Have you seen Jonathan Spollen? Missing in Rishikesh since February 3rd, 2012

Reply
#766 Mar 27th, 2012, 16:07
Join Date:
Feb 2012
Location:
New Zealand
Posts:
177
  • davidgreen100 is offline
#766
Quote:
Originally Posted by machadinha View Post <cross-posting with a few>

David, Lynda, are you in on what Jonathan may have been investigating as a journalist or perhaps for his private writing in this period, or in the time preceding it?

(You mentioned something about his considering doing some non-journalistic writing, but I don't think it got that detailed.)

I'm sure this must be about the silliest remark in the world, but the Hong Kong International Herald Tribune that he was working for must know about his present and previous journalistic assignments, no? (And how come they've not been all over this? Or maybe they have, can't say I followed up on it.)

On this literature stuff, without disclosing more than I ever have here, and I've really never been at any high level, but having been engaged with free-lance writing in different ways myself, I was reminded how certainly at times of pressing deadlines, I would have described my life as a "world of text." It's all you're doing all day, reference works everywhere, papers, magazines, books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, you name it. There's literally just text all around you. Email, library visits, discussions with pros in whatever fields, frantic web searching, etc. And your employers calling in all the time can you have this done before yesterday.

I imagine a journalist's life and certainly at some level may not be so different. And so they might indeed be carrying whatever textual references. Annotating them even, and such.

(Not to mention of course the risk of burn-out and such. So that could again always be an angle. There is good reason for me to mention my engagements in the past tense.)
Jonathan had been editing with the IHT. Editing is the less glamorous side of the newspaper business, where you spend your time reading copy from journalists and proofing it for accuracy, style and content. One of his colleagues told me it is valuable experience, because it hones your writing skills in a short time, but it doesn't satisfy the desire to write, so many editors mix writing and editing. Jonathan was keen to get back into writing. In our last or second last conversation, he did say he wanted to get his teeth into something and we talked about various writing projects, not necessarily in India.
It's easy to jump to conclusions here, but this discussion was more about developing ideas, sourcing contacts and writing some articles. It wasn't any different from other discussions we'd had about his work. In no way could I have imagined that this would be the last conversation I would have with him up to the present time.
#767 Mar 27th, 2012, 17:06
Join Date:
Feb 2012
Location:
New Zealand
Posts:
177
  • davidgreen100 is offline
#767
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paleface View Post Rishikesh area is not exactly isolated, it's barely out of the plains and one will not walk too far before encountering locals.

Perhaps contrary to general opinion, a white person hanging out somewhere will most definitely be noticed and talked about at some stage, folks gossip.. and the police do know who's who and what's what. It's another thing if they are not motivated to act, however David's rapport seems to be excellent.

The raison' d'etre of Rishikesh is Ganga. Folks tend to underestimate Ganga's power, evidenced by it barely being mentioned herein. Even at Phool Chatti area when seemingly benign and beguiling, she is dangerous and formidable.

Sure there are n’er do wells all over but the evidence we are party to thus far, is that J. was hanging out by Ganga in the vicinity of his belongings and not being mindnapped somewhere. Moreover the belongings were intact with nothing stolen. Wherever he may have gone, what self-aggrandising opportunity would a crook see in a fella with no cash, credit card, stuff etc. Monkeys, as they do, rifle bags and discard inedible items.

