Some mysterious disappearances are stranger than others, and among the weirdest are those where the missing person shows up with mysterious clues and riddles that only serve to drive it all further into the odd. I have written of such cases before, and they never cease to amaze. Here is another very recent unsolved case of a vanished and returned person, which seems to suggest that there is something very unusual going on indeed. Teleportation, alien abduction, amnesia? You decide.
The whole very strange tale begins on February 7, 2018, when a 49-year-old firefighter from Toronto, Canada, by the name of Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis was on a skiing trip to Whiteface Mountain, at Lake Placid in New York state. Filippidis was an experienced and avid seasoned skier, and went on this trip every year with his co-workers. On this day most of his friends had stopped skiing at around 2:30PM, but Filippidis decided to stay out for a couple of more runs.
At some point it was noticed that the firefighter was nowhere to be seen, although his skis, boots, passport, identification, and car were left behind, seemingly abandoned without reason. A massive search was quickly put together, which found no sign of the missing man, and this search would quickly grow to hundreds of officials from several agencies, professional searchers, and volunteers, who scoured the area for 6 days using helicopters, drones, dogs, and any means at their disposal. At no point did the search party turn up any sign of Filippidis, despite the fact that with the heavy snow at the time it was deemed that he could not have possibly gotten far. In addition, the slopes were very crowded that day, yet no one seemed to have remembered seeing the missing man, or to have any idea where he could have gone, furthering the mystery.
Considering that there was no reason why the man should want to run off, authorities began to assume the worse, and it was whispered that he may have died out there in the wilderness, his body still waiting in the frigid cold to be found. The search was called off and Filippidis' family, friends, and two children were left to wonder what kind of horrible fate had befallen him. It was a tense time overshadowed by a sinister cloud of certainty that he was never coming back.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Filippidis’ wife got a call from a groggy and disoriented man who sounded remarkably like her husband, and when he used a nickname that only they knew she was convinced it was him. The strange part is that the call was coming from over 2,500 miles away, clear from the other side of the country at Sacramento, California. The call was traced to a rental-car area of the Sacramento International Airport, and it was deemed by authorities that he seemed to be in trouble, with Sergeant Scott Swisher of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department saying:
On our end as well it left a lot of unanswered questions. It was apparent there were a lot of issues going on with the gentleman—very disoriented, obviously needing some medical assistance.
It was thought that he may have been with a kidnapper, but police were able to locate the missing man and found him to be alone, still in his ski clothes, and cognizant, albeit in a state of dazed confusion. It was soon found that he had actually purchased an iphone for the purpose of calling his wife and that he had gotten a haircut. When he was initially questioned he claimed that the only memory he had was being “dropped off by a big rig truck” in Sacramento, after which he had felt compelled to get the haircut and then bought the phone to call his wife. As to how he had arrived in Sacramento a full country away from where he had begun his journey he had no memory, nor did he have the slightest idea of who had dropped him off. He was unable to describe the trucker, the truck, or even give an estimate as to when or where he had been picked up. Additionally, no one in the area of the ski resort remember seeing such a big rig truck at the time.
The missing man was very cooperative during questioning, and let authorities look at his bank and cell phone records, as well as his medical records, but none of these offered any clue at all as to what had happened to him, and offered up no suspicious activity. He was also found to have all of his cash and belongings, suggesting that he had not been robbed, and although he claimed to feel that he may have sustained a severe head injury there was no physical evidence that anything was wrong with him, certainly not an injury grievous enough to cause such intense memory loss. There was also found no history of mental disturbances or psychological problems, and he was by all accounts a loving family man who was dedicated to the fire department, where he had worked for decades. It was all a complete mystery as to how he had gone to New York to Sacramento, and New York State Police Major John H. Tibbitts Jr. called the whole thing “a head-scratcher.”
Filippidis has continued to maintain that he has no idea as to how he ended up in Sacramento, and insists he has no memory at all of the circumstances as to how he arrived there or of the journey itself, with the only clue being that he vaguely remembers being dropped off by a truck. That's it. Making things even more difficult is that all appeals to the public and widespread distribution of his photos looking for anyone who might have seen him along his route or even in Sacramento have turned up nothing. Maj. John H. Tibbitts Jr. has said of the case:
He ended up on the side of the road, the only one we’ve got there is [Route] 86. We don’t have a lot of interstate truck traffic coming up 86. Perhaps an independent trucker offered a ride. He can’t describe the trucker or the truck or anyone. It may be a mystery. I don’t want to say it was a cold case. It was a missing person’s case. We found him; technically, he found himself. He wants to find out where he was as badly as we want to find out where he was. If we could have somebody call that we can prove actually met Danny on his journey across the country that would be tremendous help to us.
So far such information has been elusive to say the least. It is still totally unclear what happened to him as he was skiing, why he disappeared, where he was during the 6 days that he was gone, how he ended up in Sacramento of all places, or why he doesn’t remember a single moment of those 6 days. What happened here? There have been accusations that it is all a hoax, but nothing at all points to that. Was he kidnapped? If so then why did they take him all the way across the country only to drop him off with all of his money and belongings, and again, why doesn’t he remember any of this? It remains unclear.
Some rather bizarre theories have sprung up in the wake of the case that suggest something very odd is going on indeed. One idea is that he was somehow teleported across the country, with the memory of the truck merely his brain’s efforts to try to fill in the blanks and make sense of what has happened. After all, other victims of alleged spontaneous teleportation have reported similar experiences of lost time, confusion, and distorted memories. There have been others who have suggested that he was actually abducted by aliens, and that the “truck” he thinks he remembers was actually a spacecraft. Whether there is some mundane explanation at work here or something more bizarre, it all remains unsolved, and has managed to baffle and intrigue.