There’s something to be said for having the skill, the drive and the tenacity to track something down even when it’s remarkably hard to do so. Once upon a time your ability to hunt and track may have been the difference between life and death. These days it’s less important for most of us, but there are also different ways a person can track and hunt a target as well. Sometimes people can still go well above and beyond the rational to find what or who they are looking for.
10. A Tiger Tracked a Poacher After Being Shot
It’s easy to underestimate just how big Russia is and how diverse the wildlife there can be. This is a land where you can find bears, wolves and tigers all in relatively close quarters, or at least you used to be able to. The Siberian or Amur tiger has suffered great losses but the big cats do still exist and they are remarkable hunters. Just ask Vladimir Markov, provided you have a Ouija board.
In 1997, Markov was a poacher trying to make ends meet. Tigers were and are big business to some people who can make up to $50,000 off of one. Based on what was able to be determined after the fact, Markov tracked a tiger that had made a kill and shot the cat. The tiger, wounded but not dead by any means, ran off. Markov took its kill.
In a remarkable but terrifying twist, the tiger seemed to take this very personally. It tracked Markov back to his home later on and destroyed his property and then waited outside for him to return. The timeline suggests this took 12 to 48 hours meaning it wasn’t just an impulsive act of following Markov home. The cat plotted this.
When Markov was later discovered it’s said the tiger had dragged him to the woods and consumed him. His boots were found with bone stubs sticking out of them. His head no longer had a face. A hand was missing, and a femur had been eaten clean.
9. A Catfished Woman Tracked Down the Real Man in the Photos
In what turned into one of the most bizarre catfishing stories ever, Emma Perrier met a man on Zoosk who turned out to be a fraud. In reality the young, handsome Italian man she thought she was talking to was a much older British man playing pretend. After months of stringing her along and never agreeing to meet, she did a reverse image search and discovered his photos were of a Turkish model. And this is where things get weird.
Perrier, still not sure what was going on, began to track down the model. She found his social media and the agency he modeled through. Her fake friend said it was really him; he just used a fake name sometimes. Eventually he screwed up enough that she caught him and, in response, she sent a message to the real man in the photos to alert him that his face was being used to scam women.
The model replied, and the two had a video call to discuss it. Then they talked about themselves and got to know one another. Much later they even met in person as her fake relationship, which had lasted a year, pushed her towards needing to know the real man and discovering he was a much better person. The two ended up falling in love.
8. Vitaly Kaloyev Tracked The Man He Blamed for His Family’s Deaths
Few tales of vengeance are more brutal than this one of a Russian man who lost his family and decided to make those responsible pay in blood. In 2002, Vitaly Kaloyev’s wife and children died in a mid-air collision that claimed 71 lives over Switzerland. By 2007, four employees of an air traffic control company were found guilty of negligent homicide as a result. The only person notably absent was Peter Nielsen, the only employee actually working at the time the accident occurred.
Kaloyev had hunted Nielsen down after the death of his family. It was 2004, nearly two years later, and Nielsen had retired from his job. During his trial it was said Kaloyev’s intent was not to murder Nielsen but to make him look at photos of his dead children and apologize. But Nielsen refused, and that enraged Kaloyev who had brought a knife with him. After tracking him across Europe, he snapped and stabbed him to death on his lawn in front of his own wife and children.
Kaloyev only got five years in prison for the murder but more remarkable was that, upon returning home, he was hailed as a hero.
7. Teddy Roosevelt Hunted The Men Who Stole His Boat on an Icy River
The legend of Teddy Roosevelt is unlike that of any other President in history. The man was like a proto-Crocodile Dundee known to be a hunter, a fighter and an all around manly, tough guy. There’s a photo of him riding a moose out there. And while it’s debatable how many of the tales of his tough guy exploits are true, some of them certainly seem to be, including the one abomanly, toughut what happened when someone stole his boat.
As Roosevelt told it, it was just as the ice was beginning to break on the Missouri River in 1886 when three thieves cut loose his boat and made off with it. Roosevelt was a deputy sheriff at the time and, strongly suspecting he already knew who took the boat, set about tracking it down. But how do you track a boat when someone stole your boat? You build a new one.
Roosevelt and two companions literally built an entirely new boat, albeit a simple, flat bottomed scow, to track down the thieves and their pilfered wares. It took a couple of days just to build the boat and then it took another three days just to track the men down the river. When they finally were captured by surprise, the river was still too dangerous with broken ice to do the return route with prisoners in tow, so Roosevelt took them by land to turn them in.
