Every single year, thousands of people vanish without an explanation. Isn’t it sad to think that no one even notices the disappearance of some of them? However, it is a different matter altogether when the missing person happens to be a celebrity. There are times when they surface alive, but others have not been quite as lucky. Others, however, did not actually go missing in the first place. What intrigues us the most are the cold cases. There is a lot of speculation about what happened in these unsolved mysteries. Foul play is always taken into consideration, but perhaps some of them found the celebrity life a little too much. Could they have taken on a new identity? Sadly, we might never know the answer. In any case, a lot of people have their own theories about what really happened to them.
Theodosia Burr Alston
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr have a lullaby duet in Hamilton as they sing to their own children. Called “Dear Theodosia,” the song is about the daughter of Burr. She suffered a rather grim fate and became infamous after Hamilton claimed that she and her father were engaged in an incestuous relationship. This is already bad enough as it is, but the character suffered another blow as she tried to help her dad secede. When Burr was tried for treason, she had to flee the country. In 1813, her son passed away. She got on a small boat at the Georgetown port, which is the last time that anyone knew of her whereabouts. Others believe that she ended up running off with pirates, but some people think that she married a Native American instead. Sadly, it is possible that the boat simply capsized.
Are you familiar with the musical act Manic Street Preachers? If so, you might already know that Richey Edwards was a punk guitarist, lyricist, and musician for the band. He was never shy about pulling off stunts to show everyone he was the real deal. In 1991, he went as far as to grab a razor blade and use it to carve “4 REAL” on his arm in the middle of an interview when met with skepticism. In 1995, he went missing. People initially assumed that it was a publicity stunt, but he did not turn up for so long that everyone assumed he was dead. According to his family, suicide is “never an option for him.” However, the most telling clue is that they found his car abandoned close to a bridge known for that very thing.
The 17th prime minister of Australia went missing in December 1967. Harold Holt went for a swim on a mostly deserted beach. Witnesses said that the surf had been especially rough that day, so there is a good chance that he just drowned. His body has never been recovered, however. Despite this, people came up with all kinds of theories about what truly happened to him. Some believe that the CIA killed him for wanting to pull out troops from Vietnam, but others think that he was really a Chinese spy who pretended to kill himself and defect back. How ironic is it that they have since opened a swimming center in his honor?
In the ‘50s, Connie Converse had been a pretty unknown musician. It is pretty amazing that she has since become known as one of the first real singer-songwriters in history. She ended up leaving the industry in 1961 to pursue a quieter life. She had a lot of regrets about her life choices. In 1976, she got into her car, informed her loved ones that she planned to start a new life, and vanished. No one heard from her after that. It is possible that she took her own life or died somehow, but she might have also done exactly as she told them she would. Let us keep our fingers crossed that it is the latter.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Jim Sullivan was a folk-rocker on the verge of getting his big break when he, all of a sudden, vanished. Mind you, we are talking about a guy with a lot of talent and connections. On top of that, he had just snagged a gig in Nashville that could have taken him very far if he did not go missing. They found his car outside of Santa Rosa in New Mexico. His guitar and other items were discovered in a motel nearby, but no one ever found the guy himself. There are people who think that he decided to disappear, although his loved ones thought it was strange that he would not take his guitar with him.
Barbara Newhall Follett
During the Jazz Age, Barbara Newhall Follett made a name for herself as a writing prodigy of sorts. She was only 13 years old when she released a novel. Everyone agreed that she was on her way to becoming one of the great American writers. She likely would have achieved that if it had not been for her dad. He left his daughter and wife penniless after running off with a younger woman. At the age of 16, Follett took on a typist job and did not get to write ever again. Ten years later, she got into a fight with her dad, left home, and vanished. He did not exert a lot of effort into finding her. As a matter of fact, the press and the police did not even know about it until 1966! No one knows what happened to her.
