IMPOSSIBLE Places People Were Found

Let's explore some impossible places people were found!


There’s nothing quite as mysterious or scary as someone going missing. But even more peculiar are the ways in which some people who’ve gone missing over the years ultimately reappeared. From turning up halfway up a cliff to emerging inside a toilet, grab your detective hats as we investigate some of the most impossible places people were found.

Steven Kubacki

On May 5th, 1979, 23-year-old Steven Kubacki woke up on a grassy knoll in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was wearing a marathon-participant t-shirt, and next to him was a backpack full of maps and hitchhiking signs to cities all over the country.


It would have seemed impossible to Steven at the time, but he’d been on the missing persons list for over a year. Steven had no idea how he’d ended up in Pittsfield; in fact, he had absolutely no memory of what he’d been doing for the past 14 months!

Steven made his way to his aunt’s house nearby and there, he found out that all his friends and family had concluded they’d never see him again. He was told that he’d gone missing while on a solo ski trip around lake Michigan on February 20th, 1978, more than 700 miles away from Pittsfield.

The only trace left by Steven was the 200-yard trail of footprints in the snow investigators found, which stopped right at the edge of the lake, leading them to believe he’d gone into the lake and never returned.


Many attributed Steven’s disappearance to his presence in the ominous Michigan Triangle, an area home to many strange cases of boats and airplanes seemingly vanishing into thin air.

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Shortly after reappearing, Steven told the press he intended on retracing his steps to piece together what happened to him. Strangely, though, Steven has refused to speak about his findings regarding his disappearance to anyone, to this day.

Sweeping Suspects

Keys have a tricky way of vanishing without explanation, but the next vanishing act also concerns the owner of a set of keys.

Firefighters in Tucson, Arizona, responded to quite the bizarre callout in October 2016 after reports of some mysterious wails coming from a home in a suburban neighborhood. After investigating, members of the fire department were stunned to find the cries were coming from inside the home’s chimney.


It took three firefighters to pull out the source of the wails; the homeowner himself, covered head to toe in a thick layer of soot that completely obscured his hair, face, and clothes.

Turns out this skinny Santa figured he could shimmy down his home’s chimney to gain entry after realizing he’d forgotten his keys, to disastrous consequences.


But not all wall-crawlers have such good intentions. In the early hours of January 8th, 2022, one household in Silver Spring, Maryland, was woken by a mysterious loud rustling that seemed to be coming from inside the house! After calling the police, officers arrived at around 3:30am but found nothing suspicious and left the premises.

All was quiet for the next hour, but at 4:30am, loud moans began erupting from the walls of the home. Something was alive in there, and when police returned, the moans were pinpointed to the wall above the fireplace.


Peering into the chimney, investigators were shocked to discover that there was a person wedged inside.

The extraction process took 24 firefighters almost two hours to painstakingly remove bricks to reveal the hidden interloper, who turned out to have gotten stuck while trying to break into the property. With his plan utterly up in smoke, all that was left was for the police to chim-chim-cha-read him his rights!


Finding Fritz

On February 2nd, 1965, 21-year-old Suzanne Peika stood in front of an archery booth at a sports convention in utter disbelief at the sight before her. In front of her, taking aim at a target, was a man that looked exactly like her Uncle Larry Bader. But this was impossible. Her uncle had been dead for seven years.


This bizarre saga began on May 15th, 1957, when 30-year-old Larry Bader rented a 14-foot motorboat and set out on Lake Erie, around 70 miles from where he lived in Akron, Ohio.

The next morning, the boat washed up on the shore of Perkin’s Beach in Lakewood. There was no sign that the boat had suffered any major damage. The life jackets were still on board, the gas can was empty, but Larry was nowhere to be found.


Larry had reportedly ignored warnings of a storm, and the coast guard claimed it would have been impossible for someone to survive the violent currents without the aid of a life jacket, so things weren’t looking good. After two months of searching, investigators gave up hope, and in 1960, Larry Bader was declared legally deceased.

Fast-forward to the sports convention in 1965. Suzanne confronted the man she believed was her uncle. Like Larry, he was also a keen archer, but he vehemently denied any connection, claiming he had never heard of any Larry Bader.

He said his name was John Fritz Johnson, a television broadcaster for the KETV network in Omaha, Nebraska, which was more than 800 miles from cookware salesman Larry’s home in Akron.


Still, Suzanne wouldn’t let it go and demanded a fingerprint analysis. Bewildered by the request, ‘John’ figured he had nothing to hide, so went along to prove that this supposed niece of his was just crazy.

But, in a plot twist even stranger than fiction, Fritz’s fingerprints were an exact match to that of those found in Larry Bader’s military records. By all measures, it seemed it really was Suzanne’s long-lost uncle, back from the dead!


When he was found, bearing his apparent new identity, Larry was 37 years old and had been gone for seven years, but claimed to have absolutely no memory of his former life.

