Mysterious Disappearances

By | Mar 4, 2012

Since people have been keeping records there have been reports of mysterious vanishings. While some may never been fully explained many of them could have simple explanations. Here is the story of six unexplained vanishings.

In 1587 a small company made up of 90 men, 17 women and 9 children colonized the island of Roanoke just off the coast of North Carolina. John White, the governor of the second colony, went back to England to gather more supplies. He intended to return to Roanoke Island right away, but war between England and Spain delayed him. Three years later when returning with supplies the colony was gone. The only clue the word “Croatan” was carved on a tree.

On November 5, 1872 the Mary Celeste set sail from New York for Italy. A month later on December 5th it was discovered as a derelict. The ship was in perfect order with no sign of trouble and still carried ample supplies. The captain, his family and its 14-member crew have never been found.

In 1913 author Ambrose Bierce joined the army of Pancho Villa as an observer of the Mexican Revolution. It is known that he accompanied Villa’s army as far as Chihuahua since a letter to a close friend was sent from there on December 26, 1913. Afterward he vanished and investigations into the disappearance provided no answers.

On August 6, 1930 New York Supreme Court associate justice Joseph F. Crater was seen walking out of a New York restaurant. He entered a taxi after waving goodbye to some friends and was never seen again. In October, a grand jury began looking into the case and ended up calling 95 witnesses and amassing 975 pages of testimony. Some of the evidence uncovered was that a safe-deposit box had been emptied and two briefcases missing. The conclusion was: “The evidence is insufficient to warrant any expression of opinion as to whether Crater is alive or dead, or as to whether he has absented himself voluntarily, or is the sufferer from disease in the nature of amnesia, or is the victim of crime.”

On March 4, 1983 13-year-old Shannon Lee Potter of Parkville, Maryland climbed out of her bedroom window to attend a party.Five days later Potter’s mother received a letter from her that had been postmarked from Orlando, Florida. Telephone records shows that she had made calls to Florida, Colorado and Mississippi, where her fathered lived. Were these calls related to her disappearance, no one knows. She has not been seen since.

While not a disappearance, the Legend of the Lost Dutchman’s mine in the Superstition Mountain of Arizona has caused a few disappearances with people lost trying to discover its location. In the 1870’s Jacob Waltz is said to have located a mine that he worked with his partner Jacob Weiser. Waltz was German, mistaken for Dutch, and he is the Dutchman where the name originated. Most stories place the mine in the vicinity of Weaver’s Needle, a well-known landmark in the mountains.


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