It happens every year when thousands go missing without notice. But it’s much easier to notice when someone famous hasn’t shown up for a while. There are cases where they had unfortunately met their end while others have been found safe and very much alive. But what about those who have never been found at all?
Had their famous lifestyle demanded too much from them? Or were there higher powers involved? Had they just wanted to change their name and get away? Truthfully, some questions will never be answered.
THEODOSIA BURR ALSTON
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr perform a duet ballad titled “Dear Theodosia” for their separate newborn babies in the smash Broadway hit Hamilton. Philip Hamilton of Hamilton died in a battle later in the story, but so many people are unaware that Theodosia Burr of Burr also met a tragic end.
When Hamilton propagated allegations that she had an incestuous relationship with her father, she was humiliated. Her assistance in her father’s attempt to secession to the West and subsequent flight from the country when he was put on trial for treason further damaged her reputation. After her son passed away in 1813, she climbed on a tiny boat at the Georgetown harbor and vanished without a trace. Some claim that she fled with pirates, while others assert that she fled in order to wed a Native American. It seems more likely, though, that her boat sank in the choppy waters.
Manic Street Preachers guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards was a rock musician who wasn’t scared to do the unusual trick to show how genuine he was. In 1991, in response to a query on the veracity of his gloomy character, he seized the opportunity to cut the words “4 REAL” into his bicep on the spot.
Until he had been absent for so long that they had to assume he was dead, many thought his absence in 1995 was just another promotional gimmick. Although his family insisted that suicide was “never a possibility for him,” the fact that his car was discovered deserted close to a bridge where suicide jumps were common seemed to support that theory.
Australia’s 17th prime minister, Harold Holt, went missing in December 1967. It’s most probable that he just drowned, and his remains were never located since he decided to go swimming at a rather secluded beach on a day when the tide was exceptionally rough, according to eyewitnesses.
Naturally, Occam’s Razor did not prevent individuals from concocting ludicrous conspiracies. Others claim he was a Chinese spy who staged his death to return to China, while some claim the CIA assassinated him because he wanted to get Australia out of Vietnam. Paradoxically, Australia made the decision to name and dedicate a swimming facility in his honor. Yikes.
Connie Converse was a struggling musician in the 1950s who was largely unheard of. She is now largely recognized as the first authentic singer-songwriter in history. She gave up music in 1961 because she felt like a failure and began living a peaceful life. She packed her car in 1974, told her friends she was beginning a new life, and then vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. She was still bearing a massive strain of remorse at the time.
She might have committed suicide or passed away in another way, but it’s also likely that she thrived in her new beginning and lived to see herself receive the recognition she earned.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Jim Sullivan was a legendary folk-rocker who vanished just days before his big break in his career. The concert he had just secured in Nashville, Tennessee, would have been great for his future if he had ever managed to get there. This man had all the skills, all the appropriate contacts, and all the luck.
Outside of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, his car was discovered deserted. There was no sign of the guy himself, but his possessions, including his guitar, were subsequently discovered in a local motel. Although everyone who knew him said he would never have left his guitar behind, others have theorized that he just decided to vanish.
BARBARA NEWHALL FOLLETT
Barbara Newhall Follett was a bit of a literary genius in the Jazz Age. At age 13, she released a novel that received positive reviews. Everyone said she would become the next great American author, and if it weren’t for her father, she definitely would have. She and her mother were left destitute after he fled with a younger woman. When she was 16 years old, she began working as a typewriter and never wrote again.
After a decade of this, Follett got into a fight with her husband in 1939, stormed out of their home, and vanished without a trace. He didn’t attempt very hard to find her, and it wasn’t until 1966 that the authorities and the media were even informed. She might have passed away, but she also might have vanished expertly. Maybe we even recognize her now as someone else?
After her appearance in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fan Bingbing became one of the most well-known actresses in China and one of the few to achieve popularity outside. She vanished on July 1, 2018, after the Chinese government learned that she had been evading taxes.
Artist Ai Weiwei once mysteriously disappeared for three months. The Chinese government has a history of “disappearing” artists for such offenses. In October, she apologized on her social media platform, but she hasn’t been seen since. Who knows her current whereabouts or expected date of release?
