Vanishing Acts: Exploring 25 Mysterious Places Where People Disappear Without A Trace

author photo or placeholder By: Tyler Connaghan | Last updated: Nov 12, 2023

Every year, countless people vanish without a trace, leaving behind baffled investigators and grieving loved ones. While many missing person cases are ultimately resolved, others remain unsolved for years or even decades. Some of these disappearances occur in seemingly ordinary places, while others take place in areas shrouded in mystery and legend.

Today, we will take a closer look at 25 of the most mysterious places on Earth where people keep disappearing, examining the circumstances surrounding each case and the theories that have been put forth to explain them.

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle, situated in the southern Atlantic Ocean near Florida, is renowned for its inexplicable disappearances, making it a fixture in numerous conspiracy theories. Among the most notable disappearances are those of the USS Cyclops, a naval vessel that vanished in 1918, and a fleet of planes that disappeared in 1945 after flying over the region.

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Although various scientific theories exist, attributing the incidents to factors such as rogue waves and methane gas, the notion of an otherworldly influence behind them remains a possibility.

The Sargasso Sea

Adjacent to the Bermuda Triangle lies the Sargasso Sea, a region notorious for its powerful undercurrents, causing many sailors to steer clear.

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The area is also infamous for its phantom ships, with the Mary Celeste being the most well-known. The Mary Celeste was discovered near the Sargasso Sea in 1872, devoid of its crew despite the presence of food and cargo.

The Michigan Triangle

Located near Lake Superior, Lake Michigan is home to another infamous body of water known as the Michigan Triangle, a region spanning between Michigan and Wisconsin that has become known for various disappearances.

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One such incident occurred in 1950, involving Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501, which flew over the area and was never seen again. The plane was carrying 58 passengers and crew members.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior has gained notoriety due to the violent winds that sweep across its waters, resulting in the loss of numerous ships over the years. Some vessels have even vanished entirely, leaving no evidence behind on the cold, dark depths of the lake.

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Fun fact: Fitzgerald Gordon Lightfoot’s renowned folk song, “Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald, recounts the ship’s tragic demise in the lake.

The Devil’s Sea

Situated south of Tokyo, Japan, in the Pacific Ocean lies a perilous expanse of water known as “The Devil’s Sea, an area that has gained notoriety due to a string of missing vessels and fishing boats.

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One of the most well-known disappearances occurred in 1953 when a research fishery ship and a crew of 31 scientists and seafarers never returned from its mission. No trace of it or its crew has ever been found.

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The Alaska Triangle

The southern region of Alaska comprises an extensive wilderness that remains largely uncharted due to its perilous icy mountains and tundras, making it a hazardous area to navigate.

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In 1972, US House Majority Leader Hale Boggs’ plane went missing while flying over the region. This tragedy prompted Congress to pass legislation mandating the installation of emergency transmitters on aircraft.

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Yosemite National Park

While Yosemite is famed for its breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife, the park has also become known for numerous disappearance cases, with 45 individuals still missing to this day.

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Strange tales have circulated about children who vanished from one location only to reappear in a different section of the park without their clothing, which some attribute to supernatural beings tied to the area’s indigenous culture.

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The Nevada Triangle

The Nevada Triangle encompasses expansive desert lands and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

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In 2007, the area captured headlines when aviator and adventurer Steve Fossett vanished while flying a small plane over the region. Beyond his and other disappearances, the area’s close proximity to the mysterious Area 51 has fueled speculation of UFO sightings and ghostly apparitions in the region.

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Highway 16

Also known as Yellowhead Highway, Highway 16 runs through British Columbia, Canada, from Winnipeg to Graham Island, featuring extensive wilderness and several small towns.

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A specific stretch of the road has gained notoriety as the “Highway of Tears” due to the high number of disappearances that have taken place there since the 1960s.

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Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake is a saltwater lake near Reno, Nevada, named after the striking pyramid-shaped rock formation emerging from it.

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The lake garnered nationwide attention after two men disappeared there, sparking various speculations about their fate. Some theories even involve the involvement of malevolent spirits called Water Babies, originating from a Paiute legend.

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Pecos, New Mexico

This New Mexico village, located near Santa Fe and the Pecos River, is a popular spot for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. However, it has also been the site of several mysterious disappearances, including one as recent as 2009, when a 61-year-old man vanished during a hunting trip.

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As a result, the area has been dubbed the Pecos Triangle, with rumors of haunted roads and reported sightings of UFOs adding to the intrigue.

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Superstition Mountains

The Superstition Mountains are situated in the Arizona wilderness near Phoenix.

