Continuing my recent fascination into the supernatural, macabre, strange and the unusual, I now will list a few noteworthy and some not so noteworthy disappearances of people, things and....well, what have you. Today I will discuss people such as Amelia Earhart who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. In an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight in 1937, Earhart disappeared without a trace (thus far) over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. However, in the latest attempt to find out what happened to the famed aviator, photos have shown up in a New Zealand museum archive that could prove Amelia Earhart lived as a castaway until her ultimate demise. No trace of the plane flown by Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, has ever been found. There have been some traces of what some think are parts from airplanes. But, no concrete proof that the plane belonged to Earhart. Let's now take a look at some other mysterious disappearances.
Virginia Dare. How many even know she was purportedly the first child born to English parents in the New World? Virginia was born in 1587 to a family that was part of the original 120 settlers who settled on Roanoke Island off the coast of North Carolina. Virginia Dare's grandfather, who was governor of colony, left for England to secure more funding for the settlement. He returned three years later to find not a single trace of the colonists, including little Virginia Dare. The only thing left that could have given a hint of the whereabouts was the word "Croatan" that was left on a settlement post. Virginia and the rest of the colonists forever became known as "The Lost Colony."
Percy Fawcett. A British archaeologist and thought to be the real life inspiration for "Indiana Jones," Percy Fawcett, along with his son Jack and a man named Raleigh Rimell set off into the deep Amazon jungle to find a mythical lost city known simply as "Z." The were never heard from again. They were last seen crossing the Upper Xingu River which is a tributary of the Amazon River. In 1927 a nameplate was found by locals. Many suspect they were most likely killed and eaten as prizes by cannibals in the Amazon interior.
Michael Rockefeller. Michael was the youngest son of New York governor Nelson Rockefeller and a fourth generation of the famous Rockefeller family. In 1961, Michael took part in an expedition that was to explore New Guinea. On November 17, 1961, Michael was riding in a canoe with a Dutch anthropologist named René Wassing when the canoe overturned. Mr. Wassing managed to swim to shore. However, Michael Rockefeller did not surface and was never found. There were rumors that he did survive and, like the unfortunate Percy Fawcett, was eaten by cannibals.
Harold Holt. Imagine the President of the United States just suddenly disappearing on a vacation (lots of irony here, I acknowledge) and without a trace. Conspirators would have a field day. But, that is precisely what happened to the Australian Prime Minister in December of 1967. Prime Minister Holt went for a swim and was consequently never found. Many believe he was washed away by rip currents at the beach. A massive manhunt did not turn up the body or any trace of him.
Judge Joe Crater. One of the enduring mysteries of New York lore. Judge Crater, who was an associate Justice in the New York Supreme Court, was thought to be corrupt and involved with the Mafia of 1930. Both the judge and his girlfriend, Sally Lou Ritz, were the subject of the largest manhunt in New York during the 20th Century. Some say they both were murdered by the Mafia for nefarious activities that caused their ultimate demise. Still other rumors had them going to Rio de Janeiro to live out their lives. In over 80 years, there is no clue as to whatever became of them.
Glenn Miller. One of the most popular Jazz musians of the 1940s, Miller was on his way to recently liberated Paris aboard a single-engine Norseman over the English Channel. Glenn Miller was to play for the troops in the newly freed city of Paris. No trace of Miller or the plane has ever been found. Some speculate his plane was hit by dropped ordinance from English bombers as they prepared to land. However, no one really knows what happened to this famous musician.
D.B. Cooper. Much has been made of D.B. Cooper since he parachuted out that Boeing 727 over the state of Washington. Movies, songs and even poems were made about this hijacker. In 1971, D.B. Cooper collected a ransom of $200,000 in order to free all of the crew aboard the jet airliner. He supposedly jumped at 10,000 feet. For nine years nothing was ever heard about him until a boy playing on the banks of the Columbia River found a stack of decaying bills that were later found to be part of the ransom paid to Cooper. To many, this suggested he was killed. To others, it suggested it was part of his plan to make people think he died. None of the other money has ever been found.