57 Mysterious Celebrity Disappearances That Can't Be Explained
By Jack Ripley | October 2, 2023
Get ready for a fascinating adventure into the world of celebrity disappearances. We will explore the intriguing stories of famous individuals who have mysteriously vanished. Some have been found, while others remain missing, leaving a sense of mystery and fascination. From rockstar Kurt Cobain to comedian Andy Kaufman, we'll delve into the realms of music, comedy, literature, and even aviation.
We'll uncover the baffling disappearance of crime novelist Agatha Christie and ponder the curious final days of Jim Morrison, the legendary Doors frontman. Together, we'll unravel theories, speculations, and unanswered questions, driven by our curiosity to uncover the truth. Get ready to be captivated and inspired as we embark on this captivating journey.
Kurt Cobain is known for his musical work with the band Nirvana. The band's groundbreaking 1991 album Nevermind became the defining soundtrack for a generation grappling with disillusionmen. As Nirvana's popularity skyrocketed, Cobain struggled with the pressures of fame, battling personal demons and substance abuse. On March 4, 1994, Cobain was hospitalized in Rome, Italy, after overdosing on a combination of champagne and Rohypnol. On March 30, he entered a rehab clinic in Los Angeles, just to leave the next day. His wife, Courtney Love, hired a private investigator to locate him to no avail, until April 8, when Cobain's body was discovered at his Seattle home by an electrician who had come to install a security system. The 27-year-old musician had died from an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, leaving behind a note that detailed his disillusionment with life and the music industry.
Jim Morrison was the lead singer and lyricist of The Doors, known for his devil-may-care attitude and poetic words. Behind the scenes, Morrison struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. His erratic behavior and run-ins with the law only added to the mystique of the "Lizard King," as he was sometimes known. In 1971, Morrison took a hiatus from The Doors and moved to Paris, France, with the aim of focusing on his writing and escaping the pressures of fame. Sadly here is where the world lost Morrison.
On July 3, 1971, Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment by his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. The official cause of death was listed as heart failure, although no autopsy was performed due to the lack of any apparent signs of foul play. This lack of a thorough investigation fueled speculation, including the idea that Morrison faked his own death to escape the pressures of fame and live out his life in anonymity. There have been "sightings" of Morrison in Schenectady, New York, and rumors that he was living in Oregon under the name Will Loyer as recently as 2016. What are the odds?
Sinead O'Connor rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with her hauntingly beautiful voice and powerful, emotive songwriting. Her heartfelt renditions of songs like "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Troy" touched millions of hearts around the globe. A fierce advocate for human rights and outspoken critic of the Catholic Church, Sinead never shied away from using her platform to voice her opinions. One morning in 2016, O'Connor went out for a bike ride in a Chicago suburb, and posted an incoherent message to social media about 3 hours she was last seen. An unnamed caller alerted the police, expressing her concern for her wellbeing. Luckily, O'Connor was found safe and unharmed by the next day.
This one's a little different. Andy Kaufman, renowned comedian, died in 1984 at age 35. The cause of death was lung cancer, and his official death certificate confirming his death and burial was released. Yet many of those closest to him refused to believe he was dead. Kaufman was known for his pranks, and many family and friends - notably his brother - insisted that his death was just one of them, and that Andy was simply in hiding.
Kaufman had apparently talked about elaborately faking his death for years beforehand, so they assumed it was finally happening. In 2014, Bob Zmuda, Andy's long-time friend, and Lynn Marguiles, released a book titled Andy Kaufman: The Truth, Finally, which asserted that his death was a hoax, and that he would be coming out of hiding imminently as Kaufman had claimed that the time limit on the prank was 30 years. He still has not reappeared.
Born in 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia Earhart was a groundbreaking pilot and feminist icon. She set numerous altitude and speed records throughout her career in the aviation world, and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In June 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, set out on a 29,000-mile journey to travel across the globe - a voyage they would never finish. In July, while attempting to locate the remote Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, contact with Earhart's plane was suddenly lost.
Despite extensive search efforts, no trace of Earhart and Noonan was ever found. One theory is that they crash-landed into the pacific and drowned; another is that they made an emergency landing on the nearby uninhabited island of Nikumaroro, eventually succumbing to the elements. The discovery of various artifacts on the island, such as clothing remnants, has lent credence to this theory, but nothing conclusive has been found.
Jimmy Hoffa was a charismatic and polarizing labor leader, serving as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1957 to 1971. His close ties to organized crime figures made him a formidable force in American politics and would ultimately lead to his downfall, as he served nearly five years in prison for fraud and jury tampering before being pardoned by President Nixon in 1971.
On July 30, 1975, Hoffa disappeared without a trace after leaving for a meeting with reputed mobsters Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano and Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Though it's been widely accepted that he was murdered by the mob, others speculate that he went into hiding from them, as his body was never found. So, a murder or a new start? It's unlikely we'll ever know.
On the morning of February 1, 1995, Richey Edwards, the enigmatic lyricist and guitarist of the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers, mysteriously vanished. Known for his dark, angsty lyrics, Edwards was originally the roadie for Manic Street Preachers before becoming an official member in the late 80s. Though Edwards was known for odd behavior - most famously, carving the words "4 REAL" into his arm during an interview with a skeptical journalist - he was behaving especially strangely before his disappearance. For the two weeks prior, he withdrew £200 a day, and he gifted his friends various books and poems.He also sent his on/off girlfriend a package with books, pictures, and a note saying: "I love you." The day he went missing, Edwards' skipped a scheduled flight with his bandmate.