Saddhu’s, especially Naga’s, do have their final initiation and renunciation by Ganga, turn North and walk away naked. J. doing something like this looks as improbable as the idea of being held against his will, still, is checking out the akhara's an idea?
Good points, Paleface. Jonathan is also a pale face and would not go unnoticed in the area. The facts are the same. There is no evidence to indicate foul play. You can look at scenarios that would explain the facts but what we do not have is a reliable sighting since mid February. Posters on this site have made some amazing contributions and come up with brilliant insights. We've had close to 100,000 hits from people who are on the ground, who know the ground or are coming in to land and still, not one sighting since mid-Feb. Posters have sifted through the evidence with us, have made calls on our behalf, followed leads and made suggestions of what to do next, and yet, we are in the same place we were two weeks ago when his bags were found. Is it only two weeks? It seems like a lifetime to me.
So how do we turn this thing around? Do you know those 'Where's Wally?' books where you stare for ages at the page trying to find the guy in the stripey shirt, and then your wife takes a look and says, 'There he is!' That's what it's like. Except Heather is just as baffled as me. And guess what, just to make it interesting, LJ will be filling up with guys in the proverbial stripey shirts over the next few weeks. Question is, can we turn this influx into an opportunity rather than a challenge. More people equals more eyes on the ground. It just takes one person to be in the right place at he right time. Pale face can't remain invisible for ever.
#768 Mar 27th, 2012, 17:16
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
India
Posts:
6,636
  • jyotirmoy is offline
#768
Dear David. Me being a father too I can imagine the pain and anguish. I have been following this thread regularly and every time I saw a new post by you I went on to read hoping that you have some news for us. Members have suggested so many things that could happen. I some how tend to believe that your son is well and he on his own has decided to remain in recluse.
#769 Mar 27th, 2012, 17:18
Join Date:
Feb 2012
Location:
New Zealand
Posts:
177
  • davidgreen100 is offline
#769
Quote:
Originally Posted by Photofreak View Post No. This Babaji lives somewhere near Neelkanth temple. He would be closer (approachwise) from Swargarshram (Ramjhoola) side.
Thanks, PF, the police also took the path from the Ram Jhula side, so the mountain has been covered from Phool Chatti, Garrud Chatti and Ram Jhula tracks. It is a vast area, but off the paths, the vegetation is pretty dense and uninviting, on steep, awkward terrain.
#770 Mar 27th, 2012, 17:19
Join Date:
Feb 2012
Location:
New Zealand
Posts:
177
  • davidgreen100 is offline
#770
Quote:
Originally Posted by kullukid View Post There is Shantivanam way down south, contact details here:http://www.bedegriffiths.com/shantivanam/

Palface,is there still a Christian Ashram in Uttarkashi connected with the now deceased Frenchman Henry La Saux better known as Swami Abishiktananda??
http://www.worldwisdom.com/public/au...i-Le-Saux.aspx
There was a Abishiktananda Soc. In Rishikesh, I don't know if it still exists but here's the details;
http://www.upanishad.org/lesaux/abhisociety.htm
http://www.upanishad.org/lesaux/abhisociety.htm

It may also be worth checking out the famous Pilot Baba Ashrams in Uttarkashi & Nainital;
http://www.pilotbaba.org/ashram/uttarkashi.htm

full list of his other Ashrams here;
http://www.pilotbaba.org/ashram/
Great work, KK. That's my homework for tomorrow.
#771 Mar 27th, 2012, 18:55
Join Date:
May 2005
Location:
u.k.
Posts:
4,880
  • kullukid is offline
#771
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paleface View Post
Saddhu’s, especially Naga’s, do have their final initiation and renunciation by Ganga, turn North and walk away naked. J. doing something like this looks as improbable as the idea of being held against his will, still, is checking out the akhara's an idea?
It might be worth you explaining what Akhara means for the sake of David & Lynda & yes anything is worth checking & you are the main man when it comes to knowledge/contacts in this department.
#772 Mar 27th, 2012, 18:59
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
styx
Posts:
21,004
  • capt_mahajan is offline
#772
Have sent some emails from kullukid's last links- with a short enquiry and the poster attached.
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#773 Mar 27th, 2012, 19:01
Join Date:
May 2005
Location:
u.k.
Posts:
4,880
  • kullukid is offline
#773
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidgreen100 View Post Great work, KK. That's my homework for tomorrow.
David,if you contact Shantivanam be sure to ask them for leads to other Christian Ashrams in India, especially the north.

http://www.bedegriffiths.com/advisors/
#774 Mar 27th, 2012, 19:31
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
Abode of Glooscap
Posts:
10,517
  • PeakXV is offline
#774
Keeping posting ideas & pushing the cyber envelope folks. Somebody somewhere knows something about his sudden disappearance. I'll guarantee that.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

http://www.derekgrantdigital.com
#775 Mar 27th, 2012, 19:46
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Location:
Chennai, India
Posts:
67,357
  • Nick-H is offline
#775
It's India. Everything Indian is relevant. Everything specifically pertaining to that area is relevant too. There are no bad ideas, and "thinking outside the box" is a damn good idea. But for every "people just don't..." suggestion, there is probably an answer, "yes, they do."

