People who vanish are often declared deceased in their absence, however, the details of their death and when it occurred remain unknown. Some of these individuals may have been victims of forced disappearances, but in some cases, there is not enough information available about what happened to them.
This list includes some of the most inexplicable and unsettling disappearances:
1. Who (And Where) Is DB Cooper?
On November 24, 1971, DB Cooper (also known as Dan Cooper) hijacked a Boeing 727 and successfully extorted $200,000 in ransom money, equivalent to $1 million today, from the US government. He consumed a whisky, smoked a cigarette, and then jumped out of the plane with the ransom money. He was never found or heard from again, and the ransom money was never used.
In 1980, a young boy vacationing with his family in Oregon discovered several packets of the ransom money (identifiable by serial number), which prompted a thorough search of the area for Cooper or his remains. However, nothing was ever found. In 2017, a parachute strap was discovered at one of the possible landing sites for Cooper.
2. The Case Of Bobby Dunbar
In 1912, a four-year-old boy named Bobby Dunbar went missing during a family trip. Eight months later, a child was found and reunited with the Dunbar family, who believed him to be Bobby. Almost 100 years later, DNA testing by his descendants revealed that the child who was reunited with the Dunbar family was not Bobby, but rather a boy named Charles (Bruce) Anderson who bore a resemblance to Bobby. The true fate of Bobby Dunbar remains unknown.
3. Yuki Onishi Just Vanished Into The Thin Air
On April 29, 2005, Yuki Onishi, a five-year-old Japanese girl, went out to dig up bamboo shoots to celebrate Greenery Day. After showing her first shoot to her mother, she ran off to look for more. About 20 minutes later, her mother noticed she was not with the other diggers, and a search began. A police dog was brought in to track her scent, it reached a spot in the nearby forest and then stopped. Four other dogs were brought in, and all led the search party to the same spot. However, no trace of Yuki has ever been found, it is as if she vanished into thin air.
4. Louis Le Prince
Louis Le Prince is credited as the inventor of the motion picture, but Thomas Edison took credit for it after Le Prince's disappearance. It is unclear whether Edison, who was known for his interest in patents, was responsible for Le Prince's disappearance, but it seems unlikely.
In September 1890, Louis Le Prince disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He had been visiting his brother in Dijon, France, and boarded a train to return to Paris. However, when the train arrived in Paris, Le Prince did not disembark. A conductor went to his compartment to fetch him, but upon opening the door, discovered that Le Prince and his luggage were missing.
The train did not make any stops between Dijon and Paris, and it was not possible for Le Prince to have jumped out the window of his compartment as they were locked from the inside. Despite a search of the countryside by the police between Dijon and Paris, no trace of the missing man was ever found. He appears to have vanished without a trace.
There is a possibility that Le Prince never boarded the train, which the police did not consider. Le Prince's brother, Albert, was the one who accompanied him to the train station, it is possible that Albert lied and that he killed his own brother for his inheritance money. However, at this point, it is unlikely that the truth will ever be known.
5. The Disappearance Of Anjikuni Village
In 1932, a Canadian fur trapper visited a village located near Anjikuni Lake in Canada. He was familiar with the village as he frequently traded his fur there and spent his free time.
On this trip, when he arrived at the village, he noticed something was amiss. He found the village to be completely deserted and silent, even though there were signs that people had been there recently.
He then discovered that a fire was still burning, with stew still cooking on it. The doors were open, and food was left out waiting to be prepared, it seemed that the hundreds of villagers of Anjikuni had vanished into thin air. To this day, there is no proper explanation for the mass disappearance of the Anjikuni village.
6. James Edward Tedford
James E. Tedford disappeared without a trace in November 1949. He boarded a bus in St. Albans, Vermont, United States, where he had been visiting family. He was headed to Bennington, Vermont, where he resided in a retirement home.
Fourteen passengers reported seeing Tedford on the bus, sleeping in his seat, after the last stop before Bennington. However, when the bus arrived in Bennington, Tedford was nowhere to be found. His belongings were still on the luggage rack.
