With the Oct. 20 airing of the over-hyped and unnecessary National Geographic Channel’s two-hour special, “Expedition Amelia,” another Earhart media disinformation operation comes to a welcome close. (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
The latest in a long line of bogus Earhart searches was born this past summer, with National Geographic’s July 23 announcement, “Robert Ballard found the Titanic. Can he find Amelia Earhart’s airplane?” subheaded, “Ocean explorer Robert Ballard will lead a major expedition to the remote Pacific in hopes of discovering the famed aviator’s fate.”
“It appears that after 13 fruitless trips to Nikumaroro by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR),” I wrote in my July 31 post, “NatGeo, Ballard in new phony Earhart ‘search’,” “the powers that be have finally decided to turn this tar baby over to someone who can bring real gravitas to the longstanding Earhart myths and lies. Ric Gillespie is out, Robert Ballard is in, and we can all now rest assured that the ‘Earhart Mystery’ will be solved in short order.”
“Now Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, is planning to search for signs of the missing aviators,” NatGeo’s On August 7, he’ll depart from Samoa for Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island that’s part of the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. The expedition will be filmed by National Geographic for a two-hour documentary airing October 20.”
Countless mainstream media outlets covered the story, so disturbingly familiar to those of us who have followed this absurd soap opera since it began in the late 1980s with TIGHAR’s initial outrageous claims. The only difference was that a famous ocean explorer would be doing the honors, rather than the long-discredited Ric Gillespie. I wondered only why someone like Ballard would participate in such a transparent, dishonest charade, and what he thought he could gain. I’m still wondering.
When I checked a month later, nothing could be found about Ballard’s ballyhooed foray to Earhartland. As is always the case with these Nikumaroro debacles, one has to look hard to find any news about the latest failure. Finally, on Aug. 26, National Geographic was forced to come clean and admit that Ballard had come up empty, though its headline was as dishonest and misleading as its editors thought they could get away with.
“ ‘Tantalizing clue’ marks end of Amelia Earhart expedition,” NatGeo whispered, loath to admit the truth. “While the location of the aviator’s plane remains elusive, an artifact — discovered after 80 years may spark new avenues of inquiry,” their subhead cunningly added.
“In like a lion, out like a lamb,” I wrote in my Aug. 27 post, “Ballard’s Earhart search fails; anyone surprised?” “Thus ends yet another Nikumaroro-Amelia Earhart boondoggle. This time the perp was the famed Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, but the result was the same as always, as predictable as death and taxes. Nothing related to Earhart was found, but an old lie was resurrected to keep the scam viable for future paydays.” For the rest of that post, please click here.
Next, in the run-up to the airing of “Expedition Amelia,” the New York Times, America’s bastion of truth, was the only mainstream media outlet to bite the bullet and tell everyone they should watch the Oct. 20 NatGeo two-hour special. In the Times story, “The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep,” Julie Cohn wrote, “Robert Ballard’s expedition to a remote island in the South Pacific found no evidence of the vanished aviator’s plane, but the explorer and his crew haven’t given up.” Of course not, especially when there’s more money to be made and ignorant sheeple to “educate” about the great Amelia Earhart “mystery.”
We’ve all seen these Central Pacific-Nikumaroro travelogues before, and whether it’s Ric Gillespie or the great Robert Ballard chit-chatting with his crew about Amelia with a huge tropical sunset in the background, I can’t watch any more of these canned spectacles produced only for money, ratings and confusion. On the other hand, since we’ve covered the Ballard-NatGeo charade from the start, I suppose it’s pro forma to do a review of the thrilling climax to the current deceit. I asked longtime readers David Atchason and William Trail if they would be interested in writing reviews of “Expedition Amelia,” and they’ve kindly agreed to do so.
Longtime Truth at Last supporter David Atchason, 77, of Bartlett, New Hampshire is a retired truck driver and trucking company owner, now an “accomplished old geezer mountain climber in the New Hampshire White Mountains and all over the world.” David is a self-described “connoisseur of conspiracy theories and promulgator of baseless and fevered speculations,” and has agreed to share his thoughts on “Expedition Amelia.”
“BREAKING NEWS: There is nothing new under the sun”
by David Atchason
I have to give credit to my late ex-wife for keeping me young at heart and my blood pressure elevated. That’s my fountain of youth.
I spent yesterday in anticipation of the Ballard program, checking the channel listings and my watch, waiting to start my assignment. This was to be my first writing assignment in about 57 years. Sure enough, at about 8:04, I noticed I was tuned to the wrong channel. I quickly tuned in to Ballard just in time to hear him declare, “There are several theories of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, the Japanese capture, or the theory that she returned to the USA and lived as a New Jersey housewife, but now we have to turn our attention to the only two realistic theories. She either crashed and sank or else wound up on Nikumaroro.
Wow! It was like getting hit by a spitball in the back of my head. All in one fell swoop he discredited all sane theories and made sure to include the “Irene Bolam” theory, which even the most obtuse follower of the mystery would know was wacko. I knew then I was in for a long two-hour viewing chore.
Now here comes Gillespie to spin his yarns. He was looking good, I have to say, as he should at his big moment as the “voice of reason,” so to speak. He explained how the radio messages from AE picked up at the Pan Am stations when triangulated pointed to Nikumaroro. I had never heard this stated as a certainty before, but he said it was certain. In fact, at the end of the program, Ballard indicated that you just can’t dispute that the messages came from Nikumaroro.
A lot of the program was spent gushing praise for Amelia and her relevance to empowering the women of today — in a very politically correct manner, of course. They obviously needed something to fill up the time, as there was nothing new in the program. Bevington’s “Loch Ness Monster” picture had the plane’s landing gear superimposed on the object in the water it to show that that had to be the wheel. At some point it was shown that all the Fiji records had been sent to Tarawa and there was a large collection of bones stored at Tarawa. As there might be; certainly thousands of soldiers were killed there in 1943. It was never clear whether the bones came from Fiji, but one of the skulls was said to be a woman’s, and when they had the DNA tested the results were inconclusive, as the DNA was “degraded,” whatever that was supposed to mean.
There was time spent on the new digs looking for bone fragments starring the ever popular Tom King, but nothing was found. The metal aluminum flap was presented by Ric, the freckle cream jar, it just made me want to reach out to Ric to remind him of the shoe heel, the sextant box and a few other items. It was like opening my old toy box after many years, kind of gave me a case of emotional nostalgia.
The underwater search, narrated by Ballard, might as well have been stock footage of any random underwater scene. They found a piece or two of rubbish which didn’t belong to her plane. He did say that he found the pieces from the [British freighter HMS] Norwich City shipwreck stopped at 1,300 feet, which meant her plane’s pieces would have to be above that level, so he didn’t search any farther down. He finished by declaring that the radio signals clearly showed her plane had been there; you couldn’t dispute that, so he says. Then he was off to Howland.
By then my eyes were closing as I awaited the theme song to play, and Ballard listed a couple other possibilities without declaring them unrealistic at all. One of them was, “Did she go on a spy mission and get captured by the Japanese”? Maybe I am hallucinating, but that made me think: Yes, they do know. Ballard knows, NatGeo knows, and it was like a big hint to those few of us who can think: “Yes, guys and girls, we know and you know the truth and we are not dumb. But we have to do this program because Big Brother says so, and we are getting well paid for it and we all have to make a living same as you. WE don’t believe any of this either.” There you go. (End of David Atchason review.)
William Trail is a retired U.S. Army Reserve major, federal civil servant and private pilot. He’s a longtime reader of this blog and is among the best informed of those I consider to be “friends of the truth.”
All in all, National Geographic’s “Expedition Amelia” presented no new or conclusive evidence of any kind. Japanese capture was fleetingly mentioned and immediately dismissed. Despite finding nothing, Robert Ballard maintained that the “radio evidence is compelling. . . . You can’t take that off the table.” In the end, it’s still the same old, tired, disappointing story.
Never a friend of the truth when it comes to the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, National Geographic has now enlisted world renowned oceanographer and NatGeo Explorer-at-Large, Robert Ballard Ph.D., who is most famous for locating the long lost wreck of RMS Titanic in 1985, to assist in driving this thing into the mind of the world. Joining Dr. Ballard on the research vessel M/V Nautilus for the trip to Nikumaroro are archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow Dr. Fredrik T. Hiebert; executive director, Florida Institute for Forensic Anthropology and Applied Science; Erin H. Kimmerle, Ph.D., of the University of South Florida Department of Anthropology; and former TIGHAR archaeologist-in-residence and historical novelist Thomas F. King Ph.D. Not on the actual expedition to Nikumaroro but appearing and commenting in “Expedition Amelia” are Ms. Candice Fleming, author of Amelia Lost; Tracey Jean Boisseau, Ph.D., associate professor of women’s studies at Purdue University; and last but not least Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).
