Narrated by , the Truth at Last Audible Audiobook was released on Jan. 12, 2021. In our current iPhone-addled culture, Truth at Last continues to be blacked out by the entire media, including so-called conservative and alternative media. Moreover, with an increasingly illiterate populace adverse to reading anything more complex than their latest text messages, Amazon’s Audible Audiobook, with its uncompromising presentation of the truth, can reach many who would otherwise never hear a whisper of the truth about one of our establishment’s most protected sacred cows.
Along with Amazon’s publication of the Truth at LastAudible Audiobook, we were pleasantly surprised that it’s been the #1 New Release in Aviation History and Aviation & Nautical Biographies for several days since its Jan. 12 debut.
Perhaps you know someone who doesn’t like reading books but has expressed interest in the Earhart disappearance, falsely called “The Earhart Mystery” by virtually the entire world. They’ve seen more than one of the galaxy of phony Earhart documentaries and specials that pretend to have a new slant on the “Greatest Aviation Mystery of the 20th Century,” but offered more of the same old crashed-and-sank and Nikumaroro lies. Or maybe your friend or relative enjoys listening as they drive, or being read to sleep. What could be a better gift, to that special someone or even to yourself?
Any way you choose to support Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last and this blog is greatly appreciated.
Today we present the alleged last words of Fred Goerner, as recorded for posterity by his wife of 26 years, Merla Zellerbach. I don’t put much stock in this document, as it has little relationship to Goerner’s many outstanding contributions to Earhart research. Ravaged by cancer in 1994 at age 69, he had made several less-than-wise judgments along his long Earhart search; the most significant are discussed at length in Truth at Last. On that front, I won’t digress any further here. (Boldface emphases mine throughout; caps emphasis Goerner’s.)
However, in light of recent comments by Les Kinney, who has voiced what some of us have long suspected but were reluctant to state openly — that Goerner so hated to give other Earhart researchers credit for their important work that he would reject his own findings to undermine them — this transcript may reflect just how deeply Goerner had assimilated his seemingly dishonest rejection of the fact of Amelia Earhart’s Mili Atoll landing. This was a truth he himself initially revealed to the world in his 1966 book The Search for Amelia Earhart, and is a piece of Goerner’s legacy that will doubtless remain controversial.
Among Earhart researchers, Ron Reuther knew Fred Goerner as well as anyone. Reuther had a copy of the audiotape of Goerner’s last words, which I don’t have, though I do have the transcript. “Goerner abandoned the thought that AE/FN came down near Mili,” Reuther wrote in 2001. “He recorded on the day of his death in 1994 on an audiotape that he believed they (AE/FN) came down on one of 5 small reefs SE of Howland. On the same tape he also said he still believed they were picked up by the Japanese and taken to Saipan. It would seem to me that if that were the case the Japanese ship would have gone to Saipan via the Marshalls and I have never seen any document from Fred that disputes that.” (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
Merla Zellerbach, an author and columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle from 1962 to 1995, who passed away in December 2014, recalled Reuther fondly. “I remember Ron Reuther very well and was so sorry to learn of his death,” Zellerbach wrote in a 2007 e-mail. “He was a lovely man, and a tremendous help to me in cataloging Fred’s papers before we sent them off to the Nimitz Library.”
“Even at his passing at 69 in 1994, the Earhart disappearance remained uppermost in Fred’s mind,” Zellerbach told me. At his side until the end, she forwarded a text copy of his last words:
Sept. 13, 1994 — This will be my last recording, what I know and feel at this point, having worked on this subject for the Columbia Broadcasting System and as a private citizen.
There have been many books written after mine was written in 1966, alleging that the Earhart plane went down in the Marshall Islands. But I no longer believe it. I had the opportunity of visiting the Marshalls after the book was published . . . talking to Eric Sussman who came to the conclusion, as did I, that the story was muddled.
I no longer believe that Earhart was on a secret overflight mission for the US military in 1937 . . . mostly because the U.S. Navy didn’t have the money to spend on such a mission at that time, and it would have been too volatile, too highly dangerous.
I do believe, however, that Earhart did collect what is known as “white intelligence” for the military, meaning that she simply observed things during the course of her flight. It was valuable to the military. After extensive research, I came to the conclusion that the plane, containing AE and her navigator Fred Noonan, landed on one of five small reefs which lie between Howland Island and the Northern Phoenix Islands. These reefs have never been fully investigated, and I believe there’s a possibility the plane’s still there.
