To go ghost. Falling off the face of the earth. Pulling a disappearing act. All of these AskReddit stories have one thing in common, and that's that the individuals in them went missing, leaving their family and friends behind with absolutely no traces as to their whereabouts. The best bet is always that they're still alive, out there, somewhere, although the alternate outcome also sadly exists.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
“My fiancé disappeared on our wedding day.
I woke up that morning, and poof, he was gone. He took a duffel bag filled with his clothes but left everything else behind. This includes his 3-month-old son and me. His parents didn’t even know anything about it. After talking with them, a couple of times, I discovered that everything he had ever told me about himself and his family was a lie.
Thirty years later, I got a Facebook friend request from him and an almost illiterate message about how his dad wanted to know his grandson (who is a grown man now with a life of his own). I told him and his dad to leave. I raised my son on my own. His family knew where we were, and they never tried to contact us or offer any support.
Last I know, he was living in Colorado. Good riddance.”
“One of my mom’s cousins went missing on Mother’s Day last year.
He went to give his mom her present and then went on his way to work. He was last seen getting in his car with three guys still acting completely normal. He even waved to the guy who had seen him.
They looked for months, but they only found his car on the other side of the country.
Two freaky things, though. During one of those long nights that they were looking for him, his mom and a couple of friends stayed by the front door of their home. A car with a weird old guy, who they had never seen before, parked in front of them. The man observed them for a while before driving away. A few months later, an old man from their town told my cousin’s mom that he had seen him with a bullet in his head before being thrown into the sea. Then, that guy disappeared as well.
They still haven’t found him. His mom goes to the beach and drops flowers in the water, though, just in case that was his last resting place.”
“A girl I met at the beginning of the school year (brand new student) just stopped coming to school during our second week.
A couple of weeks later, she was found dead in a nearby river completely naked. It turns out she had been kidnapped by her biological dad who was mad at her mom for taking her across the country. Apparently, he was a nutjob, which was why they had left in the first place. He kidnapped her, stripped her down, did inappropriate things to her, and then dumped her in the river.
But here was where things got really freaky; the weekend before that Monday, she didn’t show up to school. I was down by the river with a few of my friends fishing and shooting gators. We came across a pile of girls clothes by the river (shoes, socks, a skirt, underwear, a top, a bra, and a hair bow). We assumed some kids had been getting ‘down and dirty’ by the river, had gotten caught and had ditched naked.
Well, it turns out we had come across the clothes of that poor girl who was murdered. If we had called it in when we had found the items, her killer could’ve been caught much faster. He’d been on the run for months before they finally found him. If we had reported it at the time of the finding, it would’ve been less than 24 hours since she was murdered.
I thank god every day, though, that we weren’t the ones to find her body. Even though it would’ve saved three weeks of torture (relatively) for the family, I couldn’t imagine my 17-year-old self discovering a dead body and being okay with it.”
An Intentional Case
“My cousin disappeared. I found this out after hearing about how my aunt had hired a private investigator to find her. After a while, I put the pieces together. She didn’t have a good relationship with her parents and cut ties with them. My mom managed to find her via Facebook and her response was basically, ‘Don’t tell my mom how to contact me.'”
Into A Dark Place
“Five years ago, I was homeless in Los Angeles when I met a man who was the same age as me (about 20 or so) and had come from somewhere like South Carolina. He was found sleeping in Beverly Hills by an elderly woman who called our shelter to come and pick him up. I remember the night he came in, and I had to meet him in the smoking area. We talked for a bit before the lights could go out. Both of his parents had died, and he decided to come to California on a whim.
Anyway, this kid was super sweet, and I hung out with him for a good amount of time. We smoked a lot and talked about our lives. He had clearly never lived in the city before and was a little naive. He was trying really hard to find a job. I always saw him walking into stores wearing a button up with a folder and a smile on his face.
Then, he got a girlfriend. I had seen this girl before, but she didn’t live at the shelter anymore, and I’m pretty sure she was a ‘lady of the night.’ I remember him telling me how he only wanted to smoke when I had something a little stronger to offer him (this is important).
One day, I saw him at the entrance of the shelter, and he seemed upset. Like he had puffy red eyes and everything, so we talked for a little bit. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but it was something about how his girlfriend had tricked him into smoking a harder substance by lacing it with his original smoke. I got stern and told him not to see her anymore when he told me that he loved her.
The next day, he disappeared from the shelter. I asked everyone where he was, but they just said he never made curfew, which meant he couldn’t come back unless he reapplied to get in again, which could take up to two weeks. I didn’t see him for more than a month. I figured he got hooked on the substance and was living on the streets with the other kids I knew who had taken that path down life.
