Forum artHighlights From the Forum

October 1 through 7, 2000
(page 2 of 3)

Contents:
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
18 The Signal Goes ’Round Bob Brandenburg
19 Re: Others Who Heard AE Michael Holt
20 Why Didn’t More Hear AE? Mike Everette
21 Transmitter Questions Warren Lambing
22 Betty’s Intercept Cam Warren
23 Radio Signal Propagation Vern Klein
24 Post-Loss Messages Marty Joy
25 Re: Authentication of Notebook Dean Alexander
26 Re: Authentication of Notebook Marty Moleski
27 Other Letters? Don Neumann
28 Comments on Betty’s Notes Frank Westlake
29 Betty’s Notebook: Hoax or Not? Wm. Webster-Garman
30 The Notebook Mike Everette
31 Betty’s Notebook: Hoax or Not? Harry Poole
32 N. Y. Jim McClure
33 Re: Notebook Frank Westlake
34 Re: N. Y./Norwich City Phil Tanner

Message: 18
Subject:

Re: The signal goes round ’n’ round....

Date: 10/4/00
From: Bob Brandenburg

Mike Everette writes:

> And here is another thought (get ready, Bob Brandenburg...)
>
> Consider the possibility of some type of strange propagation phenomena in
> the tropics, on ANY freq. Something like tropical ducting. St. Pete is not
> that far north of the tropics.

OK, Mike, here goes. For the other forumites, what follows is from an off-forum exchange Mike and I had a couple of days ago.

There is a type of anomalous ionospheric propagation called chordal hops, in which the signal refracts in successive hops along the bottom of the F2 layer, essentially following chords between arc segments of a tilted ionosphere. The signal refracts to earth on the final hop after leaving the tilted region. This phenomenon is associated with a known permanent equatorial ionospheric anomaly, but only occurs during periods of significant geomagnetic storm activity. I checked the geomagnetic activity index values for the post-loss signal period, and things were pretty quiet. So it’s a safe bet that Betty didn’t hear AE via chordal hops.

LTM, who always thought chordal hops were musical devices.
Bob #2286.


Message: 19
Subject:

Re: Others who heard AE?

Date: 10/5/00
From: Michael Holt

Ric wrote:

> On two other occasions, over the years, I have been approached by elderly
> women who think they heard Amelia Earhart on the short wave. Here’s a
> summary of each story.

What did you think of these? What came out of interviews?

> I listened to her for
> 30-45 minutes. After waking my family to listen - two sons and my husband
> (all three now deceased) and I had called our local paper to let them listen
> to her message also when one member of our family reminded me that our
> President had asked that no one give out any information if they heard
> anything, as it might endanger her life.

What does this "endanger her life" thing mean?

> Of course, President Roosevelt never made any announcement about Amelia
> Earhart,

I wonder, then, where someone got the idea that there had been a Presidential comment on the matter. Is such a statement in one of the books about the event?

Speaking of oddnesses, my interest in the AE/FN thing was triggered by my father. One day, when I was about ten, he told me the story of the flight and that she’d crashed on an island somewhere. I have no idea why he told me that -- his only involvement in aviation was as a shipping clerk in Florida during WW2, signing for damaged engines -- and he never said anything about it since. I’ve asked, and he doesn’t recall telling me anything about it. Oh, well.

LTM (who listens to everyone)
Michael Holt


From Ric

We thought these accounts were interesting but without some kind of written contemporaneous verification they’re just stories, anecdotes, recollections that have (in the case of the alleged presidential admonitions) been obviously distorted. All we could do was to ask the women to write down their stories in a letter so that we could keep them on file in case they might later fit a pattern or prove useful in some way. I’m glad we did.

It’s not terribly surprising that your father would describe Earhart’s fate that way. The newspapers at the time were full of stories about how she must be down on an island somewhere. There was one illustration published that showed a drawing of the Electra on a tropical beach, its left landing gear collapsed but its right engine running to power the distress calls. Another article described the Phoenix Islands under the headline "Life Where Amelia Earhart’s Lost Isn’t Much Fun - But It’s Possible" and described Gardner as having "birds, birds’ eggs, rats, and crabs." It was only after the search failed that the Navy and Coast Guard began pushing the crashed-at-sea solution to the mystery, and of course it was much later that the conspiracy theories emerged.


