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10 'Unsolved' Mysteries That Have Been Solved


10
Did Anastasia Escape the Bolsheviks?
Anna Anderson (shown in 1926) claimed she was really Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. It was conclusively proven in 2007 that she was not, thanks to DNA. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Anna Anderson (shown in 1926) claimed she was really Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov. It was conclusively proven in 2007 that she was not, thanks to DNA. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A few years after Bolshevik assassins herded Czar Nicholas II and his wife and five children into a cellar and opened fire upon them in July 1918, a woman who called herself Anna Anderson surfaced in Europe, claiming to be the Czar's youngest daughter, Anastasia. She said that she had been carried from the execution site by mysterious benefactors [source: Hogue].

Though rejected by Romanov relatives, her saga was sufficiently intriguing that Hollywood made it into a 1956 movie starring Ingrid Bergman. Rumors persisted that the young heiress to the throne had somehow escaped death. But in 1991, the mystery took another turn, when it was revealed that the bodies of most of the Romanovs and their servants lay in a mass grave in Yekaterinberg, Russia, but the bodies of a male and female child were missing [source: Maugh].

That faint hope that Anastasia had escaped was crushed in 2007, when archaeologists discovered a second grave containing two more youthful sets of bones. Like the first set, the new bones were matched with a sample of Nicholas II's DNA, which had been extracted from bloodstains on a shirt worn during an 1891 assassination attempt. With all the Romanovs accounted for, it's now clear that Anastasia died with her family [source: Maugh].