The mysterious disappearance of Dorothy Arnold (8 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
13 April 2024

People sometimes disappear. It is a fact. They become victims of crime, run away from sadistic relatives, and decide to simply start life from scratch.

But in most cases they are found. Or they discover evidence that explains the motives for the disappearance. In some cases it cannot be explained. All that remains is to attribute it to mysticism. As was the case with this young woman.

Dorothy Arnold

Dorothy Arnold

Dorothy Harriett Camilla Arnold was born into a wealthy family on July 1, 1885. She was the daughter of the head of a large trading company and the niece of a Supreme Court judge. Dorothy was a wealthy heiress and socialite. She received an excellent education and at the time of her disappearance on December 12, 1910, she tried herself in literature as an aspiring writer. At the age of 25, the girl disappeared without a trace from the streets of New York. No one ever saw her again.

Fatal day

New York in the 1910s

On the day of her disappearance, Dorothy Arnold left her home in New York around 11 a.m. She told her mother, Mary Martha Parks Arnold, that she would go pick out an evening dress for an upcoming important event - a debutante ball, where the girl's younger sister was to appear for the first time. Mary asked if she should join her. But the daughter refused.

This was not unusual, since it was believed that the mother was not in good health, and shopping trips tired her. Dorothy did not take any things with her. Only money to buy a dress - about 25 dollars.

Leaving the house, Arnold stopped at the Park and Tilford confectionery, where she bought some chocolate. From there she went to a bookstore where she bought a book. As she left the store, she ran into her friend Gladys King. Gladys was the last person to see Dorothy.



Not a single person who saw Dorothy on the day of her disappearance noticed anything unusual in the girl’s behavior. In the pastry shop and bookstore, she looked happy, smiled and joked. She was clearly not bothered by anything.

But it never appeared in ready-made clothing stores and ateliers. Accordingly, it can be assumed that she either lied or was somehow stopped before she could carry out her plans.

Strange behavior of parents

That evening, when Dorothy did not return home for dinner, the Arnold family began making inquiries among her friends. They were unable to find any information about their daughter. Oddly enough, Dorothy's friend called her later that evening and Mary Arnold told her that Dorothy was in bed with a headache. Even stranger is the fact that her parents knew about her disappearance and did not report her to the police. Instead, they contacted a lawyer who was a friend of their son John.

Start of the search

George Griscom

The lawyer arrived at the Arnold house and carefully examined Dorothy's room. He found nothing suspicious except for some badly burnt papers in the fireplace. It was not possible to read the contents. But these were probably the unpublished works of the aspiring writer, which were rejected by the publishers.

Nothing was missing and there was no evidence to indicate that Dorothy had run away. The lawyer continued his investigation, visiting hospitals and morgues in search of the young woman. But it was a dead end.

Contacting the police

Six weeks after Dorothy disappeared, her family finally contacted the police. The police wanted to publicize the news of the girl's disappearance, but Dorothy's father, Francis Arnold, was categorically against it. After three days, he realized that he had no choice. And the story got publicity. The police investigation was inconclusive and the case was closed.

There is very little evidence that can tell what happened to Dorothy Arnold. And the evidence that exists is easily explained. For example, Dorothy found herself secretly engaged to a man named George Griscom. Relatives did not approve of their daughter's choice. However, absolutely no evidence was found that she and George had a falling out or ran away together. Moreover, the chosen one, who had a solid alibi, placed several advertisements asking Dorothy to contact him, but to no avail. Eventually, he moved on with his life.


One theory is that Dorothy was heartbroken because her parents ridiculed her for wanting to be a writer. The refusal of publications to publish her stories did not add to optimism.

According to this version, the girl could commit suicide, considering herself a failure. Her family actually laughed at her, considering writing nonsense. However, Dorothy was still quite young, and the first refusal was not a reason to give up her dream.

Plus, according to numerous eyewitness accounts, on the day of her disappearance the girl was calm and looked happy. She showed no signs of suicidal tendencies, she did not leave any note, and the body was not found in any of the places where one could commit suicide.

Other versions, such as kidnapping for ransom and death as a result of a criminal abortion, were also not confirmed. The family spent almost a fortune on the search. But they turned out to be ineffective. To protect the capital from impostors who periodically appeared on the threshold of the mansion and posed as their long-lost daughter, the parents crossed her out of their wills.

Neither the body nor any other evidence that could shed light on the mystery of one of the strangest New York disappearances was ever found.

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