If you were raised with a cell phone in your backpack, you may marvel that Amelia Earhart was never found after disappearing on an attempted round-the world flight in 1937.
But 75 years later, the mystery continues.
Theories about what happened range from the straightforward — that two-engine Electra ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean — to the supernatural — that aliens abducted Amelia (a Star Trek: Voyager episode based on that theory appeared in 1995). But no evidence of the truth has been discovered, despite extensive searches.
That might be about to change. The Discovery Channel is funding a search for Earhart based on a theory that Amelia and her navigator Fred Noonan landed on a coral reef south of Howland and were able to reach safety on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro. The theory actually emerged just days after the Electra disappeared, but the Navy searched the island only from the air.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has taken nine archeological trips to Nikumaroro to investigate. The group has discovered traces of most-likely-human bones, evidence of a campsite, and artifacts likely belonging to an American woman of the 1930s.
The evidence is compelling enough that it’s captured the attention of one of Amelia Earhart’s admirers, Hillary Clinton. Here’s ABC’s report on Clinton’s support of the privately funded project.
If you are as geeky as I am, you want to know more. TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie is happy to oblige.
Earhart was, from all indications, heterosexual, but she certainly enjoyed a life of defying gender norms. She grew up a tomboy, climbing trees and hunting rats with a .22. She excelled in a male-dominated field and eschewed the era’s typical feminine mores, referring to her marriage as a partnership with “dual control.” Her appearance was androgynous, especially in flight gear. And she struck quite the dashing figure.
Earhart has been an icon to girls and women for generations. Perhaps the mystery of her disappearance is about to be solved. To be honest, I’m not sure I want to know if she died from exposure on a remote island. What do you think? Do you want to know the end of the Amelia Earhart story?