Special Report

The 25 Most Mysterious Disappearances in America

6. Judge Joseph Force Crater
> Year: 1937
> Location: New York City

Joseph Force Crater was an associate justice of the New York Supreme Court in New York City with connections to the powerful Tammany Hall Democratic Party machine.

Crater liked to live the high life and had a fondness for nice clothes and an eye for showgirls, even though he was married. Crater planned to meet his wife for vacation in Maine but he disappeared on Aug. 6, 1930. His disappearance became a sensation. “Pulling a Crater” became slang for ditching your life, and nightclub comedians worked his name into jokes, sometimes asking the club management to “page Judge Crater.” Judge Crater was officially declared dead in absentia on June 6, 1939.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

7. Barbara Newhall Follett
> Year: 1939
> Location: Brookline, Massachusetts

Barbara Newhall Follett was a literary prodigy, who wrote her first novel at age 8. By the time she was 18, she had written four books. Follett battled mental illness and by age 25 had fallen into depression.

Her marriage to Nickerson Rogers was happy at first, but on the evening of Dec. 7, 1939, she got into an argument with her husband and left their home in Brookline, Massachusetts. She was never seen again. Rogers officially divorced his wife in 1944. The cause was “absence for three years without being heard of.”

8. L-8 blimp
> Year: 1942
> Location: Daly City, California

Blimps were frequently seen over the Pacific Coast during WWII, searching for Japanese submarines that might prey on American ships. The L-8 blimp took off from California’s Moffett Airfield on Aug. 16, 1942, with the experienced two-man crew of Lt. Ernest Cody and Ens. Charles Adams aboard.

One hour into a routine flight, they radioed in that they were going to take a closer look at an oil slick. Later that day, the airship crashed on a busy street in Daly City, with neither man aboard. The door to the gondola was propped open, which was the most unusual aspect of the blimp once it crashed. The radio worked and the blimp had plenty of fuel. One of the theories was that the men got into a fight and both fell out of the airship.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

9. The Sodder children
> Year: 1945
> Location: Fayetteville, West Virginia

On Christmas Eve 1945, George and Jennie Sodder and nine of their 10 children went to sleep (one son was away serving in the U.S. Army). Around 1 a.m., a fire broke out at their house. The Sodder parents and four of their children escaped, but the other five were never seen again. A search for the remains of the five children in the house failed to turn up any evidence of their demise.

For many years, motorists traveling on Route 16 near Fayetteville could see a billboard with images and names of the five children, with a message seeking their whereabouts.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Flight 19
> Year: 1945
> Location: Coast of Florida

On Dec. 5, 1945, five U.S. Navy Grumman TBF Avenger warplanes disappeared during a daytime training mission after taking off from the naval air station in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The mission was led by experienced pilot and combat veteran Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor. About 90 minutes into the flight, Taylor said the compasses stopped working and he became disoriented. They lost contact with the naval base at 6 p.m. that day. All 14 of the airmen aboard the planes disappeared, as did the 13 crew members of a Navy flying boat sent to find them. No wreckage or bodies from the Avengers or the flying boat was found despite a search by 248 planes and 18 surface craft.

The incident was one of the first that prompted the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.

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