The red car had parked in front of the gate before the passenger door was pushed open. The old man climbed out and the vehicle left before anyone could react.
The family's eyes were wide and disbelieving. He had been gone for so long they thought their minds were playing tricks on them. Was he a ghost?
Bacau was a city best known for its colorful culture located in Romania. The outskirts of the town were littered with small villages.
Life in the rural lands was not easy as the villagers sought farming cattle and plantations to earn a living. The remote village was peaceful and quiet until a distant Eastern Bacau experienced something terrible in 1991.
Vasile Gorgos was a simple family man who raised cattle. He was often away from home, traveling and searching for buyers.
He was only away for a few days, considering he didn't have to travel far. But when Vasile's family said farewell, they had no idea how long it would be before they saw him again.
Something Was Wrong
Vasile had been 63 years old when he got on a train to embark on his business trip. His previous market fair trips had never raised eyebrows or caused any worry.
This time was different. His wife didn't worry too much when she realized he hadn't checked in with her, but it wasn't long before it became clear something wasn't right.
Very Unlike Him
The family worried as the days progressed, and they still had not heard from Vasile. He had always been a responsible man, so this situation left his family confused.
Despite their doubts that Vasile would ever do something like this, the family knew of Romanian people abandoning their responsibilities. But now, they were forced to question what they believed.
The family's anxiety levels rose as the days passed. They eventually decided to inform the authorities and reported Vasile as a missing person.
There was still no sign of Vasile after a few weeks, and the authorities grew more concerned; he had disappeared without a trace. The family had begun to lose hope and couldn't help thinking something terrible had happened to him.
It had been months, and the family had still not found a clue as to Valise's whereabouts. They couldn't help but think the worst.
What's worse was not having an answer. Was he lost? Had he been kidnapped, and was he hurt? They had gained no answers and had no choice but to face their heartbreaking reality.
Visit From The Authorities
The Gorgos no longer had it in them to question and hold onto hope. They decided to keep regular memorial services for him. The family was joined by the rest of the village in remembering Valise.
The family faced a painful decision after the months had turned to years. The authorities had come around and, for the legalities, had pressured them into pronouncing Valise dead.
Thirty Years Later
The family had to move forward despite how difficult life became without Valise. Despite all the time, the family continued to hold space in their hearts for Valise. They eventually grew and changed as the years passed.
Thirty years had flown by, leaving Valise behind in their memories. The family still held onto the grief they felt for him, still missing him every day, But just when they thought they had overcome their grief, things became more disturbing.
A Lot On Her Plate
His wife, Bianca, had been crushed by the grief she felt and had much on her plate managing her late husband's properties and his cattle.
It had been a quick change for her where she had to add to her housewife duties. She had to earn an income for the household. But that wasn't all.
Twice A Parent
She still had to be there for her children and be twice the parent they needed. Her days and nights were filled with anguished thoughts about whether she would be able to raise them properly in the absence of their father.
Luckily enough, she could count on her brothers and Vasile’s who often visited the house and helped Bianca with anything she needed. However, this came with additional problems.
Small villages such as Bianca’s are often a fertile breeding ground for slander and rumors. Most people live rather uneventful and monotonous lives, and the easiest way to make them a bit more exciting is following a story, real or imaginary, about someone they know.
For the weeks following her husband’s disappearance, Bianca was the object of everyone’s compassion. But that changed soon.
Some people in town became suspicious of Vasile’s brother’s recurrent visits to Bianca. One may think that they had no particular reasons to do so; after all, Bianca was in great need of any help anyone could bring her, and the man was her deceased husband’s brother.
It was only natural that Bianca’s brother-in-law volunteered to make Vasile’s loss a little lighter and less painful. Or at least, that’s what one would think.
However, some people in town didn’t feel that way. Some frowned upon Bianca’s closeness to Vasile’s brother; some even hinted that they may be having an affair.
A part of it perhaps had to do with the village’s conservative mindset; maybe they didn’t like that Bianca had stepped up to manage her late husband’s properties and would rather see her in the role of the reclusive, eternally grieving widow. But was that all there was to it?
Bianca received Vasile’s brother’s visits more and more often, and the two of them seemed to be getting closer by the day. The man would play with his nephews and it seemed like he was becoming a second father to them.
People started thinking that Bianca was getting over her grief too quickly. However, the widow wasn’t concerned about those rumors: she thought that, with all she had on her plate, there were other things that merited her attention more. But that soon changed.
The rumors didn’t stop, and people in the village started developing an animosity towards Bianca. Every time she went to the marketplace, she was received with hostile stares; some shops refused to serve her, and one time someone even spit on the ground after she walked by.