In the documentary, the July 2, 1937 disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan is referred to as “a renowned mystery” and “the greatest mystery of the 20th Century.” I beg to differ. There is no “mystery” — only a seeming unwillingness to acknowledge the truth, which is supported by a tsunami of painstakingly documented credible evidence and eyewitness testimony. The truth, which is to say, Japanese Capture and Death on Saipan was stated by no less than Fleet Admiral Chester A. Nimitz, as well as Marine Generals Alexander Archer Vandegrift and Graves Blanchard Erskine.
However, Ballard comments, “There are all sorts of theories,” and “I like the Nikumaroro theory.” The Nikumaroro theory, by the way, originated in a 1982 paper, “Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight” by the late inventor and Earhart researcher Fred Hooven. Also known as “The Hooven Report,” it is based upon the post-loss radio transmissions attributed to Earhart and was originally named the “McKean-Gardner Island landing theory” by Hooven, who later abandoned this theory. Hooven is not mentioned once in the program, nor is he given credit for his abandoned theory, long taken up by TIGHAR as if it were the Holy Grail.
The two-hour documentary, which was narrated by Emmy and Academy Award winning actress Allison Janney, was basically a series of revolving segments. That is to say, Ballard mapping and searching the underwater terrain around Nikumaroro for the Electra, which AE presumably landed on the island and which was subsequently washed out by the tides to sink in the depths just offshore; King and Hiebert digging on the island itself; Kimmerle and Hiebert searching for the “13 Bones” among the collections of Te Umwanibong Museum and Cultural Center, Tarawa, Republic of Kirabati; and historical and Earhart biographical commentary by Ms. Fleming and Boisseau.
Also providing commentary, including showing off his so-called artifacts — a zipper pull from a jacket, an ointment pot (presumably from Dr. Berry’s Freckle Cream), a woman’s compact with traces of rouge make-up, and the (infamous) aluminum skin patch — is Gillespie, who admits that there is no provable link to Earhart.
Among the bones and bone fragments from the Te Umwanibong Museum and Cultural Center is part of a human skull, which Kimmerle examines. Skeptical of Dr. David Hoodless’ findings, Kimmerle’s research included computer-aided 3-D imaging of the partial skull, which was inconclusive. The results of DNA testing were not available for inclusion in the documentary.
Ballard and the M/V Nautilus made five passes around Nikumaroro, visually searching, surveying and mapping the underwater terrain. Nothing related to Earhart, and certainly no part of the Electra, was found. However, a crewmember’s ball cap that was lost overboard was recovered. Likewise, despite cadaver dogs alerting on the Ren tree dig site, King and his archaeological team found nothing. (King has been digging on Nikumaroro since 1989.)
The story of the recent enhancement of the Bevington Photo (the object believed to be a main gear leg from the Electra sticking up out of the water near the wreck of the S.S. Norwich City on the northwest corner of the island), which allegedly prompted the call to Ballard and served as the genesis for “Expedition Amelia,” was presented briefly, but with a whole lot less detail than was previously reported.
Although there is some debate on the subject, the quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” is generally attributed to Albert Einstein. In reviewing German author Max Nordau’s 1895 book, Degeneration, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw wrote, “I have read Max Nordau’s “Degeneration” at your request — two hundred and sixty thousand mortal words, saying the same thing over and over again. That, as you know, is the way to drive a thing into the mind of the world.” Indeed.
The same could be said of the whole so-called Nikumaroro theory, expeditions, writings, documentaries, press conferences, etc. An insane attempt to drive a thing (Nikumaroro) into the mind of the world. Now, The National Geographic Society has inflicted yet another mental assault on the susceptible, flogging the tired, worn out Nikumaroro theory on the world with this, their latest film documentary, “Expedition Amelia.” (End William Trail review.)
Sincere thanks to David Atchason and William Trail for taking the time to share their unique perspectives, which are well taken and most appreciated.
The only questions now are when the next iteration of this unending, ridiculous campaign will ensue, and if Robert Ballard, National Geographic and the Nautilus, or Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR and whatever they can scrape up will be the next designated agents of propaganda, agitprop and lies.
Incredibly, Ballard is leaving the door open to a possible return to the endlessly picked over garbage dump of Nikumaroro, as Cohn explained:
For years, many Earhart historians have been skeptical of the Nikumaroro theory. And Dr. Ballard, Ms. [Allison] Fundis [Nautilus chief operating officer] and their team’s return to the island will now depend on whether the archaeologists from the National Geographic Society came up with evidence that Earhart’s body was there.
“[E]vidence that Earhart’s body was there”? And just what kind of “evidence” would this be, and where would it come from, as if we don’t know. Will it resemble the flotsam that Dr. Richard Jantz, director emeritus of the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, has already foisted on us? You might recall Jantz, who, without ever seeing the bones discovered in 1940 on Nikumaroro, declared that Earhart’s bones were “more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99 [percent] of individuals in a large reference sample.” Jantz, a TIGHAR associate, knew better than the senior medical officer on Suva, who actually examined them and said they were “part of a skeleton of elderly male of Polynesian race, bones having been probably in sheltered position for upwards of 20 years possibly much longer,” and Dr. D.W. Hoodless, who pronounced the bones as coming from a male individual “not less than 45 and more probably older.“ For more, see “Les Kinney joins “The Truth at Last” conversation, Shreds TIGHAR’s latest false Earhart claims.”
“In 2021, the Nautilus will be in the South Pacific fulfilling a contract to map underwater American territories,” Cohn wrote in her Oct. 14 story. “That will bring the ship to the area around Howland Island, Earhart’s intended destination for refueling before her plane disappeared. Dr. Ballard and Ms. Fundis plan to make time to explore the alternate theory favored by some skeptics of the Nikumaroro hypothesis: that Earhart crashed at sea closer to Howland.”
“Alternate theory“? It is inconceivable that such an advanced, highly educated and accomplished individual as Robert Ballard is not fully aware of the mountains of evidence that attest to the truth about Amelia Earhart’s landing at Mili Atoll in the Marshalls, her subsequent pickup by the Japanese and her eventual wretched death on Saipan, along with Fred Noonan, of course. He has to know that absolutely no evidence exists to support either of the two leading “theories“ that our establishment media constantly force feeds the public.
So with Ballard’s abject rejection of the Marshalls-Saipan truth, which has been lying in plain sight for well over 60 years, the great ocean explorer has placed himself firmly on the wrong side of the Earhart matter, and in my opinion, has lost all credibility. Henceforth anything he utters publicly should be questioned by everyone with any knowledge of the truth.
This entire Robert Ballard-National Geographic travesty is a blatant insult to our intelligence and a brutal slap in the face to everyone that has trusted them to act with honesty, integrity and professionalism in their endeavors. Both should henceforth be avoided, and we can justifiably ask what else National Geographic has been lying to us about. I’ll grant you that the NatGeo’s ancient Egypt exploration and Drain the Ocean programs are interesting, but these are few compared to the endless glorification of the drug world, prisons everywhere and criminals of all stripes that now comprise so much of NatGeo’s programming, which regularly descends into the Pit to get ratings from viewers of similar proclivities.
Tony Gochar, a researcher who lives on Guam and whose contributions to Truth at Last (see pages 263, 264) were timely, valuable and much appreciated, had his own unique experience with National Geographic:
I had an unpleasant personal involvement with National Geographic. I was on a diplomatic assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Manila from 1986 until 1991. In 1987 a journalist “discovered” a tribe, Tasaday, allegedly living out of contact with the modern world in the southern Philippines for over 500 years. Totally bogus. NatGeo got involved and the truth was left in the ditch.
My local contacts instantly recognized the language the tribe was speaking as Manobo, which is the language of some tribes in the area. Did the truth overcome the excitement of a “lost tribe”? No, NatGeo published the story with never a retraction. [Former Philippines President Ferdinand] Marcos left in April, 1986, and I arrived in August. The politics were in turmoil. The Minister in charge of tribal relations was [Manuel “Manda“ Cadwallader] Elizalde, a Marcos holdover. Elizalde took about $20 million and escaped to the States. His relationship with NatGeo was based on money. How much they got from him is not known. No amount of complaints from the Embassy would sway the story. They continue to be shameless purveyors of trash.
Tony gets no argument here, and I can’t say that I look forward to National Geographic’s next Earhart production, or anything else they do where the topic is fraught with political, cultural or religious overtones. My first thought will always be that NatGeo is on the wrong side of anything sensitive or controversial. Who could blame me after this?
