Wednesday, March 31, 2010

best of the blog: scott covers amelia earhart!

Friday, April 13, 2007


once again, buying me some time and showing me how a real blog is done, my good friend, scott weinstein...
(thanks, scott!)

Amelia Earhart is an OTHER

It's one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the last century. What happened to Amelia Earhart? She was officially declared dead in 1939. But, like all celebrities who die young, her legend lives on.

On July 1, 1937, Amelia Earhart, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, took off from Lae, New Guinea in her Lockheed Electra 10E. Their destination was Howland Island 2550 miles away. They would never arrive. The Coast Guard cutter Itasca was assigned to wait for them near the island, stay in communication, and when they arrive help them find the island. But, what no one at the time knew was that her plane's radio-reception antenna had been ripped away during take-off. People could hear her, but she was unable to hear anything.

In the early hours of July 2, the Itasca received a transmission from Earhart saying that she was running low on fuel. A second message said that she was on "line of position 157 dash 337." That was the last they heard. The ship then began a search northwest of Howland Island. They found nothing. As news of the missing plane spread, the Navy ordered six ships to join the search. A pilot flying over Gardner Island, an uninhabited atoll in the Phoenix Islands hundreds of miles to the south, reported seeing "signs of recent habitation." But, no people were spotted. It was assumed no one was there and they moved on.

But, you know what they say about assume?

What happened to her? Well, clearly she crashed. That's pretty obvious. Many theories have surfaced over the years. Alien abduction is among them. But, we determined in the last post that while aliens exist, they haven't been to Earth yet. So, rule that one out.

Many people have speculated that she was captured by the Japanese, who executed her for spying. Other stories claim that she was forced to make broadcasts as one of many women known as Tokyo Rose. All those theories have been disproved. And some researchers think that for wartime propaganda purposes, the US government may have spread those false rumors.

There is also the claim that she survived the flight, moved to New Jersey, changed her name, remarried and became Irene Bolam. But, the real Irene Bolam refuted this. And even sued the author of a book pushing that theory. When they actually looked into her life, they realized this poor woman could in no way be Earhart.

So, what happened? A newly discovered dairy, kept by an AP reported aboard the Itasca, has awakened interest. The diary itself offers no new clues. However, it does provide an account of the search and rescue efforts. And of her last transmissions.

According to the current theory, that pilot flying over Gardner Island may have been too hasty. In 1940, a British overseer on Gardner recovered a partial human skeleton, a woman's shoe and an empty sextant box at a former campsite. The initial examination of the bones claimed they belonged to a stocky European male. Of course, the original bones were lost. But, modern supercomputer forensic scientific examinations say that the measurements of the bones are consistent with a woman of Earhart's age and height. In addition the shoe matches those she wore in photos before she left for her trip.

Currently, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (or TIGHAR, seriously, that's what they call themselves) is planning a ninth trip to Gardner Island. It is safe to assume that any remains have been devoured by the surroundings by now. But, there is a little insight into what her final hours may have been like. Thanks to short-wave radio. Harmonic frequencies in the middle of the ocean can often be heard thousands of miles away. And that July night Betty, a 15 year-old girl in Florida, was listening. She heard Earhart's final transmissions and took notes in her school notebook. The woman on the radio was with a man, who was "coherent at times, then would go out of his head." Earhart was trying to keep Noonan from leaving the plane, and kept telling him to come back to his seat, because she needed to stay near the radio. And as the transmissions faded, she heard her say that they "were leaving the plane, because the water was knee-deep on her side." Betty's father notified the Coast Guard, but they dismissed him. There had been several hoax transmissions that night.

So, who knows how things really ended. Maybe they made it off the reef onto the island. Built some form of shelter. Eventually, they started exploring. Earhart probably had to smack Noonan around some, since he was clearly loosing it. And eventually, she had to "take care of him."

But, that doesn't mean her adventures were over. Maybe there were other inhabitants. Maybe a smoke monster. And hatches. Hey, is that a Dharma logo on the side of her plane. Did she become an Other? Is she really Ben's mom? Of course, her bones mean those adventures ended pretty quickly. But, it's fun to imagine.

And don't forget, check out my comic...
After School Agent

Thanks for listening,



Brian said...

The mystery has kept her memory alive for generations.

I imagine that if she had succeeded in what she set out to do, that few today would know who she was.

Matt Wieringo said...

Well, I think we'd know but we wouldn't be as intrigued. Great post, Scott.

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