In North Carolina, USA, in 1587, the Roanoke colony founded by 100 English men and women suddenly and inexplicably disappeared. The settlers intended to farm sassafras, a costly medicinal plant, and export this product back to England.
John White, the governor of the colony, sailed back to England for more supplies, but was detained because of the war with Spain and when he finally returned in 1591 he found that all the colonists had disappeared, including his daughter and her baby girl, Virginia Dare, who was the very first white child born in America.
Also found carved on a post was the word 'CROATAN', the name of the nearby island and a local Indian tribe. After a lengthy search for the colonists, bad weather prevented any further searching and John White returned to England.
Strangely enough though, 100 years later, new colonists reported seeing Indians with grey eyes and fair hair.
On October 24th, 1593, a soldier reported for palace duty in Manila, Philippines, and instantly became aware that his uniform set him apart from everyone else. He suddenly realised that he was actually in Mexico City, Mexico.
During interrogation the soldier said that he had been instructed that very morning to report to the palace in Manila, adding that the governor of the Philippines had been killed the night before.
The Mexican authorities put him in jail, but two months later it was confirmed that the Philippine governor had indeed been murdered in Manila on the night before the soldier suddenly appeared. The soldier was then allowed to return back to Manila, over 2000 miles away!
In Perleberg, Germany, on November 25th, 1809, 25 year old diplomat Benjamin Bathurst and his valet stopped at an inn for the night, after travelling from diplomatic services during the French/Austrian war.
A witness at the inn reported that Bathurst seemed to be very nervous and had asked for guards to protect him against mysterious pursuers.
In the middle of the evening as his coach was leaving, Bathurst went out into the otherwise deserted street, walked around the horses.......and disappeared. His valet saw nothing. Neither did the hostler who had harnessed the horses, or his secretary who was standing in the inn doorway paying the bill or the soldiers stationed at each end of the street.
Eventually the authorities searched the inn and finally the whole town but nothing of the man was ever found. Napoleon himself denied any knowledge of the disappearance and that any of his agents had been involved.
All that is known is summed up by the writer Charles Fort "Under observation, he walked around to the other side of the horses."
In Weichselmunde, Prussia, in 1815, Mr. Diderici, a valet, was imprisoned for impersonating his master. One day he was walking around the walled prison exercise yard, his legs in chains, when he suddenly began to fade and within seconds he was invisible, his manacles falling to the ground. Nothing was ever seen of Diderici again.
In Russia, on November 19th, 1825, 47 year old Tsar Alexander I died. In St. Petersburg, Russian troops rebelled against the succession of his brother, Nicholas. The uprising was quickly put down.
Nicholas was so unpopular at the time that rumours soon spread that his long dead brother Alexander had not died at all, but had secretly abdicated in favour of a life as a holy hermit.
At one point a man named Fedor Kuzmich appeared in Tomsk and local residents suspected that this might well be Tsar Alexander himself. In 1864 Kuzmich was lying on his death bed, his last words being, "God only knows my real name!"
In 1865, Tsar Nicholas attempted to quell the rumours about his brother and had his casket opened. Rumours soon spread about the casket being empty. In 1926, over one hundred years after Alexander's 'death' his casket was opened again and was officially declared empty. To this day no one really knows where he lays buried.
In New York, USA, on December 12th, 1829, 75 year old John Lansing, who was the New York Supreme Court chief justice between 1790 and 1801, went out in the early evening to mail some letters and was never seen again. An intensive search was made but he was never found again.
In the Bahamas, on August 17th, 1840, the merchant ship 'Rossini' was discovered completely abandoned, it's cargo of wines, fruits and silks still intact and in perfect condition, the captain's papers and log all secure in their proper places, the only living things on board being a cat, some chickens and several canaries, half dead from starvation.
In Australia, in March 1848, explorer Ludwig Leichhardt led an expedition to cross the huge central desert. Leichhardt, his men and over 70 pack animals were never seen again. In 1975, nearly 130 years later, Zac Mathias, an Australian ranger came across some photographs showing aboriginal paintings of white men with their pack animals, painted about the same time that Leichhardt had gone missing. Mathias organised an expedition to find these cave paintings but just before the expedition was to begin, Mathias himself disappeared, never to be seen again.
Off the coast of Cornwall, England, in 1849, the Dutch schooner 'Hermania' was discovered with her masts blown off and her crew gone without a trace, the lifeboat still being on board. Theories about their disappearance included being swept overboard by a single giant wave, abandoning the ship because they thought it may have been sinking and abduction in strange circumstances.
In the mid Atlantic, on February 28th, 1855, the ship 'James B Chester' was found totally abandoned and in fine condition. When boarded it was found that the compass and the ship's papers were gone and also signs that personal belongings of the crew had been hastily gathered from drawers and cupboards. The strange thing was that all the lifeboats were still on board without showing any signs that an attempt was made to use them.
