A Tech Giant Disappears: The Unfinished Journey of James Gray | blameitonjorge
This video is brought to you by Current; the future of mobile banking. I don't know about you guys, but making my first bank account was intimidating and frustrating for me. They don't teach you this at school. Thankfully, Current is the solution to all of that for adults and teens. What makes current so unique and fresh is that it was designed as a mobile app first.
Their UI is incredibly slick and modern, with easy to read tools and charts to help you better understand your spending. Current offers overdraft protection with no fees up to 100 dollars, it works with over 40,000 ATMs with a convenient map inside the app, and you get up to 15 percent cash back from select purchases, which is insane. I get three percent on groceries. And it's completely free. No hidden fees, minimum balance fees, transfer fees or anything like that. And if you're a teen or if you're a parent wanting to teach your kid about financial spending, Current does offer a Teen Account.
It lets you, the parent, instantly transfer money to their account, set spending limits, notifies you about their purchases, block specific merchants and, hilariously, set chores to complete. So, yeah, you can bribe your kid. But seriously, if all this sounds interesting, use my link in the description to sign up today. Thanks to Current for sponsoring this video.
You've probably never heard of James Gray. One of the biggest names in computer programing, he's an absolute legend in the world of technological advancements. In his lifetime, James Gray worked on huge influential projects for IBM, Microsoft and many other household names. He explored and innovatived technologies that helped to drive advancements in online shopping, ATM machines, search engines and much more. His influence helps every one of us each day. Even you.
But by the end of this video, that's not what you'll remember about the man. In January 2007, James Gray became famous for something completely different. He disappeared without a trace on a solo yachting expedition, and neither his body nor his boat have ever been found. It's one of the weirdest disappearances in modern memory.
And we explore all of it in this video. We cover abandoned ashes, search patrols, suspected suicide, and a whole host of weird and wacky theories. This is the story of James Gray, the tech giant who mysteriously vanished. On Sunday, January 28th, 2007, 63 year old tech expert James Gray or Jim, as he was known to his friends and family, set out on an adventurous sailing expedition. He was venturing on a 12 hour trip to the Farallon Islands, a wildlife reserve twenty seven miles west of San Francisco to scatter his mother's ashes. She died the previous October and made this final request in her will.
Remote, desolate and rocky, the small, inhospitable islands are known for their unique wildlife. Throughout various periods of the year, the islands host birds, whales, dolphins and many more. So, although it's a remote area, it's a popular place to visit.
And lots of people tackle trips to the island for animal spotting and wildlife watching. On a sailing adventure, James Gray was writing his own 40 foot sailboat, a high quality craft named "Tenacious." He was, by all accounts, a very experienced sailor, and he knew this area pretty well.
En route to the island, James called his wife seemingly in good spirits, telling her he was around 15 miles from the islands. He also claimed he would call her again when he was within touching distance of his destination. During this call, he told his wife that he was wearing his safety harness. James also left his daughter a cheery voicemail, telling her, quote, I'm taking granny out to her final resting place.
I'm surrounded by dolphins out here. It's a little cloudy, but very pleasant. No whales, but lots of dolphins and very pretty.
Love and kisses. Take care. Bye. This was the last time anyone heard James Gray's voice, and no one has seen him ever since. But even stranger, no one can quite seem to work out what happened. At some point during the final part of his journey, James Gray disappeared without a trace. Did he crash? Did he have some type of accident or was it all part of some premeditated plan? On the surface, there's absolutely no reason why James Gray would or should have disappeared. On the day of his disappearance, conditions were clear.
Visibility was great. The wind was low. The sea was flat. And the weather was fine. He was sailing in perfect conditions. No radio distress signals were sounded. No one reported crashing in the James Grace boat. And there were no suspicious sightings of any wrecks or accidents. But even stranger James's boat was fitted with an emergency radio beacon, which should have immediately sent out signals if the boat started to sink.
This means that either the beacon just happened to malfunction that day or it was deliberately sabotaged. The last suspected sighting of James was around one or two miles south of the Farallon Islands. And after this, absolutely nothing.
The birth reserve for his arrival on the Farallon Islands remained empty. So he definitely didn't reach his destination. The day after his failure to arrive, the hunt began. Initial searches involved countless boats, helicopters and other aircraft. But no one could find any sign of James, even with the use of sophisticated sonar equipment. The search party went to massive lengths.
The Coast Guard team logged every single boat and vessel that might have come into contact with James's yacht in the well-sailed area. They checked every vessel for damage as it may have offered evidence of a crash. But absolutely none was found. James's yacht was only a lightweight fiberglass boats, so it's possible that a collision might have caused no marks or marks that could have been quickly and accidentally cleaned and washed away. But even if he had crashed, there still should have been some debris.
