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People go missing all the time, usually due to having died in a way that doesn't leave a corpse, or merely not wanting to be found. While those cases are always mysterious, it's generally easy to guess what happened. But sometimes, people go missing so hard that it's like Doc and Marty jacked something up in the time stream and erased them entirely from the fabric of existence. In every case, there's probably some kind of complicated foul play involved ... but we'll let you be the judge.

5
The Wife Of A Scientology Leader Vanishes From Public View Under Bizarre Circumstances

Claudio and Renata Lugli

Michele "Shelly" Miscavige had a very unusual life. She was raised on a boat as a servant to a rich and powerful man, and eventually married another young man at the age of 21. It's probably relevant to point out that the boat was Scientology's notorious Sea Org, the man she served was L. Ron Hubbard, and the man she married was David Miscavige, current leader of the Church of Scientology.

Church of Scientology
And lifelong creepy smiler.

As First Lady of the world's most famous space club, Shelly had duties that reportedly included handling Tom Cruise, trying to reign in his crazy and allegedly handpicking Katie Holmes to be his bride. She oversaw the renovations to Cruise's mansion, and even ran the Church itself while David was away on other business. For a woman of such a high profile, it seems awfully strange that no one has seen or heard from Shelly since August ... of 2007.

It Gets Weirder:

For one thing, no one can actually prove that Shelly is missing.

When Mrs. Miscavige failed to turn up for the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes back in 2006, actress Leah Remini committed the unthinkable crime of asking where she was. The harassment that followed was so extreme that Remini decided "fuck this whole Scientology thing" and left the Church.

Tony Ortega
Keep in mind, this is a woman with the pain tolerance to survive nine seasons of making King Of Queens.

Remini later decided to file a missing persons report on Miscavige, but after a suspiciously lax investigation, the LAPD concluded that Shelly was perfectly fine. Scientology's official stance on the matter is that she's simply so damn busy with the Church's "special projects" that she hasn't had time to step outside her room. For almost ten years. Just, like, so busy, you guys.

Sinar Parman / Wiki Commons
The Hole won't scrub the blood and tears of beaten and tortured Church rogues off its floor and walls by itself, after all.

According to defectors from the Church who knew Shelly personally, her husband was less than happy with the changes that she made when he left her in charge. Also, she was allegedly kind of terrified of him. Given that it's been well documented that Scientology tends to lock up disruptive members in one of the many medieval-dungeon-style "reeducation facilities" that the Church officially denies exist, their complete silence on Shelly's dramatic absence could be called "suspicious." That said, we're not ruling out her eventual grand reappearance, dead-eyed and with a lobotomy scar, praising the wisdom of Xenu for her recovery.

4
A Woman Vanishes After A Car Accident, Leaves A Creepy Message The Next Day

mauramurraydoc.com

On February 9, 2004, 21-year-old nursing student Maura Murray emailed her supervisors to let them know that she'd had a death in the family and needed to go out of town for a week. Her supervisors, being decent human beings and not heartless robot overlords, agreed to give her the time she needed. Apparently, she needed a lot of time, because Maura left school that evening and never came back.

Maura had packed her possessions into her car and was travelling through rural New Hampshire along route 112 when she lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a snowbank. A passing bus driver came across the accident and offered to call the police, but she pleaded with him not to bother, saying she'd already placed a call to AAA for assistance. The bus driver, apparently having a burning distrust for roadside assistance services, called the police anyway. But when the police arrived, they found the car abandoned and no footprints in the snow to tell them where Maura had gone, as if she had been beamed aboard the Enterprise seconds after the crash. She has not been seen since.

Frank Kelly
That's one way to get around dealing with the insurance companies.

So ... some stranger came along and gave her a ride, then quietly murdered her and dumped her body somewhere, right? This is why you don't hitchhike, kids. But ...

It Gets Weirder:

The facts leading up to Maura's disappearance more closely resemble a horror movie like It Follows than a missing person case. First of all, if there was a death in the family, it must have been a quite obscure relative, because no one else in her family seemed to know about it.

