As I mentioned previously, I am in the midst of packing and moving to another state so time has been at a premium but I could not resist commenting briefly on Beyond the Edge Radio’s interview of David Paulides.
Mr. Paulides is a former law enforcement officer who, during the course of his Sasquatch researches, was tipped by a National Park Service employee to a series of mysterious disappearances in the national parks. Many hours of research later, he has published a series of books called Missing 411 (a play on the information number for most phones and the original number of cases that he looked at). The research turned out to be so massive that he had to divide the books into Western US, Eastern US and then North American and beyond.
Please do listen to the interview for details of some of the cases and Mr. Paulides criteria for including a case in his study but suffice to say that this gentleman is investigating disappearances that occurred under mysterious circumstances in the wilds, first of North America and now beyond. As a former search and rescue volunteer, I was somewhat skeptical of Mr. Paulides’ work until he began to detail some of his cases. A mountain climber who literally disappeared from the end of a rope. Hikers at the end of a line of trekkers who disappear without anyone noticing their sudden absence. A child whose disappearance is so rapid that the swing he was playing on is still moving.
Many of the people in Mr. Paulides’ cases are never found. The “disappeared” who are found only deepen the mystery. Many times, bodies are found, laid out as if for display, in places where the searchers have looked or traveled extensively. Other times, only traces of the victim are found, such as a shoe or the person’s clothing. If the person happens to be located, they are often found in a place where no one would have logically looked for them (such as a small child being found several miles from the disappearance site through impossibly mountainous terrain). The disappeared who are found seldom have any recollection of how they disappeared or where they have been. Interestingly though, the victims who are recovered and do have some memory of the incident have varying memories of what happened, including talking to robots and talking dogs.
Now, I am certain that some of these disappearances could be explained by natural forces. The wilderness can be an unforgiving place and even the most experienced outdoorsperson can make a mistake that costs them their life. Bodies, subject to the many creatures seeking food in the woods, can disappear in a matter of days, clothing and bones scattered to the four winds and almost impossible for any but the most skilled to find. Add to that the fact that some people choose to disappear, are taken by animals etc and I am certain that a percentage of these cases could be explained.
But not all of them and certainly not instances like the climber who disappeared from the end of a rope with witnesses holding on to the other end, an individual who happened to be a world class mountain climber. In those cases, one has to look at other, more arcane explanations.
Like Mr. Paulides, I doubt that any one explanation will provide an answer to all these disappearances. The first thought that popped into my head on hearing about these cases, given the wilderness locations of the disappearances, were the faerie abductions noted so often in the Middle Ages and into more modern times. The Faerie (most likely those of what the Scots called the Unseelie Court) have a known penchant for kidnapping humans and taking them off to their abodes or for mis-leading people into dangerous areas and leaving them to die. This certainly seems to jibe with what Mr. Paulides is describing.
The involvement of the Fae would also account for things like children disappearing and then being found miles from their original location without sufficient time for even a skilled adult to make the transition. The folklore clearly states that travelling even a short distance in the land of the Fae can have unpredictable results when one emerges back into the physical world. Also, the Fae clearly, in folklore, have the power of glamour and can make humans see things like alien robots or talking dogs if they so wish.
So, I would certainly put certain elements of Faerie on the suspect list. In addition, faerie lore tells us that there are openings into the land of Faerie throughout the wild places. I suspect that some of Mr. Paulides’ cases could very well be instances of people who wandered inadvertently into that land and were unable to find their way out. Even if these unfortunates did eventually find their way into our world again, the lore tells us that time in the Otherworld is not the same as ours and that the individual often emerges weeks, months, years or centuries after they went in. The person finding their way out of the land of Faerie might emerge into a world where everyone who ever looked for them is dead and, often, the years that have passed fall on them and they literally disintegrate into the dust they should have become years before. Not much chance of finding them then.
This article references faery lore but I will note, in passing, that the Unseelie are only one of many types of Intruder that could take the blame for some of these disappaearances. In any event, it appears that soon I will be within striking distance of one of Mr. Paulides’ clusters in the Adirondacks. I will do some etheric reconnaissance and report the results here once I am settled.