Not that long ago, Fan Bingbing was among the most famous Chinese actresses in the world. Aside from her home country, she also made it big on an international level by starring in X-Men: Days of Future Past. When it came out that she was guilty of tax evasion, she disappeared on July 1, 2018. The Chinese government is said to “disappear” people for crimes like this one. There was a time when Ai Weiwei went missing for a few months. On social media, the actress released an apology statement in October of the same year. However, it looks things are now back to normal for her. What a relief that is!
At the turn of the millennium, Rico Harris was making a name for himself as a basketball player with the Harlem Globetrotters. Sadly, his life started going downhill due to alcohol abuse issues. Eventually, he got sacked from his security guard job because he had been under the influence at work. He hopped into his car to drive from his mom’s house to his girlfriend’s place in Seattle. They later found his car, together with all of his things, outside Sacramento. People reported spotting a tall man on the side of the highway, as well as human footprints that more or less matched his size. They ended abruptly, which made some think that a hitchhiker ended up picking him up. No one has the answers to this mystery yet.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Does this name sound familiar to you? That might be because Antoine de Saint-Exupery was the man who wrote “The Little Prince.” Aside from that, he was also an avid aviator who liked to perform all kinds of stunts. He had been determined to serve his home country during the Second World War even though he was older. Sadly, the rest of the air pilots who worked with him did not like this fact. He was considered a liability as he made a couple of mistakes in the air. However, the costliest error he made took place on July 31, 1944. As the pilot, he crashed the plane while taking off for the Mediterranean. The wreckage was only discovered in 2000, but his body has never been located.
Thanks to Jim Thompson, Thai silk became a global commodity. He was once an agent of the OSS, which was the predecessor of the CIA. After he relocated to Thailand, he launched a very successful business venture and became a wealthy socialite by 1967. In the same year, he went to Malaysia for a biking trip but did not come back. There are a lot of possibilities. Maybe he was taken out by a rival businessman, the Thai government, some Asian anti-CIA force, or the CIA itself. There is no way that he died in the woods since he underwent survival training. Without a doubt, something fishy took place here. No one knows for sure which one it is, however. His home in Thailand has since been turned into a museum. Make sure to pay it a visit when you find yourself in Thailand.
John Bingham, 17th Earl of Lucan
Lord Lucan, who was once in the running to play James Bond, was fed up with the custody battle for his three kids by 1974. He spied on his ex-wife and taped their telephone calls before he decided to just bludgeon her to death in a dark room. But the issue here is that you do not know who you are targeting in the dark. This is how he wound up killing Sandra Rivett, the nanny of his kids. After the incident, he disappeared and never resurfaced. There is a theory that says he went to Africa and met his end in the wilderness. Others say that his pals fed him to tigers at a zoo, while some believe that he met his death by jumping into a river. At any rate, we do not feel sorry for him no matter what truly happened.
Is there a more famous aviator than Amelia Earhart? As a matter of fact, her disappearance is one of the most well-known ones in the world as well. She had been trying to fly across the entire globe when she vanished in 1937. Her plane did not actually disappear into thin air as everyone thought for the longest time. Naval ships had been getting radio transmissions from the female aviator for days after she landed on a small island in the middle of the Pacific. Her plane had been too low on fuel to go on. The U.S. Navy deployed planes to head over to the island a few days after the signals stopped coming in. They did not find any people or planes there, so they thought that the transmissions had been a hoax. No one went to the island to confirm. After a dig, they discovered artifacts that date back to those days. The proof suggests that she lived on the island for a couple of months. They did not recover the body, which can be attributed to the coconut crabs that live there. These animals eat animals and carry off the remains.
During the Second World War, Glenn Miller served in the army even though he was over the draft age. The musician joined a band that toured to boost the morale of the soldiers. This was pretty common for young male artists back then. In December 1944, he had been on the way to France to perform when his plane vanished above the English Channel. The initial theory was that Allied planes accidentally bombed the vessel. However, there is new evidence that indicates a frozen fuel intake that caused the engine to malfunction. It stopped working and sent the plane into the water. Ouch.