Then there's how her behavior became more and more erratic leading up to the disappearance. Several days earlier, the normally upbeat Maura had a complete breakdown at work and refused to explain what it was about. And 48 hours before she vanished, she borrowed her father's car and crashed it into a guardrail in the middle of the night. At least one investigator believes that she drove up to the mountains the day she disappeared in order to commit suicide, but there's no conclusive evidence to support any scenario. Maura just fucking disappeared.

mauramurraydoc.com
There have been more reliable followup sightings of Bigfoot and Tupac.

Oh, and as it turned out, she never did call AAA on the day that she was last seen. For whatever reason, she didn't want authorities to know she had driven her car into a snowbank. But the creepiest detail of all came after the disappearance. Less than 24 hours after she vanished into the snow, Maura's boyfriend received a voicemail that consisted of nothing but the sound of what he believes is Maura sobbing.

Yeah, if you want to pause reading here to spend an hour or so trying to piece together a scenario that makes sense of all this, go right ahead.

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3
A College Student Goes Missing, Keeps Getting Sighted Like Bigfoot

Texas State College For Women

On June 1, 1948, 21-year-old Virginia Carpenter was on the train from Texarkana to Denton when she met and befriended a middle-aged schoolteacher who was also enrolling in courses for the summer. The two women agreed to share a cab to the college dorms, because fuck walking across town with 1940s luggage. But when they dropped Virginia's friend off at the college, Virginia realized that she'd forgotten one of her bags at the train station, and took the cab back to the station alone, ignoring her friend's offer to accompany her.

Virginia was told that her suitcase hadn't arrived yet, and that a train station employee would deliver it to her dorm in the morning. The cab took her back to her dorm, and as they pulled up, the driver saw a yellow convertible parked outside the building with two young men sitting in the front seats. Since Virginia seemed to know the men, the cab drove away, and that was the last anyone ever saw of her.

Denton Record-Chronicle
Don't worry, old school newspapers created a reenactment photo to
make sure future generations had proper pants-shitting materials.

It Gets Weirder:

Well, that's not quite accurate. Sightings of a woman matching Virginia's description continued for days after her supposed disappearance. She was spotted with two men in a yellow convertible at a gas station in Aubrey, ten miles from where she was last seen. Later, an Arkansas bus station ticket agent saw a woman matching her description get off a bus from Texarkana on June 11. The women asked about local hotels and then hung around the station for a while, biting her lip, looking out the doors, and generally going out of her way to act as suspicious as possible. She met up with an unknown man and walked out of the station only moments before someone called and asked if a "Miss Virginia Carpenter" was there.

The last sighting was on the side of the highway outside Chino, Texas, where she was dirty, hungry, and hitchhiking. She told the group who picked her up that her name was Virginia and that she had run away. Unfortunately, none of them knew who she was until they saw her case on the news much later. It seems Virginia was going out of her way to haunt middle America without dying first.

Denton Record-Chronicle
Based on how in 90 percent of her pictures, she looks like Marty McFly fading out of history, it's working.

Wait, there's more! Three of Virginia's friends became victims of a serial killer called the Texarkana Phantom. The Phantom was never caught, but the police investigation concluded that there was probably no connection between the killings and Virginia's bizarrely prolonged disappearance (which is actually weirder if true). Unless, of course, Virginia was the Texarkana Phantom, which is probably as reasonable a theory as any at this point.

American International Pictures, Orion Pictures
She should probably come back soon, if for no other reason than to collect royalties.

2
A Couple Vanishes On A Rafting Trip, But Leave The Boat Behind

Brad Dimock

Most couples are content to lounge on the beach and sip cocktails on their honeymoon, but Glen and Bessie Hyde were not most couples. Their grand honeymoon plan was to raft the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, which would have made Bessie the first woman to successfully make the trip -- that is, if she'd gotten to the end.

Northern Arizona University
You know your vacation plans have gone awry when the fucking Department of War has to intervene.

On November 18, 1928, the Hydes paddled their raft away from a supply station at the Hermit Rapids and vanished into history. No trace of them was ever found. Now, it doesn't take a boating expert to reason that a couple of inexperienced rafters who disappeared after plunging headlong down some of the country's trickiest rapids probably drowned. However ...

It Gets Weirder:

Things quickly get eerie from here. The Hydes' raft was found a month later, floating upright and completely undamaged, with all its supplies still secured. It was as if the Hydes had suddenly been raptured out of existence, or had fallen victim to the world's most methodical bear.