Message: 20
Subject:

Why didn’t more hear AE?

Date: 10//5/00
From: Mike Everette

An explanation of why the alleged signals from AE were not more widely heard....

The freqs she was using were 3105 and 6210. No doubt many people, including the USCG, Navy, etc. etc. were listening there. But, if these primary freqs were not getting out so well but HARMONICS were being radiated, those harmonics might not be on freqs where anyone had any reason to be listening, except someone just casually tuning around... i.e., the average short wave listener or ham.

Someone had to have a reason to be listening on the harmonic freqs... or, just happen to tune across them and hear something.

It would not be surprising to discover that none of the "officialdom" involved in the search even considered the possibility of harmonics, or listening thereon.

I can assure you: there was EVERY possibility, given the transmitter and antenna she was using.

Remember that in commercial radio services and government communications, specific freqs are guarded and there is not often a need to do general tuning.

Also, if these were harmonics being propagated via skip (as seems likely and logical, and possible and probable), one had to be in the right place to pick the signal up, as well as listening on the correct frequency.

Sort of like a tree falling in the forest when no one is there. Does it make a sound?

LTM (who can hear a gnat sneeze in Outer Mongolia)
and 73
Mike E.


From Ric

And if the harmonic happens to be a frequency that is not being used by anybody, the ONLY way someone hear it is if they happened across it by accident.


Message: 21
Subject:

Transmitter Question

Date: 10/5/00
From: Warren Lambing

I know I should run for cover (the days of the old wild west Earhart forum are back :-), but I can’t resist this question. Mind you I won’t be able to see the answer, due a death in my family, until Saturday, and won’t be able to reply until Monday (probably won’t want to reply anyhow). Anyhow here goes. I am assuming the transmitter has a ground wire running to the plane, if the plane is on the reef, water is at least below the belly and for that matter the belly antenna. What effect would the water have on the grounding of the Transmitter if any, and would it effect the belly antenna, being just above water? Well at I am at it, and sorry if I missed this, but since I have not seen posted when Betty heard this, am I to assume she heard at night time, so that Earhart was transmitting during the day, or did Betty here it early morning (most likely time to pick up an unavailable signal from that part of the world), which would put Earhart transmitting at night or after midnight, but still in the dark? In plain words what is the time difference between Niku and St. Petersburg and where would the sun be for both of them? And is 3105 the confirm frequency Betty heard the transmission on?

Regards to the list (while I hide behind the computer after I get the answers :-)

Warren Lambing


From Ric

Betty heard what she heard between roughly 3 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on a day that was probably July 5th or after, but probably not later than July 9th. Assuming that St. Pete was not on DST, the time of day in the Central Pacific was 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

I can’t answer your question about a grounding wire. I think we’ve established quite convincingly that the belly antenna was gone.


Message: 22
Subject:

Betty’s intercept

Date: 10/5/00
From: Cam Warren

One of the biggest arguments re Betty’s interception is the time span she indicates, and of course, the possibility she may have heard some repeat of the March of Time broadcast (or some clown’s "playful" cloning of same).

However, in defense of Betty hearing the message(s) when nobody in the Pacific area did, brings to mind a similar situation. When the Italian north-polar dirigible expedition (1929?) crashed on the ice cap, the surviving crew DID have an emergency radio transmitter, which they quickly put to use. None of the would-be rescuers based in Spitzbergen heard it, nor any ships at sea nor aircraft either, but eventually the weak signal WAS received up by a Russian ham (in Siberia, I think), and a rescue of General Nobile and the crew was soon effected. (The saga eventually was recreated in the excellent movie The Red Tent, starring Sean Connery).

Cam Warren


Message: 23
Subject:

Radio Signal Propagation

Date: 10/5/00
From: Vern Klein

It might be interesting to examine actual observed radio signal propagation via skip at about the time AE and FN were in the Pacific -- maybe in the Phoenix Islands. There is a record of some actual communication accomplished in approximately the frequency range they would have used -- 7000 kc which is just a little above their 6210 kc. Some of this communication was with very low power such as 25 Watts, or less. I don’t know that there is much of a record for 3500 kc near their 3105 kc, There may be some.

