When someone goes missing, however unexpectedly, it is often quickly forgotten by all except those closest to the person who vanished. However, when multiple people disappear at the same time, especially a large group, it is obvious that something bizarre and potentially dark has taken place.
Even more interesting, these mass disappearance events are on record going back hundreds or thousands of years. What’s more, they continue today. In the age of the Internet and “eyes” everywhere, perhaps the mystery of such disappearances will soon be solved. Until then, however, the morbid intrigue and theories about these bizarre events will continue.
10 The Anjikuni Lake Incident
While seeking somewhere to rest for the night in November 1930, fur trapper Joe Labelle came across an Inuit settlement near Anjikuni Lake in Nunavut, Canada. Although a fire was burning beneath a pot with scorched food inside, there was no trace of the 30-strong community.
Furthermore, each hut still contained each resident’s personal possessions. The community’s food and fish supplies were full and untouched. As unlikely as it was that the entire village had just up and left at a moment’s notice, it was even more unlikely they would do so without taking their clothes, weapons, and community food supply.
Labelle informed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from the nearest telegraph office. They sent a unit to the isolated settlement. On the way, the Mounties stopped for refreshments at the home of local trapper Armand Laurent. He informed them of a strange gleaming object that had flown over his property several nights earlier. It had headed in the direction of Anjikuni Lake.
Upon arriving at the Inuit village, the RCMP confirmed that it was completely abandoned. In addition, the graves on the edge of the settlement were all broken open and missing their respective bodies. Even more bizarre, the stone markers were neatly placed in two piles on each side of the graves.
The case remains unsolved despite two investigations by the Canadian authorities in the early 1930s.
9 Roanoke Colony
The colony established at Roanoke Island (in modern-day North Carolina) was one of the first by settlers from England. However, upon returning from a supply trip to Europe, John White, the governor of the colony, and his crew discovered that the entire settlement had been deserted.
All that remained was a lone skeleton and the word, “CROATOAN,” etched into a tree. Many theories suggest that the settlers fell victim to the Croatoan tribe who lived just south of the Roanoke colony. The word may have been hastily left as an indication of who was responsible for the mass disappearance.
Other theories suggest that White’s three-year delay in returning (due to a war in Europe) led the remaining settlers to head back to Europe because they thought their governor had abandoned them. According to this idea, the settlers perished in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
8 Mary Celeste
After setting sail from New York to Genoa, Italy, in December 1872, the Mary Celeste was found drifting aimlessly with no crew or any sign of life aboard about 740 kilometers (400 nautical mi) off the coast of the Azores.
At first, it appeared that the ship and her crew had fallen victim to pirates looking to obtain her cargo for themselves. However, the ship’s entire load and the crew’s supplies were still aboard. The captain’s log also remained. Something must have “disturbed” the men suddenly and made them take immediate action because the crew should have taken the log even if they abandoned ship.
While the disappearance remains a mystery, M.K. Jessup argued in his book The Case for the UFO that this strange incident was just one of such mass alien abductions throughout history. Needless to say, not everyone subscribed to Jessup’s theories.
7 USS Cyclops
The United States’ USS Cyclops performed duties on the seas around Europe during World War I. However, its mysterious disappearance didn’t seem to come during battle. Instead, it appeared to be a victim of the now-famous Bermuda Triangle that has claimed ships and planes alike.
In February 1918, the USS Cyclops left its port in Brazil. By March 3, there was confirmation that the ship was off the coast of Barbados. Then communication suddenly ceased, and the vessel simply disappeared with over 300 crew members and passengers.
No distress signal or call for help was received. Furthermore, searches in and around the ship’s last confirmed position revealed no wreckage, ruins, or any type of debris associated with a sudden sinking of such a large boat.
The whereabouts of the USS Cyclops and what caused it to vanish remain unknown. In addition to the Bermuda Triangle aspect of the case, other theories range from the ship being a victim of a “rogue wave” to another claim of alien abduction on a massive scale.
6 The Village Of Hoer Verde
In February 1923, the 600 residents of the small Brazilian village of Hoer Verde simply vanished overnight, leaving their possessions and food behind. A small group of visitors made the unsettling discovery as they ventured into the town. As they walked deeper into the small community, it became apparent that no one was there. All around was a chilling silence. No birds singing, no insects buzzing, nothing.
The visitors informed the local police, who investigated further. Again, they found no sign of anyone and no clues as to where the residents might have gone. Upon entering the village school, the police saw this message on a blackboard: “There is no salvation!” A gun discovered nearby had been fired within the previous 24 hours.
Several theories about the fate of the villagers revolve around paranormal or alien activity. Other people point to the changing political landscape of Brazil at the time and speculate that the residents decided to leave the area rather than become caught in the cross fire of guerrilla warfare.
