The Princes in the Tower: Britain’s most famous missing persons case

The unexplained disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, aka 12-year-old Edward V of England and his nine-year-old brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, is one of Britain’s coldest cases. Five and a half centuries on, it remains the subject of debate and conspiracy theory. But are we any closer to the truth?

When King Edward IV of England died on April 9th 1483, his son, also Edward, succeeded him as Edward V. Because he was only 12, his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was supposed to act as Lord Protector of the Realm till he came of age. This didn’t quite go to plan. Richard sent both Edward and his younger brother to the Tower of London, supposedly in preparation for Edward’s coronation. But the coronation never happened. Instead, Richard took the throne for himself and the little princes disappeared.

A game of thrones

On his deathbed, Edward IV named his brother, Richard of Gloucester, Lord Protector of the Realm until his son reached maturity. However, Elizabeth Woodville—Edward IV’s wife and queen consort and Edward V’s mother—wasn’t too thrilled about this. She and her family either didn’t trust Richard or wanted to seize power for themselves in the wake of the king’s death (or both).

In any case, Elizabeth ordered her own brother, Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, who was looking after Edward V at Ludlow Castle, to bring the boy king to London immediately to be crowned. And she told him to bring an armed escort of 2000 men. Whatever her motive, it certainly looked like Elizabeth was preparing to do battle with her brother-in-law.

But Richard, aware of what was going on, intercepted Edward V and Anthony on their way to London. Also present was Richard Grey, Edward V’s half-brother (the product of Elizabeth Woodville’s first marriage), and Thomas Vaughn, Edward’s chamberlain. Richard met them at Stony Stafford and dined with them, lulling them into a false sense of security before arresting all three men for treason the following morning. (They were later beheaded at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire.) When the boy king protested the arrests, Richard told his nephew of a plot to deny him his role as Lord Protector, and that his guardians had been a part of it. He then escorted Edward V to London himself.

On hearing of her brother and second-eldest son’s arrests, Elizabeth Woodville fled into sanctuary at Westminster Abbey with her daughters and nine-year-old son, Richard of Shrewsbury.

Edward V and Richard of Gloucester arrived in London together. At the time, Richard still promised his nephew he would be crowned, but postponed the date from 4th May to 22nd June. On 19th May, Richard sent Edward to the Tower of London because, at the time, the Tower was the traditional residence of monarchs prior to their coronation.

In early June, Richard wrote to a number of important lords asking for their support against “the Queen, her blood adherents and affinity” because he suspected Elizabeth Woodville and her cohorts of plotting his murder. At a Privy Council meeting on 13th June at the Tower of London, Richard accused Lord Hastings of conspiring with the Woodvilles against him. It is said that Hastings was dragged out of the Council chambers and immediately beheaded in the courtyard.

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Ireland’s big mystery – the Vanishing Triangle

Just outside Dublin lies a place known to locals as the ‘Vanishing Triangle’. One of Ireland’s eeriest mysteries, it’s where eight women suddenly and inexplicably vanished in the 90s, never to be seen or heard from again…

Annie McCarrick. Eva Brennan. Imelda Keenan. Jo Jo Dollard. Ciara Breen. Fiona Pender. Fiona Sinnott. Deirdre Jacob. Most of these women were in their late teens or 20s; at 39, Eva Brennan was the oldest. Between 1993 and 1998, all of them disappeared leaving no clues or evidence as to their fates. Despite extensive media campaigns and large-scale searches by the Irish police, none have ever been found. One of the most curious elements is that all the disappearances occurred within an 80-mile radius of Dublin that forms a geographical triangle.

Annie McCarrick went missing on 26th March 1993. The last confirmed sightings of her had her running errands at her local bank and supermarket that morning. An unconfirmed sighting placed her in Johnny Fox’s pub in Glencullen in the evening with an unknown man. This man was never found.


Annie McCarrick

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Mysterious disappearances in Yosemite National Park – could it be Bigfoot?

Tunnel View, Yosemite

Tunnel View, Yosemite

Having visited twice, Yosemite National Park has got to be the most beautiful and awe-inspiring place I’ve ever seen. But is something sinister going on there? Are people being abducted by Bigfoot or perhaps even a clandestine branch of the government?

