purportedly showed Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on a dock in the Marshall Islands after the famous aviator went missing? A few days after it was revealed, experts immediately began poking holes in the story, but now it seems that it can be put to rest once and for all. A Japanese blogger has discovered the image in the national archives of his country and according to his findings, it was published nearly two years before Earhart embarked on her fateful flight.
According to National Geographic, Japanese history blogger Kota Yamano wrote a post on July 9 on his search for answers regarding the photo. Apparently he visited the National Diet Library and did a simple search for "Jaluit Atoll," which is the only text that accompanied the photo when it was found in the U.S. national archives. Yamano says that “The photo was the 10th item that came up,” in the search results, which showed that it was published in the book The Ocean's "Lifeline": The Condition of Our South Seas, which was published in October of 1935. The caption of the photo mentions the lively port and the ships that often stopped by there.
This should put an end to the speculation of whether or not it is Earhart and Noonan in the photograph, although they mystery of what happened to them remains. The History Channel probably wishes they had done a bit more research before creating a special on the Earhart story that centered around the photo however. That program aired this past weekend, with the main assertion being that the two missing explorers fell into Japanese hands and died while in custody, something that the Japanese have denied on more than one occasion.
According to Yamano, it took him less than 30 minutes to find the photo and learn more about its origin. I guess the lesson here is that we should all do our homework and a bit of research before racing toward a conclusion that we already think we know. Meanwhile, the search for Earhart, Noonan, and their missing plane will no doubt continue.