The disappearance of Amelia Earhart is still one of the most fascinating and highly debated cases amongst conspiracy theorists. The story was brought to our attention in recent years with the discovery of photos claiming proof she was not killed in a plane crash. Sadly this groundbreaking evidence was debunked with 30 minutes by an online blogger. What is about this case that still has everyone debating 73 years later?
Amelia Earhart was born on the 24th of July in 1897. She resided in Atchison Kansas and spent a lot of her early childhood being raised in an upper-middle class household by her grandparents. Her father was an alcoholic that while trying to do the best to support his family, just couldn't seem to get things together, so during these times Amelia and her sister Muriel would live with their grandparents. Eventually she moved back with her parents and they were moved all around until her mother divorced. It is said that her father's inability to properly support the family led to Amelia becoming so independent which was just one of her many appealing traits. She excelled in school, most notably in chemistry and then went on to enroll at a girl's finishing school in Philadelphia. We are taking about 1915 here where things were a bit different to today. She only completed a year and a half as it was not her calling and worked as a nurses's aide in a military hospital in Canada during the war. During this time she worked a lot with injured pilots and developed a strong admiration for them. In fact she spent a lot of her time watching the Royal Flying Corps practicing at the nearby airfield.
In 1920, Amelia had an experience that would completely change her life. At a long beach air show in 1920, she took a plane ride that set the wheels in motion for her to become one of the most well known and beloved aviators in history. It was only a 10 minute plane ride but it was all she needed. She wanted to learn how to fly a plane. She worked in a bunch of different jobs from being a photographer to even driving trucks, just to have enough money to take flying lessons. Not just from any teacher. She trained with Anita Snook considered to be a pioneer female aviator. Dedicated to the cause, Amelia cut her hair short in the style of other female aviators and slept in her leather jacket so that it had a more 'worn' look so that people would take her seriously. In 1921 she bought a second hand biplane that was affectionately named 'The Canary' due it it's bright yellow colour. It was her mission to make a name for herself in the field of aviation. In 1922 she quickly broke the world altitude record for female pilots ascending to 14,000 feet and then in 1923 became the 16th female to get her pilot's license issued by the world governing body for aeronautics.
The family was living on the inheritance of her grandmother's estate after her passing, but sadly the funds ran out and Amelia was forced to sell her beloved 'Canary' in 1924. Amelia found work as a teacher and a social worker. In 1927 she became a member of the American Aeronautical Society's Boston chapter and wrote articles for the local newspaper about aviation and became somewhat of a local celebrity. In 1928, Amelia got a call from Captain Hilton H Railey who was not just a pilot, but one who liked a bit of publicity and asked Amelia if she would like to fly across the Atlantic. It was controversial at the time as it was deemed a flight too dangerous for a woman to partake in by herself as 3 had tried in the year before her and didn't make it alive. So on June 17, 1928 she was accompanied by pilot Wilmer Stultz for an almost 21 hour flight to the United Kingdom. Stultz did most of the flying and she felt she was just there as 'baggage' and publicity. She however became an instant celebrity with a welcome home ticker tape parade in New York where the press dubbed her 'Lady Lindy'. A book was published in 1928 detailing the flight and along with that came book tours, lectures and product endorsements as well as women's fashion. She became an associate magazine for Cosmopolitan magazine where she promoted commercial air travel and became Vice President of National Airways. But Amelia didn't want to just be a celebrity. She was destined for more than that.
She married her book publisher and publicist Bill Putnam in 1931 and they worked together on secret plans for her to become the first woman and the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic. In May 1932 she completed her first solo journey. Congress awarded her with the Distinguished Flying Cross which is the first time it had ever been awarded to a woman. In 1935, she became the second person to ever fly solo across the pacific. There were also many other achievements. She was saving her best for last to mark her 40th birthday. She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world. After a first attempt which failed, she set off in 1937 with her navigator Fred Noonan on her second attempt to be the first female to fly all around the world. A month into this journey, cloudy skies and rain started making things difficult. Radio contact was lost on the 2nd of June and they were never heard from again.
Hours later, rescue workers starting a search and the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard launched what was to be the largest and most expensive air and sea search in America's history. Her husband George Putnam financed an independent search which also came up empty handed. The official report issued by the independent government was that based on radio transmissions, they were able to conclude that the team was unable to locate their destination, ran out of fuel and crashed into the water and sank. In 1939, they were declared officially deceased. Cue the conspiracy theories. Unable to accept this as the truth, various theories have been pondered over the last few decades. One of these most popular theories is believe Amelia Earhart was a secret agent for the U.S. government as she was a close friend to U.S. D Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. They suggest they intentionally went off course to spy on the Japanese occupied islands in the Pacific and that when they landed on one of them, they were captured and taken as prisoners.
In keeping with the theory, a photo emerged in July 2017 which was presented by the History channel with breakthrough information on Amelia Earhart. This photo was supposed to be a U.S. Naval intelligence photo taken in 1937 of a harbour in the Marshall Islands. The photo shows 2 figures a the end of the pier claiming they match the body types and features of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. Everyone went crazy with the thought that this theory of capture could have been true after all of these years. One Japanese blogger however, was not convinced and within 30 minutes of online searching, was able to completely debunk this photo. Kota Yamano noted: The steam ship on the right of the photo is a Japanese navy survey ship 'IJN Koshu'. The ship participated in search missions for Amelia and arrive Jaluit Atoll in 1937, but the ship also arrive there sometimes since 1935". He then found this original photo at his local library in a book 'The Beauty of the Sea' published October 10th 1935. There is no way it could be Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan as the photo was taken 2 years before they even started their trip.
The History channel have said there is more information coming and more 'clues' which tied into their specials around the mystery airing at the same time. We will never know what happened to this amazing lady. Did she return safely and change her name to lead a normal life or did she really just die doing what she loved. We will never know, but we will always remember the amazing things she has done, in particular for women all over the world.
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