His passport, medication, and personal items were left at his apartment, and his car was later found abandoned near the Severn Bridge, a spot infamous for suicides. Though some say this was a clear cut suicide, others argue that suicide was something Edwards would never consider. Though no conclusive trace of Richey Edwards was ever found, alleged sightings of him popped up from Spain to India.
Australia’s Prime Minister Harold Holt
Harold Holt had been Australia's Prime Minister for less than two years when he vanished off the coast of Victoria on December 17, 1967. Accompanied by friends, Holt visited Cheviot Beach, where he took a swim while others sunbathed and chatted. As his friends watched in horror, Holt was pulled under and never seen again. The search for Holt - or at least his body - was started immediately by amateur divers, helicopters, watercraft, police divers, and two naval diving teams, but he was gone for good.
It is generally accepted, of course, that Holt was pulled under by a rip current and drowned. The mystery of this case lies in why Holt would go into the water in the first place. He was a renowned outdoorsman, spearfisherman, and seasoned swimmer. He was very familiar with Cheviot Beach, and could clearly tell (as could the friends that accompanied him) that it was dangerous to swim that day, as there were large swells, visible currents, and a strong, dangerous undertow. So why did Holt swim that day? Was this perhaps an act of suicide?
Holt's offhand, jovial comments about drowning add a layer of eeriness to the whole affair. When his friends mentioned how dangerous his spearfishing hobby was, Holt laughed and asked, "What are the odds of a prime minister being drowned?" And only 6 months prior to his disappearance, after an incident with a leaking snorkel, Holt remarked:
"That's the closest I have ever been to drowning in my life!"
Musician Connie Converse
Born Elizabeth Eaton Converse in 1924, Connie was a talented woman in pursuit of her passions. She moved away from her sleepy hometown of Laconia, NH, to bustling New York City , where she crafted intimate songs about love, loss, and existential longing. She also wrote poetry and essays, and created visual art. By the 1960's, Converse was growing frustrated with her lack of success in the music scene, and decided to move to Ann Arbor, MI to take a writing job with the Journal of Conflict Resolution - which shut down a few years after she started.
In 1974, with medical issues taking a toll on her mental health, and feeling like her career was going nowhere, Converse wrote a series of letters to her friends and family lamenting her life circumstances and emphasizing the need for a fresh start. After sending these letters, Connie Converse packed up her Volkswagen Beetle and disappeared. Despite exhaustive efforts by Connie's family and friends, her whereabouts have remained a mystery. Over the years, many theories have surfaced about her fate, from suicide to starting a new life under a different identity. Some have even speculated that she may have joined a commune or ended up living in seclusion.
You might recognize Julian Sands from successful films such as A Room with a View, Gothic, and The Killing Fields. He has continued his impressive film and television career even in his later years, but unfortunately made headlines in early 2023 for different reasons. On the evening of January 23, 2023, the British actor was reported missing by his wife when he didn't return from his planned hike on Mount Baldy in Southern California. Over the past few months, diligent search efforts have been performed by foot, helicopter, and drone, but with no success. The spring weather brought many storms to the Mount Baldy area, adding even more hurdles for search and rescue teams. Henry Sands gave this statement about the hunt for his father, which remains ongoing at the time this article was written:
"There is nothing really further to say at this point other than to reinforce my deepest gratitude for the love and support my family and I have received. I look forward to the search resuming as soon as the weather improves and the ground conditions are safe and feasible to do so."
In June 2022, after a series of arrests in Hawaii for harassment and assault, actor Ezra Miller was nowhere to be found. The nonbinary actor, known for their roles in Fantastic Beasts and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, posted several cryptic messages to their Instagram stories before deleting their account entirely:
"You cannot touch me, I am in another universe"
"Message from another dimension."
"I am shielded from negative people & their ill intent. My spirit, mind, body, soul + success are not altered by anyone's envy. I am protected from all negative [energy] people attempt to throw at me. Subconsciously & consciously. I clear any & all hidden peers who are hidden enemies."
Many assumed Miller was on the run, as they recently had been accused of grooming by the parents of Tokata Iron Eyes, an 18 year old activist whose relationship with Miller began at the age of 12, when Miller was 23. According to the parents, Miller used "violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs" to control Tokata. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court issued an order of protection, but were unable to locate Miller to serve the order.
Folk-Rocker Jim Sullivan
Born in 1940 in San Diego, California, Jim Sullivan was a gifted singer-songwriter whose music was defined by his rich, soulful voice and introspective lyrics. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Sullivan established a reputation in the Los Angeles music scene, releasing the albums U.F.O and Jim Sullivan. In March 1975, Sullivan embarked on a solo road trip from Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving in Santa Rosa, NM on March 5th.
He checked into La Mesa Motel, though some reports suggest he did not sleep there. He was last seen the following day at a remote ranch in the New Mexico desert, walking away from his car. His car was found where he left it, with his guitar, wallet, and other personal belongings abandoned inside. Some have speculated that Sullivans may have wandered into the desert, succumbing to the harsh elements or becoming lost. Others have suggested foul play. Others, because of the name of his first album, have even suggested alien abduction. Now that would be a twist. Bittersweetly enough, Sullivan's records, specifically U.F.O, gained a cult following after his disappearance.
In 2014, energetic fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared without warning, leaving fans and friends alike bewildered and concerned. In the weeks preceding his abrupt retreat from the public eye, Simmons seemed to be in good spirits...and then, nothing. For literal years, the world saw nothing of Simmons, and struggled to theorize why. Was it a self-imposed exile due to mounting health issues? Had he been kidnapped or held against his will?
