In November 2006, Amelia Earhart Society member David Bowman told the online Yahoo! Earhart Group about a story he wrote for the Walpole, New Hampshire-based Mysteries Magazine, “The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart.” In 2005, Bowman self-published Legerdemain: Deceit, Misdirection and Political Sleight of Hand in the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, which would be published by Saga Books of Canada in 2007. Informative and entertaining, Legerdemain includes several strange and obscure Earhart tales, demonstrating the extent to which the Earhart disappearance has been stigmatized by fantasists since its earliest days.
In researching “The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart,” Bowman made a fascinating discovery. The Jan. 7, 2003 edition of The Kwajalein Hourglass, the weekly newsletter at the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll, ran an article titled, “Did Amelia Earhart land on Kwajalein Atoll?” by Eugene “Gene” C. Sims, who was stationed there as a GI in 1945 and returned to work as a civilian from 1964 to ’71, and from 1983 to ’86.
Sims recalled his youth in Oakland, Calif., during the 1930s and how he grew to idolize Earhart after seeing her at the local airport. When Fred Goerner’s book was published in 1966, Sims was working on Kwajalein, and was soon inspired to pursue his own Earhart investigation. “I was surprised to hear them speak so openly about the white-skinned lady and man that came to Kwajalein in 1937,” Sims wrote. An unidentified Marshallese man told Sims that as a 12-year-old in 1937, “a large Japanese ship came into the harbor” and he saw “a white lady and man on the deck,” a rare sight in those times. Sims wrote that because Goerner had been denied access to Kwajalein in the early 1960s, “Goerner was never to learn [the] concrete proof that Amelia was on Kwajalein and Roi-Namur in 1937.” Sims continued:
Much of this proof was based on the testimony of a Jaluit woman named Mera Phillip. She had been the cook and interpreter for an American lady captured by the Japanese and held prisoner on Roi in 1937. The Mera Phillip story was further confirmed in 1993 by statements from John Tobeke, a Marshallese working on Roi.
Tobeke stated that when he was about 6 years old and living on Roi, he saw a white woman twice over a period of three months. In addition to the testimony he gave to Neal Proctor, an instructor from the University of Maryland who was visiting Kwajalein, Tobeke was shown pictures of three different white women. He successfully identified the picture of Amelia as the woman he had seen while a child on Roi in 1937.
Neither Mera Phillip nor John Tobeke had ever been mentioned in Earhart literature before they appeared in the pages of The Kwajalein Hourglass, where Jane Toma first reported the following accounts of Tobeke and Philip in 1993.
By Jane Toma
It’s one of the great mysteries of the century. What happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in the summer of 1937 when they disappeared in the Central Pacific? Island folklore suggests Earhart was on Roi at one time. (Bold emphasis mine throughout.)
Speculation about their disappearance has been the subject of countless articles, books and documentaries. Some suggest that Earhart’s reputation as an exceptional pilot was due more to the efforts of her publicist husband George P. Putnam than her prowess as a pilot. She simply ran out of fuel, they say, and crashed into the ocean.
Others implicate her as a spy in the Japanese mandated islands. They argue that she and Noonan were captured and executed.
Some theories, which have gained national attention recently, place the duo in the Marshall Islands and suggest the following scenario: The twin-engine Lockheed Electra Earhart was flying, went down off Mili, where she and Noonan were captured. The two were sent to Jaluit, Kwajalein and eventually to Saipan. where they were held prisoner and finally executed.
Stories about Earhart being in the Marshalls are not new to old timers on Roi, who have heard about an American man and woman, believed to be Noonan and Earhart, who were there before the war.
Listed on historical guide
The Roi-Namur Kwajalein Atoll Historical Guide prepared by KREMS states under “Site of Japanese Main Aircraft Hangar”: “Under a pile of debris in one corner of this hangar, a Naval Intelligence commander came across a blue leatherette map case embossed in gold leaf with the letters A.E. The map case was empty, but it is believed to have belonged to Amelia Earhart.”
John Tobeke, a Johnson Controls World Services employee, recalls seeing an American woman twice when he was a child living on Roi.