In Vicksburg, USA, in June 1872, the riverboat 'Iron Mountain' set off down the Mississippi river, loaded with a cargo of cotton and molasses. Later her barges were found floating down the river by themselves, their tow ropes purposely cut rather than snapped.
No trace, not even a piece of wood, of the 'Iron Mountain' or her 52 passengers were ever seen again.
On the East coast of the Azores, on December 4th, 1872, the brigantine ship 'Mary Celeste' was found bobbing in the water, her sails at half mast. No sign of the captain, Benjamin Briggs, his wife, Sarah, and his daughter Sophia were found. Two hatch covers were off, the ship's lifeboat was gone, the fore-upper-topsail was lost, the binnacle was overturned and the ship's wheel was not lashed, a sign that the ship had been abandoned in great hurry.
In Selma, Alabama, USA, in July 1854, farmer, Orion Williamson, got out of his chair on the front porch of his farmhouse, and set out across a field to bring his horses in from the pasture. His wife and child watched him walk across the field, two neighbours on the other side of the field waved at him, and right before their very eyes, Williamson disappeared without a trace.
A massive search was made, also using bloodhounds, but no trace of Williamson was ever found.
In Gallatin, Tennessee, USA, on September 3rd, 1880, David Lang, a farmer, set out across his field, in full view of his wife and totally disappeared. His disappearance was also witnessed by two visitors, a judge and his brother in law, a search of the field found nothing, not even any holes or hidden caves.
In Quincy, Illinois, USA, in November 1878, 16 year old Charles Ashmore went out to get some water from the well outside the family home. When he didn't return back to the house after a long wait, his father and his sister went to look for him. All they found were footprints, clear as daylight, in the fresh snow, leading halfway to the well, where they abruptly stopped. He was never seen again.
In South Bend, Indiana, USA, 11 year old Oliver Larch left the house to get some water from the well, when his parents suddenly heard a scream from outside. They instantly went outside, but the boy had vanished. No trace of him was ever found.
In Rhayader, Wales, UK, on December 24th, 1909, 11 year old Oliver Thomas went into the yard to fetch some water from the well, when he was heard to scream "Help! Help! they've got me!"
His footprints ended halfway to the well and he was never seen again.
In Leamington Spa, England, UK, in 1873, James Worson, a shoemaker bet his friends that he could run from his hometown to Coventry and back again, a total distance of 16 miles.
Worson set out on his run, jogging at a steady pace, with three of his friends following in a cart. After a few miles down the road, Worson suddenly stumbled, began to pitch forward and disappeared forever.
The three friends searched frantically for him, but no trace of Worson was ever found again.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1879, Anna Fellows left her husband of three years, William. Twenty years later, in 1899, William Fellows came home one day to find his wife, Anna, in the kitchen preparing a meal, as though she had never left. Anna offered no explanations and the couple settled down together again, but again, after three years, Anna disappeared again, this time for good.
Off the coast of Florida, USA, Mr Henry Edward, a passenger on the coastal steamer 'City Of Dallas' disappeared overnight, and although the water was calm, none of the passengers or crew heard a splash of water or saw Edward go overboard. He was never found.
In Paris, France, in May 1889, a distraught Englishwoman entered the British Embassy to report her mother missing. She explained that she and her mother were passing through Paris on their way back from India, they had checked into a hotel and her mother had been taken ill. The hotel doctor had examined her mother and then sent the young woman to fetch some medicine. When she returned the hotel staff denied ever having seen her mother, only the young woman's name was in the register. When she inisisted on seeing her mother's room, she found it was not the one she remembered and even the hotel doctor denied ever having met her before.
Unable to make her story believed, the young woman was then sent to an asylum in England.
In France, in September 1890, Louis Le Prince, who was one of the pioneers of motion pictures (He had invented the technique used later by Thomas Edison) stepped on a train and never got off again. He was never seen again. In 1897, seven years after his disappearance he was finally declared dead.
In Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, in 1898, Miss Grace Perkins totally vanished from her home. After an intensive search her parents identified a body as being that of their daughter, who had been viciously murdered.
On September 17th, 1898, on the eve of the funeral, Grace showed up at her parent's home to explain that she had merely eloped, and now all the bad publicity would spoil her honeymoon.
On the Island of Mor, Scotland, UK, on the 26th December 1900, the supply ship 'Hesperus' sent lighthouse keeper Joseph Moore onto the island to determine why the lighthouse had been dark for the last 11 days.
Moore and his fellow rescuers entered the lighthouse and found it totally abandoned, although everything seemed to be in order apart from the weather gear of the lighthouse keepers was missing.
Theories about the three lighthousekeepers disappearance were given but there were no real answers, and the three men were never found.