Until one day, I was walking down a back street by myself when I saw him on the top balcony of this abandoned office building. At first, I didn’t recognize him. His hair was chopped off, and he had shaved his face. When I ran up to see him, I knew something was off. He was in a weird outfit and completely hairless (minus his fresh bowl cut) that made him look like a 12-year-old. He was paranoid, and his eyes kept scanning the general area as he spoke. He told me he had seen his ‘girlfriend’ that night. He left, and she had a ‘job’ for him to do. She said it would be quick money and that all he needed was his driver’s license.
Long story short, he was trafficked. The man he met for this ‘job’ took his license and put him under the influence. He has been doing that but wasn’t seeing any of the money from it and had been getting illegal substances as payment instead. My heart sank. I tried to convince him to come with me, but he kept telling me, ‘They’re watching.’
I didn’t know what else to do except to give him my phone number and tell him to call me when he could get out. He told me to never call him by his name if I ever saw him on the street. That was the last time that I ever saw him, and he never called me. I’ve since moved across the country, and I have a husband and a child, but I still have that same number.”
“When I was in the first semester of my freshman year at college, there was a guy, who was a year older than me, in our fraternity who was always around and always made a point of being sociable and getting to know us new guys. He had an apartment with three other guys from the fraternity, too.
Then, the second semester rolled around. He stopped showing up, wasn’t paying rent, etc. His landlord had the police and debt collectors asking his former roommates and the rest of the fraternity where he was, but none of us knew. He had already stopped answering his phone a long time ago while we were still trying to track him down, and eventually, just disconnected it completely.
Months passed, we still had no idea where he was. We even had a running, ‘Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?’ joke based on his name. We were still legitimately concerned, though, so we would all routinely try to find any traces of him online during our free time.
One day, we finally found something. Although he had deleted all of his social media accounts, his name was listed as a contributor on another school’s newspaper for their sports section. We also knew that he had grown up about 30 minutes away from that school. Finally, through the student directory, we were able to track down a number.
When one of us called, a man claiming to be his dad (but according to our friend who called, it sounded like our missing friend) was ‘shocked’ at how little we knew about him changing schools and said that he would have his son call us to let us know that everything was okay. He didn’t say anything about the collections agents even though we were asking about it pretty heavily.
About a week later, that phone line was disconnected as well.”
“My brother disappeared the day after Thanksgiving in 2011. He would go weeks couch surfing with his friends and then come back. We thought he was doing the same thing until his friends asked us about him. My family and friends did everything to look for him.
About a month later, there was a news report on a body found behind developing stores, and my friend sent me the link. The body was in clothes that resembled those worn by my brother. I called the detective. They came and gathered DNA and confirmed that it was him. I wished he hadn’t been found dead but had like instead ran away to start a new life or something. We never got any answers.
They ruled it as a suicide, but honestly, that didn’t make any sense. The detectives and my family ransacked the house trying to look for a suicide note or any clues as to what went down, but they all found nothing. It’s been almost seven years, and my heart still hurts.”
Keeping A Secret
“In high school, we had this cool, young priest.
One day, he just disappeared. We heard that he was placed on ‘administrative leave’ by the diocese. That was it. A few months later, he was quietly removed from the diocesan website. Rumors swirled. Some said that he got caught doing something shifty, and they moved him to another area. Another was that he went to jail or got caught doing something illegal.
Years later, with Google now serving a much stronger source of information than Hotbot, I gave him a search. I found him in a few minutes and sent him a message on LinkedIn. He caught me up. He had just been ordained and didn’t think he wanted to be a priest. This coupled with the fact that he had a boyfriend while in the seminary made him decide to bounce.
The diocese was embarrassed, and they never spoke to him again. He, meanwhile, went to law school, came out of the closet, and was living a few counties away. Last year, he was elected as the district attorney there.”
“I had an ESL teacher when I moved to Canada in the fifth grade. She was a nice teacher and very likable. We would go to that ESL class every day at the second period. It was a small class of five, so it was easily overlooked. We didn’t even have a classroom. We just used the tables that were near the cafeteria.
One day, she just stopped showing up. The five of us would still go to the table, but our ESL teacher just stopped showing up. We just used the time to work on some of our other assignments instead. A week passed, and the other ESL teacher came in, one day, instead. She told us that our original ESL teacher was no longer with the school and that we were her students now (she was a nasty teacher and used to make fun of some of the ESL students for their accents, what kind of teacher does that?)
Years after I graduated from high school, I drove by that elementary school. I decided to see if any of my teachers were there, and I finally found out what had happened to that teacher. She had, apparently, committed suicide after her husband had cheated on and left her.”
East Coast Move
“My best friend. We had known each other online from the time we were 18 years old but were inseparable. Despite being an ocean apart, we never went without contact. Four years into our friendship, she stated that she was moving to California (from New Jersey) to see what she could make of herself. It was a fast move. Two weeks later, she was on her way to the airport and told me that she would talk to me as soon as she had an internet connection out there.
Then, all of a sudden, nothing.
