A former police officer turned writer David Paulides was taken aside by a National Park Ranger and told about a disturbing trend he'd realized. This Ranger asserted that some people were going missing in the woods under mysterious circumstances leaving only puzzling evidence of their fate. Of course, people often go missing in the wilderness in tragic yet explainable events but what was troubling to these Rangers in the field was the apparent pattern of the occurrences and the subsequent investigation efforts. This Ranger stated that during the first seven to ten days of a disappearance, an all-out Search and Rescue effort ensued with plenty of press coverage. However, after the first week of a rescue mission, it seemed to them that the media stopped reporting, the search for the missing was called off, and no further explanation from the authorities was provided. An additionally alarming trend was that there seemed to be a reluctance or inability on behalf of the National Park Service administration to collect and provide statistics on these disappearances to the public, either through inefficiency or secrecy. If this is true, perhaps it could be from a concerted effort to diminish negative publicity and undue fear about park visitation, or maybe there is something dreadful the officials don't want the public to know. Whatever the reason, this conversation launched Paulides on a now decade-long quest for answers. Initially, after over three years and 9000 hours of investigation, utilizing his 20 years of experience with law enforcement and the resulting connections, Paulides had gathered enough information to compile two books. Missing 411 – Western U.S.
was released on March 1, 2012, documenting the stories of people who have vanished in seemingly bizarre instances in the western half of the United States. The second book, Missing 411 – Eastern U.S.
, was published later that month and contains special sections on unusual outdoor activities that seem related and a master list of all missing persons. Currently, ten books have been published, with more on the way, two documentaries have been produced, and Paulides' ongoing popular YouTube channel continues to highlight cases. In addition, retired police officers, Search and Rescue experts, and other professionals are dedicated to continuing researching and investigating these cases with their CanAm Missing project. One worrisome aspect they've found is that in many situations, parents, relatives, and friends of the missing believe that their loved one was kidnapped or abducted, sometimes with them nearby. No matter the causal connections or whether you think these disappearances are sad but commonplace, a conspiracy lurks or is nonexistent; the fact is that these cases are real, and the victims' stories deserve and need to be told. The question remains, however – what is really going on out in the wilds, and is it something sinister we should all be worried about?
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