Mystery Of Mass Human Disappearance
By James Donahue
Among the famous mysteries of the sea is the story of the
sailing ship Mary Celeste, found in 1872 in perfect condition, nothing out of order, and sailing on the open Atlantic without
a soul on board. The crew of 10 people, including Captain Benjamin Briggs, his wife and daughter, vanished without a trace
never to be seen again.
Another similar historical disappearance occurred at the
American colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, in 1590. About a hundred men, women and children living
in the colony went missing and no trace of them was ever found. Some theories suggest that the people were attacked by natives
or they moved off the island and lived among the natives. That could never be proven.
Then there was the famous case of the 250 men and 16 officers
of the Fifth Territorial Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment that disappeared in a cloud of smoke during World War
I. The incident happened in the midst of fighting at Dardanelles, France, on Aug. 12, 1915. Witnesses said one minute the
British soldiers were there, charging against the Turks, and then they were not. Their bodies were never found. There were
no survivors. And none of the men turned up as prisoners of war. The theories include a UFO abduction, or that the Turks simply
killed the entire battalion and buried it.
These are among the more spectacular of the mission people
anomalies recorded in history.
A recent Internet story in Pravda quoted a Dr. Zong
Li, of Harbin, China, who told of the strange disappearance of 3,000 Chinese solders near Nanking in December, 1937, while
fighting the invading Japanese. He said the battle continued throughout the night, but by morning, radio communication was
lost. A reconnaissance team could not find any trace of the soldiers. Desertion was ruled out because the area was heavily
posted with other soldiers.
The Pravda account also told of the odd disappearance of
100 soldiers from the Twelfth Company of the Soviet NKVD forces, who struck off for a railway station in November, 1945,
and were never seen again. The story did not say where this occurred and it could not be confirmed.
Then there are stories of ships and aircraft that have gone
missing without a trace.
Among the unsolved mysteries of Lake Michigan is the story
of the schooner Thomas Hume that disappeared with a crew of seven in May, 1891. The wooden vessel was carrying a load of lumber
from Muskegon, Michigan, to Chicago, when it disappeared in a storm. Wooden ships carrying lumber usually didnt sink, but
capsized or got partly submerged, a condition called "waterlogging." But no trace of the Hume was ever found. A search of
the lake failed to find the usual trappings from a ship sinking like floating timbers, life jackets, lifeboats and bodies.
The USS Cyclops, a Navy collier, was operating along the
East Coast of the United States when it went missing in February, 1918. The ship disappeared without a trace with its crew
of 306 sailors. The wreck is listed among the many anomalies linked to the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.
And there is the odd story of the Boeing 727 that mysteriously
took off, without authorization, from an airport in Angola, Africa, in May, 2003, never to be seen again. A world-wide search
for the plane, amid fears that it was seized by terrorists, failed to turn up any clues. The aircraft had been parked at the
airport for more than a year before it disappeared.
There are probably logical explanations for all of the odd
stories posted here. But then, perhaps the events completely defy logic. I knew an old salt who was stationed aboard the Cyclops
and was called ashore only minutes before it sailed on its final voyage. He said the Navy discovered that he had another talent
as a pilot on the Great Lakes, and he was put to work there.
To him, the disappearance of the Cyclops was a personal tragedy.
He was as mystified as everybody else as to what happened.