It is just two weeks since the BBC website published a link to our September article on the roll of film which was discovered and developed by Macfilos author William Fagan. Our article in September had started the ball rolling. This story has had 31,000 views and has attracted a discussion thread with 245 interesting comments, some of them attempting to solve the mystery. For a niche photography website, this is quite something.
Since then BBC article, crazy things have happened here at Macfilos. I have been fending off enquiries from media all over the world as well as dealing with hundreds of comments and emails from people who have a theory on the mystery couple in the photographs. Fortunately, I spent most of my working life either in journalism or in handling media relations. It’s just like old times for me.
Some of this has been pure conjecture; interesting to read but ultimately of no real use. But an army of volunteer researchers has taken up the story, visiting locations and using their knowledge of Switzerland and Northern Italy.
As a result, as disclosed in this follow-up article, we now have detailed knowledge of the journey and the places the couple stayed—including the remarkable calculation of the floor of a particular hotel they occupied for at least one night.
A forensic examination of old photographs of Bahnhofplatz in Zurich, where the adventure began, places the journey in 1950 or 1951. Investigations continue.
We still have no way of unlocking details from the American Occupation Zone vehicle archives, which would have been the obvious means of putting a name to the car owner, nor do we have any clear leads to the couple’s identify. While we’re not expecting to get the name of the dachshund, we still hope to pin down the people…
If anyone has a lead on the location of the vehicle registration documents from Bavaria in the period 1948-51, William and I would be supremely grateful for any help. They could well be in the United States. A trace of the car’s owner would be the most significant clue we could have.
Following the worldwide coverage, the quest has been taken up by blogs—this is an example— but it is remarkable how this story has captured the attention of international media. And, in turn, is has drawn in the public. This is a perfect human-interest mystery which acts as an antidote to the present-day atmosphere of doom and gloom.
Here are a few more example articles from the English-speaking media which have appeared over the past few days. There have been hundreds more, but this will give regular Macfilos readers a flavour for the way in which the story has been handled. I will try to keep you up to date with the story over the next few weeks.