In the days leading up to the March 1st release of my collection In Search Of and Others, I’ll be sharing some of my idiosyncratic questions on the so-called “paranormal”…and their idiosyncratic answers.
Let’s get the easy part out of the way first.
Sometime after her final “confirmed” transmission at 8:43am on July 2nd, 1937, Amelia Earhart’s transcontinental flight ended when she ran out of fuel and landed her Lockheed Electra 10E on a reef off Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro). As tide waters rose, she continued to signal for help — her transmissions were reported from across the Pacific and the United States — until the low-mounted electrical system aboard the plane finally shorted out from the sea water.
There’s some evidence that she might have survived on the island briefly but later perished. Among the artifacts found over the years at Nikumaroro were the heel of a size 9 Cat’s Paw shoe like Earhart wore, a piece of Plexiglas curved like an Electra’s window, a piece of aluminum consistent with the skin of the aircraft, and a jar and two bottles of skin care products dating from the 1930s.
Yeah, there are a lot of things washing and swirling around the Pacific, but it sure is odd how so many that correspond to the size, shape, and era of Earhart and her plane would happen to swim their way to Nikumaroro.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has mounted several expeditions to the island and summarized its findings and research.
I find it pretty convincing.
No, Amelia Earhart didn’t just ditch in the ocean and sink like a rock. No, she wasn’t taken to Saipan by the Japanese where she later died in custody. No, she wasn’t Tokyo Rose. And no, she didn’t return to the United States and assume another identity.
(Though all of those are wonderful theories. I do kind of suspect that Earhart might well have been asked by the U.S. Government to take some pictures of Japanese territory, though.)
The real answer to the Earhart mystery is that she was left to die by incompetent dicks.
In the years since her disappearance, certain kinds of men have gotten a perverse glee from declaring that Earhart was incompetent. They cite her landing in Ireland instead of France for her trans-Atlantic flight as an example of botched navigation. They mention her first flight across the Atlantic was as a passenger instead of as a pilot. They mention that she took a particularly risky route across the Pacific.
It’s interesting that it’s always men who say that.
It’s interesting, too, that Earhart’s critics usually fail to mention that thousands of brilliant, strong-jawed, well-endowed military men from the Navy and Coast Guard failed to follow her signals to her location. They don’t dwell for long on how the crew of her escorting Coast Guard signal ship the Itasca dismissed her as a publicity hound (bitch?), either, its captain later citing Earhart’s incompetence, negligence, and “frantic” behavior as the cause of her loss.
All because, being a skirt, Earhart failed to compromise her professional judgment to follow that captain’s orders.
(I live in a Navy town. 10% of people emerge from the Navy as badasses. 90% emerge as dumbasses, and if their ability to navigate Chamblin Bookmine is anything to go by, I wouldn’t follow their orders, either.)
I think the great “mystery” of Earhart’s disappearance is how a man’s mistake is a challenge and a woman’s is a sign that she shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Actually, what am I talking about? That isn’t a mystery at all.
Right before she died, Amelia Earhart wrote this to her husband G.P. Putnam:
I hope the day comes when women all over the world from every profession and walk of life rise up against their male oppressors and color the streets and the skies with blood sprayed from severed penises.
No, that’s not true. What she really said was:
Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.
The greatest hazard, I guess, is being remembered by men as an uppity broad who flew too close to the sun.
[I wrote a Postcard Story about this once, by the way.]