In 1910, the disappearance of Dorothy Arnold proved to be quite the scandal in Manhattan. She was a 25-year-old socialite who wanted to be a writer. One day, she left home after informing her mother that she would buy an evening gown. She bumped into a friend and said that she was planning to take a stroll in Central Park. This was the last time that anybody saw her. She did not go to the lunch that she and her mother planned. The family did not want bad press and did not approach the police for help. They instead hired private investigators to look for her. The police were only informed a few months later, but the trail had already gone cold by then. People suspected that she took her own life after her manuscript was rejected. Others think that she died while getting an abortion. She had been allegedly in good spirits at the time, so neither of those seem likely. There are also some people who think that her boyfriend George C. Griscom Jr. killed her, although he had been in Italy back then.
NBA player Brian Williams was already known to be a pretty weird guy even before he left sports and changed his name to Bison Dele. He went on to be a rich nomad who roamed Asia and fired bazookas in Lebanese deserts for the heck of it. In 2007, he purchased a boat, called it Hakuna Matata, and claimed that he would use it to go from Tahiti to Hawaii with his brother, his girlfriend, and a captain. They did not reach Hawaii, and his brother Miles was the only person who we heard from after that. Two months later, the survivor was apprehended in Phoenix for attempting to purchase gold with his brother’s check. It is not hard to figure out what happened here, but he overdosed on insulin while on bail. No one knows for sure what happened because of this but we can connect the dots on our own.
Actor Joe Pichler had been a promising actor with a bright future ahead of him until tragedy struck. The former childhood star took a break from acting to graduate from high school first. He had only removed his braces and planned to return to Los Angeles to pursue acting again. All of a sudden, he vanished. In 2006, he and his friends spent the evening playing cards together. His pals said that he seemed like he was in good spirits, but he called one of them at 4 o’clock in the morning. His friend said that he had been “inconsolable.” While Pichler promised to call his friend back in an hour, he never did. They later found his car at an intersection close to a bridge. In his apartment, they saw a suicide note in which he said he wished he could have been a “stronger brother” and left everything in his name to his little brother. Everything about it suggests a suicide jump, but they did not recover his body. What makes it even stranger is that his family said that it must be foul play as he would never take his own life.
In the ‘40s, Jean Spangler had been close to making it as a star. It all came to an end one night in 1949. She informed her sister-in-law that she would meet her ex and then go to a film taping set to last the rest of the night. She did not come home. They later found her purse with the straps ripped in a park. There was a note inside that said, “Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best his way while mother is away.” It was addressed to someone called Kirk. Hollywood star Kirk Douglas specifically told the police that it was not for him, although Spangler starred in his last movie. On top of that, people found it suspicious that he called the cops to deny his involvement. A friend of hers later said that she had been planning to get an abortion. It was illegal back then and often done in an unsafe way. No one knows whether something bad happened to her before it or if she died in the middle of it.
For a long time, Sean Flynn had to live in the shadow of his father. It turns out that it can be tough to be born to Errol Flynn! The younger man did not see much success and starred in a number of flops. He earned his big break not with a movie but during the Vietnam War. As a photojournalist, he went to the Asian country and sent back gruesome photos that spurred the anti-war movement in those days. Things came to an end on April 6, 1980. He went to a Viet Cong checkpoint with a journalist called Dana Stone. Sadly, this was the last thing that anyone knew about either of them. No one has heard from them since then.
During the Ford administration, Nelson Rockefeller served as the vice president. His son was the one who made it to the list. Michael Rockefeller disappeared while he was collecting artifacts in New Guinea. They saw his boat floating a dozen miles from shore. They ruled out his death as an accidental drowning due to the lack of evidence. In 2014, a book called “Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art” by Carl Hoffman was released. The author said that he went deep into the land of the Asmat and immersed himself in their warring culture. They allegedly perform ritualistic cannibalism. The book claims that witnesses have stepped up to admit that they killed and consumed him like the rumors said. Despite this, it remains officially “unsolved” to this day.