Adding to the strangeness of this case is that Tedford's wife had also disappeared some years earlier. Tedford was a WWII veteran and when he returned from the war, he found that his wife had vanished and their property had been abandoned. It is unclear if Tedford's wife had a role in her husband's disappearance or if this is a coincidence. Some people speculate that Tedford's wife may have found a way to take him with her to another dimension.
7. The Crew Of The Navy Blimp L-8
In 1942, a Navy blimp called the L-8 took off from Treasure Island in the Bay Area on a submarine-spotting mission with a two-man crew on board. A few hours later, it returned to land and collided with a house in Daly City. Everything on board was in its proper place and no emergency gear had been used. However, the crew was missing and they were never found.
8. Prabhdeep Srawn's Case
In May 2013, Prabhdeep Srawn, a Canadian military reservist, disappeared while on a hiking trip in Australia. He parked his rented camper and set out on the Main Range Walk in Kosciuszko National Park. A park staff member notified the police when he noticed that the vehicle had not moved for almost a week, despite having only a 24-hour parking pass.
The mysterious aspect of this case is that two park rangers reported hearing a voice that sounded like a cry for help coming from the area where Srawn disappeared. Despite this, searchers were unable to locate Srawn, and the source of the voice remains a mystery.
9. Elizabeth O'Pray
In March 2016, Elizabeth O'Pray, a 77-year-old woman who lived in the Blue Mountains area of Australia, went missing.
O'Pray went missing while walking on one of the trails in the Blue Mountains and got lost. One day after her family reported her missing, rescuers were able to reach her on her mobile phone, she stated she was okay but had no idea of her whereabouts. A few days later, both residents in the area and police reported hearing screams for help, but despite this, searchers were unable to locate her.
Until now, Elizabeth O'Pray has not been found. At the time of her disappearance, she was reportedly taking medication for a stroke which can cause confusion, this might explain why she got lost. However, it does not explain how searchers were unable to locate her after having spoken to her on the phone and hearing her cries for help.
10. Damian McKenzie
In his book "Missing 411", author David Paulides describes the mysterious case of Damian McKenzie. McKenzie was a 10-year-old boy who vanished on September 4, 1974, while on a camping trip to Victoria Falls with a group of 40 students. The group was on a hike to the top of the falls when they noticed that Damian was missing.
According to one of the other children who were on the camping trip, searchers followed Damian's footprints all the way up one side of the falls, but the footprints abruptly stopped, as if something had taken him away. No one saw any suspicious individuals in the area, and canine tracking dogs were unable to pick up a scent trail. The boy was never found, it appears as if Damian was suddenly taken away, leaving an incomplete trail of footprints.
11. Disappearance Of David Lang
David Lang, a farmer, vanished on September 23rd, 1880 in front of his family and friends as he was walking across a field towards them, waving 'hello'. Despite extensive searches, no trace of him was ever found. The disappearance was a great tragedy for the Lang family, but Mrs. Lang refused to relocate until her husband was found.
Seven months after David Lang's disappearance, their daughter heard her father's cries for help while playing. Upon investigating, she discovered a circle of dead grass in the spot where he was last seen. She screamed for her mother and together they saw the circle of dead grass, but no longer heard David's cries. This event deeply frightened Mrs. Lang and she finally decided to move her family to another town.
12. The Disappearance Of Jim Sullivan
In 1975, 35-year-old musician Jim Sullivan, who loved the open road, embarked on a solo road trip. He left his wife and son in Los Angeles and headed to Nashville in his Volkswagen Beetle. It is said that he checked into La Mesa Hotel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, but did not stay overnight.
The following day, Jim Sullivan was spotted 30 miles away from the hotel at a ranch, walking away from his car, which was filled with his guitar, money and all his belongings. He then disappeared without a trace. As Sullivan had released his debut album, U.F.O, in 1969, many conspiracy theorists believed that he had been abducted by aliens.
