When people vanish, the curiosity and mystery surrounding their disappearance makes you wonder what really happened. A small percentage of those who disappear may have deliberately chosen this path for their own reasons, such as starting a new life someplace where no one knows them. Another small number may have been murdered or died accidentally, and nobody was there to witness and report the event because the circumstances were so unusual. There’s also a respectable number of people who just disappeared and no logical explanation has been found for this occurrence. See for yourself with these 25 strangest disappearances in history that are still unanswered.
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Ylenia Carrisi was an Italian TV celebrity and the eldest daughter of Italian singers and actors Albano Carrisi and Romina Power. She disappeared under mysterious circumstances while visiting New Orleans, Louisiana, in January 1994. At her father’s request, she was presumed dead in January 2013.
The Springfield Three
The Springfield Three is an unsolved missing persons case that began on June 7, 1992: Sherrill Levitt (47), her daughter Suzie Streeter (19), and Suzie’s friend Stacy McCall (18) disappeared from Levitt’s home in Springfield, Missouri. Suzie and Stacy graduated from Kickapoo High School the day before and arrived at Levitt’s home at around 2:00 a.m. after a graduation party. The police failed to solve the mystery at the time and the investigation is still going strong.
The Indiana Dunes Women
On a shimmering Saturday forty-nine years ago, three young women in bathing suits left their belongings on a crowded beach and climbed aboard a small motorboat on Lake Michigan an hour southeast of Chicago. It was noon on July 2, 1966, at Indiana Dunes State Park when they disappeared and no sign of the young women was ever found.
Tara was a high school history teacher from Ocilla, Georgia, in the United States, who went missing under mysterious circumstances on October 22, 2005. In February 2009, a video surfaced on the Internet featuring a self-proclaimed serial killer. Dubbing himself the “Catch Me Killer,” the man details the murders of sixteen females he claims to have killed, one of them, authorities say, being Tara Grinstead. However, the video was deemed a hoax and neither police nor the Georgia branch of the FBI have identified any suspects in Grinstead’s disappearance.
Despite scholarly speculation that he was killed in battle during the Third Servile War, the body of the most famous rebel slave of antiquity was never found and his fate remains unknown.
Rock music fans are probably familiar with Richey Edwards, rhythm guitarist of the alternative Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers that became popular during the 1990s. Edwards had a history of self-injury and received treatment for alcoholism, anorexia nervosa, and depression in the years leading up to his disappearance. His car was found abandoned in a location notorious for suicides back in 1995.
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 clear the windshield of condensation. His wife, Martha, volunteered to clean off the back window so they could get back on the road faster. 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 simply disappeared.
In 2007 Jim Gray, a database pioneer and Microsoft research scientist, left San Francisco Bay in his boat, Tenacious, to scatter his mother’s ashes on the Farallon Islands and never returned. No mayday call was heard, his distress radio beacon wasn’t activated, and, despite one of the most ambitious search-and-rescue missions ever, no trace of Gray or his yacht has ever been found. In 2012 he was declared legally dead.
On December 1, 1949, James Tetford vanished from a crowded bus. Tetford was an ex-soldier who lived in the Soldiers’ Home in Bennington, Vermont, and was on the bus with fourteen other passengers on his way home from a trip. They all testified to seeing him there, sleeping in his seat. When the bus reached its destination, however, Tetford had magically disappeared, although his belongings were still on the luggage rack and a bus timetable lay open on his empty seat. Tetford was never seen again.
Harold Holt was the seventeenth prime minister of Australia, from January 26, 1966, until his disappearance on December 17, 1967. Holt was well liked and has been hailed as one of the best Labor ministers Australia has ever had, but the real reason everybody remembers him is his bizarre disappearance. Harold Holt vanished while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria, on December 17, 1967, and his body was never recovered. Many historians believe he was probably murdered due to his strong support of US involvement in the Vietnam War but all this remains speculation.
Gaspar Corte-Real was a famous Portuguese explorer who disappeared on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia. Two of his ships returned to Lisbon, but the third, with Gaspar on board, was lost and never heard from again. His brother, Miguel, attempted to find him a year later in 1502, but he too never returned.
Connie Converse was a talented songwriter of her generation, a low-profile artist who became a cult figure of the New York music scene in the late ’50s. In 1974, when Connie was about fifty, and after she had dealt with a series of issues in her personal and professional career including depression, she left notes, poems, and good-bye letters to her family and friends and disappeared. No one ever saw or heard from her again.
