Throughout history, there have been a host of disappearances that leave even the best sleuths completely baffled. A few stand out as being particularly mysterious and creepy. They remain unsolved, mostly due to the lack of logic behind them, or the lack of remains, photos, or evidence. These are their stories.
The Flannan Isles Lighthouse Keepers
Just off the coast of Scotland lies the craggy Flannan Isles. The Isles are on part of a major shipping trade route. In order to avoid ships running aground on the treacherous shores, a lighthouse was built to warn the ships away from land during the night.
The Flannan Isles Lighthouse was always traditionally staffed by three men. In December of 1900, that dynamic trio took the form of Thomas Marshall, James Ducat, and Donald MacArthur. They were to never leave the lighthouse unmanned, and took turns making sure the bulb was running properly and flashing and that there were no ships inbound to run aground on the rocks.
That year, a massive thunderstorm swept over Scotland. Waves crashed and broke over the Flannan Isles. Wind and rain lashed at and howled around the lighthouse tower. Strangely, though there were supposed to be three men at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse, during the storm the whole building was dark. Several captains reported the outage, and finally a rescue ship was sent.
The rescue ship arrived to find a locked lighthouse. When they broke their way inside, the building was completely deserted. The beds were unmade, there was an uneaten meal on the kitchen table, a rain jacket had been left out inside the lighthouse, and the logbook had entries that dated long after the storm had blown off. The three keepers had disappeared suddenly, all together, without a trace.
The Sodder Children
It was a cold Christmas Eve night of 1945. The Sodder family of Fayetteville, West Virginia were all safely tucked away in their beds when their house burst into flames. Five out of the ten Sodder children were trapped and, supposedly, burned to death.
The trouble is… their remains were never found. No charred bones, no remains of any of the five children at all.
The suspicion only mounts when the story surfaced at court. George Sodder had fled the house and tried to drive his truck from the garage to the children’s window in an attempt to climb on top of it and reach the second floor, but the engine wouldn’t start. When the family tried to reach the fire department, they couldn’t, because their telephone lines were cut.
Just a week before, two Italian men disguised as insurance salesmen had come to the family home, threatening to set it on fire because Mr. Sodder had made some ‘offensive’ comments about Benito Mussolini around town. One of the men served on the court jury that would later decide the Sodder fire was a complete accident.
A few months later, a waitress working at a roadside diner and a hostess at a hotel claimed they’d seen four of the five children with a group of Italians who kept the children isolated and wouldn’t let them contact anyone, but the police didn’t take these tips seriously, believing the children to be dead.
20 years later, Jennie Sodder, the children’s mother, opened her mail and found a photograph sent to her that was labeled as one of her sons, now an adult.
It’s a missing persons case that remains a mystery to this day. Sixty years ago, Mary Shotwell Little, who was twenty-five at the time, a secretary at the local bank in Atlanta, Georgia, suddenly disappeared just six weeks after her wedding.
It was October 14th, 1965. Mary had dinner with a friend at a shopping mall, then she went shopping for a few hours, bid her friend goodnight, and went to her car.
On October 15th, Police found her car in the same lot where she had parked the night before, but it had been driven somewhere that night before and then driven back. Blood covered the inside of the whole car – the windows, the windshield, the seats. The license plate had been switched with another stolen vehicle. Her underwear had been folded neatly and placed in the passenger seat.
It gets weirder. Mary’s gas card had been used in two gas stations in Charlotte and Raleigh. Both had her signature. Both reported that they’d seen a woman with a head injury accompanied by two strange, frightening men.
To this day, her case remains unsolved. Mary was never again found, dead or alive.