Lost History: Legendary Items That Have Vanished

Forgotten where you’ve left your phone, your keys, or the location of that “safe place” for your passport?

That’s nothing compared to the legendary long-term missing items rounded up in a new book, 100 Things You Will Never Find. The list ranges from lost cities to discarded body parts and contains up some of history’s biggest unsolved mysteries.

Hermocrates, by Plato

The rumored third book to Plato’s little unified field theory trilogy. The first two were Timaeus and Critias and are basically transcriptions of one of the greatest, most influential thinkers to ever live discussing how the universe, uh, happened.

If Hemocrates was anything like the first two books in the series, it would have dealt with some brilliant, advanced concepts (like molecules and the Golden Ratio), and would have influenced thinkers and scientists for years to come. Slightly more important and infinitely more badass, Timaeus-Critias also serve as the seminal source for the theory of Atlantis.

Since the second book ends rather abruptly (mid-sentence), it’s only logical that the third dialogue would have covered the fate of Atlantis, along with the influence it would have had on thought that mattered in non-fictional universes.

The Book of the Wars of the Lord

A lost work that allegedly chronicles the wars fought by Moses, Joshua, and the Israelites as they pounded their way through the Holy Land. Yes, the Jews were still the underdogs, but bear in mind they had a little super-weapon called the Ark of the Covenant to schlep around with them.

The importance of a book allegedly written by God (either directly or indirectly), cannot be overstated. If this book had survived, it would be in the same category as The Bible. You know. The greatest-selling and most influential book in the history of time. Hell, there are religious sects that are formed based on single sentences in the Bible and full religions dedicated to finding secret codes within the text. Any addition or change to The Bible, even if they’re slight, would have had a huge impact on the face of history.

Beyond all that, the story sounds badass. You’ve got a long quest, the most badass Jews in history and a Death Star-esque secret weapon.

Unless it turns up somewhere on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the only other place it could be found is in God’s head.

Final panels of the Bayeux Tapestry

This famous 231 ft-long work depicts the year of 1066 when Norman invaders conquered England … but the end of the story is missing. It almost certainly concluded with King William’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. But no one knows what happened to the missing panels.

The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island

On May 8, 1587, a group of 117 men, women and children left England to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Excited by stories from other travelers to the New World, the colonists under the command of John White headed for a destination on the Chesapeake Bay.

Due to concerns for the upcoming summer hurricane season, the colonists were forced to stop their journey earlier than planned, and they settled on an island off the northeast coast of what is now North Carolina, at the southern edge of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

This colony on Roanoke Island was the first English settlement in the New World. In 1587, shortly after the arrival of the colonists, John White’s daughter gave birth to the first child of European parents to be born on American soil. Her name was Virginia Dare.

However, life wasn’t easy for the early colonists, and on August 27, 1587, John White–now the new governor of the colony–left the settlement and returned to England to get more supplies.

Because of England’s war with Spain, there were no ships to spare. Three years passed before John White could return to Roanoke Island with the supplies. When he finally returned to the colony in 1590, he found the island deserted. The only trace left by the colonists was a mysterious ‘cro’ carved in a tree, and ‘croatan’ carved in a fence post.

Where did the colony go, and why did they leave the island? Where they went or what happened to them is still a mystery, but a study by researchers Dennis Blanton from the College of William and Mary and climatologist David Stahle of the tree ring laboratory of the University of Arkansas sheds some light on the mysterious circumstances under which the colonists disappeared.

Cromwell’s head

After winning the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. But when the monarchy was restored Charles II had him exhumed, hung and decapitated. His head was on a spike outside Westminster Hall until the mid 1680s then passed through many hands until 1960 when it was buried in the grounds of Sydney College, Cambridge. But the college will not reveal its location to allow scientific analysis. It may not be his head at all because there is doubt that his real body was ever buried at Westminster.

The Amber Room

The history of art has produced few works as ambitious and as valuable as the Amber Room. Famous throughout Europe as “the eighth wonder of the world,” its vast and intricately worked amber panels were sent in 1717 by Frederick I of Prussia as a gift to Peter the Great of Russia. Erected some years later, they quickly became a symbol of Russia’s imperial might.

For more than two hundred years the Amber Room remained in its Russian palace outside St. Petersburg (Leningrad), but when the Nazi army invaded Russia and swept towards Leningrad in 1941, the panels were wrenched from the walls, packed into crates, and disappeared from view, never to be seen again.

Dozens of people have tried to trace the whereabouts of the Amber Room, and several of them have died in mysterious circumstances. Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark have gone further along the trail of this great lost treasure than anyone before them, and have unraveled the jumble of evidence surrounding its fate. Their search catapulted them across eastern Europe and into the menacing world of espionage and counterespionage that still surrounds Russia and the former Soviet bloc. In archives in St. Petersburg and Berlin, amid boxes of hitherto unseen diaries, letters, and classified reports, they have uncovered for the first time an astounding conspiracy to hide the truth.

Amelia Earhart’s crashed aeroplane

The aviation pioneer set off with navigator Fred Noonan on a 30,000-mile round-the-world flight in 1937 but crashed over the Pacific and never returned.

The most expensive search operation in US history failed to turn up a clue. Some think Amelia was spying on the Japanese and was captured. Others claimed she faked her disappearance. Fragments of glass found near uninhabited island Nikumaroro may be from her freckle-cream jar. But without a wreck or the two bodies the mystery lives on.

Flight 19

Flight 19 was a a group of five TBM Avengers which disappeared on December 5, 1945 off Florida. None of the aircraft returned, nor did a seaplane sent to look for them. Over decades later it became the cornerstone case of the Bermuda Triangle.

Blackbeared’s Treasure

Real name Edward Teach, Blackbeard joined a pirate crew and in 1717 he assembled a “navy” patrolling the coasts of Virginia and the Carolinas seeking cargoes of gold. Only a year later he was caught, shot and decapitated. But his treasure was never found. Some say it was scattered, others that he buried a chest on Ocracoke Island off North Carolina and some that he hid it near his home in Bath.

The lost city of Z

This supposed city deep in the Amazon forest, described by tribesmen as “enormously rich in gold” evades discovery to this day. Early 20th century British explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett (below) made it his mission to find it in 1925. After five months he disappeared, as did many who followed him.

Undeterred, explorers kept looking for the city nicknamed Z, believed to be in the Mato Grosso region of western Brazil. Most recently, archaeologist Michael Heckenberger discovered a network of ancient settlements in the area… but there is no proof that any of them is Z.

Victims of Korean Airlines flight 007

This flight from New York to Seoul veered into Soviet airspace on September 1, 1983, and was shot down. A week later, 13 bodies washed up but none was conclusively identified and no others were found. In 1991 Russia revealed that the wreck had been found back in 1983 but insisted no bodies were inside. Some say the nose and tail were blown off, creating a wind tunnel that scattered corpses far and wide. Bizarrely, the Kremlin claimed they had been eaten by crabs.

JFK’s brain

When President Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, his brain was key evidence in the quest to find whodunnit. It was preserved at the time but went missing in 1965, the year his brother Robert asked for all the autopsy material to be handed to JFK’s former secretary for safekeeping. By 1966 the brain had gone. One story says Robert had it buried to stop it being put on exhibition. But he was assassinated in 1968 and no explanation was ever given.

Jules Rimet trophy

Football’s World Cup, a gold-plated sterling-silver figure of Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory, was given to Brazil to keep after they won it for the third time – a stipulation of former FIFA boss Jules Rimet – and a replacement was made. The original went on display at Brazil’s Football Confederation but on December 19, 1983, it was stolen by a raiders. Four men were eventually arrested but the cup was never found.