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The Apache people have long associated the mountains with myths and legends, believing that the underworld entrance is located somewhere within. The area is also infamous for the many disappearances that have taken place over the years, with some linked to the search for the Lost Dutchman’s Mine, which is believed to be filled with gold.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain range between Tennessee and North Carolina, are part of a national park that attracts a large number of tourists each year.

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However, the area is also known for three mysterious disappearances, including one in 1969 where a 6-year-old boy vanished and a recent one in 1981 that involved an elderly woman. Despite extensive searches, no trace of them has ever been found.

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Aruba

Aruba, a well-known tourist destination in the Caribbean, gained a reputation for several high-profile disappearances.

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In 2005, a teenage girl named Natalee Holloway vanished on the island, and despite an extensive search, she was never found. This incident attracted a lot of media attention and sparked an international investigation, which eventually ended after new evidence emerged in 2012.

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The South Atlantic Anomaly

The Van Allen radiation belts exist several thousand kilometers above the Earth’s surface, serving as a protective shield against solar winds and cosmic rays.

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However, a particular radiation belt situated in the region around Brazil, known as the South Atlantic Anomaly, creates a massive energy field of about 10 million volts, which some researchers speculate could have played a role in the disappearance of Air France flight 447, where 228 passengers lost their lives.

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The New City Complex

The New City Complex was a small community located in West Milford, New Jersey, built by the City of Newark Water and Reservoir Plant to provide housing for their employees along Route 23.

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However, in 1992, the entire complex was inexplicably abandoned, with no evidence of burglary or any other explanation for its abandonment. This led to its being dubbed “Demon’s Alley.”

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The Bennington Triangle

This triangular region situated in southwestern Vermont gained notoriety for a series of mysterious disappearances between 1945 and 1950 when five people went missing in this area, including an eight-year-old boy, a 74-year-old woman, and a man who vanished while traveling on a bus.

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Some have speculated that the victims may have fallen prey to a serial killer, but no concrete evidence supports this theory.

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Ashley, Kansas

This strange tale of a vanished town in Ashley, Kansas, which originated from a Creepypasta story, prompted speculation as to whether the town actually existed but was forgotten.

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According to the story, a massive earthquake struck the small community of 700 residents in 1952. When the quake subsided, the entire town had vanished, leaving only a thousand-yard-long fissure in its place.

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Anjikuni Lake

In the remote northern region of Nunavut, Canada, lies a collection of lakes, one of which is Anjikuni Lake. Although the area is desolate in terms of geography, it was once the home of a small Inuit village.

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In 1930, a fur trapper who frequently visited the village reported to a local newspaper that he had found the village completely abandoned, with no sign of the villagers.

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Urkhammer, Iowa

Urkhammer supposedly once existed in the state of Iowa, which was a typical Midwestern community until 1928, when all of its residents vanished without explanation.

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Tourists passing through the area reported seeing the empty town, and the incident was covered in local newspapers. However, the stock market crash of 1929 quickly overshadowed the story.

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Hoer Verde, Brazil

Somewhere in Brazil, a small village with a population of 600 became deserted when a group of travelers arrived in 1923.

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The only message left behind was written on a blackboard, reading, “There is no salvation.”

Several theories were proposed to explain the sudden departure of the villagers, ranging from being threatened by guerrillas to being abducted by aliens.

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Suvla Bay

During World War I, a battalion of British soldiers set out to march onto Suvla Bay in modern-day Turkey.

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One of the lasting mysteries of this battle was the disappearance of a single platoon. It is rumored that a peculiar cloud covered the hillside, through which the English soldiers walked, and were never seen again by either the Turkish or British forces.

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The Flannan Isles

Located in the northwest of Scotland, the Flannan Isles are a small cluster of islands consisting mainly of rocks and grass. The lighthouse located on one of the islands has become famous due to the mysterious disappearance of its three keepers in 1900.

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Despite extensive searches, no trace of the keepers was ever found. In the 1970s, the lighthouse was automated, and the islands have since been deserted by their former residents.

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Roanoke Colony

The event known as “The Lost Colony” occurred during the early days of European settlement in the New World. In 1585, the English established a colony on Roanoke Island, located off the coast of what is now North Carolina.

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When the governor left to return to England for more supplies, he was detained for three years. However, when he finally returned to Roanoke Island, the entire colony disappeared without a trace. The only clue was a single word, “CROATOAN,” carved into a tree.

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Mesa Verde

The Mesa Verde National Park, situated in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest, was once inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloans, who constructed dwellings in the surrounding cliffs.

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However, they eventually left the area for reasons that are not entirely clear. While various theories have been suggested over time, recent findings indicate that they migrated further south to places like Arizona, New Mexico, and the Rio Grande.

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