I do not believe in any way the recent ideas of a man named Gillespie and an outfit named “Tiger” [sic] that the plane landed in the Northern Phoenix Islands in a place called Nikumororo. This idea was originally advanced by my friend Fred Hooven. I tried to convince Fred that that island had been so occupied by so many people that there was no possibility of the plane having landed there. He finally agreed.
However the original information was sold to the public as a possibility and a great deal of money was spent to no avail to try to find the plane on Nikumororo.
There’s a lot of information to indicate that Earhart and Noonan may have been picked up by a Japanese vessel and taken into Japanese territory. There’s also the possibility that Earhart and Noonan survived the war and were rescued by US [sic] forces. Some believe Earhart was killed in an accident after she was rescued from the Japanese. Some think she returned to the US after the war. I do NOT in any way align myself with these people!
A good researcher will finally seek out and discover the truth. Admiral Nimitz urged me to continue. He had a deep, deep interest in the Earhart affair. I hope the Nimitz Museum will continue the investigation.
I wouldn’t have continued the investigation without his urging me to do so. One night I went to have dinner with him in Quarters No. 1 on Yerba Buena Island. He was writing a letter and he told me he was writing to the mother of one of the boys who disappeared with the sinking of the Indianapolis at the end of the war.
She hoped he had reached some island and somehow survived and the Admiral had to tell her that specially trained people had visited every known island in the Pacific after the war and he believed there was no chance her son was alive. He was such a sensitive, warm man.
There are a lot of kooks and crazies who come up with a new theory every day, but a final answer will be found — and the answers are somewhere in the records at Crane, Indiana. (End of recording.)
“An hour later, Fred passed away,” Zellerbach wrote.
Reuther believed Goerner’s change was due more to his longtime association and friendship with Hooven than anything Sussman told him, and that Hooven would have convinced Goerner to return to the Mili scenario if not for his death in 1985. “I should have also mentioned that Fred Hooven, after making original conclusions that Earhart came down SE of Howland, thus influencing Goerner to concur, later recalculated and changed his conclusions and determined that AE/FN came down close to Mili,” Reuther wrote. “I strongly believe Goerner would have reassessed his position and very likely would have agreed with Hooven’s final conclusion — near Mili.”
Bill Prymak agreed that Hooven later converted to Goerner’s original Mili landing scenario, and though I’ve seen nothing in black and white from Hooven, I have no reason to doubt it. A few weeks before his sudden passing in October 2007, Reuther told me he would locate and send written confirmation of Hooven’s belief in Earhart’s Mili Atoll landing. It wasn’t to be.
Reuther and Prymak were great researchers and forthright, honest men, but Goerner’s change was a vastly different matter from Hooven’s, and we have nothing to suggest that he was ever mulling a return to the original Mili scenario he described so well in the closing pages of Search.
For much more on Goerner’s change of position about where he believed Earhart landed on July 2, 1937, please see Truth at Last, pages 170-175.
It’s late July again, when thousands of the uninformed flock to Atchison, Kansas for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival, where the “Great Aviation Mystery” is renewed and celebrated. The only questions the sheeple ask are whether Amelia’s Electra 10E crashed and sank off Howland Island or landed on Nikumaroro, where she starved to death, along with navigator Fred Noonan, on an atoll teeming with natural food and water sources.
I sometimes imagine that some of the benighted at these Atchison shindigs actually hope that, just maybe, she’s still flying around out there in the timeless ether, searching endlessly for a way back to 1937 America — an eternal, romantic enigma without solution. That may be an exaggeration, but it’s no stretch to say that wherever PC and groupthink predominate, as in Atchison, the hated truth is assiduously avoided, and can be found only in the darkest corners, where vile conspiracy theorists speak in hushed tones about the despised “Japanese Capture Theory” that so intimidates all but the boldest Earhart truth seekers.
Once again we’ve reached another Earhart birthday, this one Amelia’s 122nd. It’s hard to say how long America’s First Lady of Flight might have lived had her remarkable life not been so cruelly stolen from her by a wretched combination of circumstances that have yet to be fully understood, but I can’t imagine Amelia would still be with us at 122, though she would have given it her best shot, you can be sure.