Concerns kept growing, to the point that even a podcast, Missing Richard Simmons started airing, publicly questioning his whereabouts. Then, in a surprising turn of events, Simmons resurfaced in 2016, albeit only through a phone interview. Since then, he continues to reassure his fans through interviews, social media posts, and statements from his rep that he is healthy, happy, and enjoying his private life away from the glare of the public eye. We're so happy this story had a happy ending!
NBA Star Bison Dele
Born as Brian Carson Williams on April 6, 1969, this NBA player adopted the name Bison Dele to honor his Native American and African ancestry. Standing at an imposing 6 foot 11 , Dele's impressive skills led him to stints with several renowned teams, including the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, and the Detroit Pistons. It was in the summer of 2002, after his early retirement, that Bison Dele disappeared. Dele set out on a journey across the South Pacific on a private catamaran, along with his girlfriend, Serena Karlan, his brother, Miles Dabord, and their skipper, Bertrand Saldo...only for all four occupants to seemingly vanish into thin air.
It wasn't until September 5, 2002, when Dele's brother was apprehended in Phoenix, Arizona, that the sinister undercurrent of the story began to emerge. Dabord had been attempting to purchase gold using his brother's identification, raising suspicions and alerting the FBI to his presence. Dabord claimed that a heated argument between Dele and Saldo had led to a violent confrontation, resulting in the accidental deaths of Dele, Karlan, and Saldo...so Dabord disposed of the bodies and scuttled the boat. Tragically, before any further details could be unearthed, Williams committed suicide, taking with him the last vestiges of truth behind the baffling disappearance of Bison Dele and his companions.
Ok, so are you a celebrity if no one actually knows who you are? We're counting it either way. "D.B. Cooper" is the byname for the unidentified person responsible for the 1971 hijacking of Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305, although the pseudonym the hijacker went by was actually "Dan Cooper". Claiming to have a bomb, Cooper demanded $200,000 in ransom and parachuted into the night, never to be seen again. Due to the weather at the time and the parachute landing zone, many speculate that Cooper did not survive the drop. On the other hand, over 1000 potential suspects have been processed by the FBI - but with barely more than a composite sketch to go on, who can be sure?
In 1926, the world was captivated by yet another Agatha Christie mystery - although this time, it didn't spring from the pages of her books, but from her very own life. At the age of 36, Christie's personal life was in turmoil. Her mother, Clara, had passed away earlier that year and her husband, Colonel Archibald Christie was demanding a divorce, after revealing his ongoing affair with a younger woman, Nancy Neale. On a December evening, Agatha Christie kissed her sleeping daughter Rosalind goodnight, left a letter for her secretary, and disappeared. The next morning, her car and personal possessions were found abandoned near a quarry, sparking a media frenzy. Thousands of police officers, volunteers, and even airplanes were mobilized in the quest to find the missing author, but to no avail...until 11 days later, when she was found safe and sound in a spa hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, registered under her husband's mistress's last name. Agatha claimed to have no memory of how she had arrived there, or what had transpired in those 11 days, which some attribute to psychogenic amnesia or a nervous breakdown. Others remain skeptical, speculating that it was all a clever publicity stunt. If only we had Hercule Poirot around to solve this mystery!
Born in 1955, "Bambi Woods" would later adopt her now-infamous stage name as she entered the adult film industry, starring in the notorious "Debbie Does Dallas" in 1979. The film was a huge hit, but Woods seemed disinterested in the adult industry, never appearing in any films outside the "Debbie" franchise. By the mid 1980's, she had completely and inexplicably vanished from the public eye. A 2005 article claimed that Woods died from a drug overdose in 1986, while a Channel 4 documentary from the same year said she was living happily in Iowa, wanting nothing to do with fame. However, concrete information about Bambi Woods' fate has proven elusive to the general public, leaving the truth shrouded in uncertainty.
Oscar Zeta Acosta
"The body was never found, but we surmise that probably, knowing the people he was involved with, he ended up mouthing off, getting into a fight, and getting killed."
Harlem Globetrotter Rico Harris
Standing at 6 feet 9 inches, Rico Harris was a powerhouse on the basketball court, a gifted athlete with a promising future ahead. Despite a troubled past involving substance abuse, Harris fought hard to overcome his demons, eventually signing with the Harlem Globetrotters. Unfortunately, life had other plans. Injuries, along with personal struggles, led Harris to retire from basketball, but he refused to be defeated. He turned his life around, obtaining a job as a security guard at a construction site, and navigating a long-term, live-in relationship. On the morning of October 10th, Harris was on his way back to Seattle after visiting his family in Alhambra, CA. At 10:45 AM, he called his girlfriend, Jennifer Song, with the cryptic message that he was headed "up into the mountains to rest". At 11:15 AM he turned his phone off, and no one has seen him since.
Song waited for several days to report him missing, wondering if he would return. But as days passed and he missed a job interview, she reported him missing on October 14. Harris' abandoned car was discovered on a remote stretch of State Route 16 in Yolo County, CA, with his wallet, cell phone and drivers license, but despite an exhaustive search of the area, not a single trace of the former basketball star was found.
'80s Rocker Scott Smith
Born Donald Scott Smith, Scott Smith always had music in his blood. He grew up playing guitar, then switched to bass at the age of 12, eventually playing for the band Loverboy to bring us hits like "Working For The Weekend" and "Lovin' Every Minute Of It". After Loverboy disbanded in 1988, Smith continued down the musical road, as a radio DJ and in the band Dangerous until Loverboy reunited. Tragically, his career was cut short in 2000, when a huge wave swept him off his boat near the Golden Gate Bridge. Although presumed dead, Smith has been listed as missing for the last 22 years.