In like a lion, out like a lamb. Thus ends yet another Nikumaroro-Amelia Earhart boondoggle. This time the perp was the famed Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, but the result was the same as always, as predictable as death and taxes. Nothing related to Earhart or Fred Noonan was found, but an old lie was resurrected to keep the scam viable for future paydays. (Boldface and italic emphasis mine throughout.)
As is always the case with these bogus Nikumaroro searches, you had to actually do a search to find any news about the latest failure. Yesterday (Aug. 26) I awoke early enough to beat the news sent to my inbox by the first of a few intrepid readers. “‘Tantalizing clue’ marks end of Amelia Earhart expedition,” National Geographic magazine whispered. “While the location of the aviator’s plane remains elusive, an artifact re-discovered after 80 years may spark new avenues of inquiry,” NatGeo’s subhead cunningly adds.
In like a lion, out like a lamb. As of post time for this story, not a single media organization besides NatGeo, which initiated this current round of deceit — a bandwagon that most of mainstream media immediately and gleefully jumped aboard — has informed its readers that they have once again been had. This too, is so redundantly typical of these media vermin.
The “tantalizing clue” in the headline is no such thing, but another lame pretext based on already debunked “evidence” — the alleged bones found on Nikumaroro in 1940 that were analyzed by the only real medical professionals to have ever examined them, and found to be those of a male individual.
“The bones were eventually shipped to the High Commissioner’s Office in Suva,” Les Kinney wrote in a March 19, 2018 post on this blog, “Les Kinney joins ‘The Truth at Last’ conversation, Shreds TIGHAR’s latest false Earhart claims.”
“An initial report was completed by the Acting Senior Medical Officer,” Kinney continued. “The medical examiner concluded ‘they are part of a skeleton of elderly male of Polynesian race, bones having been probably in sheltered position for upwards of 20 years possibly much longer.’:
The bones were then brought to the Central Medical School and examined by Dr. D. W. Hoodless. Hoodless took careful measurements of the bones and skull. He noted the remains only included one half of the pelvic bone. Hoodless obviously took into consideration the pelvic bone is symmetrical and said that in his professional opinion, the bones were that of a skeleton of “total height of 5 feet 5 and ½ inches approximately.“ Hoodless went on to write “it may be definitely stated that the skeleton is that of a [MALE.]“ Hoodless emphasis. Hoodless added, “he was not less than 45 and more probably older.”
The good news, if we can call it that, is that Ballard himself is not making any false claims to stir the pot, as TIGHAR always does, and is likely finished with this farce, as NatGeo’s designated hack Rachel Hartigan Shea reports, though she doesn’t quote him directly:
Ballard doesn’t plan on returning to Nikumaroro unless the land team finds definitive evidence that Earhart and Noonan perished there. Yet he already knows where he’d search if he did go back to the island: Beaches further south where it’s flat enough to land and the underwater topography is much smoother—perfect for sonar, he says.
Is Ballard embarrassed about his involvement with the Nikumaroro fraud, that he would be roped into this ongoing hoax, or was he in on the fix from the start, knowing the truth but going along to get along, make some extra green and please the establishment by distracting the sheeple for another news cycle? It certainly doesn’t help his sterling résumé to have this failure attached to it. Can Ballard actually be so uninformed about the history of Earhart research that the work of Fred Goerner, Vincent V. Loomis, Thomas E. Devine, Bill Prymak and others is completely unknown to him? Is that possible?
My guess is there’s no way Ballard can be that ignorant, and though we may never know for sure, Hartigan Shea might offer a clue. “[H]e doesn’t consider the search to be over,” she wrote. “Indeed, after this expedition, Nautilus is heading to Howland and Baker islands to map the waters off of these U.S. Territories for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Perhaps something will be discovered off the shore of the island where Earhart intended to land.”
Sure it will, and pigs will fly at farms and county fairs nationwide at the precise moment that happens. To read the rest of NatGeo’s Aug. 26 claptrap, please click here.
SUMMARY OF LATEST EARHART DISINFORMATION OPERATION
This time it started, media-wise at least, with the National Geographic’s July 23, 2019 story: “Robert Ballard found the Titanic. Can he find Amelia Earhart’s airplane?” subheaded, “Ocean explorer Robert Ballard will lead a major expedition to the remote Pacific in hopes of discovering the famed aviator’s fate.”
With the same breathless tones that accompanied countless stories that preceded TIGHAR’s Nikumaroro money-wasters over the past 30 years, National Geographic’s “Now Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, is planning to search for signs of the missing aviators. On August 7, he’ll depart from Samoa for Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island that’s part of the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. The expedition will be filmed by National Geographic for a two-hour documentary airing October 20.”
Unsurprisingly, Ballard’s make-believe search for Amelia Earhart has mirrored the 13 (officially) visits by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) to Nikumaroro since 1989 in many ways. These fiascoes always start with some new fabrication, some slightly different excuse to waste all the money they’ve somehow managed to glom from sources that are never really clear, to take the hype as far as they can.
Not to be outdone, Smithsonian magazine, home of the anachronistic crashed-and-sank, official government-line apologists, responded with a July 31 tantrum, “Why the Much-Publicized Mission to Find Amelia Earhart’s Plane Is Likely to Come Up Empty,” subheaded, “The explorer who discovered the ‘Titanic’ is searching for the lost aviator. A Smithsonian curator doesn’t think he’ll find it.”
On Aug, 12, sometime after Ballard and Nautilus had arrived at Nikumaroro, National Geographic led it off with Hartigan Shea’s “Inside Robert Ballard’s search for Amelia Earhart’s airplane.” Within the piece, in a 1:35 embedded video preview of “Expedition Amelia,” a two-hour NatGeo special set to air Oct. 20, Ballard puts his foot in it, telling us with supreme arrogance, “It’s not the Loch Ness Monster. It’s not Bigfoot. That airplane exists, which means I’m gonna find it.” Really?
The left-wing Bible New York Times soon followed that same day, with “Finding Amelia Earhart’s Plane Seemed Impossible. Then Came a Startling Clue”; and the always-deceitful where Earhart is concerned Fox News chipped in with “Amelia Earhart mystery: The man who discovered the Titanic is searching for the doomed aviator’s plane.” The rest of the usual media suspects fell right in behind the leaders, like the good little monkeys they are.
Just over a week later, reality had set in — on and off Nikumaroro. NatGeo’s Aug. 20 story, “Coconut crabs may hold clue to Amelia Earhart fate,” subheaded, “Does the secret of the famed aviator’s disappearance lie in the underground haunts of the world’s largest land invertebrate?” simply reeked of desperation. To this observer, to mention the crabs with five days still left on Ballard’s search schedule seemed like a tell that signaled defeat, even before the final results were in.
This wasn’t the first time we’ve heard about how coconut crabs on Nikumaroro were going to lead TIGHAR to the Holy Grail — the bones of Amelia Earhart. Our reliable friends from Smithsonian Magazine did a story on Dec. 26, 2013, “Coconut Crabs Eat Everything from Kittens to, Maybe, Amelia Earhart,” which declaimed, “According to one theory, Earhart did not drown in the Pacific but instead crashed on the remote Nikumaroro atoll, where she was eaten by coconut crabs”:
In 1940, researchers discovered a fraction of a skeleton on the island that matched the description of Amelia Earhart. Now, even more interesting clues are arising that seem to substantiate the idea that this is where she met her demise. The most compelling hypothesis currently under consideration is that coconut crabs overwhelmed her where she lay.
Researchers carried out an experiment to validate whether the coconut crabs had a part in her demise. Back in 2007, they used a small pig carcass to assess what the coconut crabs might have done. The bones were removed very quickly and scattered, according to Patricia Thrasher, TIGHAR’s president.
This ludicrous meme has redounded throughout our agitprop media ever since, thrown up against the wall to see how well it might stick when nothing else was available. When it comes to Earhart, anything except the truth has always been fair game, to keep the masses watching the shiny object.
In an Aug. 22 blog comment, I wrote, “I’ve read this absurd story, and if this is all they have, they might be preparing to announce the truth for a change, that nothing related to Earhart was found by Ballard and company.”
But I added: “I could be 180 degrees wrong. Maybe they’re preparing us for a brand-new grandiose claim by first softening up their readers with this garbage, published as if no one knows anything at all about the history of Earhart research. . . . NatGeo treats its readers as if they’re hopeless morons, and sadly, in many cases they are right. But this deal with the crabs, like last year with the dogs, is pushing the ridiculous far beyond credulity.”
