Disappearing People

Aside from providing a few weeks of most excellent ribaldry, the pre-Rapture and post-Rapture has also caused some people to speculate on what the real end of the world is going to look like – if indeed, it ever happens. Like the Kosher Samauri, I wonder if maybe the Rapture (if such a thing exists) might not be more of an ongoing, subtle thing.

I’m always fascinated, for instance, by what could possibly have happened to all those millions of people who seem to have vanished off the face of the earth. In the US alone, some 500,000 people disappear, without a trace every year. And this doesn’t include people who disappear and are eventually found. (Dead or alive). And it doesn’t include people who just pack their stuff and take off.

No, I mean stories like the one about the US couple who were traveling and the woman woke up in their hotel room one morning and her husband had disappeared. All his belongings were still there, but he was completely gone and no trace of him was every found.

Some people disappear at sea. I’m not going to worry about them because it’s pretty easy to disappear at sea. The ocean is vast and deep and there are pirates.

So, how does an adult simply vanish?

In the age of constant surveillance and forensic wizardry how does someone just evaporate into thin air? Have you ever thought of just disappearing and starting over somewhere else? How would you go about that without leaving any sort of evidence?

Aside from the Rapture theory, people speculate that The Disappeared might have slipped into another dimension somehow. I’m pretty sure my cat, Bazel, has discovered a secret time-slipping portal behind the coat tree in our foyer. He sometimes suddenly appears from there when I’ve been searching for him high and low. And when he appears from behind that coat tree he looks really smug.

And there’s the “abducted by aliens” theory. But, the only reason I could think of for aliens needing 500,000 Americans every year is as a food source. And surely, even aliens couldn’t sustain themselves on such a diet?

There’s the “kidnapping by clandestine operations” theory, too. I guess that means our governments are kidnapping their own citizens for experimentation of some sort. I almost believe that theory. I suspect a lot more Canadians will be disappearing over the next four years.

My favourite theory though is the “spontaneous human combustion” (SHC) theory. I never knew such a thing existed (if it really does exist) until I read Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. There have been many cases of people discovered in their homes burned to death – sometimes completely, sometimes leaving only a fragment or two of bone – while the rest of the house is perfectly intact, except perhaps for some damage to the chair or bed they were in at the time.

So, if a person is just out walking in a park one day and spontaneously combusts, they’ve effectively disappeared, right? No one is going to notice a random finger bone by the side of the road.

Anyway, I like to believe there are still some things going on for which even our brightest science guys don’t have the right explanation yet. I’m looking forward to them maybe figuring it out.

18 responses to “Disappearing People

  1. Well, that was chilling! I have to admit I have considered the disappearing act (briefly, simmer down children!), and it does seem almost impossible to completely vanish. At the very least I’d have to have fake documents prepared with a fake name, and I’d have to withdraw a wackload of cash to get me through until I could get a new credit card, job, bank account. It’s not something you could just do on the spur of the moment.

    Now I have to go and fireproof the kids.

  2. Sobering stuff, XUP. We often hear of “the disappeared” in banana republic totalitarian states, presumably snatched up by some government death squad and never seen again, except if exhumed in some mass grave in the jungle. A lot of the missing people in Canada and the US are children taken by the non-custodial parent. Sometimes they stay in the country… sometimes to fly off to a country where the custodial parent has no way legal or even practical way to recover the child.

    As for space alien abductions, I wouldn’t rule them out. I’ve been to south-central Arkansas and, more locally, the Wainfleet Bog. Primo Space Alien Abduction Sites if there ever were any! And, as a result of recent installment of The Daily Show…
    …I have a fairly good idea of where Area 51 is in Nevada. The Truth is Out There! I Want to Believe!

    Love the new look to the site, btw. Classissima!

  3. And what about all those single socks that disappear from the laundry? What really goes on there, do you think? Is the Laundry Monster just a myth or … something more?

  4. I actually met someone whose young adult son disappeared. He was living alone in Alberta and hitching from town to town and was never heard from again. They figure he must have been killed for his belongings and the body was never found due to the wilderness. That was 20 years before I met the parents which was 15 years ago so it looks like his body will never e found. It was tragic for the parents but they handled it very well.

  5. May be disappearing people want to have a try at being some one else and secretly plan their present self’s erasure.

  6. 500,000? really? that’s rather astronomical isn’t it.

    “There’s the “kidnapping by clandestine operations” theory, too. I guess that means our governments are kidnapping their own citizens for experimentation of some sort. I almost believe that theory. I suspect a lot more Canadians will be disappearing over the next four years.”


  7. Lynn – All those arrangements for fake documents would be traceable, as would withdrawing large amounts of cash. I couldn’t think of how one could manage to disappear completely without leaving any sort of trail.

    Pinklea – Maybe it’s all the people that disappeared into that other dimension sneaking back every once in a while and getting themselves some clothes.

    Julia – How would you handle something like that very well? It’s bad enough when your kid dies, but when it just disappears? That would be brutal.

    Maurice – Is that what happened to you? I haven’t seen you for days!!

    Ramble – Maybe. How would you go about that?

    Jazz – Thanks baby.

    Trashy – I thought that was the repository for the undead? You mean they stash the Disappeared there as well?

    Smothermother – It is a lot. Some of those are kids…which unfortunately are all too easy to disappear. But still…that’s a lot of people.

  8. Hey, you’re back and I didn’t know! Welcome back, and I too, like the new look.

    Having just moved from my office into a cubicle in a giant cube farm, I can hypothesize that perhaps several thousand disappeared Americans are just hopelessly lost in these new corporate mazes that have replaced real workplaces.

  9. – maybe the rapture’s happened and nobody has told us
    – or them
    – i’m going to have to re-read bleak house for shc
    – you can’t really disappear in canada. even when the address is non-existent. found a wallet once. tried myself to return it, but the place didn’t exist. nevertheless, the police said, ‘we know the guy’ and took ‘care’ of it. also, there’s no statute of limitations concerning decades-old osap errors, as i found out recently.

  10. also, julia’s onto something. there’s a woman in my town whose teenage son just disappeared one night–nada–zip–no closure. devastating. it’s like he’s MIA. i think, XUP, you’ve struck two chords, one outrageously funny and one devastatingly serious.

  11. My husband and I think its the other dimension theory. It HAS to be. Well, either that or Aliens. I hope that in either case the person is not dead. This is so sad. We watch the DISAPPEARED show every week and it is always so frustrating. We have only seen one show where the person was found.