In America, a child goes missing every 40 seconds in the United States. Up to 800,000 children a year disappear without a trace and every day, approximately 2000 people are reported missing. To the horror of family, friends and often the world, many of them are never found. Where they are and what happened to them often remains an unsolved mystery.
In most cases, criminal investigators can piece together a series of events that led to their disappearance and, with dedication and skill, can track the disappeared down. Even in the tragic cases when the missing people aren't found alive, a sense of closure about why they disappeared and who was responsible is still possible. But what about the people who seem to disappear into thin air, leaving no traces as to where they went, leaving investigators and the public baffled?
Many of these people are adults who have no known enemies and who have never exhibited any signs that they would leave. They simply vanish with no signs of struggle or violence, as if they never existed. Here, we've compiled information on some of the most famous and mysterious cases of people vanishing, seemingly into thin air. Some of their stories leave chills down your spine while others simply perplexed the world. Where did they go? Where they ever found? And if not, will their long-standing cases ever be solved?
10 Bettie Page
Bettie Page, the famous pin-up girl often credited for sparking the sexual revolution, suddenly disappeared from the public eye in the late 1950s, baffling thousands. She never told the public the events that surrounded her disappearance, nor did she ever offer any reasons. However, Page was not kidnapped, nor was she murdered. For three decades during her disappearance, she was never photographed. She led a life that included marriages, poverty and mental illness and died in 2008 at the age of 85.
9 Louis Le Prince
Louis Le Prince is credited for inventing the first ever moving picture film. In 1886, at a workshop in New York City, he developed a 16-lens camera and filmed moving sequences. His work with cameras and film was before the work of the famous inventor Thomas Edison. One day in 1890, while traveling in France to visit his brother, Le Prince mysteriously vanished from a train bound for Paris. Despite investigations, no clues surrounding his disappearance were uncovered. He was never seen again. Some theories that explain his disappearance include suicide, assassination and accidental death by drowning.
8 Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce was a moderately successful journalist, editor and writer who became known for his satirical book, The Devil’s Dictionary. Amidst the Mexican revolution in 1913, Bierce travelled by horseback across the Rio Grande. It was there he completely vanished, leaving the world mystified. Although it’s likely Bierce was somehow taken or killed among the violence of the revolution, there is no evidence to suggest that this is what occurred. However, Bierce was known for his brooding and depressing literature: Suicide cannot necessarily be ruled out. In his last letter, he wrote: “Good-bye. If you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags, please know that I think it is a pretty good way to depart this life.”
7 Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie was an English mystery novelist in the early 1900s. In December 1926, Christie left the town of Surrey in her car. Not long after, and not far from her home, her car was found teetering over a cliff. But Christie was not in the car, nor was she anywhere near the scene of the accident. She had vanished without explanation. Over 1000 police and volunteers searched for her, but she could not be found. Thankfully, after horrifying not only her family but thousands of concerned citizens, she was found 11 days later in a hotel room. She has rarely spoken about why she disappeared, and why she did it in such a way that would suggest she might have been killed.
6 The Crew of the MV Joyita
In 1955, 25 people on board the maiden voyage of the fishing ship MV Joyita completely disappeared. Even today, there is no explanation of what happened to the crew. The trip from Western Samoa to Fakaofo in the Tokelau Islands should have taken no longer than 48 hours. But the ship never arrived. No distress messages, foul play, or violence were suspected to have occurred on board. Finally, five weeks later, the ship was found adrift without crew or cargo. After a panel of commissioners reviewed the evidence of its disappearance, they concluded that there was nothing that could conclusively explain the fate of the crew.
5 Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was one of the most famous aviation pioneers in American history. She became even more famous because of the events surrounding her mysterious demise. In 1937, she and her navigator disappeared into thin air while flying over the Pacific ocean. No radio messages before or during the disappearance have ever been confirmed as being sent by her. According to new research, over half of the 100 sent messages are confirmed as not having come from her at all. There are many theories about her disappearance, the most obvious of which is crashing at sea (albeit due to mysterious causes). The others theories include capture by the Japanese military and landing on an island to eventually die without ever being located.
4 Stratojet B-47 Bomber
In 1956, a Stratojet B-47 bomber with an unarmed nuclear payload left an air force base in Florida to fly over the Mediterranean Sea. The bomber did not make contact with the tanker plane while it was set to begin its second in-air refuelling. The bomber vanished from the sky and no wreckage or debris was ever found, even after extensive investigations. Despite exhausting searches, the plane, crew and nuclear payload was never located. The crew was pronounced dead.
3 Maura Murray
One day in 2004, college student Maura Murray lied and told her professors that she had a death in the family. She got in her car and left the college campus. She crashed her car somewhere in New Hampshire. When emergency officials arrived at the scene, Murray was nowhere to be found. She had completely disappeared without a trace. A neighbour close by who saw the crash asked Murray if they should call the police. Even though she said no, the neighbour called anyway. When the police arrived, Murray was already gone. The neighbour was the last person to ever see or speak to Murray. There is no evidence to suggest criminal activity like kidnapping or murder.
2 2. April Fabb
April Fabb was 13-years old when she completely vanished while bicycling close to her home in Cromer, United Kingdom, in 1969. Nobody has been named since then as responsible for her disappearance. Investigators were unable to find any compelling evidence that would suggest she was kidnapped, and nothing about Fabb herself suggested she would run away. Ex Detective Chief Supt Morson said that it was a “complete mystery how a girl can disappear in a few minutes on a open country road.” Eerily, April’s birthday and the month of her mother’s death were all in April. April would be 58 years old if she were here today.
1 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
In early 2014, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, vanished from radar while flying over Vietnamese airspace. Malaysia Airlines officials said that the Boeing 777 sent no distress signals and no wreckage could be found. All contact with the plane was lost. The plane, along with everyone board, simply disappeared. Extensive searches from multiple nations have turned up nothing since contact was lost. Possible explanations for the disappearance include terrorist attacks orchestrated by passengers or crew, but nothing has been confirmed. The missing flight is still a mystery.