Famous Missing People - Case Stories You May or May Not Know

by frugalrvers

Famous missing persons, and some not as well known, are always a perplexing mystery. These cases and stories keep us guessing, some spanning over generations and generations...

There are many famous people missing in action on the world's stage, and most of us have heard about them – Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, Roald Amundsen, Michael Rockefeller, and many others. These were well-known folks who added to their celebrity and notoriety by mysteriously falling off the face of the earth.

Then there are the people who have become famous or more famous mostly and simply because they vanished, and in many cases disappeared without a trace. There are many of these, and while some of the stories are complex and the possible explanations for their disappearances numerous and obvious, others are simple and completely unexplainable.

Intro To Missing People Stories

Before the turn of the 20th century, disappearances were rarely reported, and those that became well-known tended to be explainable or caused by natural events. Many seafaring explorers, colonists and political figures have made their way into the lists. And of course, the growth of modern media has made these kinds of occurrences much more publicized.

As radio, television and the Internet grew more prominent and widespread, cases of people vanishing started becoming more commonplace and common knowledge as well. Here are a few of the 20th and 21st century's most interesting and famous people missing – gone without a clue left behind (OK, maybe 1 or 2).

Famous People Missing - Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce was a man ahead of his time – an adventurer with an interest in the paranormal, and a writer with a powerful sense of the ironic and sarcastic.Many of us have been forced in high school to read his iconic short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” not realizing or even being taught that it foreshadowed cinematic techniques that wouldn't even be possible for a few decades.

His book The Devil's Dictionary is an incredibly readable work that never fails to delight with his sense of humor and fearless punching of holes in anything sacred to our culture.

He was traveling in Mexico during the country's civil war in 1914 when he disappeared after penning a letter to his assistant from Chihuahua. He may have died in a battle, or have been convicted and executed as a spy. But there is no proof that the tombstone with his name on it in Sierra Mojada actually contains his remains, and no evidence of how or where he vanished.

Famous Missing Persons - Percy Fawcett / Lost City Of Z

In 1925 a British explorer and archaeologist named Percy Fawcett, his son Jack, and their friend Raleigh Rimmel were deep in the jungles of Brazil on a quest. They were looking for the fabled and long sought-after Lost City of Z, rumored to be full of gold and other treasures of unimaginable value.

After embarking on the expedition, they were never heard from again. Several attempts to find them ended in tragedy and death for more than 100 intrepid adventurers, and while a few of Fawcett's belongings were eventually found, there has been nothing definitive discovered about their fate.

Missing Famous People - Judge Joseph Crater

Where "Pull A Crater" Quote Came From

Judge Joseph Crater of the New York Supreme Court was seen eating at a restaurant in August of 1930, and then he was never seen again – he apparently dropped off the face of the earth.

Despite being the subject of one of the largest and best-organized searches in history, no trace of him was ever found. His case remains a popular one for television shows about mysterious events, and cold case investigators continue to look for and find information related to his demise. His name has even entered the popular vocabulary, where to “pull a Crater” means to disappear.

Famous Missing Aircraft Cases - Bermuda Triangle, UFO

Most people are familiar with Amelia Earhart's disappearance, but here are a few tales about aircraft that went missing, remaining a mystery to this very day.

In an incident that would eventually give birth to the idea of the Bermuda Triangle, 5 Navy airplanes disappeared in 1945. While on a routine training mission in the western region of the Atlantic, the aircraft and their 21 crew members vanished and no trace of them has ever been found. This incident was reported on in the early 60's as a paranormal event, and with the publication of Charles Berlitz' popular book, the region became known as the Bermuda Triangle in the public's mind, all evidence to the contrary being ignored.

Another incident involving missing aircraft was connected to the burgeoning UFO phenomenon. In 1953 pilot Felix Moncla and radar operator Robert Wilson were flying a jet that had been scrambled from Kinross Air Force Base in Michigan. Over Lake Superior, an unknown craft had been sighted on radar, and the fighter was sent out to investigate and intercept. The airplane and the 2 man crew were never found. While Navy authorities claimed that the sighting was a Canadian plane, the Canadian government denied any such claim, and the Kinross UFO Incident went down in the history books.

The Bermuda Triangle / Charles Berlitz.

Description: 203 p. illus. 25 cm. Subjects: Shipwrecks -- Bermuda Triangle.

Felix Moncla

High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla, Jr. (October 21, 1926 - presumably died November 23, 1953) was a United States Air Force pilot ...


Famous Missing Children Cases - Beaumont Children, Kevin Collins

In Australia in the mid-1960s it was considered absolutely normal to send your young children on an outing by themselves, especially with an older sibling in charge. The unexplained disappearance of the Beaumont children in 1966 changed an entire society's attitudes and paved the way for many other changes.

Jane (9), Arnna (7), and Grant (4) Beaumont were sent to the nearby beach in Adelaide via a 5-minute bus ride by their mother at 10 AM on a bright sunny morning in January – summer in Australia. They were strictly instructed to be back by noon, and at 3 PM Mrs. Beaumont reported them missing.

Although several possible leads have been followed to dead ends in the intervening years, no definitive explanation for the children's vanishing has ever materialized.

