In my newspaper today:
A brief bit about hedge-fund manager Arthur G. Nadel, who disappeared six days ago, around the time he owed investors a $50 million payout.
The last line:
. . . he left his family a note in which he appeared to be distraught.
It was a note. He didn't look like anything in the note.
I really wish they'd used "seemed."
I konw that "appear" can be used metaphorically, but when there is such a strong literal situation (a single piece of paper, not a series of actions and writings), the "appeared' just hit wrong.