It didn’t take long for NatGeo to post the next installment of its 2019 Earhart Reality Show, as Hartigan Shea’s Aug. 23 report, “Amelia Earhart search crew shares personal theories on her disappearance,” brought a sliver of clarity to this spectacle:
Back on the Nautilus, Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, is searching the waters off Nikumaroro for the Electra’s remains. But that doesn’t stop him from speculating in his off hours about where else she might have landed. Could she have touched down on the windward side of the island or possibly on another island altogether? Based on how much gas she had left, he wondered, “What other islands were reachable and uninhabited and haven’t been searched?” He crunched the numbers and the answer is very few.
The answer is simple, unless you have an agenda to spew propaganda in support of the official government lie. It’s available in several books, including Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, wherein all due credit is given to researcher and author Vincent V. Loomis and his 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, the definitive Earhart-Marshall Islands-landing work.
Multiple witnesses saw Earhart’s Electra crash-land near Barre Island, in the northwest quadrant of Mili, and she and Noonan were later seen at Jaluit, where Japanese hospital corpsman Bilimon Amaron treated Noonan for a gash on his knee while crewmen stood by and addressed Earhart as “Meel-ya, Meel-ya.”
But that and a mountain of evidence too massive to mention here aren’t good enough for NatGeo’s Ms. Hartigan Shea, who finishes her Aug. 23 entry with this insipid paragraph:
The search for Amelia Earhart is an endless puzzle, and a challenge that Ballard relishes. So do the other members of the expedition, who have puzzled over how long Earhart could have survived on the island, what she ate, whether the coconut crabs consumed her, if her plane could have floated intact over the reef, whether rescuers tried hard enough to find her and, most poignantly, how the ardent feminist and pacifist might have changed the world if she had lived. We may never know the answers to some of these questions but the speculation will continue as long as the mystery remains unsolved.
Never hint at the Marshall Islands-Saipan truth — that’s the ticket for these artists of disinformation, these cockroaches of deceit. Will someone please cue the violins? A high school freshman could write a better close than this clichéd, transparent trash. In its laughable screed, NatGeo is not only lying to its readers, but it’s reached new lows in its contemptible hypocrisy.
To wit: This crew of National Geographic propagandists pretends to know nothing about the National Geographic Channel’s Amelia Earhart special in late 2006, which was the debut of its short-lived Undercover History series. In that program, several aspects of the truth were presented, including Marine Pvt. Robert E. Wallack’s discovery of Amelia’s briefcase in a blown Japanese safe on Saipan in summer 1944, and Bilimon Amaron’s encounter with the fliers on a Japanese ship at Jaluit. Just the slightest trace of that program can now be found on an Internet search, an IMDb entry that’s been swept clean of any meaningful information. Care to guess why?
People and organizations cover their tracks because they don’t want you to know something important that will expose their scheme, and this is just another example of big-media duplicity in the Earhart story. For new readers who may believe that the “Amelia Earhart Mystery” actually exists, please see “July 2, 2018: 81 years of lies in the Earhart case.”
Refusing to accept what is true, Hartigan Shea closes her Aug. 26 article with a final mendacity, informing us that “An expedition land team led by National Geographic Society archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert may have found fragments of the skull in the Te Umwanibong Museum and Cultural Centre in Tarawa, Kiribati. . . . This, too, is a fitting end to an Earhart expedition. Just when it seems to be over, a tantalizing clue appears to lure the searchers onward.”
Referencing NatGeo’s description of a “fitting ending to what was in many respects a successful expedition,” Calvin Pitts, who retraced Wiley Post’s solo 1933 world flight in 1981 and is an honored, regular contributor to this blog, wrote: “I was stunned in disbelief that grown men could participate in such a national hoax, without embarrassment. Please join me in a moment of levity. They were looking for an Electra, the remains of which are buried in Saipan. They FOUND NOTHING, but they had the gall to say with a straight face, “THIS WAS A SUCCESSFUL EXPEDITION” — translated, ‘At least, we didn’t have a major malfunction of our equipment.’ Childishness on display.”
Or far worse, I would add.
As for the photo taken by British colonial officer Eric Bevington in October 1937 of the British freighter SS Norwich City, in the right background, and an indistinct speck on the far left side of the frame, which is presented in the Aug. 26 NatGeo story as TIGHAR’s idea of “compelling evidence” that “resembles the landing gear of a Lockheed Electra,” Calvin also had a few choice words.
“Wrong,” Calvin wrote. “It looks more like the horn of a unicorn. They have just discovered the first remains of an extinct animal in the annals of history. Imagine grown men, professionals no less, acting like children in a sandbox. It’s worse than laughable. It is pathetic. And to think that NatGeo would spend money on this long-known hoax. Will the real Gillespie please stand up, take a bow, and go home. Stop polluting a serious story with BS, please. You’ve had your sick moment in the sun. Now tend to your sunburn and leave the Earhart history to the sane and the serious.”
There you have it, dear reader. There will be no end to the Earhart-on-Nikumaroro travesty, despite the fact that if anything in this world is known to be certain, it’s that neither Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan nor the Electra were ever anywhere near Nikumaroro. Now, in addition to Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR, the great Bob Ballard has performed this public service for us, as if it were actually necessary.
Who was it that said, “You can’t get blood out of a stone”?
It appears that after 13 fruitless trips to Nikumaroro by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), the Powers That Be have finally decided to turn this tar baby over to someone who can bring real gravitas to the longstanding Earhart myths and lies. (Boldface and italics emphasis mine throughout.)
Ric Gillespie is out, Robert Ballard is in, and we can all now rest assured that the “Earhart Mystery” will be solved in short order. If you doubt this, I refer you to the National Geographic’s July 23, 2019 story: “Robert Ballard found the Titanic. Can he find Amelia Earhart’s airplane?” subheaded, “Ocean explorer Robert Ballard will lead a major expedition to the remote Pacific in hopes of discovering the famed aviator’s fate.”
With the same breathless tones that accompanied countless announcements that preceded so many of TIGHAR’s Nikumaroro boondoggles over the past 30 years, National Geographic’s “Now Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, is planning to search for signs of the missing aviators. On August 7, he’ll depart from Samoa for Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island that’s part of the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. The expedition will be filmed by National Geographic for a two-hour documentary airing October 20.”
This is the same National Geographic Channel that produced and aired a much-anticipated (among some Earhart researchers) Amelia Earhart special in late 2006 to debut its short-lived Undercover History series, for which writer-co director Quinn Kanaly talked to me twice at length via phone. At my insistence, she took her crew to Woodbridge, Conn., to interview Robert E. Wallack about his summer 1944 discovery of the Earhart briefcase in a blown safe on Saipan, a segment that was included in the program that aired on Nov. 29, 2006, and which also depicted eyewitness Bilimon Amaron’s 1937 encounter with the fliers at Jaluit, as well as a thorough forensic debunking of the Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart lie.
Only the slightest trace of that program can now be found on an Internet search, an IMDb entry that’s been swept clean of any meaningful information, as has the rest of the Internet. To see for yourself, please click here. Did National Geographic go to great lengths to cover the history of its past productions on the Earhart disappearance to protect the “credibility” of the current Ballard search? Just askin’.
Fox News, which has led the way in the Earhart deception business for several years now, followed the same day with their own story, and on July 26, a reader told me, “Ballard’s second in command was just on Fox News in studio with Harris Faulkner.” Another bunch allergic to the truth, Coast to Coast AM, did their part for the bad cause with their own story July 24.
In its July 23 story, National Geographic wastes no time, and starts right in with the lies that have so characterized the popular myths about the “great aviation mystery” for so many decades. In its lead paragraph, we’re told, “After taking off from Lae, New Guinea, in Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E, the pair aimed for tiny Howland Island, just north of the Equator. But they couldn’t find it, and despite many attempts, no one has been able to find them.”
“No one has been able to find them”? No one, that is, except the prewar Japanese on Mili Atoll and Saipan in 1937, Bilimon Amaron on Jaluit, Mera Phillip, John Tobeke and others on Kwajalein’s Roi-Namur, and many native Chamorros on Saipan that same year, beginning with the still-living Josephine Blanco Akiyama.
How about the numerous members of the American military, including Brig. Gen. Graves Erskine, during its summer 1944 invasion of Saipan, when the Electra was discovered in a Japanese hangar and was soon burned beyond recognition, according to several witnesses including Thomas E. Devine and Earskin J. Nabers? Sixteen years later, Fred Goerner and Joe Gervais found the fliers through numerous eyewitness and witness accounts, and soon Vincent V. Loomis, Don Kothera and other researchers added their own witnesses and findings to the growing volume of evidence, solidly establishing the presence and deaths of the fliers. The foregoing is just for starters. No point in going further here, when the entire content of this blog is devoted to these and so much more that attests to the hated truth.