QST, the journal of the American Amateur Radio League (ARRL), contains a section of, so called, "DX" contacts by Hams all over the world. Most involve higher frequencies but some are in the 40 meter band (7000 kc). There may not be much on contacts made in the 80 meter band (3500 kc). Of course, many of these DX contacts were CW. That’s quite a different thing from an intelligible phone (voice) contact.

Just by coincidence....

A hurried look at a couple of issues of QST for 1937 turned up one contact on 40 meters between a California station and a Ham in the British Phoenix Islands. At least one of the transmitters was running only 25 Watts. Antennas used are unknown.

I suspect that a lot of interesting, documented "skip" contacts could be found in QST magazines, especially for years near the peak of the 11.3 (average) year solar activity cycle as was the case in 1937.

I’m not going to have much time to spend at the library going through QST back issues. If anyone would care to to check some of this you will need to have the station call prefixes for places all over the world and the prefixes for the U.S. call areas. Locations are not stated otherwise.

I think there were some changes in U.S. call areas some time after WWII.


From Ric

A HAM in the Phoenix Islands in 1937? Had to be Jones on Hull or, if later in the year, one of the two Brits stationed on Canton.


Message: 24
Subject:

Post-Loss messages

Date: 10/5/00
From: Marty Joy

You maintain that the message Betty heard couldn’t have been received on July 2 because of the KGMB message. Consider this also:

The earliest she could have heard it would have been the 5th or possible the 6th because AE couldn’t have reached Gardner in time to transmit on the 2nd at the time Betty heard it. Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th are out because Betty said her father was at work. (Assuming a normal 5 day work week here) I don’t know if a "three day weekend" was common in 1937 but that would eliminate Monday the 6th as well. If Betty doesn’t remember and/or didn’t note the date, why not ask here if she can associate it with something else, for example: "The day after the big 4th of July fireworks display."

As with other forum members, it bothers me that no mention of the Norwich City is made. This would seem to indicate that:

A. The message was a hoax
B. AE didn’t land on Gardner, or,
C. She didn’t land on Gardner where we think she landed.

But--wait a minute. Didn’t the 12 year old boy in Wyoming say he heard something about "Ship on reef south of equator" ?? Was this "ship" as in "cargo ship" or ship as in "airplane"?

One more observation. What Betty said about the "Extreme emotion being absolutely genuine, in the woman’s voice" makes a lot of sense. She has been on this tropical paradise with an injured FN for four or five days. He can’t help her with any of the survival tasks, and now a storm (wasn’t there a storm in the area about that time?) is about to wash the Lockheed into the ocean. Realizing their days are probably numbered, she abandons all radio procedure and just starts yelling for help. BTW, four or five days of normal tidal cycle wouldn’t threaten the airplane?

It appears I rambled a bit--sorry

Marty 0724C


From Ric

No storm, but very possibly some big waves which would be just as bad. Normal tidal cycles without strong surf should not threaten the airplane.


Message: 25
Subject:

Re: Authentication of Betty’s notebook

Date: 10/5/00
From: Dean Alexander

Ron Bright wrote:

>I’m in contact with an Radio Broadcast Historian from a major east coast
>college,an expert in the field. Notwithstanding the possibility of her
>signal reaching Florida, the late date (5 July or later) suggests, in her
>opinion, what a lot of 1937 radio stations were doing. Example the March of
>Time broadcast of 8 Jul. No tapes then and transcribing the show was costly,
>so re-creation was "very commonly used". Lots of radio stations, she said,
>imitated the March of Time type broadcasts in the 30’s.

I keep seeing this "march of time" reference and am not sure what it is. If what Betty heard was around the 5th of July and if I get the gist of some of what Betty heard (from the few scraps that Ric has told us) wouldn’t it be in VERY bad taste to air a "re-creation" of this nature when the world still was unsure of Amelia’s fate? I highly doubt it was a re-creation aired at this point in the search. Also, one of the things I admire is keeping an open mind (TIGHAR seems to me to keep an open mind). If one shuts the door on possibilities without doing as much research as is prudent then one is limiting themselves (or their search). This appears to be what Goerner did if he did, in fact, respond as Betty alleged.

