Mysterious vanishings have happened throughout history, and they are always very enigmatic indeed, yet there seem to be those that are quite a bit stranger than most. One area of the potentially paranormal that seems to get very little coverage is the truly outlandish accounts of people just seeming to spontaneously cease to exist right in full view of startled witnesses. One second they are there, the next they are not, just for all appearances being totally erased right before their eyes. I have covered such phenomena here before, but there is a large amount of such cases floating around out there, and it is time to take another look into this weird realm. Here we will look at myriad reports of people who were just going about their business in public places, only to see one of the people in the background of their everyday life simple evaporate into nothingness.

Some of the creepier of such reports of people seeming to just evaporate before their eyes have come from people who seemed to be just walking or even driving down the street like it was just any ordinary day, before simply blinking out of existence. One such odd account comes from an unexplained-mysteries forum by a witness calling herself “Ravenesse.” She claims that her and her husband were driving home through a thinly forested area on a well-maintained 2-lane road in a semi-suburban area with numerous houses about, and were on the lookout for the deer that occasionally would leap out in front of cars, when they had a very strange experience they would never forget. The witness says:

It was about 6pm. Still daylight, but we were on the lookout for deer. They bolt out of nowhere, and can do a lot of damage. I saw a figure crossing the road about 100 yards ahead, and pointed it out to my husband so he would be aware. (I'm the worst passenger seat driver!) There was a white car headed towards us, and the man walked behind the car as he was crossing the road right to left. It had to have just missed him, but it didn't slow down. It was definitely an older man. Thin, hunched over a bit in the shoulders, and slow. I could see the light between his legs as he walked. The man had no color, he was black/grey with no definitive outline. At that distance, I should've been able to determine the color of his clothing - jeans? Plaid shirt? White T-shirt? No, the entire figure was black/gray.


I assumed he was returning across the road from getting his mail. Rural routes all have the mailboxes on one side of the road. Once he crossed the road, I lost sight of him when passed behind the group of tall bushes. I expected to see a home on the left, where he would be headed, and a mailbox on the right. Nope. The bushes on the left were in a group all alone by the side of the road, surrounded by probably 100 acres of vacant farmland. There was no house on the left. Nor was there a mailbox or home on the right. The closest home was 300 yards away up on a rise in the road. He just disappeared behind the group of bushes and was gone.

It is hard to say if this was a ghost sighting or someone who vanished, but the witness seems for the most part convinced it was a real, physical person. Next we have an account given by Reddit user “Campbell soup 22,” who says this happened as he was driving to work and running a bit late when he stopped at a 4-way intersection for a red light. He explains that there was one car in front of him, a high school to his right, and on the corner a kid waiting to cross the street. It would have been rather mundane and just a normal traffic light stop, until the kid would apparently cross that street and step off the face of the earth. The witness says of the strange sight:

I was very focused on the kid as he crossed. He made it to the other side, before turning around and walking back onto the road. I had assumed he dropped something and hadn't noticed until he got to the other side, but I could only assume due to the car in front of me blocking my vision of the middle section of the crosswalk. I was now more focused on the kid because I was wondering what he had dropped, if anything, and I watched him as he walked back north the way he came until he left my vision behind the car in front of me.


Then he was gone. I didn't see him through the windows of the car in front of me, I didn't see him walk out from the other side of the car, I didn't see him walk back east the way he was originally walking, he was nowhere to be seen. I looked around to my left and to my right, and he was gone. He was also the only person walking so it's not like he disappeared amongst other people. He wouldn't have walked north or south, as he had just walked to the middle of the road and the road didn't have medians to walk on. As our light turned green, I drove away, looking in my mirrors to try and see this kid somewhere. At that point I knew he hadn't fallen on the road where I couldn't see him because the car in front of me would have run him over if he had. If I hadn't been driving to work, I would have stayed to try and figure out where the kid ended up. I wish I could know what the person in the car in front of me saw. To this day I can't explain where he went.”

