Maybe. Then again, maybe not.
Recent news lent the Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison, Kansas a boost last weekend. The annual festival is traditionally scheduled between the anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance (July 3, 1937) and the anniversary of her birth (July 24, 1898).
The days are filled with activities for the kids, discounted tickets to the Amelia Earhart Museum, symposia, vendors, food, and fireworks. (As a personal aside, the last time I attended the festival, it provided the best fireworks show I have seen in. My. Life. Oh, my! So good!)
Many theories have abounded regarding Earhart’s fate. She may have crashed and sank. The Gardner Island theory says Earhart and her navigator managed to land on Gardner Island, but succumbed to their injuries shortly after. Another story is that the Japanese captured the pair after they crashed near the Saipan Island. The main evidence for this theory was the similarity between Earhart’s Lockheed Electra and the created-soon-thereafter Mitsubishi A6M Zero.
Of course, other theories are far less credible. That she changed her identity and became Tokyo Rose, the famous Japanese propagandist in WWII. That she was a spy for FDR. That she changed her name and became a banker in New York. (A claim that has been completely discredited.)
This year, a discovery was made that may lend credibility to one of the theories regarding her disappearance and, presumably, her death. A photo was discovered that shows a figure eerily similar to Earhart. The figure is sitting on a dock with her back to the camera. Nearby is a person who bears a striking resemblance to Earhart’s navigator, Fred Noonan. In the background, one can see what appears to be airplane wreckage being towed by a ship. You can view the photo here.
The History Channel recently aired a documentary telling this story. Unfortunately, at least one blogger has stated that thirty minutes of research destroyed this theory. The blogger claims the photo in question appeared in books published before Earhart’s disappearance—while she was still in the United States. The History Channel has promised to investigate further.
One thing this new evidence proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the mystery of Amelia Earhart is alive and well.