Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Missing 411

Something weird has been happening in our national parks.

I don't know if it's paranormal exactly, but something doesn't make sense. Writer David Paulides was on Coast-to-Coast AM a couple months ago to talk about this subject. A veteran of law enforcement, Paulides has written a series of books about the disproportionate amount of unsolved disappearances that have taken place in these areas. Yes, yes, it might at first appear to be an obvious connection. National parks are wilderness areas and as such, people do often disappear for many reasons. However, they, or what's left of them, are also often found. Eventually. These 1,600 or so unexplained disappearances have yet to be explained.

Oftentimes, according to Paulides, the disappeared are small children. In cases where bodies of these children have been recovered, many times they are in boulder fields or between rocks or atop steep areas that would have been almost impossible for a two or three year-old to access. There are also strange cases where missing adults have been found dead, but without the majority of their clothes. Their bodies also do not have sunburns or insect bites, even after having been missing for a week or more.

In further research, Paulides has found that these patterns of disappearances are not limited to national parks or forests. He has also discovered a number of strange disappearances of young men in urban areas, men who were smart, athletic, and professional. They have no history of alcoholism or other drug use. Nor do they have criminal records. There are also no witnesses, cell phone records, or video surveillance available from the moments leading up to their disappearances. On the occasions where bodies have been recovered, they have been found in water. Paulides argues that despite coroner rulings of drowning, he believes the evidence he has seen shows that the individuals died elsewhere and were then dumped in the water. The bodies were also found to have high amounts of alcohol present...even if the individual was not known to be a drinker.

Paulides provided the following case study:

"One such case was that of Fordham student Patrick McNeil, who disappeared after leaving a Manhattan bar in February of 1997. Fifty five days later, McNeil's body was discovered in the East River, twelve miles from where he was last seen. A medical examination of the body indicated that he died on land, but the coroner, nonetheless, listed the cause of death as drowning.  Paulides also recounted the strange case of Steven Kubacki, who disappeared for fifteen months and reemerged with no discernible knowledge of his whereabouts over that time, as well as Elisa Lam, a Canadian student who disappeared from a Los Angeles hotel and was later inexplicably found dead in a water tank on the hotel roof."

Is this all explainable coincidence? Tommyrot and tomfoolery to rake in cash from people who dig strange things (like me)? Or is there something actually paranormal going on? It's very hard for me to say. I would need to see more evidence and it sounds like David Paulides is trying for just that through his Kickstarter for a documentary film on this subject, The Missing 411.

At first blush, I would say that there is a genuine mystery to what's happening with these disappearances. Just what the answer is, well...that's where things might end up being more mundane than we realize.

Or not. If I go missing any time soon, please keep all of this in mind.

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