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Top 10 Mysterious Disappearances – How Did They Happen?

Today we have cutting-edge forensic technology and DNA analysis techniques that can help with mystery cases. And yet, we still see unsolved mysterious cases of disappearance. Every year, thousands of families enter the world of limbo when suddenly a loved one goes missing. What happens after is months, sometimes even years searching for that person.

Often, lack of clues prevents inspectors from making sense of the tragedy. Every year, there are many incidents that puzzle authorities and haunt the people left behind.

Today, we will talk about some of the most mysterious acts of disappearance in history. Many of these remain unsolved to this date.

Jimmy Hoffa


Jimmy started out as a union organizer. By 1958, he had climbed the ranks and served as president of the Teamsters, the largest body union in the US.

At the time, many of the Teamsters’ dealings had corruption written over them. Federal authorities started pursuing Jimmy, and he managed to evade them until 1964.

The police arrested him and placed him in federal prison. Even from behind the arms, he continued controlling Teamster activities. In 1971, Jimmy got released.

In 1975, Jimmy went to a restaurant in suburban Detroit for a meeting with Teamster official. But nobody saw him after that. Following his disappearance, the FBI triggered one of the longest-running organized crime cases in Detroit. Hoffa’s disappearance sparked public interest and served as inspiration for many movies.

More than 45 years later, he remains missing and his disappearance a mystery. In 1982, the FBI declared him “presumed dead”.

Emanuela Orlandi


The 15-year girl disappeared from Vatican City in central Rome in June 1983. She attended a routine music lesson, and never appeared again.

Emanuela, the daughter of a prominent Vatican employee, enjoyed the religious center’s idyllic gardens all the time. She often ran into Pope John Paul II.

Her disappearance on June 22 launched decades of conspiracy theories including Vatican Satanists, sex trafficking, sacrifice, and the Italian Mafia.

On her last day, she called her sister after a music class. Orlandi told her sister that a representative from Avon Cosmetics offered her a job. But she failed to come back home, and the next day her parents called the police.

Raoul Wallenberg


Raoul came from a well-connected and upstanding Swedish family. He grew into a successful businessman. His family name and business connections enabled him to organize a major rescue operation of Hungarian Jews in 1944.

Wallenberg distributed documents to the Jews of Budapest and convinced Hungarian authorities to let the documentation function as passports. He managed to save more than 15,000 Jews.

In January 1945, he got arrested by Soviet troops for unknown reasons. The Soviets later claimed he died of a heart attack in 1947. But to this day, nobody knows what happened to him following the arrest.

Madeleine McCann


Many consider Madeleine “the most heavily reported missing person case in modern history”. As we said in the beginning, despite modern forensic technologies and DNA analysis, we still mysterious missing cases.

In 2007, the British three-year-old vanished while on vacation with her family in Portugal. Her story began on May 3, 2007, at a resort in Portugal. Her parents Kate and Gerry left Madeleine and her two twin siblings asleep in their rental apartment on the ground floor.

Kate and Gerry went for dinner and returned home two hours later. At that point, nobody knew the whereabouts of Madeleine.

The police had many suspects, including the 33-year-old Robert Murat, a real estate consultant living nearby. The McCanns themselves appeared on the list of suspects as well. They got removed from the list in 2008.

Nowadays, many point to local sex traffickers and believe the area of Algarve in Portugal is among the least safe. To this date, many consider the area a magnet for pedophiles.

D.B. Cooper


Nearly 50 years ago, an unidentified passenger hijacked a flight from Seattle before leaping out of the moving plane with a parachute and $200,000 in ransom money. The man, D.B. Cooper, remains a legend and a mystery ever since.

He bought a one-way plane ticket to Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 at an airport in Portland on November 24, 1971. He wore a suit and tie and didn’t appear suspicious. During the flight, he ordered a bourbon and soda.

Shortly after the plane took off, he handed one of the flight attendants a note claiming he has a bomb in the suitcase. He demanded four parachutes and $200,000 ransom money in $20 bills. Once he received the money from the passengers on board. The plane landed in Seattle and freed the passengers.

He then hijacked the flight and ordered the crew to fly to Mexico City. Shortly after takeoff he suddenly jumped out of the back of the plane.

Amelia Earhart


Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on June 2, 1937. Within hours, rescue workers began a search mission looking for the famed aviator. They couldn’t find Amelia or her navigator, Fred Noonan.

The official report following a couple of days of search stated that the two passengers ran out of fuel and crashed into the water. She got declared legally dead on January 5, 1939.

Seven decades later, many have questions about her disappearance. Conspiracy theories state she worked as a secret agent for the US government. And she crashed the plane intentionally after deviating from the course to spy on Japanese-occupied islands in the Pacific.

Wallace D. Fard


Wallace is the founder of the Nation of Islam (NOI). He rose from a silk peddler on the streets of Detroit to a preacher and self-identified savior of the African American people.

He had a short, yet influential stint as the NOI leader in Detroit from 1930 to 1934. During that time, he had a couple of run-ins with the law.

But then in 1934, he disappeared out of nowhere. Each day, his followers celebrate him on February 26, Saviors Day.

Jennifer Kesse


Jennifer had everything you can ask for. She had a loving family, a reliable job, and a loyal boyfriend. And when she disappeared on January 23, 2006, her family instantly knew something went wrong.

The police later found her abandoned car, but her mysterious disappearance remains a mystery. On the evening before, she returned home from work and chatted with her family over the phone. She also called her boyfriend and then went to bed.

Following that, texts and calls went unreturned the next day. Kesse didn’t show up for work. By 11 am, her parents drove to Orlando from Tampa to check on her. They found her car missing, but everything else looked normal.

Joseph Force Crater


On August 6, 1930, the 41-year old Supreme Court Judge went missing. He left his office and dined with friends at a Manhattan chophouse.

But after that, nobody saw him. The massive investigation captivated the nation, earning him the title of the “most missing man in New York”.

He got declared legally dead in 1939.

Tara Calico


Imagine disappearing and then appearing in a Polaroid. That happened with Tara Calico, at least according to her mother.

In September 1988, Tara left her home in Valencia County, New Mexico. She went on her daily bike ride. But nobody saw the 19-year ever again.

Her mother believes she surfaced in a Polaroid the following year. The police found pieces of her Walkman and cassette tape, but nothing more.

In June 1989, authorities found a Polaroid in a convenience store parking lot 1,500 miles away. The Polaroid showed a teenage girl resembling Calico and a young boy. They got tied up with duct tape over their mouths.

But that evidence didn’t help the police find the girl.

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