There’s hardly anything that sends chills up my spine faster than a story about someone or something that went missing, never to be seen again. Bonus points if no one seems to have seen anything, and nothing else strange was happening at the place and time.
The person just…disappeared.
And these 5 cases? They’re fit for spooking you in the dark…or at the very least, tickling your curiosity.
#5. Louis Le Prince
Inventor Louis Le Prince could have been one of the most influential Frenchmen of the 19th century, but even though he was light years ahead of his time (and even created the world’s first moving picture), you’ve never heard of him.
Why? Because he disappeared from a moving train.
Le Prince was on his way to America in 1890 when he checked his bags and boarded a train from Dijon to Paris. When the train arrived, Le Prince was nowhere to be found.
The windows in his cabin were locked, no one heard a thing, and – get this – his luggage was missing as well. The entire train was searched, with hide nor hair of the luggage or the man found.
Theories range from family financial trouble to Le Prince committing an elaborate suicide (even though he was on his way to brag about the breakthroughs he’d made in his field). There is even a question of whether American competitor Thomas Edison could have been involved.
Le Prince and Edison were in direct competition, with the American inventor blocking Le Prince’s patents in the U.S., and Le Prince returning the favor by leaking Edison’s camera designs in France before Edison could obtain European patents.
Despite the fact that there was no love lost between the two men, there’s nothing that connects Edison to the disappearance. Furthermore, we still don’t have the slightest idea how the man disappeared.
And we probably never will.
#4. The Crew of the MV Joyita
In 1955, the MV Joyita left Samoa on what should have been a two-day voyage to the Tokelau Islands. The destination port sent a message when it hadn’t arrived after four days, and the 25 crew members and cargo were never found.
No distress signal was sent (or none was received, at least), and the ship wasn’t found until a month later, floating listlessly 600 miles away from Samoa…with no one on board.
The ship’s logbook and navigational equipment were missing, along with the lifeboats and food rations. Although the Joyita’s radio was set to an emergency frequency, the signal only reached 2 miles due to bad wiring that had been overlooked.
But although it might seem as though the story has a totally boring conclusion – they had to abandon the ship – there are several contributing factors that muddy those nice, clean-cut edges.
First, the ship was seaworthy. Although there was a hole in the outer structure that seemed to indicate a collision of some kind, the hull hadn’t been breached. The water found on board was more consistent with the way it was bobbing on its side when they found it. Not only that, but if they had simply left the ship, why did the air searches not spot any lifeboats?
Even stranger, the doctor’s bag was loaded with bloody rags instead of his medical tools, all the ship’s windows were smashed, and the main engine, for some reason, was covered in mattresses. On top of that, all of her clocks had stopped at 10:25 p.m.
There are plenty of theories, but none were based on any evidence or facts that ever turned up. So whether it was pirates, aliens, or Japanese holdouts from WWII, the ship – like all good ones – is holding fast to her secrets.