Granger Taylor: The Mysterious Disappearance of a Canadian Man Lost in Space

A gentle giant and self-taught genius: Granger Taylor photographed before his strange disappearance.
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Granger Taylor was a genius. Born in 1948, he grew up on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, and was the definition of an autodidact. Despite a lack of formal education – having dropped out of school in the eighth grade – he was a mechanical prodigy, building a one-cylinder automobile at the age of just fourteen, before going on to restore a plethora of vehicles, including the rusted remains of an old steam locomotive that he hauled from out the forest in which it had been abandoned, as well as a vintage P-40 Kitty Hawk military fighter aircraft – the restored plane being purchased by a collector in 1981 for $20,000 dollars. 1

In addition to trains and planes, talented Taylor had another mechanical interest: building a “life-sized” replica of a flying saucer. In the latter portion of the 1970s, Taylor dedicated the better part of a year to designing, constructing and welding together a spaceship on his parents’ property on the marshes of Somenos Lake, using spare parts he had salvaged. 2 The reason why? He claimed to have come into telepathic contact with an extraterrestrial being – after which he became obsessed with figuring out how spaceships were powered and if it was possible to build one.

Granger Taylor UFO
The flying saucer Taylor constructed on his parents’ property. He was known to sleep in the structure before his disappearance.

Taylor was gripped – and his unearthly interest no secret. Those who knew him at the time – who have spoken about Taylor in the decades since – have described him as an “eccentric genius” who, whenever you would speak with him, would inevitably turn the conversation to talk of UFOs and aliens. After constructing the flying saucer, he was known to spend hours inside, sitting, thinking, often sleeping there. One of his friends, Robert Keller, who was interviewed for a VICE article decades later, explained that Taylor told him he had “dreams that they [aliens] were coming to get him”. Another friend, Bob Nielson, was told something similar, revealing to a local newspaper, Times Colonist, that Taylor would go to his flying saucer to lie there and supposedly receive “mental communications with somebody from another galaxy.” “He couldn’t see them,” his friend explained. “They were just talking to him and his mind.” 3 

His obsession reached a tragic peak when, on the night of 29th November, 1980, thirty-two year old Taylor walked out of his parents’ home – leaving all of his worldly possessions behind – never to be seen again. Before he left, he wrote a strange note for his parents to find. In it he explained he had “gone away to walk aboard an alien spaceship”. The aliens with whom he had been communicating via dreams, it seemed, had offered him a “voyage to explore the vast universe”. His parents, however, were not to worry, for Taylor wrote that the voyage would only last for forty-two months, after which he would “then return”. In the meantime, he was “leaving behind all” of his possessions to them, for he would “no longer require the use of any”.

Was Taylor’s letter a suicide note dressed up as a reassuring message intended to soothe his parents? Or, was he telling the truth, and indeed intended to “walk aboard an alien space ship” and “explore the vast universe”?

When writing the note, Taylor also altered his will, crossing out the word “death” and replacing it with “departure.”

Peculiarly, a report by a local newspaper also claimed that, on the reverse side of the hand-written note, he had drawn a contour map of Waterloo Mountain – a peak located some 20-miles west of the Taylors’ property. 4 What Taylor meant by including this map with his note is unknown.

What is known is that Granger Taylor did not return – neither immediately nor after the forty-two month “voyage” period he mentioned in his note. The introspective, gentle genius much-loved by his friends and family was gone – having disappeared without a trace.

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His family and the police spent months searching for him, but no one could uncover any leads as to where Taylor could be. Not only had he left all of his possessions behind, he had also left $10,000 – a sum of money which, in 1980, would have easily helped him to start over elsewhere, should it have been his intention to leave and begin a new chapter in his life. The only thing missing was his car, a 1972 Datsun pickup. His parents kept his room untouched, hoping one day their son would return.

Then, in March 1986, local forestry workers reported a lead. They had found the wreckage of a vehicle somewhere near British Columbia’s Mount Prevost, not far from the Taylor family home. The truck – identified as a Datsun pickup – had been blown to pieces by dynamite. Bone fragments were also said to have been found at the scene. And so, it seemed as if Taylor had been found. It was said that – through the use of dynamite – he had taken his own life.

And yet, what followed were conflicting reports. Whilst some claim that the police were able to match the vehicle identification number on the wreckage to Taylor’s pickup, others have argued there was a confusion as to the specifics of the vehicle, with some claiming Taylor drove a “bright pink” 5 truck, and others saying it was “pale blue”. 6

And then there were other reports that threw doubt on whether or not a vehicle was even found, with it being said that the logger actually discovered a “crater in the ground and metal debris embedded in a tree” – and that there was no indication that the debris belonged to a vehicle. 7

Smiling: Granger Taylor photographed outside his home in British Columbia, Canada.

Whateverer the reality, the strongest argument against Taylor ending his own life is said to be the note he left his parents. Known as a considerate young man who got on well with his parents, it is difficult to imagine him performing an unnecessarily cruel hoax that intended to leave those he left behind perplexed and hoping for his return forty-two months later. What was the reasoning? Unless, of course, the explosion was accidental – and that he had, as his note suggested, been on the way to meet with so-called extraterrestrials when his truck blew up.

It is impossible to say.

Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who were involved in the search for Taylor and the later discovery of the wreckage, have been unclear as to whether or not the bone fragments allegedly found at the site were Taylor’s. A newspaper article dating from the time, published by the Montreal Gazette, claimed that “Two pieces of bone were found at the blast site and a pathologist confirmed they are human”. They were not, however, confirmed as Taylor’s, with the RCMP stating that they were working on the assumption that they belonged to the missing man.

It is not known if it was later confirmed whether or not they were his remains. 8

Granger Taylor and his parents: there were no reports of his relationship with them being strained prior to his disappearance. They, like so many others who knew Taylor, could offer no explanation as to why he went missing.

Years later, many have been left unsatisfied by this case. What really happened to Granger Taylor? Did mental illness and an unhealthy obsession with flying saucers cause Taylor to suffer a breakdown, one which eventually led to him taking his own life? Or, was he really in contact with extraterrestrial beings, the destroyed truck either being unrelated to his disappearance, or a way for Taylor to dispose of his vehicle before he left Earth?

A curious side note in the case, is that the area in which this mystery occurred was no stranger to UFO sightings. Just a decade earlier, on New Year’s Eve 1969, a nurse by the name of Doreen Kendall reported seeing – along with three other nurses – a “Saturn shaped” UFO with two humanoid occupants hovering outside the window of the hospital where she was working. 9

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Decades later, Taylor’s disappearance continues to affect the people he left behind, not just his family, but the friends he gained as a mentor and genius of “mechanical anthropology”. Without a doubt, he was an uncannily brilliant, bright young man, and so, according to Tyler Hooper, a consultant who researched Taylor for a 2019 CBC documentary dedicated to him and his mysterious disappearance, called Spaceman, “if anyone could find a way to travel to another world beyond the cosmos, it would have been Granger Taylor.” 10

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About Laura Rowton 80 Articles
Laura Rowton is a filmmaker and paranormal researcher. In 2019, she released her debut feature documentary on life after death, "In Search of the Dead", which she co-produced with her husband, Erik. Follow her on Instagram for more.