Saturday, April 16, 2016

N Is for Natalie Wood

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

At one time, Natalie Wood was one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood. You may know her from Rebel Without a Cause:

Or Miracle on 34th Street:

At one time, she was one half of a Hollywood power couple. The other half was Robert Wagner...

...who was starring on this show in late November of 1981.

Natalie was finishing up a movie called Brainstorm with an up-and-coming actor named Christopher Walken. Yes, that Christopher Walken.

On Thanksgiving weekend, Natalie, Robert, and Christopher decided to take their boat to Catalina. Here's Natalie on one of their earlier trips:

The last time Natalie Wood was seen in public was November 28th, when the three of them had dinner at a Catalina restaurant. Natalie and Robert were reportedly extremely  intoxicated. At around 1:15 a.m., a neighboring boater heard a radio call from Robert Wagner, claiming they had someone missing in an 11-foot rubber dinghy.

The next morning, the news broke. Natalie Wood's body had been found one mile South of the yacht with the dinghy nearby.

Robert eventually acknowledged they'd had a fight just before her death. Some say it had to do with jealousy over Christopher, who apparently went to bed to escape the drama. Robert said Natalie went to bed, too. He said he'd been in another part of the ship and hadn't seen Natalie when she (supposedly) left bed to go outside the boat.

The dinghy was found with its oars tied down and the key in the off position, making it unlikely she'd been trying to drive or row it away. She was wearing a coat and nightgown when she was found. Oh...and she had a lifelong deathly fear of water due to her mother telling her as a child that she would die in dark water.

Natalie and her mother

The boat's captain and Natalie's sister, Lana, seem convinced Robert had something to do with her death. Robert maintains his innocence, but in 2012, the L.A.P.D. noted the severity and amount of bruises on Natalie's autopsy report and changed the cause of death to "undetermined."

Natalie's sister recently confronted Robert Wagner on camera. She asked why he won't talk to the police. He chose to turn it back around on her. "You’ve accused me of murdering her," he said. "It’s incredible. I just can’t believe it."

Did Robert Wagner deliberately murder Natalie Wood? Probably not. However, after reading a book by the boat's captain, who was there that night, it does sound possible that they were arguing, she fell in, and he left her out there. She was, after all, found only a mile from the boat hours after he discovered she was missing. I'd like to believe if I disappeared from a boat, my husband would, you know, look for me.

Likely the mystery will outlive Robert Wagner, going down in history as yet another unsolved Hollywood death.

⬅️ M Is for Mothman

Friday, April 15, 2016

M Is for Mothman

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

On November 12, 1966, five men in a West Virginia cemetery saw a man-like figure emerge from nearby trees and fly over their heads. This was the first known sighting of the figure that became known as "the Mothman."

Three days later, two married couples were out for a drive in Point Pleasant, West Virginia when they spotted a strange figure. They described it as "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back."

A series of sightings followed, all in the same area of West Virginia and all describing the same figure. More than 100 sightings occurred between November 1966 and December 1967, with the sightings gradually dwindling by mid-December, 1967. 

Then tragedy struck.

On December 15, 1967 in the middle of rush-hour traffic, commuters reported hearing a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot. In less than 20 seconds, the entire suspension part of the Silver Bridge folded "like a deck of cards."

The collapse dropped 32 vehicles into the water, killing 46 people. Two of the bodies were never found. Following the bridge collapse, there was not another sighting of the Mothman.

Well...unless you include the statue and museum Point Pleasant has to honor the creature.

Do you think the Mothman was real or imagined? Was his visit an attempt to warn the town about the bridge collapse somehow?

⬅️ L Is for Leah Roberts

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L Is for Leah Roberts

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

Like Maura Murray, Leah Roberts was a college student on a road trip when she disappeared. She told no one where she was going.

Leah left her home in Durham, North Carolina on March 9, 2000. Her sister found a note she'd left for her roommate, which included a doodle of a cheshire cat.

Inside the letter, there was a stack of cash, stating that the money was to cover bills while she was gone. There was enough money to last a month. The note had several strange, cryptic messages in it, including one referencing Jack Kerouac and his well-known book On the Road.

Friends took this as a sign she wanted to do like Jack Kerouac did--hit the open road in search of enlightenment. She stressed in the letter she was not suicidal.

Photo credit: Disappeared, Discovery ID

On March 10, Leah checked into a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. After that, she only used her card to buy gas. The last transaction was March 13 in Brooks, Oregon.

