People Vanishing in Our National Parks

TheLostI recently read an article that said people were mysteriously disappearing in America’s National Park system. Some blamed aliens and UFOs, others blamed Bigfoot, while others said it was due to paranormal activity and things like time traveling  vortices. The experts are puzzled and no one has an answer. Hmm. I want to know more, don’t you?

Former San Jose Police Detective David Paulides seems to have raised the alarm about this previously unheard of phenomenon in his series of books, Missing 411. I haven’t read them yet, but it is definitely on my Must Read list of books.

If you try to buy the books on Amazon, let me warn you, they’re going for $60 to over a $100 each. But you can get them for about $25 a piece on the North American Bigfoot Search website – see the link in the reference section below.

PaulidesBooksIn the series, Paulides (photo left) reveals that people have been going missing in our National Parks for at least decades. Some want to go missing and disappear, such as criminals, but other innocent visitors to the parks also seem to vanish, even under the noses of their families and friends.


Analyzing the Clues

Paulides looked at the problem analytically. He looked for similar traits among the missing people and he analyzed the areas in which they got lost. He noted other mitigating factors that may have played a role in their disappearances. In the end he came to some conclusions, although nothing is definitive. For instance, one clue is that they all seem to go missing right before a terrible weather event.

YosemiteNationalParkOther weird things that occur include children getting lost in the woods only to be found days later, completely unscathed. They seem calm, unhurt, yet have no memory of where they’ve been. (Yosemite National Park, right.)

Impossible-to-Reach Areas

Some reports describe how a child was found in a very secluded area that even a fit adult would not be able to traverse easily. Then it begs the question, if the child got there on their own, why did they go there?

Adults have been found in remote places that authorities believe they weren’t fit enough to reach, and all of them seem to be missing their shoes – no matter what the weather!

In the book descriptions on the North American Bigfoot Search page, they list some of the issues that Paulides discusses in the books. I’ll share them here:

  • The National Park Service attitude toward missing people
  • How specific factors in certain cases replicate themselves in different clusters
  • Exposing cases involving missing children that aren’t on any national database
  • Unusual behavior by bloodhounds/canines involved in the search process
  • How storms, berries, swamps, briar patches, boulder fields, and victim disabilities play a role in the disappearance[s]
  • [How] the strategies of the Search and Rescue personnel need to change under specific circumstances.

NewsClipsJoshua Krause’s article on the Ready Nutrition website highlights some other tantalizing points he learned while reading Paulides’ books:


  • People tend to go missing around berry bushes and granite rocks.
  • Their bodies are usually found in dry creek beds.
  • Yosemite National Park is a hotspot for disappearances.
  • No one in the National Park Service keeps any records of those who have gone missing.
  • Families of the missing have later discovered they’ve been lied to or information was withheld from them by law enforcement and the media.

In another article on, their unnamed author shared these other points from Paulides’ research:

  • Paulides meticulously documents the cases which happened in 52 distinct geographic areas including the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Pacific mountain range, Colorado, Michigan, Georgia, and Arkansas. Canada and Europe also have cases like these.
  • The majority of the victims are male and they have some kind of mental handicap or are intellectual geniuses.
  • Many victims are physically fit, familiar with the area where they went missing, were equipped with outdoor gear and in some cases, weapons.

It’s a conundrum wrapped up in a mystery. I’m sure many of us are thinking about the possibilities. Bears love berry bushes so could they have nabbed someone while munching on their favorite fruit? What about mountain lions and their ability to carry their prey for quite a distance? But could they do that without any noise or commotion?

NativeAmericansOther Opinions

Some North American native tribes have legends of Bigfoots capturing their young and eating them.  At least one tribe takes great care to keep women safe when they know a Bigfoot is in the area because in their historical record, Bigfoots have kidnapped some of their women. Yet I know most people in the Bigfoot community believe Bigfoots would never harm us like that.  Who knows?

