Feb. 26, 2022

Top 5 Strange Vacation Disappearances

Top 5 Strange Vacation Disappearances

Although we might not agree on how to spend our vacations I believe we can all agree it is a well deserved escape from reality. Some search for adventure, while others seek relaxation, and as much as we joke about never returning, most of us always do… Here are 5 of the strangest vacation disappearances.

  1. Lars Mittank

The Black Sea has granted Bulgaria with one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, and with it many alluring beaches. The Golden Sands resort of Varna, Bulgaria is known for its unalloyed sand and light blue waters making it the perfect vacation spot for Lars Mittank and his close friends on June 30, 2014. 

 

28 year old Lars was from Berlin, Germany]where he worked locally at a power plant as an operator. He maintained a close relationship with his parents and his bond only strengthened in 2012 when his father suffered from a stroke, rendering him in constant need of care. When Lars had time off he could be found traveling home to lend a hand and to help out where he fit in.

 

On June 30, 2014 Lars' mother Sandra was surprised to learn that Lars had booked an unannounced vacation, later stating, "I as a mother was very surprised about this kind of vacation because Lars didn’t tell me about it.” This was also a first for vacations of this type for Lars, an individual who usually opted for a more gripping vacation such as attending a futbol game, a sport that he was passionate about, or being on the water, fishing or in the water, scuba diving. 

 

Lars and his group of friends would travel to Varna by plane. They decided to call hotel Viva their home for the duration of the vacation at Golden Sands. Whilst here Lars often found himself breaking apart from the group due to his nature of interests. Lars spent most days on the beach front playing soccer with other vacationers, as his friends could be found partying in their shared hotel room or at the poolside sunbathing. 

 

By July 3, 2014 the group had rejoined to enjoy a night at a local Golden Sands Bar watching the World Cup Quarter Finals match between Costa Rica and the Netherlands. The game had started at 11pm and Lars, wearing his Werder Bremen jersey, was enjoying the match. After a few drinks he wanted everyone to share the same love he had for the Werder Bremen futbol team. Most saw this nice young man’s actions for what they were, good fun. However a group of Bavarian fans saw it differently. They did not take well to Lars’s enthusiasm and started an argument with him, only to be dissolved as the night proceeded. 

 

By 4am the group had decided to return to the hotel, and along the way they stopped at a local McDonalds. Lars, not being hungry, decided to continue on the short distance alone. It would be during this time that he was beaten by a group of either Russians or Bulgarians, although he was able to escape he did suffer a heavy blow to the left side of his head. It is believed that the group of men who assaulted him had been hired by the Bavarian fans he had a disagreement with earlier in the night. 

 

When Lars awoke on July 4th his head rang and his ear ached, but he believed with some time and rest his injuries would subside. By Monday July 7th when the pain still persisted, he decided to visit a doctor. He was  fearful of the consequences of flying with an injured ear. Lars would be diagnosed with a ruptured left ear drum, prescribed an antibiotic and strongly advised not to fly. Upon hearing this news Lars’s friends planned to cancel their return flight to stay with him over the next few days, while he recovered. But Lars insisted that they stick to the original plan and assured them that he would be fine on his own. After some hesitation, they agreed. 

 

Lars would see his friends off at the airport on July 7th, before He checked into the Hotel Color and from this point on he would begin to display some very strange, erratic behavior. Lars was captured on the Hotel’s CCTV footage appearing paranoid and at some points hiding within elevators. He was once spotted leaving the hotel around midnight, returning hours later. During his stay he also called his mother, speaking in just a whisper, telling her that he was in fear for his life,  that four men were after him and to cancel his credit cards. 

 

Lars Mittank was  last seen on July 8th, 2014 at the Varna Airport on CCTV just after a conversation with the airport doctor. During his consultation with the doctor a member of the construction crew working at the airport would briefly interrupt the two. This disturbance would set Lars into a panicked state, fleeing the doctor’s office, running across the airport terminal and out of sight. Today the strange disappearance of Lars Mittank remains unsolved and his family and friends continue to search for answers. 

  1. Natalee Holloway

The 2005 graduating class of Mountain Brook high school of Alabama couldn’t be more ecstatic. They had ended one chapter of their lives tossing their caps high into the air and before they had a chance to hit the ground they were beginning their next chapter in celebration. 124 of the graduating seniors along with 7 chaperones had their bags packed and destination set for Aruba. When the plane touched down on May 25, 2005 they had no idea that in a few short days they would be returning home without one of their own, forever. 

