Sometimes, for no particular reason, I find myself mentally writing my own Charley Project entry for if I should disappear on that particular day. Tracking my movements and potential witnesses for the police to question, examining my personal life for clues.

Today, for example, a plumber came over in the morning. I was very tired when I let him in, having been up most of the night, and wanted to go back to sleep, but he wouldn’t let me. Insurance purposes, he said. He replaced our water heater and left. The plumber would not be a suspect in my disappearance, since I (and presumably he) was seen by others later that day, but he might be able to remember the shirt I was wearing. None of the other witnesses I can think of would have seen the logo on the front.

This afternoon, I spoke to my father on the phone and we had a normal conversation. After that I went to the bank and cashed a check. The teller would remember me but would produce a puzzling detail: I gave her the impression that I had traveled to Iceland on vacation recently, when in fact I haven’t been out of the country in over ten years. (What happened was the check was payment for a sweater from Iceland which I bought for a friend, as I told her when we were making small talk at the counter, and when I said it was from Iceland she assumed I’d been there and bought it. In fact I’d bought it over the internet, but I decided to let her keep thinking I’d been to Iceland rather than possibly embarrass her by correcting her.)

After the bank, credit card records will show I purchased gas at a gas station across the way. I went inside the station also, and the clerk might remember me (and the bank teller also) for my unusual dress: I was wearing a long, black woolen cloak that came down to my ankles. The cloak has slits for the arms so you can see my red shirt underneath, but it would have concealed the “Fricker’s” logo on the shirt. I might also be remembered for my somewhat odd purchase: four one-liter bottles of soda.

After that I went home again. The presence of my car in the driveway, my wallet and phone and other effects in the house, and the soda in the fridge would prove that. Also, the cops would find the cloak I’d been wearing earlier. Let’s pretend I vanished at that point, leaving my car and all my stuff behind and no signs of a struggle.

My disappearance will not be noticed until at least 9:00 or 9:30 p.m., when Michael comes home and finds the house deserted. That’s roughly a five-hour time window. He would try to call my cell only to discover it was still at the house. He would check with our across-the-street neighbor, whom I sometimes visit, and she would have told him she hadn’t seen me all day. Since I never leave without my car except to visit that neighbor or get the mail, Michael will become seriously concerned at this point and start calling people to see if they’d heard from me or seen me. Once he gets negative responses, he will probably call the cops.

Let us pretend that the police begin investigating my disappearance from the outset, rather than filing away the report and telling Michael to get back to them if I don’t come home within a few days. Given my bipolar disorder, the police might presume I’ve gone off my meds and wandered away and/or offed myself. But a check with my doctor and with Michael would have indicated I was taking the medication as far as they knew. I was behaving normally just hours before I disappeared, and while I can decompensate rapidly, I don’t do so THAT rapidly. As days and possibly a few weeks pass with no sign of me or my body, I would hope the police would discard this theory as it defies common sense.

The idea that I left on my own also defies common sense, given that I’ve never done so before and have left absolutely everything behind, most notably my car. The police can easily check with everyone I know in town and verify that none of them have given me a ride. The idea of a secret person, perhaps a secret boyfriend unknown to anyone, would have to be discussed. There is no evidence to support that theory, but stranger things have happened.

Once foul play became a serious consideration, Michael would become the natural suspect in my disappearance. They always blame the boyfriend. Going against this theory is our good relationship with a lack of domestic violence of any kind, the fact that Michael would most certainly cooperate fully with the police and take a polygraph, and most importantly, the fact that he was at work all day until around 8:30 p.m.

Having absolutely nothing to go on, and me being an adult and all, the police might just throw up their hands at this point, though I think Michael and my family would have something to say about that. The best bet is that something bad happened to me, possibly at the hands of a stranger, possibly at the hands of someone who knew me. A big clue would be whether or not the door was locked when Michael came home. A locked door does not, of course, mean 100% that I left the house voluntarily, but it would be an indication.

As for distinguishing characteristics, I’ve got pretty distinctive teeth — I’ve had two removed in the back — a prominent scar on my left forearm, and a mole on my right knee. That’s about it. The most recent good photographs would be from Michael’s family’s church portrait this past summer.

I think my Charley Project casefile would end with something like: “It’s uncharacteristic of Good to leave without warning, and her loved ones don’t believe she left of her own accord. Although there is no hard evidence of foul play in her case, the lack of contact since her disappearance leads police to believe she met came to harm.”

35 thoughts on “Sometimes…

  1. Ilya December 16, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    Have you ever read a book called “How to disappear completely and never be found”?

