Everybody loves a good mystery, and what is more interesting than a famous person vanishing into thin air? We all know that the best mysteries are the unsolved ones, especially if they involve celebrities we all thought we knew so well. But how is it even possible for a famous person to just disappear and never be found?
We are so used to monitor every step of our favourite stars on social media that it is really hard to imagine some of them just disappeared without a trace. Not to mention the fact that if you are a celebrity, it is hard to stay hidden for long because everybody out there knows what you look like. However, there have been cases that have proven it possible, as a number of celebrities have indeed vanished into thin air.
One can only guess what happened to them, which is always a good starting point for interesting speculations. There are so many unanswered questions… Are they dead or alive? Did they disappear from the face of the Earth because they wanted to or did somebody do something to them? What was the reason behind their vanishing? So many questions, yet so little answers about the celebrities who were one day here, and the next they were nowhere to be found.
15. Solomon Northup
People around the world became familiar with Solomon Northup’s story after the movie Twelve Years a Slave was released and incredible praise, including the Academy Award for Best Picture. After being held a slave for over a decade, Solomon regained his freedom and turned his experience into a memoir that inspired the movie. He was a supporter of the abolitionist movement and he gave lectures about his experience during his travels across the country. He was scheduled for a lecture in Canada in 1857 when he suddenly went missing during his trip. No one knows what happened to him, but there are several speculations on the subject, the most popular one being that he was recaptured again and sent back to slavery.
14. D.B. Cooper
D.B. who exactly? – Yes, that is the right question. The story of D.B. Cooper is one of those legendary stories everybody has heard about because it is one of the most brilliant crimes that have ever happened. D.B. Cooper, in fact, wasn’t a celebrity before his disappearance. On the contrary, his disappearance is what made him famous.
On November 24, 1971, a man purchased a plane ticket from Portland to Seattle under the alias of Dan Cooper. Around 30 minutes after the plane took off, Cooper informed the flight attendant he was in possession of explosives and demanded $200,000 in cash, and some parachutes. The plane landed, the money was brought onboard, and Cooper instructed the pilot to head towards Mexico. Then he strapped the money to his body (after he gave a part of it to the plane staff), took his parachutes, and jumped off the airplane. He was never seen again.
13. Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was a pretty impressive lady with a lot of talent, but she was best known for being the pioneering aviatrix – the first woman ever to attempt a round-the-world flight. Unfortunately, she never made it back home.
On July 2, 1937, Earhart and the navigator Fred Noonan disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, and the incident resulted in the most intensive search effort in the US up to that time. The most logical explanation seemed to be that the plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean, but no wreckage has been found during the search. In 2012, a new research expedition tried to prove that Earhart landed the plane on the island of Nikumaoro, but they didn’t find any proof of that. There are two popular conspiracy theories about her disappearance: one claiming she was hired by F.D.R. to spy on the Japanese, the other claiming she secretly completed the trip and decided to go AWOL.
12. Joe Pichler
Joe Pichler was a popular child actor who mysteriously disappeared on January 5th, 2006. He’d never ran away from home and he didn’t cause any troubles to his parents so they don’t believe he just took off one day on his own. On the night of January 5th, he went to hang out with his friends at his friend’s house where they spent the evening playing cards and drinking beer. All of his friends who were there that night claimed Joe was in a good mood the whole time, although one friend claimed his mood changed once everybody left home. He stated that Joe was crying for unknown reasons, then he promised to call him back in an hour, and he left his house. After that, nobody has heard from him ever again. His car was found one day later with all of his possessions inside.
11. Harold Holt
Harold Holt, the 17th prime minister of Australia, went for a swim on December 17, 1967, and was never spotted again. He was a skilled swimmer and he used to swim regularly at the same beach near Portsea, Victoria, so his disappearance made conspiracy theorists go nuts. Despite the best efforts of every searching team available, Holt’s body was never recovered. He was presumed dead and in 2005, the cause of death was ruled to be accidental drowning. However, not everybody believes that’s what happened. Some claim he was kidnapped by a Chinese submarine, some believe he faked his own death and ran off with his mistress Marjorie Gillespie, and, of course, there are those who are convinced he was plucked out of the water and abducted by a UFO.
10. Heinrich Müller
Heinrich Müller was the infamous chief of the Gestapo, and he even became known by a nickname Gestapo Müller. He was involved in planning the Holocaust in Poland, and he helped spreading the false information to justify the terrible crimes committed by the Nazis. He played the leading role in suppressing any form of resistance to the Nazi regime. However, he answered for his war crimes because he disappeared without a trace on May 1, 1945. Some people believe he committed suicide or was killed during the fall of Berlin; some believe he managed to escape and continued to live his life undetected in a safe location; a group of people believes he was employed by either the Soviet Union or the US during the Cold War where he was given a new identity.
9. Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller, the best-selling record artist from the late 1930s to the early 1940s, will always be remembered as one of the most iconic band leaders of all time. Unfortunately, that is not the only thing he will be remembered for since his disappearance is one of the most famous cases of celebrities vanishing into thin air. Miller volunteered to join the US Navy during World War II, but when that didn’t work out, he decided to volunteer for the army instead where he was assigned to the Army Air Forces.
