Getting Lost

We’ve been searching high and low for the best songs for a Spotify playlist about things that are missing, vanished, and found. Give it a listen whilst you read this blog. The playlist is open and collaborative – so please add in your own songs all about things lost and found. Can you think of any we missed?

Lost something? We’ve all done it. You could swear that you knew where it was. It should be right where you left it, except that it… isn’t.

No matter what you lose it probably won’t be something as weird as a framed photo of a TV baker, or something as large as a ship.

Read on and take comfort from the fact that you aren’t alone in misplacing stuff.

Everybody does it

According to research published in 2016 the average British person loses more than 3,000 possessions in their lifetime. This includes 384 pens, 192 items of clothing and 64 umbrellas.

You might be not be surprised to hear that children are the most susceptible to misplacing things. They typically lose up to seven items a month and 1,000 items during their time at school.

Adults on the other hand typically lose up to four items a month, the most common being keys, mobile phones, pens, and glasses.

Lost: one bag of haggis

If your home and your car are the places where you are most likely to lose everyday things like your keys then it seems that public transport is where we go to lose things that are slightly more weird and wonderful.

In 2015 a British train company published a list of everything that had been lost in its carriages that year. It included some fairly unusual things like: 

  • 13 prams
  • 8 hen party sashes
  • 8 sets of false teeth
  • 1 bag of haggis
  • 1 6ft inflatable dinosaur
  • 1 framed photo of Mary Berry
  • 1 Barry Manilow CD

Seriously though, how does one lose a bag of haggis? Or a 6ft inflatable dinosaur? And who has a framed photo of Mary Berry to lose in the first place!

The Bermuda Triangle

If humanity had, for some reason, to nominate a place as Planet Earth’s equivalent of the back of the sofa it would surely be the infamous Bermuda Triangle.

The three corners of the triangle that stretches across a swathe of the Atlantic Ocean are: Miami, Florida; San Juan in Puerto Rico); and, of course, the island of Bermuda.

One of the busiest shipping lanes in the world passes through it, which seems like a risky route to take when you find out that over 1,000 boats and planes have gone missing within the triangle.

One of the most famous incidents was the disappearance of the USS Cyclops in March 1918. The Cyclops was a huge ship used by the US Navy to deliver supplies to other naval vessels and ferry goods between ports.

She was transporting ore from Rio to Baltimore and made an unscheduled stop in Bermuda to deal with problems caused by being overloaded and mechanical problems that left the starboard engine unusable.

The Cyclops had 306 people aboard as passengers and crew aboard and resumed her journey but didn’t make it to Baltimore and was never seen again. To this day it remains the single largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history not directly involving combat.

The disappearing colony

But if you thought that passenger planes and gigantic ocean-going ships were pretty big things to lose then imagine a whole place goes missing.

That’s exactly what happened to the colony of Roanoke, on the coast of what is now North Carolina. It was founded by just 115 English settlers. In 1587 the colony’s governor, John White, left on a trip to England to raise funds and collect supplies to maintain the fledgling community.

By the time John White eventually made it back to the colony three years after leaving, he was baffled to find that there was not a single person there to greet him. Everyone, including John White’s wife, daughter, and granddaughter had completely disappeared.

In the abandoned colony the word “Croatoan” had been carved into a wooden gatepost. It’s the name of an island to the south of the colony which the Croatoan tribe of Native Americans lived on. But a search of the island yielded no evidence.

Over the years there have been all sorts of theories for what must have happened. The most popular is that John White’s family and the others were forced to abandon the colony because of an emergency and just never returned.

Those looking for a more inventive explanation have speculated that the colonists might have been abducted by aliens.

Who knows? Like all those missing keys, umbrellas, planes, and haggis, in the case of Roanoke the truth is out there.

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