National Geographic continued with its latest propaganda:
The National Geographic Explorer at Large brings a state-of-the-art research vessel, the E/V Nautilus, and extensive underwater expertise to this historic search. In addition to locating the Titanic, Ballard discovered the remains of John F. Kennedy’s World War II patrol boat in the Solomon Sea, the German battleship Bismarck in the Atlantic, and many ancient ships in the Black Sea, as well as hydrothermal vents near the Galapagos.
People have been looking for Earhart ever since she went missing. The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy scoured the area by ship and plane for two weeks. George Putnam, Earhart’s husband, enlisted civilian mariners to continue the hunt. Eventually the U.S. government declared that the plane had most likely crashed and sunk into the Pacific.
“Eventually”? How about within three weeks of the fliers’ disappearance, when the commanders of the Coast Guard Cutter Itasca and the U.S.S. Lexington group filed their search reports? Please see “The Search and the Radio Signals,” pages 38-59 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last for the facts without the hype.
The Ballard news is highly reminiscent of the clatter that surrounded the similarly hyped 2017 Nauticos search for the Earhart plane in the waters off Howland Island. Here’s how I began my March 27, 2017 post on that time waster:
One of the better-known definitions of insanity has been attributed to Albert Einstein, who described it as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I wonder how many times it would take Nauticos, or the rest of clueless crashed-and-sankers to search the Pacific floor without finding the Earhart Electra before they admitted they might be wrong about what happened to Amelia and her plane. Based on past performances, the answer is, sadly, “Never.”
For more on my Nauticos post, see “Nauticos continues Earhart ocean-search insanity.”
It’s fair to ask why someone with Ballard’s impressive resume and fame is suddenly so interested in the rotten can of worms that the “Search for Amelia Earhart” has become, thanks to the ceaseless disinformation and distractions of the U.S government-media establishment.
We know, of course, that he is very much a highly regarded member of said establishment, and if you doubt that, here’s a YouTube video of Ballard’s remarks at a special event on March 20, 2012, at the U.S. State Department, announcing TIGHAR’s July 2012 expedition “to search for the remains of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra”: “Dr. Ballard endorses TIGHAR.”
We also know that Ballard won’t find anything at Nikumaroro, and so does he, unless he is far more uninformed about the Earhart disappearance than the average reader of this blog, which is just too much for me to bite off. As with nearly everything in this hard world, it’s always about the money, and Ballard is no exception, but does he really need the gelt so badly that he would purposely taint his legacy with the certain stain of failure in the phony Earhart chase?
(As an aside, for readers who don’t know me, this has never been about money for me, another reason why you can believe what you read here.)
Perhaps Ballard let his ankle show when he told National Geographic, “Maybe some things shouldn’t be found,” he says. “We’ll see if Amelia is one of them.”
The switch from Gillespie to Ballard indicates, at least to this observer, that this latest machination from the establishment has the potential to be very big. Endless empty claims and wasted trips to Nikumaroro have stripped Gillespie of all credibility among the masses, but Ballard is an entirely different story, and most will believe what he says uncritically.
Thus, the forthcoming Earhart disinformation operation is far more disturbing than the usual, as we wonder why the famed ocean explorer would allow his name to be associated with this transparent charade, proven over 30 years to be nothing more than a huge mendacity that even casual observers of the Earhart case are now sick of watching.
Further, and worse, would Ballard knowingly be a part of a scheme in which he would discover planted material on or off Nikumaroro? It might be a piece of an engine or something else that can somehow be plausibly, though briefly, linked to the Electra, something that they can make plenty of noise about, but which would ultimately fail, because we know where the ruined remains of the Earhart bird are buried — under the Saipan International Airport.
I don’t know, but at this point, after nearly 32 years of studying this story, nothing would surprise me, except seeing anything resembling the truth coming from anyone in our thoroughly corrupt national media.
This constant barrage of lies and misinformation is proving two things: One, the U.S. establishment remains committed to protecting the Earhart sacred cow and keeping the truth from the masses, and two, that they rightfully believe in the overwhelming ignorance and indifference of America to the Earhart disappearance. The comments below the story on Fox News reveal this fact, as they always do. Why do they even bother, then, when the few who actually do care are in their dotage and dying daily?
Perhaps news of Marie Castro’s efforts on Saipan to build the Earhart Memorial Monument has created some small anxiety among the deep-state operatives responsible for managing the Earhart deception. These vermin understand that the memorial’s possible success on Saipan, as unlikely as it seems now, would bring more heat for disclosure to bear on Washington, something they want to avoid at all costs. Just a thought.
In light of Ballard’s forthcoming search, it might be an appropriate time to re-introduce readers, old and new, to the basic truth about the Earhart disappearance, by way of the Earhart Disappearance Position Statement I first presented in last year’s post commemorating Amelia’s final flight, “July 2, 2018: 81 years of lies in the Earhart case.” I’ve extracted and slightly edited the most germane paragraphs; to see the entire statement, just click on the blue link.
The very idea that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is a “great aviation mystery” is among the most despicable of all the prevailing myths of mainstream American history. So effective have the U.S. government and its media allies been in creating, maintaining and protecting this straw man as the unquestioned narrative, that it has become a piece of our cultural furniture, a triumph of propaganda that would make even Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels proud.
Because of its universal acceptance by the gullible, incurious masses, the false phraseology “Earhart mystery” defines and dominates all public dialogue about the Earhart case, while the fact of Amelia’s wretched and unnecessary demise at the hands of the prewar Japanese on Saipan is ignored or labeled “conspiracy theory,” advanced only by and for the fringe conspiracy lunatics of society. Among our media – even our so-called conservative media – no story is as hated and demonized as the truth about Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan’s deaths at the hands of the Japanese on Saipan.
But in the deepest bowels of the U.S. government security apparatus, some are well aware of the fliers’ true fate, and they oversee and protect the physical evidence that would reveal the truth, known only to these scant few custodians of this precious evidence. I explain all this in my book and in my blog, and won’t go on at length here.
Discerning individuals who examine the popular Earhart “theories” soon find not a scintilla of evidence for either crashed-and-sank or Nikumaroro that doesn’t break down under the slightest scrutiny. Not a single artifact in a dozen trips since 1989 that’s been scrounged up from the Nikumaroro garbage dumps has been forensically linked to Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan, despite the constant drumbeat of our corrupt media establishment telling us to buy this snake oil. Many of the ignorant and gullible have indeed bought it, much to their chagrin as they realize the Nikumaroro bill of goods is rotten at its core.
In fact, no real “theories” exist in the Earhart disappearance, as the word is properly defined. We have the truth — supported by several dozens of eyewitnesses, witnesses, documents, letters and other evidence — that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan crash-landed in the Marshalls, were picked up and taken to Saipan by the Japanese, and died there at some unknown date before the American invasion in June 1944, likely as many as six years before the Battle of Saipan. Several small details remain unknown, most importantly the how and why behind the Electra’s Mili Atoll landing — but the big picture is lying in plain sight, as clear as the nose on Fred Noonan’s face, obvious to all but the blind and the agenda driven.
And we have enormous, transparent lies. First came the original crashed-and-sank myth born in 1937 with the Navy-Coast Guard’s search findings — briefly logical until quickly overcome by the facts — which finally became so ludicrous and unacceptable by the late 1980s that a new deception to distract the sheeple was necessary. Thus was born the current Nikumaroro virus, which continues to be the media’s default position, infecting virtually everything Earhart. Even most of the brain-dead are no longer fooled, but that doesn’t stop our media from continually trying to force this lie down our collective throats.
Just as they are doing now, courtesy of National Geographic and Bob Ballard. We’ll know soon enough if these miscreants are up to more than the usual high-tech dog-and-pony show, with much sound and fury going in and nothing at all coming out, empty as usual. I do hope that’s all it is, but we have a new player in this game, and we don’t know yet what he’s got up his sleeve. You’re welcome to check in here whenever the spirit moves you; I’ll do my best to keep you informed and up to date — and will never lie to you.
Most readers of this blog will recall last July’s imbroglio over the History Channel’s bogus claims about the ONI photo found at the NARA Archives by researcher Les Kinney several years ago. If you don’t recall this or you’re here for the first time, here is my review of the History Channel’s July 9, 2017 abomination: History’s “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence”: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth.
Clearly, Les Kinney and I have had serious disagreements — and not only about the photo — over important, sensitive issues in the Earhart case. Thus I was a bit surprised this morning (March 9), to receive an email from Les, asking if I would post his essay addressing TIGHAR’s latest claim on this blog — sort of a “guest column” so to speak.
I’m sure Les hasn’t changed his position about the ONI photo, but in this case, I have no problem setting aside our differences and working together against the TIGHAR plague, which has done more damage to the truth in the Earhart case than anyone in the past 30 years. The degree to which their outrageous and transparently false claims have dominated the corrupt and complaint mainstream media Earhart coverage cannot be overstated, and it’s been a constant irritant for all who pursue the Earhart saga without monetary consideration of any kind.
