The phenomenon of missing persons near National Parks in the U.S. is becoming more prominent of an issue as unexplained disappearances of children and adults increase in numbers. For decades, a big number of people have gone missing around the country especially places like Lake Tahoe and Mt. Charleston in the Nevada area.
The persons found were retrieved under unusual circumstances in many cases. Some would be discovered miles away from where they were camping, confused about how they got there. Other times it wasn’t a person that was found, but only piles of clothes sometimes neatly folded on the ground. But why would anyone hiking in the wild strip naked, exposing themselves to the elements?
Hikers Mysteriously Disappear In National Parks
Author and retired police officer David Paulides wrote a book about these strange cases called “Missing 411” which talks about this very real problem and theorizes about how and why these disappearances continue to this day. David got the idea for his book after speaking with a ranger who came to him about the people that go missing on an annual basis.
“People disappear in the wilderness all the time. We’re talking about something different. These are unusual things that don’t make sense, that happen to cluster together in three to four, sometimes as many as 20 to 30 people missing at one location,” Paulides said.
David was interviewed on the Good Day news show and explained that there are 28 geographical clusters around the United States where these occurrences are most likely to happen. He went on to say that there hasn’t been a lot of publicity on these missing children and even obtaining public records can be quite a task. When David contacted the Federal Government to get a list of those who went missing the answer he received from the Fed was “No, hell no.”
Yosemite is another hotspot for unexplained disappearances but due to the Freedom of Information Act, are required to release information regarding the missing, but for the right price. David says that when he asked for a list of all missing persons in Yosemite, the park wanted to charge him $3,400, a hefty price.
Strange Stories Of Missing Hikers Go Back Decades
The first publicized report of a missing child was in a newspaper column in 1966. The boy was 6 year old Larry Jeffrey who was vacationing with his family. He walked away from his brother near Mt. Charleston and never returned. The local authorities set out on a 5 day search made up of a few hundred men. There were no large animals in the area or car access.
So if Larry wasn’t eaten by a predator or snatched by a kidnapper, then just what happened to the boy? That remains a mystery today as he was never found and with no solid explanation for his disappearance. It’s as if he simply vanished into thin air.
Another interesting case concerns a mountaineer named Carl Landers, 69, who disappeared on Mount Shasta while hiking with friends. They were camping at a location called 50/50, a place on the mountain where climbers can stop and rest before reaching the summit. According to his friends Milt Gaines and Barry Gilmore, Carl had complained about not feeling well and decided to take a head start toward Lake Helen. His friends never caught up with him and never saw him again.
Carl was described as a very experienced climber so it was unlikely that he fell. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department immediately set out on a search with the National Guard covering the air using an infrared helicopter and the US rangers and volunteers covering the ground on foot and skis. No trace of Carl was found. Not even his equipment, backpack, or clothing.
The head of the search, Grizz Adams, told Paulides “…35 years I’ve never had this happen to me …we brought canines in, they didn’t pick him up…we flew around it, we dropped guys at the summit, they came down all sides, they couldn’t find him…they talked to people who were on the mountain, they didn’t see him…”
Mountaineer Vanishes Without A Trace On Mt. Shasta Hike
When Paulides asked Grizz Adams what he thought happened to Carl Landers on the mountain, he replied: “…that’s the million dollar question, he either went up, or in-but he’s not on it.”
It’s comforting to know that in this day and age, we can connect instantly with others via Facebook, Twitter, and GPS. Most people have no problem staying in touch or reaching out to friends and family especially in a time of crisis. Interesting that calls from the missing were never reported by family leaving no clues as to their location. So why and how are these strange occurrences happening?
Theories about these disappearances are both mysterious and disturbing. Some claim that the government, who owns and runs these parks, kidnapped people for underground experiments. Others say its aliens abducting people and bringing them to bases within the mountains. There have also been stories about cannibalistic creatures like the Wendigo snatching people from their campsites.
Whatever the case may be, the fact is that people have gone missing and continue to do so under strange circumstances and without a concrete explanation as to why. Hopefully, the future will bring some answers to this unexplained mystery and give closure to the many friends and families of those that have never returned.
For more information, check out the video below: