by Robert A. Waters
Olga Mauger was a raven-haired beauty. She was twenty-one years old when she married oilman Carl Mauger. Three weeks later she disappeared, never to be seen again.
On September 17, 1934, with the temperature near freezing, Carl and Olga had gone elk hunting in the Twogwotee Pass near Dubois, Wyoming. Olga reportedly knew the ravine-filled country like the palm of her hand. She’d hunted and trapped there since she was a child.
An article by Pat Frank written in 1947 described their trek into the mountains: “On this crisp fall day in 1934 they set out together after elk. Olga wore tan breeches, high laced boots, and in her belt was a small hatchet, and she carried a bag of sandwiches. They hiked
far into the wilds, always climbing towards the Great Divide, seeking a game trail.”
The story Carl told was that as they hiked the rugged mountains, Olga became tired. She decided to rest while Carl climbed a ridge so he could “spot” elk. When he returned twenty minutes later, she was gone. He called and searched for her, then organized a posse to continue looking in the mountains. Her sandwich bag, minus the food, was found near the last place she was seen.
Shortly after Olga went missing, a snowstorm swept in from the west, hindering the search. Even so, hundreds of law enforcement officials, volunteers, and Indian trackers scoured the area for days. After the snows cleared, they went back and searched again. But the missing woman was never found.
According to her sister, Mrs. Emma Moorhead, Olga regretted marrying Carl almost from the minute he placed his expensive diamond ring on her finger. They’d met at a dance in the booming oil town of Midwest, Wyoming just a few weeks earlier. Carl had brought Ella Tchack, his girlfriend of six years, but once he laid eyes on Olga, he was smitten. The strangers danced, holding each other close and whispering soft, romantic phrases of love. Ella stormed out, but it didn’t matter to Carl. He and his new flame left the dance together.
In a letter Olga wrote her sister a few days before she vanished, the new bride said she wanted to commit suicide. No reason was given.
Searches continued sporadically for more than a year. While the rugged wilderness may have claimed her, those who knew Olga well thought that was impossible. Everyone said she could handle herself in the wild.
Cops eventually concluded that Olga had disappeared of her own accord. She may have realized, the theory went, that Carl Mauger wasn't the man she wanted to spend her life with. A case of buyer's remorse set in and she decided to start over someplace else.
Emma told reporters that she’d found the following passage from the “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” scrawled by Olga in one of her journals:
“Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round, walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.”
What happened to Olga Mauger? The answer will likely never be known. Despite her familiarity with the mountainous terrain, did she accidently fall into a ravine where she remained forever undiscovered?
Did the reluctant bride somehow walk out of that rugged forest, hail a driver on some lonely road, and willingly vanish?
Or did something more sinister happen, something kept secret through the ages?
Carl Mauger waited for seven years, then divorced Olga. After marrying his long-suffering girlfriend, Ella Tchack, it was said they moved to California and lived long and happy lives.
In 1947, Pat Frank ended his story with the following paragraph: "Olga? She may be anywhere. She may be the stenographer in the next office--the one with a few gray hairs among the dark tresses."
Thanks to Unsolved - In the News for alerting me to this story.
ADDENDUM: The following information was provided by my author friend Ron Franscell.
Born 26 Feb 1906
Died March 1978
Died in Redding (Shasta Co.) Calif.
Born 15 Dec 1905
Died 19 Mar 1998
Died in Redding (Shasta Co.) Calif.