Remembering Netaji: Famous people who disappeared mysteriously

Jan 23, 2017, 14:02 IST | mid-day online correspondent

One of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, is generally believed to have died after a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, in 1945...

Netaji Subhash Chandra BoseA picture of Subhash Chandra Bose, displayed at the alter of the Renkoji temple in Tokyo, Japan. Pic/AFP

It is Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's birth anniversary today.

One of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, is generally believed to have died after a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, in 1945. However, his death has long been the subject of dispute. In 2005, the Taiwanese Government stated that there is no evidence that an airplane carrying Subhas Chandra Bose has ever crashed.

On the occasion, we look at other prominent personalities, whose sudden and unexplained disappearances trigged several conspiracy theories...

Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart. Pic/AFP

In 1937, 39-year-old Amelia Earhart, a famous American aviatrix, who was the first woman to try a circumnavigational flight of the globe, disappeared along with her navigator, 44-year-old Fred Noonan over the central Pacific in the vicinity of Howland Island on July 2nd. The unresolved circumstances of Earhart's disappearance, along with her fame, attracted a great body of other claims relating to her last flight, all of which have been generally dismissed for lack of verifiable evidence. Several unsupported theories have become well known in popular culture.

Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie. PIC/AFP

Noted English detective fiction author Agatha Christie, famous for her whodunnit mysteries especially the Miss Marple and Poirot series of novels, famously disappeared, and although she was located 10 days later in a Yorkshire health spa, the actual reason for her disappearance remains a mystery. Although two doctors diagnosed her as suffering from amnesia, opinion remains divided as to why she disappeared. She was known to be in a depressed state from literary overwork, her mother's death earlier that year and her husband's infidelity. Public reaction at the time was largely negative, supposing a publicity stunt or attempt to frame her husband for murder.

Sean Flynn with father Errol Flynn
An undated picture of Sean Flynn (left) as a young boy with father Errol Flynn (right) during a fishing trip. Pic/AFP

On April 6, 1970, Sean Flynn, son of legendary Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, Lili Damita and Dana Stone (32), American photojournalists on assignment for Time Magazine and CBS News, respectively, were captured by Communist guerrillas while travelling by motorcycle in Cambodia.

Nana Sahib, a Maratha aristocrat, who led the Kanpur rebellion during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 was reported to have fled to Nepal in 1859. Perceval Landon recorded that Nana Sahib lived out his days in western Nepal, in Thapa Téli, near Ririthang, under the protection of Sir Jang Bahadur Rana, the Prime Minister of Nepal. Another book states he lived out the remainder of his life as a hermit.

Sahib's ultimate fate was never known. Up until 1888 there were rumours and reports that he had been captured and a number of individuals turned themselves in to the British claiming to be the aged Sahib. As these reports turned out to be untrue further attempts at apprehending him were abandoned. There were also reports of him being spotted in Constantinople.

Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa, Pic/AFP

In 1975, U.S. trade union leader, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa, disappeared in the parking lot of a restaurant, where it is believed he was to meet with two Mafia leaders—Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano. In a book by Charles Brandt, Frank Sheeran, a now-dead Teamster official, confessed on his deathbed that he shot Hoffa inside a northwest Detroit home in 1975. Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson portayed him in the 1992 biopic 'Hoffa'. The location of Jimmy Hoffa's remains still remains a mystery.

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