Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Search Of... Amelia Earhart

Researchers announced today the discovery of a small glass jar on tiny Nikumororo Island in the south Pacific.  It's believed to be a jar of "Dr. C.H. Berry's Freckle Ointment," an anti-freckle cream popular with women in the 1930s.  This is significant because it may have been owned by missing aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, a redhead, whose plane disappeared in the region on July 2, 1937, during a record breaking attempt to fly around the world.  You can read the MSNBC article HERE.

It's been widely believed for most of the last 75 years that her twin engine Lockheed Electra airplane ran out of fuel and crashed near Howland Island, about 300 miles from Nikumororo's flat coral reef. Could Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan actually have landed the plane successfully on this reef a few hundred miles away and then lived on the tiny island as castaways? According to this article, in 1940, skeletal remains of a man and a woman were found on Nikumororo island, along with parts of a man's shoe and a woman's shoe, a sextant, remains of a fire, and the bones of turtles and birds. These remains have now been lost, unfortunately.

Reading this news today, I found myself vaguely recollecting an episode of the 1970's TV show In Search Of..., titled "Amelia Earhart," that I'd seen as a kid. It first aired in January 1977, but you can watch it on You Tube HERE.  It focuses on the sexier possibility that Earhart survived, perhaps making it to Saipan, was captured by the Japanese (who thought she was an American spy in the run-up to World War II), and later died in captivity.

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