It was about 1937, he says. and he was about 6 years old. Tobeke says that a woman from Jaluit named Mera Phillip cooked and interpreted for the American lady. Phillip had attended missionary school on Kusaie (now called Kosrae) and knew English.
She told some of the Marshallese people that the lady said she was captured by the Japanese and was on Mill and Jaluit before she came to Roi. The Japanese wanted to know why she came and she told them she lost fuel. The lady told Mera that she was with a man. but they had been separated. The American woman also confided to Mera that she thought she would be going to Saipan.
Tobeke adds that the woman lived on Roi for about three months, but the Japanese never talked about her. They were very secretive and suspicious of the Marshallese people, he explains.
University of Maryland instructor Neal Proctor visited Mili last summer to pursue some of the stories he had read about Earhart being there. He heard several accounts about her from Marshallese residents on Mill. Proctor also talked to Tobeke on Roi Namur and finds his recollections credible.
“John described her as a tall woman with short blonde hair, like mine, dressed in a Japanese uni form. He also picked her out of a photograph of three women.” Procter explains.
Grave on Saipan
Johnson Controls technical writer Bill Johnson says stories about Earhart being on Saipan were common when he lived there from 1963 until 1967. “When I lived on Saipan, a friend of mine, who was a retired Navy chief and married to a Saipanese woman, took me to a place in the jungle and said, ‘Bill, that’s where Amelia Earhart is buried.’ ”
“I also knew Amelia’s aunt Kathryn Earhart. On one occasion, when I had lunch with her in Hawaii. I asked her about the stories of Saipan, but she refused to talk, saying, ‘the Navy closed the books on that years ago.’ ”
Kwajalein resident Margaret Smith heard stories about the famed aviatrix both on Saipan and in the Marshalls, where she worked and attended school.
“There was a lot of talk about Earhart being held in jail and executed there,” Smith says. “The media people came several times to investigate those stories.”
In 1979, Smith was surprised to hear about Earhart on Jaluit. “I was teaching social studies on Jaluit and talked to Lee Komiej, a Marshallese policeman during the Japanese administration,“ Smith says. “I wanted to know more about the different administrations (German, Japanese and American) and when the war started.
“Komiej said the first indication something was happening was when a woman was picked up on Mili. Komiej said he overheard the Japanese talking about her and they suspected she was a spy.” Smith said the Marshallese were also suspicious and thought it was very strange that a woman would be a pilot and wear trousers. She added that the woman was light with short hair. “Komiej heard she had been picked up on Mili, and taken to Jaluit, which was the administrative center of the Marshall Islands during German and Japanese times. She left Jaluit and went to Kwajalein. The last Komiej heard was that she went to Saipan.”
The Marshall Islands Journal reported recently that an American news team was on Majuro working on an Earhart story which is scheduled to broadcast early in 1994. Maybe it will shed some new light on the 53-year-old mystery. (End of Kwajalein Hourglass article.)
John Tobeke’s statement to Neal Proctor that Mera Phillip told him that the “woman [Amelia Earhart] lived on Roi for about three months” could not have been true, based on the vast witness testimony that has Earhart and Fred Noonan arriving on Saipan during the summer of 1937. Tobeke was a child at the time Mera shared her very personal information with him, and he could easily have confused three months with three weeks, or even less. Recall that Josephine Blanco Akiyama reported seeing the American lady flier, Amelia Earhart, at Tanapag Harbor on Saipan sometime in the summer of 1937. She was never more specific than that regarding the date of her initial sighting.
Tobeke’s story is another that links to former Marine W.B. Jackson’s account as told to Fred Goerner about three Marines who discovered a suitcase with women’s clothing and an engraved diary in a room they described as “fitted up for a woman” on Roi-Namur in February 1944. Was this the same room where Mera Phillip served the captured American flier her non-Japanese meals?
The foregoing has become an increasingly rare phenomenon in recent years — real journalism in the Earhart case, without the lies and political agendas meant only to confuse and misdirect — and found, most surprisingly, in a U.S. government affiliated newspaper. Obviously nobody at the Kwajalein Hourglass thought it was necessary to get these stories approved by their superiors in Washington before they published them in the small newsletter that serves the local U.S. Army community on Kwajalein.
