We all held our breath on Wednesday when an anti-freckle cream jar was discovered on Nikumaroro Island in the Pacific. This seemed to support the leading theory by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) that Amelia Earhart landed on a coral atoll near the island, and survived — at least for a bit.
Using what fuel remained to turn up the engines to recharge the batteries, they continued to radio distress signals for several days until Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed Electra aircraft was swept off the reef by rising tides and surf. Using equipment not available in 1937 – digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs, TIGHAR concluded that 57 of the 120 signals reported at the time are credible, triangulating Earhart's position to have been Nikumaroro Island.
The other evidence has come in the form of artifacts: not only the anti-freckle cream jar, but also signs that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan tried to live off the island for as long as possible.
Many of the artifacts were found years before by locals, but without TIGHAR's more recent findings, it was impossible to conclude that they belonged to Earhart and Noonan. Those items include tools for killing, tools for eating, and the remnants of fish, birds, mollusks, and one unlucky turtle. Also: bones and dried poop that might be human.
With this research, the mystery of Earhart's disappearance seems all but solved, although we could use another film adaptation to cover her life post-emergency landing. Think Cast Away but Tom Hanks is Amelia Earhart, and Wilson the volleyball is Fred Noonan. Hell, throw in some Lost polar bears, just to keep the mystery alive.
Either way, some mysteries remain. Why was Amelia Earhart so ashamed of her freckles?
[Image via AP]