$22.00 incl tax

Taylor Sapp had done it again – this time with his merry band of historians! This is a valuable teaching tool to get students reading and writing!” — Nate Conrad, ELS Instructor

A very impressive work! Recommended for teachers whose students want to some explore some unusual topics of history in the classroom.” — Hall Houston, author of Provoking Thought and Creative Output

The authors manage to create deep and engaging opportunities for critical thinking, writing, reading, and speaking all at the same time….the supplemental activities provide valuable connections to current events and the real world, adding almost infinite possibilities for authentic student interaction while supporting ease of use in the classroom for busy teachers.” — Collen Loboy, Academic Director, ELS Portland

Creative history-based projects that get high-school and college students to research, explore, analyze, and then write about or discuss some of history’s most intriguing controversies, conspiracies, and puzzles!

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In this original collection of research and writing history-based projects for high-school and college, students take on the role of Historical Secret Agents.

Their mission? To go back in time and explore some of history’s most intriguing puzzles.

Why? To find out what really happened.

  • Who assassinated President John F. Kennedy? Why? How can you stop them?
  • Is the famous photo of the Loch Ness monster real or a hoax?
  • Did Christopher Marlowe write Shakespeare’s plays? Is that why he was killed?
  • Who built the mysterious Pacific city of Nan Madol and how? Why did they disappear?
  • Is there a reason musicians tend to die at age 27?
  • Was the death of Bessie Coleman, an African-American pioneer in flight, an accident or murder?

Each unit takes a historical mystery or conspiracy theory from the well-known to the obscure to the truly weird! Background briefings give key factual information and spell out the controversy, puzzle, or conspiracy. Discussion questions lead to analysis and research on what happened and what is still disputed or unknown. Writing prompts guide students to say what really happened or how they would change history if they could. Follow-up projects encourage students to dig deeper and make personal connections to history! Will students stick to the facts or get a bit creative? That’s up to you!

These original history-based projects are the perfect resource for bringing history and writing together in the classroom!

Additional information

Dimensions 11 × 8.5 in
Age Group






274 pages



8.5 x 11 inches




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More Reviews

“As many of the lengthy readings in History’s Mysteries involve monsters, murderers, disappearances,
aliens, witches and ghosts, reviewing this material made a wonderful change from my recent focus on pedagogic tomes on drilling and 21st-century skills. Put simply, I was engrossed by the mysteries and can guarantee your classes will be, too.”

— Wayne Trotman, EL Gazette (Read the full review).


“These were so much fun. Each case is unique with fun activities to inform and entertain. They are clear and easy to follow for anyone with a desire to learn more about these mysteries and would be useful in a science or history class.” — Christina ★★★★★

“An excellent blend between the need to learn about history and the need to fine-tune student writing skills. Excellent for EFL, ESL, and academic reading & writing courses. ” — Rania Jabr, Senior Instructor American University in Cairo

“I personally enjoyed the coming together of fact and fantasy because it can be difficult to find teaching material that will engage a wide variety of students….a crowd-pleaser in the classroom.” — David Williams, Dhofar University, Oman

“engaging, imaginative and varied, encouraging learners to think both creatively and critically about the language they use.  With a central text as a springboard for the lesson, the accompanying tasks are structured so learners are hands on with the history while also raising their awareness of concepts such as citing sources, avoiding logical fallacies and spotting fake news.  Easily-adaptable, relevant and a lot of fun for learners and teachers alike. ”  — Michael Hudson, Canary Islands English

“The handy how-to-use-this-book guide show how to support all levels of teachers for whatever they need: from a no-prep grab and go, to added spice for an existing lesson, to a deep dive on specific critically thinking skills to support another class. Most importantly, this book prepares students to interact in the real world – to have confidence to have an interesting conversation, to explore themselves, to understand opinion vs. fact, fake news and evaluating sources, to learn to ask questions, and to think more openly.” — Shelly Ridder, Coach/Trainer/Educator

“I like how the mysteries are divided into different sections and the wide range of different mysteries available. I also like the organization of each chapter with the “Before you read” questions and vocabulary matching. Both help to engage the students’ background knowledge and prepare them for the reading that is included….. All in all, I think this is a very fun approach to reading and intend to use some of the sections in my own reading courses.” — Joshua Detherage – Campbellsville University

“I love learning new things about what happened in History. This is a great book: Monsters, Villains, Unsolved Crimes, Mystery, I loved it. I loved reading this book. I had fun with it. Awesome to read, learn and follow. I cannot wait to read more from this author.” — Jodie Carey, Reviewer

Free Resources

  • DB Cooper, Skyjacker On 24 November 1971, a man flying from Portland to Seattle told the flight attendant he had a bomb and demanded $200,000 (~$1.3 million today). He asked to be flown to Mexico, but shockingly, he parachuted out of the plane! Did he survive? What happened to the money? What was his real name? Your students will decide!
  • The Osage Indian Murders The Osage Tribe in Oklahoma struck oil and became the richest people on the planet! Greedy businessmen and state-appointed white caretakers moved in. Then the murders started!
  • Bessie Coleman, Pioneering Black Female Pilot Bessie Coleman was an early American civil aviator, the first African-American woman and first Native American to hold a pilot license. Forced to learn to fly in Europe due to discrimination in the US, she became famous as a daredevil aviatrix. She died in a tragic crash. Was it because she was careless, couldn’t get good mechanics due to racism, or did a rival do her in?
  • The Phantom Barber In 1942 in Mississippi, women and girls would awaken to find that someone had snuck into their houses and cut their hair. Who did it? Why? Could the bizarre behavior escalate? What would it take to stop these incidents?

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