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Old 04-25-2015, 07:30 AM   #1
TheCars1986
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Default Glen and Bessie Hyde

This was one of my favorite semi-rare segments that only got sporadic replays on Lifetime. It was the one about the young couple who took a homemade boat down through the Grand Canyon trying to make record timing. Then they met up with a famed Grand Canyon photographer Emery Kolb who had warned them not to head out without lifejackets, but they went ahead anyway and eventually disappeared. The only trace of them that was found was their boat, which was fully intact.

The mystery got even more strange when a skeleton was found in Emery Kolb's boathouse years later (the Hyde's disappeared in 1928 or 29, IIRC and the bones were found sometime in the 70's) which led to speculation that Emery Kolb murdered Glen Hyde and kept his bones in his boathouse. But the forensic anthropologist interviewed on UM stated emphatically that the bones were not those of Glen Hyde. So if they weren't Glen Hyde's remains, whose were they? Then they had an even more strange aspect to the case when an elderly woman took a river tour through the Grand Canyon in the early 70's who claimed that she was Bessie Hyde and that she murdered Glen after a fight. A ton of the people on the trip believed her story.

All of this seems strange and pretty convincing right? Well leave it to UM to leave out all of the pertinent details, making this segment seem much, much more reasonable and a lot less mysterious. First, let's start with the skeleton found in Emery Kolb's boathouse. In 1933, the remains of a man were found near a rim of the Grand Canyon, with a single bullet wound to his head. Next to him was a .32 caliber revolver, and two expended cartridges. The police ruled it a suicide. At the same time Emery Kolb was sitting as the "county coroner jury representative" for the Grand Canyon. It is now believed that because of his title, and since the remains were found at the Grand Canyon, Kolb received the remains after the death inquest. And, as strange as it sounds, simply forgot that he even had them, which is why they remained on his property all of those years.

Next we have the woman who claimed to be Bessie Hyde. Even on UM, the author (who had the woman's full name, address, etc.) contacted her and asked her about being Bessie which she flatly denied. Plus another author in 2001 did some extensive research on a book he was writing about Glen and Bessie, and he could find no verifiable evidence that Glen Hyde was anything other than a gentleman, or that he had ever struck or hit Bessie in any way. So the story of Bessie murdering Glen after he beat her seems highly unlikely.

So what happened to Glen and Bessie? The author who wrote the book on Glen and Bessie in 2001, made a mock up boat similar to the ones the Hyde's used and traveled their same route using Bessie's diary as a guide.

"As for Dimock's ending, it doesn't give it away to say he pulled his boat to shore right in the middle of 232-Mile Rapid, near the end of the run, and camped on a sand pocket amid tall spires of granite. It's not a usual stopping place, but based on Bessie's final description in her diary, the rapid was probably the last the Hydes ran.

So, Dimock sat there on the bank for hours studying the white water. He mentally ran down 15 possible scenarios of what might have happened to the hero and heroine of his book. When he finished visualizing all the options, he felt like he was watching Glen and Bessie vanish all over again. "I cried and cried," he says."


Seems like the Hyde's last stop was right near a brutal pocket of rapids, and by all known evidence, Glen and Bessie simply perished in the rough waters.

You can read more info here:

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jun/29/news/cl-16386

http://grandcanyonnews.com/main.asp?...articleID=8002
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:10 PM   #2
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I'm partway through "Sunk Without a Sound," which I highly recommend. I also think they got knocked out of the boat by the rapids. Their belongings may still have been inside, but without life jackets, if they fell out...well, they were screwed. My guess is that Bessie may have fallen out and perhaps Glen tried to save her and in the process they both drowned.

The book also does a good job shedding light on the "mysterious woman" who said she was Bessie. Obviously, that was just a bunch of hogwash. I do find it weird that Kolb would just leave the skeleton in a canoe...but it does seem very likely that the remains belong to the man who committed suicide. Who else would it have been, I wonder, considering that no one was reported missing besides the couple?
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WishfulDreamer
I'm partway through "Sunk Without a Sound," which I highly recommend. I also think they got knocked out of the boat by the rapids. Their belongings may still have been inside, but without life jackets, if they fell out...well, they were screwed. My guess is that Bessie may have fallen out and perhaps Glen tried to save her and in the process they both drowned.

The book also does a good job shedding light on the "mysterious woman" who said she was Bessie. Obviously, that was just a bunch of hogwash. I do find it weird that Kolb would just leave the skeleton in a canoe...but it does seem very likely that the remains belong to the man who committed suicide. Who else would it have been, I wonder, considering that no one was reported missing besides the couple?
Do you mind sharing what the book says about the "mysterious woman" on the river tour? I never thought she was Bessie, but I'd like to know why it's pretty much accepted nowadays that she wasn't her.