Glenn Miller was a prominent trombonist, composer and bandleader, captivating audiences with his innovative and irresistible swing sound. Under his direction, the Glenn Miller Orchestra became one of the most successful and iconic ensembles of the early 1900's, achieving an unprecedented level of popularity that would later be remembered as the height of the "Big Band" era. However, as World War II raged on, Miller felt compelled to enlist. He was assigned to the Army Air Force Band, boosting morale and entertaining the troops with his music. In 1944, Miller was en route to France when his plane vanished over the English Channel, though the Air Force didn't realize it was gone till 3 days later. Though remains of the plane and its occupants have never been recovered, an investigation reported that the aircraft went down due to a combination of combination of .human error, mechanical failure and weather.
Politician Hale Boggs
Thomas Hale Boggs Sr., born on February 15, 1914, represented Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District for over three decades and served as the Democratic House Majority Leader from 1971 until his disappearance in 1972. As the majority leader, Boggs ventured out to Alaska to aid Congressman Begich in his campaign, where they boarded a twin engine Cessna airplane to travel from Anchorage to Juneau, along with Pilot Don Jonz and Begich's aid, Russell Brown. Tragically, the plane never made it to Juneau. As hours passed and radio silence from the aircraft persisted, it became clear that something had gone terribly wrong. A 39-day long search ensued, with military and civilian aircraft scouring the Alaskan landscape for any trace of the missing plane, but no wreckage, debris, or sign of the four passengers was ever found. The search was eventually called off, and Boggs and Begich were declared dead in absentia.
Sean Flynn, Son Of Famed Errol Flynn
Born on May 31, 1941, in Los Angeles, Sean Flynn grew up in the shadow of his father Errol's fame. As the son of a celebrated actor, he was expected to follow in his father's footsteps, and for a time, he did. Flynn landed roles in films and television shows - even a couple spaghetti westerns - but eventually ventured into the world of photojournalism. Armed with a camera and a determination to tell the stories of those fighting on the front lines, he soon made a name for himself with his war photography, specifically in Vietnam. In April 6, 1970, Flynn and fellow photojournalist Dana Stone were captured at a Viet Cong checkpoint on their way to Ho Chi Minh City. Another journalist, Steve Bell, managed to snap a photograph of them being marched away to the tree line - and that was the last time they were seen. It is assumed, sadly, that Flynn and Stone were killed by either the Viet Cong or Khmer Rouge, and both were declared dead in absentia.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was an enigmatic French author and pioneering aviator best known for his beloved novella The Little Prince. As a pilot for the Free French Air Force, he flew reconnaissance missions over enemy territory in North Africa and the Mediterranean, gathering intelligence and aiding the Allied forces. On July 31, 1944, Saint-Exupéry took off from the island of Corsica for yet another reconnaissance mission - one from which he would never return. It wasn't until 1998, when a fisherman off the coast of Marseille discovered a silver bracelet bearing the name of Saint-Exupéry, that the first tangible clue to the aviator's fate emerged. In 2000, a diver located the wreckage of a P-38 Lightning in the same area, and investigations confirmed that it was indeed Saint-Exupery's plane. The discovery of the wreckage and the bracelet provided some closure, but the exact details of Saint-Exupéry's final moments remain a mystery. Was it a tragic accident, or the result of a fateful encounter with an enemy aircraft? The answer may never be known.
Michael Rockefeller, born on May 18, 1938, was the youngest son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the great-grandson of the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. In 1961, after graduating from Harvard University, Michael set out towards the Asmat region of Papua, captivated by a sense of exploration and a yearning to understand the customs and traditions of the Asmat people. He found a sense of accomplishment in his work, writing home:
"I am having a thoroughly exhausting but most exciting time here ... The Asmat is like a huge puzzle with the variations in ceremony and art style forming the pieces. My trips are enabling me to comprehend (if only in a superficial, rudimentary manner) the nature of this puzzle ..."
On November 17, 1961, Rockefeller's vessel capsized, stranding the young explorer and his fellow traveler. Determined to get help, Rockefeller decided to swim the 14 miles to shore. His companion, Wassing, was rescued the next day, but Rockefeller was never seen again. Many presumed he had perished from drowning or exposure, or even an encounter with a shark or saltwater crocodile, but some theorize he met a darker fate in the village of Otsjantep, where the Asmat people still engaged in headhunting and cannibalism.
Theodosia Burr Alston
The only child of Aaron Burr, Theodosia Burr was raised amidst the chaos and strife of the fledgling United States. In December 1812, with the War of 1812 raging between the United States and Great Britain, Theodosia, now married to Joseph Alston, the governor of South Carolina, decided to journey from Charleston to New York City to reunite with her father. Grieving the recent loss of her only child, she sought comfort in her father's arms. Theodosia boarded the Patriot, a speedy schooner that once served as a privateer during the war. The ship set sail on December 31, and disappeared without a trace. Some believed the ship had been sunk by a British warship or had fallen victim to pirates, while others suspected a violent storm had claimed the vessel. Despite exhaustive searches and investigations, no wreckage or debris was ever found, leaving the fate of Theodosia and the Patriot a haunting mystery.