As long as forty years ago, I used to see, in a London magazine, a weekly strip of two or three photos of missing people. I didn't know or recognise any of them, so it passed without registering much, and without even accumulating the totals. To me it was just two or three missing people. I guess I must have read an article, or seen a tv program, that made me realise that is was tens, and even hundreds, of thousands of people that, with no known reason or expectation, vanish, sometimes for days, sometimes for longer. Unless it happened to someone close to us, we underestimate this phenomenon, and we never met anyone who disappeared, because, as one of the articles quotes, they may have disappeared to those left behind, but not to themselves --- except, maybe, in the rare cases of amnesia.

I think this thread must be followed by many of us that have not posted because we cannot do or say anything useful, whereas a core group of people are contributing local knowledge or doing stuff, or just coming up with good ideas.

Now, I think it might be useful to suggest that those who are already doing so much also get a wider viewpoint.

I knew this has been covered. I googled "why do people disappear." Here's one article from the BBC, another from UK's Independent newspaper. There are many more.

Sorry, if this is a "yeah, yeah: been there, read that, known all that for years." Just... for those who haven't, it might help to open up that thinking box a little more.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#776 Mar 27th, 2012, 20:13
Join Date:
Sep 2005
Location:
Abode of Glooscap
Posts:
10,517
  • PeakXV is offline
#776
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiver me Timbers View Post All this talk of 'spiritual journeys', etc. makes me wonder if some kind of 'Jerusalem Syndrome' type phenomenon isn't an issue for Westerners visiting that particular part of India.
Interesting. He was carrying a bible & his latest images did have that 'prophet' look to them imo.

Could anyone elaborate on this phenomenon, especially those familiar with that region & the neo hippy trail?
#777 Mar 27th, 2012, 20:36
Join Date:
Apr 2008
Location:
western india
Posts:
2,476
  • new_traveller is offline
#777

Some other aspects

Firstly , I am a frequent IM visitor but this thread has grown so fast in a few days that reading it entirely in one go is tough for someone who bumped into it now when its almost 50+ pages long.

Capt or Lynda has summarized the events in posts which come too late in the thread.
Mods - Can an updated document/link be put on the 1st post? (federica had comeup with the same suggestion in post 420)

- A person might be just back from his month long tour and comes up to see the Uttarakhand section and does not get the entire chronology of the story and just moves on to any other thread. But this could be one of the user who might have crossed paths in some way with Jonathan. Not sure if this makes sense but just a thought.

A few points which I can think of -
  • There are contacts like steff who in turn gave references of some australians. Can not simmilar trekkers/travellers be asked to give references of people they met? There is a likelyhood that they might have bumped with Jonathan during the same time
  • What I understand is he had a kidney stone and also an upset tummy (I hope I am right in my assumption) plus a limp. Is it not likely that he had a call of nature and had to find some bushes. He left his backpack a few meters away and went to attend natures call. He was too dehydrated or in pain due to the kidney stone. He looses sense of direction and wanders off in some other direction and fails to find his way back to his backpack. I did not get where exactly did the search party found the backpack and other stuff - so I will not think he was taking a dip in a pond for bath. I believe that if he stumbled to a village in a dehydrated state or in pain, someone will provide him shelter and medication.
  • Very importantly - What about his phone call records? Did he call anyone after 2nd week of feb when he spoke with Lynda? Did he call any local travel agents? Any friends who have not come up with any additional information? Did he call his work? Did he have any arguments? Any sms details?
Bike rides - Kashmir to Leh and Sikkim, Jungle safaris - Corbett,Chikhaldara, Kanha and Gorumara. Traveled through MP, Himachal, J&K, Maharashtra, W.Bengal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Goa, Karnataka, AP . . . Yet feel so New to traveling in India.
#778 Mar 27th, 2012, 20:50
Join Date:
Jul 2004
Location:
...
Posts:
3,631
  • Shiver me Timbers is offline
#778
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Interesting. He was carrying a bible & his latest images did have that 'prophet' look to them imo.

