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  • Writer's pictureSara McNabb

So Many National Park Mysteries—The Missing Children

Last time, knowers, I told you about the phenomenon of disappearances at our national parks that have gone on for years and the scores of people who either vanish only to turn up dead under strange circumstances or never turn up at all. Missing persons cases that the Nations Parks Service (NPS) doesn’t even keep records on.

This occurs at parks across the country. One of the biggest clusters of unexplained missing persons cases is found at Yosemite National Park in California.

And many of those who go missing are children.

Most of the missing kids are under age 10 and disappear with no signs of a struggle. Sure, that may not seem too strange—I mean, it’s not exactly unheard of that a child might wander off—but no indications of a struggle. Tracking dogs frequently can’t pick up a scent in these cases and in the instances when they do, the trail usually leads up steep hills.

But here’s where it gets even weirder: when these children are found, sometimes alive and sometimes not, it’s someplace virtually impossible for them to have reached in the amount of time they’ve been missing. As researcher David Paulides said to San Francisco’s Kron4 News in a 2020 interview:

“Sometimes these kids that I write about are found, like a two- or three-year-old, are found 10–15 miles from the point they were last seen, or they’re found 5,000 feet higher in elevation than where they disappeared. And as a parent, you’ll know, my kid wasn’t going to make that distance in this amount of time or climb that elevation in this period of time. So it doesn’t make sense.”

Professional outdoors experts like famous “Survivorman” Les Stroud have tried—and failed—to recreate these kids’ journeys through the wild. Ponder that, knowers…if a grown man who makes his living hiking the wilds and trekking through woods and over mountains can’t cover as much ground in the same amount of time a lost toddler had to have, there’s something going on. Even more head-scratching: When these missing kids are found alive, they tell stories of bears and wolves who carried them and fed them.

And sometimes even talked with them.

Crazy, right? But the kids who are fortunate enough to be found are usually so young and so little that their answers and descriptions are just that impenetrable. Could these kids be reporting dreams they had after nodding off while lost? Are there survivalist-types living off-grid that occasionally stumble across a lost child and guide them back where they can be found?

What are your theories, knowers? Comment below, and let’s see what thoughts we have on what’s happening to these kids.

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