  2. Becky December 16, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    Cut it out. You are not allowed to go missing. I’ve thought a bit about this too, sorta along the same lines but my thinking goes like this: if I am someday a victim of foul play but nobody knows what happened to me, Will a search of my computer and my clear and unusual interest in missing persons cases lead authorities to erroneously assume that I staged my own disappearance?

    • Angie December 17, 2014 / 10:27 am

      See I think of it the other way. If someone close to me disappears, I will automatically become the prime suspect because I spend so much time reading about MPs and UIDs!

  3. libraryjobber December 16, 2014 / 7:57 pm

    Websleuths: There would be much debate about family member versus someone else.

    Doe Network: They would have little information but would still include at least 1 typo.

    Charley Project: We’d figure that a blog troll had something to do with it.

    This is why you can’t disappear, because the case file would be written by someone who gets it all wrong and all of the resulting debate would be from trolls!


    • perl December 17, 2014 / 5:36 pm

      Haha! Well said! 🙂

  4. Lynn December 16, 2014 / 7:59 pm

    I do this type of thing frequently, most often on the rare occasions I leave the house alone on foot to go for a walk. Partly due to my anxiety and partly due to my interest in missing persons cases, I think, is what makes it pop up in my head. I can always imagine that somewhere in the account of my disappearance would be the statement that it’s very uncharacteristic of me to leave home alone for long periods of time and that I’d not go with strangers willingly. I’m a very fearful, reclusive sort of person, so I feel like as soon as my family discovered my absence, they’d become alarmed. Although if it was a day I was home alone, it would be hours before my family came back and realized I was missing.

  5. Kat December 16, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    I agree with Lynn, and I do the same thing sometimes, simply because I’m a stay at home with few friends in this state, plus I don’t think it is unreasonable for people with a long term standing with MP cases to NOT wonder what might happen to them. In fact, years ago I read an article on that type of pondering (don’t ask me the details, I don’t remember now) and it is fairly normal for those involved in this type of depressing area. Frankly, in this day and age it isn’t a bad idea to let people know where you are going and when!

  6. Petra December 16, 2014 / 10:32 pm

    OMG I thought I was the only one who did this, I suspect the same as Becky though my family know I am interested in missing persons and my internet history would definitely put the thought of a deliberate disappearance in the eyes of the police

  7. Shannon December 17, 2014 / 2:00 am

    I do the same thing! I play out scenarios& what ifs in my head!

  8. LBCGriffin December 17, 2014 / 8:43 am

    Another one who thought she was the only one who did this! Most of my pondering is cataloging my distinguishing characteristics (scars, etc).

  9. Angie December 17, 2014 / 10:24 am

    OMG I thought I was the only one! I do this too, especially if I have to walk home alone at night or stay at home alone for a long time. I always wonder if anyone will remember what I was wearing that day.

    • NH December 17, 2014 / 11:30 am


  10. Christy December 17, 2014 / 4:08 pm

    When I do something like impulsively go for a long car ride for the heck of it without mentioning it to anyone, or when I’ve had a close call, e.g., someone who seemed suspicious who wanted to come into my apartment, I almost always start to mentally write my Charley profile. Mine almost always ends with some mention of pets that I would surely have made arrangements for if I had planned to be away.

    In your case, there would be dozens of articles mentioning Charley Project, citing either irony, or suggesting it as evidence that you have been studying for your own disappearance for many years.

    • Meaghan December 17, 2014 / 4:46 pm

      I actually did almost get reported missing once. I was severely depressed and spoke on the phone with my mother about it. She was alarmed and asked if I needed help. I said no. Later that day I changed my mind and went to a crisis center and wound up being admitted to the hospital.

      I didn’t call anyone after my admission and they took my cell from me so I couldn’t answer my mom’s calls. The next day Mom dropped by the house and found only my brother there, not me, and he said he hadn’t seen me. She called work and found out I hadn’t been there the previous night. She freaked, thought I’d killed myself. I called her finally from the hospital and she was crying and I think she was on the way to the police station to file a report.

  11. eeniebeans December 17, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    I knew I wasn’t the only one who did this!

  12. Jer December 17, 2014 / 9:18 pm

    I have to say I have never thought about this. If I ever felt like running away from my life they wouldn’t have to search too hard. Just give my picture to every home brew shop or sports bar around and I’d show up somewhere.