David Paulides, an ex-cop who used to work near Yosemite National Park, has been researching the recent spate of unexplained disappearances in America’s national parks. His research includes missing persons cases in Crater Lake National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and many others. But he’s found that the largest amount of mysterious vanishings have been occurring in Yosemite.

Monsters, wild men or… pterodactyls?

Most of the disappeared are children between 20 months and 12 years old, and elderly people between 74 and 85, according to Paulides. No one carrying a firearm has disappeared. This suggests that who or whatever is picking people off is going after the weak and vulnerable.

The cases bear some inordinately strange features. In 95% of cases, bad weather follows the disappearances, washing away footprints and clues and making it impossible to carry out searches. Bizarrely, the disappearances occur in areas where huckleberries are in abundance. And in a lot of missing children cases, the children are found miles away from where they disappeared in areas they couldn’t possibly get to on their own. Some are found without their shoes – yet their feet aren’t scratched or bruised. Some aren’t found at all, but their clothes are found – as if someone or something has deliberately removed their clothes.

There’s the strange case of 12-year-old Kenny Miller, who disappeared in the Yosemite vicinity in 1992. Last seen throwing pebbles into a stream, he was out of his parents’ sights for a couple of minutes, then vanished without a trace. After several weeks, his body was found, sans some of his clothes, high up on a mountain ridge – 1,400 feet higher than where he was last seen.

The River Merced, Yosemite

The River Merced, Yosemite

Paulides also cites the case of a 2-year-old boy who went missing in Ritter, Oregon, near the Umatilla National Forest. 19 hours after his disappearance, he was found unconscious in a frozen creek bed. But in order to get there, the toddler would’ve had to run non-stop for 12 miles across two mountain peaks in those 19 hours.

One man – Charles McCullar – disappeared in Crater Lake National Park. There was very little of him left when he was found. A pair of trousers, socks, the remains of some underwear. A few bones inside the socks. A bloody tibia inside the trousers. No boots, and strangely the trousers and belt buckle were undone. It was like he’d been “melted down”. His undamaged skull and a few other small bones were found in the vicinity.

McCullar’s gruesome death raises the following questions: what happened to the rest of him, why were his trousers undone and – most significantly – how did he get to where he was found? He would’ve had to travel 14 miles over 105 inches of fresh snow in a motor-vehicle-free zone.

This chain of coincidences would seem to suggest that some kind of creature is snatching people and carrying them away. This is how they end up in areas they couldn’t otherwise get to. Maybe these creatures have some kind of sixth sense when it comes to the weather, which is how they know the best times to abduct someone. And maybe they’ve got a taste for huckleberries, too.

But what kind of creature? Native American legend talks of monsters like the Wendigo, with its glowing eyes, yellow fangs and tendency to stalk the ‘lonely places’. Then there’s the Seeahtiks or ‘mountain devils’, who were said to have terrorised Native American tribes with their hypnotic powers and superhuman strength.

And then of course there’s Bigfoot. This ape-like creature is said to inhabit forests and wilderness in America and there have been numerous alleged sightings over the last century.

An alleged photo of Bigfoot

An alleged photo of Bigfoot

However, this is all just folklore and myth, and Bigfoot is still confined to the realms of cryptozoology and popular movies like Harry and the Hendersons. Many of the sightings have been explained away as misidentified animals and hoaxes.

Jonathan Whitcomb argues that pterodactyl-like flying creatures might be responsible for the disappearances. The creatures grab their prey by their clothes, but end up dropping those who slip out of their clothes. This could explain why sometimes just clothes are found and not bodies. A creature might’ve decided to lose the clothes and go back for the body. In cases where bodies are found intact, maybe the creatures didn’t go back for them, or they tried and couldn’t find them.

This might be what happened to Kenny Miller. It’s possible he was dropped by whatever flew him away. This could be why he was found without some of his clothes, and could explain how he managed to end up halfway up a mountain. The bad weather that followed Kenny’s disappearance might be explained by the fact that the creature knew a storm was coming – perhaps by sensing the lower pressure in the air – and knew it needed to get a meal in first.

The same thing could’ve happened to McCullar, and that’s how his body ended up where it did. Though in his case, either the pterodactyl went back for him, or something else got him. There’s still the question of his undone trousers, though some have argued that he was relieving himself when he was taken.

