I was inspired by this question which talks about feuding clans of immortals in an urban fantasy setting trying to wipe out each other's cities while under a masquerade. There's a lot of this kind of stuff in urban fantasy fiction, from towns being utterly destroyed by whatever supernatural phenomenon the plot revolves around (e.g., the destruction of the Hellmouth destroying Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, San Venganza in Ghost Rider, Silent Hill), or the destruction thereof is considered an implicit threat (the potential destruction of Forks is a plot point in the third Twilight novel).
This got me wondering how realistic it would be for an entire town to disappear via supernatural plot-related shenanigans, such as monsters attacking the town or some other disaster destroying the town. Either every living person is wiped out or the few people who survive leave almost immediately thereafter. I'm mostly thinking about this in terms of a relatively recent setting where travelling between cities is common and communication technology exists, so post-1890 or so. I'm also thinking about a town that's in a relatively rural setting but not on a frontier, and in a politically stable enough country that local warlords aren't really an issue. I.e., in the American West towns were destroyed due to Native American raids, Americans from other towns burning them down and killing their inhabitants, plague and drought, or the mineral lodes the town's economy was built on drying up, but those towns were so isolated it wasn't seen as unusual if one got wiped out.
Thinking about it, wouldn't the complete disappearance of a town overnight be a major catastrophe, one that would draw a lot of attention as the government panics to find out what made thousands of its citizens disappear on what is supposed to be secure territory? I don't know if there's any precedence. I did some research into ghost towns and even in cases where towns "disappear overnight", it's usually because economic conditions have rapidly shifted (usually in mining towns) and even then the towns still dwindle slowly instead of everyone disappearing in one mass event. Even in more catastrophic events, like the Centralia Mine Fire, it still took over a decade for everyone to clear out. There are cases like the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (or alternatively the Mount Saint Helens disaster or the Fukushima disaster), but that was such a catastrophic event it would be impossible to ignore and the causes thereof are well known.
My question is primarily is it possible for a decent-sized town (say 2000-100,000 people) to disappear overnight in a catastrophe and not attract a great deal of attention? By "great deal of attention", I mean in the long term the destruction of the town not having a huge impact beyond some obscure historical trivia on the level of the Centralia disaster. Obviously in the immediate aftermath there would be investigations, but I'm talking about the event not being broadcast all over the prime-time news, the government not in a perpetual state of panic because they can't pin down the culprit, and not leaving a deep historical impact like 9/11 did for the United States. Are there any historical cases of this that can be used to model how this would happen? How extensively would people try to investigate and what would need to occur to make the long-term irrelevance of it (or at least, enough that the supernatural elements are not discovered) possible?
To be clear, I'm not talking about a town completely disappearing and no one ever finds out (though that would be nice if it were the case). It's pretty clear that people would have to incur selective amnesia for that to be the case given how interconnected the world has been in the last 125 years. I'm talking about a town disappearing and in the long run not resulting in massive socio-cultural change or lingering as a widely-known historical trauma. For example the 9/11 attacks were a huge national crisis for the U.S., are an event so well known and so engrained in contemporary pop culture it is unlikely any U.S. citizen who lived through them would forget about it, and resulted in major shifts in government policy (including huge changes in how air travel is conducted, increasing Western government surveillance on its citizens, and arguably precipitating several wars in the Middle East). Same with Chernobyl. By contrast, who among us today remembers Mount Saint Helens (though even then the site was made a National Volcanic Monument)? One would think the idea of a thousand or more people just disappearing (or worse, having clear signs that they were slaughtered by something) with no clear culprit (unless they blame it on a natural disaster) would cause governments to freak out because there was no way to predict or avert it and be a massive milestone in that country's history. Such an event would likely cause massive sociocultural change as the government tries everything to make sure it happens "never again", potentially including investigating the event as hard as they can (and hence likely discovering the supernatural and blowing the Masquerade) or persecuting whatever group they think did this (whether they are a group of humans or supernaturals). Even if the government is in on the Masquerade it seems unlikely they would try to cover it up.