In fact, Larry seemed to have somehow acquired fabricated memories of growing up as Fritz Johnson that spanned back more than 30 years, including details about being brought up in an orphanage. He did not recognize his wife Mary Lou, nor his children.


He’d actually gotten married to another woman during his new life as Fritz. What’s more, Larry had unknowingly landed himself in a web of legal problems, including his doubly-married status, and the life insurance money that had been paid to his quote-unquote ‘widow’. Larry was faced with a lot of questions. Questions he was never able to answer, as another shocking twist was just around the corner.

Just a year after his true identity had been revealed, Larry suddenly died on September 16th, 1966. The leading theory is that Larry’s memory loss was brought on by a tumor he’d had removed from behind his eye in 1961, which ultimately resurfaced, killing him.


However, some theorize he may have faked the memory loss in a bid to run away and start a new life. Ultimately, though, Larry’s untimely death meant the question of whether or not he was an amnesiac, or a hoaxer, was never truly answered.

Drain Discoveries

When Christine Nieves was suddenly awoken by screams in the early hours of July 21st, 2011, she could never have guessed their origin. Looking out of her window, Christine beheld two seemingly disembodied legs thrashing around wildly in the spotlight of the streetlamps lining Hale Aloha Way in Ceres, California.


When police officers arrived on the scene, they found that the wiggling legs were attached to a very drunk individual who was lodged headfirst into a storm drain! The man was 21-year-old Jared Medeiros, who’d been lodged there for 40 minutes before Christine heard his cries for help.

Jared had been trying to reach his phone after accidentally dropping it, and became stuck in his drunken stupor.


But he’s not the only one who’s found themselves stuck in an unlikely scenario of drainage and filth. A Norwegian Fire Department received a callout to rescue someone stuck in a public bathroom in August 2016.

However, upon entry, it looked as though there was no one there, until firefighters noticed a pair of hands gripping the toilet bowl and the cries of someone stuck inside the toilet itself!

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This bathroom accident came about when the trapped man was fishing around in the toilet in an attempt to retrieve another dropped phone! Fortunately, or unfortunately, for him, that particular toilet wasn’t connected to a sewer and was little more than an open hole on top of a tank that’s cleared out only once a year.

Needless to say, it was pretty unpleasant down there. The man was rescued after spending an hour waiting knee-deep in poop, the smell of which also left him covered in his own vomit. How he managed to fit into the toilet is a question we’ll never know the answer to, but squeezing out of this one without the help of emergency services was clearly impoo-ssible!


Taking the Bates

Dr Bates wasn’t someone you’d expect to just up and leave his life behind. When he disappeared in 1902, William Horatio Bates was at the height of his career; a rich man living in New York City, and a highly regarded physician.

Yet, one day, he up and vanished. All he left behind was a cryptic note for his wife, claiming he’d been called out of town on business. With no word, Dr Bates’ associates and his wife began to lose hope. Until, six weeks later, a mysterious letter arrived claiming that a man who fit Dr Bates’ description was living in London.


It seemed impossible, but it turned out Dr Bates was alive and was working as a medical assistant at Charing Cross Hospital, almost 3,500 miles away from where he disappeared. The hospital claimed Bates had arrived to them as a patient and got the job after recovering from an unknown illness.

Dr Bates was described as looking thin with sunken eyes and told doctors that he’d been starving for weeks prior to his arrival at the hospital. This, of course, seemed odd, considering Dr Bates had a hefty bank account in the US that could’ve afforded him quite the life of luxury in London, rather than living in a state of destitute starvation.

As soon as she heard the news, Dr Bates’ wife made the long journey across the pond to England. Though Mrs Bates was ecstatic that her husband had been located, sadly, it was hardly the joyous reunion she’d envisioned. In fact, when she finally did see her husband again, he showed absolutely no signs of recognizing her, claiming that she was a stranger to him.


When Dr Bates had physically reappeared, all memory of his previous life had seemingly vanished without a trace. Many claim that Bates suffered a severe bout of dissociative fugue, a type of amnesia in which a person loses important personal memories and attempts to rebuild their life under a newly adopted identity, filling in the blanks as they go.

However, considering how determined the new Dr Bates reportedly seemed to be to get away from his ‘stranger’ of a wife, it’s also possible that this disappearing act was just that, an act.

In 1993, Richard Hoagland vanished inexplicably leaving behind his second wife and two sons. 2 decades later, it was discovered that Richard had run away to start a new life under an alias, rather than go through another round of divorce proceedings.

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Could it be that Dr Bates made a similar selfish judgment call? Dr Bates never returned to his wife and continued his career as a celebrated eye doctor alone, the skills of which he had conveniently retained in his memory.