Amelia came from hardy genes indeed, if her mother and sister were any indications. Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, of West Medford, Massachusetts, two-and-a-half-years younger than Amelia, died in her sleep on March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Amy Otis Earhart, Amelia’s mother, was born in 1869 and died in 1962 at 93.
As is usually the case when Amelia’s birthday rolls around, the only Earhart-related news in America is about plans for more TV productions, more deceitful documentaries and specials by the true conspiracy theorists, who have only one goal in mind, besides ratings and dollars, of course, and that is to keep the same kind of gullible people who yearly flock to Atchison clueless about the truth. I will spare you the boring and meaningless details, which will be known and forgotten soon enough.
Amelia Mary Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 to Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart. Edwin, an itinerant lawyer and faithful husband, was also “a drunkard,” according to biographer Mary Lovell (The Sound of Wings, 1989), but Amelia’s childhood was nonetheless nearly idyllic.
Alfred Otis, Amy’s father, was a wealthy judge, and it was hard on the banks of the Missouri River in the home of Judge Otis and her grandmother, Amelia Josephine Harres, that Amelia came into the world.
Growing up in nearby Kansas City, Kansas, Amelia’s adventurous persona manifested early. Amelia (“Meelie”), and Muriel, or “Pidge” were close, “lived in reasonable comfort, unaware of any financial constraints” and were secure and happy despite occasional problems resulting from their father’s uneven professional life.
As we see in the early pages of another fine biography, Amelia, My Courageous Sister (1987), by Muriel Earhart Morrissey and Carol L. Osborne, Amelia was a consummate tomboy. At 7 she rode an elephant at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and was fascinated by the small cars that sped around an aerial track, though her mother said it was too dangerous for little girls to ride them. Soon after the family returned home, Amelia enlisted her uncle Carl Otis to help her, Muriel and the boy next door build a makeshift roller coaster in their back yard, with its starting point at the top of the tool shed, eight-feet high.
When all the sawing and nailing of boards and tracks was complete, Amelia stuffed herself into a wooden crate for the first ride. “As it careened down the track,” Muriel recalled, “we heard the sound of splintering wood. The car and Amelia departed the track when the car hit the trestle. Both tumbled onto the ground. Amelia jumped up, her eyes alight, ignoring a torn dress and bruised lip. ‘Oh, Pidge’ she exclaimed, ‘it’s just like flying!’ ”
Amelia wasn’t moved when she saw her first airplane at the 1907 Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines, recalling it as “a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting.” At 9, Edwin presented her with a .22 rifle “so she could clear the barn of rats,” much to the consternation of her well-to-do grandparents. “Don’t worry, Mother Otis,” Edwin told her grandmother. “This is really a very small rifle.” Describing their beloved father many years later, Muriel called him “loving, generous, impractical.”
For more on Amelia’s happy youth and the events that to her fateful meeting with Neta Snook, her first flight instructor, please see Chapter I, “Birth of a Legend,” pages 5-19 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Back to the present, and a final observation. I find it greatly ironic that for the past two years the only significant news in the Earhart case has come from Saipan, where Amelia and Fred Noonan suffered and died so ignominiously. Here, as well, is our last living link to Amelia, 86-year-old Marie S. Castro, president of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Committee, who daily wages a losing battle in her campaign to erect a memorial monument to the doomed fliers. If not for this blog and the two Saipan newspapers, not a soul in the United States would know about Marie and her quest to properly honor and commemorate the hapless duo at the site of their murders. For this sorry state of affairs we can thank our corrupt media, of course, which continues to dutifully cover up the truth in the Earhart saga, like the mindless, heartless little soldiers they are.
The uninformed, incurious and ultra-propagandized Saipan populace is either strongly against the Earhart Memorial Monument (see top right of this page for the architect’s model) or hopelessly indifferent. The former faction includes most of Saipan’s politicians, who can also be relied upon to bend to the popular wind, currently blowing stiffly in the wrong direction. Marie often finds herself surrounded by smiling faces who assure her of their support, but those who sincerely care are far too few, and as things look now and for the foreseeable future, it will require divine intervention before we ever see the Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, and will gladly admit it if the sentiment on Saipan ever turns in Amelia’s favor.
