Amelia Mary Earhart, born on the 24th of July 1937, was a famous American pilot and aviation pioneer. She remains one of the greatest women pilots in history and was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross – a medal awarded to any enlisted member of the United States armed forces who has achieved an act of heroism or extraordinary feat while in aerial flight. In 1937, in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe, she disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Thus began the Amelia Earhart mystery.
The Amelia Earhart mystery is one of the most famous unsolved mysteries of all time. The last time she was seen on land was on July 2, 1937 in Lae, New Guinea. Amelia Earhart and her one man crew Fred Noonan, was preparing to take the last 7,000 miles of their journey. They took off after 3-4 days of rest (they reached Lae on the 29th of June 1937).Their first stop was supposed to have been Howland Island, but due to a series of misunderstandings in radio communication, their radio-assisted navigation failed. On the 5th of January 1939, almost two years after her disappearance, she was declared legally dead.
Controversy surrounded the Amelia Earhart mystery, different rumors and theories began emerging at the time of her disappearance. One of the most prevalent theories regarding the Amelia Earhart mystery was that of aeronautical engineer Elgen Long, and his wife Marie K. Long. First of all, they claimed that the flight plans of the Electra (Earhart and Noonan’s plane) were poorly executed. The couple claimed that the Electra most probably left Lae with a half empty tank of gas. They probably ran out of fuel, then crashed and ditched the plane at sea. The “crash and sink” theory is one of the most widely accepted explanations of the Amelia Earhart mystery.
Another theory was that of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery or TIGHAR. TIGHAR, in an attempt to solve the Amelia Earhart mystery, suggested that Earhart and Noonan could have flown further and landed on a then uninhabited Gardner Island. In 1940, a British colonial officer discovered a skeleton on the island’s southeast corner. Although the remains were later tested and disproven to be that of Earhart’s, there were also a number of archeological artifacts located on the island that still supported TIGHAR’s explanation on the Amelia Earhart mystery. These artifacts included debris possibly from the Electra itself, remains of what could have been Earhart’s footwear, and improvised tools which Earhart and Noonan could have used while trying to survive on the uninhabited island.
There are still a number of outlandish theories on the Amelia Earhart mystery. Some say Earhart could have been an American spy asked to monitor the Japanese colonies. Some say she could have survived the flight, moved to New Jersey, and changed her identity altogether. Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart? I guess we will never know. One thing is for certain, the Amelia Earhart mystery still remains as one of the most fascinating stories of all time.