Glenn and Bessie Hyde’s disappearances while on their honeymoon.
When Bessie and Glen Hyde disappeared in 1928, they were on their honeymoon at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. Glen planned to break the previous Grand Canyon speed record and make Bessie the first known woman to have run the canyon at the same time.
Glen Hyde had some prior river running experience because, in 1926, he accompanied “Cap” Guleke, a seasoned river runner, on a trip down the Salmon and Snake Rivers in Idaho. But Bessie was more of a beginner. Other boaters they encountered a few weeks before the couple vanished claimed they sensed Bessie wanted to turn around but Glen was pressuring her to continue.
The trip was more than simply for fun; there may have been a financial incentive at the end if they had succeeded in finishing it. They might have been able to go on a paid lecture tour.
They disappeared downriver below Hermit Rapid on Sunday, November 18, 1928, and were last seen boating away. A few days previously, the pair had trekked the Bright Angel Trail out of the canyon to replenish. They went up to photographer Emery Kolb at his home and studio on the canyon rim at the South Rim, where they were photographed before returning into the canyon.
On December 6, 1928, Rollin, Glen’s father, began a search before the couple at Needles, California, could be deemed overdue. On December 19, a search helicopter discovered their boat at sea. That winter, the Hydes’ yacht was found, presumably unaltered. The couple, who should have been inside with the goods, were nowhere to be seen, and they vanished without a trace.
The final image was captured near river mile 165, most likely on or around November 27, according to a camera that Emery and Ellsworth Kolb recovered from the boat.
What transpired to the Hydes is the subject of numerous speculations. Did they get off the ship and attempt an unfeasible side hike? Did they get into a fight when they disagreed? Or were they perhaps kidnapped and killed? However, despite thorough searches, their bodies were never discovered. Historian Otis R. Marston speculated that the couple was most likely swept out of the boat when their scow hit submerged rocks in the strong rapids.
The romance of the narrative and the absence of any solid proof regarding the Hydes’ fate have given rise to a multitude of urban tales and rumours. On a commercial Grand River rafting excursion in 1971, an elderly woman introduced herself as Bessie Hyde and claimed that she had killed her violent husband with a knife before making her own way out of the canyon.
Later, the woman changed her tale. Due to several papers and a gun discovered in the legendary rafter Georgie Clark’s possessions following her death in May 1992, there was considerable conjecture that she was actually Bessie Hyde. However, no solid proof of this connection was ever discovered, and Clark’s early life is extensively documented.
It was later determined that the 1976 discovery of skeletal remains with a bullet lodged in the cranium on the canyon lip did not belong to Glen Hyde. Emery Kolb, a photographer, came under suspicion since the couple’s camera was found on their boat and the bones were found on his land. He was also one of the last people known to have seen the pair alive. The University of Arizona’s later forensic analysis, however, determined that the skeleton belonged to a man no older than 22 and who had passed away no earlier than 1972, ruling out the likelihood that it was Glen Hyde’s remains.
Glenn and Bessie were last seen on November 27. The boat wasn’t found until December 19, making it hard to determine whether Glenn’s abduction occurred before or after his birthday because his birthday is on December 9. Bessie was 22 at the time of their disappearances.