On March 18, Leah's Jeep Cherokee was discovered down an embankment in Bellingham, Washington. The blown-out windows were covered with sheets and blankets.

Photo credit: Disappeared, Discovery ID

Leah Roberts was never found.

In the car was a ticket stub for the March 13th showing of American Beauty at a nearby mall. Police traced her activities to a nearby restaurant, where two men said they'd sat at a counter with her, discussing her plans. 

One of the men said she left with a man named Barry. This was the police sketch of Barry.

Photo credit: Disappeared, Discovery ID

Perhaps spookiest of all was footage from the convenience store in Oregon where Leah had last used her card to buy gas. The footage showed Leah alone, waiting for the clerk to ring her up. She repeatedly walks to the door to look out. Could she have been nervously checking on someone waiting for her outside?

What do you think happened to Leah Roberts?

⬅️ K Is for Korrina Sagers Malinoski

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K Is for Korrina Sagers Malinoski

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

When Korrina Sagers Malinoski didn't show up for her job at a convenience store on November 21, 1987, her boss began looking for her. He found her car parked near the gated entrance to Mount Holly Plantation. Her husband was a maintenance worker there and they lived in one of the cabins. This is how Korrina looked in 1987:

According to Korrina's husband, she left the caretaker's cabin where they lived between 11 and 11:30 p.m. on the 20th, saying she was going for a drive. She was never seen again.

Almost one year later, Korrina's daughter was waiting outside the plantation at a bus stop, her dog at her side. Annette Sagers was only 12 years old at the time:

When the bus showed up at 7:20 a.m., Annette wasn't there. Her father found a note later that day, reading:

"Dad, momma came back. Give the boys a hug."

A handwriting analyst confirmed the handwriting was Annette's. "The boys" mentioned in the note were Annette's brothers, who were safe and sound. This is an age-progression photo of how Annette would look at 33 years of age:

Did Annette's mom really come back for her? Or was the note written by someone who kidnapped her? What do you think happened to Korrina and Annette?

⬅️ J Is for Jodi Huisentruit

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J Is for Jodi Huisentruit

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

News anchors have always been vulnerable to stalkers. The work itself also puts them at risk, since they're forced to interact with shady characters. But for morning news anchors, getting up in before sunrise to leave home alone may pose one of the biggest risks of all.

Jodi Huisentruit was a morning news anchor for a Mason City, Iowa TV station.

On the morning of June 27, 1995 producer Amy Kuns noticed Jodi hadn't shown up at her usual 3 a.m. start time. Around 4 a.m., she called Jodi's apartment. Jodi answered, saying she had overslept and would be right in.

At 6 a.m., when she still hadn't shown up, Amy filled in for her as they went live. When she still hadn't arrived at 7 a.m., the station called the police. They found her car with keys on the ground next to it, as though she'd been interrupted while unlocking it.

They also found other personal items on the ground. The driver's side mirror had been bent back as though it had been bumped in an altercation. There were drag marks found in the dirt near her car.

When questioned, neighbors said they'd heard screaming around 5 a.m., but nobody called the police. One man reported seeing a light-colored van parked in the parking lot with its lights on around that time.

As of today, there have been no real leads. Her body has never been found. She just disappeared.

What do you think happened to Jodi Huisentruit?

⬅️ I Is for the Indiana Dunes Women

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Is for the Indiana Dunes Women

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

The beach is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Many of us live for those few days every five years or so that we get to look out at this.

Yet some of the most mysterious disappearances in history have taken place at the beach. One of those disappearances happened in 1966, when three young women climbed onto a small motorboat on Lake Michigan and were never seen again.

Investigators look for the missing women. Photo credit: New York Daily News

The morning began fairly peacefully. Friends Patty Blough, Renee Bruhl and Ann Miller pulled up to the Indiana Dunes in the morning and walked from the parking lot to the park. At approximately noon, a couple saw the three women set their belongings down and enter the lake.

Ann Miller, Patricia Blough, and Renee Bruhl

Soon after, the couple say they saw the three women speaking to a man operating a boat. They got on the boat with the man and he headed west. They have never been seen again.

Relatives examine the girls' belongings. Photo credit: New York Daily News

Later it was revealed that two of the women were pregnant and it's possible abortion was the reason for their boat trip. Could something have gone wrong with the abortion? Or were the girls lured onto the boat under false pretenses?

What do you think happened to the Indiana Dunes women?

⬅️ H Is for Hikers