The Man Who Vanished into Thin Air

For over a century the mysterious disappearance of David Lang has left researchers perplexed. The events that transpired are more comparable to a Twilight Zone episode than a missing persons case. Yet oftentimes the truth is stranger than fiction. After all, similar occurrences continue to happen to this day. Hundreds of eerily parallel cases are described in the Missing 411 book series. Perhaps the best way to determine what is currently happening is to take a look further back in time.


During the afternoon hours of September 23, 1880, a farmer by the name of David Lang and his wife Emma exited their Tennessee home. Playing outside were the couple’s two children: eight-year-old George and eleven year-old Sarah. They watched while Mr. Lang crossed the field and approached his animal stables. At this moment a horse and buggy traveling down the road became visible. Occupying the carriage was Judge August Peck, a family friend, and his brother-in-law. When the youngsters saw who had arrived they immediately stopped playing and eagerly ran towards the vehicle. Judge Peck was known for bringing gifts whenever he came to visit.

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David Lang was a Tennessee farmer who vanished into thin air.

Although these guests were unexpected, the couple was delighted to see them. Mr. Lang waved as he turned around and walked back towards the house. Suddenly something unbelievable happened mid-step: the man completely vanished into thin air. One moment he was there and the next he simply ceased to exist. His utterly shocked wife screamed in horror. She, her children and friends all witnessed this bizarre disappearance.

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Judge August Peck was a well-respected member of the community.

Hastily the three adults sprinted to the area where Mr. Lang had been last seen.  Despite painstakingly scouring every square inch of ground, nothing turned up. Emma Lang had now become incredibly distraught and was brought inside in attempts to calm her down. An emergency siren rang and alerted local neighbors who quickly formed a search party. Concerned lantern-equipped citizens worked feverishly into the late evening hours.

Detectives, police officers and bloodhounds arrived at the scene. They stomped their feet trying to locate any craters to no avail. For weeks crew members thoroughly investigated the pasture but there were no signs of the lost farmer. A land survey showed that beneath the soil was solid limestone free of sinkholes and caves. There were not any wells, marshes, quicksand, trees or boulders present. Now the plot had thickened. How could a fully grown man simply dematerialize during broad daylight, never to be seen again?

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The disappearance occurred on a farm a few miles outside of Gallatin, Tennessee.

Several months later George and Sarah Lang noticed a strange anomaly precisely where their father had disappeared. There was a perfectly formed circle about fifteen feet in diameter where all the interior grass had turned yellow and stopped growing. Even stranger was the fact that resident animals refused to walk through this specific spot. Creatures such as vermin and insects completely avoided the area. When George placed a noisy cricket inside of the circle it immediately fell silent and swiftly jumped out. Upon leaving, the arthropod began chirping loudly once again.

Puzzled, the daughter decided to call out to her beloved parent. Both she and her brother were astonished when they heard Mr. Lang respond by faintly yelling, as if calling out for help. Soon his voice began to fade away before dissolving into silence. Excitedly the pair ran off to fetch their mother. She too could recognize the distant voice of her husband. For four days the family listened intently to the far-off replies until they eventually became inaudible.

After the events that transpired, Mrs. Lang passed the farm to a family friend.

There was never any memorial or funeral service held, perhaps due to wishful thinking that he may someday resurface. Mrs. Lang was never the same after her husband’s departure. Given the haunting memories that surrounded the farm combined with her fragile mental state, she decided to move away. After she and her children left the property was turned over to Judge Peck to rent out. Out of respect for Mr. Lang, the field was left untouched and remained that way until his wife’s passing.

Fifty-one years later Sarah Lang was interviewed by mystery novelist Stuart Palmer. In 1953 the story gained public attention after it was published in Fate Magazine, a popular publication that featured obscure topics. According to Fate, their story “How Lost Was My Father?” was a direct derivation of the previous 1931 account. Harold T. Wilkins released Strange Mysteries of Time and Space in 1958 and Frank Edwards wrote Stranger than Science one year later. Ultimately since few records have been located, investigators are left to study the work of these authors.

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For over a century researchers have wondered where David Lang went.

Whatever happened to David Lang remains a baffling mystery. Some speculate that he stumbled into another dimension. Others believe the man was abducted by aliens in a forcefield-concealed UFO. Skeptics say that the entire story is a work of fiction and nothing more than a mere hoax. As the decades continues to pass it becomes increasingly difficult to discern what really transpired that day. Given the number of strange disappearances that continue to occur, this is might be a case that should not be so easily dismissed.


