“No hard evidence” in Earhart case? Knaggs’ find on Mili refutes skeptics’ claim (First of two parts)

Even casual observers of the Earhart case know that the major weapon used by skeptics and critics of the truth, the blind crash-and-sankers, the Nikumaroro morons and the rest who refuse to accept the obvious about Amelia and Fred Noonan’s Mili Atoll landing and deaths on Saipan is their never-ending cry, “Where is the physical evidence? No hard evidence has even been found!”

Forget the many dozens of witness accounts from natives, Saipan veterans and other sources that so clearly points to the truth.  Only when the Electra is finally discovered, they say, will the Earhart puzzle be solved. Until then, all theories are acceptable – except the hated Saipan truth, of course, which is a “paranoid conspiracy theory” and is far too “extremist” to have any validity. These bozos are quite happy to keep Amelia and Fred in cold storage for eternity, floating out there in the unfathomable ether where the world’s great mysteries abide.

Vincent V. Loomis at Mili, 1979. In four trips to the Marshall Islands, Loomis collected considerable witness testimony indicating the fliers' presence there. His 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, is among the most important ever in establishing the presence of Amelia and Fred Noonan at Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands on July 2, 1937.

Vincent V. Loomis at Mili, 1979. In four trips to the Marshall Islands, Loomis collected considerable witness testimony indicating the fliers’ presence there.  His 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, is among the most important ever in establishing the presence of Amelia and Fred Noonan at Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands on July 2, 1937.

They’re wrong, as usual; hard evidence has been found and analyzed, and it tells us a compelling story. Most of the doubters are unaware of this evidence, but it makes little difference. Even if the Earhart plane was somehow miraculously found underneath the Saipan International Airport’s tarmac amid hundreds of tons of wartime refuse, where, as Thomas E. Devine has told us, the plane has been since it was bulldozed into a deep hole several months after it’s torching in the summer of 1944, the naysayers wouldn’t accept it. And our corrupt media, which has been so invested for so long in perpetuating the big lie that Amelia’s fate remains a mystery, would take all pains to thoroughly ignore and suppress news of the discovery, as they always have.

But that’s for another time. This post is the first of two that will present and discuss the hard evidence that was found at Mili Atoll, evidence that all but proves the reality of our heroes’ presence at Mili Atoll in July 1937.  So that readers can best understand the sequence of events that led to the discovery of this artifact, a bit of background is in order.

Amelia Earhart: The Final Story among best ever penned

Former Air Force C-47 pilot Vincent V. Loomis and his wife, Georgette, traveled to the Marshalls in 1978 hoping to find the wreck of an unidentified plane Loomis saw on an uninhabited island near Ujae Atoll in 1952. Loomis never located the wreck, which he fervently dreamed was the lost Earhart plane, but in four trips to the Marshalls he obtained considerable witness testimony indicating the fliers’ presence there. Loomis’ 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, was praised by some at a time when big media’s rejection of information supporting Earhart’s survival and death on Saipan had yet to reach its virtual blackout of the past two decades, and is among the most important Earhart disappearance books ever written.

The Final Story’s most glowing review came from Jeffrey Hart, writing in William F. Buckley’s National Review. After gushing that Loomis “interviewed the surviving Japanese who were involved and he photographed the hitherto unknown Japanese military and diplomatic documents,” Hart flatly stated, “The mystery is a mystery no longer.” Of course, the U.S. government disagreed completely, and continued its abject silence on all things Earhart.

Two Marshallese fishermen, Jororo and Lijon, claimed that sometime before the war they saw an airplane land on the reef near Barre island, about 200 feet offshore. "When ‘two men' emerged from the machine, they produced a ‘yellow boat which grew,' climbed aboard it and paddled for shore. "Jororo and Lijon, only teenagers, were frightened, crouching in the tiriki, the dense undergrowth, not quite knowing what to do,“ Vincent V. Loomis wrote.

Two Marshallese fishermen, Jororo and Lijon, claimed that sometime before the war they saw an airplane land on the reef near Barre Island, about 200 feet offshore. “When ‘two men’ emerged from the machine, they produced a ‘yellow boat which grew,’ climbed aboard it and paddled for shore. “Jororo and Lijon, only teenagers, were frightened, crouching in the tiriki, the dense undergrowth, not quite knowing what to do,“ Vincent V. Loomis wrote. (Drawing courtesy of Doug Mills, Bellaire, Mich.)

