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Channing Tatum. Emma Watson. Zac Efron. Scarlett Johansson. Ryan Gosling. Jennifer Lawrence. What do they all have in common? Sure, they’re all beautiful. But does that even matter when they all have such exceptionally public private lives? How could anyone have a celebrity crush on any of these open books? Where’s the mystery? The allure? The raw magnetic force of the unknown?

I’ll tell you where. Hidden somewhere in an undisclosed location, wearing a disguise, and lying through its teeth about who it really is, as it squats in the dirt beside these seven celebrities that nobody can resist. Here at The Prompt, we know what you really want: a little mystique.

Thomas Pynchon


Our only Inherent Vice is not being able to get enough of his mysterious hunk of a postmodern virtuoso. Despite classic novels like Gravity’s Rainbow and countless short stories, this author is V. reclusive, and has only ever been photographed once! And even that is unconfirmed! During his appearance on The Simpson’s, this celeb had to be drawn with a paper bag over his head; he won’t even let himself be seen in a cartoon! Talk about allure! It’s unlikely we’ll ever know what Mr. Pynchon looks like, no matter how many fake awards for his contributions to the genre of hysterical realism humble writers like us try to lure him out with. I guess the crying in The Crying of Lot 49 is us, bemoaning that we’ll never even get a glimpse.



Say what you will, but it’s hard to resist a man with a sexy British accent — even if it has been pitch shifted two octaves down to obscure his real voice! Guesses as to his identity range from a local art teacher to the frontman of the trip hop group Massive Attack, but it’s unlikely that he’ll ever come forward, given his street art is technically a crime. Just the way we like it! And not to harp on it, but did we mention he’s an artist? Dreamy! We’ll exit through the gift shop alright, but only if we can take a Banksy with us. And we’re not talking about the artwork.

D.B. Cooper


Speaking of crime, D. B. Cooper’s 1971 hijacking and ransoming of a Boeing 727 for the equivalent of over $1 million may be a cold case today, but somehow it still manages to leave us hot and bothered. The FBI released only a single composite drawing, as no known photographs of this handsome devil exist. Not only that, but the name “D. B. Cooper” was a miscommunication of his actual alias, “Dan Cooper.” Double the pseudonyms, double the pleasure! That night, Cooper didn’t just parachute from a commercial aircraft into the wilds of Washington state, he parachuted from that commercial aircraft into the wilds of our hearts. No matter how bad we want him, the FBI reasons he’ll never be found. Until then: camping trip in the Northwest, anyone?

The Somerton Man


This unidentified man might be deceased, but our love for him is still going strong! Despite being found dead on Somerton Beach, Australia, at 6:30 A.M. on December 1st, 1948, the identity of this man has never been confirmed in all the years since!

He carried no identification or clues, other than a single piece of paper in a fob pocket that read: “tamam shud,” which is Persian for “ended,” or “finished,” no matter how much we wish this was just a new beginning. The paper was ripped from a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which was eventually found and contained an encrypted message.

tamam-shud  note

That message has never been decoded. We can only hope it was a love note with our name in it! Due to the general mystery, as well as the fact that it occurred at the beginning of the Cold War, some think the Somerton Man may have been a spy. If so, we can only hope he’s got an equally mysterious partner, still out there. Heads up spies, you tamam should contact us ASAP.

The Man in the Iron Mask


The Man in the Iron Mask might have been a prisoner for a lot of his life, but we’ll be a prisoner of his charms for the entirety of ours. The Man in the Iron Mask was held for over 34 years in a variety of prisons, but no one ever learned who he truly was. He wore a sturdy iron mask at all times, though sometimes, they say that he switched up the iron with some black velvet (now there’s a man with class!). Rumors say he’d be shot if he ever removed the mask. Look like we’ve been shot ourselves—by Cupid’s arrow! Theories on his identity range from a French general to a valet who knew too much, even going so far as the King’s own twin brother. Enigmatic royalty? Rawr. Though we’ll never know this Frenchman’s real name, we’ll be content to call him “mon amour.”

The Zodiac Killer


If looks could kill, this man would probably find a way to use them for exactly that, given that he’s a straight up murderer! But what can we say? We all love a bad boy. Despite claims that he’s killed over 37 people, this mysterious man has never been caught by police and might even be a Texas Senator. We only wish we could decode why we’re so into him as easily as police were able to decode his threatening letters to local newspapers. Maybe it’s just that chill San Franciscan attitude of his, maybe it’s the fact that there’s literally no current suspects. Whatever the case, all we have to say is: Hey, mister, what’s your sign?

Monster with 21 Faces


Though more of a B-list celebrity in America, this unknown criminal group was big in Japan: They terrorized the country for over year and a half before abruptly vanished. To this day, nobody knows who was behind Kaijin Niju Ichi Menso, or the “Monster with 21 Faces,” but with 21 faces, you know a couple had to be cute. After getting away with kidnapping a candy company’s president (ugh, kidnap us, please!), they began to send letters to the police indicating they’d poisoned candy on supermarket shelves. After a top police officer killed himself over his failure to solve the case, the Monster with 21 Faces left a letter apologizing for what they’d done and were never heard from again. Wherever they are now, we hope they know: We’d gobble those mystery boys up like candy, whether or not they were laced with high dosages of poisonous cyanide.

Elijah Sloan

Writer of societal manifestos, ransom notes, bomb-making manuals, secession declarations, new constitutions, and children's picture books.

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