    My brother went missing for a few weeks once. He didn’t show up for work and didn’t call in. They called me and asked what was going on. I said I had no idea. I drove to his town and fed his cat and generally hung around his house for a week. Since I had just lost my job at that time it wasn’t a big deal. Eventually I talked to a lady he went to church with and she agreed to take the cat until he came back, that way I could go get a job. After about three weeks, we called the police there and talked about filing a missing person report. I felt bad because I was the last person he talked to (he stopped by my apt to get something on his way home) and I wish I could have seen some sign that something was wrong.

    As I rode in the car with my mom to the police department, she got a call on her phone and it was my brother. He had apparently become suicidal and checked himself in to a hospital. We went to see him and he was a mess. His doctor had encouraged him to get in touch with one of us but it took him three weeks until he did. He eventually lost his job. And then the house. He’s back on his feet again, but it scares me to think that this could all happen again…

    • Kat December 21, 2014 / 10:45 pm

      That’s awful to go through. I hope your brother continues to do well and you don’t have to worry about it, but I do understand how it could weigh on you as a possibility.

  13. Angie December 18, 2014 / 10:14 am

    Something I thought of…if you went missing, who would be writing the Charley Project casefile? That sounds like a creepypasta in the making!

    • Ilya December 18, 2014 / 12:01 pm

      Kinda reminds me of a story in which Canadian girl went missing and was later found dead (Elisa Lam) – someone was updating her profile even after her death, though.

      *insert creepy laugh in here*

      • Angie December 18, 2014 / 4:07 pm

        That entire case was just frightening. That video, the impossibility of the circumstances, the post on Reddit her friend made about her being missing. The creepiest part is, in the same city where she was found dead, there was an outbreak of tuberculosis or something that week and the test used to diagnose it is called the LAM-ELISA.

  14. LisaP December 18, 2014 / 9:48 pm

    I once got into a fight with my significant other and stopped the car on the side of a highway. I hopped out and started walking in the middle of the night and in the middle of winter. As I got farther and farther from anything (I was in a corn field) I started thinking about all the women who’ve “supposedly” gotten out of vehicles after a fight and were never seen again. Long story short, he called the highway patrol right away and an officer found me a bit later and he took me home~ I have never forgotten the strange realization that I’d read the stories of several women who may have done exactly what I had done, but they were never were seen alive again.

    • NH December 19, 2014 / 4:18 am

      The difference being that you had a concerned significant other who called in help instead of just driving away.

      • Kat December 21, 2014 / 10:48 pm

        Exactly. There’s a list for Meaghan…those who got out of the car after an argument (supposedly or otherwise) and disappeared. The Debbie Melo case was in my area years ago and I always thought they would find her. Now, not so sure. After getting out of the car, it is always left in the middle of the night, after a fight, etc. And the excuse most of the time is slim. But yes, very lucky to have someone to call for help.

  15. Michael December 19, 2014 / 8:32 pm

    I’ve often thought about the same things.

    Build your own “If I go missing” kit.

    I think it’s a good idea for a person to assemble in writing about themselves and different photographs of clothing we normally wear. Plus hobbies, usual haunts and most importantly enemies or those who’d benefit from our disappearance. This info could be put in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or in a place where trusted friends and/or police could find. Fingerprints and items with DNA could be left behind as well.

    Creepy I know but it’s better than nothing to go on….

  16. amy December 21, 2014 / 4:44 am

    Obviously I am not the only one that does this! I also write my own ID specials about my disappearance.

  17. frank December 23, 2014 / 12:52 pm

    If you go missing, just make sure you keep doing the updates.

  18. Jeannee Waseck December 29, 2014 / 2:04 pm

    This is a fascinating read for me, my friend! especially because the last place I lived in – altho I was in a subdivision with 20 feet between the houses – I was in an extremely isolated position … in fact, I often feared that I would drop dead///be hurt///fall & get injured, and just lay there unfound until my poor dogs also starved to death ;- I’m so grateful I don’t have to live like that anymore! …. Another interesting point is that you realize how it will be investigated – to a point – and then shuffled to the bottom of the pile — sad truth.

  19. Alice April 10, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Have you ever considered being a true-crime writer?

    • Meaghan April 10, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      I kind of already am.

  20. Melinda March 4, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    Nice entry, Meaghan…I know I’m late to the party! I hope no one will judge me too harshly for this but I HAVE actually considered just leaving due to my chronic depression. I feel misunderstood and like a burden to everyone around me, so there have been times when I’ve thought about disappearing and walking away from it all.
    But I also know that it would be hurtful to the very few people who care about me. I wouldn’t want to put them through that, although it is tempting at times.

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