In August 2016, YouTuber “Exploring with Josh” and his friends were exploring the Ape Caves of Mount St Helen in Washington. They’d been trekking through endless narrow caverns to see just how far they could go, but little did they realize what they’d be climbing into.

While clambering through a narrow passage, the explorers’ flashlights suddenly picked up a sight that seemed truly impossible. Concealed within one of the cave’s dark tunnels was a little girl.

She had no torch and looked terrified in the darkness of the cave tunnels. The girl didn’t speak English, but after locating her parents elsewhere in the cave Josh and company thankfully reunited the family.

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While the question of why the girl had wandered off in the pitch-darkness remained unanswered, all Josh could do was be grateful he’d managed to stumble across her in one of hundreds of caverns dotted around the 2.4-mile expanse of the Ape Caves.

Had he and his team not found her, she may well have joined the ranks of the world’s many lost souls who are never found.

Toddler Teleportation

The mystery of Anna Thorpe, A.K.A. the teleporting toddler, began on May 4th, 1950. Anna had been playing in her home’s yard in Dunbar, Pennsylvania at around 11:30am, but when her mother heard the little girl let out a piercing scream, she ran outside only to discover that her two-year old had disappeared.


By day two of her disappearance, there were 400 people out searching and when news of her discovery was announced, the reaction was a mix of relief and confusion. Anna was found sitting in a field, which in itself doesn’t seem all that strange, but it was the route to her location that was the real mystery.

The only way that little Anna could have possibly got herself to the spot she was found would have involved the two-year-old traversing two whole miles, and through several barbed wire fences!


Police were baffled by this multiple fence dilemma, and it seemed that the only logical explanation was that she had been deliberately placed there. Despite police stating they had no reason to believe that there was anything suspicious about Anna’s reappearance, it’s very possible that she was kidnapped and abandoned later.

This would explain the scream her mother heard, and considering Anna appeared frightened by her approaching rescuers, it's sadly possible she may have been mistreated by the strangers who theoretically took her. However, considering she was found safe and sound, without injury, questions about how she ended up in such an impossible location were never investigated further.

Anna isn’t the only tot to turn up in a wholly impossible place. At just two years old, Rowan Griffin inexplicably disappeared in Richmond, New Hampshire at a family party at his grandmother’s house. At around 3pm on October 9th, 2010, Rowan was seen chasing a cat outside, but after that, he simply vanished.


When the toddler’s shoes were found abandoned nearby the location of the party at 2am, things weren’t looking good. However, searchers eventually heard distant cries coming from a nearby swamp, which led them to a truly baffling scene.

There, in the middle of the swamp, three miles from the party he’d disappeared from, searchers spotted Rowan, scared and blue-lipped with his shaking limbs wrapped around a tree arching over the water. The only way rescuers could reach the kid was by wading through the boggy waters.


No one could fathom how the tiny two-year-old had ended up so far from shore with no swimming abilities. The boy was unharmed, so authorities didn’t investigate the incident further, leaving the question of how he got there unanswered.

Could he have wandered there, somehow avoiding drowning, or was he taken there, by some ill-intentioned person or some entity altogether more sinister from the depths of the bog?


Gabriel Nagy

As with the cases of little Rowan and Anna, around 75% of missing people are found within the first 24 hours of their disappearance. But in the case of our next missing person, I’m not sure what’s more improbable: where they were found or how long they were gone.

On January 22nd, 1987, an abandoned burnt car appeared alongside a road not too far from Sydney, Australia. The car belonged to Gabriel Nagy, a man who’d gone missing the previous day while on his way home for lunch.


More than 20 years after Gabriel’s disappearance, a final inquest was launched that would declare the father of two legally dead. However, two weeks before the scheduled inquest, Senior Constable Georgia Robinson made a last-ditch effort to find something.

Studying medical records, Georgia uncovered Medicare data belonging to a man living in Mackay, Queensland called Ron Saunders. Scanning the documents, Georgia was shocked to discover that Ron also went by another name: Gabriel Nagy. More than 1,000 miles from where he’d disappeared, Gabriel Nagy was found after 23 years, and in that time, he’d become a completely different man.

Gabriel claimed to have no memory of the life with his family in Sydney and had spent the last two decades in a state of dazed confusion, hazily recalling intermittent visions of sleeping rough and camping on beaches. Eventually, Gabriel, who’d adopted the street name Ron, had been found by Pastor Barry Hayhoe, who gave him a job as his church’s caretaker.


When Gabriel was re-discovered after Constable Robinson’s investigation, a deep scar on the back of his head had police theorizing that the injury was responsible for Gabriel’s apparent amnesia. Could a vehicular hit-and-run be responsible for Gabriel’s memory loss, hinted at by his burnt-out car? Or something else? For now, the question remains unanswered.

Cliffside Calamity

You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “between a rock and a hard place”, but for our next impossible appearance, that phrase took on a very literal meaning.

