Thursday, April 1, 2010

Vanishing into thin air

It all sounds like an Agatha Christie novel. Many will say (myself as well) there's a logical explanation to everything, Poirot certainly would. If anything, these situations are examples of ingenuity, hoaxes, crime, then again you never know. On the Unexplained mystery site there are a few unsolved mysteries that border on urban legend rather than fact. Simply a successful crime? A missing wealthy diplomat goes to a crime ridden bar? Well you don't even need to be Sherlock for that.

Disappearing Acts

Child Star disappears without a trace
Promising actor child actor Joseph Pichler (Varsity Blues, The Fan) vanished after a party in the early hours of Jan. 5, 2006. With no signs of foul play his apartment was found unlocked with a television on and his car abandoned parked behind a Mexican restaurant. His file remains an active missing persons case.

The Bennington Triangle

Another take on the Bermuda Triangle or Devil's Sea? There are numerous explanations of why planes and ships have disappeared in the ocean, human error, weather or other 'Acts of God', but this town does sound a bit creepy.

"Between 1920 and 1950, Bennington, Vermont was the site of several completely unexplained disappearances:

* On December 1, 1949, Mr. Tetford vanished from a crowded bus. Tetford was on his way home to Bennington from a trip to St. Albans, Vermont. Tetford, an ex-soldier who lived in the Soldier's Home in Bennington, was sitting on the bus with 14 other passengers. They all testified to seeing him there, sleeping in his seat. When the bus reached its destination, however, Tetford was gone, although his belongings were still on the luggage rack and a bus timetable lay open on his empty seat. Tetford has never returned or been found.

* On December 1, 1946, an 18-year-old student named Paula Welden vanished while taking a walk. Welden was walking along the Long Trail into Glastenbury Mountain. She was seen by a middle-aged couple that was strolling about 100 yards behind her. They lost sight of her when she followed the trail around a rocky outcropping, but when they rounded the outcropping themselves, she was nowhere to be seen. Welden has not been seen nor heard from since.

* In mid-October, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson disappeared from a farm. Paul's mother, who earned a living as an animal caretaker, left her small son happily playing near a pig sty while she tended to the animals. A short time later, she returned to find him missing. An extensive search of the area proved fruitless. "

Disappearing Diplomat

"The British Diplomat who Disappeared: In 1809, British Diplomat, Benjamin Bathurst, was returning to Hamburg with a companion after a mission to the Austrian Court. After stopping to dine at an inn, they approached their horse-drawn carriage. Bathurst’s companion watched as Bathurst walked to the front of the coach to examine the horses, and vanished into thin air. Several sources report the story in a different way. Bathurst left the inn alone after dinner. His German courier, Herr Krause, followed him shortly thereafter. When Krause reached the coach, he was amazed because he found it empty. Bathurst was nowhere to be found. Theories abounded. Then, in the spring of 1852, a house near the inn was demolished and a male human skeleton was found. Autopsy determined the cause of death to be a fractured skull. Even though Bathurst’s sister was called in to identify the skull, the true identity was never confirmed. The mystery of what happened to Benjamin Bathurst remains just that, but as he was a man of wealth and the city near the inn contained a high criminal element, it is highly likely that he was murdered."

Vanished Cripple

Foul play? Not without a body I suppose.

"Owen Parfitt had been paralyzed by a massive stroke. In June, 1763 in Shepton Mallet, England, Parfitt sat outside his sister's home, as was often his habit on warm evenings. Virtually unable to move, the 60-year-old man sat quietly is his nightshirt upon his folded greatcoat. Across the road was a farm where workers were finishing their workday by pooking the hay. At about 7 p.m., Parfitt's sister, Susannah, went outside with a neighbor to help Parfitt move back into the house, as a storm was approaching. But he was gone. Only his folded greatcoat upon which he sat remained. Investigations of this mysterious disappearance were carried out as late as 1933, but no trace or clues to Parfitt's fate were ever uncovered. "

A Colony deserted

"The Disappearing Colony of Roanoke: In 1587, John White founded a colony of 114 men, women and children in the new world on Carolina’s coast. They struggled to survive on Roanoke Island, but as times were tough, John decided to return to England for supplies. When he returned 3 years later, to his amazement the colony had disappeared. He could not find a trace of anyone anywhere, yet personal belonging remained in place, untouched. The only clue spotted was a carving in a tree trunk of the letters CRO."

On there seems a viable explanation. In 1719 over a century after the mysterious desertion, a tribe of Indians just 100 miles inland from Roanoke were discovered to have attributes of unusually light skin, some with gray eyes, who spoke English. The 1790 census was that 54 of the 95 family surnames were of the lost colonists.