What was going on here? Reddit user “Andrixot,” who says he is from Canada but lives in Serbia, and also has a very odd story to tell along these lines. He says that he was out walking his dog in broad daylight when he saw about 8 meters in front of him an elderly lady walking down the street towards him, wearing an old brown dress with black hair and a stick to help her walk. The witness explains that she was making her way along very slowly and carefully, obviously having a tough time walking, but in the blink of an eye the lady just wasn’t there anymore. He says:

One second I am looking at her, I look the other way for two seconds look back and she completely vanished. I quickly ran to the spot where I last saw her and there was nothing and no one around. I could not believe what I just saw. Honestly it is the creepiest thing that had ever happened. SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. How did this lady that could barely walk disappear so quickly? there is no possible way she could have walked that fast because I would have seen her.. omg im so freaked out. What world do we live in? Almost three years later and I still don't have an answer/explanation for what occurred. It is something I always think about often since I have never had such an experience before.

Who was this lady and where did she go in the blink of an eye? It seems unlikely that she could have gotten very far considering her condition, so what is going on here? Just about as bizarre is a report from Reddit user “matheus886,” who says he saw both a man and the bicycle he was riding just blink out of existence, as if entering some sort of portal. The witness explains:

Last night I thought I'd check the window for no particular reason and I saw this man with a white cap riding a bike with some blue lights tied to it (I think they were on one of the wheels of the bike) so it's a pretty normal sight. However, five secs later and the man (alongside his bike) was completely gone! I saw it clearly and it was like he was riding it into a fucking invisible portal spawned in the middle of the asphalt road. He just vanished, simple as that. Still trying to wrap my head around what I saw.

Continuing with people just vanishing right in the middle of the street, there is an account from Redditor “Laur-Ent,” who claims that she has had two experiences like this, the first one when she was a young girl, and the memory of which would be dredged up by a surreal experience she had while out having lunch at a little restaurant on the main street of their town. She says that the street was not busy that day, and she was just sort of lost to her thoughts people watching when something very weird transpired. She says of her outlandish experience and the memories it brought up of her earlier incident thusly:

I was just absent-mindedly watching the world walk past the large open doors and windows of the restaurant, when I noticed a girl about my age across the street. She was wearing a nice knitted beige jumper and had blonde hair. I was admiring her look as she walked past behind a pole. Not a thick pole, just a street sign. The thing is, she didn't come out the other side of the pole. I mean, she just vanished. I looked all around for her but there was no sign of her anywhere. There was nowhere she could've gone. One minute she was walking down the side walk, then she just ceased to exist. My boyfriend asked "What's up?" When he noticed me looking around, confused. "I just saw a girl disappear." I explained what I had seen and he looked around for the girl too. But she was gone.


It immediately reminded me of something similar happening when I was a kid. I was about 8 or so when my family and I were driving home from town one night. There was no one around except for this man who was walking right out onto the road in front of our car. I panicked because we were about to hit him, but just as he walked behind/past a street lamp, he disappeared. It was so bizarre. The street lamp was just near the edge of the road, and if he had walked out the other side we would definitely have known. He was walking at such a pace that he couldn't have changed direction in the time it took for us to pass the street light, so there was no where he could have gone.

The detail of the person just sort of walking behind a light pole and simply failing to emerge from the other side is somewhat unsettling, and it is similar to yet another account from Reddit user “SweatyCloud,” who says he always walked home from work along the same route, which was a path that had trees to one side and apartment buildings, parking spots, and a wider sidewalk on the other side across the street. He says that it was winter and the trees, which were widely spaced, were just skeletal forms without leaves, a fact which he insists made it impossible for someone to have been able to hide amongst them. As he walked, the witness noticed a rather big guy carrying a plastic bag coming towards him, only to suddenly step behind one of the trees, and this is where things take a turn for the weird. The witness says:

So I keep walking towards that tree, keeping an eye, because I'm expecting to see him doing god knows what, and making myself ready to react if needed. So I come up to that tree, and no one is there. He's gone. He couldn't have jumped or fallen in the river, because I would have heard his plastic bag rustling on the bushes (remember, there's hardly any traffic on this road, so there's not a lot of sound of the environment), or I would have heard a splash of him falling into the river - the fall is too deep to not make a splash. I looked into the river (very slow current) if there's anyone in it just in case, but no one was there. He didn't cross the road as I would have seen him. He just vanished.


So I went home and kept track of the news for a few weeks, expecting to see if someone drowned/was rescued from the river or some body washed up somewhere, but nothing. I have no idea where he went. I still walk down that sidewalk frequently and I always wonder what happened. One thing I noticed that might not have been there, or I just didn't notice before, all of these metal pillars are painted black, except for the one besides this tree that he vanished behind, which is painted red.