In February 2022, a man identified as R. Babu was found wedged in a tiny crevice in the middle of a steep cliff face, but the question was: how did he get there?

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Babu had been climbing Cherad Hill in Malampuzha, southern India, but even when his friends abandoned efforts to reach the difficult summit, daredevil Babu soldiered on.

Nearing the top, Babu suddenly lost his grip and began slipping down the rocky cliffside. But, miraculously, the 23-year-old’s fall was broken by a dip in the steep rockface. His life was saved, but he had no way of climbing down.

After numerous failed attempts to reach him, Babu was eventually rescued 48 hours into his stay on the rock. Happy to have his feet back on solid ground, I’d imagine Babu may think twice before showing off to his buddies again.


Without A Paddle

On June 10th, 2021, in the city of Austin, Texas, city sightseers were stunned when looking out onto Lady Bird Lake. Teetering over the edge of the reservoir spillway was a small boat containing a quartet of terrified tourists.

With its sailors having absent-mindedly floated past numerous safety buoys warning of the steep drop ahead, the boat looked set to plummet off the edge at any second. Emergency services had to act fast. The vessel was soon attached to a police boat, which pulled it back into the open water away from the edge.

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After that uncomfortable brush with danger, I hope these silly sailors bought themselves a lottery ticket because impossible luck seems to be their forte.

Wych Elm Bella

It was April 18th, 1943, in wartime Britain, when four teenagers made their way into the woodlands of Hagley Hall Estate in Worcestershire, about 12 miles from the city of Birmingham.

After traipsing through twigs for a while, one of the boys, Bob Farmer, noticed a great big wych elm tree further into the thicket. With hopes of finding free birds’ eggs, Bob set about scaling the sinister tree and quickly noticed something white and round peeking through the wych elm’s hollow trunk.

Thinking he’d hit the jackpot, Bob carefully reached in to retrieve his prize. But instead of the bird’s egg he’d been expecting, Bob pulled out a human skull!


After their unnerving find in Hagley Wood was later revealed to the group’s parents and the police, investigators searched the tree and made even more shocking discoveries.

Inside the tree was an almost-complete human skeleton, along with a shoe, gold wedding ring, and fragments of clothing.


Forensic tests revealed that the remains were that of a female aged around 35 who had been inside the tree since at least October 1941, but with no leads as to who she could be, the trail went cold.

Eight months later, in December, mysterious graffiti appeared on a wall in Upper Dean Street, Birmingham that read ‘who put Bella down the wych elm – Hagley Wood.’ Police quickly began looking into missing persons cases, scouring each one for any mention of a missing woman called Bella with little success.

Some today point to the bizarre location that Bella’s body was placed in as evidence of being connected to a witchcraft ritual of some kind, or some other twisted, occult motivation.


While modern DNA testing could in theory finally shed some light upon the slaying, Bella’s remains mysteriously disappeared soon after her autopsy. But, if they ever resurface, we may finally get an answer as to who Bella really was, and how exactly she ended up in the wych elm in Hagley Wood.

Stumped in the Trunk

The story of Bella in the wych elm is sure to set your imagination running wild the next time you see a particularly sinister looking tree. Thankfully, the picture below is not the gaunt face of the dead staring back at you through the bark, it’s just plain old rot.


And this image below is just an unusually human-like root network.


But have any other folks found themselves stumped in such a literal manner? Well, back in 2011, it seemed as though the wych elm history was almost set to repeat itself. A man had firefighters stumped when they found him lodged inside a tree trunk on the morning of October 25th, 2011, in Laguna Hills, California.


It took the firefighters 90 minutes to free the man, who’d wormed his way into the hollow tree trunk that descended almost five feet below the ground. How did he get there? Well, it's a prime example of dim-witted tomfoolery among friends: his buddy bet him $100 that he couldn’t fit in the tree.

Greased Frightenin’

It was just past 9:30am on the morning of December 13th, 2018, when eerie moans were heard coming from within a Chinese eatery in San Lorenzo, California. Investigators began following the echoing cries for help.

Tracing the voice to the restaurant’s roof, they found that the wails were getting louder as they approached a sheet metal grease duct. Opening the vent, all the rescuers could see were an outstretched pair of arms completely slathered in blackened oil.

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Grease ducts are used to filter out vapors that come from commercial cooking equipment, including woks and deep fryers. So, not only did the guy inside this one go through every claustrophobic’s worst nightmare, but he also spent the entire time ladened with old, disgusting, stinking cooking grease!

Turns out that aside from the grease, this guy was quite the slimeball himself, and was actually trying to break into the restaurant when he got stuck in the duct.


The would-be-burglar spent two whole days submerged in oil-slicked darkness before being rescued from the recently closed for business restaurant. I don’t know what’s worse, spending two days in oil, or being rescued and cuffed just minutes later!

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