Rico Harris was a player of the renowned Harlem Globetrotters and a talented basketball player in 2000. His drunkenness caused his life to start to fall apart gradually. He hit rock bottom when he was sacked from his security job in LA for being intoxicated at work. He loaded up his car and set out for Seattle, where his girlfriend lived, from his mother’s house.
Outside of Sacramento, his car and all of his belongings were discovered. People reported seeing a tall guy roaming along the roadside for days afterward, and close matches for his stature in human tracks were discovered, but the sightings suddenly stopped. Many think he was picked up as a hitchhiker, but what occurred to him after that is unknown.
ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY
Le Petit Prince author Antoine de Saint-Exupery was also a skilled flyer who enjoyed pulling out intricate and risky feats. Le Petit Prince is one of the most well-known children’s novels in the world. Later in adulthood, he made the decision to enlist in the military and fight in World War II to defend his native France. Despite his senior age, this was to the detriment of many of the other air pilots tasked with completing missions with him. Despite being viewed as a risk and making a number of errors throughout his time in aviation, none were more damaging than the one he committed on July 31, 1944.
The remnants of his plane weren’t discovered until 2000 after it crashed while taking off for a mission over the Mediterranean. His remains were never found.
Thai silk became a precious resource thanks to Jim Thompson, a merchant. He relocated to Thailand and launched one of the most prosperous commercial endeavors in history, becoming a wealthy socialite by 1967. He was a former agent of the OSS. He left for a motorcycle journey in Malaysia in that particular year. He never came back.
Any number of things could have happened to him: He could have been taken out by other Bangkok businessmen, the Thai government, an Asian anti-CIA faction, or even by the actual CIA. He definitely didn’t just die in the wilderness, though, because he had survival training. Something fishy happened to him; it’s just that nobody is sure what. His huge home, pictured above, is now a museum in Thailand.
JOHN BINGHAM, 17TH EARL OF LUCAN
In 1974, Lord Lucan (who was once considered for the role of James Bond) got fed up with battling his wife for custody of their three children and spying on them and recording their telephone conversations and decided to bludgeon her to death in a darkened room simply. The problem with murdering in a darkened room, though, is that you can’t verify your target. So instead of killing his hated wife, he ended up killing his children’s dearly beloved nanny, Sandra Rivett. Whoops.
After the murder, he vanished and was never found. Some say he disappeared to Africa and died in the wilderness, some say he jumped into a river, and some say that his friends fed his remains to tigers at a private zoo. No matter how you slice it, this guy probably met the end he deserved.
Everyone knows the famous story of Amelia Earhart, one of the greatest aviators of her time, who disappeared in 1937 in an attempt to fly around the world. The thing is, though, that that’s not the whole story. Her plane didn’t simply vanish, as everybody thought for years; naval ships received radio transmissions from her for days after her plane landed on a small, uninhabited island in the Pacific, too low on fuel to carry on.
Days after the transmissions stopped (after her plane was likely carried out to sea), the U.S. Navy sent planes to fly over the island. They didn’t see any planes or people, so they wrote off all the credible transmissions as hoaxes. They never sent anyone down onto the island to check for sure. Due to a dig that turned up artifacts from the time, it is believed that she survived on the island for many months. A body was likely never found because the island is inhabited by coconut crabs, large creatures that have been known to eat whole animals and carry off their bones.
Famed musician Glenn Miller joined the Army during WWII, though he was well above the draft age. He became part of a band that went around doing performances to boost troop morale, which was common for the younger male artists of the day.
In December 1944, Miller was on his way to France for one such performance when his plane disappeared over the English Channel. For years, the leading theory was that he was accidentally bombed by Allied planes, but new evidence that recently turned up indicates that the fuel intake froze over, causing the plane’s engine to stop working, the plane plummeting into the water as a result.
The disappearance of Dorothy Arnold was the most-talked-about scandal in 1910 Manhattan. A wealthy socialite, the 25-year-old aspiring writer went out one day, telling her mother she was going to buy a new evening gown. She ran into a friend, whom she told that she was going for a walk in Central Park. That was the last anyone saw of her.