I’ve written plenty about Marie Castro’s work and will continue to do so. Although the Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune have supported the AEMMI movement to varying degrees, fundraising from the United States has been very disappointing, and from Saipan it’s been far worse. Please see the Media Page of this blog for links to the newspaper stories; and for a complete list of all the posts I’ve done here since the institution of the AEMMI, please click here.
In any event, Happy Birthday, Amelia!
Deanna is the author of six books, including The Ruling Elite Trilogy and Screening Sandy Hook: Causes and Consequences, and she brings a wealth of knowledge, talent and experience to her shows. She was among the first in the “alternative” media — i.e., the scant few independent, honest, responsible and courageous journalists who dot the earth here and there but are becoming closer to extinction with every passing day — to support Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last when the first edition was published in 2012. Since then, she’s invited me on several times.
Thanks to Deanna and to all who support Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Tinian is best known as the launching pad for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945, followed by a second atomic device, “Fat Man,” dropped on Nagasaki by the B-29 Bockscar. But if the site an American Marine was shown by a native Hawaiian who worked under the Japanese in 1937 and claimed was the grave of Amelia Earhart could be found and verified, Tinian’s notoriety in world history would be exponentially increased. (Boldface mine throughout.)
St. John Naftel was a Marine gunner’s mate assigned to the 18th AAA Marine Battalion stationed on Tinian shortly after the American invasion of July 24-Aug. 1, 1944. The 8,000-man Japanese garrison was eliminated, and the island joined Saipan and Guam as a base for the Twentieth Air Force. Japanese losses were 5,543 killed, 2,265 missing and 252 captured, while 326 Americans died and 1,593 were wounded.
By Aug. 10, 1944, 13,000 Japanese civilians were interned, but up to 4,000 were dead through suicide, murdered by Japanese troops or killed in combat. The garrison on Aguijan Island off the southwest cape of Tinian, commanded by Lt. Kinichi Yamada, held out until the end of the war, surrendering on Sept. 4, 1945. The last holdout on Tinian, Murata Susumu, was captured in 1953.
Fast-forward to September 2003, when “It all began with a call from Jennings Bunn to Jim Sullivan on the ‘The Deep,’ a radio talk show aired on K57 radio in Guam,” wrote Rlene Santos Steffy, a columnist for The Guam Daily Post, in “The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004,” still available online:
Jennings was in possession of a letter from Mr. Elliot Broughton, who knew of a WWII veteran claiming knowledge of the fate of Amelia Earhart and her navigator following their much publicized disappearance following their attempted flight around the globe in 1937. Jennings contacted Mr. Broughton and learned of Mr. St John Naftel, who was stationed on Tinian at the end of the Japanese era of control. During Mr. Naftel’s time on Tinian, he came to know a conscript of the Japanese army who confided the location of two graves that he had been forced to dig five days after his arrival in 1937. In these graves, he told Naftel, were buried the bodies of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan.
Jennings’ call to the radio show was a plea for assistance that Jim Sullivan and his guest host that evening Bob Silvers responded to. After an initial meeting to discuss the details, The Tinian Earhart Expedition [also known as The Tinian Dig] was formed. During the next month, the group interviewed Mr. Naftel, researched his story, conducted an aerial survey of the area and dug into the historical archives for additional supporting documentation to try to determine the validity of Mr. Naftel’s story. By the end of September, it was looking very promising and it was decided that the only way to progress further was to bring Mr. Naftel to Tinian to undertake a physical search for evidence of the grave sites. With great confidence and anticipation, the arrangements were made.
Steffy, an ethnographer, oral historian and research associate at the University of Guam’s Micronesia Area Research Center, also wrote a review of Truth at Last in July 2017.
Following is Naftel’s account as given to Cassandra “Sandy” Frost, self-identified as “an award-winning e-journalist and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past three years,” who also chronicled The Tinian Dig in a series of articles for Rense.com (see below):
The first job for my unit was to clean the place up.
There was a place that I called “the stockade” which consisted of three sections. First made up of military personnel, second, island natives (farmers, shopkeepers, etc.), third, the people the Japanese had brought in prior to any military action (they were like slaves to the Jap military). Because the cleanup operation required a lot of labor, these people could be trusted (used) to help with the cleanup.
My first job was to escort a truck load of these people from the stockade to our camp each day.
JOB — Pick a truck load of these people at the stockade which usually consisted of about 30 people — each day as we loaded the truck (open body) I would ask, “Is there anyone that can speak English?” Because these people came from different international locations, there was always some that could speak English. I would then choose one of them to act as a sort of “foreman” to help me with the job.
