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The disappearance of Charles Gazzam Hurd.

missing disappearances mystery charleshurd

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#1    petermattson

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 07:59 PM

I'm looking for some help in researching the mysterious disappearance of Charles Gazzam Hurd. In my very superficial searches, I have come across a few details that I find puzzling and intriguing. The rudimentary facts of the case are here: http://www.charleypr...rd_charles.html. Any tips from members here, either about how to search or about Charles Hurd, are welcome and appreciated.

Edited by petermattson, 25 August 2013 - 07:59 PM.


#2    Kowalski

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:10 PM

Strange case....

Found this on the Doe Network: http://www.doenetwor...s/1775dmny.html

Here is a link with information from his 1920 and 1930 census: http://www.websleuth...p/t-162036.html


#3    petermattson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:03 PM

CHARLES HURD CASE UPDATE
In my initial search, I found a Richard M. Hurd (from NYC) had married a Lucy Gazzam (from Mobile, AL) in 1898 and the couple had several children -- Mary, Eleanor, Richard M., Jr., Clement and Lucy Lea. Two things stood out to me immediately: no mention of a Charles Gazzam Hurd among their children (and the unlikelihood that there would be another Gazzam Hurd family that fit the timeline) and an intriguing although perhaps meaningless link to the famous illustrator Clement G. Hurd (GOODNIGHT MOON, THE RUNAWAY BUNNY, and others) which logic might suggest would raise the profile of the Charles Hurd case. My mind immediately went a couple of directions. Was Charles erased from genealogical listings because of his disappearance and the "shame" surrounding those circumstances or was it something more complex -- link to a secret government project or other more sinister milieu?
Well, just today I discovered this http://books.google....am hurd&f=false which explains why Charles wasn't mentioned as the son of Richard and Lucy Hurd. It turns out Richard had a brother named George Arthur Hurd who married Emily Lea Gazzard (Lucy's sister, presumably) and they had several children -- Arthur Melanothon, Katherine, Charles Gazzam and Clarissa (who were twins!).


#4    petermattson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 05:01 PM

View PostKowalski, on 26 August 2013 - 03:10 PM, said:

Strange case....

Found this on the Doe Network: http://www.doenetwor...s/1775dmny.html

Here is a link with information from his 1920 and 1930 census: http://www.websleuth...p/t-162036.html

Thank you for the links. The weirdest part is that his family had the resources to make his disappearance a more prominent story but apparently did not for one reason or another. I came across this case when I saw that someone on a different site suggested he could be the Somerton Man; a huge (but intriguing) leap but he had the same build and would have been the right age. Also, it would explain the weird lack of attention brought to the case (if he was involved in espionage or some other secret operation).


#5    Kowalski

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 05:29 PM

View Postpetermattson, on 26 August 2013 - 05:01 PM, said:

Thank you for the links. The weirdest part is that his family had the resources to make his disappearance a more prominent story but apparently did not for one reason or another. I came across this case when I saw that someone on a different site suggested he could be the Somerton Man; a huge (but intriguing) leap but he had the same build and would have been the right age. Also, it would explain the weird lack of attention brought to the case (if he was involved in espionage or some other secret operation).

Yes, it appears the family was well connected wth plenty of money, very curious they didn't spend more time and money looking for him. Odd...


#6    petermattson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:04 PM

View PostKowalski, on 26 August 2013 - 05:29 PM, said:

Yes, it appears the family was well connected wth plenty of money, very curious they didn't spend more time and money looking for him. Odd...

He was separated from his wife which is an indication of some troubles. We know that he was in a car accident (undiagnosed head trauma?) the night he disappeared but I wish I could find some kind of police report.

Any ideas?


#7    Kowalski

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:28 PM

View Postpetermattson, on 26 August 2013 - 06:04 PM, said:

He was separated from his wife which is an indication of some troubles. We know that he was in a car accident (undiagnosed head trauma?) the night he disappeared but I wish I could find some kind of police report.