In 1944, Miller was supposed to arrange a concert in France for the United States troops. He and two others boarded a plane, but they never made it to France as the plane disappeared somewhere over the English Canal. Neither the plane nor the passengers have ever been found.
8. Jean Spangler
Jean Spangler was a Hollywood actress who disappeared without a trace on October 7, 1949. The last people to see her were her daughter and her sister-in-law. Jean told them she was going to work after meeting her ex-husband, but she never made it to the set. Her purse was found on the street and it contained a note saying: “”Can’t wait any longer, Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away,”. The note ended with a coma, suggesting Jean was interrupted while writing it. It was addressed to somebody named Kirk and people have been suspecting that the Kirk in question was the actor Kirk Douglas, although he denied it. Her friend later revealed that Spangler was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Nobody knows what happened to her, but many believe she was killed by her ex-husband.
7. Michael Rockefeller
Michael Rockefeller was the son of Nelson Rockefeller, the 41st Vice President of the United States. Michael is presumed to have died on November 19, 1961, during an expedition in Netherlands New Guinea, although no proof of his death has ever been found so it was never officially confirmed. There are three popular theories regarding his disappearance: he drowned, he was attacked by a saltwater crocodile or a shark, or he was killed by cannibals living in the area. The journalist Milt Machlin investigated the area where Rockefeller disappeared and he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t held captive in the jungle and that he was probably killed. Carl Hoffman published a book on his disappearance in 2014 called Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art.
6. Bison Dele
Bison Dele played as a center for the Chicago Bulls when they won the NBA championship in 1997 before he continued his career with the Detroit Pistons. However, he surprised everyone when he suddenly decided to end his sports career in 1999. In 2002, he went sailing with his girlfriend, his brother Miles Dabord, and a skipper. The brother was the only one to return back home from the trip, while the rest of the passengers went missing. The FBI suspected that Dabord killed them and threw the bodies into the water, but the bodies have never been recovered. Before the police were able to find out more, Dabord committed suicide by overdosing on insulin after leaving a message for his mother to let her know he would never hurt his brother.
5. Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn was the son of the actor Errol Flynn and the actress Lili Damita. He decided to follow his parents’ footsteps and pursued an acting career, but he wasn’t too passionate about that job. Instead, his found his true calling to be photography and he became quite famous thanks to his amazing photos capturing the horrors of the Vietnam War. He was willing to put himself in extreme danger in order to get the best photos possible and, ultimately, that is what cost him his life. He went to Cambodia with another photojournalist, Dana Stone, and the assumption is they were captured by Viet Cong forces. No one has heard from them ever again and what exactly happened to them still remains a mystery. Eventually, they were declared dead in 1984.
4. Henry Hudson
You have probably heard of the Hudson River, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, the town of Hudson, Henry Hudson Bridge etc. They were all named after the famous British explorer who spent his life exploring the present-day northeastern United States and Canada. In 1610, he took his ship on a search for the Northwest Passage, but after a year of the unsuccessful hunt, the crew staged a mutiny. They set Hudson adrift on a tiny lifeboat, together with his son and 7 crew members loyal to him. Nobody knows what happened to them after that. Only a few members of the crew survived the trip back to their homeland but they escaped any kind of punishment for leaving their captain out there in the open to die. Peter Mancall, an esteemed history professor, published a book where he suggested that Hudson wasn’t left to die, and that he was actually murdered by his crew.
3. Roald Amundsen
Roald Amundsen was a famous Norwegian explorer and the first person in history to reach the South Pole in 1911. In 1926, he led the air expedition to the North Pole, and became the first person ever to reach both poles. His expedition was also the first one to traverse the Northwest Passage. All those accomplishments made him one of the most significant explorers of all time. Unfortunately, in June 1928, he vanished into thin air and no one has ever seen him again. He took part in a rescue mission for another airship that crashed on its way back from the North Pole. Amundsen and 5 other members of the rescue party disappeared. Some parts of their plane were found near the Tromsø coast, which suggested it crashed in the Barents Sea, and the passengers were killed in the crash. However, the bodies have never been found.
2. Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa was the corrupt president of Teamsters involved with organized crime that eventually had him locked up in prison. In 1971, he was released after he resigned from his position and got himself a pardon from President Nixon. He was last seen in the parking lot of a restaurant in Detroit on July 30th, 1975, before he disappeared without a trace. His car was found there, but there was no sign of its owner. By now, we pretty much know he was killed by the mob, but no one has any idea what happened to his body because it was never found. He was declared dead in 1982, but his disappearance started a storm of false leads and crazy stories as people kept on calling the police to inform them they knew where his body was.
1. Frank Morris
Frank Morris was just a regular criminal like any other, but he became famous thanks to his disappearance after breaking out of Alcatraz. It was the only successful escape from this infamous prison in history. Many have tried to leave Alcatraz Island before the end of their sentence, but everybody was certain it was impossible right until Frank Morris and two other inmates proved them wrong. Morris was an orphan who spent most of his life in prison, although he had unbelievable scores during is IQ testing and ranked in top 2% of the general population in intelligence. He was presumed to be the mastermind behind the legendary June 1962 Alcatraz Escape Attempt. However, nobody knows whether he made it to the dry land alive or if he drowned in the waters of San Francisco Bay.
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