There are many stories of mysterious disappearance, but in my opinion, these three stories are the most intriguing and interesting.
The disappearance of Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York in 1483
Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, the two princes, the son of Edward IV were only 12 and 9 years old respectively when they disappeared after being held prisoner by their uncle Richard III of England in the Tower of London whilst Edward V was waiting for his coronation. The princes were never seen again shortly after Richard IIIclaimed that Edward IV’s marriage was invalid and his children illegitimate. Some chronicles and notes taken at that time recorded the rumor that the sons of King Edward had had been put to silence in the Tower of London. This fact leads to many speculations of whether Richard III or his agents had killed the princes. Historians argued that the Tudor who also wanted to rise to the throne might have something to do with the execution of the princes. In 1674 during a demolition work in the White Tower, skeletons were found and thought to be the remains of the young king and his brother. Charles II ordered the skeletons to be reburied in Westminster Abbey. However, an examination held in 1933 of the surviving bones was inconclusive. DNA analysis or carbon dating on the bones is possible today, but unfortunately, the Abbey authorities have refused a second examination. Thus the fate of the two princes was still unknown to this date. This mystery have been the inspiration of many books, play and movies.
The disappearance of Roanoke Colonist in 1587
Not less than 117 men, women and children were vanished into thin air at Roanoke Island, an island in present-day North Carolina, the first permanent English establishment in the New World in 1587. The settlers were recruited and financed by Sir Walter Raleigh after he received a charter for colonization from Queen Elizabeth I. Raleigh’s colony at Roanoke Island was not the first. Previous colonies were either abandoned or the colonist died. Raleigh’s group was led by John White, a friend of Raleigh. They arrived at Roanoke Island on 22nd July 1587, White tried to establish relationship with the neighboring Indian tribes including the one that had been attacked by previous groups of settlers. The relationship with the native tribes was not gone well. Soon the colonist started to fear for their lives. They petitioned John White to return to England to ask for help and supplies. White left the island on August of that same year. Unfortunately to sail during the latest months in the year presented considerable risk. The vessel hardly made it back to England and the captain refused to sail back crossing Atlantic Ocean to Roanoke Island during the winter. War with the Spain delayed the journey back to Roanoke even further as every seaworthy ship available in England were used to fight the Spanish armada. White finally returned to Roanoke in August 1590 onlyto find the settlement abandoned. Neither bones nor sign of fight or struggle were found. All the houses had been dismantled neatly. So, their departure was not forced nor hurried. White found the word “Croatoan” carved into the fort and “Cro” carved into a tree. White assumed that they had moved to Croatoan Island where friendly native tribe was living. However, a massive storm prevented White to sail to Croatoan. Several theories stated that the colonist had assimilated with the natives, some said that the colonist was lost and died in the sea when trying to made their way out of the island, some other said that the colonist had been attached by the Spain, and there even a theory of cannibalism. However none of these theories were confirmed and the fate of the colonist is still unknown to this day.
The disappearance of the crew of the “Ghost Ship” Mary Celeste in 1872
On 5th December 1872 the crew of the British ship, Dei Gratia sighted a ship adrift 400 miles east of the Azores, Portugal. The crew soon detected something was wrong with that ship. Captain Morehouse of Dei Gratia recognized the ship as the “Mary Celeste” and decided to observe her for two hours. As no one was seen on the wheel or anywhere on deck, he sent his man to board the Mary Celeste. The ship was seaworthy but no one was on board. The captain of Mary Celeste, Benjamin Briggs, his wife Sarah Elizabeth, his daughter Sophia Matilda and seven crew members were missing. 6 months supply of food and fresh water were still aboard, the cargo of 1,701 barrels of alcohol were still in good order and the crews personal possession were left untouched. Although it appeared that the ship had been abandoned in a hurry there is no sign of struggle or violence. Mary Celeste departed from New York on November 7 1872 for Genoa, Italy. The story of missing ships in the 18s were not uncommon and soon the story of Mary Celeste lost public attention until Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of famous detective series, Sherlock Holmes wrote a fiction that recounted some of the actual events of the mystery of Mary Celeste with added details which cause controversy. Since then, Mary Celeste is known in popular culture as the “ghost ship”. Fictionalized variations of this ghost ship story are numerous. Many theories speculated that the crews might abandon the ship during a storm, seaquake or waterspout. Others said that an explosion might occur on board caused by alcoholic fumes. Possible insurance fraud was also investigated but it was not conclusive. Some more recent and controversial theories are that the crews had been kidnapped by UFO, eaten by sea monster or even doing a time travel. However no theories had been confirmed and the fate of Captain Briggs, his family and crew remain unknown.