Any ideas?

Well, if they were having problems, he might have just run off. Wasn't uncommon, either. I've come across it when doing geneaology research. For the longest time, I thought my great grandma's father disappeared. Even in a 1920 census, his wife, says she is a widow. So after some extensive searching, I finally found out he didn't disappear he jut ran off. I eventually found his death certificate, which was dated 1959.
I even found a similar situation on my husband's grandmother's side. Her great-great grandfather, was listed by his wife as "dead" and she a widow in a 1880 Census. But Lo and behold, he wasn't dead, but with a new family under an alias in another state!

Just a few thoughts.

Edited by Kowalski, 26 August 2013 - 06:28 PM.


#8    petermattson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:52 PM

View PostKowalski, on 26 August 2013 - 06:28 PM, said:

Well, if they were having problems, he might have just run off. Wasn't uncommon, either. I've come across it when doing geneaology research. For the longest time, I thought my great grandma's father disappeared. Even in a 1920 census, his wife, says she is a widow. So after some extensive searching, I finally found out he didn't disappear he jut ran off. I eventually found his death certificate, which was dated 1959.
I even found a similar situation on my husband's grandmother's side. Her great-great grandfather, was listed by his wife as "dead" and she a widow in a 1880 Census. But Lo and behold, he wasn't dead, but with a new family under an alias in another state!

Just a few thoughts.

You're probably right but a few weird details (like the car accident, having a twin sister and a famous cousin, and coming from wealth) make me hold out hope that there's more to this than a planned disappearance. Of course, the car accident could have been a failed attempt to fake his own death which lends more credence to your idea. I'm going to keep hunting.


#9    Vincennes

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 03:23 PM

View Postpetermattson, on 26 August 2013 - 05:01 PM, said:

Thank you for the links. The weirdest part is that his family had the resources to make his disappearance a more prominent story but apparently did not for one reason or another. I came across this case when I saw that someone on a different site suggested he could be the Somerton Man; a huge (but intriguing) leap but he had the same build and would have been the right age. Also, it would explain the weird lack of attention brought to the case (if he was involved in espionage or some other secret operation).

I just went back and compared this photo to the Somerton Man.  There does seem to be a resemblance.  The right eyebrow has a strong arch on the Somerton Man, so does Hurd in this picture.  However, Somerton's left brow looks shorter with no arch.  The way Hurd face is turned in the photos, you can't see his left brow clearly but if you age Hurd's face, I definitely think up hit on a maybe.  (LOL)  Another photo of Hurd would certainly be helpful.

Edited by Duncansmom, 27 August 2013 - 03:24 PM.


#10    petermattson

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:24 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 27 August 2013 - 03:23 PM, said:

I just went back and compared this photo to the Somerton Man.  There does seem to be a resemblance.  The right eyebrow has a strong arch on the Somerton Man, so does Hurd in this picture.  However, Somerton's left brow looks shorter with no arch.  The way Hurd face is turned in the photos, you can't see his left brow clearly but if you age Hurd's face, I definitely think up hit on a maybe.  (LOL)  Another photo of Hurd would certainly be helpful.

Thank you for your interest in this case. I am contacting who I believe to be the grand-daughter of Charles Gazzam Hurd in hopes of getting more info and maybe another photo.


#11    Vincennes

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 05:09 PM

View Postpetermattson, on 27 August 2013 - 04:24 PM, said:

Thank you for your interest in this case. I am contacting who I believe to be the grand-daughter of Charles Gazzam Hurd in hopes of getting more info and maybe another photo.

I have been searching this name for the past two hours as I know you have also done !!!  Da nada!  Comments on the "Web sleuth" site also note that the lack of the family search is worth notable, along with no articles in the press about his disappearance.

Just thinking out loud here, is there any chance the family has a German heritage?  The 1938 date might be good for going "home" to show support....Maybe? :no:   Just kicking a wild notion.  That might also link with Somerton.  Maybe he wasn't a Russian spy but a German fugitive.


