Some people are more adventurous than others. The irresistible urge to take a risky journey into the unknown comes from any number of motivations such as personal desire to explore the world, professional duty to discover and document the cultures of less-developed civilizations, a craving for bold experience, or simply the need to go off-grid in the middle of uncharted territory among other reasons.
Extraordinarily daring people usually – although not always – have the means to engage in the problematic undertaking or are backed by organizations big enough capable of providing all the required provisions for it, including a budget, equipment, and health and welfare.
In 1961, Michael Clark Rockefeller was young, motivated, and deeply serious in his quest to collect exotic artifacts for his father’s Museum of Primitive Arts.
The great-grandchildren of John D. Rockefeller thought a trip to the Asmat, a headhunting and cannibalistic tribe in Dutch New Guinea, seemed like the perfect choice.
Unfortunately, Michael never returned; the official explanation said he drowned in a river. Records show he was killed and eaten.
10 /10 Disappeared Rockefeller
As soon as word reached home, Michael Rockefeller, the 23-year-old Harvard graduate and son of New York governor Nelson Rockefeller vanished on November 19, 1961, in what was once Netherlands New Guinea.
The story of his disappearance made headlines all over the world. Search effort by airplanes, ships, helicopters, and thousands of locals was immediately underway. The New York Times published near-daily updates on that.
He was nowhere to be found after more than three weeks of extensive search. Michael was presumed dead three years later. His body was never found.
9 /10 Capsized Boat
Dutch rulers advanced an explanation that Michael drowned while he was trying to swim ashore from his capsized boat.
He was on the boat with two local teenagers and Rene Wassing, an anthropologist colleague in his mission to collect primitive arts for a Rotterdam museum.
The alternative conclusion was much more harrowing. Michael didn’t drown; he made it to shore but had an unfortunate encounter with a group of Asmat, who then killed, dismembered, and had a feast on his flesh.
It was likely correct. According to records, the Dutch government knew about it and kept the information secret.