There are few things more mysterious than when a human being disappears. The most mysterious thing about a disappearance is that it requires time and effort. Not necessarily the effort of the person who disappeared, but the effort of the many people searching for them in order for it to truly be classified as a “disappearance.” When the person who vanished is a famous celebrity, the mystery only intensifies.
Celebrities lives are so closely monitored in today’s society, it’s amazing some of them could disappear for a few minutes, let alone for years, or decades. And yet, on more than several occasions, celebrities have legally been declared missing. Other cases weren’t quite as severe, but the fact remained that a famous public figure had somehow genuinely removed themselves from both the public and private eye.
One of the greatest motivators in the mystery surrounding a disappearance is the terror many feel when they imagine it happening to them. A world in which we, the individual, no longer exist in any form is high up the list on most individual’s worst nightmares. And yet, a few of these cases were intentional, either due to depression or various other personal problems. Unfortunately, most cases are more tragic, ending with unsurprising bad news. Others are uplifting in a way, or at least highlight the tenacity of the human spirit. Regardless of the story, each one of these celebrities wrote the most fascinating chapter of their biographies while nowhere in sight.
10. Jason Mewes – Disappeared Instead Of Turning Himself In To Police
Fans of Jay “Phat Buds” Mewes probably weren’t surprised when he was said to be missing, and were even less surprised when the story turned out to be drug related when he was later found. Although expected, his story is still a tragic tale of drug abuse and excess caused in part by the celebrity machine. As Dogma and later his starring vehicle Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back became successful, it became easier for Jason to fall into his worst habits and spend weeks doing nothing but heroin.
Jay was never legally declared missing, as everyone who knew him knew what he was doing, just not where he was. A warrant for his arrest was issued in New Jersey in 2001, and rather than face the consequences of jail time or rehab, Mewes disappeared. Several years later in 2003, Mewes nearly lit himself on fire and hit his rock bottom, returning to New Jersey to turn himself in. Though Mewes has since relapsed, he now claims to have been clean and sober since 2010.
9. Casey Kasem – Mental And Familial Issues
Casey Kasem didn’t “disappear” for long, but his story is certainly interesting enough to fit the list. The long time radio countdown host and television presenter was declared missing by his daughter in 2014. Kasem was nearing the end of his life, and suffering from Lewy body dementia; his health was in dire straits, greatly worrying his family.
As is occasionally the case with missing persons, this case was more of a family issue than a true disappearance. From the start, Kasem’s daughter assumed that her father had been kidnapped, and indeed, his wife Jean had removed Kasem from his nursing home. Various legal and familial issues plagued Kasem for the rest of his life, which ended in July of 2014.
8. Perry Saturn – High And Once Homeless
Perry Saturn was never a huge star in professional wrestling, but he left his mark in every promotion he wrestled, winning titles in ECW, WCW and WWE. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to most wrestling fans at the time, Saturn was addicted to a variety of drugs during his tenure in these companies, and has very little memory of his successes. Although he self-describes his problem as having been completely out of control even during the peak of his fame in the late 1990’s, it wasn’t until 2008 when reports started claiming the former WWE European Champion was missing.
Saturn has since been found, and interviews stated what many assumed: his drug abuse caught up to him and he found himself homeless, without any care in the world besides his next high. Luckily, his years as a veteran grappler allowed him the toughness to survive years as a homeless addict, and the former Eliminator now appears to be clean and sober.
7. Amelia Earhart – Disappeared While Flying Across The Globe
Perhaps the most famous celebrity disappearance, Earhard’s fame was more historical than most on this list. As many learned in grade school, Earhart was the first female to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. She attempted to one-up herself and become the first female to circumnavigate the globe, but mysteriously vanished during her efforts.
It isn’t hard to apply Occam’s Razor and give an educated guess at what happened, and many have: her plane crashed somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. However, search efforts lasted several years, and still neither a body nor any evidence of her plane could be found. The world may never have a full answer to her mystery, but her husband George P. Putnam eventually called off his search, officially declaring her “presumed dead” in 1939.
6. Glenn Miller – Plane Disappears Over English Channel
Glenn Miller was one of the most popular and successful bandleaders of the big band jazz era of the 1930’s and 40’s. His #1 hit “In The Mood” is remembered today as perhaps the definitive staple of swing music, still bringing audiences of all ages and generations to their feet and to the dance floor. On December 14, 1944, he boarded a flight to Paris, intending to perform a show for Allied soldiers during World War II. His small plane disappeared over the English Channel, and he was never seen again.
