Among the many mysterious vanishings out there, a few of them have left behind very chilling clues that only serve to make them even more ominous and frightening. On some occasions, these people who have stepped off the face of the earth have reached out one last time to make contact with those they knew and leave chilling messages that possibly hold clues buried within them, but which have never been figured out. Here we will look at some cases of the mysteriously vanished who made sinister mysterious calls and messages right before they stepped off into oblivion to never be seen again.
One fairly well-known case that I have covered before but seems worth mentioning here is a case covered by David Paulides in his Missing 411 series of books and revolves around the strange call made by a 19-year-old college student named Brandon Swanson. On the evening of 14 May 2008, Swanson had been out partying with friends in Minnesota, and on the way home he managed to crash his car into a ditch. Since he was unable to get the car out by himself and had no transportation, he called his parents at around midnight asking for them to come pick him up. The parents went out to go get him like he had requested, but soon found that his car was not where he had said it was, near a small town called Lynd.
They called Brandon and asked him to explain where he was, but even when they arrived at where he claimed to be they were unable to locate him, even after they both unsuccessfully tried flashing their headlights in order to try and hone in on each other’s locations. After driving around and talking on the phone for around 45 minutes without locating him, Brandon proclaimed that he was just going to head to Lynd and crash at a friend’s place for the night. They stayed on the phone a bit longer and Brandon said he could see the lights of the town in the distance and also that he could hear running water. Then he suddenly exclaimed “Oh shit!,” and the line went dead, with numerous attempts to call him back remaining unanswered. Brandon Swanson would never be seen again.
A search was launched involving hundreds of people and trained dogs, which would go on for around 4 months meticulously going through a 100 square mile area without finding the missing man or even any trace whatsoever of where he had gone. Police were able to find the young man’s car, but it was nowhere near where he had told his parents it had been. Authorities were also a bit perplexed, as the route Brandon had been traveling was very familiar to him and that he had always taken a very specific route to and from school each day, so it was a mystery as to how he could have gotten so hopelessly lost and how his car had ended up so far off of that path. It was determined that there was no evidence at all that he had met with foul play or that he had had any desire to want to suddenly run away.
A lot of theories have been proposed as to what became of Brandon, such as that he fell into a river and was washed away or that he met with some sort of foul play, but one interesting factor to consider is that in his last moments on that phone the call seems to have ended because the phone was deliberately hung up. There is “Oh shit”” and then the line is ended, with no sounds of a struggle, being dropped, or of a rushing river or some such incident. It simply ends. Efforts to call back also reached a seemingly operational phone that was simply not being answered. He may have dropped the phone and dislodged the battery, but it is weird nevertheless. Subsequent searches over the years have also failed to find any clue as to what happened to Brandon Swanson, with all tips that have come forward likewise leading nowhere, and he has seemingly vanished into thin air. We will perhaps always wonder what provoked the “Oh shit!” that were perhaps his last words ever.
More recently is the spooky case of 18-year-old Brookelyn Farthing, of Madison County, Kentucky, in the United States. On June 21, 2013, Brookelyn and her sister Paige went to their grandfather’s birthday party after having taken their driving tests, after which they headed to another party that was supposedly being held out in a field, along with their cousin and some friends. Brookelyn had made arrangements to stay at a friend’s house after the party, but the friend ended up going off to a boy’s house. She continued to party anyway, and was last seen leaving the party after midnight with two men, one of whom was dropped off and the other with who she went to his house in the nearby town of Berea, just off US Highway 421.
It is unclear whether she knew these men before the party, but her sister Paige would later state that she had known everyone there. What is known is that at around 4 AM, Brookelyn called her cousin to come pick her up from the house, but as the cousin had had too much to drink, she couldn’t. Brookelyn then texted her ex-boyfriend and asked him to come get her, which he said he would after he finished work. A little later he got another text message that was alarming in that it said, “Please hurry. I’m scared.” Not long after this there was another text message that reversed this alarm and said, “Never mind, I’m okay. I’m going to a party in Rockcastle County.” All texts made to her for more information went unanswered, and that is the last anyone has heard of Brookelyn Farthing.
When Brookelyn did not show up for an appointment the next day and did not answer any calls or texts they contacted authorities. Curiously, the house where she had been was found to be on fire not long after this, and some of Brookelyn’s belongings were recovered from the blaze, such as her cowboy boots, purse and some clothing, but there were no bodies or injuries. The man she had been with, whose identity has been withheld, was questioned and he told authorities that he had stepped out, leaving Brookelyn alone on the proch smoking a cigarette, and that when he had come home at 7AM the living room was on fire. He did mention that indeed Brookelyn had been saying she would go to a party in Rockcastle County, but this didn’t turn up any clues and that party could not even be located. There was no evidence found that the man had had anything to do with the disappearance and he was not held as a suspect, although the fire, which had started on the couch, was deemed “suspicious.” Police would launch a massive search for the missing woman, scouring 16,000 acres in three Kentucky counties with dogs, drones, and aircraft, but no sign of her was ever found. What happened to Brookelyn Farthing? What was the meaning of those cryptic last messages? Whatever the case may be, she has never been seen or heard from since.
An equally spooky case also comes from 2013, and concerns 26-year-old oil worker Brandon Lawson, of San Angelo, Texas. On August 8, 2013, Lawson got into an argument with his longtime girlfriend, Ladessa, after he had come home in the early morning hours and made her worry. Later that evening, at just around midnight, Lawson had had enough, and left the house in an angry state, tearing off in his pick-up truck. Not long after this, he called his father in Crowley and asked to stay at his house for the night because he was having girlfriend issues, but the father told him that he should go back and make up with her rather than drive the three hours it would take to get there.
