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We’re Still Confused How Humans Managed to Lose These Incredibly Large Items

Photo Credit: DAVID GRAY / AFP / Getty Images and SSPL / Getty Images
Photo Credit: DAVID GRAY / AFP / Getty Images and SSPL / Getty Images

A lot of things have gone missing throughout history. Artwork, archaeological treasures, and even people have disappeared without a trace. You would think that the bigger the object, the more difficult it would be to lose. However, we have a list of six large things that somehow managed to get lost.

A bunch of boulders went missing

During the Victorian period, it wasn’t abnormal to get dressed in your best clothing, trek into the great outdoors, and get your photograph taken while sitting on a massive boulder. In fact, the boulders in question were so popular, people would travel from far and wide just to get a picture proving they visited them.

A boulder
A large portion of Birmingham’s erratic boulders have disappeared over the decades. (Photo Credit: Mac McCreery / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

They are known as Birmingham erratic boulders, and they are believed to be relics of the Ice Age, deposited in their place about 450,000 years ago. A survey conducted in 1890 mapped out the locations of approximately 200 boulders scattered throughout the country, but now, more than half seem to have gone missing.

To get an idea of the size of some of these missing rocks, the one known as the Rowheath boulder measured 8 feet by 5 feet by 3 feet. How anyone managed to move that heavy thing from its place is beyond us.

Imagine losing an entire army

Channing Tatum and other dressed as Roman soldiers in a forest.
The 2011 film, The Eagle, depicts a fictitious outcome of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion. (Photo Credit: Universal Pictures / Immaq / MovieStillsDB)

During the time of the Ancient Romans, an entire army of soldiers went missing. This wasn’t just any army either, but an elite military group known as the Ninth Legion. They were stationed in Britain following the invasion of the Roman Empire in 43 AD, and had over 5,000 soldiers within its ranks.

However, by the early 120s AD, the entire army seemingly disappeared. A 2011 film adaptation of the legion’s fate, called The Eagle, told the story that they were defeated in a remote Scottish valley by a group of barbarians, but their true demise is unknown.

Many believe that it’s more likely they were taken out at the edge of the empire in the highlands of Britain. Or they may have been shipped off to the Middle East, where all traces of their existence seems to end. However, without any archaeological evidence to support either of these theories, we may never know what actually happened to the Ninth Legion.

Several nuclear bombs are MIA

Over the course of the Cold War, several nuclear bombs were produced and transported by both the United States and the Soviet Union. Among them, a handful actually went missing. For a long time, the public was unaware that the US had lost numerous nuclear bombs, as the information was marked classified, but the eventual release of the documents revealed that these bombs are just sitting idle in various areas around the world.

Several men searching a countryside
U.S. airmen scour the rugged countryside for a missing nuclear device, during the fourth day of operation “Broken Arrow,” here January 21st. The weapon was one of four on board a SAC B-52 bomber which crashed January 17th. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

In total, there are six missing nuclear bombs, all believed to be lost in the depths of the ocean. Some of these missing bombs are the result of human error, but in other instances, it was the failure of the transporting vehicle that caused them to be dropped without detonation.

While some of the  ‘Broken Arrows’ bombs have been found and identified, the US military has deemed them irretrievable. Despite the technological advancements available today, the decades they spent in the ocean lead many to believe they are under layers of sand on the ocean floor. As outlined by the US, trying to retrieve them could trigger accidental detonation. As such, they say it’s best to leave them alone.

A commercial Boeing 727

Planes go missing all the time, but typically, they are found again following an emergency or crash landing. However, in 2003, a commercial Boeing 727 seemingly went missing from the sky. Its whereabouts still stump the FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security today.

A Boeing 727 in a jungle
A Boeing 727 Jet, in the woods, in Hillsboro, Oregon. (Photo Credit: Paul Harris / Getty Images)

Located in Angola at the time, a flight engineer and a mechanic were inside the plane when it suddenly took off. When air traffic control attempted to communicate with the rogue aircraft, no response was provided. The plane moved erratically, but eventually left the runway.

The flight engineer had only a private pilot’s license, so it is unclear whether he was the one manning the unplanned flight. However, since the incident, no trace of either man or any debris from the plane has been found. What happened to the plane or its two passengers remains a mystery.

Over $10 million worth of silver was lost in a heist

A silver bar
Over $10 million worth of silver went missing in Canada. (Photo Credit: Kuebi / Armin Kübelbeck / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

In 2019, a whopping $10.2 million worth of precious silver was stolen from right under the noses of the transport companies in charge of taking the cargo from South Korea to New York. It was in Quebec, Canada, when it disappeared, left unattended in a lot outside an abandoned warehouse.

There were several transporting companies involved in getting the silver from point A to point B, so when it went missing, everyone pointed fingers at each other. As it turns out, a passcode was required to release the cargo from the rail yard, which was intercepted by the thieves. They then sent fake pickup instructions which had the silver delivered to the parking lot outside of the warehouse.

Since the heist, pieces of the shipment of silver have turned up in British Columbia and Massachusetts. However, for the most part, the whereabouts of the precious metal is still unknown.

A star was nowhere to be found

There are a lot of things in this world that have gone missing without explanation, but one thing we were surprised to hear disappeared was a star. A literal star. In space. The loss of this star marks the largest object to ever be lost by the human race. It was part of the Kinman Dwarf galaxy and was so large that scientists called it a “monster star.”

A star
A star in the Kinman Dwarf galaxy went missing when researchers returned to study it in 2019. (Photo Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI)

Between 2001 and 2011, the star was consistently monitored due to its size as well as its incredible brightness. It shone about 2.5 million times brighter than our sun, which makes its disappearance even more confusing. Believed to be near the end of its life cycle, researchers reduced their monitoring of the star, giving it the chance to disappear.

More from us: Inventors Who Were Taken Down By Their Own Inventions

When researchers went to analyze it again in 2019, they could not find it anywhere. For this, two theories were suggested. The first is that the star could have evolved into a smaller star, less identifiable and concealed by dust. The second is that it could have collapsed into a black hole before it could reach the end of its life cycle. Either way, the star is not where it used to be.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!