As plausible as that theory may be on the surface, it doesn’t explain why they left so suddenly without taking their clothing and food supplies. Furthermore, there are no records of the villagers emerging in other Brazilian communities, which surely would be the case if they had simply changed locations.
5 Anasazi Tribe
The Anasazi tribe is regarded as one of the most sophisticated civilizations of the North American continent. Possibly as far back as 1500 BC, they occupied the area of the US known today as the Four Corners. There, the modern-day states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet.
In the late 13th century, the Anasazi suddenly abandoned their settlements, which included some buildings of five stories and up to 800 separate rooms. The tribe simply disappeared.
Several Native American tribes today trace their ancestry to the Anasazi, and their legends state that the disappearance was the Anasazi “going home!” The apparent disappearance of this mysterious people is of great interest to those who subscribe to the ancient astronaut theory, not least because of the legends and myths associated with them.
These theorists also point to several strange markings of circular lines like a spiral on the ruins of old Anasazi sites. Mainstream research suggests that the markings represent the Sun. But those who believe the legends of the Anasazi “going home” consider the markings to be representations of portals or stargates, which may explain how the tribe simply vanished.
4 The Lost Civilization Of The Indus Valley
It is not so much that the civilization of the Indus Valley vanished as the reason behind their sudden disappearance. Some people believe that a targeted nuclear strike is to blame.
The sites of these attacks center around the ruins of the ancient cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in what is now modern-day Pakistan. According to such ancient writings as the Mahabharata, these sites were once the home of a great Indus Valley Civilization that rivaled those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Investigation of the site did reveal intricate drainage and sewer systems, brick baths, and systems for drinking water. Over 40 skeletons were scattered there. Testing—as well as the manner in which they were positioned—suggested a sudden end.
British researcher David Davenport researched the sites and studied the ancient writings for over a decade. He found evidence of radiation and the presence of the fusing of materials, all of which suggested a sudden, intense exposure to blistering heat. He concluded that an intentional nuclear strike had caused an explosion that wiped out the cities and, in turn, the Indus Valley Civilization.
3 The Australian Ghost Ship Mystery
In April 2007, the “Australian ghost ship mystery,” as the fate of the catamaran Kaz II became known, unfolded before the world’s eyes. Although this disappearance features only three people, it is worth including here due to the relative newness of the mystery as well as the chilling details surrounding the find.
A helicopter first spotted the 9.8-meter (32 ft) Kaz II drifting a little way off the coast of Queensland. Closer inspection revealed that the vessel had been abandoned. Although there was some damage to the sail, there were no other signs of a struggle. (The sail could have been damaged while the boat was drifting, for example.)
The discovery was particularly strange because the table had been set—as if the crew were just about to sit down to eat. Furthermore, the craft’s engine was still running and a laptop was turned on as though someone had been working on it. In fact, all the crew’s personal possessions were still on board and all life jackets remained undisturbed.
Although the authorities have yet to determine what happened to the three experienced yachtsmen, they did rule out “foul play” or a staged disappearance as part of a hoax.
2 The Nina
When it seemingly vanished into thin air in summer 2013, the Nina was 85 years old. The yacht had a proud and storied history, including winning a “New York to Spain” race only a month after being launched. In 2013, the vessel was owned by David Dyche. He planned to take his prized boat from New Zealand to Newcastle, Australia.
Dyche and his crew began their journey at the end of May 2013. However, Nina did not arrive at its destination. After several days of hoping that the wet and windy weather was responsible for the delay, New Zealand’s authorities launched the largest maritime search in the country’s history. Despite the intense efforts to locate the Nina and her crew, all missions failed. The once-prized boat is still officially missing.
What is perhaps interesting and worth noting is the location of the disappearance. It is within the area known as the Bass Strait Triangle, a stretch of water that has “claimed” several ships since written records of the region began.
1 The Dahlsjo Case
In what is regarded as the only mass disappearance in Swedish history, the events of July 29, 1965, in Gothenburg saw four young men seemingly vanish into thin air.
Gay Karlsson, Jan Olof Dahlsjo, and Kjell Ake Johansson were friends who worked together at the shipyards. On that rainy July morning came the last known sighting of the three men as they drove a blue Volvo out of town.
Reports that the men were missing came at different times from family members. Perhaps because of this, police were a little slow to connect the disappearances of the three men.
None of them had a driver’s license, which meant that at least one of them was driving illegally. Although the young men had occasionally found themselves in trouble for petty crimes (and always seemed to have plenty of money, coincidentally or not), they were generally regarded as “good guys.”
Whether or not there is a connection, a fourth person went missing that day in Gothenburg. Hubner Lundqvist was traveling to Lysekil and went through Gothenburg. There, he sent his family a postcard that read, “All is well, don’t worry!”
That is the last-known location of Lundqvist, although it is theorized that he likely hitched a ride with the three men in the blue Volvo. Whether the three men were already known to him or the meeting was pure chance is not known. The case remains unsolved.