Ylenia Maria Sole Carrisi
A lot of people know Ylenia Maria Sole Carrisi as the Italian answer to Vanna White. She was born to a pair of famous Italian stars and turned the letters on the local version of Wheel of Fortune back in the ‘90s. She went on a backpacking trip in Central America but went missing close to New Orleans in 1994. A security guard asked about the case and said that he spotted a woman that matched the description yell “I belong in the water” before jumping into the Mississippi River. Sadly, this person was forced below the water by a barge undertow. It is impossible to confirm if it was her. Two decades after she went missing, her mother hired a detective. She believes that her daughter is still alive.
Daniel Lind Lagerlöf
Aside from working as a director, Daniel Lind Lagerlöf also worked as a screenwriter and producer. In October 2011, he went scouting for a project called Fjällbackamorden – Strandriddaren when he disappeared. He went to the Tjurpannan nature reserve close to the steep cliffs in Bohuslän. It is believed that huge waves crashed onto the shoreline while he was scouting and then knocked him off. The slippery rocks must have made it hard to stand back up, so he was probably swept out to the water. He is allegedly dead, although no witnesses have stepped forward to confirm that this is the case.
In the early ‘80s, a Canadian band called Loverboy had been making a name for itself with bops such as “Working for the Weekend” and “Hot Girls in Love.” These songs still get a decent amount of airtime in this day and age. Scott Smith was one of the founding members of the musical act and stayed with them until November 30, 2000. That was the day that he disappeared at sea under mysterious circumstances.
“Sweet Jimmy” Robinson
Jimmy Robinson and Muhammad Ali fought each other in Miami Beach on February 7, 1961. There have been a lot of reporters eager to learn more about the fate of a man who got to try his hand at fighting the legend. However, they will only find a dead end no matter how hard they look. He did not have a known full name, date of birth, relatives, and public records. Did he really even exist? Who knows.
Oscar Zeta Acosta
In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Benicio Del Toro was cast to play Oscar Zeta Acosta. He was a Mexican-American activist and lawyer who had a pretty crazy lifestyle. You must know all about this if you watched the cult classic. But likewise, you must already know what happened to him afterward. In case you were wondering, it is indeed true that Acosta went missing in 1974 while he was traveling across Mexico. He was 39 years old at the time of his disappearance.
While he wasn’t famous before his disappearance, he definitely is now. D.B. Cooper isn’t his actual – it’s a variation of his fake name, Dan Cooper, which he used when buying a plane ticket. The media reported his name as D.B. Cooper, and it stuck. On November 24th, 1971, he was on a plane going from Portland to Seattle. He showed a note to the flight attendant – along with a bomb. He demanded they land the plane and give him $200,000 and parachutes. Soon enough, the plane landed, the money was collected with the parachutes, and the passengers were let off to safety. The plane then took off again, Cooper put on a parachute, took his money, and jumped. According to investigators, he wasn’t likely to survive since he was inexperienced and the conditions were bad that day. Still, no strace of him or the money has ever been found.
One of the most famous explorers in history, Roald Amundsen was the first recorded man who reached the South Pole. He also led the first expedition to the North Pole. He was also the first man to record a successful journey through the Northwest Passage. While he and his crew were on a rescue mission in the Arctic, they all went missing. Some wreckage was found, but no bodies or plane wreckage was ever discovered.
From 1958 to 1971, Jimmy Hoffa was the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union. During that period of time, the union grew significantly, but Hoffa became involved in some rather unpleasant things such as the mafia. He even got convicted for several crimes. In late July 1975, he told his family as well as a couple of friends that he was on his way to meet known mobsters – Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano. Later that night, he called his wife, saying the men were late but he’d wait for them. He never came home.