More on my personal TIGHAR complaints later. Now, for those few who aren’t up to speed on the latest mega-media TIGHAR blitz, on March 7, The Washington Post covered the story thusly: “Bones discovered on an island are hers, a new analysis shows.”
Without further delay, here’s Les Kinney’s rebuttal of the latest TIGHAR crapola. All boldface is mine except headlines and subheads.
TIGHAR PRESS RELEASE
“New Evidence in the Amelia Earhart Mystery!”
Bones Found in South Pacific Likely Amelia Earhart . . . “This analysis reveals that Earhart is more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99% of individuals in a large reference sample.” — Richard L. Jantz, Ph.D.
Hold on a minute!
For those of you not familiar with TIGHAR, the acronym stands for The International Group for Historical Aircraft Recovery. Its executive director, a fellow named Ric Gillespie founded TIGHAR in 1985. It’s a non-profit organization funded by donors and sponsors. Gillespie has taken a salary to support the ideals of TIGHAR. Those ideals, according to TIGHAR’s website is the promotion of responsible aviation archaeology and historic preservation. Don’t let that fool you. TIGHAR devotes 99 percent of its substantial resources hoodwinking the public into believing Amelia Earhart landed at Nikumaroro, a three-mile sliver of land in the Phoenix Island(s) Group. So that you don’t have to pull out a world atlas, Nikumaroro is close to the equator and smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
On March 8, FOX News, and a fair amount of other media outlets including USA Today splashed a tale taken from a TIGHAR press release. “It is with 99 per cent certainty, bones found in 1940 on Nikumaroro are that of the famous missing aviator.”
It all started in April of 1940 when bones, a skull, and bottle were found on Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) by some unknown native colonist. Near the spot of this find was evidence of a camp site. Natives also found an old sextant box and a sole of a shoe – about an English size 10. This same hand-painted sextant box was described by experts as likely originating from the 1800’s. It did not appear “under any circumstances to have been for a sextant used in modern trans Pacific aviation.” It was concluded that quite possibly this unknown castaway used the box to keep his possessions.
A little history of Gardner/Nikumaroro is in order, and for good reason.
There is limited information about who visited Gardner Island from the 1700s to the early 1900s. The island was first named in 1825. So, at least we know of one ship that visited the island when John Quincy Adams was President of the United States. No doubt the island had been visited many times in the 1800s simply because man’s curiosity gets the best of him. There is also a possibility, though never confirmed, that Gardner Island had been temporarily settled in the 1890s and abandoned shortly thereafter.
In November 1929, the British freighter HMS Norwich City departed Melbourne, Australia bound for Vancouver, B.C. The 397-foot freighter ran aground on the reef at Gardner Island. Eleven men were killed. Four bodies were buried by survivors after washing ashore. Seven other men were missing and never found. The rusted and broken hulk of the Norwich City still rests on Nikumaroro’s beach.
In October 1937, a British survey team headed by Harry Maude and Eric Bevington, along with 18 Gilbertese men “thoroughly explored” Gardner Island for several days.
From November 30, 1938, and for the next several weeks, a 16-man New Zealand Survey team explored Gardner Island from an aviation viewpoint.
In December 1938, while the New Zealand team was still on Gardner, at least 80 colonists from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands under British sponsorship settled on the island. At the time of their arrival, it was noted at least 200 coconut trees existed on the island. The island also had an abundance of very large coconut crabs resembling King Crabs in size, a pesky rat population, sea turtles, and the inner reef and lagoon swarmed with fish.
On November 5, 1939, crew members from the USS Bushnell, a Navy Survey ship landed at Gardner Island. The ship discharged 25 sailors and technicians. The Bushnell crew was intent on constructing a tower on the island. The Bushnell surveying team noted in its journal, the island was being occupied by 80 settlers. The Bushnell team stayed on the island for two days.
In June of 1944, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived on Gardner island and began construction of a Loran Station. The station was up and running on December 16, 1944 and manned by 25 Coast Guard personnel. Because of changing technology and the end of the war, the station was deactivated on May 15, 1946. The “Coasties” co-existed with the Gilbertese settlers who finally gave up on the island in 1963.
Don’t you get the idea that a lot of people trampled around Gardner for many years? One Coastie remarked it was boring and all they did in their free time was explore. Can you imagine the amount of trash on that island?
How the Nikumaroro “Bones” got TIGHAR’s attention
In the late 1980s along comes Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR. During Gillespie’s second or third mission to Gardner, having heard a tale from a Coast Guardsman who served on the island in the 1940s, that early colonists buried Earhart’s bones, Ric and his crew began poking and digging around an area TIGHAR has coined the “Seven Site.” They found human remains alright, but it was of an infant.
While they were figuring out their next move, one of TIGHAR’s explorers found the sole and heel of a shoe nearby. It was about the size of a 9 or 10 and stamped on the bottom was the famous American trademark, “Cat’s Paw.”
Fast forward a few years. One of TIGHAR’s Kiwi members was leafing through research material in the Kiribati National Archives in Tarawa. He noticed a file talking about a skeleton and human remains discovered on Gardner Island in 1940. Gillespie’s team jumped on this information.
The Kiribati archive report documented the finding of Gerald Gallagher, Gardner Island’s colonial administrator. After Gallagher arrived on Gardner in 1940, he was told by natives that human bones had been found on the southeastern part of the island. The natives also told Gallagher they found a human skull, but it was reburied. Gallagher’s working party searched the area, collected 13 bones and found the skull. Nearby, they also found an old-fashioned sextant box, part of a sole, possibly from two shoes, and a bottle. Gallagher’s examined the sole carefully and said it was about an English size 10. Writing back to Fiji headquarters in Suva, Gallagher said there was a “very slight chance” the bones might be of Amelia Earhart, although to his untrained eye, the bones appeared to be “older than four years.”
Gallagher went on to tell his superiors the area was then searched for rings, money, and keys with no results. His message also explained he examined the skull. The “dental condition appears to have been good,” he said, “but only five teeth remain.” Gallagher makes no mention of fillings. He goes on to emphasize that in his opinion, “am quite certain they are not less than four years old and probably much older.”
The bones were eventually shipped to the High Commissioner’s Office in Suva. An initial report was completed by the Acting Senior Medical Officer. The medical examiner concluded “they are part of a skeleton of elderly male of Polynesian race, bones having been probably in sheltered position for upwards of 20 years possibly much longer.”
The bones were then brought to the Central Medical School and examined by Dr. D. W. Hoodless. Hoodless took careful measurements of the bones and skull. He noted the remains only included one half of the pelvic bone. Hoodless obviously took into consideration the pelvic bone is symmetrical and said that in his professional opinion, the bones were that of a skeleton of “total height of 5 feet 5 and ½ inches approximately.” Hoodless went on to write “it may be definitely stated that the skeleton is that of a [MALE.”] Hoodless emphasis. Hoodless added, “he was not less than 45 and more probably older.”
Dr. Hoodless again emphasized the bones were male and probably a male of undetermined cultural origins, possibly of mixed descent. The skull had five teeth and Dr. Hoodless noted the right zygoma and malar bones broken off.
The bones, the bones, where are the bones?
TIGHAR has tried hard to find the bones but they haven’t been seen since 1941. It hasn’t deterred Gillespie. Early on, he called on one of his members, the late Dr. Karen Burns, an anthropologist to review the Hoodless findings. Burns had previously traveled to the South Pacific and Gardner courtesy of TIGHAR.
Dr. Burns’ analysis indicated the Nikumaroro bones could have indeed been Earhart. But her findings are biased. After all, she was on TIGHAR’s Board of Directors. It would be like Eli Lily telling the public their new drug was 100 percent effective based upon a study by a pharmacologist who happened to be on Lily’s Board of Directors.
It wasn’t long after Karen Burns issued her findings when an independent study of the Nikumaroro bones was completed by Cross and Wright (2015): “The ‘Nikumaroro Bones’ are not those of lost aviatrix Amelia Earhart,” stated Pamela J. Cross and Richard Wright. Published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, this new analysis is a welcome redress to the reputation of Dr. D.W. Hoodless (the medical official first responsible for the evaluation of the bones) and raises serious questions for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), an Amelia Earhart-focused nonprofit investigatory group and the top proponents of the ‘Gardner Island Theory.’ ”
Not one to easily give up, Gillespie tried a different tack. First though, TIGHAR needed to make the Hoodless calculations a little more palatable. It’s well known that Earhart was at least 5 feet eight inches tall or taller. Amelia’s pilot’s license says 5’ 8″. Dozens of personal recollections and photographs describe and show a tall woman. Amelia tended to fib. Maybe she was even taller. Compared to the known height of many of those she is photographed alongside – there is no doubt Amelia is tall – certainly taller than 5’7″.