Born on June 24, 1842, in rural Ohio, Ambrose Bierce was a celebrated writer and journalist shaped by the chaos of the American Civil War. Having enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 19, he was no stranger to the horrors of conflict, and his experiences undoubtedly contributed to his bitingly macabre writing. His short stories, such as "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", displayed his talent for crafting vivid and suspenseful narratives, and he was known to be an uncompromising critic, earning him the nickname "Bitter Bierce." Along with his literary success, Bierce's enigmatic disappearance secured his place in the annals of history. In 1913, at the age of 71, Bierce set off on a tour of his old Civil War battlefields. Some reports have him passing through Mexico, following Pancho Villa's army to view the Battle of Tierra Blanca. The last trace of Bierce was a letter from Chihuahua, Mexico, which ended with:
"As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination."
Some believe he was executed by Mexican revolutionary forces, while others speculate that he perished in the harsh Mexican wilderness. Yet another theory suggests that Bierce, disillusioned with life, may have taken his own. Nevertheless, his ultimate fate remains unknown, lending an air of mystique to his already extraordinary life.
Born Richard John Bingham, this British aristocrat and 7th Earl of Lucan was a regular fixture at London's most exclusive clubs, a professional gambler, and a father of 3. His marriage to Veronica Duncan was marred by acrimony and strife, eventually leading to a nasty divorce and custody battle. Obsessed with regaining custody and and on a losing gambling streak, Lord Lucan's personal life was not looking great in 1974. On the night of November 7th, he attacked his ex-wife and murdered the family nanny, Sandra Rivett. After telephoning his mother to pick up the kids, Lucan vanished, leaving his bloodstained car behind. Although he has never been located - and there have been hundreds of alleged sightings over the years - Lucan was declared dead in 1999.
Wealthy, highly-educated, and well-connected, Dorothy Harriet Camille Arnold had all the trappings of a charmed life. In the early 1900s, Arnold chased a career in writing within the glittering social circles of New York City's elite, enjoying her family's wealth and status along the way. On December 12th, 1910, a friend happened upon her shopping on 5th avenue, dressed stylishly as usual. Arnold told the friend, Gladys King, that she was headed through Central Park, and waved goodbye. Tragically, this was her last sighting. Afraid of negative attention from the press, Arnold's family didn't report her missing for weeks, losing valuable time searching. While her father eventually became convinced she was attacked and killed in Central Park, her mother maintained the hope that Dorothy was alive. A family friend who took part in the investigation believed she committed suicide due to the fact that her career had not taken off. Despite numerous theories and even more alleged sightings, the truth of Dorothy's fate has never been uncovered, leaving behind a century-old enigma that continues to fascinate and perplex.
“Sweet Jimmy” Robinson
Born 1925 in Kansas City, MO, James W. Robinson, better known as "Sweet Jimmy," was a talented boxer who possessed a natural flair for the sport. The pinnacle of Sweet Jimmy's career arrived in February of 1961, when he faced the legendary Muhammad Ali, then still known as Cassius Clay, in a bout held in Miami Beach. Though Robinson was ultimately defeated in the first round, the fight was a memorable chapter in his boxing journey. After his retirement in 1963, Robinson became a fixture in his Miami neighborhood pool halls. In 2003, sports journalist Wright Thompson set out on what would become a 6 year journey to locate Sweet Jimmy with no success. Despite numerous leads and countless interviews, Robinson's trail ultimately led to a dead end.
Swedish Director Daniel Lind Lagerlöf
Born on September 26, 1969, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Daniel Lind Lagerlöf quickly made a name for himself as a talented and visionary director. His directing credits include movies such as Beck and Breaking Out, which have garnered significant international attention. On 6 October 2011, while scouting a planned filming location in the Tjurpannan nature reserve, Lagerlöf disappeared. A prevailing theory is that he was swept out to sea by a rogue wave or lost his footing on the rugged coastline. Lagerlöf left behind his wife and three children.
Weldon Kees was a Nebraskan poet whose work, characterized by its evocative imagery, emotional depth, and exploration of darker themes, has garnered critical acclaim over the last decade. However, beneath the surface of his creative success, Kees grappled with personal demons, including barbiturate abuse, manic depression, and the end of a relationship. On July 17, 1955, he visited with his parents in San Francisco, CA, and took a phone call about a potential job offer. Two days later, his car was discovered abandoned on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge. While some entertain the notion that he staged his own death and disappeared to start anew elsewhere, most believe that he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge to his death, as this was a suicidal thought he had brought up to friend Michael Grieg a few weeks prior.
Famous Activist Zahir Raihan
Born Mohammad Zahirullah, Zahir Raihan leveraged his creative skills and deep passion for storytelling to become an influential figure in the Bangladeshi film and writing industries. Though he directed over 10 films, he's best known for his poignant war documentary, Stop Genocide. In the early 1970s, as Bangladesh's struggle for independence from Pakistan intensified, Raihan became even more involved in the struggle for freedom. In 1972, he set out in pursuit of his brother, Shahidullah Kaiser, who was captured by Pakistani soldiers. Neither brothers were ever seen again. Tragically, it is believed that both were killed by the Pakistan army, though we may never know their fate for sure.
Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing
Fan Bingbing was known for her beauty, talent, and impressive filmography, which includes both Chinese and Hollywood productions. She was an international star and one of the highest paid celebrities in the world during her career, with a place on Time's list of the 100 most influential people and a fiercely loyal fanbase. So why would she leave this life of glamour, luxury and fame behind? Well, tax evasion could do it. Following allegations of tax evasion in 2018, the prominent actress seemingly vanished without a trace. For four months, her whereabouts remained a closely guarded secret, fueling a whirlwind of speculation that she had been arrested. actress resurfaced, issuing a public apology and revealing that she had been under investigation. Fan's return was met with both relief and lingering questions, but her career has never been the same since.
