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The disappearance of Charles Gazzam Hurd.

missing disappearances mystery charleshurd

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#16    petermattson

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:20 PM

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



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?



His father is listed as a banker, financier in the Who's Who in Finance and Banking (link: http://books.google....am hurd&f=false) and several of the missing persons websites stated that Charles was a manager for a mortgage company in NYC. He was living at the prestigious Kenmore Hall Hotel when he disappeared. I think all of these pieces add up to being wealthy and from a prominent family.
Also, I found a NYT article from February 1937 (not worth paying for) that referred to him as from "an old New York family" which I feel implies they were old money in the city.
NYT article dated February 27, 1937; 9 days after Charles disappeared: http://www.flickr.co...son/9615673163/


#17    Vincennes

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:03 AM

Peter, Nice job on the ear photos :clap: !!  I recognize the ear on the viewer's left as being Somerton's right ear.  Is the ear on the right S's left ear or is it Hurd's right ear?  
The ears certainly look different and now you have me going in to look at my own to see if they are the same -  Never thought about it before  - LOL  :yes:   Great job though in being able to see the detail and I have something to say after looking at the detail in the left photo, the one I recognize as S's right ear.  That ear is scared, almost like a post-plastic surgery formation or if the ear had been severed and reattached.  Look at the area where the ear I joined to the front of the face.  That area is extremely think which is what happens when they pull facial muscles under the cheekbone up, the result is the additional muscle tissue there is a thicker look .  The scar is then hidden by sewing the skin inside of the ear behind the cartilage.  The if you go on up from the cartilage you see there is a definite horizontal break  just at the area across from the corner of his eye.  IMO that's a surgical break. If it was just a tear or a slit without being repaired, the cartilage itself would have come through and appeared as an almost white, boney ridge there both sides of the slit.   They did know how to do plastic work back then but it had to have been rare and scars inside of the ears themselves might not have been noticed in an autopsy.  (I know I think everyone decided the ears of S and C don't seem to match but with those picture so clear, it could be due to a surgically repaired trauma to that right ear on S.)

Now, back to the missing Hurd.  Today's challenge was finding anything I could on this family.  The "socialite" family mentioned in the missing report.  Well, for being such high ranking "socialites" they certainly kept a low profile.  His father and mother were still alive when he disappeared.  No event photos, no business dealings, NO OBITUARY notices that I can find.  Also, since Charles' divorce was not finalized, his wife, Marie L. would have been his heir.  At their social level, and with his own job status, certainly he would have had to be at least declared dead at some time so that the insurance could be collected since he is shown in 1930 with one child.  Where is the notice on that ????   I really want to know who these "high ranking socialite" ghost parents were :hmm: ?  

You said that one of the cousins had promised you some more pictures.  I hope they come through!  I know one thing, when you are searching things like this it would be very helpful if families did not choose to name t50% of their children the same first name !!!!  I mean how many Charles or George Hurds did they need from New York to Alaska ????  :sk

Edited by Duncansmom, 29 August 2013 - 01:04 AM.


#18    petermattson

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 02:03 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 29 August 2013 - 01:03 AM, said:

Peter, Nice job on the ear photos :clap: !!  I recognize the ear on the viewer's left as being Somerton's right ear.  Is the ear on the right S's left ear or is it Hurd's right ear?  


Thank you for contributing so much to my search. Nice to know someone else is working on this! Regarding the ears, the one on the left is Somerton and the one on the right is a more "typical" ear. The comparison was meant to show that Somerton had very unique ears (something like 2% of people have that ear anatomy). In a case with so few leads, even ears are worth looking into!


#19    Vincennes

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 07:10 AM

I managed to find a little bit.  At least enough to establish his parents seem to be "all that and a bag of chips" in society in several states and in New York.

Father:  George A.  "Yaleman," financier and lawyer in New York - died in 1929, leaving "only" $10,000 (seems to have been a good attorney, leaving money well hidden.