Then we have the specter of the criminals who have gone to seek refuge in the wilderness.  I’ve only ever watched one bounty-hunter’s show and it was the one where two guys sought criminals in the Rocky Mountains.

During that show, they gave a long description of the types of people who “escape” into the wilderness and they said if you go into the wilderness on your own, especially in unmarked areas (i.e., not National Parks or well-used trails and such), you were taking your life in your hands.

DisapperanceDennisLloydMartinbyMicahHanksI have to wonder, how many unsavory people are we talking about in the wilderness?  Yet, would one of these guys drag a body up to a very hard-to-reach ledge and leave it there? Just for their shoes? (Artwork left Disappearance of Dennis Lloyd Martin by Micah Hanks.)

Paulides has noted that he doesn’t think serial killers are involved in the disappearances he’s researched.

So none of it makes sense. The link to Paulides’ website (CanAmMissing) is listed in the References section below. I’ve read that there are YouTube interviews with Paulides that are very interesting too.

Nicole-MittendorffCurrently Missing

Believe it or not, as I was compiling data for this article, I found a news story online about a missing 31 year old woman originally from Woodbridge, Virginia. Authorities found her car in Shenandoah National Park on Saturday April 16, 2016. The woman, identified as Nicole K. Mittendorff (photo right) was reported missing Friday April 15, 2016 after she failed to show up for work.

Her family reported they hadn’t heard from her since Wednesday morning April 13, 2016.

Her family said she is a career firefighter and paramedic with the Fairfax County Fire Department and that she is devoted to her work. When she failed to show up for her shift on Friday morning, everyone became alarmed.

Nicole is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. She has blond hair and green eyes. She drove a 2009 Mini Cooper.

The state police and U.S. Park Police looked over the weekend, searching the area on foot and by air.

The police ask anyone with information to call the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or #77 on a cell phone. You can also call 911 or send email to

FamilyHikeShould You Avoid the Parks

Definitely not. When you look at the number of people who visit the parks every year, the number that go missing is very small by comparison. Still it pays to be wary, be careful, don’t ever go anywhere alone, even behind a tree to relieve yourself. Keep your children close around you, and your elders. It’s just common sense.

The National Park Service has so much to teach us, no matter how young or how old. My parents dragged me cross country camping as a teenager and we visited all the parks. Of course I was in Drama Queen mode because they were taking me away from my friends all summer – but I can tell you 100%, inside I was excited and enthralled to be seeing all the wonderful sights that we did.

MtRanierSo take your families and enjoy the beauty our country has to offer. But be prudent and careful, as I said, that’s just common sense.



NationalParkServiceCentennialNational Park Service’s 100th Anniversary This Week

If you can believe the coincidence, as I’m putting this article together I see yet another news story describing the 100th Anniversary of our National Park Service!

In celebration of the event, the Park Service is waiving admission fees to all national parks and monuments from April 16 through April 24, 2016.

Camping fees will still be charged.

In the article by McKinley Corbley for, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial. Some commemorate our first hundred years, but many others look to the future, to the next 100 years, and will help connect with and create the next generation of park visitors and supporters. It is through them that America’s lands and stories will be preserved and passed on to future generations.”

Denali National Park, Alaska below left and Baxter Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, below right.







So what do you think about all this?




  1. Interesting. Especially since my brother and sister in law are about to go cross country National Park hopping. I find it disturbing that these parks don’t keep a list of missing people and lie to the families of missing people. Why?

    • Lisa, one theory why the authorities don’t comment on it or keep a list is that they simply cannot figure it out either, so it gets pushed to the side. I’m also reminded of how authorities blow-off UFO reports and abductions. They seem to not want to know about it, or they do but they’re not telling us what they know or suspect. Strange.

      Remember the percentage of people who go missing versus the millions who visit these parks and monuments each year is miniscule. If they use their common sense, they’ll be fine.

      Thanks for visiting CryptoVille! … Susan (CryptoVille)

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