It was the 1978 World Tour, as metal band Black Sabbath prepped for their show that night, when Ozzy Osbourne's luggage was found, still packed, upon his hotel band. His fellow band members panicked and notified the police - after all, Osbourne was their frontman. When no trace of him was discovered, Black Sabbath was forced to cancel their show, much to the disappointment of their fans. The next day, still full of concern and panic, Black Sabbath got a call from Ozzy himself, nonchalantly asking what time they were leaving for the venue.
Turns out, Ozzy wasn't gone, per se. He had simply passed out under the influence in someone else's room, and slept for 24 hours straight. These days, Osbourne is on the straight and narrow and committed to his sobriety, so he's more likely to be on time to his appointments.
The year was 2014, and the once-vibrant Casey Kasem was struggling with the devastating effects of Lewy body dementia. As his condition worsened, his care became a source of bitter conflict between his wife, Jean Kasem, and his children from a previous marriage. This turmoil would culminate in one of the most unexpected disappearances in recent history. On May 7th, Kasem was reported missing from his Santa Monica nursing home by his daughter Kerri, who had recently been granted temporary conservatorship over him. News of his disappearance spread, and the public looked on as the family drama intensified. On June 1st, Kasem was found in Washington State in the care of his wife Jean. The news brought relief to a concerned nation, but it also shone a spotlight on the deep rifts in the Kasem family. Sadly, Kasem's final days were marred by continued conflict between his wife and children, as he passed away a mere 2 weeks later.
With roles in critically acclaimed films like The Thin Red Line and Sin City, Nick Stahl was a versatile actor who showed tremendous promise in Hollywood. However, behind the glamour of the silver screen Stahl was battling with addiction issues that had begun to overshadow his career. On May 9th, 2012, Stahl's wife, Rose Murphy Stahl, reported him missing, concern for his welfare only growing as the days passed. The search took an unsettling turn when it was revealed that he had last been seen in Los Angeles' notorious Skid Row, an area well-known for rampant drug use. Though things seemed to be taking a turn for the worse, remarkably, on May 19th, 2012, Stahl resurfaced. The actor sent an email to his friends and family, reassuring them of his safety and intentions to seek treatment for his addiction. Though Stahl has continued to battle his demons through the years, we know he has the strength to beat them.
Scott Hutchinson was the lead singer and songwriter for the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit, a fixture in the world of indie rock. Despite the success that accompanied his career, Hutchinson grappled with inner demons that would ultimately lead to a tragic disappearance. In May 2018, he posted a series of concerning social media posts, expressing feelings of defeat and despair that alarmed friends and fans alike. On May 9th, he was gone, and a desperate search ensued. Sadly, it ended in heartache the very next day, as Scott's body was found at Port Edgar, near South Queensferry, Scotland, sending shockwaves through the local music community. The disappearance and subsequent loss of Scott Hutchinson serve as a poignant reminder of mental health issues in the music industry, and the need for open dialogue about depression.
As the feisty and determined Lois Lane in the original Superman film series, Margot Kidder left an indelible mark on the history of cinema, though behind the scenes she struggled with debt and mental health issues. Unfortunately, her four-day disappearance in 1996 was related to the latter. On April 23, the actress vanished from her Los Angeles home, leaving her friends, family, and fans in a state of bewildered concern. While rumors and speculation swirled, the truth was Kidder was having a manic episode, triggered by a computer issue that caused her to lose 3 years worth of work. For four days she wandered the streets of Los Angeles, sleeping in backyards, under porches, and in cardboard boxes. Finally, on April 27th, a kind-hearted homeowner discovered the disheveled and distraught actress in his backyard and alerted the authorities, who rushed her to a medical facility. In the weeks and months that followed, Kidder bravely faced her demons and began the arduous process of rebuilding her life. Though she lived till 2018, her death, tragically, was ruled a suicide by overdose.
We all know and love Jason Mewes' character Jay from Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob, but Mewes himself has had a rough go of it. His father was out of the picture and his mother was a drug addict- Jason was born into addiction, and struggled with it for a huge part of his life. Best friend Kevin Smith puts it as follows:
"Born the son of a heroin abuser, [and] spent most of his childhood raised by an aunt while his Mother fed her jones or spent years in jail."
In 2001, deep in his addiction, Mewes missed a court hearing, went completely MIA, and started a fire on Christmas morning. Luckily, he had the strength and wherewithal to drive back to New Jersey and turn himself back in, choosing to do a stint in rehab and get his life back on track. Way to go, Jason!
In the early 2000's, Dave Chapelle was at the height of his comedy career. The Chapelle Show was in full swing, and about to air its 3rd season, when suddenly the news hit that Chapelle was gone. Tabloids and fans immediately started speculating the reasons behind Chapelle's sudden departure. Was it addiction problems? A mental health issue? Neither, as it turns out. For the past few years leading up to 2005, Chapelle had been dealing with an extraordinary amount of stress, working insane hours and putting himself under way too much pressure. He traveled to South Africa and checked himself into a retreat for a much needed break. Chapelle later commented:
"Coming [to South Africa], I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well-rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well-balanced. I've got to check my intentions, man"
You probably know him from the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, or from being Dennis Quaid's brother. But did you know Randy Quaid was a fugitive of a law? In September 2010, Quaid and his wife were busted living in a vacant property that they used to own, and then failed to appear in court, and THEN fled to Canada seeking asylum, claiming their lives were in danger in the USA. Canadian border authorities promptly arrested and returned them. After bouncing around between Canada, the U.S, and various courts over the next few years, the Quaids officially settled in Vermont, which they seem to have made their permanent home.