Could anyone elaborate on this phenomenon, especially those familiar with that region & the neo hippy trail?
I don't know Peak, but a bit of googling has thrown up this interesting article:

DOCTOR, I GOT THE INDIAN SYNDROME

Obviously no idea how relevant it may be, but it doesn't seem to fit Jonathan's (someone who'd visited India before and lived abroad in places such as Cairo and Hong Kong) profile.
#779 Mar 27th, 2012, 21:51
Join Date:
Mar 2012
Location:
Germany
Posts:
17
  • Snifferdog is offline
#779
Hi folks, hi David,

after there was a notice in German trekkingforum about a missing person in northern India, I am following this thread and hoping for a good result of search.

As a search-and-rescue-dog handler and trainer for long time, maybe I can give my two cents to this thread. This here is from a search dog handler´s view point.

First thing, SAR personell is not happy if familiy members of the missed person is involved in leadership of such search missions, especially in discussions and decisions about what-to-do and where-to-search. Mostly, they have not enough experiences and have a restricted view. The point is, they rather look for extraordinary „possibilities“ of the whereabouts of their beloved, but switch off the more probably but maybe unpleasant or bad possibilities. Another problem, family members of the missing person often have a view through pink glasses about the character of the missing person. They really don´t know everything what this person is thinking, feeling and doing in reality but they have their own „picture“ and in stress situation, they think and talk only all the best of him/her. This makes it difficult to find out an objective view of the character of the missing person – and this is sometimes an important trace to find him!

Problem is, we search specialists try to work with highest possibilities and use statistics and experiences from former searches. And that´s why I am not sure how to write here because, David and all friends of Jonathon are reading here and I don´t know if I can express in a diplomatic way what I would say if I was in operation management. In operation management, we discuss objectively all possibilities that are most probably at first.

Search missions for adults as usually happen if there is the possibility that there is danger for life or health of the missed person. We do not search for people who disappear willingly, because every adult person is free to decide where and how to live.

So we only search for people who are maybe or definitively in emergency case. This is why I will not talk about the case if Jonathon is on what else kind of journey. This would mean to me, he is fine and alive, with or without our help.

We start our search on the point of last seen. In this case, it should be the finding place of Jonathan´s belongings.
I don´t know the area but I know some parts of Nepal´s Himalaya and was working with search dog teams there. So I know that the area can be very difficult and dangerous for search missions and it can be nearly hopeless to try to find somebody without search dogs. This is same in my home country, also.

F.e. We were searching for a 80+ years old lady. Helicopter was flying over the area, and we were searching with our dogs in a forest area nearby the point of last seen. Next to it, there is graslands and fields with well-frequented walking paths. This free-viewing search ground was made by foot groups. Next to one of these walking paths was a small water ditch, with thick reed, maybe 1 - 1,5 m wide. A lot of walkers and search groups were searching this place but without result. After 2 days, relatives of the old lady were searching there again and they took their pet dog (a Terrier without any search experience) with them. At one point the dog run into the reed. There the relatives found the old lady, but deceased yet.

What I want to say is, you have nearly NO chance to find a person in heavy area with thick vegetation without search dogs. Otherwise, you must have very very much of luck and must bring a long search line into the search, means maybe 20-30 persons who walk in line next by next with 2 m distance to each, and everybody needs a long stick to turn around all plants on his path and on both sides 1 m. This search line will walk slowly straight on through the search field (what needs long time, much discipline and search experience and exact compass marching to walk straight on). You have a search pattern on your map and search all the area untill ready or person is found. I tell you, if somebody is just behind some brush or thick greens, you can walk next to him in distance of half a meter without remarking him! This happens even if the person wears signal red clothes. We tested it out!

Problem is in hilly area, where drainages, canyons and steep parts are. It is not possible to search in long search line there.
So, I would search in the area where Jonathan´s belongings were found, again, even if police and who else has been there before.

... more follows...
#780 Mar 27th, 2012, 22:02
Join Date:
Mar 2012
Location:
Germany
Posts:
17
  • Snifferdog is offline
#780
... continuation...

