Last Seen People, places and things that have gone...missing.
Last Seen

Last Seen

From WBUR

People, places and things that have gone...missing.

Most Recent Episodes

Tell Us What You Think of Last Seen

Season 2 of Last Seen just wrapped, which means it's time for a listener survey! The second season of this show was one big experiment. We brought you an anthology of ten new mysteries - from the esoteric to the straight forward - told by a variety of storytellers, in a variety of styles, about all kinds of people, places and things that have gone missing. And we're so curious to find out what YOU - our loyal listeners - thought about it! It would mean so much to us if you'd take just a *few* minutes to give us your honest feedback on this new version of Last Seen by filling out our listener survey. Your comments will help guide us in telling future stories for Last Seen, and will make the next season of the show even better. Thanks. We can't wait to hear from you. Tell us what you think of Last Seen! Please fill out our short survey.

Episode 10: Searching for a Miracle

On his way to Hollywood, a young Black man named Winston Willis stopped in Cleveland in 1959 to shoot a little pool and walked away $35,000 richer. He used his winnings to open over two dozen businesses on Cleveland's East Side, a vibrant area that locals referred to as "Inner City Disneyland." For a time, Willis was a multi-millionaire, the largest employer of Black people in the Midwest, and a bold business mogul with a big reputation. Nowadays, there's no trace of the "Miracle on 105th Street". That same intersection is dominated by the campus of a non-profit hospital system. And most people growing up in Cleveland today have never heard of Winston Willis. Cleveland writer and race educator Ajah Hales examines the forces that punished Willis for daring to live the American dream, and goes on a search for his missing legacy. Tell us what you think of Last Seen! Please fill out our short survey.

Episode 9: Bad Actor

People will tell you Richard Bento is a good actor — on and off the stage. Over the past decade, he's been a pillar of the New England community theater scene - acting in and directing countless productions, and fostering the love of theater in other thespians. But lately, he's been at the center of some real life dramas swirling behind the scenes, involving accusations of fraud, embezzlement, and other kinds of scams. After disappearing from one local theater for a time, he's been known to pop up at another and pull his stunts all over again, leaving a wake of mistrust and missing funds behind. Reporter and producer Quincy Walters (WBUR) investigates Bento's con artistry and his most recent vanishing act. Tell us what you think of Last Seen! Please fill out our short survey.

Episode 8: The Emotional Lives of Everyday Objects

Episode 8: The Emotional Lives of Everyday Objects

Many prized possessions and artifacts imbued with sentimental value go missing, unintentionally. But, what about when we choose to renounce the items that mean the most to us — like that mixtape your old girlfriend made, right before she broke up with you? The Nirvana baseball cap you wore to a Kurt Cobain memorial? Or the Sorel boots your father-in-law gave you, right before he died? Join arts and culture journalist Allyson McCabe (Lost Notes, Short Cuts) as she weaves together personal stories of objects in flux with artistic attempts to convey their spiritual significance in our everyday lives. As Allyson discovers, getting rid of your baggage isn't quite as simple as getting rid of the bags. Tell us what you think of Last Seen! Please fill out our short survey.

Episode 7: A Most Unusual Houseguest

Episode 7: A Most Unusual Houseguest

When artist Alison Byrnes opened a package she had mailed to herself two years earlier, she was expecting to find a sealed box of her prints - but that's not what was inside. The United States Postal Service had made a rather serious mistake. Instead of artist prints, USPS delivered a little blue urn — containing the ashes of a total stranger. Attempts at finding the family of the deceased failed, and the cremated remains of Jennings L. Heffelfinger sat abandoned and forgotten, year after year. That is, until 2019, when intrepid reporter Sophie Bearman took over the case. Determined to solve the mystery, Bearman embarks on a personal and professional journey to get the urn back where it belongs. But how much help is too much? Amid a pandemic that forces us to ponder mortality incessantly, Episode 7 offers a refreshing and unexpected take on life and loss. Tell us what you think of Last Seen! Please fill out our short survey.

Episode 6: A Hole in the Silence

Spain has one of the highest number of forced disappearances in the world, second only to Cambodia. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and General Francisco Franco's dictatorship, fascist troops killed tens of thousands of people and threw them into mass graves. For decades, few people knew this — and no one in Spain talked about it. But in the year 2000, a man in the middle of an identity crisis began digging into his family's past, searching for a grandfather who had gone missing in the war. What Emilio Silva discovered not only changed his own life - it inspired a social movement to recover Memoria Histórica, or historical memory, throughout Spain. In episode 6, audio producer and writer Isabel Cadenas Cañón (De eso no se habla) reveals the cultural transformation of a country through the personal transformation of one man.

Episode 5: Belly Up

When three friends went on a rum-fueled rampage one night deep in the Nevada desert, they never expected the trouble they would find themselves in a week later. The men broke into a remote unit of Death Valley National Park known as Devil's Hole — a mysterious flooded cave that happens to be home to the one of the rarest fish on Earth, and one that's critically endangered too. This episode, based on Paige Blankenbuehler's High Country News feature, is a bite-size crime story starring an obscure species of tiny fish, and some hedonistic humans who stepped a little too far over the line, and suffered some big consequences. Last Seen host Nora Saks dives into the fraught relationship between humans and nature, and the long arm of the law intended to protect our most vulnerable species.

Episode 4: Africa's Lost Year of Hope

Episode 4: Africa's Lost Year of Hope

In 1960, dubbed "The Year Of Africa", a pair of bold leaders fanned the flames of hope for a brighter future in the Belgian colony of Congo. But by the following year, that hope had been dashed by outside forces. Using traditional griot storytelling, writer Brenton Zola transports us to a turning point in Congo's path to independence, and remembers the future that almost was.

Episode 3: The Lost World

Episode 3: The Lost World

Every school kid learns that there are exactly eight planets in our solar system. But what if we told you there might be a ninth? A world that may be six times the size of Earth and take 12,000 years to orbit the Sun. The only thing is, while some scientists are convinced Planet Nine exists, no one has seen it. Yet. Science journalist and WBUR producer Dean Russell (Endless Thread) traces the lives of two astronomers, separated by a century, bound by their thirst for finding that missing planet. This Last Seen story of obsession reveals the unexpected reward when one astronomer gets it wrong — and the fallout when another gets it, seemingly, right.

Episode 2: Out of Time

Episode 2: Out of Time

Freeports are the most expensive and secretive warehouses in the world, which now hide some of the world's cultural treasures from the public eye. Join Ben Brock Johnson as he traces the path of one lost Modigliani painting, "Seated Man with a Cane," and attempts to catch a glimpse inside these high-tech storage dungeons.