Every year thousands of people flock to the national parks in America. They’re supposed to be a place of wonder and relaxation. A place to unwind and enjoy how beautiful and calming nature can be. Where families flock together to bond, creating lifelong memories that are cherished.
But, what if there’s a darker side to these national parks no one is really talking about? They are very profitable after all, so if anything fishy was happening, would they risk damaging the profits by making these unexplainable occurrences public? It very well may even go deeper down the rabbit hole according to some, because these parks are linked to the deaths and disappearances of an astonishingly high amount of visitors. Is there something about these parks the establishment is trying to hide? Well, the numbers of missing people in America would astonish you, and worse, information regarding this subject has been hidden from the public. Still, it is not just the vanishings in the national parks that are so bizarre, but the way many of the victims are found after their death.
Missing 411 delves into these mysteries with years of in-depth research and a no-nonsense objective look at this disturbing phenomenon. Retired police officer and researcher named David Paulides is the author of the Missing 411 series of books in which he’s documented the vanishings of people from national parks all over the country. These disappearances are very questionable, and the park rangers’ behavior when confronted with these vanishings highly suspicious. Missing 411 cases are all linked by situations of high strangeness, and possessing clear patterns in the circumstances of the victims. One such pattern concerning children, in particular, is that they seem to vanish out of thin air even while being with a group of close loved ones. Search dogs are almost useless in these as there’s usually no scent other than the spots before the victim’s disappearance, and in few cases, the dogs find a scent, they straight up refuse to follow them. Corpses are found sometimes years after going missing with their clothes fully intact like no time has passed at all, or their clothes are removed and neatly folded nearby, or strange items not belonging to the victim are found on them. Many times the bodies are found miles out in inaccessible terrain physically impossible to reach on foot, or even in spots that have been previously searched.
One of the most suspicious things is the national parks services inability to present records of people who have vanished in their parks. These records are kept, but they refuse to release them and seem to care less about the freedom of information act. One such park requested a huge bribe in order to give up the records, however, most outright refuse to mumble a single word on the subject. More than once they’ve given off the impression they’re hiding something, and even the U.S. military has been linked to the disappearances. The topic expanded past Paulides’ Missing 411 research to the point hundreds have come forth with their own tales and theories (because of course, they have). These theories range from serial killers, secret societies, Big Foot, paranormal entities, to aliens. Some even claim these disappearances are from wormholes in the woods that suck the victims into another dimension. These mysterious vanishings have sparked the imaginations of thousands of people because of their enigmatic nature, but high strangeness has always generated bizarre speculation. So there’s a myriad of opinions on what could be behind these strange occurrences, and none of them backed by any solid evidence.
Many people who are part of the Missing 411 community believe these vanishings are all connected, and indeed they share many similarities. Bad weather seems to come out of nowhere during the vanishings or afterward when the person is being searched for. Many targets seem to be people with a high intellect or people with some sort of mental handicap; usually in a way that would restrict the victim’s ability to talk or explain what happened to them if they’re found. Skeptics are usually quick to say it’s either serial killers or wild animals such as mountain lions that are responsible. However, those theories are quickly brushed aside by anyone who has read Paulides’ incredibly well-researched books. In the area, the bodies were found there has never been enough evidence to prove the victim was killed by a wild animal. Clothes would be shredded and the immediate area would be a mess of gore for some time, yet no such macabre scene is ever found. The serial killer theories are harder to disprove because many times the bodies are discovered on paths search and rescue operators have been scouring daily for some time as if the corpse was left there meant to be found. That doesn’t explain why clothes are often in pristine condition compared to their decayed former owners, or why victims are sometimes found on terrain impossible to reach on foot. At least serial killers are a more grounded theory to comfort those who believe there is nothing supernatural about the world.
But what about the people who are found? Well, the people who do return are usually unable to explain what happened to them. Victims always have some handicap or disorder that leaves them with an inability to explain where they’ve been. These victims usually have dementia, autism, a mute, people with severe mental handicaps, or just major medical conditions which don’t allow them to speak. With a lot of times their attire showing little evidence of being in the wilderness. Many times these survivors are found incredible distances away from where they disappeared, with no ability to survive in the wilderness how long it would have taken traveling on foot. When asked what happened to them, they literally can’t say because they’re unable to. Sadly, the majority of people going missing in the parks who do have the ability to speak clearly never return or are found dead. The interesting thing concerning the bodies that do turn up is coroners can’t give a distinct cause of death a high percentage of the time, which to say the least is extremely abnormal.
Despite many theories and an overwhelming amount of research, David Paulides does not claim to have any answers, he merely presents the evidence. He doesn’t claim to know what happened to the victims in any of the Missing 411 books. People at MUFON believe Aliens are abducting people for clandestine reasons, and Paulides’ has said in interviews his inbox is constantly filled with supposed answers to the mysterious vanishings from the Missing 411 community. The National Park organizations aren’t giving any information any time soon despite the freedom of information act, and a large number of skeptics have attacked the subject, desperately grasping at any mundane theories they can in an attempt to brush the subject under the rug. The only assured thing is that this mystery isn’t going to be solved anytime soon, and people are going to continue to vanish in the U.S. National Parks.