Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Unexplained disappearances

Benjamin Bathurst

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 activity, 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 of the day. 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.

Mary Celeste

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. Some say the crew was thrown overboard by a large wave, but no remains were ever found.

Flannan Isles

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.

Ambrose Bierce

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 andTexas, crossing by way of El Paso into Mexico, which was in the throes of revolution. In Ciudad Juárez he joined Pancho Villa's army as an observer, and in that role participated in the battle of Tierra Blanca. Bierce is known to have accompanied Villa's army as far as the city of Chihuahua. 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.

Amelia Earhart

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.

B-47 disappearance

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 and completed their first aerial refueling without incident. After descending through cloud to begin their second refueling, over theMediterranean Sea at 14,000 ft, 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.

Lord Lucan

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.

Frederick Valentich

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 am, 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 a act of kindness. They thought they thought 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 safely to no avail. People from the area call this case, "The Springfield 3"