Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Need to disappear? Here’s how

By Lori L. Robinett
Second of two parts

Last time, we talked about how difficult it is to disappear like the character in Fatal  Obsession has to do. As I mentioned, you need cash to survive, you’d have to think about your obligations like pets and your job, and social media adds a whole new level of difficulty to escaping notice in today’s world.  Consider all the other sacrifices you would have to make to truly disappear. Could you do it?  But the better question is, how?

Home – If you can afford it, make a couple of months’ payments in advance to give yourself a cushion. Your landlord/banker will be mad and might try to collect when you do become delinquent, but you’ll be gone by that time. Have your mail held at the post office for as long as possible, so an overflowing mailbox doesn’t tip folks off that you aren’t there. Cancel your newspaper. Think about your neighbors, too.  Tell them you’re moving or going on an extended vacation. This is a prime opportunity for redirection. If your plan is to run to the western United States, tell them you’re going to Florida. Leave clues at your home too, maybe a map or notes about airline tickets. If you have time before you leave, order a bunch of tourist brochures from various locations.

ID – Before you run, gather every piece of identification you own, from your passport to old drivers’ licenses and your library card. There are two schools of thought on this. Some say you should destroy it all. Others say you should take it all with you. Personally, I say take it all with you. Gather it all up in a freezer bag and place it in an inside pocket of your go-bag. If you decide to return to your life at some point, you’ll be glad you have that stuff.

Pictures – Destroy every picture you have of yourself. Every. Single. Picture. The first thing authorities (or whoever is hunting you) are going to do after you are reported missing, will be to look for a current photo of you. Make that as difficult as possible. This has an added bonus. If someone calls the authorities and reports you missing, but they find your home intact, they may suspect foul play. If you leave signs that you have left on purpose, they will likely write it off as a runaway-type situation.  (Even adults run away).

Looks – Change your appearance. Cut your hair. Color it. If you wear contacts, ditch them and wear glasses. If you always wear a ball cap, don’t ever put one on again. For women, if you always wear makeup, quit—or at least change it. For men, if you always shave, go scruffy. Look at pictures of yourself over the past year or two and identify ways to change your look. Keep in mind that your look needs to be low maintenance because you don’t want to have to straighten your hair or curl it or do anything that requires time and effort.


Lori L. Robinett lives in rural Missouri with her husband of  20+ years. One very spoiled Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Beagle allow them to live in the house, and the outside is patrolled by Patches (a sweet tom cat stray that missed his calling as a lap cat). If she isn’t reading, writing or scrapbooking, you may find Robinett cruising country roads in her lifted yellow Jeep.  Fatal Obsession is the newest in the Widow’s Web series, a themed series of standalone novels in which each widow faces challenges that threaten to destroy her just as she begins to find her strength. For book information, click on the cover above.  Robinett shares other escape advice on her website at

One thought on “Need to disappear? Here’s how

  1. Christel Hall

    Interesting post. Can’t help but think that in today’s day and age, especially with social media and cameras everywhere, it’s next to impossible. Even if you could destroy the photos of yourself (cancel/close your Facebook page), it’s likely old posts would reside somewhere.




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