6. Louis Le Prince
Louis Le Prince, who filmed the first ever motion pictures, disappeared without a trace in 1890. Thomas Edison soon took credit as the first and sole inventor of the cinema and even took Le Prince’s son to court to establish that. A few years later, the son also died under mysterious circumstances.
Popularly known as the “Father of Cinematography,” Louis Le Prince, was a French-born inventor. On 14 October 1888, he shot the world’s first motion picture, Roundhay Garden Scene, with a single-lens camera that he created and patented.
In September 1890, Le Prince was preparing to go back to the UK to patent his new camera, to be followed by a trip to the US to promote it. Before his journey, he decided to return home and visit friends and family. On 13 September, he took a train to visit his brother in Dijon, and on 16 September, he boarded the Dijon–Paris express. But when the train arrived in Paris, Le Prince was not on board. Neither his body nor his luggage was on the train.
The last person to see Le Prince alive was his brother. No one saw Le Prince on the Dijon–Paris express after he was seen boarding it; neither was there any strange behavior or aggression reported aboard the Dijon-Paris express. The French police, Scotland Yard, and the family conducted exhaustive searches, but the mysterious disappearance case of Le Prince was never solved. (source)
7. Brian Shaffer
Brian Shaffer, a 27-year-old medical student, went missing on April 1, 2006, at the Ugly Tuna Saloona, a bar near his campus. CCTV records show Brian entering the bar, but he is not seen leaving, and there was no other publicly accessible entrance to the bar at that time.
Brian Shaffer was a medical student at Ohio State University. To celebrate the beginning of spring break, with he went out with his friends on the night of March 31, 2006. After bar hopping, they went to a bar and seafood restaurant called the Ugly Tuna Saloona. There he separated from his companions and was never seen by them again.
When the bar closed at 2 a.m., Brian’s friends waited for him outside the bar. But when Brian was not among the departing crowd, they assumed he had gone back to his apartment without letting them know. His friends called him over the weekend, but he did not answer. On April 3, 2006, he was reported missing after he missed a flight to Miami planned by his friend.
At first, police reviewed the footage from a security camera installed outside the Ugly Tuna Saloona. The footage shows Brian entering the bar, but it did not record him leaving it. He could not have left through any other exit as the only other exit, a service door, led to a construction site that was difficult to walk through while sober, much less intoxicated.
Officers also looked at the footage from other bars to see if cameras there could explain how Brian had left the Ugly Tuna. However, footage from cameras at three other nearby bars showed no trace of Brian. (source)
8. Joseph Force Crater
Judge Joseph Force Crater was last seen exiting a restaurant on August 6, 1930, and was never heard from again. The investigation of his disappearance led to a purge on New York City corruption from the Tammany Hall political machine.
Joseph Force Crater was a New York State Supreme Court Justice who vanished amid a political scandal. On August 6, 1930, he had dinner with his mistress and a lawyer friend. His dining companions claimed they last saw Crater walking down the street outside the restaurant. No one saw him afterward, and the 41-year old judge vanished on the streets of Manhattan near Times Square.
News of Crater’s disappearance broke on September 3, triggering a dramatic manhunt and investigation. During the investigation, it was found that on the morning of August 6, the judge destroyed various documents.
He had also moved two locked suitcases to his Fifth Avenue apartment and arranged for $5,000 to be withdrawn from his bank account. Detectives discovered that the judge’s safe deposit box had been emptied and the two briefcases that Crater had taken to his apartment were missing. Despite massive publicity, the case was never solved and was officially closed 40 years after he disappeared. (1,2)
9. Harold Holt
Harold Holt, an Australian Prime minister, went for a swim at Cheviot Beach and just disappeared in the water. No trace of Holt was found, even after one of the largest search operations.
Harold Holt was the 17th Prime Minister of Australia but held the title only for 22 months before he disappeared while swimming. On the morning of Sunday 17 December 1967, Holt drove down from Melbourne along with his neighbor and her family.
They were going to see the lone British yachtsman Alec Rose sail through Port Phillip Heads. Around noon, they drove to one of Holt’s favorite swimming and snorkeling spots Cheviot Beach on Point Nepean near Portsea, on the eastern arm of Port Phillip Bay.
That day the surf was high and fierce, yet Holt decided to go for a swim. While swimming, he suddenly disappeared from view. Fearing the worst, the others raised the alert.
Soon, a large contingent of police, divers, helicopters, army personnel, and local volunteers began one of the largest search operations in Australia’s history. Even though Holt was a strong swimmer and an experienced skin-diver, no trace of the Prime Minister was found. (source)
10. Bison Dele
Former Bull’s player and NBA Champion Brian Williams (Bison Dele) mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. His boat was brought back alone by his brother, who attempted to assume his identity and money.
Starting in 1991, Bison Dele played basketball for five NBA teams, and in 1997 he helped the Chicago Bulls win a championship. He retired from basketball in 1999 at the age of 30. After retirement, he learned to sail and purchased a catamaran to sail the seven seas.
On July 6, 2002, Bison Dele, along with his brother Miles Dabord, boarded the catamaran in Tahiti with two others on board. The only person who returned alive from the trip was Dele’s brother, Miles Dabord. Dabord brought the boat into Tahiti on July 20, 2002, and he was the only person on board.
On September 5, 2002, police found out that Dabord had used Dele’s passport as identification and also forged his signature to buy US$152,000 worth of gold. About the same time, Dabord phoned his and Dele’s mother, Patricia Phillips, telling her that he would never hurt his brother and that he could not survive in prison.
Later, Dabord, the only person to know about the case, intentionally overdosed on insulin and slipped into a coma. He died on September 27, 2002, leaving the mystery unsolved as to what happened to Bison Dele and the two others on board the boat. (source)