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.