If media organizations such as the former History Channel, now known simply as History, Fox News, CNN, the Associated Press and the rest of the lying establishment shills were serious about informing the world about the facts in the Earhart disappearance, instead of pushing fake news about phony photos and ridiculous myths about giant crabs eating the lost fliers, we might have more stories like the gems Jane Toma and Eugene Sims gifted to us. Unfortunately, articles that reveal previously unknown eyewitnesses in the Marshall Islands are extremely rare, so don’t expect to see more like this anytime soon.
When I put together the previous post about Eugene Sims and his “ghost of Amelia Earhart” photo, I had no idea what I was stepping into, nor did Sims when he took the photo of the cell at the old Garapan prison on Saipan in 1973. While the figure Sims thought could have been Amelia’s ghost was apparently only a trick of the lighting within the cell, the rest of the photo has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities, thanks to my friend Laurel Blyth Tague Ph.D.
After beholding what Laurel’s discerning eye had revealed, I was ready to title this post “Welcome to the Amelia Earhart Paranormal Society,” but then realized that might be a bit too far out on the “fringe,” where our critics like to keep us. Admittedly, this and the previous post are complete departures from our normal menu of serious discussion of the Earhart disappearance, but after more than 70 such posts since July 2012, I don’t think a brief journey into the paranormal will hurt the cause appreciably.
Laurel is the New York State director, host and managing producer for E.P.I.C. Voyagers Radio on the Inception Radio Network. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of appearing twice with Laurel on her two-hour E.P.I.C. Voyagers weekly show, and she was the best-prepared, most intelligent and considerate radio host I’ve ever met. She’s also a trained observer of phantoms, or phantasms, or however these faces that appear in photos of allegedly haunted places can be described.
I’ve seen similar faces on a website or possibly a book, but can’t find them now. I suggested to Laurel that these wraith-like faces are to photography what electronic voice phenomena, commonly known as EVP, are to audio recording. She agreed, and isolated the individual faces she found in the photos, writing a brief description of each. Most I can recognize, but some are beyond me. Forthwith is the great presentation Laurel put together; I hope you like it half as much as I do.
Dr. Laurel Blyth Tague:
Definitely EVPs are the gold standard of paranormal research: recorded voices saying things that make sense relative to the location and its history that are not noticed or heard by people at the time these utterances are collected digitally or on cassette tape. Only after later analysis – very careful and concerted attention to the entire audio – are these utterances heard. The ones I have heard from researchers are startling, both in terms of clarity and topic.
My logic tells me that making a sound or noise or uttering words might require far less energy from “that other dimension” (for lack of a common expression) than moving anything in this 3D dimension. I see manifesting an image or a wispy, smoky haze as somewhere between these two ways to communicate in terms of difficulty.
guess I should throw in the insertion of smells and thoughts (often reported), especially when a close relative or friend passes. These I would place a little easier on the scale of ghostly talent than even creating audio evidence. In fact, I think that these four types of evidence are collected on a scale of frequency in the same order: thoughts and smells, sounds and words, images and hazes, moving or relocated objects.
What we present here for your consideration is simply meant as food for thought, at the very least entertainment. When I read Mike’s most recent blog Eugene C. Sims and the “Ghost of Amelia Earhart”, I stared and stared at the photo and thought Sims must have been pointing to the highly lit feature in the middle of the central doorway, consisting of two parallel vertical lines and topped by what could be horizontal shoulders and a skull. I thought, no, this is just too easy – that has to be the way the light is shining into the cell through the jungle foliage.
This tendency for humans to perceive scant visual stimuli and then attribute meaning to them has long been one very handy survival skill in our evolutionary toolkits. Granted, sometimes we may read too much into what we see. Nowadays the paranormal investigation community strongly warns fledgling researchers against matrixing.
Surprisingly to me, Wikipedia actually has an interesting page dedicated to pareidolia, a less common term than matrixing, but with a more dignified and relevant etymology: from the Greek para-, meaning, in this context, “something faulty or wrong” (for example, paraphasia: “disordered speech”) and eidolon (1828),“ a ghostly image or phantom.”