#12    petermattson

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 05:18 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 27 August 2013 - 05:09 PM, said:

I have been searching this name for the past two hours as I know you have also done !!!  Da nada!  Comments on the "Web sleuth" site also note that the lack of the family search is worth notable, along with no articles in the press about his disappearance.

Just thinking out loud here, is there any chance the family has a German heritage?  The 1938 date might be good for going "home" to show support....Maybe? :no:   Just kicking a wild notion.  That might also link with Somerton.  Maybe he wasn't a Russian spy but a German fugitive.

It would certainly explain the lack of publicity as the family would not want to bring attention to a "defector". However, he would have needed some form of travel. If he was wealthy, perhaps a plane to Germany would be possible.


#13    Vincennes

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:18 AM

I don't think in 1937 it would have been hard for him to get out of this country.  US was not at war with Germany then.  They say that Joe Kennedy, Lindberg and others thought Hitler pretty cool at that time.  All he would have needed was a passport.  There could also have been another motive that might take him to Germany and that the family would keep quiet about and that is if it wasn't the Germans he was going to aid.  He could have also wanted to assist Jews that were trying to get out of Germany at that time.  However, the family first names don't sound Jewish, they sound more English.

There just has to be a reason why this news was so suppressed in the newspapers.  The fact that he was said to have the accident with only slight injuries and that he drove away in a car that was thought to be pretty impressive for that time period.  What happened to the car?  It sounded like it was a car that would have pretty much stood out in a crowd.

Where did you get you information on the family being wealthy?  I couldn't find anything on them any more than I could Charles.  What was their business background?

Interestingly what I did find is that an original copy of his photo is now for sale on Ebay.  Here's a link.  It's much more clear than the ones in the clippings and it enlarges.

http://www.ebay.com/...7-/390637607699

After comparing the enlarged picture Charles, I don't think it's the Somerton man.  There is a picture from the right side of Somerton and the ear formation looks different.  Somerton has what looks like a fold in the ear formation by his face about even with the edge of his eye. I don't see anything like that on Charles.

Edited by Duncansmom, 28 August 2013 - 03:41 AM.


#14    brlesq1

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:52 AM

Maybe his family wanted him to disappear, and he did.

Forget what they told you. You want the truth, follow the money.
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#15    petermattson

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:45 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 28 August 2013 - 03:18 AM, said:

I don't think in 1937 it would have been hard for him to get out of this country.  US was not at war with Germany then.  They say that Joe Kennedy, Lindberg and others thought Hitler pretty cool at that time.  All he would have needed was a passport.  There could also have been another motive that might take him to Germany and that the family would keep quiet about and that is if it wasn't the Germans he was going to aid.  He could have also wanted to assist Jews that were trying to get out of Germany at that time.  However, the family first names don't sound Jewish, they sound more English.

There just has to be a reason why this news was so suppressed in the newspapers.  The fact that he was said to have the accident with only slight injuries and that he drove away in a car that was thought to be pretty impressive for that time period.  What happened to the car?  It sounded like it was a car that would have pretty much stood out in a crowd.

Where did you get you information on the family being wealthy?  I couldn't find anything on them any more than I could Charles.  What was their business background?

Interestingly what I did find is that an original copy of his photo is now for sale on Ebay.  Here's a link.  It's much more clear than the ones in the clippings and it enlarges.

http://www.ebay.com/...7-/390637607699

After comparing the enlarged picture Charles, I don't think it's the Somerton man.  There is a picture from the right side of Somerton and the ear formation looks different.  Somerton has what looks like a fold in the ear formation by his face about even with the edge of his eye. I don't see anything like that on Charles.

I agree that Charles is almost certainly not Somerton Man. However, I'm not sure we can see Charles' ear well enough even in that photo (thanks for finding it!) to rule him out. Here is Somerton's ear up close (on the left). http://www.flickr.co...son/9617739960/






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