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Vanishing People

Updated on June 30, 2013

Urban Legend?

There are millions of people each year who seemingly disappear, the vast majority return at some point or are accounted for and yet even today some disappear without any rational explanation as to where they have gone. After doing some research on this subject it seems that some of the cases of disappearance especially where an individual vanishes in plain site are purely urban legend or are retold stories passed down in a form of Chinese whispers with the changing of names and places however there are still a few interesting stories whether with rational explanations or not.


One of the better known tales of a mysterious disappearance is the case of James Worson. Worson was a shoemaker who lived in the town of Leamington Spa in the English Midlands being around 16 miles from the large city of Coventry. The story goes that Worson who fancied himself as a bit of an athlete bet two friends one Barham Wise and a photographer named Hammerson Burns that he could run non stop to Coventry, on the day of the bet Wise and Hammerson followed behind Worson in a horse driven cart and Worson was said to be jogging along at a steady pace even turning his head now and again to smile at his two friends when he suddenly fell letting out a frightening scream and before hitting the ground disappeared without a trace, pictures were taken of where Worson fell and they showed his imprints in some soft ground suddenly coming to a halt, nothing was ever heard of Worson again. If you look for this story on the internet in many articles it is repeated as if it is a true account however the whole tale comes from a book of short stories written by the author Ambrose Bierce from his book Present at a hanging and other short stories and has fell into popular lore as if it were true, strangely though Bierce himself disappeared without a trace in October 1913!

The writer Ambrose Bierce.
The writer Ambrose Bierce.


In April 1959 Mr Bruce Campbell and his wife were traveling across the USA to visit their son who lived in another State, on the way they decided on a stop overnight in a motel in Jackson Illinois, the next morning Mrs Campbell awoke to find her husband gone, seemingly in his nightwear, all his other belongings including his car and money remained, Bruce Campbell was never seen again.


Perhaps the best known disappearance case of all as there is a film based on the story, the story goes that a party of schoolchildren and their French mistress disappear at Hanging Rock a picturesque and yet spooky place in Macedon around 1 and a half hours drive from Melbourne Australia, this story has been a controversial one since its release in the 1960s as it portrays the events as having really happened, today visitors to Macedon still visit the local library expecting to be able to read the local newspaper extracts from the time of the event and get most upset when they find it didn't happen, it is a purely fictional account from a book called Picnic at Hanging Rock by a well known Australian author Joan Lindsay.

A movie poster for Picnic At Hanging Rock.
A movie poster for Picnic At Hanging Rock.


The Romers were a retired couple from New York who liked to spend the winter in the warmer climes of their holiday home in Miami. During the long return trip to New York one year, the Romers decided to stay the night in a hotel in Brunswick City Georgia, after dropping their luggage off at the hotel, the Romers left possibly to find a restaurant, a local patrolman believed he may have spotted their car that evening a black Lincoln Continental but if he did he was the last person to see the Romers, they never arrived at any local restaurant, their belongings were left in their hotel room and they were never seen again, double suicide with the bodies never being found? Possibly.

It is very unlikely that anybody ever vanishes into thin air or disappears into another dimension, when there is no explanation for the disappearance as in two of the cases above it is only due to the missing persons bodies never being found that the cases are classed as a mysterious disappearance, still though, people vanishing without trace is an interesting concept if only for trying to solve what really did happen to them.


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    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Interesting hub and a fascinating subject. I remember watching the 'Picnic at the Hanging Rock' many years ago. Perhaps I have to watch it again :)

    • nuffsaidstan profile image

      nuffsaidstan 4 years ago

      Hey thats a good idea mate.

    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Thanks for the strange disappearance stories. Maybe you could do a follow up of people who disappear after crossing the wrong people. Jimmy Hoffa?