"Oh magus, you have begun thy journey. Your master's temple has fallen but his work is not yet finished…"Orrin Oscar Lutwidge

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Maybe we just got used to people vanishing during the war years.
― Dr. Richard Clerkwell[src]

The Vanishing is a term from There's Something in the Sea used to describe the wave of disappearances of bright and talented adults all around the world beginning in 1946 and carrying all the way to 1952. Unknown to the surface, these adults were all taken to Rapture.


In the aftermath of World War II, many people around the world were convinced that the civilized world was set on a path of irrevocable self destruction. When Andrew Ryan began recruiting people to take part in his vision of utopia, Rapture, many of these individuals saw it as a chance to escape the inevitable forthcoming turmoil. Scientists, doctors, artists; all of those whom Ryan saw as the best and brightest of their generation mysteriously vanished from the surface, instead choosing to take up residence in Rapture. Rapture first opened to an influx of citizens in 1946; by 1951 it had closed its gates, thus all instances of "Vanished" individuals occurred during that five year time period.

Whilst the surface world did take notice of this sudden wave of unexplained disappearances, most governments saw this process as a consequence of expected post-war relocation, refusing to investigate claims that it was out of the ordinary. Intelligence agencies in the Soviet Union assumed that similar disappearances of their own citizens was the result of defection to Western Democracies. Meanwhile, the U.S. government was studiously ignoring all suggestions that the disappearances were out of the ordinary. This official disinterest resulted in many fringe organizations creating their own conspiracy theories, each seeking so-called truths that would reflect their own fantasies or fears. Most researchers noted commonalities with those who had Vanished, such as their unusual genius and unconventional mindset.  Despite this realization, very few saw the true connection between the cases: a belief in Andrew Ryan's free market ideals - one strong enough to leave everything for.


Arthur Gene TuggleEdit

Arthur Gene Tuggle, an aeronautics engineer, worked with his wife, Anna May, to research individuals who vanished. Together, they created a large list of all missing individuals. They painstakingly compared their list to other researchers, gleaning information from local police reports in an attempt to determine exactly just how many disappearances were unexplained. His fellow researchers estimated the total number as anywhere from a few dozen to several thousand.

Celeste RogetEdit

Shambhala Expedition

An article translated by Pamela Poires.

Celeste Roget initially started researching the Vanishing after her father, renowned architect Jean Louis Roget, went missing. Under the influence of Orrin Oscar Lutwidge she became convinced that all of the Vanished had traveled to the mystical city of Shambhala in the Himalayas. She became friends with many others who had lost friends and family members to unexplained disappearances and eventually planned for a trip to the Himalayas in search of the myth. Unfortunately, this trip ended in an avalanche that killed every member of the expedition except Celeste herself.

The International Order of the PawnsEdit

Under the leadership of Orrin Oscar Lutwidge The International Order of the Pawns (I.O.O.P.) amassed a great deal of research into the Vanishing. They possess perhaps the greatest store of knowledge on the subject due to their great number of members in countries around the world. Through their research they were the closest to discovering the true destination of the Vanished, Rapture. Lutwidge himself eventually found Rapture and he left behind many clues, including cryptic references to the Lewis Carrol poem "The Hunting of the Snark" and its last section titled "Fit the Eighth: The Vanishing."

The James Millard Oakes LeagueEdit

The James Millard Oakes League was an anticommunist, anti-Soviet group which used the vanished James Millard Oakes as a rallying point for their conspiracy theories. They backed the theory that all of the brilliant minds that disappeared during the Vanishing were victims of a Soviet plot.

Mark Meltzer's ResearchEdit

Mark Meltzer first learned of the Vanishing by reading the article, "The Original Drop-Outs: The Secret History of the Vanishing" in The Monthly Undergrounder. He uncovered a great deal of information during the search for his kidnapped daughter. Throughout his time gathering knowledge of the Vanishing, Mark attended meetings and gatherings of groups (mostly conspiracy theorists) intent on learning the truth: particularly the James Millard Oakes League, and NUFOS. Meltzer regarded most of these groups as "kooks", seeing that they were all biased by their personal obsessions, ranging from UFOs, to Communists to Atlanteans. Following the conspiracy theorists gave no concrete evidence or leads, and yet again, Meltzer seemed to be the only one who noticed the patterns.

Mark investigated the Vanishing rigorously, making the connection between it and the more recent abduction of the little girls even though the occurrences were twenty years apart from each other. He noted that the two events are very similar to each other: both of them were in some way related to the ocean, reports of "red lights," and "official disinterest." Of the disappearances noted, many were characters encountered in BioShock. Along with these familiar names, there were supposedly thousands more who also disappeared: most of these people being artists, scientists, or those who had fallen under the spell of the philosophies of Andrew Ryan, as pointed out by Flann McDonagh.

Later, Mark discovered the existence of the International Order of the Pawns, a secret organization created and ruled by Orrin Oscar Lutwidge until his presumed death in 1960. Its goal was to discover the truth behind the Vanishing and Rapture's location. It was still functional when Mark made contact with its members, named as the Pawns, who provide him their files on the Vanished to complete his research.

"Vanished" IndividualsEdit

For a full list of vanished individuals, see BioShock Characters, BioShock 2 Characters, BioShock 2 Multiplayer Characters, There's Something in the Sea Characters, BioShock: Rapture Characters, Burial at Sea - Episode 1 Characters and Burial at Sea - Episode 2 Characters

All of the citizens of Rapture are among the "Vanished." Below is a list of individuals specifically mentioned during the course of "There's Something in the Sea".

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • It is likely that the Vanishing is a reference to the vanishing of prominent businessmen in Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged, which the original BioShock was inspired by.


  1. The Monthly Undergrounder newspaper article: In The Bag (transcript)
  2. Newspaper article: Among The Missing: The Tenenbaum Mystery
  3. Newspaper article: Federal Trial Continues In Bourbon Magnate's Absence
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Newspaper article: The Secret Of Turtle Bay
  5. 5.0 5.1 Interview with Lee Wilson Seward in the Monthly Undergrounder: The Grey Ghost of Tangiers (transcript)
  6. Newspaper article: NYC Professor Pursues Missing Person
  7. Newspaper article: Noted Botanist Still Missing
  8. Newspaper article: Aviatrix Adventuress Still Awol
  9. Newspaper article: Chinese article clipping