There are many stories told about people who vanished seemingly without a trace and sometimes in full view of witnesses. Some of these cases have been resolved as elaborate hoaxes…others however, remain unexplained. What happened to them? A number of possibilities have been offered ranging from UFO abductions, time portals and alternate dimensions. Here are a few examples of explained and unexplained disappearances.
The Bennington Cases
· Several disappearances occurred in Bennington, Vermont, in the late 1940s and 1950. In early December of 1946, 18 year old student Paula Welden disappeared while walking along a Trail leading to Glastenbury Mountain. A couple out for a stroll had seen her as they were following a short distance behind. Weldon rounded a bend. Moments later the couple rounded the bend having a clear view of the surrounding terrain. The young girl was nowhere to be seen. She has not been seen since.
· On December 1, 1949, Mr. Tetford, an army veteran, was on a bus returning home to Bennington. There were 14 other passengers aboard who all later testified to seeing him napping. The bus arrived…Tetford didn’t, although his luggage and personal belongings were still on the bus. Tetford has never been found.
· In mid-October, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson disappeared from a farm where his mother worked as an animal caretaker. She had left him playing near an animal pen while she momentarily went to take care of a small task. When she returned he was gone. Although an exhaustive search was conducted, he was never seen again.
The Disappearing Village
As we can see by the above examples individuals disappearing, although not common, nevertheless happens. But it isn’t common for an entire village of over 2,000 to simply vanish.
· In November, 1930, fur trapper Joe Labelle showed up at an Eskimo village on the shores of Lake Anjikuni in northern Canada. The village, which Labelle knew well as a flourishing fishing community, was completely deserted. Labelle reported the situation to authorities who immediately went to investigate. What they found was startling. There were no footprints in the snow covered ground and none of the food or supplies in individual huts had been disturbed. All of the sled dogs were found dead buried under a 12 foot snowdrift. The most unsettling discovery of all was the village ancestral graves were empty.
· Another case of a multiple vanishing was the disappearance of an entire battalion of soldiers in 1915. Some 50 years later three soldiers of a New Zealand field company came forward to announce they had witnessed the disappearance of the unit following the WWI Gallipoli campaign. According to the trio they watched as a battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment marched up a hillside in Suvla Bay, Turkey, into what appeared to be a low lying cloud. After the last soldier had entered, it joined other clouds in the sky. After the war it was assumed the battalion had been captured by the Turkish army. When the British government demanded their soldiers be released the Turks maintained they had no knowledge of the English unit in question.
The Disappearing Wife
· In 1975, Jackson Wright and his wife, Martha, were traveling from New Jersey to New York City by car. Their route took them through the Lincoln Tunnel. Jackson was driving and once through the tunnel the windshield and rear window had become covered with condensation and it was obstructing his vision. Wright pulled over to wipe off the windows. Martha got out and did the rear window while her husband cleaned the windshield. When Jackson had finished he turned around and found no sign of his wife. Investigators found no evidence of foul play. Martha had just vanished.
The British Diplomat
· In 1809, British diplomat Benjamin Bathurst was returning home in a horse-drawn coach with a companion after conducting some official court business. After a long trip they were becoming hungry and stopped for dinner at an inn along the way. After completing their meal they returned to their coach. Bathurst went to the front of the coach to check on the team. According to his companion he disappeared in midstride as he watched.
· Perhaps the best known case was that of David Lang which supposedly occurred in September, 1880 on a farm near Gallatin, Tennessee and witnessed by several people. As the story goes, the two Lang children were playing in the front yard when their parents, David and Emma came out to check on them. David said he had forgotten to tell an employee something about one of his horses and took off across a pasture to take care of the matter. About that time David saw a friend coming down the road in a buggy and he waved as he continued across the field. While his family and approaching friend watched, David disappeared. At first, it was thought he might have fallen into a hole. But when he didn’t come back into view everybody ran to see what had happened to him. There was no hole or David for that matter. A thorough search by the family and neighbors turned up nothing. That’s the story, but now the truth.
The Lang story became popular in the 1950's when it appeared in an issue of Fate magazine. It claimed to be an eyewitness account told by his daughter during a 1931 interview. The article also alluded to claims she had received a message from her father in April 1929 through automatic writing in his handwriting.
A noted Nashville librarian spent many years investigating the story. He found no evidence a Lang family had ever lived in the area. From information he uncovered it was deduced a traveling salesman had written the story. The salesman was well known for submitting such stories to newspapers under an assumed name. Later handwriting analysis also proved not to be that of David Lang. He never existed.