Pareidolia is the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features. Devotees of paranormal investigation have come to use the term matrixing to mean much the same when referring to the observation and interpretation of specifically visual information.
What is interesting to me is the implication inherent in this definition that whatever we think we are seeing is not really there: in other words, we are making it up by our interpretation, foisting upon the image qualities it does not truly have. There is almost the connotation that we are trying to fool others by stating what we see in the image, or at the very least we are demonstrating publicly that we are gullible fools.
Well, I can think of examples of certain individuals involved in researching Earhart’s final demise who might well be described in this way.
So I saved the [Eugene C. Sims] image and opened it in a couple different apps I use to enlarge images and study them in greater detail. Immediately I saw that what appeared to be long, skeletal legs are indeed bamboo stalks or some other kind of flora, and that skull is just a big leaf. I laughed to myself, remembering one of my favorite Peanuts strips ever, where Linus, Lucy, and Charlie Brown are looking at clouds and telling each other what they resemble.
I thought, before I closed my app, I would poke around and look a bit, just to see if I noticed anything resembling a face or person, especially those of a female. I noticed three female faces almost within mere seconds and managed to find three more after really scouring over the image. I prepared little guidelines next to each extracted image I found, explaining what I saw, hoping to help someone else see what I did.
After emailing these to Mike and a couple other close friends (“open-minded” friends, I might add), one of them came back with a seventh woman’s face! What we present here are these extracted images with additional pointers to help with locating them in the larger image.
At least some of these faces will stubbornly refuse to materialize for some of you. These details are best recognized at a certain resolution — too enlarged and it just looks like a gray mulch, too reduced and it looks like a more linear gray mulch. Viewers should play with zooming in and out by bits until the image pops out at them. The images here are at the best resolution for me.
I am fiercely intellectually curious and open-minded but I would not say gullible. There are many things in this world that are not yet resolved or explained fully, because all the facts are not on the table and in many cases adequate technology or methodology are lacking.
One reader here asked why Amelia would haunt a location so completely imbued with agony and grief for her, to which another reader answered perhaps she is merely making her mark on this image at this blog, a place where we continue to question and dig and discuss until her true fate has been demonstrated and accepted by the public. This sounds to me like a plausible answer, and I hope each of you finds these images and comments at the very least thought-provoking and entertaining.
Every now and then I see a photo and – if I can assume it’s legitimate and not doctored – it is probably even more stunning to me. I never expect/demand that the image matches a pose from a photograph of the person.
This seems ridiculously pedantic and artificial to me – what of all the people who died before photography and were later seen as ghosts? How does a dead person select the exact photo s/he wants to use as the calling card in these instances? Not to mention, doesn’t it make more sense that a ghostly image in a photo that does match an old photo of that person, stands a better chance to have been technologically superimposed on the newer photo?
So it does not bother me that I do not see Amelia’s face, as in press photos, in these. The one with what I see to be goggles on her head is impressive to me.
(By the way, do any of you know of research funding streams to send a number of amateur ghost hunters researchers to Saipan to conduct research at this location? Just curious.) (End of Laurel Blyth Tague’s analysis; sincere thanks to Laurel for a great job.)
Laurel sent the images to a well-known paranormal “expert” for his opinion, and he told her that this phenomenon is known as simulacrum, meaning “something looks like something it isn’t. Sort of the same thing as figures in clouds, etc.” He didn’t seem impressed, but since I’m not a paranormal expert, I’m free to reject the idea that these images can be attributed to pareidolia, matrixing or even this fancy “simulacrum“ term, which I consider to be a dodge.
If we’re seeing something “that doesn’t exist,” why are we seeing the same things in these photos? I think B+C looks a lot like Amelia, for example. And why do these faces appear almost exclusively in photos of notoriously haunted locations?
I think these faces might be those of discarnate or disembodied entities trapped between planes of existence, between heaven and earth, so to speak, who for whatever reason cannot move on into the light — or the darkness, if that’s their destiny. Or could these some kind of lower-level demonic entities, lingering in a location renowned for evil doings, seeking new hosts or victims to torment?
How do you explain this, readers? What do you think? Let us hear from you!