The Upshot
  • Fame is a notoriously fleeting thing, but one way of outwitting it seems to be capping one's celebrity career with a mysterious disappearing act. This slideshow, courtesy of Life magazine, profiles seven renowned figures who seemingly vanished into thin air. They all have yet to be found--and of course, they have all spawned a virtual cottage industry of conspiracy theories about their fate and/or true whereabouts. From Amelia Earhart (below; last seen in 1937) to Jimmy Hoffa (last seen in 1975), some of the best-remembered stars are the missing ones.

    Click here to see (Famous Disappearances)

    (LIFE.com photos)(LIFE.com photos)























    For the full collection, go to LIFE.com (http://www.life.com/gallery/44811/famous-people-who-simply-vanished#index/0)

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  • One year ago, off the coast of Oregon, a ten-year-old boy tossed a message in a bottle into the Pacific Ocean. Weeks ago, a 9-year-old girl in Hawaii found it.

    According to a popular article from the AP, Thomas Craig never expected his bottle to arrive safely in anyone's hands. He told West Hawaii Today newspaper, "I couldn't believe someone had found it. I was shocked. When I threw it overboard, it hit the top of my grandpa's boat so I thought it broke and sank. The chances of someone finding it seemed like a once-in-a-million type thing."

    His seafaring send-and-receive beat the odds when Trinity Ballesteros of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, saw the bottle washed up on the beach. The note inside read: "Dear finder of my message, my name is Thomas and I live in Oregon. I'm ten years old and this week I'm salmon fishing deep in the ocean. I would like to hear from you."

    Trinity responded (via email) to Thomas, who had included his mom's email address. Since then, the two plan to become pen pals

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  • Click image to see more photos of crop circles. (AP Photo/Keystone/Sandro Campardo)Click image to see more photos of crop circles. (AP Photo/Keystone/Sandro Campardo)

    Those otherworldly crop circles may not have been caused by aliens after all. Instead, think physics: A study in Physics World points to the possibility that the patterns could be caused by Earth-bound microwaves, lasers, and GPS. Maybe.

    Formations in fields have been documented more than 10,000 times in the late 20th century. They have been credited to everything from paranormal activity to human hijinks to the weather--and in some cases, even wallabies (more on that later).

    Further fueling the mystery is that the farmland designs are done in secret, usually in the dark--and often by jokers who want to make it seem like Martians were at work. It wasn't until 1991 that the first pranksters admitted to have created at least some of the crop circles as a UFO hoax. What has confounded scientists is trying to explain just how the art is done without any marks left by the makers, all typically in just one night.

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  • Black prevails in Syria jihadist stronghold
    Black prevails in Syria jihadist stronghold

    Beirut (AFP) - In the Syrian stronghold of the Islamic State jihadist group, everything is black, activists say, from men's turbans to women's veils. Even the passports.

  • Ukraine says won't pull back troops without full ceasefire
    Ukraine says won't pull back troops without full ceasefire

    Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Ukraine insisted Sunday it would not pull back its troops from the frontline until all sides cease fire under a peace plan aimed at ending five months of bloodshed in the east.

  • U.S., Canadian jets intercept 8 Russian aircraft
    U.S., Canadian jets intercept 8 Russian aircraft

    Authorities say two F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes that neared the western coast of Alaska.

  • High Schooler Gives Up Crown After Friend Was Pranked Into Thinking She Was Nominated for Homecoming …
    High Schooler Gives Up Crown After Friend Was Pranked Into Thinking She Was Nominated for Homecoming …

    Unfortunately, sometimes high school looks a lot like a real-life version of the movie "Mean Girls." Case in point, a group of girls at North Texas high school tricked 17-year-old Lillian Skinner into thinking she was nominated for the homecoming court.

  • SpaceX Falcon rocket blasts off from Florida
    SpaceX Falcon rocket blasts off from Florida

    By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday to deliver a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA. The 208-foot (63-meter) tall booster, built and launched by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, bolted off its seaside launch pad at 1:52 a.m. EDT/0552 GMT, slicing the night-time sky with a bright plume of light as it headed into orbit. ...

  • Kurds issue new call to arms against Islamic State in Syria

    By Daren Butler SURUC Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish militants in Turkey have issued a new call to arms to defend a border town in northern Syria from advancing Islamic State fighters, and the Turkish authorities and United Nations prepared on Sunday for a surge in refugees. About 70,000 Syrian Kurds have fled into Turkey since Friday as Islamic State fighters seized dozens of villages close to the border and advanced on the frontier town of Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish. ...

  • Intruder was unarmed, seemed mentally ill; Obamas were not home
    Intruder was unarmed, seemed mentally ill; Obamas were not home

    The small army of Secret Service agents guarding the White House carry a wide range of weapons and get training on how to repel armed assaults – so why did no one shoot the intruder who jumped the fence on Friday and got all the way to the mansion’s doors?

  • Sunken 'Ship of Gold' Contains Bounty of Jewelry, Other Treasures
    Sunken 'Ship of Gold' Contains Bounty of Jewelry, Other Treasures

    A trove of gold coins, bracelets, buckles and broaches are among the precious treasures retrieved from a 157-year-old shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina. The "Ship of Gold," known in its sailing days as the SS Central America, was loaded down with 30,000 lbs. (13,600 kilograms) of gold when a hurricane sent it to the watery depths 160 miles (260 kilometers) from the coast of South Carolina on Sept. 12, 1857. Now, deep-sea exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., is re-excavating the site. They've also found gold jewelry, gold nuggets and snippets of 19th-century life, from glass containers to chewing tobacco still in its package. 

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