Since TIGHAR needed to reduce the measurements necessary to obviate the discrepancies with Dr. Hoodless measurements, TIGHAR now says maybe Earhart was five-seven based upon a driver’s license they found from Massachusetts. Even at five-seven, it’s a stretch the bones found on Gardner fit the computer analysis done by TIGHAR’s latest anthropologist. It is difficult to explain how Dr. Jantz’s computer model concluded “with 99 percent certainty” the bones found on Nikumaroro are Amelia’s based upon measurements taken by Dr. Hoodless.
Can Dr. Jantz’s Nikumaroro bones analysis be considered plausible? Highly unlikely.
Dr. Jantz didn’t know all the facts. First, he hadn’t any bones. Second, his analysis makes no mention of the skull. To duplicate what he believes are the physical dimensions of Amelia Earhart, Dr. Jantz uses clothing held in the George P. Putnam Collection at Purdue University for comparison. Noting the inseam length and waist measurement of a pair of trousers worn by Amelia and told to him by a Purdue staffer, Dr. Jantz makes the incredible assumption those measurements would suffice for his scientific analysis.
Dr. Jantz might not have known what TIGHAR had been told years ago. Amelia Earhart had a painful operation called a Caldwell-Luc procedure done. On June 26, 1935, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, Dr. Joseph Goldstein performed the surgery. The operation was meant to alleviate a chronic sinus problem plaguing Amelia since 1918 when she was a young nursing assistant in Toronto, Ontario. Goldstein’s procedure called for drilling a hole in the cavity of Amelia’s mouth going through the bone above the second molar to open the maxillary sinus. It was meant to be a new channel for sinus drainage. (ouch) If the procedure was done on both sides it was called a bi-lateral Caldwell-Luc. According to Muriel Morrissey, Amelia’s sister, Amelia had this procedure done previously on the opposite side. Following the operation in 1935, Amelia was quite sick for a week and in fact developed pleurisy before recovering.
A forensic examination of a skull having a Caldwell-Luc procedure within the previous five to ten years would have been observed by a five-year-old. TIGHAR fails to explain how Dr. Hoodless, Gallagher, or the Chief Medical Officer failed to see a dime size hole extending from the jaw through the bone into the cranium. TIGHAR argues maybe the procedure was not apparent because of the missing zygoma and malar bones. However, the zygoma/malar bones are really one area of the cheek and would not interfere in a forensic analysis of this part of the skull. One of TIGHAR team members, a medical doctor, admitted that it would be hard pressed for anyone not to have seen evidence of such a procedure.
Not long before her final flight, Amelia bragged to Muriel that she just had a $1,000 worth of dental work done. In today’s dollars that’s about $18,900 bucks. It seems the five teeth examined by Gallagher, the Chief Medical Examiner, and Dr. Hoodless would have shown evidence of some dental work — a filling at least.
Let’s review some of the known Nikumaroro facts.
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan failed to arrive at Howland Island on their flight from Lae, New Guinea on July 2, 1937. TIGHAR believes post-loss radio messages from the pair skipped off the ionosphere and originated from Nikumaroro. TIGHAR has tramped to Nikumaroro at least 12 times over the years scouring the island for the missing aviators.
Some of the apocryphal TIGHAR discoveries include: 1) a bone from Earhart’s fingers — which turned out to be from a turtle; 2) a small glass jar that TIGHAR says could have contained freckle cream, and since Earhart had freckles, the jar would be evidence that Earhart was on Nikumaroro. Never mind the jar was mass-produced for years by a variety of manufacturers, not just for freckle cream; 3) the sole of a size 9 shoe even though it is well documented from two pairs of Amelia’s shoes that still exist that Amelia had small feet and wore a size six and a half; 4) a piece of aluminum shelving that TIGHAR insisted came from the Electra even though it has been determined to be a manufactured piece and standard equipment on WWII era Navy PBY Flying Boats; 5) a piece of aluminum sheathing found on Nikumaroro’s sandy beach by TIGHAR in 1991 that TIGHAR insists came from a metal patch installed over the rear window of Earhart’s Lockheed 10 Electra in Miami, disregarding the fact the aluminum is stamped with war years aluminum markings, and not withstanding how the aluminum piece remained in plain view on the beach after 55 years, while the plane is nowhere to be found; 6) a jackknife found near TIGHAR’s “Seven Site” might have come from Earhart’s plane because a jackknife was listed as being on the Electra’s inventory. TIGHAR apparently is not aware that most men in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s would have never been without a jackknife in the wilderness.
But why did they die?
TIGHAR theorizes Earhart and Noonan died very early during their stay on Nikumaroro. Maybe as little as a week or two after they arrived. Certainly, before October 1937, when the first group of explorers arrived. Could this have happened? Quite unlikely.
Coconut water from at least 200 coconut palms was plentiful. Each coconut can contain as much as six ounces of coconut water. Fish teamed in the hulk of a freighter washed up on the beach and in the lagoon. Maude, one of the early scientists visiting the island in October 1937, later wrote that you could catch the fish with your hands. Turtles were easy prey and large coconut crabs scampering about everywhere are considered a delicacy by natives. Earhart and Noonan could have survived on Gardner Island indefinitely.
TIGHAR claims it’s possible Earhart and Noonan might not have had the “know how” or stamina to survive as castaways. That argument seems impossible. The will to survive is strong and Earhart and Noonan were no slouches. Noonan was worldly and had sailed around the world on nine windjammers. Hardly the life of a wimp. Earhart was athletic, had no hesitation to crawl under cars in need of repairs, shot rats in barns, played golf, tennis, rode horses, and earlier in life, played basketball. In college, she explored the dark catacombs below Columbia and crawled several times to the precarious top of its library dome. She had no fear. More importantly, she was an accomplished swimmer.
Didn’t the U.S. Navy look for Earhart and Noonan at Gardner Island? They sure did.
A week after Earhart disappeared, three Vought O3U-3 Corsair float planes from the Battleship USS Colorado flew over Gardner Island for 30 minutes. They roared back and forth, and up and down the length of the island at a leisurely 80 mph. Lieutenant John Lambrecht, the team leader, said they flew at an altitude of 50 to 500 feet. Each plane carried a pilot and observer. It would have been enough time for the six set of eyes to view the island close-up for at least four passes over the length of this small island. TIGHAR says the “glare” probably prevented the crew from seeing Earhart and Noonan. Or, TIGHAR surmises, maybe Earhart and Noonan were deep in the jungle.
Guess what, nowhere on the island is the center of the jungle more than 200 yards from the beach — plenty of time for the castaways to break out into the open.
Why would they be deep in the jungle anyway? (End of Les Kinney commentary.)
Les Kinney’s comprehensive history of Gardner Island-Nikumaroro provides clear perspective on the credibility and veracity of the latest TIGHAR offerings. Of course, there’s plenty that Les couldn’t get to, and that we can’t cover in one blog post. Frankly, I purposely did not expend much space in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last discussing TIGHAR’s vapid disputations, preferring to cover other threads of far more substance. I did write a section titled “The Nikumaroro Hypothesis: Recycled Snake Oil,” that dealt with some of the more salient matters, including the fact that the Nikumaroro hypothesis itself is a third-hand version of Fred Hooven’s original McKean-Gardner Island landing theory, presented by Goerner at the 1982 Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Amelia Earhart Symposium. The theory was soon disavowed by Hooven, once he realized how ridiculous it actually was — and still is. (See pages 300-304 Truth at Last.) Several revealing posts relating to TIGHAR can easily be found via a simple search of this blog.
Les Kinney’s foregoing presentation was far more civil, cordial and even-keeled than anything I write about these miscreants, but we each have our own style. On March 9, the Pacific Regional News echoed the latest TIGHAR bombast with its own story, which appeared in the Marianas Variety, Saipan’s major paper and the site of the recent announcement about the planned Earhart Memorial Monument at the Saipan International Airport. The story, “Bones found on remote island may belong to Amelia Earhart, study says,” is followed by comments, and because the Marianas Variety is a fair and unbiased publication, my comment was allowed to stand:
The claim that Amelia Earhart’s bones were found on Nikumaroro has been long discredited and exposed as fraudulent; this idea is nothing but more hype and fake news from TIGHAR and their media toadies across the mainstream media. Further, this latest media blitz has surely been coordinated by those in Washington who do not want to see an Earhart memorial on Saipan, and such is their anger that they have activated more than the usual handful of media organizations to spread the latest TIGHAR manure across the land. The timing is too coincidental to be anything else. This new installment of the “lost bones” lie is nothing more than a thinly veiled response to the recent announcement about the plans to build the Saipan Earhart Memorial Monument.