Mother:  Emily GazzaM - not an N, died in 1931, family came from the southern states, her family had political connections, father was a Senator (or some such, I forgot to write it down) but several legal and political connections there.  However, her well states she left "only"  $510,000 to be divided among her children.  (Evidently she didn't hide things as well as George but in 1931, the depression, that's a good bit of money :su

Wife:  Marie Louise Schrieber:  I found two debutante "coming out" announcements in New York for her, she was a "Vassar" girl.

Now this might have some interest:

Kid:  Charles G. (also a G.) was born at the Marie Lippincott Sanitarium

I can't find anything on this particular Sanitarium except that this verbiage was used for institutions for tuberculosis, mental problems; e.g., alcoholism

So when Charles went missing in his parents were both dead.  Wife might not have been well either.  I could only find one other article the day in the Times which was the day after his missing report.  Nothing further on the wife; e.g. obituary, etc.  But it seems maybe there wasn't anyone really to look for Charles except a wife who might not have been well.

(Thanks Kowalski!  found these things in the New York Times  :tu: )

Edited by Duncansmom, 30 August 2013 - 07:14 AM.


#20    petermattson

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 02:12 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 30 August 2013 - 07:10 AM, said:



Wife:  Marie Louise Schrieber:  I found two debutante "coming out" announcements in New York for her, she was a "Vassar" girl.

Now this might have some interest:

Kid:  Charles G. (also a G.) was born at the Marie Lippincott Sanitarium

I can't find anything on this particular Sanitarium except that this verbiage was used for institutions for tuberculosis, mental problems; e.g., alcoholism

So when Charles went missing in his parents were both dead.  Wife might not have been well either.  I could only find one other article the day in the Times which was the day after his missing report.  Nothing further on the wife; e.g. obituary, etc.  But it seems maybe there wasn't anyone really to look for Charles except a wife who might not have been well.


Excellent stuff! I sent a Facebook message to the woman who I believe is C. G. Hurd's granddaughter, hoping to get some more info. Here is a photo of Charles Hurd Jr. (the one born in the sanitarium?):http://flickr.com/gp...dmattson/2c31bE


#21    Vincennes

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:18 PM

View Postpetermattson, on 30 August 2013 - 02:12 PM, said:



Interesting photo!  I did have another thought regarding Charles' motive to disappear.  Look at the year of the father's death 1929 !!  Could we have ourselves a "jumper" here.  I didn't think that through when I made the comment regarding a lawyer hiding his money.  Maybe it wasn't there anymore.  However, from the amount, $510,000 in the mother's estate in 1931, I don't think they went hungry.... but divided among their 4 children that would leave "only" say $125,000 each and, even then, after taxes ??? With the life style they must have been used to and the life style Charlie's wife was also used to, do you suppose this might have been a money issue.  When you think that further, Charlie was in real estate in New York.  Possibly not a real good field during the depression years.  Perhaps Charlie knew his wife's family would take care of them and did not want to face the humiliation of being out of money.  It rings in my ears that he "cashed a small check when leaving the restaurant."  Could it be because a small check was all that he could cash?

I have to look more into this sanitarium issue.  I'm surprised it was right there in the NY Times birth announcement !  That would have normally been something that was hidden.  The definition of the word lends itself more to tuberculosis patients.  However, I remember being told as a kid a Sanitorium was for illness a Sanitarium was for "nervous" disease; e.g., alcoholism.  We actually had a large one here in the city where I live that was owned by a man who was then Surgeon General of the US.  It was dedicated wholly to "nervous" disease, a "drying out" place.

Peter, I do hope you get a response from the son, should be interesting.


#22    Vincennes

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:22 PM

I have to clear Marie's good name here.  I went right on line today and found what I couldn't find this morning.

http://select.nytime...78DD85F438385F9

They didn't hide it because it was a birthing facility for society babies.


