March 20, 2022

3 Strange Celebrity Disappearances

3 Strange Celebrity Disappearances

When you think of a celebrity you might think of prestige or non removable recognition. They seem larger than life, untouchable and as if their status alone makes them invincible. When one of these idols faces an untimely death it is seen by many as shocking, and when one disappears without a trace it stands the test of time. Here are three strange celebrity disappearances. 


3 - Jim Thompson

Born in 1906 to a prominent Delaware family, James Harrison Wilson Thompson, known as Jim Thompson to his friends, had a very bright future ahead of him. His father was a textile manufacturer and Jim would follow in his footsteps many years later, but not without a few detours first. Jim first worked as an architect in New York City, working for some of the world’s most elite clients. Whilst Jim enjoyed his job, he yearned for more and he became interested in textiles and costume design after working with the infamous Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Jim’s father was no doubt pleased that his son was following in his footsteps, however, it seems that the family business would have to wait. In 1941, Jim joined the Delaware National Guard and also began working for the OSS (Office of Strategic Services). This agency would morph into the CIA and many years later, it would be at the center of his mysterious disappearance.


When the US entered the war, young men enlisted in their droves, sworn to protect their homeland and their allies in Europe. For Jim, a job with the OSS meant that he travelled overseas to gather intelligence and aid in the war effort. In 1945, Jim arrived in Thailand shortly after the surrender of Japan. Jim continued his work in Thailand and whilst there, he fell back into an old job. 


According to the website ‘’ in 1947 whilst working in Thailand, he discovered Thai silk weavers in Bangkok. Jim was very impressed with their work and knew that it needed to be shared with the world. Using the connections he had through his father and his time with the ballet, he sent these silks to New York and people immediately fell in love with them.


Realizing that he had stumbled across something big, Jim created the Thai Silk Company and began following in his father's footsteps once more. This newfound bliss was not meant to be and in 1967, something very bizarre happened that leaves us with many questions to this day.

During the Easter celebrations of 1967, Jim left his new home in Thailand and headed for Malaysia for a much needed holiday. He was lucky enough to be staying with friends Dr. and Mrs. Ling at their Moonlight Cottage in Tanah Rata. What should have been a relaxing holiday quickly turned into a nightmare. According to the Ling’s, on March 26th 1967, Jim left their cottage to go for a walk. Some sources say that Jim left at 3 pm whilst others put the time at around 1:30 pm.


His hosts thought nothing of this walk, thinking that Jim simply wanted to take in the natural beauty of the landscape around him. However, when he failed to return to the cottage, they became worried. They looked everywhere for him, but there was no sign of Jim. Word quickly got around that Jim was missing and after a few hours had passed, a large search party set off to find him. 

One witness said that they had seen him at around 4 pm at the Lutheran Mission bungalow and after this, he simply vanished into thin air. There was no trace of Jim and no clues as to what had happened to him. 


The attention surrounding Jim’s disappearance was huge, as he was a rich American that owned a very successful business. Despite all of the attention that his case brought in, no trace of him has ever been found and we are left to speculate. One theory suggests that Jim may have left to conduct a top-secret mission for the CIA, after all, he had connections to the OSS and had been stationed in Thailand after the war.


Another theory suggests that Jim was kidnapped with his kidnappers hoping that he would bring a high ransom value. This theory would be plausible if a ransom note or demand was ever made, but as of yet, there has been no evidence that such a demand was made. There is one more theory that came to light in 2013 and that is that Jim was killed by members of the Communist Party of Malaya. 

This lead came about after Barry Broman started researching Jim’s disappearance for his documentary “Who Killed Jim Thompson?”. According to an article written by Broman for the National Thailand, a senior Communist Party of Malaya official, Teo Pok Hwa made a deathbed confession claiming that the CPM was responsible. Apparently, when Jim arrived in Malaysia, he asked to meet Chin Peng, the secretary-general of the CPM.


