Home > Vanished! Unexplained Disappearances - Do humans just disappear?
Vanished! Unexplained Disappearances - Do humans just disappear?
There one second... and gone the next. Strange cases of unsolved disappearances, from common folk to aristocrats to entire villages!
History is peppered with intriguing tales of people who, for all intents and purposes, inexplicably vanish from the face of the earth without a trace. These stories - some of the most fascinating in the annals of the unexplained - vary from being well-documented to having the flavor of mere legend and folklore. But they are all fascinating because they force us to question the solidity of our existence. Where did these vanished people go? A time portal? Another dimension? Into a UFO? Consider those chilling possibilities as you read these amazing reports:
The Bennington Triangle
Between 1920 and 1950, Bennington, Vermont was the site of several completely unexplained disappearances:
* On December 1, 1949, Mr. Tetford vanished from a crowded bus. Tetford was on his way home to Bennington from a trip to St. Albans, Vermont. Tetford, an ex-soldier who lived in the Soldier's Home in Bennington, was sitting on the bus with 14 other passengers. They all testified to seeing him there, sleeping in his seat. When the bus reached its destination, however, Tetford was gone, although his belongings were still on the luggage rack and a bus timetable lay open on his empty seat. Tetford has never returned or been found.
* On December 1, 1946, an 18-year-old student named Paula Welden vanished while taking a walk. Welden was walking along the Long Trail into Glastenbury Mountain. She was seen by a middle-aged couple that was strolling about 100 yards behind her. They lost sight of her when she followed the trail around a rocky outcropping, but when they rounded the outcropping themselves, she was nowhere to be seen. Welden has not been seen nor heard from since.
* In mid-October, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson disappeared from a farm. Paul's mother, who earned a living as an animal caretaker, left her small son happily playing near a pig sty while she tended to the animals. A short time later, she returned to find him missing. An extensive search of the area proved fruitless.
The Vanished Cripple
Owen Parfitt had been paralyzed by a massive stroke. In June, 1763 in Shepton Mallet, England, Parfitt sat outside his sister's home, as was often his habit on warm evenings. Virtually unable to move, the 60-year-old man sat quietly is his nightshirt upon his folded greatcoat. Across the road was a farm where workers were finishing their workday by pooking the hay. At about 7 p.m., Parfitt's sister, Susannah, went outside with a neighbor to help Parfitt move back into the house, as a storm was approaching. But he was gone. Only his folded greatcoat upon which he sat remained. Investigations of this mysterious disappearance were carried out as late as 1933, but no trace or clues to Parfitt's fate were ever uncovered.
The Disappearing Diplomat
British diplomat Benjamin Bathurst vanished into thin air in 1809. Bathurst was returning to Hamburg with a companion after a mission to the Austrian court. Along the way, they had stopped for dinner at an inn in the town of Perelberg. Upon finishing the meal, they returned to their waiting horse-drawn coach. Bathurst's companion watched as the diplomat stepped over to the front of the coach to examine to horses - and simply vanished without a trace.
In 1975, a man named Jackson Wright was driving with his wife from New Jersey to New York City. This required them to travel through the Lincoln Tunnel. According to Wright, who was driving, once through the tunnel he pulled the car over to wipe the windshield of condensation. His wife Martha volunteered to clean off the back window so they could more readily resume their trip. When Wright turned around, his wife was gone. He neither heard nor saw anything unusual take place, and a subsequent investigation could find no evidence of foul play. Martha Wright had just disappeared.
The Stonehenge Disappearance
The mysterious standing stones of Stonehenge in England was the site of an amazing disappearance in August, 1971. At this time Stonehenge was not yet protected from the public, and on this particular night, a group of "hippies" decided to pitch tents in the center of the circle and spend the night. They built a campfire, lit several joints of pot and sat around smoking and signing. Their campout was abruptly interrupted at about 2 a.m. by a severe thunder storm that quickly blew in over Salisbury Plain. Bright bolts of lightning crashed down on the area, striking area trees and even the standing stones themselves. Two witnesses, a farmer and a policeman, said that the stones of the ancient monument lit up with an eerie blue light that was so intense that they had to avert their eyes. They heard screams from the campers and the two witnesses rushed to the scene expecting to find injured - or even dead - campers. To their surprise, they found no one. All that remained within the circle of stones were several smoldering tent pegs and the drowned remains of a campfire. The hippies themselves were gone without a trace.
Benjamin Bathurst (born 1784) was a British diplomatic envoy who disappeared from the White Swan inn in the town of Perleberg, Germany, during the Napoleonic Wars. A reward of £1,000 was offered by the British government (a vast sum of money in those days) for information leading to his return and was doubled by Bathurst's family and even contributed to by Prince Frederick of Prussia, who took great interest in the case, to no avail. It was thought he may have been murdered by French espionage agents who were monitoring his activities, and Bathurst's family even went so far as to approach the Emperor Napoleon himself about the disappearance, who swore he knew nothing more about it than he had read in the newspapers. The town of Perleberg was also known to have a strong criminal element at the time and another theory was that he was snatched away and murdered, given that he was a man of obvious wealth. In 1852, forty-one years after Bathurst's disappearance, a male human skeleton with a fractured skull was discovered when a house some 300 m from the White Swan inn was demolished. Bathurst's sister travelled to Perleberg but was unable to identify the remains. Bathurst's disappearance is referenced in several works of science fiction and the paranormal, most of which describe him falling into a portal leading to some other place, time, or alternate timeline.
