10 Historical Figures Who Disappeared and Have Never Been Found

by Shweta Anand2 years ago

6 Louis Le Prince

Louis Le Prince is credited with recording the first motion picture in 1888. But two years after this revolutionary contribution to the world of cinema, he disappeared from a train while traveling to Paris. Many theories soon arose about his disappearance, but he was never found. 

The Lumiere brothers and Thomas Alva Edison are often cited as the pioneers of cinema. However, a French inventor named Louis Le Prince is actually said to have recorded the first-ever motion picture in Leeds, England.

On 14 October 1888, Le Prince gathered his family in the garden at Roundhay in Leeds and recorded them walking around with his single-lens camera. But before he could showcase it to a large audience in the US, he disappeared. 

In September 1890, two years after his remarkable invention, he was visiting his brother in France with two friends. There, he is said to have boarded a train in Dijon, France to Paris but was never seen again.

Many theories arose about his disappearance from claims that he was murdered by his rival, Edison, to speculations that he had committed suicide due to bankruptcy. However, none were proven, and Le Prince was written out of history. (1, 2)

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7 Heinrich Müller

Heinrich Müller was the chief of the Gestapo and a key figure in orchestrating the Nazi Holocaust. He was last seen alive the day after Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in the Führerbunker. However, since then, his whereabouts have remained a mystery with the most likely theory being that he was killed and buried anonymously in a mass grave.

Heinrich Müller
Heinrich Müller (Image to the left), Maj. v. Schweinichen; Dr. Boor; and Müller. Image Credit: ww2gravestone.com , Bundesarchiv/wikipedia.org

In 1945, as the Soviets advanced towards Berlin, many prominent Nazis became worried about their fates. Some of them, like Adolf Hitler, committed suicide, while a few others managed to escape from the Führerbunker. But there are a few, like Heinrich Müller, who simply went missing. 

Müller was the chief of the Gestapo and played a critical role in the planning and execution of the Holocaust. He was last seen inside the Führerbunker the day after Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, had committed suicide. Given his position in the Nazi party, he soon became a high-profile target for the Allies but was never found. 

In 2013, Johannes Tuchel, the head of the Memorial for German Resistance, claimed that Müller’s body had been buried in a mass grave in a Berlin Jewish cemetery. But since Jewish religious law forbids exhumations, this claim could not be backed up. As a result, Müller’s fate continues to remain inconclusive. (1, 2)

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8 Owain Glyndŵr

Owain Glyndŵr (anglicized to “Owen Glendower”) was the last native Welsh person to claim the title of “Prince of Wales.” In 1400, he organized his renowned rebellion against the English King, Henry IV. But after the rebellion was squashed in 1412, Glyndwr was never seen again. 

Owain Glyndŵr
Image Credit: Hogyncymru/wikimedia.org

Owain Glyndŵr was the last Welsh individual to ever claim the title of “Prince of Wales.” He was the heir to the Powys Fadog dynasty and had married into a leading family of the Welsh Marches. He also served in the English Army before initiating his infamous rebellion against the English King, Henry IV. 

The revolt began in 1400 as a result of a land dispute between Glyndŵr and his neighbor. When the King seemed unwilling to mediate, the Welshman found himself enraged by the English ruling class. Not long after, his loyal followers gave him the title of “Prince of Wales” and joined him in the rebellion. 

The final battles in the revolt were fought in 1412 and ended with the victory of the English. But after this, the Welsh hero simply disappeared from records and all of history. Although he was never betrayed or captured, it is still unknown what happened to him. (1, 2)

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9 Victor Grayson

Victor Grayson was a popular British socialist and potential Labour leader who mysteriously disappeared in 1920. On that day, his apartment manager saw him leaving his apartment with two men and before leaving, he had even informed her that he would “…be in touch soon.” However, he never returned and was not seen again. 

Victor Grayson
Victor Grayson (Image to the left); France Littlewood, Wilfred Whiteley, Victor Grayson, Ernest Marklew, Jhon Swallow (From the Left). Image Credit: spartacus-educational.com, The Reformers Yearbook 1910/wikimedia.org

Victor Grayson was a well-known British Labour Party politician who became the first socialist candidate to win a seat in the Parliament. At just age 26, he had made a name for himself by unbelievably winning the 1907 Colne Valley by-election. However, he soon mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again. 

In mid-September of 1920, weeks before he disappeared, Grayson had been beaten up by someone in The Strand. Then, at the end of the month, his apartment manager saw him leave with two men, only to never return. 

At the time of his disappearance, Grayson was known to have liaisons with people like Horatio Bottomley, a well-known fraudster and journalist. Another regular visitor to his apartment was Maundy Gregory, a man who had become notorious for selling fake knighthoods. As a result, many believe that he may have been murdered. But some also claim that he was simply paid off to assume a new identity somewhere else. (1, 2)

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10 Lloyd Gaines

Lloyd Gaines was a pioneer in the US civil rights movement who had won a landmark case against the State of Missouri,  requiring the state to admit him into a law school. In 1939, however, he stepped out to buy some stamps and never returned. To this day, his disappearance remains unsolved.

 Lloyd Gaines
Llyod Gaines (Image to the left), Image Credit: MU Archives/columbiamissourian.com, Lincoln University/lincolnu.edu 

In March 1939, an African-American student named Lloyd Gaines stepped out to buy some stamps but never returned. Just months before his disappearance, Gaines had won a pivotal case against the State of Missouri, making him a pioneer of the US civil rights movement. 

The US Supreme Court had ruled that the State of Missouri must either admit Gaines to a law school or start one for African-Americans. This case was later used to form the framework of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that prohibited segregation in public schools. 

Sadly, it was only days later that Gaines was noticed missing, and it took another seven months for his disappearance to become public. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) even urged people with information to contact them. However, he still remained missing. In 2006, Gaines was posthumously awarded an honorary law degree and a license to practice law in Missouri. (1, 2)

Also Read:
10 Lesser-known Facts About Famous People

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