Top 10 More Disappearances of Notable People


When someone simply vanishes, the mystery surrounding the disappearance makes you doubt a series of things you had taken for granted.  A small percent of those who disappear may have chosen to disappear for their own reasons. They leave their old lives behind and create new identities. Another small number may have been killed by accident, and nobody else witnesses it or discovers it because the circumstances are so unusual.

However, it appears that the great majority of those who vanish have been abducted and usually murdered, either immediately or shortly after the abductors have gotten what they want. It’s a sad occurrence, but all too real and all too common. Here are ten more cases of notable people who just vanished, and whose fates remain unknown to this day.

10. Frederick McDonald


Frederick McDonald was a teacher who later became one of the most prominent Australian politicians in the early years of the 20th century.  After he defeated the Nationalist Party candidate in the federal elections of 1922, he served in Parliament for three years.  But he lost his position in the elections of 1925 to the candidate of the Nationalist Party, Thomas Ley. McDonald challenged the result in court and claimed that Ley had tried bribing him. Shortly after the legal contest began, however, McDonald vanished just like that and was never seen again. Police and local authorities conducted extensive searches for months but failed to find his body or any trace that could lead them to any conclusion. His political opponent was considered the principal suspect, but there was not enough evidence to arrest him. A few years later, however, Ley was connected with another crime — in England this time — when he confessed to murder, reinforcing the idea that he was responsible for McDonald’s death. The body of McDonald was never found.

9. Vandino and Ugolino Vivaldi


The brothers Vandino and Ugolino Vivaldi were two Genoese merchants during the early era of European global exploration. The brothers, in command of two well-armed and competently-organized galleys, left Genoa in 1291 for India.  They were operating mainly as merchants interested in trade, but it is probable that the spread of Catholicism was also part of their agenda. The galleys were lost soon after sailing down the coast of Morocco to a place called Gozora.  Nothing was ever heard of them again.  Sorleone de Vivaldo, the son of Ugolino, tried for years to locate his father and his galley, but all his attempts were unsuccessful. The mystery remains to this day, and most experts agree that both galleys are lying on the bottom of the sea, perhaps to be recovered some day like other ships lost over the centuries.

8. John Lansing, Jr.


John Lansing, Jr. was a successful lawyer and a decorated American politician who was destined to be remembered for his unexplained disappearance. On the evening of December 12, 1829, he left his Manhattan hotel to go to the local post office to mail a letter. That was the last time anybody ever saw him. Local authorities believed that he either drowned – not impossible for a man of 75 — or that he was robbed and murdered and his body buried. His disappearance was a big deal back then in New York, and even though he was a lawyer, a man in power, and a former mayor, police failed to find him dead or alive.

7. Sándor Petofi


Sándor Petofi was one of the main figures of The Hungarian Revolution of 1848, inspiring many people with his liberal political positions and endless battles against the tyranny of the Austrian Empire. Rumors say that his influence was so great among the Hungarian people that one of the things that lit the fire of revolution was his poem Nemzeti dal (National Song.) A free spirit and a fighter for global freedom and revolution,  Petofi became one of the most prominent figures of the Hungarian Revolution and one of the Austrian Empire’s most hated enemies. The end of his life, however, is shrouded in mystery.  He vanished during a battle and no one ever saw him again.  Some believe that he was most likely killed by troops of the Russian Army, which fought for the Austrian interests, during the battle of Segesvár, while others believe that he was captured and forced to march to Siberia with 2,000 other prisoners. His body was never found.

6. Lloyd L. Gaines


Lloyd Lionel Gaines is connected to one of the most well-known court cases of the American civil rights movement of the 1930s. Everything started when the University Of Missouri School Of Law refused to register him as a student simply because he was an African-American. Gaines filed a suit against the University almost immediately after the rejection, and won the case too. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the University of Missouri had to either enroll him as a student or launch a separate law school exclusively for African-Americans. The University picked the second option, and Gaines became something of a hero among African-Americans. Gaines took full advantage of his popularity and decided to earn some extra money by giving speeches on a multi-state lecture circuit, with the full support of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. During a visit to Chicago, however, Gaines vanished forever. He left the fraternity house where he was staying to buy stamps and never returned. No one ever saw him again, and most of his family believed that he was probably the victim of a hate crime because of his legal victory over racism, but such speculations were never confirmed. Despite many decades of searching by his family and by the lawyers and investigators of the NAACP, his fate remains unknown to this day.