He ended up instead heading over to stay with his brother Kyle after getting a call from Ladessa and arguing some more. At around 12:30 AM he called Kyle to tell him that he had run out of gas out on the highway and needed fuel. Kyle then called Ladessa to and asked her to leave out a can of gas for him to come and pick up, which he went to do at around 12:45 with his own girlfriend, Audrey. Then, at approximately 12:54 Brandon Lawson would make a very odd call to 911. In the call he tells the operator that he has run out of gas and is in a field. Most of what he was saying was hard to understand over the poor connection, but he explained that he had “accidentally run into someone,” and then there is a lot of indefinable background noise that is then punctuated by what sounds like it might be gunshots. The operator asks Brandon if he needs any medical assistance, to which he responds “No, I need the cops.” The unidentified background noise gets louder and the call cuts off as the operator’s further questions get no response.
During all of this, Kyle and Audrey had dutifully retrieved the gas canister and were going to deliver it when they found Brandon’s abandoned truck. There was no sign of Brandon Lawson, but the truck seemed to be in good condition, with no signs of having been in an accident. Out of curiosity, Kyle tried one more time to reach his brother, and amazingly got a response when Brandon picked up. He sounded out of breath and said he was out in a field bleeding, and as a police car pulled up he could be heard to say “One time, run! Where is your pride, mother fucker?” before hanging up. This is the last anyone has heard from him. Curiously, a complete search of the field showed no trace of Lawson, and indeed he has not been seen since. Where did he go and what were the meanings of those last calls? It was learned that Brandon might have been hiding from police since he had an outstanding warrant, but if that were the case then why did he call 911 and then specifically ask for the cops? Indeed, what happened to him in the first place? Brandon Lawson has not been seen since, and there have been no suspects, no clues, no activity on his bank account or further activity on his cell phone, nothing. He seems to have just vanished into thin air.
Even more recently still is the 2018 case of 21-year-old Matthew Weaver, who at the time had just moved to live on his own in the Granada Hills area of Los Angeles, California, where he worked as a linesman for his father’s telephone pole construction company. On August 9, Matthew stopped by his father’s home to pick up a paycheck, after which the two chatted and he mentioned that he was going to go out with a female acquaintance that evening, a young woman by the name of Melissa Sanchez. He then went off and met Melissa at approximately 12 AM, after which they were reported as having partied together and done a good amount of drugs. Matthew then left at around 4:30 AM, and this is where things get weird.
After parting ways with Melissa, he then apparently drove up to a rural, remote area in the Santa Monica Mountains, called the Malibu Canyons, near Rosas Overlook. It is known that he was here because he posted a picture of the scenic hiking trail and Canyons on a Snapchat post at 5:30 AM that morning, and it would later be found that his car had been captured on CCTV cameras going through an unlocked gate into the area at 7 AM. It is not known why he went there, and he had not mentioned it to Melissa or anyone else. At 11 AM things got even odder, when Melissa received a series of very strange text messages from Matthew. In the messages he says (grammar and typing mistakes and all) “Like Some crazy shit is going on. I just to talk while i have the chance.” After this there is no response to further panicked messages from Melissa asking if he is alright and where he is.
On August 11, at 12 AM, things got odder when two hikers in the area where Matthew had last been seen reported that they had heard screaming from the wilderness, and what sounded like a man and a woman calling out for help. When authorities arrived they found Matthews abandoned vehicle on the Topanga Tower Motorway right near Rosas Overlook, but there was no sign of the missing man or the woman who had been heard by the hikers. A massive search of the area would find his car keys in some brush around 25 feet away from the car, as well as a baseball cap and a torn, bloodstained t-shirt believed to have possibly belonged to Matthew, but that is it. It remains unknown what happened to Matthew Weaver, why he had gone to that area, or what his final messages mean, and he has never been found dead or alive.
Finally we have the mysterious case of 29-year-old Michael McClain, of Manchester, New Hampshire, in the United States, who on the evening of April 20, 2019, went out to one of his usual haunts, the Tropical Lounge nightclub in Nashua, along with a group of friends. At some point during the night there was a physical altercation between two young women at the club, which ended up spilling outside. Michael allegedly tried to break the fight up, as he knew one of the women involved. Police came to break up the fracas, but according to his friends Michael was nowhere to be seen, and at the end of the evening he was still missing.
No one had any idea of where he had gone off to, until at 2 AM Michael’s boss got a rather disturbing call from the missing man, in which he says, “They are following me. More than one.” Not long after this there was a series of cryptic messages, which read “HELP LOL OUR,” another saying “what stood aloof,” and the last reading, “Eldridge bro.” After that there were no further communications and all efforts to call or message Michael remained unanswered. Police were called and they quickly ascertained that he had left the club on foot and that his phone was last pinged at a MacDonald’s on East Hollis Street, just a few blocks away. One witness would claim to have seen him making a call from a convenience store near the MacDonald’s, but it is unknown who he was trying to contact. After that, there are no further leads, and Michael McClain remains missing, with no further clues as to why he left that club or what those mysterious last calls and messages mean.
In all of these cases we have been left with cryptic messages from people who have seemingly just evaporated into thin air. What do these messages mean and what has happened to them? Why would they just disappear like this and who is responsible? These are questions that taunt us, without any answers and their ultimate solutions just as murky as these last calls and messages.