 

For 18-year-old,straight A student Natalee Holloway, this vacation had been a dream. For the past four years Natalee had spent much of her time with her nose pressed in a book studying for her post- high school plans, and her hard work had paid off. Natalee’s ambition and persistence was rewarding, she graduated with honors, on a full scholarship to the University of Alabama with plans to pursue pre–med. So, this vacation to Aruba was seen by herself and many as well deserved time to unwind.

 

Time spent between May 26 - May 29, 2005 was filled with wild partying by the recently graduated students. Their alcohol filled binge would lead the Holiday Inn to ban them from visiting again the following year. Two of Natalee’s classmates would describe her own drinking as excessive, stating that her indulgence of alcoholic beverages did not end at sunrise and that she was often seen drinking all day every day to the point that it affected her daily functions resulting in her missing breakfast on two separate occasions. 

 

 On the evening of May 29, 2005 Natalee and a group of students visited Carlos ‘N Charlie's, a local nightclub. While here Natalee would meet Joran van der Sloot, a 17-year-old Dutch honors student who lived in Aruba and attended the International School of Aruba. At around 1:30am on May 30, 2005 Natalee would be seen for the last time leaving in a silver Honda with Joran van der Sloot and his two friends, 21-year-old Deepak Kalpoe, and 18-year-old Satish Kalpoe. 

 

Over the next 7 years Van der Sloot would make multiple different claims as to what happened to Natalee. But ultimately admission of guilt or charges would not come from it. On January 13, 2012 Van der Sloot would be charged and sentence to 28 years in prison for the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores Ramirez and to this day the disappearance of Natalee Holloway remains unsolved. 

  1. Norman Lee

In March 2015 47-year old Norman Lee and his wife, Jan were vacationing in the Cayman Islands. Norman, from Weymouth, MA  was best known for his work as a comic book artist inking many pages of some of the most popular prints. For decades Norman had worked on multiple series including the Avengers, Spiderman and the X-Men. So on March 5, 2015 when Norman vanished it sent shockwaves through the Comic book community, leaving many speechless. 

 

On March 5 Norman and Jan left the Wyndham Reef Resort with plans to enjoy their day snorkeling off the island's east end coast. While more than 250 yards from the island's shore, Jan would lose sight of Norman and adrenaline would overtake her body. She desperately searched the surrounding waters the best that she could, calling out for Norman, but her attempts to locate him were to no avail. Jan, now defeated, returned to the shore alone. 

 

Jan immediately identified Norman as missing to local law enforcement. “A report was made for assistance and a search commenced.” Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks stated. Shortly after the filing two vessels, a dive team and a helicopter were dispatched to support the search effort. 

 

Despite the efforts Norman Lee was never recovered, and search teams believe that the strength of the current and the location of his disappearance play a big part in this. Norman disappeared around 500 yards from a large ocean-floor drop that declines for thousands of feet. 

 

More than 7 months after Norman Lee’s disappearance a FBI spokeswoman, Kristen Setera would confirm the FBI’s involvement in the Norman Lee’s missing persons case. When questioned the FBI could neither confirm or deny if foul play was suspected because of the ongoing investigation. What could be confirmed was that the FBI was assisting the Cayman Island Police service in their investigation, and that they are offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of Norman Lee. 

  1. John Halford

A cruise has always been a comfortable option for a well needed escape from reality or a planned trip to explore some of this world's greatest offerings. When 63 year old John Halford boarded the Thomson Spirit Cruise Liner on March 31, 2011 he couldn’t be more excited for his week long trip. John was embarking on a journey and the destination was one of his life long dreams, ancient Egypt. 

 

On the evening of April 6, 2011, knowing that his journey would end the following day when the ship would arrive at the port of Sharm El Sheikh, John messaged his wife Ruth. The couple discussed arrangements for his pick up following his return flight home the next day. However, when the ship did reach Sharm El Sheikh on April 7, 2011 the 63-year-old Buckinghamshire man was nowhere to be found.

 

Ruth Halford would receive a phone call from the Thomson Spirit Cruise line flight desk within the Egyptian airport confirming the inevitable truth. John had missed his flight and when the ship had docked, he was not on board. 