On his first flight to Majuro, Loomis met Senator Amata Kabua and Tony DeBrum, commission officials seeking Marshallese independence from the United States. Kabua, a descendent of the first king of the Marshalls, Kabua the Great, said Earhart had come down in the islands and that her plane was still there. DeBrum told Loomis, “We all know about this woman who was reported to have come down on Mili southeast of Majuro, was captured by the Japanese and taken off to Jaluit. Remember, the stories were being told long before you Americans began asking questions.”

Among the witnesses Loomis interviewed at Mili Mili, the main island at Mili Atoll, was Mrs. Clement (Loomis provided no first name), the wife of the boat operator Loomis had hired. Mrs. Clement said her husband knew nothing, but she recalled that she had seen “this airplane and the woman pilot and the Japanese taking the woman and the man with her away.” She pointed out the area – “Over there … next to Barre Island” – as the spot where the plane had landed, but she offered no other information.

Loomis next sought out Jororo Alibar and Anibar Eine on Ejowa Island, hoping to confirm the story he heard from Ralph Middle on Majuro. Middle’s story was that two local fishermen, Jororo and Lijon, told him that before the war they saw an airplane land on the reef near Barre island, about 200 feet offshore. “When ‘two men’ emerged from the machine, they produced a ‘yellow boat which grew,’ climbed aboard it and paddled for shore,” Loomis wrote. “Jororo and Lijon, only teenagers, were frightened, crouching in the tiriki, the dense undergrowth, not quite knowing what to do.” Shortly after the men reached the island, the fishermen saw them bury a silver container, but the Japanese soon arrived and began to question, and then slap the two fliers, Middle said. When one screamed, Jororo and Lijon realized it was a woman. The pair continued to hide, watching in silence, because “they knew the Japanese would have killed them for what they had witnessed.” 

The natives’ description of “the yellow boat which grew” is especially compelling for its realism, as it reflects their relatively primitive understanding of what only could have been an inflatable life boat produced by Earhart and Noonan after the Electra crash-landed, possibly on a reef. No inventory of the plane’s contents during the world flight is known to exist, but several sources support the common-sense idea that the fliers would not have departed Lae without such a vital piece of emergency equipment.

 

Author and Earhart researcher Oliver Knaggs, circa early 1980s.

Author and Earhart researcher Oliver Knaggs, circa early 1980s.

Amelia, My Courageous Sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey and Carol L. Osborne’s 1987 biography, contains a photocopied story from the March 7, 1937 New York Herald Tribune, “Complete Navigation Room Ready to Guide Miss Earhart.” Discussing emergency items the Electra would carry on the first world flight, the unnamed reporter wrote, “In the fuselage will be a two-man rubber lifeboat, instantly inflatable from capsules of carbon dioxide.”  In the July 20, 1937 search report of the Lexington Group commander, under “Probabilities Arising from Rumor or Reasonable Assumptions,” Number 3 states, “That the color of the lifeboat was yellow.” 

In September 1979, South African writer Oliver Knaggs was hired by a film company to join Loomis in the Marshalls and chronicle his search. The Knaggs-Loomis connection is well known among Earhart buffs, but neither Loomis, in The Final Story, nor Knaggs, in his little-known 1983 book, Amelia Earhart: Her last flight (Howard Timmins, Cape Town,  S.A), mentioned the other by name. In Her last flight, a collector’s item known mainly to researchers, Knaggs recounts his 1979 and ’81 investigations in the Marshalls and Saipan.

Knaggs wasn’t with Loomis when Ralph Middle told him about Lijon and Jororo at Majuro in 1979, and wasn’t there when Loomis interviewed Jororo. Knaggs wrote  that “our leader [Loomis]” had told him of Lijon’s story, which he didn’t believe initially, but later, when a village elder repeated it, Knaggs became interested. Knaggs returned to Mili in 1981 without Loomis but armed with a metal detector in hopes of locating Lijon’s silver container, and establishing his own claim to fame in the search for Amelia Earhart.

In part two of this post, we’ll look at what Knaggs found, what the experts said about it and what it means in the continuing search for Amelia Earhart.

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11 responses

  1. A cliff hanger!!! Mike – how can you DO this to loyal followers??!?! Obviously this is more tangible evidence in a place referenced by eyewitnesses in 1937 that will continue to be dismissed and discounted by a long list of individuals. I do wonder what Amelia thinks about this, how she reconciles the rejection of fact in her case, or does it even matter at this point to her.

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  2. Great post,Mike.I was unaware of Loomis &/or Knaggs.It ALL needs to get out there, & you’re doing a great job.
    DGC

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  3. Barre Island / Atoll : Is it still known by that name or does it have a native name once again.?

    This seems to narrow down the physical presence of Amelia and Fred in the Marshalls.
    1. A close examination of the reef where they ostensibly ditched /landed, for any trace of Electra components.
    2. A thorough search of the purported area where the container was buried.