It’s probable that Patrick is famous for his alleged death and his relationship with Olivia Newton-John rather than anything he did himself. In 2005, Patrick disappeared from a fishing boat off the coast of Los Angeles. A week passed before he was reported as missing. The 20-plus passengers who were on the boat all gave conflicting reports. In 2008, he was officially declared “most likely drowned”. Someone suggested he might have faked his own death to cash in on life insurance, but no evidence supports that theory.
A famous basketball player, Slim Wintermute was part of the first-ever NCAA Tournament championship teams. He played for the Oregon Ducks before having his number retired by the University. He played in the National Basketball League for a while before the NBA came to be. In 1977, he went boating with a friend when he went missing. The scenario was odd, but foul play wasn’t suspected. The boat left at 7am. At 2pm, the boat was found in neutral with the other passenger asleep on board. He said that Wintermute was on board when he fell asleep. People believe that the heart condition Wintermute suffered from caused him to have a heart attack and fall overboard. But his body was never found.
Hale Boggs was one of the most famous politicians in America around the time he went missing. He was part of the Warren Commission investigating JFK’s assassination before he became a House majority leader. But his personality soon became the main focus when he verbally attacked J. Edgar Hoover in congress and then doubted the lone gunman theory of the JFK shooting. On October 16th, 1972, he was in Alaska with another congressman. They got on a light aircraft that was headed for Juneau but were never seen again. The weather was bad that day, so when the plane didn’t show up at its destination, people guessed what went wrong. Despite a massive search conducted including 90 planes searching 325,000 square miles of Alaska, not a trace was found.
Since Ambrose Bierce disappeared in 1914, it’s safe to say that he’s now long gone. The writer disappeared when he was 71 years old. The mystery still remains, however – where and how did he die? It’s said that Ambrose rode off into the carnage of the Mexican revolution despite not knowing any Spanish or having a plan. That isn’t certain, however. Others tend to wonder about his situation in Mexico, but it’s unknown.
Weldon Kees was a poet, constantly on the verge of making it big. The most tragic part of his story is that he disappeared just before he became famous. In 1955, he was having a hard time with his mental health after spending the previous two decades trying and failing to make it in the literary scene. He would talk about disappearing off to Mexico and never coming back. That July, he told his friend that things were pretty bad and mentioned again how he wanted to leave. That’s when he up and disappeared. The next day, his car was found next to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s most likely that he jumped, but others are convinced that he went to Mexico seeing as his wallet, sleeping bag, and account savings book went missing along with him. No money was ever drawn from the latter, so no one can be sure.
There was a point in time when Zahir Raihan was famous. He was a novelist from what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He achieved international fame in 1971 after he released a 20-minute documentary, “Stop Genocide”. A month later, Zahir went missing. It’s suggested that he had been abducted by Pakistani security forces. The most tragic part of the story? He had been in a position to get kidnapped only because he was looking for his missing brother, another famous intellectual.
Art Scholl was an air show stunt pilot as well as an aeronautics instructor. With time, he became one of Hollywood’s most in-demand and reliable flyers. In 1985, he had been filming a scene for a blockbuster that led to his disappearance. He was performing a scripted upside-down spin maneuver when he apparently lost control of the plane at an altitude of around 4,000 feet. He then radioed, “I’ve got a problem here” before his plane crashed five miles off the coast of Encinitas. One day later, the search and rescue was called off. It was stated by the Coast Guard that he most likely didn’t survive the crash. All the same, neither his remains nor his plane were ever found.
In the late ’60s, The Incredible String Band was all the rage. Founded by Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, they added their girlfriends, Christina “Licorice” McKechnie and Rose Simpson to the group. Licorice became a big part of the band’s moderate success in the ’70s due to her outstanding vocal and songwriting contributions. The Scotland native went back home in 1986 to visit family. Not long after that, she went off the grid and disappeared. Her sister said she had been in Sacramento recovering from surgery in 1990, but a news source reported that her last known sighting was in 1987.
