A Tasmanian evangelist disappeared 26 years ago. Now a Cr…… | News and reports
A new podcast draws attention to the disappearance of an obscure evangelist who disappeared in Australia 26 years ago.
Geoffrey Rallings was a short man with a long beard, an accordion, and a deep love of Scripture. He would ask for money at a mall, invite people to talk about God, then use the money to rent a room for Bible studies. According to a man who was baptized by Rallings, he was shockingly successful in bringing people to Jesus.
“God only knows how many people he converted,” wrote Erik Peacock in a memoir about homeschooling, Christianity and environmental activism. “I don’t really believe in such things, but at weird times I wonder if God took it.”
Rallings was not seen for a few days after Christmas Day 1995.
For the past 26 years, his family, friends, police and media have been unable to find any trace of evidence indicating what happened to him.
Amber Wilson, a crime reporter who wrote and produced the eight-part podcast, The Lostsays an inordinate number of people have also gone missing in Tasmania, the remote island state located more than 150 miles south of the Australian mainland.
“Tasmania has become known as much for its secrets as for its beauty. Of the 169 people missing on the island since the mid-20th century, dozens have entered the Tasmanian wilderness – never to be seen again,” Wilson writes.
“Why do people seem to fall off the edge of the world here?”
The first episode of the podcast focuses on Rallings. He moved from England to Tasmania in 1960, partly so that he and his wife could educate their children at home. Rallings had been a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but left because he felt Adventists focused too much on the teachings of founder Ellen G. White and not enough on the Bible itself.
Rallings became a Baptist. In the mid-1980s he wrote about half a dozen pamphlets, ranging from 20 to 40 pages, explaining why people should put their faith in Jesus, trust in the power of his death, be baptized and read the Bible. .
Why Christ? a requested title.
And another replied: By his wounds we are healed.
Rallings never founded his own church. According to Peacock, he was “a little dogmatic and a little mad”, and most of his converts eventually left him to join mainstream churches. But Rallings’ sporadic Bible studies in rented rooms in Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, have changed the lives of many.
Rallings lived in rural Tasmania, raising her children, reading the Bible and growing vegetables. He was sometimes seized by the need to hitchhike to Hobart with his accordion. There he played songs in malls, raising funds and drawing a crowd, before holding another Bible study.
This is what he was doing when he disappeared in 1995. He was then 65 years old. The Australian Federal Police listed Rallings as a missing person, recording minute details of who he was:
Year of birth: 1930
Height: 167 centimeters
Distinguishing features: Beard
“There was nothing malicious about the man,” a neighbor told Wilson for the podcast. “He just wanted to get the word out, the religious word, his word, without hurting anyone. But I have the awful feeling that there might be some foul play here.
Tasmanian officials initially suspected that Rallings had been the victim of a hit and run. Standing on the side of the road outside Hobart, hitchhiking along rural roads, he could have been run over by a drunk driver and left, injured, with no one to hear his pleas for help. aid.
After several weeks, however, no one found a body. If Rallings was dead, where was he?
Police investigated at least two suspects who may have murdered Rallings, and Wilson found a man who believes the evangelist may be buried on his property. However, the detectives’ case has cooled and the frantic shoveling has yet to find any human bones.
Another possibility is that Rallings suffered from dementia and at one point, hitchhiking home from another evangelical foray into the city, he got lost in the desert, confused.
If that’s what happened, his family would like to know.
“I’ll see dad again,” Rallings’ daughter Irene says on the podcast, “but the thing is, you’re thinking about the fact that there are bones somewhere. … I just want to know where he is.
The Lost launched on January 31. Episodes are scheduled to release twice a week during the month of February.