Is That You Amelia?

As a young girl, the story of Amelia Earhart always haunted me. The grainy, choppy, final movie clips of Amelia waving goodbye before flying into oblivion. I didn’t understand how they couldn’t find her. I mean how big is this planet anyway, the eight year-old me asked. Turns out, plenty big. But I always felt they had given up on finding her. Was it because she was a woman or just because they were looking in the wrong place? Would they have given up on Charles Lindbergh? Probably not. But people were looking, just not in large numbers.

There are three main hypothesis as to what happened to Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937. Number one is they perished into the Pacific after running out of fuel. Number two involves Earhart living in America under a new identity with the governments’ help. Number three is the subject of a new documentary on the History channel based on the finding of a misfiled photograph that may or may not have Earhart and Noonan in it. The new theory suggests Amelia and Noonan survived the crash near the Marshall Islands, but were captured by the Japanese.

The black and white photo shows people milling around a dock and a boat in the water is towing an object on a barge. It’s the kind of picture you wouldn’t think anything of other than a day in the life.

Credit: National Archives

A facial recognition expert examined the photo and gives the level of authenticity as “very credible” evidence that Amelia and Noonan are in the picture – a higher credibility for Noonan. The triangular shaped hairline of Noonan matches up perfectly when an overly of Noonan is placed on top of the photo. Additionally, the woman sitting on the dock with her back turned, has short hair and is wearing pants – something Amelia was known for and not common in 1937. The object being towed on the barge measures 38 feet – the same length as Amelia’s Electra plane.

Please let this be true! I need to know what happened to this adventurer and early feminist. I’m not sure it’s a better fate to die as a prisoners of war, and perhaps Amelia would have preferred to have gone down with her plane, but I like knowing Earhart survived. It’s the navigator’s job to keep her on course. Okay. And if they crashed in the Marshall Islands, experts say they were at least 1,000 miles of course.

The Japanese deny capturing Earhart or having her plane and say there are no documents to support this ever happened. Of course there’s not! It’s their story and they’re sticking to it. However, I think they should let us have a look at their archives just in case. Never know what else might be misfiled.

Update: One week after this story broke, this new theory seems to have been debunked. A Japanese blogger says this photo was placed in a magazine in 1935, two years earlier than Amelia Earhart went missing. The History channel says they are investigating this new lead.

Missed last week’s Random Thoughts? Check it out here.

Random Thoughts – Is That You Amelia?
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