Vanishing in the Digital Age: Finding Evan Ratliff - Wired

"Writer Evan Ratliff Tried to Vanish: Here's What Happened" - Evan Ratliff - Wired


"August 13, 6:40 PM: I’m driving East out of San Francisco on I-80, fleeing my life under the cover of dusk. Having come to the interstate by a circuitous route, full of quick turns and double backs, I’m reasonably sure that no one is following me. I keep checking the rearview mirror anyway. From this point on, there’s no such thing as sure. Being too sure will get me caught. . . . "

"Vanish: Finding Evan Ratliff" - Nicholas Thompson - Wired

Stories from the Hunt


From Mike Selinker's entry: "After breaking Evan’s FastTrak, Nick and I theorized that Evan would dump his car. To get the license plate out there, “Evan’s friend” (me) gave Teeuwynn (@Evansvanished) the first four characters: 4MUN. A search of License Place Genie would reveal under California plate 4MUN509 the confirmatory message (written by me, under the name “Ratty”): “Blue Devils Ultimate 4ever!”—a reference to Evan’s Duke University background and his love of ultimate frisbee."

"Evan's Daily Costume Change" - Nicholas Thompson - Wired

Shedding Your Identity in the Digital Age


"Wired Tests Writer With a Series of Bold Challenges" - Nicholas Thompson - Wired


" . . . Nicholas Thompson, Ratliff’s editor, and Lone Shark Games’ Mike Selinker came up with the challenges, and then Selinker figured out an amazing way to add even more detail and intrigue. He called up Will Shortz of The New York Times and received early versions of the coming week’s crossword puzzles. He then figured out how to write out the challenges by jumping between words in the puzzle. Wired published a long string of numbers, so searchers would have to solve the puzzle in order to decode the challenge. . . ."

"Social Networking Sites at Center of Coast-to-Coast Coordinated Search" - Frederik Joelving - Wired


"In their pursuit of Evan Ratliff, the sleuths living across the country exchanged intel and coordinated efforts via social media Web sites such as Twitter (using #vanish) and Facebook. One hunter even created a dedicated application on Facebook called Vanish Team, and several others set up their own Web sites and blogs. . . . "

"Chat with Evan Ratliff Today About His Time on the Run" - Nicholas Thompson - Wired