Crazy theory time: If there's a hidden portal to wherever behind that tree, that guy looked so ordinary that it would make a perfect disguise. Who would suspect a homeless looking guy with a plastic bag being a time traveler or the like haha? Maybe he switched realities or maybe I did, or maybe the red pillar is the sign for a passage to somewhere. I don't know.

Odd, indeed. Another fairly casual and everyday public situation wherein people have allegedly witnessed people just sort of get erased from reality are a few reports of individuals seen stepping into elevators, only to never come out. This very odd situation was apparently witnessed by a Reddit user who says that he was with his mother at the public library when they went to use the elevator to go from the 4th back down to the 1st floor and both saw something they cannot explain. The witness says of the truly odd incident:

What happened was my mother and I were walking towards the elevator to go back downstairs (we were on the 4th floor, there are 5), and there was a man a little ways in front of us who was also walking towards the elevators. There are three elevators in a row, and the one on the farthest left opened and someone came out. The man in front of us was walking quickly towards it, and he went in. The door was closing, so I walked a little more quickly in order to catch the elevator by pressing the down button, and just as I got there, the door had just closed completely, but I pressed the button and it reopened right away. I am used to these elevators and the elevator sign (a down arrow) flashed twice, meaning that it was reopening.


I went in the elevator, expecting to find the man there (I was going to apologize to him for reopening the door), as I'd just seen him go in, but to my complete shock the elevator was EMPTY! At first, I played it off and thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but my mother was acting strange. More people got in the elevator, and when we got back downstairs my mother said in a shaken voice "did you see that?" and we realized that we had both experienced and seen the exact same thing. Can anyone explain this phenomenon? I've been thinking about it constantly and wondering what exactly happened. There was no way that the elevator would have had time to move somewhere and then come back before I pressed the button for it to reopen. I've used these elevators enough times to know.

It is interesting to note that this phenomenon was witnessed by more than one person, ruling out a simply trick of the eyes. The same basic thing happened to Reddit user “RJ McR,” who was a construction worker at the time doing renovations at a hospital. He says of his own bizarre brush with the weird:

All of us construction workers have to use the staff elevators. There are two, side by side. I had hit the Down button and was waiting for the elevator car to arrive. The light on the left one came on with the usual soft ding and I looked inside: Two electricians and a carpenter. The electricians got off on that floor, the carpenter remained in the car. It was then that I saw this car was going Up, so I continued to wait. The doors closed. Seconds later the same elevator dinged again, this time going down. The doors opened and nobody was inside. Now when I say seconds, I mean literally just seconds. The car wasn't gone long enough for the guy to have even gone one floor. The doors closed, two or three seconds went by, then they opened and he was gone. Both elevators only have one set of doors.

It is hard to really grasp what lies at the root of such reports. Are we dealing with in these cases some sort of portal or rift opening to whisk these people away, or is there some other explanation? One could be that these were not even people at all, but rather particularly realistic looking ghosts, or even just illusions and the imagination and mind playing tricks. Yet another possibility is that these people are witnessing a sort of “place memory” or "residual image," in which images from the past are somehow imprinted onto a particular place like images on film, and on occasion can sort of play back like a video recording. These are not really ghosts, and the spectral person seen might not even be dead, but rather this is just a sort of image from the past etched into the landscape for reasons we may never fathom. There is also the idea that these sorts of instances could be momentary glimpses into another dimension, wherein we are peaking into some parallel universe that has momentarily bled into ours, only to fade out again. In this case the person has not really vanished, they continue to go about their business, possibly not even aware that anything is amiss, but we are merely unable to see their dimension any more, which may give the impression that they have just blinked away. These cases could even be, as some have suggested, that these are “glitches in the Matrix,” so to speak, examples of mistakes or bugs in some virtual reality simulation we are living in, which is rather spectacular and unsettling to ponder but which is also a very real theory that a lot of important scientists take quite seriously.

Whatever the causes might be, we are left with numerous cases of people who seem to have been just walking along minding their business and then suddenly and inexplicably vanished into thin air in plain sight, which would be a truly jolting experience for someone who was just going about their daily business to witness this. Were these ghostly residual images of another time, ghosts, peeks into another dimension, glitches in a simulated reality, examples of people stepping through some sort of portal, or merely hallucinations or even tall tales? Or is it maybe even something else altogether? It is impossible to really know the answer to this, and such reports remain baffling glimpses into what truly must be one of the strangest and least understood corners of the paranormal.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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