A week went by, then a month, then six months, and now, it’s almost been eight years. She was never on any social media platforms, didn’t respond to my emails, and her cell phone was disconnected. Just nothing. I recently found her mom’s Facebook. From that, I could piece together that my friend was back in Jersey and had a 6-year-old daughter. I made one or two attempts to contact her but received no response. So, I’m just leaving it.
Honestly, she appears to be safe, happy and surrounded by loving family. That alone is enough for me.”
A Night Out
“A co-worker of mine told me this story. It happened like ten years ago.
Her daughter had a group of friends. They were normal teens. All good friends and were enjoying life. Two of them were a couple. Again, normal life. One night, they went clubbing, and some of them left earlier than the others. The guy also left early, and even though he didn’t feel too good about it, he left his girlfriend there (who said that she would come home later). He let her be as there were other people there who she knew.
Well, she never came back. He got a call from her in which she only said his name then disappeared. A few weeks later, he got another call from her saying that she was fine. At this point, she was, of course, already reported as missing.
A month or so went by; the police found her dead not too far from her hometown. No one knows what exactly happened or who did it.”
Caught In A Nasty Divorce
“The parents of a boy who was in my elementary school class (second grade) were going through a very nasty divorce, and he was caught right in the middle. He was always going back and forth between the two homes, but the parents refused to even see each other and made him walk. He told us about this, but we didn’t realize until later that he was having to walk over three miles to and fro each home. My mom found out, and we would give him rides a few times, but it was never a set schedule. So, unless we saw him walking, we didn’t know when he needed help.
Winter came, and it got snowy. He just stopped showing up for class. After a few days, the school called his mom, and she said he had gone to live with his dad permanently. They then called his dad, but he said that he went to live with his mom instead. Neither parent had any idea where their son was. The school got concerned, but it escalated to the point where none of the students received any more information.
We knew that he had run away. We assumed that he had gone to stay at this big field where the older kids sometimes used to camp out. We wondered if the cold weather had killed him. When we asked the teacher if he was dead, she told us she couldn’t tell us anything and to stop talking about him which we took to mean as he must be dead.’
I forgot about him as time went on. Every once in a while, someone would say, ‘Remember Paul?’ and we’d talk about it for a few seconds, but we never dwelled on it. We just figured he was dead. In college, I found his picture while looking through a friend’s yearbook. It turns out, he had gone to live with his grandma.”
Fell Off The Face Of The Earth
“A guy I was friends with in high school disappeared after graduation.
He didn’t say where he was going. It was like, poof, he just fell off the face of the Earth. This was especially odd since we had known each other and been buddies (at school, anyway) since the sixth grade. The only thing he said was that someday when his younger brother finally graduated from our same school, he wanted to punch him square in the face on graduation day. Other than that, I had no clue as to his future.
I contacted him using every venue I could access. I even tried his old AOL AIM address but to no luck. Oddly enough, his fake Facebook account that he had started as a joke made some strange non-sequitur type of posts on a few occasions. It was an account with a silly pun as a name with an illustration that I had made in photoshop using every color from the palette. I’m guessing he was too shy to make a legit account. It posted a few times, people wished him ‘Happy Birthday,’ but it never came alive. It was just a dead account now. I ‘friended’ his younger brother on Facebook, who appeared to be an average and pretty sociable person, but he was no help. I even tried Craigslist Missed Connections trying to get to this guy because I had no idea where he had gone. No luck!
I began to wonder if maybe I was one of those cliche TV characters who didn’t realize they were the bully in school, kicking myself while speculating that perhaps some of our goodnatured ribbing in the past may have affected him deeply, and he never showed it. I knew the guy was skittish, but this was ridiculous.
‘Did he die?’
‘Was he sick?’
‘He did say something about his kidneys back in high school…’
One day not too long ago, I was at the grocery store minding my own business when I passed by an employee I recognized. It was his younger brother. I did a double take, pretended to look at the crackers for a minute, and then approached him. After deciding that I had to ask, I introduced myself and asked him whatever happened to his brother. He said he was still around and lived nearby. He lived close to me actually, and I simply requested that he please tell him that I was looking for him.
I never got a response. Nobody knows what happened to him, and our high school reunion is coming up.”
The Idea Of ‘Starting Over’
“I had a friend once (maybe I still do? It’s kind of hard to say) who was obsessed with the idea of ‘starting over.’
Every few years or so, he would drop everything that he was doing, move to another city, and start from scratch. While his dad was alive, we would always have a sort of ‘lifeline’ to him. Eventually, he would talk to his dad, and when he did, his dad would tell us where he lived, and then he would slide back into our lives like nothing ever happened, at least for a few years until the urge struck him again.
Then, his dad died. I saw him once more, a few years later, when I ran into him by chance in another city. We had lunch together, caught up on life, and then he just vanished again.”