She had a lunch appointment with her mother that she never kept, and her family, not wanting the bad publicity, hired private investigators instead of notifying the police. By the time they did notify the police months later, the trail had gone cold. Some people suspect she committed suicide over a rejected manuscript or died of a botched abortion, but those who saw her that day said she was in excellent spirits, so that seems unlikely. Others suspected that her 40-something boyfriend, George C. Griscom Jr., murdered her, but he was in Italy at the time. Her disappearance remains one of the country’s great unsolved mysteries.
NBA star Brian Williams was famously eccentric before leaving sports and changing his name to Bison Dele to become a sort of wealthy nomad, roaming Asian countries and going to Lebanese deserts to fire bazookas for fun.
In 2007, he bought a boat, named it Hakuna Matata, and said he was going to sail from Tahiti to Hawaii with a captain, his girlfriend, and his brother. Well, the boat never made it to Hawaii, and the only member of that party who was ever heard from again was Dele’s brother, Miles Dabord. Two months later, he was arrested in Phoenix for trying to buy gold with one of his brother’s checks. It’s pretty easy to connect the dots as to what happened, but the murders have never been confirmed since Dabord overdosed on insulin while he was released on bail.
Joe Pichler — featured actor in the Beethoven movies, Varsity Blues, and a few other pieces —would probably have had a great future in acting. He took a break after his childhood career in order to finish high school. He had just gotten his braces off and was planning to move back to LA to start acting again when he went missing.
It was 2006, and he had just finished an evening of playing cards with his friends. They all said he was in good spirits that night, but later, around 4 a.m., he called one of the friends, who said he was “inconsolable.” Pichler told his friend he would call back in an hour but never did. His car was later found at an intersection near a bridge, and a suicide note was found in his apartment saying he wished that he had been a “stronger brother” and willed all of his possessions to his younger brother. All signs pointed to a suicide jump, but no traces of his body were ever found. His family insisted that he would never commit suicide and that there must have been foul play.
Jean Spangler was a ’40s actress on the brink of becoming a star. One evening in 1949, she told her sister-in-law that she was going to meet her ex-husband and then to a film shoot that would last into the night. She never returned. Later, her purse was found in a park with the straps ripped. Inside, a note read: “Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away.”
The note was addressed to Kirk. Famous actor Kirk Douglas called the police specifically to say that it wasn’t him, but Spangler had been in his last film, and Kirk isn’t all that common a name. Plus, calling the police specifically to tell them they shouldn’t suspect you are, well, a little suspicious. A friend of Spangler’s would later say that she was on her way to having an abortion, which was illegal at the time and usually done unsafely. Nobody is quite sure whether she died in the process or something happened to her on the way there.
For years, Sean Flynn lived in the shadow of his golden-age Hollywood father, Errol Flynn. He tried acting for a time, but with little success, as most of his pictures turned out to be flops. He got his big break, however, not with a film but with the Vietnam War. He signed up to be a photojournalist and was sent to Vietnam, consistently sending back chilling photos of the war that helped spur the anti-war movement.
However, on April 6, 1970, that all ended. He and journalist Dana Stone went to take photographs at a Viet Cong checkpoint and were never seen or heard from again. Sadly, it’s not hard to imagine what happened to them.
Nelson Rockefeller was governor of New York and vice president under Gerald Ford, but it was his son who met with a suspicious demise. Michael Rockefeller was collecting artifacts in New Guinea when he vanished. His boat was found floating 12 miles from shore. Given the lack of evidence, his death has been officially ruled a drowning.
In 2014, Carl Hoffman published a book titled Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, in which he claims to have gone deep into the culture of the land’s native tribes of Asmat, immersing himself in a warring culture that often performs ritualistic cannibalism. In this book, witnesses come forward and admit to killing and consuming Rockefeller, as rumors at the time repeatedly alleged had happened. However, given the lack of evidence, this case remains officially “unsolved.”
YLENIA MARIA SOLE CARRISI
Ylenia Maria Sole Carrisi was the daughter of two famous Italian actors and was basically the Italian Vanna White, turning the letters on their version of Wheel of Fortune in the early ’90s. In 1994, while on a backpacking journey in Central America, Carrisi went missing near New Orleans.