Weasel words like “could have,” “likely” and “99 percent probability” season the latest recycled TIGHAR trash, but at bottom, it’s nothing but smoke, mirrors and lies, as usual, from TIGHAR and those in the media who aid and abet their phony schemes. I ask those who believe in real science — not discredited fantasies like “remote viewing” — to study the facts that Earhart researchers have complied for nearly 60 years, and you cannot come to any other conclusion than Amelia and Fred Noonan’s tragic and unnecessary deaths on Saipan.
Murderers are sent to their executions daily on the smallest fraction of the evidence presented in several books since Fred Goerner’s 1966 bestseller “The Search for Amelia Earhart” solidly established the presence and deaths of Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan following their loss in July 1937, and inspired thousands of Americans to demand action from Congress to reveal the truth, which was thoroughly ignored. The additional mountain of evidence I present in “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last” and here in my blog, www.EarhartTruth.com to support the Marshalls and Saipan truth brings together Goerner’s work and that of several other fine researchers and leaves no other conclusion than Saipan. If TIGHAR had the tiniest molecule of similar evidence to support their false claims, the Earhart “mystery,” would have been declared “solved” decades ago.
The major problem with the Earhart story is that the American public has been told unceasingly for 80 years that her disappearance is a “great aviation mystery,” to the point that this canard has become part of our cultural furniture, blindly accepted without question by nearly everyone. In fact, the U.S. government knows exactly what happened to the fliers and simply refuses to admit it. I will not expand on this basic truth here, however, as anyone unafraid to learn the truth can easily find it. Although the truth about the Earhart disappearance is a sacred cow in Washington, it’s also an open secret, available to anyone who desires to find, learn and understand. (End of Campbell comment.)
In a different situation I would end this post by saying, “We rest our case,” but the fact is that no case has been made by TIGHAR for any of its unceasingly empty and baseless claims. So at this time, I’ll simply say, “Case closed.” Until, of course, the next round of mass-media propaganda and lies descends on the unwary.
In closing, again I ask for your kind donations in any amount to the Earhart Memorial on Saipan — a eminently worthy cause that is long overdue. Please make your check out to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950. Thank you.
Henry “Harry” Evans Maude, an anthropologist and British Colonial Service officer, is well known to many with even a passing knowledge of research into the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. In October 1937, Maude visited Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro, and other islands in the Phoenix Group with associate Eric Bevington, and saw nothing related to Earhart, Noonan or Electra NR 16020 only 100 days after their loss. Maude and Bevington’s non-findings have always flown directly in the face of the phony claims of Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR, as we all know. (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
Maude, whose 1968 book, Of Islands and Men: Studies in Pacific History recounts his three visits to Gardner between 1937 and 1939, and several others in subsequent years, wrote to Gillespie in 1990 to express his wonder at all the Earhart-at-Nikumaroro noise Gillespie was making in the international media. In his letter, below, Maude respectfully questioned Gillespie’s theory that the fliers must have died of starvation or dehydration shortly after crash-landing on a reef. I think it’s appropriate to remind readers about the early days of the Nikumaroro farce, so that they can better understand just how badly they’ve been misled by Gillespie, and by our dependably dishonest media, who have been protecting the Earhart myth for nearly 80 years.
42/11 Namatjira drive,
Weston, A.C.T. 2611,
4 May, 1990
Dr [sic] Richard E. Gillespie,
Executive Director, TIGHAR,
1121 Arundel Drive,
Dr. Dr Gillespie,
Sorry about the delay in replying to your letter of 15 March. Blindness is not helping me to cope with the correspondence, as it means that I cannot see what I am typing so I must ask you to excuse the numerous errors. Things will be, I hope, a lot better when my new gadgets arrive from the Royal Blind Society, who are truly marvelous people. At 83 one cannot afford to give up, or one dies very rapidly, so I have a book just published, one at the publisher and one on the eve of completion.
I must admit that the sensational reports in the press on your recent expedition to Nikumaroro were greeted with a good deal of incredulity and mirth: an Irish magistrate working for New Zealand embarking on a rowing boat from the Phoenix Islands for Fiji and clutching a sacking bag full of bones. “Such stuff as dreams are made on [sic].”
Our opinion was not changed by the arrival a bit later of an article called “Tracing Amelia’s footsteps” in a Journal entitled This World. To comment on some of the statements in this gem of journalese would take pages.
I am bound to say, however, that my strictures do not apply to your own article entitled “Bones,” for here you have detailed the earlier versions of the Nikumaroro story, which appeared in the newspapers, but end with a critical appraisal which I find unexceptional except for one or two minor points.
Dr D.C.M. Macpherson was our best friend (I speak for my wife, Honor, as well as myself). We came out from England together in 1929 and our close friendship continued until he died. I visited him frequently when we were both lonely in Suva during the war: his wife lived in Scotland and mine was evacuated to Rotorua when the Japanese were expected. I find it difficult to underestimate therefore, why he never once, in our interminable reminiscences, spoke of [Gerald B.] Gallagher’s “Bones.” Incidentally, Mac was the Assistant Director of Medical Services for the Colony of Fiji and not Chief Pathologist for the Western Pacific High Commission.
Gallagher was presumably an Irishman by descent. as you are, but he was English to his fingertips. I doubt if he had ever been to Ireland; his mother lived in England and his brother was a Clergyman in the Church of England.
I took a prospecting group of Gilbertese to Gardner Atoll, where we stayed from 13-16 October 1937, our task being to explore the island thoroughly, dig wells and evaluate its potential for colonization. It seems curious that nobody saw anything worth reporting when going round the island so recently after Earhart’s landing, or on my subsequent visits to land the first settlers, and later still to see how they were getting on and arrange with them to return to the Gilberts and bring back their wives and children.
You might think it advisable before embarking on your second expedition to send someone reliable to interview any ex-Nikumaroro settlers now resident in the Solomon Islands. With any luck he ought to obtain some information of value; and it is possible that he might even find someone who remembered where the bones were buried. For a reasonable recompense he might even be induced to accompany the expedition and point out where to dig.
What baffles me is why Amelia Earhart or her companion should have died. There was plenty of food on the atoll, any amount of fish on the reef and in the lagoon, and coconuts to drink or eat on the ground or on the trees. The succulent leaves of the boi (Portulaca) makes a very nutritious vegetable salad and can be sucked for moisture. The mtea [sic], the ruku and the wao are also, I believe, growing wild on the atoll. The water is brackish, but drinkable for a period in an emergency. The climate of Nikumaroro is excellent, despite Linda Puig [author of “Tracing Amelia’s footsteps”]; not hot like Enderbury and indeed cooler than some of the Gilberts, where I lived for some 20 years and found the temperature delightful.
One wonders too why, as she apparently sent radio messages for three days, she did not say where she was. Presumably she had a chart. Taking all factors into account it would seem that if Earhart and companion crash-landed on the Nikumaroro reef one was killed on landing and the other too injured to do more than send a few messages before dying.
I enclose a copy of some historical notes on Nikumaroro which I wrote in the late 1930s or early 1940s. You will see from these that the skeleton found on the atoll if pre-1937 was almost certainly that of a Polynesian man, as Goerner states, for the islanders known to have resided there were Polynesian workers from Niue Island. I also send a list of documentation of the early days of the Settlement Scheme, including a number of letters from Gallagher, in case you want to check everything for a mention of a skeleton (or bones). The only correspondence we went to the Resident Commissioner on Ocean Island, for transmission to the W.P.H.C. [Western Pacific High Commission] and eventually to London were formal Progress Reports, thus what you were looking for would not be among the material in the Colonial Officer archives, but might quite possibly be contained in one of Gallagher’s chatty letters — which were anything but formal.
This Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme material is in the archives of the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 5001, and the archivist in charge is Susan Woodburn. Access is restricted.
Writing to Fred Goerner more than a year later, Maude was a bit less reserved in appraising Gillespie’s claims. “You ask what I think of all the TIGHAR razzmatazz: I regard it as bull, to use an Australian term,” Maude told Goerner. “Gardner is such a small atoll and was inhabited for so long that every inch of the place must have been walked over many times; anything out of the ordinary would have been reported and be on record.”
Educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, Harry Maude spent the years 1929-1948 working as a civil servant and administrator in various Pacific Islands, in particular the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, and as Resident Commissioner from 1946 to 1949. His many years spent on Pacific islands in various stages of development apparently were of great physical benefit to Maude, who died at age 100, on Nov. 4, 2006.