Every year, more than 3,50,000 people go missing in India. 20% of these missing person files become cold cases. North America, Russia, China, and many other countries have also seen disappearances in staggering numbers.
There is something grotesquely fascinating about stories that talk about mysterious disappearances. The why, when, and where of the matter. The whodunnit factor. It’s constant fodder for any thriller junkie. It’s the reason shows like BuzzFeed’s Unsolved, Netflix documentaries, YouTube conspiracy theory videos, and detective podcasts receive such widespread traction. Simply put, the unknown bewitches us.
For a long time, journalists have been speculating what exactly is the actual layout of the prison system in Russia. Where are those people who have at one point in their lives said something against the Fuhrer and then mysteriously disappeared from their homes, them last being seen at their windows? Where is Amelia Earhart, renowned pilot and author, whose search had more than 4 million dollars invested in it? Harold Holt, former prime minister of Australia, who never returned from a harmless swimming trip?
Now, imagine you’re sitting in a space shuttle, somewhere far enough from the earth that you can see the entire planet. It’s essentially one giant sphere. Sure, it has a life on it that’s as complex as the question of the whole universe, but at the end of the day, it’s a three-dimensional object like any other. There are only so many places where people can be if they are indeed alive. Right?
So, where are these people? Why have they never been found? The logical answer always is that they’re dead. But what if they’re not? What if the Bermuda Triangle, Present-day Concentration Camps, Human Rehabilitation Centres really do exist right now? Area 51 might be a myth, but don’t all myths originate from grains of truth?
It is, without a doubt, one of the most far-fetched theories believers have nurtured for centuries. At its core, though, disappearances have always been a response to humans being confronted by a mirror. There’s a reason North Korea decided to ‘take care’ of any COVID patients detected in the most discreet way possible. A reason why China’s news circuits are controlled and the press has no freedom to report. And there’s a reason why Western Civilization has reported more missing cases than any other continent.
It is simply a matter of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. A word here about the current government policy, and the next day you’re nowhere to be found. A comment there about how you have a cure for COVID, and a few weeks later, you have mysteriously contracted an illness and are now under observation. We hear these stories all the time. Huge bank scams have taken place, keeping in mind that disappearing has become an art.
Another critical question, perhaps, is why do these disappearances continue to happen? Why do they get sensationalized as more time passes? With the advent of technology, humanity has uncovered more of the iceberg than imagined. We are no longer stuck at the tip. Theoretically speaking, people going missing is a thing that shouldn’t be possible. Yet, we still witness more and more missing person cases. With each passing day, week, month, a person who’s not home yet loses another day of guaranteed survival. And with each passing day, the public becomes more invested. It is possibly the lack of closure that obligates people to feel invested in the case’s progress. Perhaps it’s the assurance we as humans seek, thinking if this person can be found, maybe if this happens to me, I will be found too. The possibilities surrounding these disappearances are endless, and our resources are too finite.
In the end, all we can give these lost souls is a bit of luck, faith, strength, and hope they find their way back home. Till then, after reading this article, if you don’t hear from me in the next 12 hours, maybe call the police.