Plot details for Unsolved Mysteries ahead. Content warning: gun violence, brief reference to suicide. One of the most confounding episodes of Unsolved Mysteries' volume two (opens in new tab) focuses on an unidentified woman who might have been a sex worker, a criminal, a spy—or something else entirely. Despite extensive research and investigation, very little is known about the unknown woman, who called herself "Jennifer Fairgate" or "Jennifer Fergate"—it's difficult to make a determination from her signature—other than the fact that she used that name to checked into room 2805 of an upmarket Norwegian hotel, Oslo Plaza Hotel, and was found dead after three days. (You can see a clip here (opens in new tab).)
Who was "Jennifer Fairgate"?
On May 31, 1995, a young woman, dressed in black and with a short, stylish haircut, checked into the Oslo Plaza Hotel. Despite it being a premier luxury hotel in the city, she didn't provide a credit card or any form of identification, only signing in under the name "Jennifer Fairgate" (believed by some to be "Fergate"). A hotel employee said there was a man with her, and indeed a "Lois Fairgate" was scheduled to be staying with her—but he disappeared after check-in.
Three days later, security came to get a credit card from her. The room had had a "Do Not Disturb" sign outside for two days. After the knock, the man heard a gunshot. He ran to get assistance. The room was left unattended for 15 minutes.
What happened to "Jennifer Fairgate"?
When police arrived at the scene, the woman was in bed with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. She was holding the gun in an odd position, and there was no gunpowder residue on her hand. There were more bullets in her luggage—unusual for someone who is aiming to die by suicide, the episode noted—and the room was double-locked on the inside, but an intruder would have had a few minutes to be able to leave the room, if such a person existed. Then again, there were no signs of a struggle.
An investigation of the woman's luggage made the case more confusing. She had no identification on her: no passport, no license, no keys, no cosmetics, no toiletries except for a men's perfume, very little by way of clothing. All the tags on her clothes had been removed, much like in the case of the Somerton Man (opens in new tab) (1948), found mysteriously on a beach in Australia without identifiers of any kind.
Jennifer Fairgate was not her real name. She'd provided an address that did not exist and a fake profession. There were not many entrances to the room using her keycard, and none before her death (although that doesn't necessarily cover entrances without a keycard or exits). She apparently spent significant time outside the room and called Belgian numbers from the room while she was there. Investigators searched, fruitlessly, for her family. She was determined to be in her early 20s, but the trail ran cold and nothing more was learned about her.
What didn't the episode cover?
Interestingly, "Jennifer" is not the only person (opens in new tab) who died under mysterious circumstances in Norway, and whose background was traced to Belgium. The "Kambo" man, who was found in 1987 near train tracks in South Norway, was also found without identification on him and with the tags cut out of his clothes. Like "Jennifer," DNA testing revealed the connection to Belgium.
Furthermore, the now-infamous "Isdal" woman (opens in new tab), found partially burned alive with poison in her stomach, was found in a remote part of Norway called Ice Valley and was similarly shown to have originated from or around Belgium. There were encrypted notes and disguises found in the woman's belongings, and the tags were cut out of her clothes. It was speculated at the time that she might have been a spy—and the similarities with "Jennifer" are eerily similar.
If you have information about this woman, alias "Jennifer Fairgate," visit unsolved.com.
Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego."
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