In Yonkers, New York, USA, on March 28th, 1905, Mr. Charles Austin said to his wife as he was leaving the house, "Be back shortly. Keep supper on for me." That was the last time that she, and everyone who knew him, ever saw him again.
In New Jersey, USA, on July 4th, 1906, William Mckeekin was married, but only an hour after the wedding he told his new bride that he was going to get a carriage. That was the last time anybody ever saw him again.
Mrs. Mckeekin searched for 17 years for her 'dead' husband before seeking an annulment.
In Manhattan, New York, USA, on December 12th, 1910, Miss Dorothy Arnold, a well known society girl, went shopping in West Avenue and after buying chocolates totally disappeared off the face of the earth.
Her relations conducted a private investigation using the Pinkerton detective service and finally went to the police, but still she was not found.
They interviewed her lover, George Griscom, but again without any clues, even going so far as to check all the hospitals, again without any success.
Dorothy Arnold was never seen again.
On January 28th, 1914, James Regan, a passenger on board the liner 'Prinz Heinrich' unaccountably disappeared in midvoyage on his way from Marseilles to Naples. Strangely he took his suitcases with him, and no one on board the packed ship saw anyone fall overboard.
At the battle of Gallipoli, in 1915, New Zealand soldiers witnessed hundreds of British troops advancing towards the Turkish positions, when suddenly a dense, solid looking cloud, shaped like a loaf of bread, settled on the ground in front of the troops. After the British troops walked into it, the cloud lifted leaving not one soldier behind.
It should be noted that of the 34,000 men killed at Gallipoli, only 6,000 actually have a grave. Where are all the remaining 27,000 'missing' men?
On the English Channel, in October, 1917, the ship 'Zebrina' sailed on a short voyage. When the ship was found a short while later, the entire crew had disappeared. All seemed in good order on board and no clues were found.
In Toronto, Canada, on December 2nd, 1919, Theatre owner Ambrose J. Small was walking through a heavy snowstorm to pick up his copy of the New York Times newspaper, and, finding that the train that usually delivered his paper would be late, he swore. That was the last time anyone ever heard or saw Small again.
Many theories were made but none of them seemed to give an answer. Small was eventually declared dead in 1923.
In New York, USA, on August 6th, 1930, 41 year old Joseph F. Crater, the New York Supreme Court associate justice dined that evening at a chop house restaurant, sitting with his friend, lawyer William Klein and showgirl, Sally Lou Ritz. Crater then hailed a taxi, jumped inside and was never seen again. There were many explanations about his disappearance.
In New York City, USA, in 1936, Fred Lloyd, a financier shared a taxi home with his friend, then after dropping his friend at home he jumped backed in the taxi to ride back uptown and was never seen again. His wife, who died in 1945, always believed that he would return, and three unsigned insurance cheques, many years old, were found not to have been cashed.
In Lae, New Guinea, on July 2nd, 1937, the famous flier, Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan, took off in their specially equipped, twin engined plane, for the 2,556 mile flight to Howland Island in the Central Pacific Ocean, during Earhart's eastward round the world flight.
As the scheduled time of arrival on Howland Island drew near, the coast guard cutter 'Itasca' received some fragmentary radio messages from Earhart saying, "Cloudy and overcast......want bearings." That was the last time that Earhart was ever heard of again.
No wreckage was ever found, no bodies washed up on shore, nothing. Many theories were made about what happened, ranging from being a prisoner of war in Japan to being abducted by a UFO. The most likely reason for her disappearance is pilot error and maybe one day her plane and her remains will be found.
In Long Island, USA, on April 17th, 1938, Andrew Carnegie Whitfield, the wealthy nephew of the famous steel tycoon, took off in his aeroplane from Roosevelt field airbase for a 22 mile flight, and was never seen again. He had 200 hours flying experience and enough fuel for a 150 mile flight yet he never made it to his destination and neither he or his plane has ever been found.
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, on December 5th, 1945, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers took off for a short 320 mile navigational training exercise. Four hours later they were never seen again. Two hours after take off radio operators recieved a message from Lt. Charles Taylor, the flight leader, saying, "Both my compasses are out....I'm over land, but it's broken. I'm sure I'm in the Keys, but I don't know how far down and I don't know how to get to Fort Lauderdale."
For the next two hours more fragmentary messages came through saying, "All planes close in tight....we will have to ditch unless landfall....when the first man gets down to 10 gallons we will all land in the water together...even the ocean doesn't look like it should....don't come after me....it looks like...."
Eventually, five hours after the five planes took off nothing else was heard or seen of them again.
A flying boat was immediately sent to rescue the men but had to turn back due to an iced up antennae, but another one was sent in it's place half an hour later but it later crashed in a fireball into the sea.
To this day no bodies or wreckage has ever been found.