The world is a big, big place. It might not always seem like it, but it’s pretty easy to just disappear–with no trace left of you. Celebrity status doesn’t always help either. Consider these famous disappearances that remain unsolved to this day.
8. Sean Flynn
Sean Flynn was the son of swashbuckling Hollywood legend, Errol Flynn. Sean was a successful actor and singer before finding his passion for photojournalism. He gained notoriety during the Vietnam War for undertaking incredibly dangerous assignments, reporting from well beyond enemy lines.
Though details are unclear, it appears that he and fellow journalist Dana Stone were captured by Viet Cong forces in Cambodia in 1970. He was never seen again, and despite a small fortune spent by his family trying to locate him, he was declared legally dead in 1984.
7. Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson was an English explorer. His travels along the waterways of modern-day New York, Massachusetts, and Eastern Canada were instrumental in the eventual colonization of this region. Hudson was the namesake for New York’s Hudson River, the Hudson Bay, and Canada's Hudson Strait.
In 1610, he undertook a voyage attempting to find the Northwest Passage (which was believed to eventually lead all the way west to China). Unfortunately, Hudson's crew mutinied and left him, his son, and seven other loyal crewmen stranded on a small boat in the Hudson Bay. Later attempts to find any remains of the marooned men were unsuccessful.
6. Heinrich Müller
Heinrich Müller might well be one of history’s most sinister monsters. Known as Gestapo Müller, in part to distinguish him from another Nazi officer named Heinrich Müller, he was a high-ranking member of the Nazi state police and was instrumental in creating and spreading Nazi propaganda that justified the Holocaust.
Last spotted in a bunker the day after Hitler committed suicide, Müller seems to have vanished without any trace. Multiple intelligence agencies around the world have circulated theories as to his eventual fate. Among the most prominent theories: Müller was secretly recruited by the CIA or the USSR; he fled to South America and died in anonymity; or that he died/committed suicide in the last days of WWII. Müller was last seen on May 1, 1945 and is generally believed to have died sometime that month.
5. Solomon Northup
Solomon Northup was a free African-American man born in upstate New York in either 1807 or 1808. In 1841, he went to Washington D.C. in the hopes of getting work as a fiddle player. Sadly, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery soon after his arrival.
Northup spent over a decade in chains, before finally becoming free with the aid of a Canadian carpenter, who smuggled letters to Northup's friends and relatives. Northup later detailed his experiences in his famous memoir, Twelve Years a Slave.
Northup spent the rest of his days as a traveling lecturer and activist for the abolitionist movement. It was during these travels that he once again went missing and was never seen again. Some historians believe he might have been captured and sent back into slavery again, though others say he was likely too old to be a target of the slave trade by that point.
4. Harold Holt
Harold Holt was an extremely prominent figure in Australian politics; he served in parliament and various cabinet positions for about three decades before becoming the Prime Minister in 1966.
In December 1967, he went for a swim at one of his favorite spots and never came back. Despite a massive search-and-rescue operation, his body was never recovered. It’s generally believed that he drowned after overestimating his swimming ability and underestimating how rough the current was on that particular day.
3. Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa presided over the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for over a decade, a position through which he regularly rubbed elbows with some of the biggest names in organized crime.
He was last seen at a Detroit-area restaurant in the summer of 1975, allegedly waiting to meet with two local Mafia leaders. When he never came home, his wife reported him missing, and police found his unlocked car still outside the restaurant.
While there are no official conclusions as to his eventual fate, just about all the stories point to some kind of mob-style execution. Hoffa was officially declared dead in 1982.
2. Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller was a big band leader and America’s best-selling recording artist through the late 1930s and early 1940s. Although he is less remembered outside of jazz circles today, Miller and his band were immensely popular in their day, scoring more number one hits than the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, or Madonna.
Despite being too old to be drafted at 38, Miller volunteered for military service after WWII broke out. Eventually, he was able to convince the Army to take him in, where he trained and reorganized bands to rally his fellow troop members.
In 1944, Miller boarded a plane heading to France where he was due to perform for the troops. Neither the plane nor its occupants were ever seen again. It is speculated that a faulty carburetor caused the plane to crash, but the plane and the bodies of its occupants were never found.
1. Amelia Earhart
Arguably the most famous missing person in history, aviator Amelia Earhart earned international acclaim for her flying exploits, including being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan embarked on an attempted flight around the world. During this trip, she began transmitting messages for help somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
A U.S. Coast Guard vessel, the Itasca, went out to help but could not find the plane. Subsequent smoke signals and transmissions by the Itasca were also unanswered. There have been multiple search expeditions since then, and theories absolutely abound, but no conclusive results as to Earhart’s fate were ever discovered.
This story was first published on did you know?