No reasoning for Jim wanting to meet with the secretary-general of the CPM has ever been given and we are still unsure whether the CPM have anything to do with his mysterious disappearance. Did Jim Thompson simply get lost and perish or is there something much deeper and darker to his case? 


2 - Harold Holt 

Harold Holt, the 17th prime minister of Australia left behind a bizarre legacy that has nothing to do with policies or his short time in office. Harold was a keen diver and lover of the oceans and where better to do that than right on your doorstep. On December 17th 1967, Harold stepped out of his home and headed to the Cheviot beach at Portsea on the Victorian coast. 

The Australian Parliament had finished up for the year and Harold had retired to his holiday home near Portsea. Little did his colleagues, opposition and everyone else in parliament know that the meeting before the Christmas/New Year break would be Harold’s last. The idea of Harold being out of the picture may have been appealing to members of the opposition, but the manner in which Harold disappeared shocked everyone. 


Despite having undergone surgery and being told by his doctor to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity, Harold donned his swimming clothes and headed for the beach. He was a very strong-willed man and nothing, not even his recent shoulder surgery was going to stop him from enjoying the warm sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. 


December 17th 1967 was a hot and humid day but the conditions in the waters were anything but ideal. Whilst beachgoers relaxed and made the most of the sunshine, they also recalled that the tide was unusually high with a very strong undercurrent. This dissuaded many from hopping into the water, but not Harold. He turned to the group of people he was with and said “I know this beach like the back of my hand.”


This would be Harold’s final chilling statement and onlookers watched in horror as the current swept him under and away. According to a CNN article “One witness said she had watched Mr. Holt continuously from the time he entered the surf and she saw the water become very turbulent around him very suddenly and appeared to boil and these conditions seemed to ‘swamp on him’. He was not seen again.” 


Being the sitting prime minister, the response was rapid and within hours of him being swept out to sea, helicopters, dive teams and the Coast Guard were at the scene. Australian News outlets began reporting that Harold Holt, Australia’s 17th Prime Minister was believed to have drowned. These reports came in thick and fast, despite search crews having little time to search for him. The country began to mourn but remained hopeful that Harold would be found alive. 


The search for Harold continued well into the early morning hours and as search crews and divers scoured the coastline, it became clear that the chances of finding Harold alive were slim. Heavy downpours and strong currents only hampered the search and rescue crews began turning their attention to Port Phillip Bay, speculating that the current would have swept Harold northwest from Cheviot Beach.

Conditions continued to worsen and then a new threat emerged, a shark. As the hours ticked by, the outlook became bleaker and bleaker and by the new year, the search was officially called off. Marjorie Gillespie who witnessed Harold’s last moments told reporters “I don’t think he realized perhaps that while he was swimming, he was being taken further out. He never seemed in distress nor did he ever call out or raise a hand.” She said that it wasn’t until someone else pointed out the fact that Harold had been in there an awfully long time did she realize something might be amiss. She further told reporters “This is when I was saying ‘Come back, come back.’ I was yelling. I knew he couldn’t hear me. At that stage, he was trying to come back. Then the water seemed to boil into colossal waves where he was and he couldn’t come back.” 


Some people accept the fact that Harold sadly drowned after getting caught in an undercurrent that was too strong, but not everyone is convinced. Some people believe that Harold intentionally swam out into dangerous waters so that he could take his own life. Another theory is that Harold had been kidnapped by the Russian or Chinese governments for one reason or another and taken away. One journalist even speculated that Harold had been a Chinese spy who had been repatriated via submarine following the end of his mission. 


These theories may seem bizarre and wild but as of 2022, Harold Holt’s body has never been recovered. These theories are all we have to work with and until further evidence comes to light, it appears that we will never truly know what happened to Australia’s 17th Prime Minister, Harold Holt. 


1 - Rico Harris

In 2014 Harlem Globe Trotter Rico Harris made the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. Rico had a promising future ahead of him but like many of us, he had his own demons that he was dealing with. Rico was working hard to overcome these demons and create a better and brighter future for himself, but that was sadly taken away from him in 2014. 

