From the Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood to the recent events of the Russian Revolution, history is full of fascinating and evocative unsolved mysteries. They have inspired, intrigued and often confounded us – but how much do we really know about them? And can we separate fact from fiction? In Mystery Files, the dust is blown off the case files of the world’s most famous and iconic mysteries in a dynamic series that asks, what is the truth behind the greatest stories ever told?
Where to Watch Mystery Files
Below you'll find every episode from all 2 season of Mystery Files.
To see what is available free to watch, click the 'Episodes on Sources' tab above.
Season 1Amazon Prime | Rent or Buy
S01 E01Feb 1, 2010
Nostradamus Michel de Nostradame, a 16th century astrology and seer, lived in Provence, Southern France. He wrote one of the most popular astrological books of all time, “The Prophecies”. This book contains 942 strange prophecies which foretell of bizarre events running far into the future. Since Nostradamus’ death, many people have attributed his predictions to major world events like the Great Fire of London, Hitler, Napoleon, the Atomic Bomb and the assassination of American President John F Kennedy. Such is the belief in Nostradamus’ popularity, he was even turned to soon after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 11th September 2001. Mystery Files undertakes to investigate the man behind these prophecies, to test his astrological skills and to reveal the secret of his prophetic powers. We call on leading experts like Ian Wilson - Nostradamus biographer, Peter Lemesurier - translator of his prophecies and historical investigator, Monica Azzolini – Renaissance Historian and Paul Wade – professional astrologer.
S01 E02Feb 1, 2010
Jack the Ripper How do we get close to a killer the police haven't been able to identify for over 100 years? With the help of renowned British crime historians and authors Applying modern techniques and trawling the archives Mystery Files unearths new evidence to eliminate an age old suspect, and discovers a new likely candidate was right under the policemen's nose.
S01 E03Feb 2, 2010
Robin Hood Robin Hood is one of the first super heroes. Stories of robbing the rich and giving to the poor are legend. Now evidence has been discovered to prove that Robin was a real person. Unpicking the folklore to separate fact from fiction, historians are exposing the man behind the myth. With new evidence culled from ancient manuscripts and historic sites this mysterious figure finally steps out of the shadows.
S01 E04Feb 2, 2010
Royal Murder One of Britain’s oldest unsolved mysteries, but what really happened to the Princes in the Tower? The two Princes were the sons of Edward IV and heir to the English throne who were allegedly murdered by their uncle, Richard III. But what real proof is there? We have two skeletons found in the Tower of London that are supposedly the remains of the princes, but their authenticity is highly disputed. Mystery Files re-opens the murder case and assesses whether Shakespeare’s evil, decrepit Richard III is nothing more than Tudor propaganda. When Princes Edward and Richard, heirs to the English throne, disappeared within the walls of the Tower of London in late June 1483, rumours soon began to circulate. They vanished while in the care of their Uncle Richard who was brother to the late King Edward IV and so would inherit the throne if it wasn’t for the princes, and as the news started to spread, cries of murder were heard across England. Their disappearance is shrouded in mystery but were they killed? And if so by who?
S01 E05Feb 3, 2010
Rasputin On December 16th 1916, Grigory Rasputin, self-styled faith healer and confident to the Tsar was fatally shot in the back of the head. His enemies fear that his hold over the Romanov family has gone too far. This is the story of how a simple peasant rose through the ranks of Russian aristocracy to win the ear of the Tsar and Tsarina and essentially become one of the most powerful men in Russia. Unfortunately for him, his influence over the family would attract the attention of many enemies, ensure his fall from grace and ultimately lead to his grisly death. Rasputin’s demise, according to history, centres around a group of Russian nobles, Vladimir Purishkevich, Felix Yusupov and Dmitri Pavlovich, who, in later years, all admitted to being involved in his assassination.
S01 E06Feb 3, 2010
Billy the Kid It’s the late 1870s. One of the most infamous outlaws of the American Wild West is Billy the Kid… a teenage killer who terrorizes New Mexico. Legend tells us that he killed 21 men, one for each year of his life. For in 1881, at the age of 21, the Kid is gunned down by his one time friend and lawman Pat Garrett. But the real person behind this legend is very different. Who is The Kid? Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim, William H Bonney, The Kid. These are just some of the Kid’s names. He appears in the historical records at the age of 15, when he is caught stealing some clothes from a washing line. He had been orphaned, and found himself alone in the world. He escaped from jail and ended up in the town of Lincoln, New Mexico. It was here that he met English business man John Tunstall who gave the Kid- who had nothing- a job, a gun and a horse.
S01 E07Feb 4, 2010
King Arthur King Arthur- myth, legend or did he actually exist? According to the tales he reputedly led the defence of Britain from Saxon invaders in the early 6th century and throughout the ages, he has been recognised as the ultimate British hero, but whether or not he ever existed has always been hotly debated. Modern day perceptions conjure up Romantic images of Arthur and see him reign from his castle at Camelot over a mighty court. As King of the Britons, he and his knights of the round table are the ultimate symbol of chivalry and honour bringing enlightenment to the dark ages. A legend that spans over centuries, not surprisingly Arthur has assumed many identities. The most definitive collection, Morte D’Arthur, was forged in the tower of London prison by Sir Thomas Mallory. A man awaiting trial for rape, murder and extortion. Mallory’s, ‘Morte D’Arthur,’ is the culmination of hundreds of years of storytelling about the famous king. It tells of Arthurs utopian empire, his brave knights in shining armour and of course the betrayal by his most valiant knight Sir Lancelot and his beautiful Queen Guinevere who have an illicit affair. The story concludes with Arthur being mortally wounded in battle by his scheming nephew Mordred before being taken off to the magical Isle of Avalon, where he rests in an eternal sleep until his country needs a saviour.
