Throughout history there have been people who have mysteriously disappeared never to be seen again. They seem to have just vanished – as if the Bermuda Triangle or the Matrix had swallowed them up whole. To this day their disappearances mostly remain unsolved mysteries and they’re mysteries that are as fascinating as they are perplexing.

While there have been many mysterious disappearances throughout every era of history, these following seven missing persons cases are way more curious than most.

John Wise – Lost Over Lake Michigan

John Wise was a man well ahead of the times when it came to hot air ballooning and one who was rightfully credited with many innovations connected to the sport. Wise piloted hundreds of successful flights in the mid-1800s including one of over seventy miles in length and others in which he delivered mail to towns all over the state of Indiana. At the age of 71, Wise took to the air from East St Louis with the intention of ballooning across Lake Michigan. He, and his balloon, were never seen again.

An illustration that shows a hot air balloon with a gondola suspended beneath it. The gondola has a propeller attached to it. The balloon is made of a light brown material. The gondola has two people inside. The balloon is flying high in the sky and there are clouds in the background.
The 1859 Atlantic Balloon, where John Wise embarked on a journey from St. Louis, Missouri

Frank Lenz – Cycling Into The Unknown

Frank Lenz was an American-German adventurer who planned to ride around the world on two wheels. He set off on his challenging bicycle tour from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May of 1892. After crossing several US States, he boarded a ship in San Francisco and sailed to Japan, all the time documenting his travels for a popular magazine of the time. After two years of pedaling and reporting, Lenz left Iran heading for Turkey, but disappeared without trace. While it’s thought he may have been killed by a Kurdish bandit, neither a trace of his remains or his bicycle were ever found.

The black and white image shows a man in a suit and hat riding a bicycle. He is holding onto the handlebars with one hand. There are other people in the background.
Frank Lenz photographed with his bicycle in 1894, shortly before he vanished, Wikimedia Commons

Glen and Bessie Hyde – The River Ride To Who Knows Where

There’s just about as much mystery surrounding the disappearance of the Hydes as there possibly could be and it doesn’t look as if it’s a mystery that will ever be solved or at least not anytime soon. The Hydes were a thrill-seeking newly married couple who planned on rafting down the Green and Colorado Rivers in a homemade craft on their honeymoon.

If the trip had been successful, Bessie Hyde would have been the first woman to raft over the Colorado River rapids. Things didn’t quite work out that way. Their last known whereabouts was a place called Diamond Creek where they’d made camp in November of 1928. No other concrete evidence has ever been found as to where they went next or what happened to them after that.

A photo collage of two photographs. One photograph is showing a man and a woman standing in a yard with a house in the background. Both are wearing jackets and pants. The other photograph shows a man in a crudely made boat floating in a small river.
Glen and Bessie Hyde, the Hyde honeymoon scow discovered by searchers near Diamond Creek in 1928, Wikimedia Commons

Amelia Earhart – A Legendary Disappearance

Probably one of the most infamous disappearances of the 20th century was that of the female aviator, Amelia Earhart. While Earhart had already made her indelible mark on aviation history by being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic solo, it wasn’t enough. She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world.

Earhart first set off on the journey in March of 1937 from Oakland in California, but due to technical problems, the flight was aborted. Later the same year, Earhart took off on a second attempt but disappeared on the approach to Howland Island. There are several theories as to what happened to Earhart, her crew and the plane. Some believed she crashed into the sea, others believed she went off course and was captured by the Japanese who were occupying Saipan Island at the time. The truth is no one knows and no wreckage from her aircraft has ever been found.

This is a black and white photograph of a woman, Amelia Earhart, in a pilot's uniform sitting in the cockpit of an airplane. She is wearing goggles and a helmet, and is smiling. The woman is holding onto the steering wheel with one hand and has his other arm resting on the side of the cockpit.
Amelia Earhart in Philadelphia after setting an autogiro altitude record on August 4, 1931, Bettmann/Getty Images

Michael Rockefeller – Consumed or a Convert

Michael Rockefeller may have been a socialite, and a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, but he craved adventure. After a brief spell in the military, the budding anthropologist made his first expedition to New Guinea to study a native tribe known as the Dani. He then returned to New Guinea in late 1961 to study a different tribe, the Asmat.

Rockefeller and his traveling companion ran into difficulties while navigating the island’s coast in a canoe. Rockefeller decided to swim for the shore and subsequently vanished. While his companion was eventually rescued, Rockefeller’s fate is unsure. He’s thought to have either made it to shore and joined a local tribe, drowned, been eaten by a saltwater crocodile or captured and consumed by cannibals. While fuzzy film footage of a white man living with a native tribe in New Guinea was released in a documentary aired in 2011, there’s no proof that the man was Michael Rockefeller.

The image shows a group of people dressed in traditional African clothing, dancing and singing in a circle. They are all smiling and appear to be enjoying themselves. There is a man kneeling in the center of the group. The people in the group are all wearing head wraps and some have beaded jewelry around their necks. The background is a grassy field with trees in the distance.
The final picture captured of Michael Rockefeller with the Asmat community

Connie Converse – Missing the Fame

Elizabeth Eaton Converse, Connie, was a talented composer and lyricist from New York who’s musical success didn’t take off until years after she disappeared. After moving away from New York, Converse worked as an editor on an educational journal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A decade later, finding herself out of work and suffering from depression, she told her family she was going to start a new life. After she’d packed her belongings and driven away in her car in 1974 they, or anyone else, never heard from her again.

Thirty-five years later, recordings of her singing songs she made in the early 1950s were re-released to critical acclaim and she’s now considered to be one of the founders of the singer-songwriter genre of music. Even though it was more than possible she was still alive at that time, she never came forward to bathe in the spotlight.

Frederick Valentich – Abducted by Aliens

The disappearance of Frederick Valentich in the late 1970s was one that led to a lot of speculation and controversy. Valentich, a twenty-year old Australian pilot, was on a training flight when he radioed to air traffic control in Melbourne saying he was being shadowed by another aircraft. His last words to the controllers before he vanished were – it’s not an aircraft. Ufologists claim that photographs taken around the same time as Valentich’s disappearance demonstrate the presence of an unidentified flying object in the area and, while it’s not a theory upheld by aviation authorities, that he may have been abducted by extraterrestrials.

Many of the disappearances that have occurred throughout history can’t be easily explained. The one thing that is certain though is – it doesn’t always pay to be too adventurous if you want your whereabouts to be known.

A photograph of a newspaper article with a black and white photograph of a man standing next to an airplane. The headline of the article reads "UFO mystery"
The headline from The Australian on October 23, 1978, detailing Frederick Valentich’s UFO encounter