Pterodactyls in Yosemite?

Pterodactyls in Yosemite?

Another possibility is that Yosemite and other national parks in America are inhabited by wild humans. Paulides mentions the case of a 6-year-old boy who vanished in 1969 in the Great Smoky Mountains. Those looking for him spotted a man in the bushes carrying something over his shoulder. Soon after, the United States Army Special Forces – or ‘Green Berets’ as they are known – showed up and mysteriously took over the search. But the boy was never seen again.

Paulides was told during his investigation that “wild men” were known to live in the park that the park service had not been able to control. Could tribes of these wild men be responsible for all the national park disappearances?

What’s the government’s role in all this?

What’s particularly intriguing about this mystery is the strange behaviour of government bodies connected to it.

Firstly, there’s the presence of Green Berets in the above mentioned case. Green Berets deal with special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism and what’s known as unconventional warfare. Why would they get involved in the case of a missing 6-year-old?

Then there’s the event that sparked Paulides’ investigation. It was when a couple of concerned park rangers paid him a visit. They told him that an inordinate amount of disappearances were taking place and that the National Park Service (NPS) was not dealing with them properly. As in, they weren’t conducting proper follow-up investigations and weren’t tracking the people going missing. But why?

Most disconcerting is the apparent reluctance of the authorities to hand over information about the disappearances to Paulides. The NPS and the FBI refused to disclose information about several specific cases. And when Paulides asked for a list of missing persons in Yosemite, he was initially told there were no records. Then he was told he would have to part with $34,000 in order to get them. If he wanted records for all the national parks, he’d have to part with $1.4 million.

Are these figures because they have no records and this is how much it would cost to compile them? Or are they to ward Paulides off? If the latter is true, perhaps they really do have full and complete records of everyone who’s gone missing, but those records contain things they don’t want us to know.

What could they be hiding? Is it that they know exactly what’s going on in Yosemite and they’re covering it up? Why would they do that?

Well, maybe it’s because they started it. Perhaps whatever creatures now lurk in the American wilderness are the product of a government experiment that went wrong. Maybe they have an agreement with the “wild men” of the forests. Or perhaps the government itself is abducting people for a sinister and unknown purpose.

And if it’s not them, not wild humans, not pterodactyls and not Bigfoot, there is – of course – only one culprit left.


Next week: the Google Conspiracy


Article: The Secret Vanishings in America’s National Parks


Article: Pterodactyl Attacks in Yosemite?

Wikipedia – Bigfoot

Manic Street Preachers’ missing guitarist – did he jump or was he pushed?


Richey Edwards – former guitarist and lyricist for the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers – was known for having an air of mystery. On 1st February 1995, he became the centre of a new mystery – his own disappearance…

Known for his eyeliner-heavy ‘Emo’-look, his enigmatic persona and his politically charged lyrics, Richey Edwards was the guitarist who couldn’t play guitar (he mimed during many performances). He struggled with bouts of depression and admitted self-harming with blades and cigarette butts. He also famously carved ‘4 REAL’ into his arm with a razor blade during an interview with NME journalist Steve Lamacq, requiring 15 stitches.

Richey Edwards, with '4 REAL' carved into his arm

Richey Edwards, with ‘4 REAL’ carved into his arm

On February 1st 1995, the day he was due to fly to the US for a Manic Street Preachers promotional tour, Richey checked out of the Embassy Hotel in London and disappeared. He is understood to have withdrawn £200 – so that he now had £2,800 – before driving to his apartment in Cardiff to drop off some things and leaving again. Over the next two weeks, several unconfirmed sightings were made. Richey was supposedly spotted at the passport office and the bus station in Newport, Wales.

Then, on 7th February, a Newport taxi driver picked up a passenger who looked like Richey from the King’s Hotel and drove him around the South Wales Valleys, including Blackwood where Richey used to live. The driver said the journey was “extremely strange”, that the passenger was slim with a gaunt face, was putting on a Cockney accent and asked to lie down on the backseat. He dropped the passenger at the old, now closed Severn View service station – at that point a large and busy stop-off for travellers going over the Severn Bridge – and the passenger paid the £68 fare.