Hart Crane was a modernist poet who became a leading figure in the early 20th century. His father, with whom he has a tumultuous relationship, was a chocolatier and candy maker. All the same, when Hart’s father passed away, he became depressed. After he had won a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship, he decided to relocate to Mexico to write an epic poem. He boarded an ocean liner and headed back to New York. One day, around noon, he either jumped into the ocean or fell. He left no note and his body was never recovered.
Ian MacKintosh disappeared less than a month before his 39th birthday. The writer was on his way to Alaska along with his partner and his friend. Just before 6pm on July 7th, 1979, the pilot sent out a distress signal. In response, an air traffic control officer sent in the Coat Guard to help the approaching plane. However, when they arrived at the plane’s last reported position, there was no sign of a crash or the plane. The plane never landed, and the days-long search turned up nothing. The plane disappeared along with its passengers.
Pierre Bianconi played soccer professionally for several high-level teams in France during the 1980s and early 1990s. He wasn’t famous for his goals, however. He was famous for his unruly behavior. Routinely, he would rack up red and yellow penalty cards. In 1985, there was one incident that involved him slapping an opposing player before taking the red card held up by the official and ripping it up. Then, he head-butted the referee, giving him a bloody nose. That stunt earned the player a six-month ban from professional soccer. In December 1993, the ex-player was last seen in Bastia before disappearing. His car was found, but no one heard from or saw the player again.
Forrest Schab was a Vancouver-based musician who played under his stage name, DY. The stage name is an abbreviation of his nickname, ‘Die Young’. In 2009, he broke out and made a name for himself. In 2010, he toured Canada as an opening act for Akon. In August 2010, he was preparing to release his second single when he flew from Toronto to Mexico. A few weeks later, he wished a friend happy birthday on social media. Then, he disappeared. His family spoke to the police, but the search got no results. He’s still missing today.
Zelim Bakaev became a rising pop star in his country. In 2017, he was set to compete on the Russian version of ‘Star Academy’. In August of that same year, the 25-year-old traveled to his hometown. Just after he arrived, local LGBT community advocates say he had been arrested on suspicions of being homosexual and was sent to a government facility. The President then publicly denied that his government had anything to do with the pop star’s disappearance and possible death.
In the early 70s, John Brisket played in Pittsburgh at the start of ABA. In 1972, he signed with the Seattle SuperSonics. However, he was cut from the team in 1975. After trying and failing to get several business ideas off the ground, he went to Africa to start an import-export venture. On April 11, 1978, he called his girlfriend, and that was the last anyone has ever heard from him. It’s possible that he met his untimely end in the violent coup that took place that year.
Sadly for Natalee Holloway, it was her disappearance that made her famous in the first place. She was vacationing in Aruba with her class when she decided to go out for the evening. No one knows what happened next. She wasn’t alone. She was accompanied by three boys who claimed they dropped Natalee off at her hotel. Later, however, they changed their story. One of the boys confessed that one of the group went up with Natalee to her room.
Philip Taylor Kramer
Philip Taylor Kramer played bass for his up-and-coming band, Iron Butterfly. He was supposed to meet some friends at the airport but later called them up, saying they needed to come to his hotel instead. For some unknown reason, Philip spent an hour at the airport. He then called his wife to tell her he planned on ending his own life. The police promptly was called and showed up to search the area. But they never found him or any evidence linked to his disappearance.
Alcatraz existed for 29 years, and in that time, 36 inmates tried to escape. Just three succeeded – and are still missing to this day. They’re assumed to have died in the stormy water surrounding the prison. The only one baffling people is Frank Morris. It’s speculated that he and two other inmates who escaped had made it to land. Frank’s brother has claimed that he knew for a fact that Frank got away. A mysterious letter showed up at San Francisco’s police department in 2008, claiming that Frank lost his life.