In the Haight district of San Francisco in 1984, Kevin Collins was 10 years old. Normally accompanied by his older brother who was home sick, on the day of his disappearance he was alone.

He was boarding a city bus to go home after a basketball practice session when he vanished. He was one of the first missing children to appear on milk cartons nationwide, an unfortunate but necessary social phenomenon of the 70s in the pre - Amber alert era.

No trace of Kevin or information relating to his whereabouts was ever found.

Famous Missing Persons - Oscar "Zeta" Acosta

In 1972 an important and historically unique book was published, written by Hunter S. Thompson. Blurring the line between fact and fiction, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was an account of a purported trip (in more ways than one) by a reporter and his attorney to a law enforcement convention in the famed city. Combining descriptions of violence, effects of various combinations of illegal drugs, and copious amounts of alcohol, and written in Thompson's inimitable style, the piece became known as the first example of gonzo journalism, and an ode to the demise of the counterculture.

The real-life model for the attorney was Oscar Acosta, an American lawyer and activist in the Chicano community. Acosta was traveling in Mexico in 1974 when he went missing after calling his son and saying he was getting on a a boat full of snow – a reference to cocaine. No evidence or remains of Acosta have ever been found.

Disappearance Of Richey Edwards - Famous Missing Musician

In 1995 the band named the Manic Street Preachers had a problem. They were getting to be pretty well-known, had a good reputation with the critics, and had sold quite a few albums. But their lyricist and sometime-guitarist Richey Edwards was becoming increasingly erratic. He was known to have tendencies to abuse alcohol and drugs, to self-harm by burning and cutting, and to suffer from anorexia and depression. But he always said that he was strong enough to bear the pain of living, and that he would never commit suicide.

The day that he and another band member were supposed to depart for the US on a promotional trip, he vanished. His abandoned car was later found near a bridge known for its attraction to suicides, but no body or other trace of him was ever found.

Over the years there have been alleged sightings of Edwards, but his family reluctantly agreed to a declaration of death in 2008 after no new evidence had been confirmed. Because he was 27 when he disappeared, he is considered to be a member of the Forever 27 Club.

RECENT Most Famous Missing People Case

Finally, a modern disappearance echos the old stories of lost ships and vanished crews. Jim Gray was 63 years old in 2007 when he set out in his sailboat to make a 27 mile journey from San Francisco to scatter his mother's ashes. He was an award-winning computer scientist working for Microsoft, and an experienced sailor.

He was reported missing after he did not return at the expected time. His boat was equipped with a radio beacon to broadcast a distress signal, but no Mayday signal or call was heard or reported. A huge and extensive search effort failed to turn up any trace of him or his sailboat. His family agreed to have him declared legally deceased in 2012.

Updated: 05/22/2018, frugalrvers
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frugalrvers on 11/24/2012

Jo, Thanks for the tips...will give a listen to all!

frugalrvers on 11/24/2012

I would hire you, Katie! Let us know if you become KATIE, P.I. :)

JoHarrington on 11/24/2012

Manics albums - The Holy Bible is my favourite, but I don't know as that is the most accessible for those new to them. Every song on it is written by Richey though, at least the lyrics are.

Everything Must Go might be a good entrance one. It was the first post-Richey album and the one which attracted the most fans. Though that was almost certain due to the publicity of Richey's disappearance too.

Here's an earlier tune from Richey's day though. A fan has added the lyrics too. Richey is the one in white: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dRZJd...

katiem2 on 11/24/2012

I'm always drawn to a good mystery. This is very interesting. I've often wondered about such missing persons cases. One day I might take up my dream job, being a private investigator. :)K

frugalrvers on 11/24/2012

Thanks, Brenda! I'm so intrigued by these stories, too. We always remember the "big names" but other stories, over time, seem to drift into the abyss. So glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for taking time to comment!

frugalrvers on 11/24/2012

Thanks for giving us personal, detailed information about Richey Edwards and the band - that's what brings these articles alive, Jo. My husband is more of an "old timer" than me, and is a walking encyclopedia of music...loving all styles from all time periods. But Richey and the band was one that slipped by him. His story has inspired us to get to know them better...any recommendations where to start (best LP, etc)? Thanks for your comment, as always!

BrendaReeves on 11/23/2012

These are very interesting stories. I love reading about things like this.

JoHarrington on 11/23/2012

Richey, always Richey. You see, I was (and still am) a massive Manics fan back then. I remember the 4 Real incident when it actually happened. When Richey disappeared, I thought it was a temporary thing.

I still remember precisely where I was at the moment when I realized that this was bigger than usual. I was in a cafe down the road from where I was working at the time, during my lunch hour, reading the newspaper for the latest information. I just went so cold.

To this day, I don't believe that it was suicide. At least not in the River Severn at that point. He'd been reading about famous disappearances and almost play-acting out scenarios. But no-one actually thought that he'd do it.

Where is he now? I have no idea. He could have committed suicide later down the line, or died in some other way, or be living under an assumed identity somewhere else. What he did catapulted the Manics to proper stardom; but I doubt that any of them think that it was worth it.

You can tell the difference, at Manics concerts, between those who were there in Richey's day and those who came afterwards. It's all good and no elitism or anything. It's just that us old timers tend to get more misty-eyed at the older stuff.

Sorry, went off on one! Stay beautiful.

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