“What really happened to Amelia Earhart?” has become an iconic question since the woman’s fateful disappearance in 1937, during her record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.
Some have theorized that she was really a spy, and defected before the war. Others suspect she crashed in the ocean, while still more hold out hope that she and her navigator Fred Noonan somehow managed to survive on a remote island.
2012 has revealed for enthusiasts a tentative storyline, before researchers begin the final push to search for her aircraft with high-tech underwater equipment next July.
The most recent developments are a seemingly appropriate juxtaposition of the woman herself– both beautiful, and intelligent.
On Wednesday, researchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) released news that a jar of anti-freckle cream was recovered on an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific Republic of Kiribati and, according to one of the researchers, “It’s well documented Amelia had freckles and disliked having them.”
On top of that, Fox News is reporting that dozens of radio signals previously dismissed as hoaxes, may actually have been from Amelia and Noonan.
Watch MSNBC’s analysis of the new information, which includes news clips from the 1930’s:
Using digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs, TIGHAR re-examined all the 120 known reports of radio signals suspected or alleged to have been sent from the Earhart aircraft after local noon on July 2, 1937 through July 18, 1937, when the official search ended.
They concluded that 57 out of the 120 reported signals are credible.
“The results of the study suggest that the aircraft was on land and on its wheels for several days following the disappearance,” [executive director of TIGHAR Ric Gillespie] said.
According to TIGHAR’s hypothesis, Earhart would have used the aircraft’s radio to make distress calls for several days until the plane was washed over the reef and disappeared before Navy searchers flew over the area. [Emphasis added]
“We must be on you, but cannot see you — but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet,” she reportedly said. Her last recorded transmission described compass headings: “We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait.”
The remains of shoes, a fire, and even bones were recovered on the island, but according to Gillespie, they were lost after their discovery around 1940, making circumstantial evidence like anti-freckle cream that much more valuable.
TIGHAR is presenting more of its findings at a three-day conference in Washington, D.C. between June 1 and June 3.
As for the radio signals, Gillespie concluded: “The results of the study show a body of evidence which might be the forgotten key to the mystery. It is the elephant in the room that has gone unacknowledged for nearly seventy-five years.”