The Disappearance: What Really Happened to One of History’s Last Unexplained Missing Persons

by Steven Kubacki, PhD with Dylan James Quarles

The dramatic, inspiring, and never-before-revealed true account of a mysterious disappearance that has captured the imaginations of millions.

On a frigid winter day in 1978, Steven Kubacki went cross-country skiing on the frozen ice of Lake Michigan, and he never came back. Two snowmobilers discovered his skis, poles, and backpack, and after an exhaustive search, search-and-rescue teams determined the 23-year-old college senior must have fallen into one of the deep crevasses in the ice and drowned. His family and friends mourned his death. His college held a memorial service and issued a diploma in absentia.

Fifteen months later, a motorist in Massachusetts picked up a hitchhiker who asked to be taken to the nearest pay phone. It was Steven Kubacki. He told his family, his friends, and the rabidly curious media that he’d woken up in a nearby field, wearing clothes he didn’t recognize and that he had no recollection of what happened to him on the lake or in the months that followed.

Kubacki’s seemingly miraculous reemergence made national headlines for a few days, but when he declined all interviews, the story faded from public attention… until recently, when the Internet caught on to one of the last unexplained missing persons in modern history. In recent years, Steven’s story has taken off. He’s been featured on The History Channel show Ancient Aliens, and millions of people around the world have discovered “The Disappearance” through viral posts on TikTok and YouTube. Reddit boards speculate endlessly about whether Steven was a victim of the “Michigan Triangle,” UFO abduction, or interdimensional travel.

The truth, it turns out, is even more fascinating, and Kubacki knows exactly what happened during that lost time.

After almost 45 years of silence, Steven Kubacki is ready to reveal where he went after he disappeared. His experience is much stranger—and also much more believable—than anyone suspects. The story involves a revolutionary organization, an idealistic terrorist-in-training named Nathan T. Stanfield, spiritual experiences with hallucinogenic drugs and alternate realities, the French Foreign Legion, and a young man’s struggle to find meaning during a turbulent time.

with Dylan James Quarles