#23    Kowalski

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:30 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 30 August 2013 - 07:10 AM, said:

I managed to find a little bit.  At least enough to establish his parents seem to be "all that and a bag of chips" in society in several states and in New York.

Father:  George A.  "Yaleman," financier and lawyer in New York - died in 1929, leaving "only" $10,000 (seems to have been a good attorney, leaving money well hidden.

Mother:  Emily GazzaM - not an N, died in 1931, family came from the southern states, her family had political connections, father was a Senator (or some such, I forgot to write it down) but several legal and political connections there.  However, her well states she left "only"  $510,000 to be divided among her children.  (Evidently she didn't hide things as well as George but in 1931, the depression, that's a good bit of money :su

Wife:  Marie Louise Schrieber:  I found two debutante "coming out" announcements in New York for her, she was a "Vassar" girl.

Now this might have some interest:

Kid:  Charles G. (also a G.) was born at the Marie Lippincott Sanitarium

I can't find anything on this particular Sanitarium except that this verbiage was used for institutions for tuberculosis, mental problems; e.g., alcoholism

So when Charles went missing in his parents were both dead.  Wife might not have been well either.  I could only find one other article the day in the Times which was the day after his missing report.  Nothing further on the wife; e.g. obituary, etc.  But it seems maybe there wasn't anyone really to look for Charles except a wife who might not have been well.

(Thanks Kowalski!  found these things in the New York Times  :tu: )

Your welcome! Found this, might be of interest:

Link: http://select.nytime...78DD85F438385F9

Note: We posted at this both at the same time! Whoops! :)

Edited by Kowalski, 30 August 2013 - 03:31 PM.


#24    Kowalski

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 03:43 PM

I found this:

Link: http://search.ancest...03-n_xcl=f&cp=0

Hope this helps a little! :)

Edited by Kowalski, 30 August 2013 - 03:46 PM.


#25    petermattson

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 04:13 PM

Found an eerie coincidence. Apparently Charles Hurd's wife's ex-lover committed suicide in 1926.

Links here:

http://www.flickr.co...son/9630853698/
http://www.flickr.co...son/9630858562/

Any significance? Who knows.

Charles did have a twin sister, Clarissa, and his cousin was Clement G. Hurd (who later in life became the famous illustrator of GOODNIGHT MOON, THE RUNAWAY BUNNY and others) so I think it's weird that no one was making much of a stir about it. There were people in his life with the means and a motive to keep his case alive but they didn't. (We keep returning to that theme but it's a big part of the puzzle here.)

Edited by petermattson, 30 August 2013 - 04:20 PM.


#26    petermattson

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 04:53 PM

View PostDuncansmom, on 30 August 2013 - 03:18 PM, said:

I did have another thought regarding Charles' motive to disappear.  Look at the year of the father's death 1929 !!  Could we have ourselves a "jumper" here.  I didn't think that through when I made the comment regarding a lawyer hiding his money.  Maybe it wasn't there anymore.  However, from the amount, $510,000 in the mother's estate in 1931, I don't think they went hungry.... but divided among their 4 children that would leave "only" say $125,000 each and, even then, after taxes ??? With the life style they must have been used to and the life style Charlie's wife was also used to, do you suppose this might have been a money issue.  When you think that further, Charlie was in real estate in New York.  Possibly not a real good field during the depression years.  Perhaps Charlie knew his wife's family would take care of them and did not want to face the humiliation of being out of money.  It rings in my ears that he "cashed a small check when leaving the restaurant."  Could it be because a small check was all that he could cash?



The jumper idea is a logical theory. I would bet that the small inheritance would be due to his money being in his wife's name or under her accounts. (Avoiding the "death" tax?) Since both the families had money, it's very strange that he left so little. As far as "cashing a small check" at the restaurant, I assumed that meant he paid for the bill, which wouldn't have been much if he was dining alone. Is there any way to find out if there was a police report filed about his car accident?