My own personal theory on why Kolb kept the remains in his canoe for so long was simply he was keeping them at his residence (due to his title as county coroner representative), waiting for a family member or friend to come forward and claim the remains. When no one came forward to claim the remains, I think he simply forgot that he even had them in there to begin with. I know it sounds strange, but due to Kolb's increasing role as one of the prominent people involved with the Grand Canyon, I don't think it's all that unlikely.
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Old 04-25-2015, 06:01 PM   #4
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It is pretty easy to fall out of a boat without losing the contents of the boat. People usually have a higher center of gravity than their gear even if they are sitting. If for some reason one or both of them stood up (to change positions, to get a better view of the obstacles ahead, to take a photo, etc) it would have been quite easy. Plus, their gear was strapped in, they were not.


And yes, I speak from personal experience.
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Old 04-25-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Do you mind sharing what the book says about the "mysterious woman" on the river tour? I never thought she was Bessie, but I'd like to know why it's pretty much accepted nowadays that she wasn't her.
The book identifies the woman, her DOB, and several details about her personal life. Plus, they mention that the woman was not being serious about telling the story and the author mentions that it was played up in the UM episode to make it look like a serious confession. I will fish out the book later and type out the passage.

http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/h/hyde_bessie.html

Until I do, the Charley Project page gives some details about her.
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Old 04-25-2015, 06:50 PM   #6
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I don't know if I ever weighed in on this one. It was from the fourth special, IIRC.

I always thought Glenn and Bessie drowned. By all accounts, the trip down that particular section of river was incredibly dangerous. Kolb and others warned them about the perils and tried to encourage them to not go, but they did anyway. Without life jackets, I think they were goners.

Moreover, the boat itself was intact and clean according to the searchers who found it. If there had been some violent altercation, there was no trace evidence left behind. Kind of had to believe, especially if there had been a stabbing as was later alleged. Also, if Bessie killed Glen, wouldn't she have taken her diary or some of her other possessions with her?

As to the old woman, I think she just made up a story. If the re-enactment is to be believed, they were all sitting around a campfire. Her tale was perfect scary story campfire fodder. I think when the guy called her later on she either decided to mess with him fruther, or perhaps she feared that the guy legitimately believed she was Bessie Hyde so she denied it in the hope he would back down.

Lastly, I never thought the bones in Kolb's boathouse were connected to the Hyde case. I guess I always figured that they were the remains of the suicide victim and Kolb kept them around in the event someone ever came forward to claim them. The fact that he was a coroner (a fact conveniently left out of the segment) further bolsters this theory, IMO and explains why the bones may have been in his possession.
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Old 04-26-2015, 01:40 AM   #7
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From "Sunk Without a Sound":
"We went on with other stories [around the campfire]. We all figured she was making up the story and let it go at that. But after that we began to wonder"--Direct quote from Billingsley, a man who was at the incident, serving as a boatman for the rafters.

*Paraphrasing here, but Liz Cutler then completely denies ever hearing of Bessie Hyde or telling the story when an amateur historian phones her to ask. The book then goes on to talk about the UM broadcast and how people who knew Glen were shocked to hear him being characterized as a possible brute, pulling Bessie along on the trip and beating her, as described by Ms. Cutler*

"Liz Cutler's story finally began to crumble. Others who had been on the trip with her never bought it in the first place. Few were even aware of the story. Passenger Jim Bonnery recalls, 'Yes, I remember Liz. But I don't remember that particular story of Liz's comment about being Bessie Hyde.' Richard Rogers remembers Liz fondly as active and cheerful, but says, 'I don't remember a campfire gathering where Liz says she was Bessie Hyde. But that doesn't mean she didn't say so. If she did say it, everyone assumed she was kidding.

Recalled Roy Seylor, a fellow passenger: 'Liz was a saucy and witty gal who teased everyone, gave as good as she got, mothered us all and made us love her for it.' He elaborated in his journal, 'Liz Cutler continues to be a character, to everyone's amusement...it was impossible to get mad at her. Really a delightful woman.'
But when asked about the Hyde myth, Seylor wrote, 'As for the legend that Liz Cutler is Bessie Hyde, I feel you can discount it as just Liz's wild imagination. She was a very lovable gal, but full of stories, so don't take her Bessie Hyde story too seriously. B.S. around the campfire sometimes has a way of being perpetuated too seriously, and this story is a case in point.'"