Caesarion was the eldest son of Cleopatra and possibly the only son of Julius Caesar. He was also the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, ruling for eleven days before he was supposedly murdered on the orders of Octavian, who would later become the Roman emperor Augustus. However, the exact circumstances of his death and the location of his body have not been documented, and according to the Greek historian Plutarch, he was not killed but instead sent to India by his mother.
Benjamin Bathurst was a British diplomatic envoy who disappeared in Germany on or around November 25, 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars. His disappearance sparked much debate and speculation about his fate, especially in science-fiction stories, based on the perception that it was a case of supernatural phenomena. Recent research, however, suggests the circumstances of Bathurst’s disappearance were wildly exaggerated, even though his strange case remains a mystery.
The Lost Inuit Village
One cold night in November 1930, a very tired Canadian fur trapper named Joe Labelle sought refuge from the cold and inadvertently stumbled across one of history’s darkest mysteries. The once-industrious Inuit village on the shores of Lake Anjikuni that Labelle had seen during his travels had vanished without a trace. He found that all the villagers were gone and came upon unfinished shirts with the needles still in them and food hanging over fire pits, thus leading him to conclude that the villagers had suddenly disappeared in an inexplicable manner.
The cook and dietitian to Adolf Hitler disappeared while escaping Berlin following the Soviet invasion and fall of Nazi Germany. Despite rumors that she was shot by Soviet soldiers in an U-Bahn subway tunnel or that she committed suicide by cyanide capsule, there are conspiracy theorists who believe she could still be alive today because her body was never found.
The famous American aviatrix was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic but was lost forever during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. She disappeared over the Pacific near Howland Island. Fascination surrounding the mystery of her disappearance continues to be strong among historians to this day.
Sebastian of Portugal
The body of Sebastian, the Portuguese king, was never found after the Battle of Alcácer Quibir in 1578. Many Portuguese believed their king had survived the battle and would return to claim his throne. The belief that Sebastian would return at any moment to help Portugal in its darkest hour later became part of local folklore and myth.
Arguably the most notorious madman of the twentieth century, Hitler had one of the most enigmatic ends as well. According to the mainstream version of history, on April 30, 1945, after intense street-to-street combat, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler shot himself and Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. Their bodies were supposedly set on fire and their corpses never found, a fact that still fuels many theories about Hitler’s and his wife’s fates.
“D. B. Cooper”
The legendary skyjacker known to the public as D. B. Cooper committed one of the most impressive robberies in history when he stole a ransom of $200,000 and then parachuted from the rear stairs of a Boeing 727 at a height of 10,000 feet over the Pacific Northwest, somewhere between Seattle and Portland, Oregon, on November 24, 1971. He was never seen again and no trace of him has ever been found.
Lieutenant Felix Moncla
On November 23, 1953, one of the greatest UFO mysteries occurred, as an Air Defense Command Ground Intercept radar controller at Truax AFB in Madison, Wisconsin, discovered a radar blip of an unknown object over Lake Michigan. An F-89C Scorpion was immediately dispatched from Kincross Air Force Base to locate the target. First Lieutenant Felix Moncla Jr. piloted the jet, with Second Lieutenant R. Wilson operating the radar. Wilson would later claim that on the radar Moncla’s aircraft merged with the UFO, at which point they both disappeared. A search-and-rescue team turned up nothing and no debris or wreckage was ever found from either aircraft. Moncla and his plane vanished in what is one of the most curious and mysterious disappearances of all time.
The Ghost Crew of the MV Joyita
The MV Joyita was a merchant vessel from which twenty-five passengers and crew mysteriously disappeared in the South Pacific in 1955. The boat was found adrift and in very poor condition, with corroded pipes and a radio that, while functional, only had a range of about two miles due to faulty wiring. To this day, no evidence of the whereabouts of the missing has surfaced.
In what is considered the biggest mystery of the twenty-first century, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was a scheduled international passenger flight that disappeared on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, to Beijing Capital International Airport in China. Despite various claims and theories that pop up from time to time, the mystery remains unsolved and no logical explanation has yet been given.
Legio IX Hispana
One of the biggest mysteries in history is the disappearance of the Ninth Legion, lost in the fogs of Britain during a military campaign. Of the five thousand legionnaires, not a trace of one has ever been found, nor has any spear or shield, or anything else for that matter turned up to indicate that there had been a battle. It’s as if the earth had opened up and swallowed them.
What is known as the “Valentich disappearance” is a strange occurrence in the annals of UFOlogy that took place in 1978. The curious case of Frederick Valentich has been called Australia’s most famous aviation mystery and that’s not because he disappeared up in the skies, but because his final radio transmissions reported a UFO sighting. Ever since, a subculture of Australians, notably including Valentich’s father, believe he was abducted by aliens and may still be alive somewhere.