Strange Disappearances

People vanishing into thin air in front of witnesses, never to be seen again, does it really happen?. There are countless stories from around the world of this incredibly weird phenomena. The most famous of these disappearing stories is of farmer David Lang, who supposedly disappeared from his farm one day in full view of his wife, his two children, and two visiting friends, one of which was a well respected Judge. It seems that David Lang suddenly dropped off the face of the earth mid step in the middle of his field.

DAVID LANG

David Lang - a disappearing farmer?The David Lang story is a bit of a legend however, but I'll explain that later... Here is the full story:

The year was 1880, date: September 23. Mr David Lang was out in his fields on his farm. His wife watched him from the porch of his house while his two children played happily in the front yard.

A lawyer by the name of "Judge" August Peck accompanied by his brother-in-law were driving up to the farm in their buggy when Mrs. Lang suddenly started hysterically screaming.

The two men saw what she was screaming at and could only stare in disbelief. David Lang who was mid step disappeared right in front of their very eyes. He simply vanished into thin air!!

Of course the full search was done of the area in the following days but no trace of Mr Lang was ever found. A strange circle was said to have been found at the spot where he disappeared from. It was said that nothing would ever grow in this fifteen ft diameter circle and no insect or animal would go near it. One of Mr. Lang's children was said to have wandered into the circle at one time and heard their fathers cries perhaps coming from another dimension?. Mrs Lang never recovered from the shock of seeing her husband suddenly disappear. There was never a funeral held for David Lang.

In the later years Mrs Lang left the farm and allowed "Judge" Peck to lease it out. However the field where David Lang disappeared was never used, it remained unused and untouched until Mrs. Langs eventual death.

The Truth behind the Lang Story

The David Lang story first became popular in the 1950's when it appeared in the July 1953 issue of Fate magazine. The story was titled "How Lost Was My Father?" and the claim was that it was written as a firsthand account of the event as told by his daughter Sarah in an interview with Stuart Palmer in 1931. The article also claimed that in April 1929 Sarah received a message via automatic writing from her father. The message was written in her fathers handwriting and said "Together now. Together now and forever...after many years...God bless you." To Sarah these words meant, "Mother and Father are together now in the World Beyond, after the nightmare years of separation."

A Nashville librarian by the name of Hershel G. Payne spent many years attempting to validate the story. He could find no evidence whatsoever of a Lang family or an August Peck ever living in the area.
He concluded that the tale was a journalistic hoax created by a traveling salesman named Joseph M. Mulholland. Mulholland was well known to have contributed many far-fetched stories to various papers under the pseudonym Orange Blossom. It is believed that Mulholland based his story on a science fiction story titled "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field," by Ambrose Bierce. The story told by Ambrose Bierce was complete fiction also.

The original Fate story contained samples of what was claimed to be David Lang's handwriting, automatic writing, and signatures by Sarah and a notary public. Upon further Investigation by handwriting expert Ann B. Hooten, it was shown that the writings were all authored by the one individual - presumably Stuart Palmer. Sarah Lang and her father never existed at all.


PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK

Picnic at Hanging Rock Another famous disappearing person/persons story is that of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The book was written by well known Australian Author Joan Lindsay and published in the 1960's. The story was brought to the worlds attention when Peter Weir made the hauntingly beautiful film of the same title released in 1975.

The places in the story exist, you can visit Hanging Rock and Macedon to this day. The place is very beautiful and very very spooky. There are spooky tales told about weird sightings of lights and strange beings seen up on the Rock on the odd occasion. If you visit there.........make sure you are off the rock by nightfall.

The story is set at Macedon, a small picturesque country community located approx 1 - 1 1/2 hrs out of Melbourne, Australia. It was Valentines Day, 1900 (February 14th). As a special treat to celebrate Valentine's day girls from the local private school were driven to a much visited and well known scenic Monolith called Hanging Rock for a picnic. Being mid-summer the day was excruciatingly hot and the girls soon tired and spent the afternoon sleeping and lazing about in the shade at the bottom of the rock. Later in the afternoon it was discovered that 4 of the girls were missing. However one of the missing girls soon returned, screaming down from the monolith in total hysterics. She was babbling something about the other girls walking into the rock up on top and a red mist overcoming them. It was then discovered that one French teacher was also missing.