*paraphrasing again but another passenger recalled jokingly calling her Bessie and Liz having fun getting attention for it*

"Norm Tessman, who studied the Kolb skeleton, looked into Liz Cutler's background. He wrote the Meigs County Museum in Pomeroy, asking if they could tell him about Elizabeth Cutler. Margaret Parker, museum president, wrote back. 'We knew the lady and had no problem with proving who she was prior to 1928, or for that matter, since.' She mentioned that Marty Anderson [the amateur historian] had recently obtained Liz's birth records, and sent Tessman newspaper clippings of the Arnold family reunions that Elizabeth had attended in 1925 and 1926. At that point both Tessman and Anderson dropped the case"

*Paraphrasing some more (sorry it's late here), but Anderson then goes on to talk about how Liz wasn't an imposter or anything, but the tale just took off and spread like wildfire. Some people just took it way too seriously*

So in conclusion, the whole thing was bunk and most people who were there to hear it didn't take it seriously. It sounds to me like Liz was just kidding around anyway. She probably didn't remember telling the story when she was phoned about it years later.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WishfulDreamer
So in conclusion, the whole thing was bunk and most people who were there to hear it didn't take it seriously. It sounds to me like Liz was just kidding around anyway. She probably didn't remember telling the story when she was phoned about it years later.
Thank you for that!

UM definitely played it up like she was being serious and people believed her. But it looks more like some campfire fun being taken way out of context and way to seriously.
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:37 PM   #9
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Plus as many will point out, the woman on the river is the wrong size/height to be Bessie. Bessie was a small woman: five feet tall, ninety pounds. That little factoid kind of trips up everyone who has come forward claiming to be her.
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:05 AM   #10
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It's very possible Glenn and Bessie could have been alive when the Unsolved Mysteries segment airred.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:40 AM   #11
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It's very possible Glenn and Bessie could have been alive when the Unsolved Mysteries segment airred.
Yes, if they hadn't died on that rafting trip, it's very possible that they could have still been alive when it aired. Although, if they hadn't died the segment wouldn't have been made either.
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Old 10-20-2019, 12:26 AM   #12
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https://youtu.be/ShJh6qKfa_Q

This is a video of someone running Colorado River Mile 232, where it's speculated Glen and Bessie were thrown out of their boat. There is a rapid here that's a class III-IV. The woman in the yellow raft successfully runs left of the feature in the video, but notice what happens to her friend in the orange raft.

This rapid is known colloquially as Killer Fang because of the large rock you can clearly see in the video. Apparently there are several large rocks here that create a pourover that's probably responsible for "keeping" the orange raft in place to the right of the fang. Paddlers broadly call these holes, and they can be extremely difficult to pull out of. The most dangerous ones can trap objects and people in recirculating water sometimes called a roller, or, more accurately, a hydraulic jump. Had Glen or Bessie been knocked from the boat, they may have been caught and subsequently drowned in such a feature. There are accounts of bodies being trapped in rollers for hours until they ultimately escape or are extracted. Perhaps this can account for why they seemed to simply vanish.

Add to it the fact that the Colorado was charted with nowhere near the detail and accuracy is it is today, plus Glen's ill-conceived idea to run a scow-type wooden boat over something capable of generating class IV rapids and it's all pretty bad news bears. They bit off far more than they could chew.
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegtheEgg86 View Post
https://youtu.be/ShJh6qKfa_Q

This is a video of someone running Colorado River Mile 232, where it's speculated Glen and Bessie were thrown out of their boat. There is a rapid here that's a class III-IV. The woman in the yellow raft successfully runs left of the feature in the video, but notice what happens to her friend in the orange raft.

This rapid is known colloquially as Killer Fang because of the large rock you can clearly see in the video. Apparently there are several large rocks here that create a pourover that's probably responsible for "keeping" the orange raft in place to the right of the fang. Paddlers broadly call these holes, and they can be extremely difficult to pull out of. The most dangerous ones can trap objects and people in recirculating water sometimes called a roller, or, more accurately, a hydraulic jump. Had Glen or Bessie been knocked from the boat, they may have been caught and subsequently drowned in such a feature. There are accounts of bodies being trapped in rollers for hours until they ultimately escape or are extracted. Perhaps this can account for why they seemed to simply vanish.

Add to it the fact that the Colorado was charted with nowhere near the detail and accuracy is it is today, plus Glen's ill-conceived idea to run a scow-type wooden boat over something capable of generating class IV rapids and it's all pretty bad news bears. They bit off far more than they could chew.
Thanks for posting this! Yes, I agree that the lack of life jackets, the relative inexperience, and the homemade boat didn't equal a happy ending for Glen and Bessie. That stretch of river looks... not fun.

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and it's all pretty bad news bears.
I just sprayed coffee out laughing at this reference. Well played!
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:24 AM   #14
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Wow, an author does some research and another urban legend bites the dust. Glad to learn Glen was not a wife-beater and Bessie not a murderer.
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