5. Connie Converse


Connie’s life and disappearance is one of the biggest mysteries to come out of the notorious world of music. She was one of the brightest and most talented songwriters of her generation, a low-profile artist who became a cult figure of the New York music scene in the late 50s. In 1974, when Connie was about 50 years old, and after she had dealt with a series of issues in her personal and professional career such as depression, she left notes, poems and goodbye letters to her family and friends and disappeared forever. No one ever saw, heard, or learned anything about her again. Nobody even knows if she is dead or alive.  Based on the goodbye letters she left, some people speculate that she committed suicide. However, a body was never found, and for all we know, Connie may just have wanted to leave everything behind and escape to a quiet and peaceful life.

4. Owain Glyndwr


Owain Glyndwr is famous for many things, and one of them is his mysterious disappearance. But during his lifetime he made sure to stay busy.  He was the last native Welshman to hold the title “Prince of Wales.”  He mounted a long but ultimately unsuccessful series of revolutions against the English.  Actually one of his many revolts against the rule of Henry IV of England was so successful initially that it inspired Shakespeare to include him in one of his works. But this was his last revolt, after which he mysteriously disappeared and never materialized again.  Despite the huge amounts of money England offered as a reward for his capture, he was never betrayed, and he refused the offer of a pardon from his enemy and biggest nemesis Henry V of England.  Even though it is believed that he died between 1416 and 1417, shortly after the official end of the Welsh Revolt of 1400-1415, his ultimate fate remains an absolute mystery.

3. Dimitris Liantinis


Dimitris Liantinis was unarguably one of the most significant of the modern philosophers, and probably the most important researcher of the ancient Greek philosophers. A decorated university professor of Philosophy and a tireless writer of many books and philosophical manifestos, his speeches and teachings became material for people of all ages, all social classes, and many nationalities. His erudite works were studied by fellow philosophers across the globe. Within the boundaries of the philosophical world, he had reached a mythic status, and then he vanished. In June 1998, Dimitris Liantinis took a taxi to his native Sparta, and since that day, nobody has ever again seen or heard a single thing about the great philosopher. Seven years later, what was supposedly his skeleton was found on a mountain named Taigetos, near Sparta.  Despite the medical examinations that verified that it was the body of Liantinis, his bizarre case is still shrouded in a fog of mystery.  It would be worth taking a closer look at this case, especially for those who are into metaphysical stories, deep philosophy, and mysteries.

2. Constanze Manziarly


Constanze Manziarly was one of the most mysterious women in the history of WW II and one of the people that Hitler trusted the most.  For the last two years of Hitler’s life, she was his cook and dietitian, and one of the last people to see him alive. Manziarly, together with two other women who served Hitler during his stay in Berlin, stayed with him in his bunker complex until his death on 30 April, 1945. The next day she finally left the complex with a group of people led by the SS, and was never seen again. There were claims that she, like many of the Nazi staff, swallowed a cyanide capsule to avoid capture by the Red Army.  But her body was not found alongside the bodies of others who committed suicide this way, and conspiracy theorists believe that she could still be alive.  They speculate that she could be living under a different name, with a new ID, somewhere in Argentina or some other part of South America, or even in the United States.

1. Legio IX Hispana


One of the most famous riddles in history is the disappearance of the Ninth Legion, lost in the fogs of Britain. The Ninth Legion started its journey to the north to quell a rebellion, pitting well-trained and well-equipped soldiers against British irregulars.  The view that these persecuted warriors managed to wipe out the legion in a successful ambush survives in the collective unconscious of both the English and the Scots as a battle similar to the one between David and Goliath. Of the five thousand legionnaires, not a trace of one has ever been found, nor has any spear or shield, or anything else turned up to indicate that there had been a battle.  It’s as if the earth had opened up and swallowed them.

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  1. Thanks for the clarification Shell. I should have read more carefully before posting. Thanks again.

    • Shell Harris on

      No big deal, usually these things show up in the related posts, but there is a lot going on at the bottom of each post so it is easy to overlook and sometimes the related post feature doesn’t show it. Thanks for asking about it, it gave me a reason to add the link in the comments. 😉

  2. Ummm … shouldn’t Judge Crater and Jimmy Hoffa be on this list somewhere?!?! I think so.