I also was a dxer in my youth and worked with a 1937 receiver (which I still have) and while I was never a ham spent many hundreds of hours listening. I have seen many strange things in regard to reception-- I received Qsl cards from places that were impossible to get with my equipment. While I reserve comment on whether or not Betty’s story is the real thing, I think it is possible from personal experience to receive signals that "experts" say are impossible to receive. My antenna was an 80? foot copper wire.


From Ric

The March Of Time was a popular radio show that did recreations of current events. They apparently did two shows about Earhart; one on July 8th and another on the 15th. Supposedly at least one of the shows was an imagined radio conversation between Earhart and the Itasca. The format was apparently what we now call "docudrama" with musical cues to indicate who was speaking. (And no, Betty didn’t hear any musical cues.)


Message: 26
Subject:

Re: Authentication of Betty’s notebook

Date: 10/5/00
From: Marty Moleski

Ron Bright asks:

> ... Whatever happened to forum member Marty Moleski’s research finding the
> March of Times broadcast of "Features Story of Disappearance of Amelia
> Earhart" broadcast on 8 July 37, apparently he is in contact with the
> distributor.

I’m waiting (and hoping) that Ron Staley will come through with something for us. I found his name and number through Internet searches, so he’s not a friend of mine. We had a lovely conversation last week, but I haven’t heard anything from him since. He only had excerpts, but he knows someone who has complete "air checks" of both the July 8 and the July 15 programs.

He says the two programs were only 30 minutes each. This makes me feel quite confident that Betty wasn’t listening to March of Time (whatever else she may have heard).

If I don’t hear from him in a few days, I’ll try sending him a letter with some TIGHAR material. If someone in California would like to try working with him, I could try to track down his address. The area code is 818.

While waiting, I also called CBS in New York City. I got two numbers from them, but neither one could (or would) help. The CBS audience service won’t do a search except for someone who wants to pay for broadcast use of the materials. The Museum of TV and Radio in NYC checked their holdings (theoretically, anyway) and called me back to say that they did not have tapes or transcripts. But then they faxed me a list of movie archives, which makes me wonder whether they misunderstood my request--"March of Time" is much more famous for its newsreels, I believe.

Marty #2359


Message: 27
Subject:

Other Letters?

Date: 10/6/00
From: Don Neumann

All three radio intercepts seem to include specific mention of FN being seriously injured, a theme similar to at least two other AE stories, the residents on Jaluit/Mili Atolls (who claimed to have actually seen AE, the seriously injured FN & the plane the Japanese supposedly recovered) in the Marshalls & the supposedly deranged ex-seaman who tried to extort money from GPP & wound up in a mental institute for his troubles.

Seems strange that Mrs. D__, who claimed to have actually traced the longitude & latitude she allegedly heard (but couldn’t remember later) on the broadcast, would not have been able to at least recall where on the map she found that location.

Since both ladies in these two letters referenced longitude/latitude numbers, were there any (legitimate) broadcasts made by governmental or civilian radio stations that ever highlighted any specific longitude/latitude coordinates in connection with the AE/FN disappearance at the time the search was being commenced?

Curious that Mrs. L___ claimed that she was actually listening to a short wave music program on an unidentified Japanese radio station... could our ’Staff’ of radio experts comment on the possibility/probability of a broadcast signal originating in the Central Pacific, ’piggybacking’ on another, stronger radio signal coming from the Japanese homelands or the mandates, all the way to the NE USA?

While the first two letters provided no corroborating documentation, the fact that ’Betty’s’ notebook still exists, obviously warrants continued research & investigation on establishing whether it is truly a contemporaneous document.

Don Neumann


Message: 28
Subject:

Comments on Betty’s notes

Date: 10/6/00
From: Frank Westlake

I expect that by the time you get to this message my comments will all have already been made by someone else. Please delete as necessary.

I’m sure everyone’s noticed the possible significance of the "58" and "338" at the top of page (2) but it won’t hurt to comment anyway. Has Betty commented on them? If she missed the first digit of the first number sequence, and if it was a one, then those numbers are only one degree off from Noonan’s initial LOP. In some applications the first digit of a longitude is not used if the longitude is greater than 100 degrees, similar to how pilots identify a VHF frequency. Obviously I don’t know if Noonan did this in his notes.

On page (3), near the lower right corner, the sequence "{S 309’ 165"E}" isn’t in your transcription and I’m not sure I’m reading it correctly. Do I have the characters correct?