#27    Vincennes

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 05:30 PM

View Postpetermattson, on 30 August 2013 - 04:53 PM, said:

The jumper idea is a logical theory. I would bet that the small inheritance would be due to his money being in his wife's name or under her accounts. (Avoiding the "death" tax?) Since both the families had money, it's very strange that he left so little. As far as "cashing a small check" at the restaurant, I assumed that meant he paid for the bill, which wouldn't have been much if he was dining alone. Is there any way to find out if there was a police report filed about his car accident?

Yep, yep, I think the "jumper" theory is holding up.  His obit states that his death was after a "long" illness.  Could that mean how many floors on the way down?  :cry:

However, his position description states that he was in the "Bond" market.....   Bonds did not fair too well in the crash.  So Geo. had to be heavily into the worst market hit in the crash.  I think he was lucky to have $10,000 left.

I did look up the date of "Black Tuesday" and it is recorded as Oct. 29, 1929.  Geo.'s obit states his  "long illness"  ended Nov. 16th. 1929.

I don't know about police report of the automobile accident.  I'll look around and see if I can find anything.

View PostKowalski, on 30 August 2013 - 03:43 PM, said:

I found this:

Link: http://search.ancest...03-n_xcl=f&cp=0

Hope this helps a little! :)

That gives some interesting information.  The addresses for one thing.  I couldn't get into the actual census not being a member.  I would wonder if the addresses changed after the crash.   The Louisa Hurd notation is also compelling.  Maybe she went by her second name ?

When you think about the fact that this Charles was raised with "Gatsby" type lifestyle.  The inheritance he received would have been a pittance to keep up the life style.  Perhaps he did not know how to live another way.


#28    Vincennes

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 07:20 PM

Here is a map of where the Geo. Hurds lived at 16 E. 96th St. I sure hope the had a decent view of Central Park Lake because they were just off Madison Ave.

When I saw where their apartment was located I do feel like we have been chasing the "Gatsby."  If they owned that apartment and kept it, they are back in the money!


http://www.aaccessmaps.com/show/map/us/ny/manhattan

Luckily, I found that 16 E 96th is now for sale.  I think $13,000,000.  might by it.

http://www.zillow.co.../31541122_zpid/

Some pictures but I bet it's been divided up and I know they have destroyed the 1920 charm of it.

http://www.trulia.co...Y-10128#photo-2

Edited by Duncansmom, 30 August 2013 - 07:36 PM.


#29    petermattson

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 02:31 AM

View PostDuncansmom, on 30 August 2013 - 07:20 PM, said:

Here is a map of where the Geo. Hurds lived at 16 E. 96th St. I sure hope the had a decent view of Central Park Lake because they were just off Madison Ave.

When I saw where their apartment was located I do feel like we have been chasing the "Gatsby."  If they owned that apartment and kept it, they are back in the money!



I think you're right that we are chasing "Gatsby" but are we to assume he committed suicide or changed his identity on the pretense that it was common in those days to do so? My thoughts are that the car accident is crucial to this case and without finding information about that (a police report) it will be very difficult to move forward. Was the accident a failed attempt to fake his death? Was he drunk, on drugs, poisoned, or just careless? If the police were involved, I assume they would have had something to say about his state of mind. His car was obviously not incapacitated and he reportedly drove off. I do think it's likely that he intended to disappear in a Gatsby-like fashion and if that assumption holds true then most likely he changed his identity and did not commit suicide or leave the country. It has been mentioned by the highly knowledgeable and  intelligent contributors in this thread that it was not uncommon for men to abandon their families during this period and create new lives for themselves. If that is true, this mystery is still very open-ended and intriguing because there are living descendants of C.G. Hurd who would be more than a little curious where and how he ended up.


#30    petermattson

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 02:37 AM

Addendum: If Charles did commit suicide, that would have been the second time a suitor of Mary Louise Schreiber had done so in the span of less than 10 years. I am not suggesting that a coincidence is proof of anything but how often does that kind of thing happen, especially considering the prominence and wealth of these two men?






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