When questioned about the case, a security guard stated that he saw someone vaguely matching her description jump into the Mississippi River, shouting “I belong in the water,” before swimming around and eventually being forced under by the undertow of a barge. However, there is no way to confirm that this was her. Twenty years later, Carrisi’s mother and the detective she hired to work the case still believe that she is alive somewhere.
DANIEL LIND LAGERLÖF
Daniel Lind Lagerlöf is a Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter. In October 2011, Lagerlöf was out scouting for his next film, Camilla Läckberg’s Fjällbackamorden – Strandriddaren. He was in the Tjurpannan nature reserve near the steep cliffs outside Tanumshede in Bohuslän.
It’s believed large waves crashed onto the shoreline where Lagerlöf was scouting and knocked him off his feet. Due to the slippery rocks all around, Lagerlöf was unlikely to regain his footing and was likely swept out to sea. There were no other witnesses around. He is presumed dead.
The Canadian band, Loverboy, was one of the biggest rock bands of the early ’80s with hard-charging hits like “Hot Girls in Love” and “Working for the Weekend,” which are still well-known and played worldwide.
Scott Smith was a founding member, staying with the group all the way until his strange disappearance at sea on November 30, 2000.
“SWEET JIMMY” ROBINSON
Jimmy Robinson fought Muhammad Ali in Miami Beach on February 7, 1961. Reporters tried everything to find out what happened to one of the lucky men to step in the right with the great one, but their hunt was only met by a dead end.
In fact, he had no known data of birth, no known full name, no family, and no public records linking him to a single time or place. It was almost as if he had never existed.
OSCAR ZETA ACOSTA
Portrayed by Benicio Del Toro in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Oscar Zeta Acosta was a Mexican-American lawyer and activist.
He lived a crazy lifestyle as it was portrayed in the cult-classic film, but nevertheless, Acosta vanished in 1974 while traveling through Mexico when he was 39 years old.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Zahir Raihan was arguably the most prominent Bangladeshi writer, filmmaker, and political activist in the world. His best-known film is the 1971 short documentary film Stop Genocide which documented “the killings and atrocities carried out by the Pakistan Army on the people of the then East Pakistan.”
The following year, Raihan disappeared while searching for his brother Shahidullah Kaiser, who was captured and killed by the Pakistan army. It’s believed that Zahir Raihan was killed in a surprise attack by members of the Pakistani army.
Weldon Kees was considered by someone of the finest up-and-coming American poets in the early 1950s. However, he disappeared before he could achieve superstardom. In July of 1952, Kees’ car was found abandoned near the Golden Gate Bridge. While a body was never found, many assumed he jumped.
However, others contend that Kees fled to Mexico, citing the fact that his wallet, sleeping bag, and account savings book were also missing.
Ambrose Bierce was one of America’s most successful short story writers in the latter half of the 1800s and early 1900s. The Civil War veteran’s book The Devil’s Dictionary was named one of “The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature.”
In 1914, the 71-year-old went on a tour of Civil War battlefields before disappearing somewhere in the American southwest. Many theorize he was caught up in the Mexican Revolution, while others claim he committed suicide near the Grand Canyon. However, no proof has been found of either.
Union leader Jimmy Hoffa’s might be the most famous disappearance in American history. The longtime Teamsters head was very well-respected by his union members but was also heavily involved in organized crime. In 1975 Hoffa, who had just gotten out of prison, was planning to meet with two Detroit mobsters as part of his quest to reclaim leadership of the Teamsters.
Hoffa was waiting for two men in the parking lot of a restaurant the last time he was seen. For decades, Hoffa’s true fate has been hotly debated, with the most famous theory being that he was buried in the end zone of Giants Stadium.
Forrest Schab was a Canadian rapper known as DY. In August 2010, he disappeared while in Mexico, filming a music video for his song “That’s My Spot.”
Even though he was missing for three months, his family only reported him missing on November 18, 2010. There are still no leads or evidence to tell police what happened to him.
Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.
Thomas Hale Boss Sr. Represented New Orleans, LA, in the House Of Representatives. The politician was the leader of his party and had a campaign for Nick Begich when he suddenly disappeared.
In 1972, Boggs Sr. boarded a plane in Anchorage and was supposed to fly to Juneau. Everyone on board the plane, including Boggs, disappeared.