What do you think happened to David Lang? Share your thoughts in the comments section if you have a theory of your own!

15 thoughts on “The Man Who Vanished into Thin Air

  1. Karsci March 11, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    Another great post👍 Perhaps he entered another dimension, vey mysterious.

    • Ash March 11, 2018 / 5:57 pm

      Thank you, Kasci. I have wondered the same thing. It’s definitely a very mysterious case.

  2. Mary Kelly March 11, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    Mrs. Lang and Judge Peck were having an affair and they murdered Mr. Lang. Children are very maleable and can be easily manipulated.

    • Ash March 11, 2018 / 5:54 pm

      That is a very interesting and plausible theory. I agree that children can be easily persuaded. However, if Mr. Lang was murdered it’s strange that the bloodhounds were unable to pick up a scent. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • Rebecca S DuBarry July 24, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      Metal is malleable, children are impressionable.

  3. Gatekeeper March 15, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Good article Ash. I recall reading this case in the past and over the years came across a dozen theories attempted to explain this. They ranged from an extradimensional portal to shifting through time to another point in history. Whatever the cause, I wonder if he with the others that mysteriously vanished too?

    • Ash March 17, 2018 / 5:51 pm

      Thank you very much! There are definitely abundant theories out there and they are all equally fascinating. I too wonder if all the missing are in some other world or parallel dimension.

  4. Erin VonCorcoran March 18, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    You definitely should do a podcast!

  5. Sakib June 8, 2018 / 11:27 pm

    I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s a jinn that kidnapped him back to his dimension, this kinda thing happened a lot in the 19th century. Nowadays you’ve got lots of jinn coming over to our dimension for some reason.

    • Ash June 9, 2018 / 5:53 pm

      That’s a very interesting theory, Sakib. I believe anything is possible when it comes to this mysterious disappearance.

    • Rebecca S DuBarry July 24, 2019 / 5:00 pm

      Pretty obvious you say….. Lol

  6. Paul February 5, 2019 / 4:48 am

    I believe this to be a complete fabrication for two reasons:
    1.) Ambrose Bierce wrote a short story following this story line to the letter-there may however be a few deviations in the account that you gave.
    2.) Newspapers in the 1800’s up until at least the 1960’s made up sensationalistic stories to bolster readership and subscriptions. A case in point was one “journalist” that made up a story about canals on mars and the winged creatures that were observed by observatories. It had the public scared beyond belief and they couldn’t wait until the next edition. Finally the man came forward and revealed his prank. There were countless stories of cigar shaped ships seen in the sky with the occupants yelling down to those below. Even Mark Twain made up far fetched stories when he worked on a newspaper. These two facts convince me of the falsity of this “urban legend(?)” that has been recounted countless times through the ages.

    • Ash March 21, 2019 / 2:26 am

      Hi, Paul! Thanks for your well-thought out comment. You make a lot of excellent points. I will definitely check out the story by Ambrose Bierce. I loved An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge so I’m very excited to check that piece out.

  7. Charlotte March 23, 2019 / 7:15 pm

    I understand I am late…
    But neither the Lang family nor Judge Peck ever existed. From my recollection this story was told by a traveling salesman ( I believe Mullhollan or similar name) who was originally from Pennsylvania. I believe it was stated that this man was a legendary story teller and this was one of his most memorable stories.
    Mullhollan was also rumored to have won a “lying contest” I guess meaning some sort of short story that was completely false and made up to hold the readers attention.
    It has further been discovered that the original affidavit was never properly notarized and the signatures in the paper along with signatures, I believe the located in the Shakespeare book of Tales, were all examined by a hand writing expert in which all signatures were determined to have been signed in the same handwriting. Shakespeare comes into play as the story was later added that Sarah the older daughter contacted the spirit world and received a hand written message from the hereafter stating her parents were now together. The story further states that Sarah opened the Shakespeare Tales book given to her by her lost father and the note from the hereafter was in his handwriting.
    It is a great imaginative story nonetheless. 😁😁

    • Ash March 25, 2019 / 6:11 pm

      Hi, Charlotte. Thank you for sharing your own research and providing further insight into this intriguing tale. You make some excellent points. I will definitely look further into the information you shared. The tale of David Lang is definitely a great and mysterious story. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. =)

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