Travis Walton's disappearance is one that has mesmerized UFO enthusiasts and mystery aficionados for decades, unfolding like the plot of a science fiction novel. It all began on November 5, 1975, in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona, when Walton was just 22 years old. While working with his logging crew, Walton encountered an unusual sight - a large, glowing, saucer-shaped object hovering in the sky. As he approached the strange object, he was suddenly struck by a beam of light and knocked unconscious. His crew fled in fear, and when they returned for him later, Travis was nowhere to be found. Despite search efforts, there was no sign of him until 5 days later, when he appeared disoriented, without clothing, and miles away from where he disappeared, claiming to have been abducted by aliens. Walton's experience has since become the basis of books, movies, and countless discussions among UFO researchers and skeptics alike.
Born in 1958, in New York City, Peter Winston showed an early aptitude for chess, becoming a highly skilled player at a young age. As a teenage prodigy, he began to make his mark on the world of competitive chess, earning the title of International Master and establishing himself as one of America's most promising young players. In 1978, at the age of 20 and touted as one of the highest-rated players in the Chess game, Winston experienced an inexplicable losing streak, which eventually culminated in his disappearance. The day he went missing, Winston reportedly left his home without any money, identification, or luggage, braving a harsh winter storm that only deepened the enigma. Those who were close to him have noted a marked decline in both his mental health and chess performance in the years leading up to his disappearance. The once-formidable player's unraveling has led many to speculate that his deteriorating mental state may have been a significant contributing factor to his vanishing.
Born Roberta Lee Streeter, the beautiful Bobbie Gentry rose to fame with the release of her 1967 grammy-winning hit, "Ode to Billie Joe." Thanks to her winning combination of talent, looks, and evocative storytelling, Gentry was catapulted to the forefront of the country music scene. She enjoyed a successful career, releasing 7 albums and performing with likes of Glen Campbell and Reba McIntire. However, as the years passed and the 1980s arrived, Bobbie Gentry suddenly chose to step back from the spotlight. In 1981, she took part in a television special, An All-Star Salute to Mother's Day - which would be her final public performance, mysteriously cancelling all other scheduled events. She appeared the following year, though did not perform, at the Academy of Country Music Awards. This was her last confirmed sighting. Since then, rumors have run wild, some suggesting that she had grown tired of the pressures of fame and others claiming that she had retreated from the limelight to focus on her personal life. Despite the speculation, Gentry has managed to maintain her privacy, and concrete information about her life post-stardom remains scarce.
Christine Licorice McKechnie was a gifted musician and vocalist, finding her calling as a member of the influential British folk-rock group, the Incredible String Band. During the late 1960s, the band had performed at Woodstock and amassed a dedicated following, thanks in no small part to McKechnie's talent. By 1972, McKechnie had moved on from the Incredible String Band, making her way to California to join the Silver Moon Band, and later, U-Boat. She married a fellow musician by the name of Brian Lambert, they divorced, and she continued bouncing around, returning to her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, for a brief visit in 1986. The last glimpse into McKechnie's life is from 1990, when, according to her sister, she was recovering from surgery in Sacramento, CA. Some sources claim that after this, she was hitchhiking across California and Arizona, but there is no concrete evidence of this to date. So where in the world did Licorice McKechnie end up?
In the late 1990s, Jesse Camp burst onto the scene as the eccentric winner of MTV's Wanna Be a VJ contest, memorable for his unique hair and fashion sense. Yet almost two decades after his meteoric rise to fame, Camp would make headlines for a far more troubling reason: a worrisome disappearance. In July 2018, the former MTV star was reported missing by his sister, who said he had been acting out of character lately. Alarm bells ringing, the authorities began searching Riverside, CA, where he was last seen. Several days later, on July 24, Camp was reported in safe condition and in no need of assistance. Whew!
Jodi Huisentruit was a bright and ambitious television news anchor with a promising career ahead of her. By all accounts, Jodi was both dedicated and charismatic, beloved by her colleagues and viewers at KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa. On the morning of June 27, 1995, however, Jodi's life would take a sudden and tragic turn. After oversleeping and receiving a concerned call from a coworker, Jodi rushed to work but never made it to the station. Her car was left in her apartment lot, with evidence showing signs of a struggle nearby. An extensive search was launched, but no sign of Jodi was ever found. The case quickly gained national attention, and numerous theories sprang up, ranging from a possible stalker to connections with other unsolved disappearances, but Jodi Huisentruit was never found.
Michelle "Shelly" Barnett, born on January 18, 1961, became a member of the Church of Scientology at a young age, following in the footsteps of her parents. As a devoted Scientologist, she would eventually cross paths with David Miscavige, a rising star within the organization. The two married in 1982, forming a powerful alliance at the very heart of the controversial church. For years, Miscavige worked closely with her husband as he ascended to the role of Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center - until she vanished in August 2005. While the Church of Scientology has consistently maintained that Shelly Miscavige is alive and well, the lack of any confirmed sightings have raised suspicions among many. In 2013, when actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini filed a missing person report with the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities conducted a welfare check, announced that they had made contact with Shelly, and closed the case. However, the details of their investigation remain confidential, leaving many unanswered questions. So where exactly is Shelly Miscavige?
Forrest Schab was an up-and-coming rapper based out of Vancouver, BC who went by the stage name DY (Die Young). He started getting attention in 2009 upon the release of his first single, "Passenger", when he was featured on Billboard. By mid 2010, he had just finished shooting a music video for another single, and told family members about a planned trip to Mexico...and then, nothing. He was reported missing November 18, 2010, presumably in Mexico, after not being in contact with family for several months. While no leads have been uncovered, some suspect involvement in drugs or organized crime.