What happens if a person gets lost? I suspect, he vanished un-willingly.
So he maybe did not find his way back or became injured/ill or both.
In his youngest medical history, he had an urolithiasis and injured leg with lameness. Common diseases should be also diarrhea or common cold, maybe pneumonia.
If a person is in good health and only looses his way, we have statistics what happens to this person. They feel loneliness and isolation, maybe fear of darkness in wilderness, fear of animals, fear of suffering (it starts with feeling cold, lonely, uncomfortable, thirsty, and hungry), and fear of death. Even if not injured or ill, they get exceptional psychologic situation and in this case, most people decide completely illogically and become sometimes panically. We call it a „wood shock“.
Most of them try to „find the right place“ and walk crossfields to places they think they would recognize. This river it was? This waterfall? This ridge? This rock wall? This big tree? This path?
So if searching, we try to look out for places he might have seen and changed. Sometimes, if people become panic, they start running. In this case, if area is dangerous, bad accidents can happen. So other part of primary search area are all the places where a person can fall down, as the foot of a rock or all kind of smaller or bigger canyons and waterfalls.
If the person follows a small path, there are sometimes characteristical places where you can loose your way. In these places (local village people should know them) we start to follow the „wrong“ way and search there. Sometimes it leads you to a place you can´t find out, like a hidden valley or so.
This is main reason for trekking tourists who loose their way in Nepal´s Himalaya. They start to go down hills and follow a river, because in western countries a river will lead you to a street and to houses. But in mountains, ways mostly follow the ridge of a hill. If you follow the water maybe the valley becomes smaler and smaler without any path on both sides of the water and it will usually end in a waterfall. By exhaustion or topography – this can be a trap where people won´t find out.
So you might search for such blind ends on map and ask local people for it and search there and on the foot of these dead ends from other side.

People in wood shock sometimes do confusing things. They are tired and weak and left their things behind them. They are fed up with carrying their backpack or their jacket and left them on their way, not thinking that they may need it in a few hours when it´s getting night. Finding up these items can bring you on the right trace. So – if there were found some papers on a path, it´s worth to follow this path and all side paths of it. This is primary search area, also.

In wood shock, people don´t see important signs that would bring them back to civilisation: They don´t see the path, the bridge, or other signs like car noises or so because they are not able to think logically!

We know that 1/3 of lost persons follows a path (or what seems to be one), 1/3 went cross-country, ¼ followed a drainage or path of least resistance and 8% were found in hazardous area. If following a path (right or wrong one), 61% left the main trail for several reasons (short cut, heard noises...).

While searching, we use all trails and paths we can find because often lost people use it and are found not far away from it. We try to find out major barriers like rivers, swamps, snow fields, very dense brushs, cliffs, steep slopes and other things that could be a major obstacle or something the person could follow. These are important search places, also. To find them, we use good maps or locals.

We try to put ourselfs in the person´s shoes by visiting the point of last seen (PLS) and asking where could we have lost the trail also? This might show you the possible search direction.

We also have good statistics in which radius around the PLS the persons are found. Most of them are found within 1,5-3 km around PLS, even if they have walked maybe 15 km around. We know that hikers maybe walk around 6 km but are found within 1,5 km radius from PLS.

Most hikers have a destination in mind, so I suggest that Jonathan wanted to make a day trip (no sleepingback with him!) and come back to his belongings later. But missing hikers mostly have no good maps or have other navigation problems. They miss trail junctions or loose the way in thick vegetation, landslides or try to take a short cut. If exhausted, most people don´t try to find back the way they´ve came there.
73% of hikers tried to follow a path or stream or a path of least resistence.
In hilly or mountainous terrain, 7% go upward, 4% stay on same level and 89% go downward. 29% were found in 1,5 km radius,. 58% were found in 4,5 km radius from PLS.
Knowing these rules and statistics, maybe there should be a new search in the area around PLS.

... more follows...
Reply

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
Have you seen Jonathan? Missing in Rishikesh since Feb 3, maybe headed to Dharamsala Mar 3rd, 2012 19:19 12 22532 Himachal Pradesh
Shimla & Manali in February 3rd week. Nov 15th, 2011 19:45 5 5315 Himachal Pradesh
Trip on 3rd February to Vizag, Bangalore & Hydrabad. Jan 25th, 2010 17:44 1 1905 India Travel Itinerary Advice


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2017
Page Load Success