Art Scholl was a stuntman who helped work on the Tom Cruise film Top Gun. At 4,000 feet, the pilot lost control of his plane while performing a scripted stunt. Five miles away from the coast of Encinitas, his plane hit the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
The coast guard made efforts to find the plane, but without any evidence of where it exactly sank, they declared him dead.
In 1986, McKechnie decided to go back to her hometown in Edinburgh to see her family. But after she left, she was never seen or heard from again.
Her sister said that she was in a clinic in Sacramento recovering from surgery in 1990. But McKechnie’s last public sighting was hitchhiking in Arizona three years prior.
Clarence Arthur Crane was Hart Crane’s father. He was a successful chocolatier from Ohio. After his father died in 1932, Hart Crane went into a deep depression, according to his closest relatives and his friends.
The poet decided to move to Mexico to write poetry about Hernan Cortes. He went by ship and allegedly fell off the side. His body was never recovered.
On July 7, 1979, Barber boarded a plane. A few hours later, a distress signal was sent out as the plane reached Kodiak Island. The Coast Guard was dispatched to help them.
But by the time the Coast Guard reached their last known location, there wasn’t any sign of them. The plane wasn’t anywhere. There was no sign of a crash in the area or any debris. Everyone on the plane was presumed missing.
Pierre Bianconi was a successful football player. At the end of his career, he played for the Corsican national team. But since Corsican is an independent nation in France, it was not recognized by FIFA.
In December 1993, there were reports of the football star being seen in the port of Bastia. This was the last time he was ever seen, and his car was even found there.
Ylenia Carrisi was an Italian actress who got her big break when she starred in “Champagne in Paradiso. She then went on to be on Italy’s version of “wheel of Fortune” in 1989 at just 18 years old.
But five years later, the actress went missing. She was in New Orleans researching a novel and was never heard from again.
After Zelim Bakaev went missing, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen president, denied anything to do with it. He even implied that he was killed by his own family because of his sexuality.
“Isn’t there anyone in the village, any man in the family, who can admit: ‘We did this? They know full well who it was.” Zelim Bakaev’s father told Radio Free Europe: “None of his relatives laid a finger on him. There was no reason to lay a finger on him.”
John Brisker decided to start an export company in Africa. But a phone call with his girlfriend on April 11, 1978, was the last time he was heard from again.
To complicate things, the government couldn’t even find evidence of him ever going to Africa. Either way, in 1985, he was declared dead solely so that his estate could be sold in an auction.
Slim Wintermute worked for Boeing in Seattle. The man had three kids and a wife. The happily married 60-year-old decided to take a boat out on lake Washington. Apparently, he left the boat at some point and disappeared.
His son told officials that he had been taking medication for his heart. It’s possible the man had a heart attack and fell overboard.
Patrick McDermott worked on many short films in the 200s. Some of his most notable movies were “Rendezvous and “Felix the Christ” It’s reported that he must have drowned in the Pacific Ocean.
But in 2017, new theories surfaced. Tabloids started stating that McDermott had been sighted in Sayulita, Mexico. No one has been able to confirm it for sure.
Roald Amundsen And Umberto Nobile
In June 1928, according to the BBC, Italian seaplane pilot Umberto Nobile crashed his Italia aircraft while returning from the North Pole.
In 1928, The BBC said that Pilot Umberto Nobile crashed an Italian seaplane while flying back to the North Pole. The last location on the plane was just a few miles from Bear Island. They sent a message to their base at 6:45 p.m. on June 18. After that, no one on board was ever heard from again.
John Cabot was born in Italy in 1450 and was a famous navigator and explorer. He explored a large portion of Canada for the British between 1497 and 1498.
The Italian explorer helped uncover a lot of Canadian territory for the British and was recognized for his work. He was supposed to do a lot more but never returned from his 1498 expedition. He was presumed dead.
Eduard Vogel was another explorer that wanted to find a trade route to Asia that didn’t go past the Middle East. He split off from his original expedition by himself and disappeared just a year later.
In 1873, word of the Sultan of Wadia spread. He said that he had ordered the explorer’s death even though no one knew why.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.