I must have said something about 2017 being the anniversary year of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. I lectured a couple of times about her (the first time was in 2011) and even gave a Pecha Kucha presentation a couple of years ago to a bemused audience at the First Christian Church in Pittsburg on the topic.
What brought Amelia back to my consciousness was the fact that one of my students this semester prepared a short presentation on Earhart for an extra credit project. She apparently visits Atchison, KS quite regularly for the Earhart celebrations. It was nice to see that Amelia isn’t forgotten by the younger generation.
Inspired by this, I had a riffle around the TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) website to see what has developed recently.
An entry in TIGHAR Executive Director Ric Gillespie’s blog caught my attention. The article “Crickets and Corrections” discusses a photo which I had forgotten about, despite only being revealed five or six months ago in June / July 2017.
You may have seen this photo which is preserved in the US National Archives. A program on the History Channel supposedly blew away much of the conspiracy theory and the detailed research of TIGHAR by stating that the picture shows conclusively that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan’s flight actually ended in the Marshall Islands, and that they were taken prisoner by the Japanese. This would have been especially aggravating to TIGHAR, who have spent many years and a a considerable amount of money trying to prove their theory that Earhart and Noonan crashed and eventually died on Gardner Island in the Phoenix Islands, now known as Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati.
Ric Gillespie says that some other information has come to light about the picture. Another copy has emerged in a Japanese book published in 1935, and Gillespie / TIGHAR take much trouble to examine and translate the bibliographic information showing that the photo may have been taken two years before the famous pair disappeared. Gillespie says the History Channel have pulled the show from its schedules, and indeed the History Channel website mentions that new information has come to light and that they’re investigating. Gillespie’s blog post is the equivalent of a crowd of British football supporters singing “It’s All Gone Quiet Over There” to their previously raucous opponents’ stands when their team scores.
I have no doubt we’ll hear more about this. TIGHAR’s investigation has been going on since 1989, according to their website, and will no doubt continue as funds permit. They have amassed an absolute wealth of circumstantial evidence. All of it is very highly plausible, (Personally I think their explanation is the best one and the most likely) but as they admit, there is nothing which can prove the hypothesis beyond reasonable doubt.
We will keep watching and waiting.