It took seven decades, but in 2014, researchers at the University of Colorado believe they finally figured out exactly what happened. Researcher Dennis Spragg believes the plane was flying low in order to counteract poor visibility, and at the same time, the fuel intakes froze, causing an almost immediate crash. Another popular theory is that Miller’s plane was shot down in a tragic friendly fire incident, but the evidence of that theory was merely circumstantial.
5. Richey Edwards – Possible Suicide, Still Not Found
The Manic Street Preachers formed without Richey Edwards, but as the Welsh rock band first grew in popularity, the guitarist and lyricist became perhaps the group’s most popular member. Shortly after the group released The Holy Bible, arguably their most popular album, the group was set to tour the United States, but the tour had to be canceled, because Edwards was nowhere to be found.
Many of MSPs lyrics focus on self-harm, depression, and the generally chaotic and pained life of Richey Edwards himself, and many presume his disappearance was due to a suicide. Family and friends long stood in opposition to this assumption, but the last known sighting of Edwards was a taxi driver who took him to the Severn Bridge, and many of his lyrics dealt with a life out of control. After thirteen years of mystery, police and family alike seem to have accepted the suicide theory as most likely despite a lack of concrete evidence, legally declaring Edwards “presumed dead” in 2008.
4. Philip Taylor Kramer (Iron Butterfly) – Prolonged Declaration Of Death
Iron Butterfly are best known for their 1968 hit “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida,” but the mysterious last days of bassist Philip Taylor Kramer are nearly as psychedelic. Taylor didn’t join the band until 1974, years after the group’s biggest hit, only a member for Scorching Beauty and Sun And Steel. Neither of the records were successful and are mostly forgotten in the band’s echelon, but the ending to Kramer’s story is bombastic enough to befit a true rock star.
Years after hanging up the guitar, Kramer was in the multimedia technology business, preparing for a relaxing evening with friends on February 14, 1995. On the way to pick up his friends, Kramer suddenly made several short, disturbing phone calls, finally telling a 911 operator that he was going to kill himself. There didn’t seem to be much mystery as to what could have happened, but it was over four years before a body was found. His death was ruled a probable suicide, but the family still has their doubts over the suddenness of the situation.
3. Richard Stanley – Fruit Plantation
The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of H.G. Welles most legendary tales, and though it seems easily adaptable to film, Richard Stanley had one hell of a time attempting to bring the pages to life. Hired by New Line as the director of what could’ve been a blockbuster starring Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando, Stanley’s reputation was only beginning to grow with films like Hardware and Dust Devil. Unfortunately, a tumultuous star and uncontrollable production issues lead to Stanley being fired almost immediately after shooting began.
New Line attempted to send Stanley home to America (the film was being shot in Australia), but Stanley never boarded the flight, disappearing into the Australian jungle. He claims he hid in a fruit plantation for a short time, before sneaking back on set and appearing in the film as an extra. The production was so chaotic it was years before anyone truly understood this bizarre story at all, and it still makes more sense than the film surrounding it ultimately did.
2. Nick Stahl – Lost In Skid Row
It doesn’t matter how famous you are: if you are declared missing having last been seen in Skid Row, your disappearance is related to drug abuse. Such was the case when Rose Stahl, wife of the Terminator 3 and Carnivàle actor, had Nick Stahl declared missing in 2012. The couple recently separated, in part due to serious relationship problems revolving around Stahl’s visitation rights with their daughter.
Stahl reappeared only five days after the report was filed, entering into a 30-day rehab program and apologizing to friends and family for the problems he had caused due to his drug abuse. Unfortunately, Stahl’s problems didn’t end there, as he was arrested twice in the following year.
1. J-Kwon – Quiet Time
J-Kwon wasn’t exactly a huge success, although his single “Tipsy” remains a club staple for party-goers everywhere. Although his only major success was the single released in 2004, it was six years later in February 2010 when his record label claimed he had been missing for months. J-Kwon was one of the first major celebrities to have gone missing during the digital age, and his label, Gracie Productions, even created the twitter handle @WhereIsJKwon to track any possible information on where the rapper had gone.
Social media played its part, and it was only a short while until J-Kwon himself ended the mystery, contacting his manager. The rapper had only wished to take some time off from the music industry, spending his month quietly by himself. Many fans reacted with cynicism, feeling the story is hardly even a story, and looks suspiciously like a publicity stunt.