Northern Arizona University
"Nothing worse than a waterlogged pic-a-nic basket."

The couple disappeared on November 18 at river mile 165, but Bessie's diary, which was found on the boat, reported that they got as far as mile 231, much further up the river than anyone had suspected. Unfortunately, the diary offered zero insight as to who or what made Bessie and her husband abandon their boat on the water and vanish.

The case got stranger in later years, when random people started coming forward claiming to be one of the missing Hydes. In one notable case, a woman who claimed to be Bessie announced that she had murdered her husband and faked her own death. Of course, not one ounce of this claim was substantiated, and the woman later recanted it, but it fueled rumors that the ill-fated trip had ended with one of the most complicated murder plots ever. Because if you're going to kill your spouse, you might as well do it as part of a missing-persons case that captures national attention. Either that or both Hydes had concocted independent murder plots and revealed their deception at the exact same moment, like the ending of Reservoir Dogs.

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1
A Famous Socialite Disappears, Baffles Investigators For 105 Years

New York Times

Dorothy Arnold was a wealthy young heiress and socialite in New York City in the early 20th century. The 24-year-old Arnold had aspirations of becoming a writer, but things hadn't been going so well. In the spring of 1910, she was devastated when her first two short story submissions were rejected. This being 1910, her family and friends immediately began to mock her ambitions, because women should focus on being pretty and not worry their silly heads over such nonsense.

via Exploratoria
Even her "have you seen this person" poster gave her shit.

Rejections aside, Arnold's career came to a permanent halt on December 12, 1910. She left her house that morning around 11 a.m., telling her mother that she was going to go buy a dress for her sister's upcoming debutante ball. We know that she purchased half a pound of chocolate and a book (which is the beginning to a day that most of us have had), before telling a casual acquaintance that she was going for a walk in Central Park. After that, her whereabouts are a total freaking mystery, although we do know that wherever she went, she went there with a shitload of chocolate.

It Gets Weirder:

Dorothy was New York City royalty, so the odds of her being the target of a random kidnapping are comparable to someone picking up Paris Hilton off the street and not recognizing her. But although Arnold would have been worth a massive ransom, no demand for one ever came.

Conde Nast Publications
Or a demand that people quit writing bullshit pulp about someone laughed at for wanting to write bullshit pulp.

Then there's the matter of her parents' behavior after the fact. While most parents would be flipping their shit if their kid was suddenly gobbled up by the abyss, Dorothy's parents went out of their way to act as suspiciously as possible. A friend who called the house for Dorothy that night was told that she was upstairs sleeping, when in truth she had already disappeared. The family didn't even bother to report her missing until she'd been gone for six freaking weeks, which is enough spaces to fill an entire row on your "I Obviously Murdered My Daughter" bingo card. And when her family finally did report her disappearance, it wasn't to the police -- they told their lawyer, who came over and contaminated the hell out of the Arnold's home and potential crime scene before the cops had a chance to investigate anything.

So it's obvious, right? Dorothy's parents clearly JonBeneted her and used their wealth and influence to cover up the crime. Well, maybe not. You see, as it turns out, Dorothy was leading a secret life. Days after she vanished, her family was shocked to learn that she'd been secretly engaged to a man named Junior, and that they'd made plans to elope in Europe. The NYPD stationed people to hang out around European harbors to see if anyone matching Dorothy's description ever stepped off a boat from New York, but no one ever turned up.

via Prairie Ghosts
Junior's either mourning the loss of his betrothed, or
the loss of his deposit on that French hotel he suddenly isn't visiting.

Whether she was murdered or ran away to get married in Europe, the trail was covered up so well that the mystery has gone unsolved for 105 years. So unless she's a Time Lord, it's unlikely that Dorothy will be showing up anytime soon to set the record straight.

Janel Comeau probably hasn't gone missing, because she spends every night at home updating her blog and her Twitter feed. You should check them often, just to be sure.

For more disappearances that will make you question reality, check out The 5 Creepiest Disappearances That Nobody Can Explain and 5 Creepy Unsolved Disappearances That Nobody Can Explain.

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