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    1. Vernon,
      To my knowledge Barre Island’s name is unchanged. Searches of the area have turned up some junky small parts, but nothing that can be directly linked to the Electra. Remember there are plenty of aircraft wrecks around the Mili area from the war as well. A wheels-up landing by the Electra would not necessarily have separated the plane from any of its identifiable parts anyway. Remember also that the plane was reportedly repaired and seen in flight on Saipan. As for your No. 2, I have no idea. Nothing else has been reported.

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      1. Being objective here, I have to conclude that Dick Spink’s two aircraft parts have not been thoroughly analyzed by a professional third party, or multiple expert parties.. I would have imagined that Mr. Spink would have had them tested at Lockheed, Alcoa, the NTSB, and the best paint analyst to be had. Perhaps two or three. Also, attempting to match the parts with Grace McGuire’s Electra 10E on the West Coast. If all were in agreement, independent of each other, Barre Atoll would be the “X” marks the spot.

        Also, ditching, wheels up, would spew parts left and right. Rivets and bottom fuselage panels, engine parts, etc. A numerous amount. These two small parts appear to be quite unique. I would venture a guess that if they were simply native pick-em-up’s during the war, used, then discarded, then they could have come from another atoll in the marshall Chain.

        Does Mr. Spink plan to return ? If so, when ?

        PS: I may have posted this in the wrong location……. Not very computer savvy…..

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  4. Mike:
    I notice you’re in an Earhart article in the January issue of Air & Space.

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    1. You mean Smithsonian Magazine, Vernon. They contacted me back in early November. I will be dissecting this piece in a blog post in about two weeks, so I’ll hold my fire until then. I’ll give you a hint. The working title of the piece is “Smithsonian Mag cover story throws truth a bone: Says Saipan advocates “my be onto something.”

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  5. The gist on the Tighar site was that Gillespie was not pleased with how he was represented in the article. Very obvious that it irked him, as he encouraged his loyal dogs to write letters to the editor on it, expressing displeasure.

    Also:

    You can tell I’m a Senior Citizen when I get my magazines mixed up.

    Finally:

    It’s good to see recognition of your efforts in National print. It’s the foot in the door in turning the press around to your advantage.

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    1. Vernon,
      Gillespie’s hubris and arrogance know no bounds. His so-called “hypothesis,” in a fair world with a legitimate media , would have been rejected and ignored after his second trip to Niku failed to produce anything but junk, and it became understood that this third-hand idea had no merit and had been debunked long ago by Fred Goerner and Fred Hooven. But because the establishment has no imagination, he remains the preferred agent of disinformation, to the point where he might actually believe his press clippings and get upset when someone exposes his false claims, this time the respected Smithsonian magazine, which does get some attention. Poor baby!

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  6. Mike,

    What can you tell us about this film said to be in a ‘film-vault’ somewhere in Florida? Who was the cameraman mentioned below?

    http://earhartonsaipan.blogspot.com/2014/11/exciting-news-from-front-lines-of-search.html

    “For those familiar with the story – Vincent Loomis book “The Final Story” documents his trip to these islands in 1985 to interview those who saw the plane come down. And Oliver Knaggs, a journalist from South Africa, went out in 1983 and wrote “Her Last Flight” – both recounting the same stories of locals who claim they saw her plane come down. They interviewed some of the same people, and footage of their testimony resides in a film vault in Florida.”

    ———————-

    http://earhartmovie.blogspot.com/
    “But my argument in this area isn’t whether it’s possible or not – the argument is that people saw her plane come down. One was the queen of Mili atoll and she reported that fact to a newsman from South Africa, Oliver Knaggs, who wrote a book in the 1980’s about it. (Hard to get the book, but I have a copy). I also spoke to a cameraman who shot footage for that expeditiion – he said the footage is still in a vault in Florida, due to some kind of financial issue. Film negative by and large goes into a vault – and should still be there. But her words were recorded by this fellow and put into his book.”

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    1. Mr. Fly-fan,
      I can see by the Web links in your message that you’ve found Rich Martini’s site. I’m not going to publicly bad-mouth Martini, but anyone familiar with his “work” knows to be careful about this character and his claims. I know nothing about any films in any vaults, but I do know I contacted Mrs. Georgia Loomis about 2006 or so, and she was not happy to hear from me, and offered no information or any help at all. I was hoping to get a photo or two from Loomis’ trips to the Marshalls, but this woman was a bitter, angry person whose best days were far behind her. Loomis daughter wouldn’t help either.

      That’s all I know.
      MIke

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