On about the third or fourth day when I asked this question, a man stepped forward speaking good English. I do not remember this man’s name because I had never known it before. He told me he was from one of the Hawaii [sic] Islands when he fell for the Japanese promise to come work for them at a good wage. Only when he along with others arrived at Tinian did they find out that they were actually slaves.
After the third day that he was on my truck load of people, he began to open up in talking with me while we were traveling to my camp. On the third or fourth day our conversation went kinda like this:
Man: “On the way in I want to show you something and tell you about it. Can you have the driver to slow down when I ask you to?”
Me: “Yes, no problem.”
Man: “Can we move over the side of the truck?” pointing to the left side
Me: “Yes,” which we did. I tapped the truck cab and asked Hall (clarification, C.C. Hall was the truck driver) if he would slow down when asked. As we began a downward slope toward what was Tinian Town this man asked me to slow down, then “Look out there.” He was pointing to the left (on the left was a cliff that the Japs had made in the hillside). In the cliff there were three man-made caves. These caves overlooked Tinian Bay. In each of them the Japs had some large guns. I had visited these caves earlier.
When the man pointed to the left and said, “Look,” I replied, “Yes, I see the caves. I have not been in them before.” “No, not the caves,” he said. “Look like I am pointing.” The truck had slowed down, so the man was kind of pointing back up the slope.
Man: “Look, see those two graves up there?”
Me: “Yes, what about them?”
Man: “I have never said anything to anyone about this before because there was no one that I could trust. I was about the third or fourth day that I was brought here that the Japs brought me and five or six other men here and gave us shovels and picks and pointed out that we were to dig graves. We were under the guard of two Jap soldiers. After we dug the graves to please these guards, a truck soon arrived. There were two bodies in the truck. One was a man — the other was a woman. I immediately noted that they were both Americans. The woman was dressed in pants and a jacket. On the jacket (he reached his hand across his left chest) was what looked like a wing. Before I got hooked up with these Japs, I had heard and saw newspaper pictures of this American woman that was going to fly around the world. I can’t think of her name right now.”
Me: “Would it be Amelia Earhart?”
Man: “Yes, that’s who it was. As we were instructed we buried the bodies, then the Jap in charge — he could speak English — called us together and told us that we were never to speak to anyone about this, and that if they even thought we had, we could be digging our own graves. You could not trust anyone in the camp because they tell a guard so they could get a favor. You are the first and only person I have ever mentioned this to.”
At this point we arrived at my camp and I was called to the office. I had to take a detail out aboard a ship (several had arrived carrying a lot of cargo and some with a lot of Seabees) and help with the unloading. This took two weeks. When I returned to camp we were being divided up into different gun crews — I never saw the man again. (End of Naftel account.)
“St. John was talking about picking up the workers at a ‘camp,’ that was ‘Camp Chulu,’ Jennings Bunn told me in a November 2018 email. “I took St. John there, and he recognized the standing façade of the old headquarter building and police station. Kind of like a city hall. The ‘workers’ there were primarily Okinawans who were hired long before the war to work in sugar cane fields on Tinian.”
Several established facts militate against the possibility of Earhart or Fred Noonan’s burial on Tinian. Most importantly, not one of the many Saipan witnesses — people like Josephine Blanco Akiyama, Matidle F. Arriola, Joaquina Cabrera, José Pangelinan, Dr. Manual Aldan, Jesús Salas and others — ever claimed they were told that the American fliers were taken to Tinian or buried there.
Matilde was told the American woman was cremated by an alleged eyewitness, Mr. Jose Sadao Tomokane in an account recently revealed by Marie Castro, in which case no Earhart gravesite would have existed at all. Don Kothera and the Cleveland Group’s interview of Anna Magofna (pages 245-247 Truth at Last) is a fairly compelling story that suggests Amelia might have been buried outside the Liyang Cemetery outside of southern Garapan, as José Pangelinan told Fred Goerner, and where Marine Capt. Tracy Griswold directed privates Everett Henson Jr. and Billy Burks to excavate skeletal remains of two individuals in the summer of 1944. Many others, too numerous to mention here, attested to their common knowledge of Earhart’s death on Saipan, none ever mentioning Tinian in any context.
