12 Mysterious Disappearances That Still Have Historians Puzzled


When people suddenly disappear without a trace, these events quickly get surrounded by many legends. For some incidents, such as the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, researchers have subsequently found perfectly reasonable and justifiable explanations. But some cases, like that of Marie Empress, the silent film star, or Dorothy Arnold, the New York socialite, remain unsolved. These stories are still the subject of lively debate, and scholars never get tired of putting forward different versions of events.

Percy Fawcett disappeared without a trace during his search for a lost city

Fawcett organized several expeditions into the Amazon jungle and his adventures even inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. During his wanderings through the Brazilian forests, the explorer often came across native tribes. He therefore decided that the lost land may contain the ruins of a vast city, which belonged to a great civilization.

After several unsuccessful attempts, Percy was finally able to set off in search of the mysterious metropolis. After passing the last known settlement, the group disappeared into the woods, never to return. Fawcett’s wife, to the end of her days, believed her husband hadn’t perished in the jungle. But even in the decades that followed, no trace of Percy or his group could ever be found. Now, however, scientists confirm the authenticity of Fawcett’s theory. They believe the ruins of ancient cities may be lurking in this region of the Amazon.

Amelia Earhart may have spent some time on a desert island

On July 2nd, 1937, the famous aviator and her assistant, Fred Noonan, set off for the small Pacific island of Howland. It was one of the last stages of their journey around the globe. However, Amelia never made it to the island, getting lost somewhere in the vastness of the ocean. Even though there was a massive search operation for the crew, no traces of the plane or crew members were ever found.

In 1991, a metal plate suspected to be from Earhart’s plane was found off the coast of the small uninhabited island of Nikumaroro in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have recently been able to identify numbers and letters on it, using specialized analysis. With further study, they may be able to confirm that Amelia was able to land on Nikumaroro and may have even spent some time there.

Marie Empress vanished from a huge cruise liner

On the 27th of October, 1919, the cruise liner Orduña docked in New York. Among more than 1,000 passengers on board was Marie Empress, a silent movie star who was considered “the most beautiful woman in pictures.” Empress played femme fatale roles and drove many men crazy. She was eagerly awaited in New York, but the actress disappeared without a trace from the ship.

Empress could not have left her cabin and gone on deck unnoticed, as there were too many corridors. So, many thought that the actress had played a trick, disguised herself, and escaped incognito from the vessel. But many years later, she was still nowhere to be found. And so Marie’s fate remains a mystery.

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