Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Amelia Story Not Over Yet

My review of Amelia, the new film starring Hillary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan MacGregor, brought yet more Earhart disappearance stories to my attention. On Sunday I mentioned Tod Swindell's research regarding her disappearance being an orchestrated hoax to get her out of the public eye.

Yesterday, a friend asked if I heard about the notebooks of a young girl who heard Earhart's last transmissions while listening to the radio during those fateful hours. Later a co-worker told me of a group that is seeking to bring home DNA evidence to support the theory that she had landed on an island somewhere else in the Pacific.

As it turns out, both of the above stories are part of the same project. The TIGHAR Project has a website that is compiling proofs that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan actually survived after landing on or near Gardner Island, somewhere quite a ways from where they were supposed to come down. TIGHAR is an acronym for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, organized and managed by The Institute for Aviation History.

The website makes its case that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed on or near Gardner Island and died there. The notebooks of the girl who heard transmissions from Earhart after the crash are also reproduced on this site. Likewise many other details, answers to frequently asked questions, etc.

If Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan really did survive the crash, and eventually died on this island, this group believes that a thorough search will eventually uncover remains that can be tested for DNA. Supposedly there is a compelling body of supporting evidence already gathered but it is inconclusive. One purpose of the site, therefore, is to raise money to return next summer and find that irrefutable evidence that answers once and for all the questions as regards what really happened.

To some extent the site is a sales pitch because you, too, can be part of next summer's historic exploratory expedition, the group's ninth. For $50,000 you'll have an opportunity to visit the remote South Seas island of Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati, formerly Gardner Island. This is one way they hope to fund the research.

The TIGHAR organization has done a commendable job of compiling in one place a large body of information on two of history's most famous missing persons. This page, for example, presents a detailed analysis of many of the factual errors in the Hollywood film now airing. But then again, that's entertainment.

Personally I find it fascinating when people have a passion for something that is so all consuming, whether to prove Amelia did not die, or to verify how she did. At the end of the day one might do well to ask, "What is my own consuming passion?"

Just sowing a seed. Water it and let it grow.

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