Has someone already checked if W40K (page(1)) was an assigned callsign in 1937?

I don’t have a comfortable feeling with this event, it smells of drama. Betty claims that Earhart said a "few cuss words," I think that might rule out a licensed station dramatizing the event (assuming the FCC did not allow cussing even in 1937). So that leaves either the real thing or a hoax. If it is a hoax then I would expect Bud and Bob (spoken by Noonan) to be people we would know about. Bob may have only been a delirious reference to the motion of the aircraft, but are those names otherwise significant? I assume Marie is Noonan’s wife Mary, and George is George Putnam.

Does Mike, the radio historian, have any comment on the keying of the transmitter? Hers didn’t have a momentary contact switch like most do today? If they had to hold the key in the transmit position then I would expect it to have cut out while they were moving around or struggling, but Betty’s notes make it look like they didn’t drop key.

Frank Westlake


From Ric

To my knowledge you are the first to notice the possible significance of "58" and "338". Interesting. Betty knows only that AE said them.

The notation "{S 309’ 165"E}" seems to be a later attempt by someone (Betty herself?) to interpret the numbers to the left.

I haven’t been able to find a W40K or WOJ in the 1937 Berne List. I’ve been through the shore stations but haven’t yet gotten through all the ship stations.

Interesting point about the cuss words. I asked Betty is she could remember exactly what they were. She was a bit embarrassed by the question (she’s not the sort of lady who repeats cuss words to strangers) but she did say that she remembered Amelia saying, "Son of a BITCH!" the way you would if you were extremely frustrated with something. Incidentally, not many people knew then (or know now) that Earhart was known to her contemporaries to have sharp temper and a sharper tongue. She could swear like trooper.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 29
Subject:

Comments on Betty’s notes

Date: 10/6/00
From: William Webster-Garman

First, has Betty been played a recording of AE’s voice and asked to compare it to her memory of the voice she heard on her father’s radio?

I think we’re close to the point at which we can eliminate the notebook itself as a hoax. It is extremely likely that Betty heard something similar to what she transcribed. However, I haven’t seen anything on the posted pages that uniquely describes Gardner Island, reasonably corresponds with its known coordinates, or demonstrates real familiarity with the Electra.

I have serious problems reconciling the following entries with reality:

1) The numerous references to "Marie" (indicating the pronunciation "muh-REE"). Noonan’s new bride was named Mary. The press was (and still is) notorious for getting little details like this wrong. The mispronunciation of his wife’s name indicates the possibility of a hoax based on available news reports (or a hoaxer’s pronunciation error). Perhaps Betty could be asked about it, however-- maybe she heard "Mary" and wrote "Marie".

2) The phrase "take it away Howland" is very suspicious. "Take it away" is an old dramatic expression used by on-air broadcast personalities introducing network feeds and programming. I’ve never heard this expression used in connection with 2-way radio communications. This could be a glaring error of detail made by a hoaxer who has listened to lots of network entertainment programs.

3) "We can’t bail out" sounds more to me like exposition material inserted to heighten the drama of a creative broadcast (hoax). Not a major point, but the phrase makes me uncomfortable.

4) The numbers at the bottom of page 53 don’t correspond with anything that I can (however graspingly) recognize as coordinates for any location in the Phoenix Group, Earhart’s call sign, or the Electra’s registration number.

5) The phrase, "George... get the suitcase in my closet" sounds intriguing and personal but actually contains zero unique information. This is typical of an invented dramatic device designed to simulate a sensation of credibility.

6) I have a big problem with the spoken words "SOS" (the Morse code distress signal, which was typically used in code, not speech transmission). I would have less of a problem, for example, if the notebook recorded the word "Mayday".

Although my mind is still open, the gathering of these unwieldy bits of content in such a short transcript doesn’t inspire much confidence in me that Betty (and apparently others) heard anything other than a hoax on short-wave.

The extended time of the incident and the lack of any musical cues do indicate that this probably wasn’t a radio drama.

william 2243


Message: 30
Subject:

The Notebook

Date: 10/6/00
From: Mike Everette

Wow...! This is like finding the fragments of a first century Gospel... or pottery shards. Why oh why could cassette tape recorders not have been invented in 1937!?