Edgar Allan Poe
It's pretty fitting that Edgar Allan Poe, the king of gothic literature, be involved in a mysterious disappearance, right? Unfortunately, this one seems to have led to his death. In September of 1849, Poe left Richmond, VA, heading to Philadelphia, PA, for an editing job - but never arrived. He was found six days later in Baltimore, MD, in clothes that weren't his and completely delirious. He was then taken to the local hospital, where he died less than a week later, without ever being able to shed light on those missing days.
Although we'll never know for sure what Poe got up to that autumn week, there are a couple of prevailing theories. One is that Poe, a self-documented alcoholic, went on a binge and succumbed to alcohol poisoning. Another is that he was the victim of foul play, or perhaps cooping - being abducted, plied with drugs and alcohol, and made to vote several times in different disguises, which would explain his strange attire. Others have posited brain tumors or even rabies as theories, but alas, there is so little to go on.
Princess Anastasia Romanov
The disappearance of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra, is a tale steeped in intrigue and tragedy. On a July night in 1918, during the Bolshevik Revolution, an act of brutal violence would seal the Romanovs' fate. The royal family were awakened from their slumber, led to a dimly lit cellar, and executed by a firing squad under the orders of the Ural Soviet. Rumors started swirling, though, that Anastasia had managed to survive, as her jewel-inlaid corset had ricocheted off the bullets of the firing squad. Years later, women would come forward claiming to be Anastasia, yet all of their claims were debunked. In 1991, a mass grave was found, and DNA analysis confirmed the presence of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and three of their daughters - but the remains of Anastasia and her brother, Alexei, were not among them. This only strengthened the people's belief that the lost princess must still be alive and out there!
Sadly, in 2007, a second grave was unearthed containing remains that were later identified as Anastasia and Alexei. The whispers died down, and the disappearance of the princess was solved, tragically.
Charles Lindbergh, Junior
Charles Lindbergh had achieved worldwide fame in 1927 by completing the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, a feat that had seemed impossible at the time. In 1932, his name would once again hit the headlines, but for a much more tragic reason. On the night of March 1, the Lindbergh nursemaid, Betty Gow, entered the nursery to find the crib empty, with Charles Lindbergh's tiny son vanished without a trace. The only evidence left behind was a crudely fashioned ransom note on the windowsill, demanding $50,000 for the safe return of Charles Jr. In the weeks that followed, the Lindberghs would receive a series of ransom notes, each more puzzling than the last, while the nation's collective anxiety swelled. Tragically, on May 12, 1932, the tiny, lifeless body of Charles Lindbergh Jr. was discovered in a mere five miles from the family's home. At the time of discovery, he had been dead for weeks. Though a man named Richard Hauptmann was arrested and executed, many believe that he was simply the victim of incompetent police work and that the real culprit will never be found.
Former Child Star Joe Pichler
You probably known Joe Pichler best from his role as Brennan Newton in Beethoven's 3rd and Beethoven's 4th from the furry, drooly, lovable Beethoven series from the 1990s/early 2000's. On January 5, 2006, 18 year old Pichler seemed to be in high spirits as he spent time with his friends. It was also the day his cell phone made its last outgoing call. On January 9th, Pichler's silver 2005 Toyota Corolla was discovered abandoned at the intersection of Wheaton Way and Sheridan Road in Bremerton, Washington. A note was discovered in the car, expressing his desire to become a "stronger brother" and requested that his personal belongings be passed on to his younger sibling. Despite the emotional nature of the note, Pichler's family hesitated to label it as a suicide letter, and didn't officially report him missing until January 16th. To this day, Pichler's body has never been found.
In the summer of 2020, the seemingly tranquil waters of Lake Piru, nestled within the Los Padres National Forest of Southern California, would become the stage for a story of heartache and unanswered questions. On July 8, Naya Rivera, the actress known for her role as Santana Lopez on the hit show Glee, embarked on what should have been an idyllic day out with her four-year-old son, Josey. Josey was discovered later that evening curled up in their rental boat out on the lake - completely alone.
For nearly a week, helicopters searched the skies while divers searched the lake for any sign of Rivera. On the sixth day of the search, the actress's body was discovered, the cause of death being accidental drowning. The prevailing theory is that Naya, a devoted mother to the very end, mustered her last ounce of strength to save Josey, lifting him up and into the boat before submitting to a rip current.
Barbara Newhall Follett
A child prodigy in New Hampshire, Barbara Newhall Follett began her writing career at the age of eight. Her first novel, The House Without Windows, was published when she was twelve, and her second, The Voyage Of The Norman D. was released at the age of fourteen to critical acclaim. Around the same time of her second publication, Follett's father left her mother for his affair partner, which devastated Barbara. When Follett was 16, she met Nickerson Rogers, who she spent several years traveling with and later married, settling down together in Brookline, Massachusetts. By 1934, cracks had started to form in their marriage. Follett feared Rogers was cheating on her, which deeply affected her mental health. On the evening of December 7, 1939, she left their Brookline apartment after a fight, never to be seen again.
Although suicide is a prevailing theory for Follett's disappearance, many also point fingers towards Nickerson Rogers, noting that he waited two weeks before even reporting his wife missing. When he finally put out a missing person's bulletin, it was four months after the fact, and under his name (Rogers) rather than hers (Follett), so the media never even picked it up. No evidence of foul play or otherwise has ever been found.