A full search of the area produced nothing, no trace of the girls could be found whatsoever. However one girl was recovered from the rock many days later. Still to this day one teacher and two of the girls have not turned up. No evidence was found of them being murdered or abducted.

The story strikes fear in the heart of many visitors to Hanging Rock still to this day, but it shouldn't....................

Hanging Rock todayPicnic at Hanging Rock has been the center of much controversy since it was first published in the 1960's. There are still believers to this day who do not and will not believe that the story is complete fiction. But it is. The event never happened. People still walk into the famous State Library in Melbourne to this day and ask for the newspapers reporting the events from 1900's. In the end of the book it is claimed that there is a newspaper report from February 14, 1913 stating that the mystery will forever remain unsolved........This newspaper report does not exist!......... When hearing the news that the story never really happened people have broken down in tears and thrown "hysterics", they obviously can't handle the truth!........Picnic at Hanging Rock is a work of Fiction.

Missing Girls on the rock


OLIVER LERCH/LARCH THOMAS

The story of poor young Oliver varies quite a bit. For starters he has a couple of different names - that being Oliver Lerch, Oliver Larch and Oliver Thomas.

The story tells of a young man either eleven or twenty years old who lived on a farm outside South Bend, Indiana. On Christmas Eve 1889, 1980 or 1900 Oliver, some friends and family were having a Christmas party. Oliver went to fetch water from the well outside. A few minutes later screams were heard from outside. Everyone rushed outside to see a mysterious sight. Oliver's tracks suddenly disappeared halfway to the well. His voice was heard screaming from the sky "It's got me! Help! Help!" The screams faded away and Oliver was never seen or heard from again.

Another version of the story features one Oliver Thomas, an eleven year old, who lives in Rhayader, Wales. This version is believed to have appeared as recently as the 1960's when first published in "true mystery" paperbacks. Further investigations into this character have proved that Oliver Thomas of Rhayader never existed at all and the story had it's origins from the original Oliver Lerch/Larch story.

The Larch/Lerch story is the much older and much more original version. The story was featured in M. K. Jessups' The Case for the UFO (1955) and in Frank Edward's Strangest of All (1956), it also appeared in the 1950 issue of Fate Magazine.

The story is believed to have come from and early science-fiction story "Chales Ashmore's Trail," published in an 1893 collection by Ambrose Bierce, Can Such Things Be? The main character is Charles Ashmore not Oliver Lerch however, but the story is the same....... it's still a mystery how a science fiction story became an unsolved mystery and how the title character suddenly became Oliver Lerch/Larch.


ALMOST DISAPPEARED!!

A very strange case indeed was featured in the Bristol Daily Post and the London Times in December 1873.

On December 8th Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B Cumpston arrived in Brstol for a short holiday. They stayed at the Victoria hotel and were soon to encounter something so unbelieveable that it both shocked and confused them so much that it caused them to be arrested for disorderly conduct from the local railway station soon after the event.

The couple told in court of how early in the evening they had heard strange, loud sounds in or near their room. The complained to the landlady, who also heard the noises but thought nothing of them. After the noises ceased they retired to bed for the night but were awoken at approx. 3.00am by the same loud noises. This time they were accompanied by the incredible sensation that the floor was giving way beneath them!. The couple shouted out for help and could not help but notice how strange their shouts sounded, echoing weirdly and being repeated by unseen presences. Mr. Cumpston then told of how the floor suddenly opened up and how it felt as if he were being dragged into it. Mrs. Cumpston managed to pull him out and the two of them made a hasty escape out a nearby window.

They were panicked beyond belief and were under the confused impression that criminals had somehow attempted to kidnap them. They fled to the nearby railway station where they were soon arrested by local police for disorderly conduct.

The landlady testified in police court that she had indeed heard the unusual noises, but she had no significan recollection of them. The police had checked out the Cumpston's room and found nothing out of the ordinary. The court concluded that the Cumpston's had suffered a "collective hallucination" and let them go.

To this day there is no explanation for what actually happened to the Cumpstons.

continue onto Part II



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