As for authenticity, either it is or it ain’t.... but there is the eerie feeling that we may be actually getting a glimpse back in time with this. Or it’s a real clever hoax... but look at what IS there!

So much stuff makes sense, given what we do know. That is exciting! But does TOO much fit too neatly? It raises the question... has someone been reading our mail, and constructed this to trip us up?

Evidence that someone has been there before may be a tip-off that we need to be careful. Any idea who that person was or when? Do the access records give any clues?

LTM (who always has eyes in the back of her head)
and 73
Mike E.


From Ric

Harry? What do you think? Any way to know who else was poking around into Betty’s background and when? Perhaps Goerner did more checking than he let on.

As far as this being a very current hoax I’d have to say that if it is it’s one for the record books.


Message: 31
Subject:

The Notebook

Date: 10/6/00
From: Harry Poole

My first impressions, for what they are worth:

  1. These fragmentary messages were not the imagination of a 15 year old girl.
  2. With the content of the notes, they were most likely not the result of a radio play. (no plot, no music, no advertisements, no continuity)
  3. For the same reasons, they were not the result of an elaborate hoax.
  4. It will take some effort to understand the meanings in these notes.

Specific comments:

  1. Amelia Earhart, as published in the St. Petersburg Times, is never referred to as Amelia Putnam, but could have been said by Amelia if she was trying to reach her husband.
  2. Does Betty believe that the voice said NY, NY (as in letters) or did it say New York, and she wrote down NY. It is possible that NY does not refer to New York, but could be misunderstood for the start of another sequence, like her airplane number (NR).
  3. There is no mention of a Marie in any St. Pete times article. The name of Marie, intermixed with NY, NY seems to indicate a connection. Note that it is said by Amelia initially and by a man later. Since they both said it, it needs explanation.
  4. The numbers 4:30 and 5:10 could refer to times, could refer to longitude, or refer to course bearing or ???.
  5. If the Sequence "George ... get the suitcase in my closet .. Calif(ornia): is a message to her husband, it seems as she may also be delirious.
  6. We need to compare these fragmentary notes to other post crash radio messages picked up, some may be valid. In particular, a message picked up by Arthur Monsen in San Diego should be compared. He reported Must hurry, Can’t hold, and East Howland. If I had access to these messages, I would try to compare them.
  7. We need to understand some of the many number sequences, such as 2E MJ 2B; Z 38 Z 13 8983638; 3. 30 500 Z; 3Q rd 36. Some of these may be written as numbers and letters, but may actually be misunderstood words. I am reviewing all my notes from the St. Petersburg Times to see if any of these are mentioned or offer any context.

I think we all have enough information to sink our teeth into. However, I must respectfully disagree with Ric on the date of "Betty’s" reception. The notation of KGMB on page 44 was not necessarily written on the same date as the information noted on pages 49 to 57. And her father, who worked as a meter reader for Florida Power could have been working on Saturday, July 2, as many people worked on Saturday in 1937.

I also wonder if any of her sisters are still alive, and if they can offer anything.

LTM
Harry #2300


From Ric

>Does Betty believe that the voice said NY, NY (as in letters) or did it
>say New York, and she wrote down NY?

Not letters. Words that sounded like New York.

>Note that it is said by Amelia initially and by a man later.

No. Betty is quite sure that only the man said "Marie."

>The numbers 4:30 and 5:10 could refer to times,...

Betty says they are her notation of the start and end times for that page.

>If the Sequence "George ... get the suitcase in my closet ..
>Calif(ornia): is a message to her husband, it seems as she may also be
>delirious.

Just because it doesn’t make sense to us doesn’t make her delirious.

> The notation of KGMB on page 44 was not necessarily written on the same
> date as the information noted on pages 49 to 57.

Betty is very sure that she only heard Amelia on this one occasion.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 32
Subject:

N. Y.

Date: 10/6/00
From: Jim McClure

Could Betty’s notes of "N.Y." (New York) been a misunderstanding of "Norwich City?" Said quickly, the phrase "New York City" sounds a bit like "Norwich City," and someone who’d never heard of the latter might miswrite it. Of course that would beg the question of how (and whether) Amelia would have known the wreck was the Norwich City. It would be the type of landmark one might want to repeat in a call for help. Just a thought...