6. An Arizona Man Became Santa Claus For a Little Girl in Mexico
How far would you go to make the dreams of a complete stranger come true? In 2018, Randy Heiss was hiking in Arizona when he discovered an old balloon with a note attached. The note was a numbered list written in Spanish. Heiss’ wife was able to translate it and they realized a little girl from Mexico had written the letter to Santa. It was her Christmas list.
All Heiss had was the first name of the little girl. He posted the list online, assuming it likely came from Nogales, Mexico about 20 miles away, and contacted a local radio station there. It took an hour for them to get a lead.
The radio station got in contact with the family, and then Heiss and his wife arranged a meeting at the station sometime later. They arrived with all the gifts on the girl’s list.
5. An Author Drove 500 Miles to Find Someone Who Gave Him a Bad Book Review
One thing any novel writer has to get used to is less than favorable reviews. Every writer from Dickens to Shakespeare to Stephen King and George R. R. Martin has online reviews these days that will drag them through the mud. No one likes everything. A writer needs to take it in stride. Richard Brittain did not.
Brittain, who was 28 at the time, posted a book to Wattpad. An 18-year-old woman reviewed it and didn’t like it so much. She called it amateurish. Brittain responded by first writing an entire blog about it and then tracking the woman down on Facebook. That’s extreme already, but his next step was to track her down at work in real life, 500 miles away, drive there and hit her over the head with a bottle of wine. He never even spoke to her. He was later sentenced to 30 months in prison.
4. 50 Years Later, Eric Lomax Tracked Down the Japanese Soldier Who’d Tortured Him
The story of Eric Lomax is one that most people have a hard time believing and spans decades. During the Second World War, Lomax, a British Army officer, was captured by the Japanese. Takashi Nagase was the translator working for the soldiers who tortured Lomax and forced him and others to build a railroad between Bangkok and Rangoon.
In 1995, the two men met again, for the first time since the war. Torturer and victim came together in Scotland after Lomax tracked the man down. He had spent years dealing with his own anger and trauma over what happened to him, but when he met Nagase he forgave the man for what he’d done.
3. A 101-Year-Old Message in a Bottle was Tracked to the Sender’s Grandchild
A message in a bottle is something most of us are familiar with as a concept even if we’ve never seen one in real life. Every so often people find them at sea but it’s more of a novelty than anything, especially these days. That said, perhaps the most dramatic story of a message in a bottle comes from 2014, when a fisherman found a 101 year old message afloat in a beer bottle.
The message, written in German, was traced with the help of the National Maritime Museum back to the granddaughter of sender Richard Platz. The granddaughter had never met her grandfather; he had died in 1946 when he was 54.
2. A Man Tracked Down Someone Who Killed Him in a Video Game
How into gaming are you? Do you keep your cool and play methodically? Do you grit your teeth and curse at the screen when something goes wrong? Do you fly into rages and threaten other players? Or do you do what Julien Barreaux did and spend months tracking down someone who killed you – in a game, mind you – only to stab them in real life?
Barreaux had been playing Counter-Strike when another player named Mikhael stabbed his character. He was so enraged by this that he tracked the man’s reallocation and discovered he lived only a few miles away. The plot took six months to play out, six months after getting killed in the game, and he traveled to the man’s house with a kitchen knife and knocked on the door.
Mikhael opened the door and Barreaux stabbed him in the chest right then and there. He just missed the man’s heart. Barreaux was later arrested and given two years in jail.
1. A Writer Spent a Year Tracking Down Ugly Naked Guy from Friends
If you were a fan of sitcoms in the ’90s, you remember the phenomenon that was Friends. It ran for a full 10 seasons and is still considered one of the best sitcoms ever. It also introduced a host of unusual side characters including the infamous Ugly Naked Guy.
Ugly Naked Guy was a running gag on the show, referring to a man the cast could see from the windows or balcony of one apartment – a man across the way who was always naked and, well, ugly. We never saw him on screen, at least not fully, but in a couple of episodes he was seen from the side or behind so his face was never known. But, years later, a Huffington Post writer wanted to know who that guy was. And it turned out the answer was very elusive.
No one remembered who Ugly Naked Guy was. The actor most popularly regarded as having played the character denied it was him. The show’s casting agency had no information and even the man who created Friends couldn’t remember.
It took the writer an entire year to track down the real deal after getting a tip from a producer and then going back to the casting agency. The real actor, Jon Haugen, was just a random extra they needed to fill the space.