Hakai magazine

Scientist Rachel Lance poses with a replica she created of  the H.L. Hunley submarine.
Courtesy of Rachel Lance

On a winter evening in 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the first combat submarine to sink a warship. The vessel successfully sank its target but then disappeared along with its eight crew members. The Hunley was not found until 1995, when a number of hypotheses as to why it sank rose to the surface. But after hundreds of hours of calculations and experiments, a North Carolina-based naval engineer came up with a new theory: the Hunley sank itself with the blast it created by firing on the USS Housatonic.