Determined to find this debris, tech giants became involved in search, piling huge amounts of money into the efforts. James Gray's lightweight boat might have encountered trouble, but even if James had died, the search team were determined to find evidence of exactly what happened and provide closure for his family and friends. A huge team was assembled, made up of people, vehicles and equipment from the U.S. Navy, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Nasa and other big names. Even Bill Gates himself was involved in the search.
They scanned and photographed huge areas of the ocean, amassing content and data for over 130000 square miles of water. At the time, it was one of the biggest, most advanced and most technological searches ever conducted. The team posted these photographs online, asking for more than 12000 volunteers to scour the scans for anything that might resemble a boat. If these photos are still available online, I was unable to find them. Coders even invented pieces of programing to make the job quicker and easier and hopefully more fruitful.
Ironically, they're using some of the very technology that James Gray himself had helped to pioneer. But despite all these massive efforts, no one could find James Gray, his boat, any debris or any major evidence at all. A very small few of the many thousand images taken were considered to be possible wrecks. But the weather had worsened. And by the time the team could explore these areas, there was no sign of the potentially important debris. Searches have since been conducted in these areas, but have thrown up absolutely no evidence at all.
James Gray's wife, Donna Corrine's, even chartered a boat of her own to visit the Farallon Islands with a Marine search expert, but their investigations also proved fruitless. So whatever happened to James Gray? He disappeared without a trace and absolutely no one could find him. Most people have now accepted that James Gray is likely dead and so have the authorities in 2012. That's exactly what they stated. On January 28th, 2012, James Gray was declared legally dead.
Under California law, such a ruling can be made if a person has been missing for five continuous years, even if their body has never been found. James Gray's wife requested that a San Francisco court make this ruling to, in her words, offer closure to "a strange, singular, rather painful mystery." She wanted this closure because she was eager to move on with her life, claiming, quote, "people are quite uncomfortable with ambiguity [...] They want an ending. This in-between land can cause great discomfort [...] Oddly enough, the five year period gave me time to say, 'you know what, I don't know the ending, but I sure miss my husband' [...] You have to learn to carry the ambiguity."
After the ruling was made, Donna seemed relatively relieved, telling friends that she was at home with, quote, "the fire on drinking tea with the hope that Jim may rest in peace." And it's, of course, understandable that James Gray's wife wanted this type of closure. But is James dead? Or is he perhaps alive? What exactly happened to him? Speculation has continued to surround this strange mystery with a number of theories emerging. Some mundane, some bizarre.
Lots of people believe they might know what happened to the missing man. The underwater search was painful. We had talked about it in the family, and we very much wanted to find out what had happened. And so we first had this high hope that we would find Jim above water. We then had this -- this large hope that we didn't even really want to have, but that we would find Tenacious underwater and find out what had happened to her.
So we searched over three and a half months, three hundred square nautical miles of the seafloor around the Farallones on the path that Jim was most likely to come home on with a professional group of people. And that -- that search ended on May 31st of last year. And that database has been donated to the Monterey Bay Research Group, which I think might be of some use to them and some of their work. At that point, it's the end of the underwater search. We don't have one trace, nothing. And I think the family just was very exhausted and we were adrift.
By that time, we were learning to understand terms like ambiguous loss. So from the perspective of the family, I think it's been an excruciatingly painful time. Things like this can tear people apart. I think in the end, we came together and I think that you take this experience and you try to do positive things with it. For example, working with the Coast Guard to see, you know, there's all this technology around. Is there anything we can do, anything we can donate that would help? For the San Francisco sector in particular, I tend to like to do things very, very locally to try and make a difference.
So that's really all I have to say from the family perspective, except that I just continually, despite our our tragedy, think how incredibly fortunate we were to have such a group of people coming together to look for Jim and how they came together. Mike talks about, you know, organization, how you needed it, but you did it. And I watched -- I still I watched the Coast Guard come together with the Microsoft guys and all these technical people who are usually competing with each other. And it was really, really profoundly wonderful to see that. It just shows people can come together when even if you think they can't. And that's really it.
That's all I have to say. Some believe James Gray intentionally killed himself in a place where no one could or would ever find him. Is it possible that James was so devastated by his mother's death that he decided to join her? Some speculate that James may have purposefully turned off all of the tracking equipment on his boat before intentionally damaging the vessel and floating to the bottom of the ocean. After watching his mother lose her ability to walk.
James was so distressed and disturbed telling his wife, quote. Was James so terrified of this future that he decided to kill himself? According to his family, this explanation makes no sense. As James seemed happy in the days and months leading up to his death. Yes, his mother had died, but everything else was going pretty well. He was wealthy. He was happily married.
