Amelia Earhart hasn’t been in the news this frequently since June and July of 1937 when her plane mysteriously disappeared on the last leg of her historic round-the-world voyage with navigator Fred Noonan. First, the History Channel broadcast a documentary about a “misfiled” photograph that appears to show a man and woman resembling Earhart and Noonan on a dock on a Pacific island after they were believed to have crashed. The documentary interviewed experts who gave strong evidence that this photograph was the best proof so far that the couple landed on an island, were picked up by the Japanese and died in captivity.
That theory was immediately cast into doubt by a group of bone-sniffing dogs shipped to an island believed by many to be the one where Earhart and Noonan crashed and eventually died as castaways. The dogs acted like they’d found the chemicals that indicate decaying human remains, but no bones or DNA was found. The soil was sent to a lab anyway.
While the next story doesn’t prove the dogs were right, it most likely proves the History Channel and its experts were wrong. Kota Yamano, a blogger who identifies himself as a student of military history, says he never believed that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese, which means he questioned the authenticity of the photograph. It prompted him to conduct a simple Internet image search for pictures labeled “Jaluit atoll” – the location written on the photograph — from 1930 to 1940. What happened?
“The photo was the 10th item that came up.”
That was surprise #1, considering the documentary said it had been missing for decades because it was “misfiled.” Surprise #2 was the publication date of the travelogue the picture was found in … 1935! The travel book had been released in Palau and eventually scanned and catalogued into Japan’s National Diet Library. It’s clear evidence that the photograph was not Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan looking at their plane on a boat after being taken captive.
That mysterious red glow in the sky is the collective blush of History Channel producers and Earhart experts who forgot to do a simple search on the photo. A spokesperson said in an interview that it was “exploring the latest developments” and noted that “ultimately, historical accuracy is most important to us and our viewers.” A tweet further promised that “HISTORY has a team of investigators exploring the latest developments about #AmeliaEarhart and we will be transparent in our findings.”
What do we do now? Will the History Channel be forced to change its name to the “History” Channel? Stay tuned … Amelia Earhart is hot again!