Season 2Rent or Buy
S02 E01Jun 5, 2011
The Birth of Christ In fact only two of the four accounts of the life of Christ in the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew, tell of his birth. These Infancy Gospels, as they are known, both agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and today pilgrims and tourists mill in their thousands around the Church of the Nativity built upon the supposed site of Christ’s entry into the world, just as they have for centuries. But only Luke mentions the Census and the journey from Nazareth. Neither mentions the ox or the ass. The visitors from the east are nowhere referred to as Kings and nor is it mentioned that there are three of them. Both Gospels mention King Herod, but his dates do not correspond with the dates of a possible Roman census under the Governor Quirinus mentioned in Luke, which came ten years after Herod the Great’s death. And what census, then or now, would take you away from your main residence to be counted in a town which you or your ancestors have long since left? We reveal that even though we assume that Joseph is present at the birth of Christ, this is not mentioned in any of the gospels. In fact according to purification laws outlined in the Temple Scroll and in the book of Leviticus, under Jewish law the only people that may have been present at the birth would in fact have been women. With help from leading academics, archaeologists and Jewish and Christian theologians, we visit many of the locations mentioned in the Gospels to place the birth of Christ in its historical, cultural and Jewish and early Christian contexts and piece together the real story of The Nativity.
S02 E02Jun 5, 2011
Hitler This programme analyzes the very latest neurological research into Shell Shock and trauma, it retraces Hitler’s time as a frontline soldier, and examines the medical history of Hitler’s gas poisoning and his period at a psychiatric wartime hospital that the Nazi Party later tried to cover-up; and it explores an American top-secret report from 1943 to discover how Hitler’s war experiences led to him suffering what some historians believe to be an extreme psychological disorder, Hysterical Blindness, known today as Conversion Disorder.
S02 E03Jun 6, 2011
Marco Polo We reveal that despite the book suggesting he spent 20 years in the court of the Chinese emperor, there is no mention of Marco in Chinese records. Marco Polo’s last will and testament remains unsigned and even the inventory of his possessions made on his death has question marks hanging over it. Our experts examine all the best evidence. Did Marco Polo, or any European, travel so far into China so long ago? Are the famous tales really based on Marco Polo’s travels? And did a man named Marco Polo even exist?
S02 E04Jun 6, 2011
Alexander the Great After his death, his body became one of the most sacred objects in history. Pilgrims, from the common man to the most powerful emperors, visited and knelt before the remains of their god-King. And then in the space of a generation, all trace of his tomb simply disappeared. What happened to Alexander’s body? Was it destroyed by a tsunami? Did Christians intent on stamping out all trace of other religions destroy it? Or, as one historian believes, does it still exist, renamed and venerated as a saint in one of the most glorious Christian basilicas in the world? With no archaeological evidence indicating the location of the lost tomb we are forced to examine ancient eyewitness accounts of people who visited the tomb and place it in Alexandria.
S02 E05Jun 7, 2011
Taj Mahal Throughout the seventeenth Century several European travelers visit the Taj Mahal. Many of these explorers later publish lengthy volumes of their adventures. Only 10 years after the emperor’s death, the French traveller, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, publishes a travelogue of his adventures in India, mentioning an uncompleted mausoleum across the river from the Taj Mahal. The story spreads and other writers across the centuries state it as fact. In the mid-1990s, excavators’ uncover the remnants of a garden are found with the exact dimensions to that of the garden of the Taj Mahal. Black stones are also found. Are these the remains of the Taj Mahal’s fabled sister building?
S02 E06Jun 7, 2011
Isaac Newton Newton was convinced that he alone had been given a gift to unravel the mysteries of the Universe, whether through science, religion or alchemy, and maintained an unrivaled cloak of secrecy over all three. But there must have been something that Newton was especially desperate to keep secret - taking it with him to the Grave. He burned boxfuls of papers just weeks before his death. What could he have been so desperate to destroy? Modern psychiatrists now suggest that this act, along with many of his other characteristics were driven by Asperger’s Syndrome and that in fact, he was the most classic case of Asperger’s Syndrome in history.
S02 E07Jun 8, 2011
Saladin Through the accounts and diaries of Saladin’s closest advisers, the mysteries of the period are uncovered. Saladin’s fear at the imminent arrival of Richard and the opening of the Third Crusade, his indecision at the Siege of Acre and his failure to ensure the safe release of 3000 Muslim prisoners all paint a picture of a more complex man. Debunking many of the myths of the Crusades, and showing how the war changed both Saladin and Richard the Lionheart, leading them both to question the massive death toll of the conflict. In Saladin’s last days in Damascus, his spirit sapped by war, and of his last words, a denunciation of blood-shed.