And he had recently become a new grandfather. He had no enemies, no debt, and no problem that any of his friends or family could think of. And even if James Gray had killed himself, where did his boat disappear to? How has it never been found? Where is all the debris? Despite these unanswered questions, most people believe that James and his boat are lying somewhere in the bottom of the ocean. And there are many reasons why. Most theorists and researchers believe that the simplest explanation is the most likely explanation -- that James Gray's boat was hit by debris, which may have left a hole and caused the vessel to sink. Close to the Farallon Islands, there's a huge amount of drifting debris with many logs, nets and other pieces of flotsam.
If James crashed into just one of these, it's possible his lightweight craft may become irreparably damaged -- and that this might have led to his demise. An investigator who worked on the case claimed that this is the most likely explanation, stating, quote, "I can picture a million scenarios that whatever hole in the bottom of the yard with enough water coming in. But Jim had no way of shutting it down, slowing it up or fixing it with Jim being an engineer. You can imagine him thinking, I can fix this. And then the whole thing snowballs.
He was a level headed, steady guy who wasn't likely to panic, which is maybe too bad because the less competent person might have grabbed the radio and shouted for help." Others think that a cargo ship might have smashed into the much smaller dimensions of James Gray's yacht, crushing it in the process. The area close to the Farallon Islands has lots of cargo ships running through it. So it's a very likely possibility.
Some claim James may have come very close to reaching the islands before falling foul of the rocky outcrops which jut from the archipelago shores. Many ships have crashed on the jagged rocks which surround the islands, which sailors ominously refer to as, quote, "The devil's teeth." Others think the weather may simply be to blame. Although the weather was tame on the day James set sail, the area is known for its changeable climes. What starts as pleasant weather can soon become volatile with very little warning. There would have been very little James could have done about it.
A small few theorists believe James and his yacht might have become attacked by orcas or some of the area's great white sharks. Some even speculate that James had a heart attack while on board. But not one of these theories explains how absolutely none of the yacht has ever been found. Despite one of the most advanced, comprehensive and collaborative sea searches in history. It's very unusual that a search of this size would throw up absolutely no clues or results.
The search party found no debris at all. Not one piece of equipment. Not a life jacket, not a piece of Tupperware from the boat. No beer coolers, no oil slicks. And when the search is so comprehensive and so immediate, that's insanely unlikely.
Boats do go missing without ever being found. But not in these conditions. And now with a search party this big. So what if the search party was simply looking in the wrong place? James Gray said he was sailing to the Farallon Islands, but was he really? Some speculators have come up with a particularly unusual theory. But although it's like something from a spy movie, it's one that might just be true. An article by the San Francisco Gate posits a theory that James Gray actually sell to Mexico to embark upon a new life. If James sailed all the way south, down the west coast of the USA, he would have reached Baja, California, a popular retirement spot where lots of U.S. citizens travel to start afresh.
And according to the family, James did have a small inflatable boat on his yacht. Some people are unhappy in the most profound way and are desperate to start a new life no matter what it takes or what it costs. Maybe James was one of these people and perhaps he simply couldn't stand to continue his existing life any longer. As stated by a colleague of James, quote, "I don't know Jim well, but the fact he was disposing his mother's ashes could be important information.
Many sons have some difficulty with their mother's deaths, and this can come to the fore when scattering remains." The strangest piece of potential evidence for this claim revolves around a mysterious comment posted on Reddit. In May 2012, around three months after James Gray was declared legally dead, an unidentified person posted a strange comment on a Reddit thread. The title of the thread was, quote, What's your secret that could literally ruin your life if it came out? Lots of weird responses were offered, but the strangest one of them all was from a user named "Tomgoldaccount."
The comment read, "I cut off all contact with everyone I know and moved to Kenya. I tell people a fake name and a fake background and have made it up here to my family that I died on a boat trip in the Pacific. No, I'm not joking. I am dead. And the United States." Obviously, some people began to speculate that this Reddit user might have been James Gray, the account holder has never posted any other comments or content on Reddit.
It's of course, also possible that this comment was just a hoax or that it was someone else entirely. What makes the mystery even sadder is that James Gray was seemingly loved by everyone. His peers considered him unselfish. His colleagues would always turn to him for advice.
And he was known for being humble despite his lofty ambitions and achievements. In a world of greed and arrogance, he was a strangely kind and humble man. After his disappearance, one of James Gray's co-researchers said, quote, "Jim, looked you straight in the eye. He always listened to you. He worked a magic through an entire room. He seemed to care about so many people." And despite all the mystery, perhaps that's all we need to know about the man.
A seemingly wonderful person. Let's hope his friends and family have the closure they need. James is a huge figure, both socially and culturally. And it's hard to explain just how wide his influence spreads. Without his work, every single one of our lives would be very different and much more difficult.
And yet no one knows what happened to him.