Further, the idea that the fliers had been buried on Tinian came from just one unnamed eyewitness, who shared his story with Naftel in 1944 under unusual, strained circumstances. The anonymous Hawaiian’s own words to Naftel could be considered questionable in themselves by a suspicious observer. “You could not trust anyone in the camp because they tell a guard so they could get a favor,” he told Naftel of his 1937 experience working under the Japanese. “You are the first and only person I have ever mentioned this to.” Did the Hawaiian man himself hope to gain a favor from Naftel for this amazing revelation?
Another provocative detail in Naftel’s story was the Hawaiian man’s description of the jacket worn by the dead woman. “On the jacket (he reached his hand across his left chest) was what looked like a wing,” he told Naftel. On the back cover of Mary Lovell’s 1989 book, The Sound of Wings, is a small portrait photo of Amelia in a dress with what appears to be three pearl necklaces and a wing device attached. Also, on page 134 of Carol Osborne and Muriel Earhart Morrissey’s 1987 biography, Amelia, My Courageous Sister, Amelia is shown in June 1932 in two photos with National Geographic officials in Washington, wearing what could be the same wing device. In the appendix of the same book, on page 302, three different wing devices are shown in very small photos without descriptions.
Was the “jacket” worn by the dead woman a leather flight jacket? Though many photos of Amelia wearing such a jacket can be found on an internet search and in various books, I’ve not seen any with a wing attached, sewn or embroidered on it, as commonly done among U.S. Navy and Marine aviators, then and now, and which is likely what the Hawaiian man was describing. The Japanese would have removed a wing device and any other jewelry from a dead body, and would they even bury such a jacket with a body?
Although a photo of Amelia in a jacket with a wing on the left side would support Naftel’s story, it would not absolutely confirm it. Naftel’s account doesn’t add up for many reasons, but if you have a photo or can direct us to one that matches the Hawaiian man’s story, please let us know.
Needless to say, The Tinian Dig did not locate the remains of Earhart or Noonan. In a series of posts for Rense.com, Cassandra Frost traced the roots and progress of the Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004. In chronological order, here are Frost’s detailed reports: “Amelia Earhart’s Grave Found?”; “Earhart – Latest On-Scene Report”; “Earhart Dig – Day One”; “Earhart Dig – Day 2”; “Interview With Saint John Naftel”; “Earhart Dig – Day 3 Expedition Shifts Gears”; “Earhart Dig – Day 4 Time Travel, High Tech Style”; “Earhart Expedition – The Day After”; “Interview With Jim Sullivan”; “Earhart Expedition – Breakfast With Bob.”
In my closing comments on The Tinian Dig in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last (p. 305), I compare the highly promoted 2006 Nauticos “Deep Sea Search for Amelia Earhart,” with The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004, which was completely ignored by the American media, and came to a familiar conclusion:
The Nauticos search and Tinian Dig are minor footnotes in the long history of failure to find the smoking gun in the Earhart disappearance. Neither seems worthy of further consideration, but they reveal a disturbing reality when examined from another perspective. As we’ve seen, the Nauticos effort was well publicized in the months preceding its launching. News of the Tinian Expedition, by contrast, was found only in small publications such as the Saipan Tribune and Pacific Magazine. How can big media’s blackout of The Tinian Dig be squared with its boundless enthusiasm for the ill-conceived Nauticos excursion into the empty depths of crashed-and-sank theory? After all, both ventures were aimed at achieving the same goal: solving the great Earhart “mystery.”
The answer is simple. The intensity of our media’s passion for the idea that the Electra lies on the Pacific’s floor is equaled only by its abhorrence of the very thought of the fliers’ deaths on Saipan at the hands of the Japanese—now among our strongest allies in the Pacific Rim. Anything that might lead the public to seek more information about the fate of Earhart and Noonan, such as broadcasting or printing news stories about an investigation into their possible burial site on nearby Tinian, must be strenuously avoided. Tinian is in the same forbidden neighborhood as Saipan—too close to the truth and strictly off-limits.
St. John Naftel passed away on Feb. 2, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala., at 92.
(Editor’s note: Jerry Wilson, of Chattaroy, Wash., a longtime Earhart researcher and Tinian advocate, contributed much of the information in this post, which would not have been possible without him. My sincere thanks and appreciation go out to Jerry, as well as to Jennings Bunn.)