The Mysterious Cloud
Three soldiers claimed to be witnesses to the bizarre disappearance of an entire battalion in 1915. They finally came forward with the strange story 50 years after the infamous Gallipoli campaign of WWI. The three members of a New Zealand field company said they watched from a clear vantage point as a battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment marched up a hillside in Suvla Bay, Turkey. The hill was shrouded in a low-lying cloud that the English soldiers marched straight into without hesitation. They never came out. After the last of the battalion had entered the cloud, it slowly lifted off the hillside to join other clouds in the sky. When the war was over, figuring the battalion had been captured and held prisoner, the British government demanded that Turkey return them. The Turks insisted, however, that it had neither captured not made contact with these English soldiers.
The Mary Celeste was a ship discovered in December 1872 abandoned and unmanned in the Atlantic. The crew were never seen or heard from again and what happened to them is the subject of much speculation. Their fate is regarded as one of the greatest maritime mysteries of all time.
The Flannan Isles mystery was the disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in 1900 who vanished from their duty stations, leaving behind equipment important to surviving the hostile conditions at that location and time of year. However, the official explanation for the disappearances was mundane, concluding that the men were swept out to sea by a freak wave.
Louis le Prince
Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince (born Metz 28 August 1841, vanished 16 September 1890) was an inventor who shot the first moving pictures on paper film using a single lens camera. He has been heralded as the "Father of Cinematography" since 1930.
Ambrose Bierce (born 1842) was an American editorialist, journalist, short-story writer and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and his satirical dictionary The Devil's Dictionary. In October 1913, the septuagenarian Bierce departed Washington, D.C., for a tour of his old Civil War battlefields. By December he had proceeded on through Louisiana and Texas, crossing by way of El Paso into Mexico, which was in the throes of revolution. After a last letter to a close friend, sent from there December 26, 1913, he vanished without a trace, becoming one of the most notable disappearances in American literary history. Investigations into his fate have proved fruitless and, despite an abundance of theories, his end remains shrouded in mystery.
Wallace Fard Muhammad
Wallace Fard, the founder of the Nation of Islam in the 1930s, disappeared in 1934. Sightings as late as 1976 in Chicago were reported.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
While attempting to break the England-Australia speed record, Charles Kingsford Smith together with his co pilot Tommy Pethybridge disappeared in the Lady Southern Cross over the Andaman Sea in the early hours of 8 November, 1935. Their bodies have never been recovered.
During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day. No confirmed remains or debris have ever been found.
In 1945, Raoul Wallenberg, a 32-year-old Swedish diplomat credited with saving the lives of at least 30,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust, was arrested on espionage charges in Budapest following the arrival of the Soviet army. His subsequent fate remains a mystery despite hundreds of purported sightings in Soviet prisons, some as recent as the 1980s. In 2001, after 10 years of research, a Swedish-Russian panel concluded that Wallenberg probably died (most likely was executed) in Soviet custody on July 17, 1947, but to date no hard evidence has been found to confirm this. In 2010, evidence from Russian archives surfaced suggesting he was alive after the presumed execution date.
On 10 March 1956 four B-47 Stratojets left MacDill Air Force Base in Florida for a non-stop flight to Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco. They completed their first aerial refueling without incident. After descending through cloud to begin their second refueling, over the Mediterranean Sea at 14,000 ft, one of the aircraft, manned by Captain Robert H. Hodgin (31, commander), Captain Gordon M. Insley (32, observer), and 2nd Lt. Ronald L. Kurtz (22, pilot), failed to make contact with the tanker. Neither the aircraft nor wreckage from it was ever found.
Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, popularly known as Lord Lucan, disappeared in the early hours of 8 November 1974, following the killing of Sandra Rivett, his children's nanny, the previous evening; he was named by an inquest jury as Rivett's murderer the following year. Despite a world-wide hunt, he was never found.
Bas Jan Ader
In 1975, Dutch artist, Bas Jan Ader disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean while sailing from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Ireland. Radio communication was maintained for 3 weeks then broke off. Months later, the boat he was travelling on was found off the coast of Ireland.
Frederick Valentich disappeared in 1978 while piloting a Cessna 182L light aircraft over Bass Strait to King Island, Australia. In his last radio contact, Valentich reported an unusual aircraft was following his, and his last words were: "It is hovering and it's not an aircraft." No trace of Valentich or his aircraft was ever found, and an Australian Department of Transport investigation concluded that the reason for the disappearance could not be determined.
The Springfield Three
Sherrill Levitt, her daughter Suzie Streeter, and Suzie's friend Stacy McCall vanished on June 7, 1992, in Springfield Missouri. On June 6, 1992, Stacy, 18, and Suzie, 19, graduated from Kickapoo High School. They had planned to go to White Water, a water park in Branson, Missouri, the following day. The two girls planned to stay at another friend's house but changed their minds when the house became too crowded with out-of-town relatives. After a graduation party, the two girls arrived at Sherril's and Suzie's house at around 2:00 am. Earlier, Sherill had called a friend and was busy painting a chest of drawers at around 11:30 that night. That was the last time any of the three women were heard from again. At around 9:00 a.m., a friend of Stacy and Suzie's came to pick them up to go to White Water but found none of the women. There was a shattered porch light, so she and her boyfriend cleaned it up as an act of kindness. They thought that they had already left the house, but they never showed up at the water park. Nothing appeared to be stolen from the house. The women's purses, makeup, cars, jewelry, and clothing were still there. Neighbors heard no strange noises coming from the area that night. Police have received 5,000 tips, scoured the area of the Ozarks, and made pleas to return the girls safely, to no avail. People from the area call this case the "three missing women."