13. Sodder Children Evaporated
On Christmas Eve 1945, the house of George and Jennie Sodder was burned to the ground. After the fire, five of their children were missing and were assumed to have died. However, no remains were ever discovered and the fire did not produce any smell of burning flesh. The fire was ruled as an accident caused by faulty wiring in the Christmas tree lights. But it was strange that the electricity in the house still functioned when the fire began.
In 1968, the Sodders received an unusual note and photo, supposedly from their son Louis. The envelope was postmarked from Kentucky and had no return address. The Sodders hired a private investigator to investigate the matter, but he vanished and never reached out to the Sodders again.
14. The Disappearance Of Brandon Swanson
At around 12:01 am on May 14, 2008, 19-year-old Brandon Swanson from Marshall, Minnesota, USA, crashed his car into a ditch while driving home from celebrating the end of the spring semester with fellow students from Minnesota West Community and Technical College's Canby campus.
Unharmed, he got out of the car and called his parents on his cellphone. He was uncertain of his location and told them he thought he was close to Lynd, a city in Lyon County. His parents set out to pick him up but were unable to find him. Swanson stayed on the phone with them until he suddenly ended the call 45 minutes later after exclaiming "Oh, shit!"
His car was later found abandoned in the ditch as he had described, but there was no city in the vicinity where he was last known to be walking. He has not been seen or heard from since, and the case remains unsolved.
15. The Strange Disappearance Of Owen Parfitt
The mysterious disappearance of Mr. Owen Parfitt in the 1760s is made even more perplexing by the fact that he was unable to move or walk on his own. He lived with his sister, who was responsible for taking care of him, including moving him around the house, to the toilet, and outside for fresh air. One day, she went to find him in his usual chair on the front porch but found only his coat. No one in the town saw anyone moving Mr. Parfitt and he vanished without a trace.
16. The Unexplained Disappearance Of Brian Shaffer
Brian Shaffer, an Ohio State University medical student, went out for an evening with his friends. They lost sight of him at the bar during the night and assumed that he had gone home or left with a girl without telling them. When he failed to show up or call, they contacted the authorities.
Despite thorough investigations, no evidence of any foul play was found. The security cameras showed Brian entering the bar that night but not exiting. Some speculate that he may have been a victim of the alleged "Smiley Face Killer."
Bonus: The Man From Taured
In 1954, a mysterious man arrived at Tokyo International Airport. When security personnel were checking his documents and asked him to indicate his country on a map, he pointed to Andorra. He claimed that his country's name was Taured, which had existed for 1,000 years and he had never heard of Andorra before.
However, security personnel had never heard of Taured. His passport, driver's license, and checkbook supported his story. Confused officials sent him to a nearby hotel and posted two guards outside to keep watch over him. The following morning, the man disappeared without a trace and was never found again.
The Lost Stranger Jophar Vorin
A story of a disoriented stranger named "Jophar Vorin" (also known as "Joseph Vorin") who claimed to be a time traveler was mentioned in the April 5th, 1851 issue of the British Journal Athenaeum. He was found wandering in a small village near Frankfurt, Germany and had no recollection of how he arrived or where he was. Along with his broken German, the traveler spoke and wrote in two other unknown languages he referred to as Laxarian and Abramian.
According to Jophar Vorin, he was from a country called Laxaria, located in a well-known region called Sakria that was separated from Europe by a vast ocean. He claimed that his purpose for traveling to Europe was to find a long-lost brother, but he had suffered a shipwreck during the voyage - he did not know where - and could not retrace his route on any map of the world.
Jophar also stated that his religion was Christian in form and doctrine, and that it was called Ispatian. He demonstrated a significant amount of geographical knowledge that he inherited from his people. He referred to the five great sections of the earth as Sakria, Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar. Whether the man was a common impostor who deceived the villagers by claiming to be Jophar Vorin or if he was truly a lost time traveler from an unknown place remains a mystery to this day.