50 Mysterious Disappearances & Kidnappings That’ll Scare You

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1Ettore Majorana

Ettore Majorana was a colleague and friend of Fermi, Heisenberg, and Bohr among many others. He was considered to be a genius comparable to the greats like Newton and Galilei by most physicists of his time. He mysteriously disappeared in 1938 and was never seen again.


2. In 1695, Pirate Henry Every captured treasure worth tens of millions of pounds or dollars in today’s money. He raided a convoy of Grand Mughal vessels making the annual pilgrimage from India to Mecca. Every then disappeared and neither he nor his treasure was ever captured.


3. Natalee Holloway was an 18 years old American who disappeared in 2005 while on a senior trip with her high school to Aruba. She has never been found, and her disappearance/murder has never been solved, even though the lead suspect, Joran van der Sloot, was convicted of murdering another girl 5 years later in Peru.


4. Actress Tammy Lynn Leppert played a very small part in the movie Scarface and mysteriously disappeared a few days after filming her part.


5. In 1998, a 10-year-old girl in Austria was dragged into a car and kidnapped. The case remained unsolved until she knocked on someone’s door in 2006 saying: “I am Natascha Kampusch.” She had just escaped the secret cellar of a local technician that abused her for 8 years.


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6Brian Shaffer

In April 2006, an American medical student named Brian Shaffer disappeared after entering a bar in Columbus, Ohio. He was recorded on security cameras entering the bar but never leaving the bar. He is still missing to this day.


7. William Cantelo was a British inventor born in 1839, who mysteriously disappeared in the 1880s. His sons developed a theory that he had re-emerged under the name “Hiram Maxim”, the inventor of the famous Maxim gun. This was due to a striking resemblance and similar occupation.


8. Richard Klinkhamer’s wife “disappeared” in 1991. He then wrote a book on seven ways to kill your spouse. In 2000, new owners of his former home found the skeletal remains of his wife, and in 2001 he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. He was released in 2003 for good behavior.


9. Masanobu Tsuji was a Japanese war criminal who executed POWs on Bataan. After World War 2, he fled to Indochina and disappeared into Laos in 1961. He was later rumored to have been working for North Vietnam. A CIA report said he was “the type of man who would start World War III without any misgivings.”


10. Wallace Fard Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam, is such an enigmatic figure that the FBI and various investigators have never been able to definitively trace his origins and background. In 1934, he disappeared and was never heard from again.


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11Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan was a psychedelic folk singer, whose 1968 album “UFO” featured extraterrestrial and supernatural themes. In 1975, he disappeared in the deserts of New Mexico and was never seen again.


12. Glenn Miller of the Glenn Miller orchestra disappeared in 1944 while flying to Paris during World War 2, spurring conspiracy theories including being assassinated on the way to broker a secret peace deal with Germany and that he died of a heart attack in a Parisian brothel. The case was last investigated in 2019.


13. In 2004, the entire Sri Lankan “national handball team” mysteriously disappeared soon after arriving in Germany for an invitational friendly tour. The formation of a national team was unauthorized and is a mystery according to the sports ministry in Sri Lanka.


14. Shamsa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum is an Emirati princess and a member of the Dubai ruling family. In July 2000, she fled her country and hid in London until August 2000, where she was kidnapped off the street in Cambridge by men working for her father. She hasn’t been seen in public since.


15. Kim Jong Il once kidnapped the biggest South Korean director and movie star (who were also ex-husband and wife) and brought them to North Korea to make movies for him. They escaped by convincing him to let them go abroad to promote the North Korean film industry.


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166th Dalai Lama

The 6th Dalai Lama led a playboy lifestyle, sleeping with girls and getting drunk on the journey to becoming Dalai Lama, and spending nights in the streets of Lhasa, drinking wine, singing love songs, and having amorous relations with girls. He later disappeared, with his body never being found.


17. The disappearance of the Eilean Mor lighthouse keepers in 1900 still remains a mystery. The door to the lighthouse was unlocked, coats were missing and half-eaten food was left behind. The last entries on the log described a storm on December 12th with severe winds, but no such storm was ever reported by anyone else.


18. On March 1, 1932, the 20-month old son of Charles Lindbergh (who flew the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927) was kidnapped. Even Al Capone offered his help from prison. In the aftermath of the crime (baby found dead), kidnapping was finally made a federal offense in the USA.


19. The USA might have adopted the metric system if pirates hadn’t kidnapped Joseph Dombey, the French scientist who was sent to help Thomas Jefferson persuade Congress to adopt the system.


20. Bride kidnapping or “ala kachuu” as a culture still occurs in several countries such as Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, and throughout Central Asia despite being illegal. One in five women are kidnapped to be married and the subsequent babies are on average smaller due to the mother’s psychological distress.


21Jaycee Dugard

An 11-year old girl named Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped in 1991 and she was only found when her kidnapper walked into a school in 2009 with two young girls claiming they were his daughters. They were in fact his daughters, their mother being Jaycee; who he had kept as a prisoner for 18 years. She gave birth to her daughters at just the age of 14.


22. In 1836, Rachel Plummer then aged 17 was kidnapped and held prisoner by a Comanche tribe for 21 months. Her memoir is considered an invaluable glimpse into the culture and mindset of the Comanche tribe before disease and war forced them onto reservations.


23. Singer Walter Scott was known for his one-hit-wonder called “(Look Out for) The Cheater” which came out in the 60s. In 1983, during talks to reunite with his old music group “Bob Kuban and The In-Men”, he was kidnapped and murdered by his wife JoAnn and her lover James Williams. His body was found in 1987.


24. In 1995, the Chinese government kidnapped a 6-year-old Tibetan boy called the Panchen Lama and replaced him with a Han Chinese “fake Panchen.” The Panchen Lama is in charge of choosing the next Dalai Lama, and the real Panchen Lama has never been heard from since.


25. In 1888, Kentucky State Treasurer James “Honest Dick” Tate disappeared with $250,000 in state funds after years of embezzling the state’s treasury. He was never heard from or seen again. His theft is what spurred the state to impose strict terms limits on state officeholders.

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