A story of mine starts with a character disappearing in his radio studio while on air.

  • Nobody else was in the building with him.
  • A pair of sunglasses that he always kept in his shirt pocket was the only thing left behind.
  • His last words were regarding strange noises and things falling off of shelves in the background.
  • A loud, decidedly non human screech was heard seconds before the feed cut to static noise.

Now, how would authorities handle this? I don't know a thing about law or whatever but a lot of potential plot points are reliant on this LOL

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    We can't tell you what to write. You need to decide how your 'authority' characters will advance the story. Are they protagonists or antagonists? Are they skeptics or believers? Are there existing procedures for investigating the paranormal or are they forced to improvise? What are the pressures on them to solve/debunk/bury the case? Do all your investigators agree? Do any have a personal stake that would change how they behave?
    – wetcircuit
    Jun 21, 2021 at 23:37
  • @wetcircuit Thank you for this :O it actually gave me some ideas! Jun 22, 2021 at 1:17
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    I’m voting to close this question because This should go on a board that focuses on such procedure, not a writer's board Jul 15, 2021 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


Most listeners would think that the screech was an equipment malfunction, maybe due to an earthquake... and when the radio station went silent they'd probably switch to some other station or some other activity.

Depending on what the DJ says, how, and what the listener hears and feels some people might call the police, but most people will likely realize they don't know what happened, and surely someone is there, like a sound technician or someone if something happened... maybe the DJ was just tripping?

Nobody would start looking for ET unless they were gravely paranoid, but then they'd likely be out looking for ET already... (A blind hen finding an acorn?)

Someone at the station might get alarmed that the station went silent and start calling people. Maybe even head over to the radio station to check what's up, or ask someone there to do it for them.

The police will likely get involved if there is blood or signs of struggle in the studio.

If the DJ has just vanished without any sign of struggle or criminal activity the police would likely not start investigating until someone in the DJ's life makes a missing person report. If this doesn't happen, the police will likely consider him not missing...

A missing person report would probably not be investigated until 24 hours had passed since the disappearance. Especially if the DJ's car is in the parking lot at the radio studio and he cannot be suspected of having walked off into the wilderness. Maybe if it's winter, they'd be quicker.

Due to budgetary reasons the police will also declare the case a cold case and stop investigating it after a while. In that case, family members might hire a PI to keep looking. That PI-link also states that in the US 800,000 people are reported missing every year, so it would be another Tuesday at the precinct. Unless someone there knows the DJ...

Family members (that didn't listen to the radio) would probably be on the phone a while after he's supposed to have made contact or come home, and they would probably be out looking for him in places they think he might be an hour or two later. If they know about them, they might contact missing people (even before 24 hours have passed...)

If family members heard the radio show and what the DJ said they'd probably head over there immediately if they thought he was not joking or making a show.

As time passes the realization that the DJ is gone will settle and the reasoning behind why might differ from person to person from him having just up and left his life to him having been kidnapped or killed.

And since there will likely be no ransom demand, the police will also not investigate the disappearance as a kidnapping. Even if the DJ's wife is 100% sure he was kidnapped...

At around this time, it's likely people close to the DJ would start processing the situation in some variation of the stages of grief. This could take years, and some might never accept what happened.

  • Oh my God this is the best answer. Thank you so so much, this is exactly what I was looking for! :O Jun 27, 2021 at 5:19

If your authority characters react to the disappearance, according to their individual natures tempered by professional responsibilities, then I think they will be very believable.

For example, if your world seems like ours, then the people who vanish without explanation are likely perpetrating a hoax. If the JANITOR (just picking a random authority figure, but make it the SHERIFF if that works better for you) is a straight laced down to earth kind of person then they'd likely think the VANISHEE staged everything, and might reflect on previous conversations they had with the DJ while they were performing their JANITORIAL duties and look for hints on why the DJ.

But, if the JANITOR was an X-FILES fan, then they might might consider what SCuLLEY and/or MULDER would think. They might adopt each mindset of each character and examine the problem of the VANISHING DJ.

The same goes for JANITOR fan of SHERLOCK HOLMES or NANCY DREW. Their basic nature and how they view the world will guide their decisions on how they investigate and interpret the event.

Of course, in your story the JANITOR might be a DISTRICT ATTORNEY or a POLICE CHIEF and that would make them mindful of the rules of professional behavior regarding asserting paranormal explanations for events or crimes. A DA that asserts that the Loch Ness Monster did it will likely not be the DA for much longer and might lose their law license too. There are consequences for professionals for straying into the strange and terrible truths of our world.

  • Thank you so much for answering! Lotsa food for thought. :D Jun 22, 2021 at 1:18

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