In the year 2000, Rico was forced to leave the Harlem Globetrotters after being with them for only a year, he had suffered a serious head injury during an assault which left him unable to play basketball. Having to leave his dream behind, Rico spiraled downwards and fell into using drugs and alcohol. He moved back to his family home in Alhambra, California and tried to look to the future, pondering his next move. 


Addiction is a terrible disease that has a vice grip on every aspect of a person’s life but in 2007, Rico found the strength to go into recovery and for the next 7 years he remained sober. He got clean, found himself an apartment and got himself a job. Things for Rico were looking up, he was sober and in steady employment and in 2012, he met his girlfriend, Jennifer Song who lived in Seattle, Washington. 

Rico’s family were overjoyed that he had managed to turn his life around and now that he had a girlfriend, things were only going up from there. Jennifer and Rico continued dating and by 2014, Rico decided that it was time to move in with her and planned his move. Sadly, the joy of moving in together would be short-lived for the couple and on October 9th 2014, Rico mysteriously vanished.


On October 9th 2014, Rico made the drive from Seattle to Alhambra to see his family and collect some of his things. Rico and his family had a meal together and at around 1 am he left the family home, headed for Seattle. The drive was going to take around 18 hours and according to Rico’s girlfriend, Jennifer, he hadn’t slept for the past 36 hours. 


This is of course incredibly dangerous and driving whilst sleep deprived can cause major impairments and cause accidents. We know that Rico reached the Sacramento area that morning and at 10:45 am he left Jennifer a voicemail telling her that he was going up into the mountains to rest. A strange and bizarre statement and sadly, the last statement he would ever make. By the time Jennifer checked the voicemail, Rico’s phone had either been turned off or had run out of battery and he was uncontactable. 

Jennifer waited, hoping that Rico had rested for a while before hitting the road again but as night fell in Seattle, the familiar roar of Rico’s car could not be heard. Concerned for her boyfriend, Jennifer called Rico’s mother who in turn reported him missing to the Alhambra Police Department. The search for Rico began with officers going up into the mountains where his phone last pinged, but there was no sign of him. He had simply vanished into thin air.


The first big break in the case didn’t come until October 14th 2014 when his black Nissan Maxima was found abandoned in a rest area of the Yolo County Regional State Park. According to Google Maps, Sacramento is around ~65 miles away from the park. Had Rico driven to the park after he made the phone call? Had he driven into the park thinking that he was in Sacramento? These questions unfortunately remain unanswered. 


Inside Rico’s car, investigators found his wallet with his cards and documents scattered around the car along with two bottles of alcohol. Rico had been sober for the past 7 years but one of the bottles was empty and the other was half empty, suggesting that Rico had perhaps relapsed in his sobriety. Even more bizarrely, his driving licence was missing and there was no money in the wallet, suggesting he may have taken those things with him, wherever he was headed. 


The bizarre discoveries linked to Rico’s disappearance didn’t stop here and just further into the park, his phone was discovered. After powering up the phone, investigators were met with something odd. There were videos of Rico pulling items out of his wallet and throwing them around the car whilst singing to the music from his CD player. Whilst these provided no insight into the whereabouts of Rico, it did give officers a good understanding of his mental state at the time. Had Rico snapped and relapsed, or had he perhaps suffered a breakdown? 

Multiple searches were conducted but aside from a few personal items, nothing of interest was found. Police spoke to other hikers in the park that day and they revealed that they saw a man fitting Rico’s description in the area at the time. Rico is 6’ 9” tall so it would be difficult to miss him walking around the park. 


Aside from a few odd sightings, there has been no sign of Rico Harris since his mysterious disappearance in 2014. Did Rico simply walk away to start a new life? Did he have some sort of breakdown or is there another explanation for what happened to Rico? His family and friends continue to search for him and anyone with information is asked to contact the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office on 530 668-5280.


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