Jim McClure


From Ric

I getting fairly immune to the hair standing up on the back of my neck but you just got me with that one. We know from later accounts that the name of the ship was still very legible on it’s side. You’re on an island but you don’t know what island. Your navigator is a basket case and you can’t make sense of his charts but you read off the numbers anyway. The islands only identifying featuring is the ship on the reef and you can read its name. Say that name. Say it over and over and over.


Message: 33
Subject:

Re: Notebook

Date: 10/6/00
From: Frank Westlake

Ric writes:

> Where something makes no sense at all (whether it’s
> a play, a hoax or the real thing) we need to try to
> think of what it may have been that WOULD make sense.

OK, you asked for it. In case it is not clear, the following is nothing more than speculation.

Page
Line
Quote
Meaning
1 5 "Here put your ear to it" AE telling FN to put his ear close to the speaker.
  10 & 11 "Speak" "Uncle" (AE) (FN) FN doesn’t believe the radio is working. He’s had his "ear to it" and can’t hear a thing.
  16 "I can feel it" It’s dark so they cannot see the water, but they can feel it.
2 8 "Here I come - oh" "Here IT comes -- oh ?#*!" A large wave approaches and hits. Even after sunset it will be lighter outside than it is in the cabin.
3 4, 5, 6 "Where are you ..." Waters knee deep -- let me out" "Where are you going" (AE) (FN) (AE) More support for it being after sunset. If it were daylight they would comment on the water depth but the exact depth would not need to be stated, as it is several times. If this is a hoax then it would need to be stated for the listeners. AE asks twice here where he is going. Apparently she sees no place to go. Either she doesn’t see land or it is beyond a dangerous stretch of water.
  14 "Hello Bud" (FN) FN has the mic again, still doesn’t believe it is working.
4 6 "Get the suitcase in my closet" This would make sense if she didn’t really believe the radio was working either. I’ve seen this happen several times where people say anything that comes to mind into a mic, not knowing that it’s really working.
  13 "Watch that battery" Was there a gauge? This would be a good thing to throw into a hoax to try and account for excessive transmission time.
5 8 "Knee deep over" I don’t think "over" is the radiotelephone proword. There are no other recorded prowords. The statement indicates that the aircraft is not level and the water is deeper on one side.

Frank Westlake


From Ric

At the time Betty hears these transmissions it is between 8:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. in the Central Pacific. It is not dark.

The Model 10E came with an ammeter/voltage meter as standard equipment.


Message: 34
Subject:

Re: N. Y.

Date: 10/6/00
From: Phil Tanner

>We know from later accounts that the name of
> the ship was still very legible on its side.

Legible in its entirety? And in every place on the hull where it was visible? If it was just legible enough in one instance to define it as an eleven-character name beginning with "N" and ending "City", an American filling in the blanks wouldn’t initially guess "Norwich". Did ships carry their names on the side in giant lettering in the twenties?

LTM Phil 2276


From Ric

It’s a bit of a puzzlement. I’ve looked, but so far have not been able find, the reference I recall to the name of the Norwich City being legible when the first colonists arrived. Some time ago Janet Powell was kind enough to send a photo of the ship in happier days. It’s very apparent from the photo that the name was painted in white letters on the side of the black bow just below the gunwale and just aft of the anchor. One would presume that it was painted in similar fashion of the starboard side. However, in the photos taken by the New Zealand survey party in 1938/9 no name is visible in that location. As for a name on the stern, her back was broken and the fantail was awash even at low tide so a name on the stern, if it was there, would not have been visible.

Without a direct reference to a visible name, the best evidence that one was present is the fact that everybody who comes to the island in the early days (Maude, Bevington, the Kiwis, etc.) all seem to know the name of the ship although they know little or nothing else about it. I’ll keep looking.

LTM,
Ric

Return to Page One, Messages 1 -- 17.
Go to Page Three, Messages 35 -- 43.
Back to Highlights Archive list.


About TIGHAR Join TIGHAR TIGHAR Projects TIGHAR Publications Contract Services
The TIGHAR Store Blog TIGHAR Forum Contact TIGHAR TIGHAR Home

Copyright 2018 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org  •   Phone: 610.467.1937   •   JOIN NOW