Every day people disappear somewhere in the world. It’s disturbing, but it’s a fact. It is not something that has to do with modern times, it has happened throughout human history.

And when the disappeared person is a public, known, or prominent figure, it is recorded for posterity as a mystery.

The list of these missing characters without ever knowing how or what happened to them is incredibly long. Let’s go with some of them.

1. Spartacus

Statue of Spartacus in the Louvre Museum / photo Carole Raddato on Wikimedia Commons

The famous Thracian slave Spartacus (113 B.C.-71 B.C.) who led the rebellion known as III Servil War or War of the Gladiators against the Roman Republic between the years 73 and 71 B.C., died in the battle of the Silarius River.

That is the official version, because his body was never located. Perhaps he fled with a good handful of his own to Cilicia.

2. The Emperor Valens

Possible bust of Emperor Valens / photo Sailko on Wikimedia Commons

Flavius Julius Valens was emperor of Rome from 364 to 378 AD in the eastern part of the Empire. According to sources he died at the Battle of Adrianople on August 9, 378.

Ammianus reports that he was wounded by an arrow and taken to a hut to which the Goths set fire without knowing who was inside. He would have died, although his body was never found.

3. Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup / photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

Known for being the author of 12 years of slavery, the book on which the Hollywood film is based, he never returned from the promotional tour of his book in 1857.

Some think he could have been kidnapped and turned back into a slave. But there is no news or report on his whereabouts after that year.

4. Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce / photo pubic domain on Wikimedia Commons

The famous author of the Dictionary of the Devil joined Pancho Villa’s army as an observer in October 1913.

He was last seen in Chihuahua and then disappeared forever. Some believe he could have been killed, and in fact there is an oral tradition in the town of Sierra Mojada (Mexico) that Bierce was executed in the village cemetery.

A tombstone was erected there in 2004, although once again his body was never found.

5. Béla Kiss

Photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

Kiss was a Hungarian serial killer who joined the Austrian army during the First World War. While at the front in 1916 the authorities found 24 women’s bodies hidden in jerrycans in his house.

Attempting to arrest him at the Serbian veterans’ hospital where he was recovering from his injuries, he fled, usurping the identity of another deceased soldier.

His trail is lost here, although a detective claimed to have seen him in the New York subway years later.

6. Roald Amundsen

Roald Amundsen / photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole (1899), and was also part of the first air expedition to fly over the North Pole.

It was there that he disappeared on 18 June 1928, while flying over the Arctic on a rescue mission. His body was never found, only a float from his seaplane, near the coast of Tromso.

7. Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart / photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

The famous American aviatrix Amelia Earhart was the first woman to try to fly around the world. She disappeared in the attempt near Howland Island in the Pacific on July 2, 1937.

Although Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized a search mission consisting of 9 ships and 66 aircraft, she was deemed dead on July 18. Her body was never found. Recently, possible remains of his plane have been found.

8. Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller / photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

The popular American jazz musician Glenn Miller flew from England to France on December 15, 1944. His mission, to play for the troops in the recently liberated Paris.

His plane disappeared somewhere on the English Channel, with all its passengers. As an officer in the U.S. Army, he is still considered missing in combat.

9. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Saint-Exupery at the Hotel Ville de Montréal / photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

The French aviator and writer, famous for being the author of The Little Prince, disappeared on board his plane while on a reconnaissance mission prior to the Allied invasion of southern France.

On July 31, 1944, he left Corsica on board an unarmed P-38 in what would be his ninth mission, and never returned. A body in French uniform was found a few days later south of Marseille and buried in Carqueiranne.

But whether it was him or not remains a mystery.

10. Heinrich Müller

Heinrich Müller / photo public domain on Wikimedia Commons

The head of the Gestapo was last seen in Hitler’s bunker in Berlin on May 1, 1945, just the day before the Führer’s suicide. After the fall of the German capital he disappeared, although according to the CIA he could die a few days later.

But his body was never found. He is the most important figure of the Nazi regime who was never captured or confirmed his death.

A Polish police officer who escaped to the West in 1961 claimed to have heard his superiors say that the Russians had captured him sometime between 1950 and 1952. But there is no official confirmation.

This article was first published on our Spanish Edition on April 17, 2015. Puedes leer la versión en español en 10 personajes históricos que desaparecieron misteriosamente

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