Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Loonboy

Bizarre Suicide/Disappearance

8 posts in this topic

From 'Strange Vanishings' by Colin Wilson:

On June 29, 1968, Jerrold Potter and his wife Carrie climbed on board a DC-3 plane flying from Kankakee, Illinois to Dallas, Texas, to attend a Lion's Club convention. Potter was a 54-year-old insurance executive whose home background was secure and happy. The plane was north of Rolla, Missouri, when Potter stood up to go to the lavatory. On the way there he stopped to chat to James Schive, president of the Ottowa, Illinois, Lion's Club.

A few minutes after Potter had vanished into the lavatory, the plane shuddered slightly as if going through an air pocket but there were no more bumps. But Schive, sitting towards the back of the plane, noticed that when the plane quivered there was a rush of air.

After ten minutes or so, Mrs Potter began to wonder where her husband was and asked a stewardess to check the lavatory. The lavatory was empty but the rear door of the plane proved to be slightly ajar. And a piece of safety chain, which held it closed, was on the ground. The pilot had also noticed a warning light that a door was open and sent his co-pilot to check. He met the stewardess who had just found the door ajar.

Jerrold Potter had undoubtedly vanished from the plane by way of the rear door. Yet the event was still a total mystery. To begin with, the exit door had a warning in large white letters on a red background, 'Do not open in flight.' The door was secured with a heavy handle that had to be turned a full circle to release two huge bolts. In fact, the door was too heavy for the stewardesses to open and members of the crew always had to help. Yet Potter was a happy family man who had no reason to commit suicide. Why did he do it? For it must undoubtedly have been Potter himself who opened the door.

The plane had been flying over the Ozark Mountains when Potter disappeared and the body was never found.

blink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so we've assertained that the door was opened for at least a while, and that the plane shook when it was opened, aswell as air rushing in, for the air to be so unoticable the door must have only been opened for a split second, and if the man did jump out, how did the door shut and then lock itself, unless there was more than one person back there one to open the door another to shove him out and then they possibly ran out of time and could not shut the door, they would then have had to have hidden again quickly, or got back to the seats before anyone looked for the man.

Edited by Althalus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you open a door in a plane with a pressurized cabin it will have a powerful suction effect. he could have just opened it and been sucked right out- the door closing right behind him.

you gotta be really stupid or nervous to miss the warning signs though... maybe he just REALLY had to go and wasnt paying attention. oh well, im sure he went on the way down laugh.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way I read it was that the guy either:

1. Mistook the door for the exit for the door for the lavatory. An apparently odd mistake to make, given the locking mechanism on the door and the large warning sign.

2. He intended to leave the plane, possibly for suicidal reasons.

The door to the plane was ajar when found by the stewardess, which would mean that the door had been opened by somebody. Most likely the guy left (for whatever reason) via that door. The mystery really concerns why?

blink.gif

Anyone remember that film about people place/time-travelling to jumbo jets which were about to crash and teleporting them off to the future? What was that called? Millennium or something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Schwartz,

A slightly different version of the tale states that the cabin wasn't pressurized, apparently it flew low enough not to require pressurization.

I tend to think it was a suicide, and suspect the story has undergone some drastic changes to enhance its 'mysteriousness'. A few things that have me wondering;

1. Why, if "The door was secured with a heavy handle that had to be turned a full circle to release two huge bolts." did this very same door need to be secured with a piece of 'safety chain'? Not to mention the consequence of a chain effectively rendering an emergency exit unusable.

2. "But Schive, sitting towards the back of the plane, noticed that when the plane quivered there was a rush of air." Now a DC-3 isn't a very large plane, and if this Schive guy was sitting near the rear of the plane, that means he was at most only about 10 to 20 feet from the rear door, and all he felt was a slight draft? Come on. Not only that, but if I'm up in a plane and I feel anything out of the ordinary, you can bet my ass is out of my seat like a shot, glancing everywhere, looking for cracks, open windows and the bathroom myself, if you get my drift. tongue.gif

3. Sitting on the ground or flying, you open a door on a plane with the engines running and there is going to be a hell of a rise in the noise level, never mind a "rush of air". rolleyes.gif

Magikman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the man that dissapeared probably hid, and then legged it when the plane landed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points, MM, but I have no other info on the story and am unable to clarify or shed more light on the tale.

Maybe his wife pushed him out of the plane and snuck back to her seat - he might have been loaded... heh heh heh

wink.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right LB, there was a movie called

'Millennium' (good memory!) smile.gif

(and you could be right about the wife too!) laugh.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.