When it happened, Bianca turned back immediately, furious and ready to confront the rude man. But then she thought twice. Was she really in a position to provoke those people’s hostility? But the worst was yet to come.
A Frightening Incident
That same night, something happened that made Bianca fear for her own safety and her children’s. After making them dinner, she escorted them to bed, tucked them in, and kissed them goodnight.
Then, she went back to the kitchen to wash the dishes, tired after a long day, and eager to go to bed herself. And right then, something happened that made her blood run cold.
Sound Of Broken Glass
Bianca suddenly heard a crash and the sound of shattering glass behind her. It came from the living room. Quickly, she ran towards the scene and what she saw made her heart drop to her knees.
Someone had thrown a rock through her window and completely shattered it. She ran to the door and opened it, looking for the culprit. But there seemed to be nobody in the house's surroundings.
Bianca returned to the house, frightened to her core. Did that have something to do with all the hostility she was facing in town? How far could the smearing villagers go?
She went to bed filled with worry. Should she go to the police, or would that just be a one-time thing? But just a few days later, something else happened.
A Phone Call
One evening, Bianca heard her phone ringing. She was waiting for some pesticides she had ordered to arrive, so she thought it would be the delivering company.
She picked up the phone. But what she heard on the other side of the line wasn’t what she expected; as a matter of fact, it was something nothing in the world could have prepared her for.
After picking up the phone, all she heard on the other side of the line was someone breathing heavily, even panting at times. “Hello? Who is this?” she asked. Then, a chilling realization hit her.
The breathing and panting sounded exactly like Vasile’s. She could have recognized it even if a million years had passed since the last time. “Vasile? Is that you?” she asked. And right then, the person on the other side hung up.
What Was That?
Bianca dropped the phone and her mind went blank. What had just happened? The first thing she did was calling Vasile’s brother to tell him about the call.
They both went to the police. The local chief of police told them he would put his agents to work again in order to find out the truth about the disappearance. However, they never got any news. After a while, the rumors and hostility faced by Bianca started fading and Vasile became nothing but a memory. Until one day.
They Never Expected It
It was a normal day. The family had long since given up hope of ever seeing Vasile again. It started when a strange, red car approached the village entrance.
The passenger door was opened and an old man stepped out. The family and other villagers were stunned beyond belief. The man was much older but—unmistakeably—it was Vasile Gorgos.
No One Knew Where He Came From
With everyone stunned by the old man’s return, nobody had reacted fast enough to write down the car’s registration number or see the driver before it sped off.
Despite being 73 years old now, there was no doubting that this was Vasile. As shocking as it was to see him again, his unexpected reappearance was not the biggest surprise.
It Made No Sense
In yet another unexpected twist to this tale, Vasile had returned wearing the exact same clothes he had been on the day of his disappearance.
The family had so many questions. However, It was soon apparent there were no answers. The reason—when questioned—Vasile was convinced it was still 1991 and believed he had only been gone a few days.
Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Vasile Gorgos certainly proves this. His story became a national sensation, causing much speculation.
There are many theories for why Vasile cannot remember what happened to him or where he was for thirty years. Chief among these theories is that he suffers from dementia. Some experts, however, have a much more extreme theory.
Is It Possible?
Some experts believe that Vasile had fallen into a kind of “fugue” state. This affliction might have caused him to experience a dissociative state—meaning he may truly believe that he was never gone.
However, there are other different theories about what happened to Vasile. Many people on the Internet are sharing their impressions and hypotheses about what he was up to for all those years.
“I think had a second family, left voluntarily, and never intended to return to his first family. Perhaps his second partner died and he realized that he had no one to take care of him,” says one Reddit user.
“Still, if that were the case, then surely someone would remember him from his second life and speak up. Or perhaps he left Romania to live elsewhere. I don’t think this is as mysterious as Mr. Gorgos would like us to believe.” But there are more theories.
“My theory:. On the day he vanished he had some type of misfortune and ended up in a monastery. Romania is an Orthodox country. Monks, especially good ones, might not ask too many questions if he just decided to stay and could still work.”
“Once his mind started to go, the Abbot arranged his return. also possible he went over the border maybe Moldavia and that really is remote!” Some people have even more outlandish theories, like the following:
“Dimensional glitch. He arrived at home on schedule but decades later instead of hours later and looking old,” suggests a Reddit user. “He was clearly abducted by aliens. They got tired of him and returned him,” jokes another.
What is your theory? What do you think happened to Vasile while he was away, and what could explain his strange behavior after coming back?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.