The Scream is a compelling image–a distorted man stands on a bridge, mouth open wide. It's also one of the most familiar in Western art: It was mass-produced by the artist Edvard Munch, and the figure of the man has inspired numerous pop culture references. At least one neurobiologist even thinks we're hard-wired to respond to the face, writes Kristy Puchko for Mental Floss. In fact, The Scream is so compelling that some art thieves were compelled to steal from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, at gunpoint, on this day in 2004. And nobody knows why they did it.
The painting is “almost impossible to value,” New York art dealer Franck Giraud told The New York Times at the time of the theft. He estimated that “it could sell for over $100 million and become the most expensive painting in the world,” In 2012, this actually happened with a different version of the painting. But given the difficulty of reselling such a famous painting, the value alone can't explain why art thieves might have stolen it. The painting might have been taken for ransom, Walter Gibbs and Carol Vogel wrote for the Times.