out it was racing driver Perry McCarthy behind the racing helmet, and he was supposed to be one of the show’s hosts before they decided that the identity of the stig would be a mystery.

The Stig’s outfit. Photo by Brian Snelson

Black Stig’s exit was thought to be amiable when his character left the show, but since then, stories have surfaced that Perry McCarthy had a falling out with the show’s producers, and his pay was not what he hoped for or wanted.

Enters the era of the white stig.

There have been two white stigs; the first one was not Michael Schumacher. While there was an episode where Michael was revealed to be the Stig, we later found out that it was because Ferrari would not allow any other driver behind the wheels of their FXX model.

The identity of the first white Stig would later be revealed in the most unconventional of ways, a legal battle. Ben Collins, former Stig, planned to publish his autobiography titled “The Man in the White Suit,” and the BBC did not have it.

They believed the book revealing his identity was not in good spirits with their vision for the stig on the show. On September 1, 2010, the case was ruled in favor of Ben Collins to publish his book, much to the chagrin of the BBC.

But where is the mystery? Here it comes.

Nobody knows the identity of the third Stig or the second white Stig to date. This stig has been on the show since 2010, and no one knows the driver behind the racing helmet.

Consider the show’s influence on the viewers, especially with it being a Guinness world record holder for being the most widely watched factual TV show in the world.

You begin to understand how the Stig is a historical legend of Television, and knowing who they are is top on the list of mysteries several people are looking to solve.

The Babushka Woman

You must have heard about John F. Kennedy (JFK), the 35th president of the United States, who was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas. But did you know about the Babushka lady, a lady believed to be middle-aged that might have taken pictures or films of the shooting?

She is so named after the scarf on her head that closely resembles ones worn by older Russian women called the Babushka.

Eyewitnesses saw the Babushka woman in films holding a camera pointed directly at the motorcade during the shooting.

Some reports claim that she remained relatively still and undisturbed when people scampered to safety after the shooting. Even more shocking is that despite their high-quality images of her on camera, they still cannot identify her positively.

Babushka Lady

Only one person has gone out of their way to prove they were the Babushka Lady, and that is a stripper by the name of Beverly Oliver. She came out in 1970 and even wrote a book about her version of events where she claimed men who introduced themselves as FBI took the pictures she had taken with her Yashica Super-8 camera.

The only problem is that this camera model was not made until 1969, six years after the shooting. She responded that it was an experimental camera she had received from a friend and was not even branded when she had it.

What do you think?

Tank Man

Stories do not come any braver than that of the Tank man, period. This unidentified Chinese man did something so impressive that people then and now would not soon forget.

He, by himself, stopped a column of type 59 tanks dead in their tracks. Also known as the unknown rebel or unknown protester, he bravely stood in front of the lead tank, constantly changing his position as the tank tried to maneuver out of this standstill. 

This happened June 5, 1989, one day after the crackdown on Tiananmen protests by the Chinese government, and he has since not been found.

So many things have been said about Tank Man, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Tank Man

The Sunday Express, a British tabloid, named the Tank Man “Wang Wellin,” and he was subsequently charged with political hooliganism, contrary to documents by the internal Chinese communist party that indicate that they could not find him.

As if that was not already confusing, Bruce Herschensohn, former deputy special assistant to President Nixon, in his speech to the President’s club, affirmed that Tank Man was executed two weeks after.

Or was it death by firing squad months after the Tiananmen protests, as other sources allege? Some maintain that the government never knew who he was, and Tank man still resides on the mainland or fled China to Taiwan.

At this point, we may never know.


Bravery sure does take on different forms. In the case of the mysterious Banksy, he sends a clear message from his heart with his art.

Banky is the pseudonym for a street artist based in London who uses his graffiti art to air political and social concerns. This art is displayed publicly on walls and other surfaces, sometimes using his own props.

Banksy: Girl with Balloon

He used to sell recreations of his art but now only sells public installations, which are sometimes removed and sold with the walls on which he painted them.

Banksy is undoubtedly a multifaceted artist, shown in how he draws inspiration from other graffiti artists and the musical group, heart attack.

He also debuted a documentary film at the 2010 sundance film festival and was nominated for the academy award for best documentary feature. In 2014, he was awarded the person of the year award by Webby Awards.

Banky is living proof that you can make a difference in the world all with the stroke of a brush while remaining anonymous.

Can You Solve Any of These Mysteries?

As exciting as these mysteries are, it would not hurt to find some closure. It will do several people some good to finally know what happened to the people on this list and, more importantly, who they were.

So if you have any information, newspaper clippings or stories passed down from friends and family, you should share. You just might become a historical figure, this time known, that put an end to the tinkering minds of conspiracy.

1 thought on “6 Iconic Figures Whose Identities We Still Don’t Know”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top