The United States National Park system consists out of more than 84 million acres of woods, mountains, deserts and other wilderness, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that in the last 100 years, there have been plenty of mysterious disappearances in National Parks.
Many of those who seemed to have vanished in thin air are children or unprepared hikers, but definitely not all of them. What if there is more to these mysterious disappearances than just hikers wandering off or getting lost?
Alfred Beilhartz, 1938
The five-year old Alfred Beilhartz was camping with his family in Rocky Mountain National Park when he – supposedly – drowned. Beilhartz had gone with his dad to bathe in the river, and he decided to join two family members at a spot about 500 feet upstream. Later, when everyone returned to the camp, they realized Alfred was missing.
A day after the mysterious disappearance, a couple hiking about 6 miles away from where Beilhartz disappeared, reported seeing a young boy sitting in an area called the Devil’s Nest. But by the time authorities arrived, the boy was gone. He was never heard from again.
Douglas Legg, 1971
Unlike a lot of the kids that have gone missing in the Adironrack Forest in New York state, Legg was very familiar with these woods. Legg’s family owned a cabin and on the day that he went missing, his uncle had spotted Poison Ivy and told Douglas to put on long pants to protect himself. The walk back to the cabin was short and shouldn’t have taken longer than a few minutes, but Douglas was never heard from again.
Legg’s disappearance sparked one of the largest search-and-rescue missions in the history of southern Adirondack, with over 600 people searching the woods. Some accounts describe search dogs following the boy’s scent for over 30 miles through difficult terrain, even though it is almost impossible for a young boy to travel such distance by himself.
Prabheep Srawn, 2013
Prabheep Srawn was a Canadian army reservist who disappeared from Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales. He was studying abroad in Australia at that time, and decided to take 1,700 mile road trip from the Golden Coast to Melbourne. He rented a van and drove to the park’s Charlotte Pass, which is the last time anyone has seen him.
The search for the army reservist began when his van wasn’t returned, but Srawn didn’t anyone what route he was planning, and the search may have started days late.
Srawn’s family hired private searches after the Australian Authorities called off the search after 14 days, but despite the fact that the private search went on for more than a year, he was never found.
Paula Welden, 1946
Eighteen-year-old Paula Welden had told her college roommate that she was going for a ”long walk” in Green Mountain National Forest near Glastenbury Mountain and Vermont’s Long Trail. This implied that she had planned to get home before dark, but she never did.
Several people spotted her as she hitchhiked that day, but when Welden didn’t come back by dark, her roommate let the school know. Classes were suspended and the search for Welden began.
There’s a rumor that the Long Trail is home to a creature called the Bennington Monster, and some people believe that the monster has something to do with Welden’s disappearance. Because her body has never been found, her disappearance remains a mystery.
Bessie and Glen Hyde, 1928
The Hyde couple was on a honeymoon at the Grand Canyon when they vanished while traveling down the Colorado River by scow. If they had succeeded, Bessie Hyde would have been the first woman to do this.
The couple ran across other boaters just a few weeks before they went missing, and they reported that it seemed like Bessie wanted to go back, but Glen was pushing to keep going. This makes sense considering the fact that they could go on a paid lecture tour if they completed the trip successfully, so there was money at stake.
The boat was discovered that winter, and seemed undisturbed. It was still full of supplies, but the couple was nowhere to be found. There are many different theories about their mysterious disappearance. They could have gotten into a violent argument, been abducted or maybe they just got lost. There have been a few different Bessie Hyde sightings in the years that followed, which makes the story even more eerie.