A Teacher With A Rare Form Of Amnesia Disappeared Three Times And Hasn't Been Found

Hannah Upp was a young woman with a positive attitude and a zest for life. Despite having divorced parents and struggling with her personal understanding of religion, she was a seemingly happy, successful woman aspiring to become a Montessori teacher in order to effect positive change in the world.

Unfortunately, she also suffered from a rare disorder best known for afflicting Jason Bourne, the fictional protagonist from The Bourne Identity and its sequels. Because of this condition, she went missing twice and was later found with no recollection of what had happened. In 2017, Upp went missing for a third time and has never been found.

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  • Upp First Went Missing On August 28, 2008
    Photo: Find Hannah Upp / Facebook

    Upp First Went Missing On August 28, 2008

    On the first day of the school year in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, students waited at their desks without a teacher. Hannah Upp was nowhere to be found. Her roommate managed to find her wallet and cell phone in her bedroom, but there was no sign of her whereabouts.

    Upp was in her early 20s, and by all accounts, she was a loving individual who radiated positive energy. One of her friends even joked:

    She lives in this separate place where there are butterflies and birds, and they follow her around. Everything is good and everyone is happy, and there’s no conflict, ever.

    Those close to her maintain she wasn't the type of person to blow off work or take an extended trip without notice.

    Upp's loved ones organized a large search party that scoured the city for any sign of her. Hannah Wood, one of Upp's closest friends, even started a Facebook page dedicated to finding her that acquired over 1,200 members. Meanwhile, the United Federation of Teachers offered a $10,000 reward for any information leading to Upp's discovery.

  • While Missing, Upp Was Caught On Several Security Cameras

    The investigation into Upp's disappearance took a strange yet hopeful turn as security cameras revealed multiple sightings of the young woman wandering through various city locales. A detective asked Hannah’s mother, Barbara Bellus, to come to the 30th Precinct in Harlem to identify whether the woman on camera was her daughter or not.

    Surveillance footage from an Apple Store showed a young woman wearing a sports bra and running shorts ascending the store's staircase. A man stopped to ask her if she was the missing woman he had seen on posters around the city, but she quickly dismissed him with what her mother called a “characteristic gesture.”

    She was also spotted in a Starbucks in Soho, and she had even logged onto a public computer to check her email. She was wandering around New York City as if nothing was wrong, but none of her friends or family had heard from her in weeks.

  • In September 2008, Hannah Upp Was Found Face Down In The Hudson River

    On September 16, 2008 - 20 days after Hannah Upp vanished - a Staten Island ferry captain saw a female body bobbing in the water near Robbins Reef Light Station, a lighthouse on a rocky reef just southwest of the Statue of Liberty. Two men steered a small boat toward the body, assuming they were retrieving a corpse. One of the men said, “I honestly thought she was dead.”

    As they grabbed her ankles and shoulders, Upp gasped for air and began to cry. Half her body was severely sunburned, and she looked as if she had been in the water for a long time. She was taken to the hospital and received treatment for dehydration and hypothermia.

  • Upp Had No Memory Of The Prior 20 Days

    Even after looking at the security footage in which she appeared, Upp had no recollection of what she had done during her disappearance. In fact, she mentioned needing to set up her classroom as if only a few hours had passed, completely unaware that nearly three weeks had gone by.

    One night, she jolted awake and mentioned being at a lighthouse, but when her mother inquired about this the next morning, she couldn’t remember anything about it. However, she did remember everything that happened before the incident. Some people accused her of faking the whole ordeal, but her friends and family were supportive and happy to have her back.

    Even so, they agreed there had to be an explanation.