 

Members of the cruise who recognized John Halford, last remember seeing him enjoying cocktails in the company of other passengers at 12:30am. Following this event, he seemingly vanished. Theories would arise that John could have been depressed or contemplating the taking of his own life and as a result he took his own life by jumping overboard. Ruth highly debated this theory stating he displayed no signs of depression, John's belongings were found readily packed, and souvenirs from his trip could be found inside. Showing indications that John Halford had all intentions to return home to his family. 

 

The ship and the surrounding waters would be searched immensely, but no sign of John could be turned up. More than 10 years have passed and the fate of John Halford remains unknown.

  1. Boris Weisfeiler

“I have to get away from all this snow… I’m headed south, it's warm down there..”  43-year-old Penn State professor Boris Weisfeiler told his sister before he left Pennsylvania for his Christmas time vacation. When the prominent mathematics professor stepped off a plane into Chile on December 25, 1984 he had plans to spend the next few weeks solo hiking the Andes Mountains. 

 

The experienced hiker took to the foothills of the southernmost part of Chile’s mountain range, his stride lengthening upon the open trail head as he slowly disappeared into the distance. Weeks later on January 15, 1985 his backpack was discovered near the Nuble River. Various items were missing from inside, including his passport and return ticket home. Chilean officials commenced various air, water and land searches for Boris and despite no body recovery Boris Weisfeiler was declared deceased by probable accidental drowning on March 6th, 1985. 

 

The family of Boris Weisfeiler never agreed with the Chilean government's official stand and in 1988 Olga Weisfeiler, Boris’s sister began her pursuit for the truth. In February of 1990, Olga was contacted by Department of State Official K. Stevens, and informed that her brother's case was under reinvestigation by the Chilean government and now listed as “an unresolved case” of human rights abuse. 

 

While reading an article in the New York Times, Olga would learn about a secretive settlement named Colonia Dignidad which comprised of former Nazi Party members and sympathizers led by former Nazi Paul Schafer. The settlement had been accused as being a detention or toture center for the then in power Gen. Augusto Pinochet. When Olga made the connection that her brother Boris had disappeared near Colonia Dignidad, she requested that The U.S. State Department start an investigation into the settlement. Unfortunately at the time her cries fell on deaf ears.

 

It would not be until June 30, 2000 upon the release of more than 250 documents concerning her brother's case, that her speculation would be more or less confirmed. Found within these documents were testimonies from Chilean sources stating that within days of Boris’s disappearance he was reported alive and that over the next several years he was detained in Colonia Dignidad. Other testimonies claim that Boris was killed at the time of his disappearance by a Army Patrol, believing he was a Russian spy. 

 

Almost 40 years of investigations have been commenced and although there is a good idea of what may have happened to Boris Weisfeiler, there is no defining evidence. Olga Weisfeiler remains without answers as to what truly happened to her brother or where his body may be. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Weisfeiler

http://weisfeiler.com/boris/ 

http://boris.weisfeiler.com/memorandum2.html 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35980852 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-44416338 

https://crimesandcuriosities.tumblr.com/post/158039892833/lost-at-sea-the-disappearance-of-john-halford-on 

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/242101/Briton-63-missing-on-Egypt-cruise 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-13159212 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2040248/Why-165-people-gone-missing-cruise-ships-recent-years.html 

https://comicbook.com/news/fbi-offers-10k-reward-in-case-of-missing-comic-artist-norman-lee/ 

https://www.ieyenews.com/where-is-norman-lee-who-disappeared-in-the-cayman-islands/ 

https://www.websleuths.com/forums/threads/cayman-islands-norman-lee-47-ma-man-missing-while-snorkeling-5-march-2015.294205/ 

https://www.caymancompass.com/2016/11/02/fbi-offers-10k-reward-in-2015-disappearance-of-comic-book-artist/ 

https://people.com/celebrity/norman-lee-missing-in-cayman-islands/ 

https://www.metro.us/fbi-joins-cayman-islands-police-in-investigation-of-missing-weymouth-man/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Natalee_Holloway 

https://www.biography.com/news/natalle-holloway-murder-timeline 

https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/natalee-ann-holloway 

https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/6a9a4o/what_really_happened_to_natalee_holloway/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Lars_Mittank 

https://allthatsinteresting.com/lars-mittank 

https://darktales.blog/2021/05/11/the-disappearance-of-lars-mittank/ 

https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/kiecfs/the_mysterious_disappearance_of_lars_mittank_a/ 

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