April 8, 2012

The Vanishment of Orion Williamson

The Vanishment of Orion Williamson
Orion Williamson was a farmer who lived with his wife and son in his farmhouse in Selma, Alabama. One sunny July afternoon in 1854, he was sitting on his front porch with his family. As neighbors, Armour Wren and his son James, were passing by, Orion stood up to move his grazing horses to the shade. He briefly stopped to pick up a small stick, which he absently swished back and forth as he walked in the ankle-deep grass.

Orion waved to his neighbors, took one step, and vanished into thin air.

Hardly able to believe their eyes, the Williamsons and the Wrens ran to the spot Orion disappeared in and searched for any sign of him. They found none. Most of the grass in the spot was gone too.

After hours of futile searching, Orion’s shocked family and neighbors went for help. A search party of three hundred men was formed, and they carefully and repeatedly combed every inch of the field. Later, bloodhounds joined the search. No sign of Orion materialized, even though the effort continued well into the night.

As news of the inexplicable vanishment spread, more volunteers and a team of geologists arrived. They dug up the field to see if the ground was in any way unstable or unusual. There was only solid rock a few feet below the surface. No holes, crevices or cave-ins, nothing that could explain the event.

Reportedly, Mrs. Williamson and her son could hear Orion’s voice calling for help for weeks afterwards, growing fainter and fainter. Each time they would rush out onto the field, only to find nothing. Gradually, Orion’s voice faded into a mere whisper, then disappeared forever.

After no amount of searching turned up anything, the judge declared Orion dead.

The following spring, it is said, a circle of dead grass appeared to mark the spot of the unlucky farmer’s disappearance.

The German scientist, Maximilian Hern, author of the book Disappearance and Theory Thereof, speculated that Orion walked into a spot of “universal ether”. He believed these places lasted a few seconds and could completely destroy all matter within them. Another scientist theorized a magnetic field had disintegrated Orion’s atomic structure and sent him into another dimension. To me, that sounds even less likely than “goblins did it”.

Years later, a traveling salesman named McHatten rewrote the Williamson disappearance. In his story, Orion’s name became David Lang, the place changed to Gallatin and the date was moved to 1880.

Even though the Lang story is fictional apart from the basic facts, it has been presented as true in newspaper aticles and books by authors who didn’t do their homework. Consequently, it is better known than the real vanishment behind it.

Image by Sam T


  1. This picture... is this the actual location?

  2. IS this the actual location or a random picture? I'm trying to find the actual location. Any tips?

    1. It's just a random picture. Unfortunately, I have no idea where the exact location is. The event seems to have been a pretty big deal in Selma, so I'd guess the best chance of finding it would be to go there and try to dig up the original newspaper articles from 1854, if they still exist.

  3. Thanks! I've been searching for the actual site for awhile now, with no avail. It's definitely something I want to research further. It's just hard to find concrete information on it.

  4. There's a 2011 horror film called Absentia, that describes a disappearance of this kind. it even goes as far as to offer a how and a why. i'm pretty sure the movie's story was developed from this mystery.

  5. This is a very interesting story. Scary too. I heard that some people think that aliens were apart of this story and the reason he disappeared. Since he disappeared in front of everybody's eyes that's even more freaky. It seems as if we'll never know what chapped to Orion. Maybe somebody will bring up some new evidence but that was such a long time ago I'm doubting anyone will.

  6. There is an awesome book I found at s local Goodwill store called "LOST...AND NEVER FOUND" BY ANITA GUSTAFSON. © 1985. PUBLISHED PAPERBACK BY SCHOLASTIC.
    It behind with the Orion Williamson story and is followed by Ambrose Bierce who was very intrigued by the Orion story and ended up disappearing himself. 8 other true stories of people that have just vanished including Amelia Earhart. Very informative book if you can still find a copy. For I would not be here telling you about it had I not been so captivated by Williamson's story. FYI peace