On 14th February, Richey’s Vauxhall Cavalier was given a parking ticket in the car park of the Severn View service station. On 17th February, it was reported as abandoned. Police found that the battery was flat, and there was evidence that the car had been lived in. Burger wrappers and pictures of Richey’s family, taken a month before, were also found.

The original Severn View service station, where Richey's car was found, with the Severn Bridge in the background

The original Severn View service station, where Richey’s car was found, with the Severn Bridge in the background

Did Richey Edwards jump off the Severn Bridge?

The Severn Bridge is known for being a common spot for suicides, and many believed that Richey Edwards took his own life by jumping off the bridge into the River Severn. He was clearly pretty messed up…

Less than a year before his disappearance, Richey went missing for 48 hours in July 1994, reappearing after two days of heavy drinking and self-mutilation in what was thought to be a suicide attempt. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital and missed several gigs and festivals with the rest of the Manic Street Preachers.

On 24th November 1994, after a show in Amsterdam, the band discovered that Richey had cut himself vertically down his chest – the injury needed 36 stitches.

On 1st December, Richey was found by one of his bandmates outside their hotel in Germany, banging his head against the wall repeatedly – with blood all over his face.

The Severn Bridge - a common spot for suicides

The Severn Bridge – a common spot for suicides

Sounds like one seriously disturbed guy. But what raises doubts over the suicide theory is that a lot of people who knew him argued that he was never the type to contemplate suicide. In 1994, Richey also said himself:

“In terms of the ‘S’ word, that does not enter my mind. And it never has done, in terms of an attempt. Because I am stronger than that. I might be a weak person, but I can take pain.”

But if it wasn’t suicide, what happened to Richey Edwards?

Richey Edwards and the New World Order – was he murdered?

Not helping things is the fact that Richey Edwards’ body was never found. It’s not uncommon for bodies to be discovered many years later after people have jumped off the Severn Bridge, but more than 20 years have now passed since Richey Edwards went missing. Still no body.

Where there is mystery, there are conspiracy theories. Some people suggest that Richey Edwards had key information about the New World Order, and was eventually killed for it. New World Order, a conspiracy theory in itself, says that a secret, powerful group is actually in control of the world, or on the verge of taking control. Variations include Satan’s minions secretly pulling the strings of world governments in preparation for the coming of the Antichrist, and the British Royal Family being part of a secret cabal of disguised reptilian aliens.

Some argue that if you study Richey’s lyrics in many Manic Street Preachers’ songs, such as If White America Told The Truth For One Day Its World Would Fall Apart, he is attacking New World Order. They argue that maybe government agents targeted him because the revelations in his lyrics were making them nervous.

Is he still alive?

The most common theory is the Elvis-esque notion that Richey Edwards is still alive. Many discount this as fans wanting him to be alive – just like Elvis and Michael Jackson – and refute all the alleged ‘sightings’. However, since Richey’s body has never been found, the ‘still alive’ theory is much more plausible.

In 1997, a college lecturer claimed to have seen Richey getting on a bus in Goa, India. Then a barmaid claimed to have seen him in a bar in the Canary Islands in 1998; apparently he hotfooted it out of the bar after someone recognised him.

An Oxford University undergraduate also theorised that Richey was hiding in Germany. She said that he went there to visit places significant to the Allied Forces’ liberation of the concentration camps, which he’d studied at Cardiff University.

But all of this is speculation, together with sightings that have never been confirmed. For a long time, his family refused to have him declared legally dead, hoping that one of the leads would prove fruitful. Alas, nothing new came to light and in 2008, Richey was officially declared “presumed dead”.

Despite the conspiracy theories about New World Order and speculations that he might be alive, my feeling is that Richey committed suicide (until substantive new evidence comes to light, of course). He was clearly a screwed up guy; he had pictures of his family in his car; and if we believe this taxi driver, he visited his home town shortly before his final stop at one of the UK’s most renowned suicide locations. Whatever he might’ve said about suicide, his actions, including some horrific self-mutilation incidents, suggest he definitely had the capacity to throw himself from the Severn Bridge in despair.

Having said that, I do have one question. If he was planning to commit suicide, why did he withdraw £2,800?

Next week: The Resurrection conspiracy

Sources:, Connecting Minds Network, David, Wikipedia