Highlights From the Forum
October 15 through 21, 2000
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|1||Re: Fuel/Radio||Cam Warren|
|2||Batteries and Generators||Mike Everette|
|3||Re: Friedell Report||Bob Brandenburg|
|4||Re: Rough Landing||Gerry Gallagher|
|5||Could AE hear KGMB?||Ron Bright|
|6||Re: Friedell Report||Randy Jacobson|
|7||Plan B (Vidal)||Cam Warren|
|8||Re: Bearing & Distance||Bob Brandenburg|
|9||Re: Pilot Question||Birch Matthews|
|10||Re: Pacific Air Pilot||Randy Jacobson|
|11||Vidal Collection||Ron Bright|
|12||Re: Plan B (Vidal)||Cam Warren|
|13||The Vidal Anecdote||Ric Gillespie|
|14||Earhart’s Receiver||Mike Everette|
|15||Re: KGMB Freq||Ron Bright|
|16||Re: WE13C Transmitter||Bob Brandenburg|
|17||Skeleton on Norwich City?||Denise|
Thus spake Ric -
>There has been
no comprehensive listing of alleged post-loss
au contraire! As I’ve mentioned (more than once) in the past, ex-coastguardsman Charles Hill did just such a GMT/local time listing some years (10?) ago. He was going to write a book about AE, but I don’t believe he ever did. The last I heard, he was living in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, but wasn’t taking kindly to strangers.
Thus speaketh Ric
If nobody has seen it, or has had a chance to verify it, or has been able to use it --- and if the author won’t release it --- it may as well not exist.
Somehow I thought we had ridden this horse already and he was run hard and put up wet...
In a vehicular electrical system (aircraft or automotive or marine or railroad locomotive) the primary function of the battery is to provide power to crank the engine(s). Once the engine-driven generator or alternator comes on line, it provides most of the power. The battery is sort of "floated" across the system and acts like a filter, as well as a form of regulator.
The charging system must supply current to the battery at least as fast as it is taken out by the load.
About a year ago someone provided an excellent analysis of the batteries aboard NR16020... might be interesting to roll this out again.
If the batteries were used intermittently, maybe for 15 to 30 minutes, and allowed some time to "recover" between periods of heavy use, even without recharging, their useful life would be prolonged.... but how far is hard to say. That would depend upon the conditions of the batteries, the ambient temperature, and the load upon them. Certainly the receiver(s) could be run a long time, because they only would draw 3-4 amps each... but the transmitter would eat them up.
Maybe some have seen the old film Island in the Sky starring John Wayne... real good analogy to the AE case. (I think this rider was on the horse last time too.)
LTM (who thinks
operating a radio aboard a horse might be interesting) and
> We’ve done quite
a bit of calculating about that. It’s impossible to be
The 1939 edition of Fahey’s Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet has a photo of the Colorado with one of her scout planes on the catapult, which was mounted on top of number 3 16-inch gun turret. The aircraft "hangar" in battleships was a stowage area just below the main deck near the stern of the ship. Each aircraft was hoisted by a crane at the stern to a "standby" position on the main deck, and was moved forward on a dolly-like device to another crane which hoisted the aircraft to the catapult for launching. I estimate it would take about 10 minutes, best case, to move an aircraft from the "standby" position on the main deck to ready-to-launch on the catapult. Assuming that Colorado had one aircraft on the catapult, and the other two in standby on the main deck aft, 20 minutes would elapse between launching the first aircraft and launching the third. So the first aircraft would have burned 20 minutes of fuel before the third was launched - - and the remaining fuel in the first aircraft would constrain the mission time for the other two aircraft.
Geez, I never thought of that. I guess I always assumed that Colorado had three catapults. That really does shorten the available mission time.
OK ... good debate! The point being, of the 200 or so people that have set foot on Niku. Few have been aboard the NC.
Emily was in the company of her father when she claims to have seen aircraft parts. She also stated that she was only with her father in that area a couple of times, if I am not mistaken and that her Father had special permission to seek out wood in that area.
Perhaps it is safe to say that stating almost all of the Gilbertese were forbidden to go into the area never mind on board the ship is a bit of a strong statement ... but I am basing it on interviews TIGHAR had with the natives and their accounts of life on Niku.
I will loosen the statement to some degree. It is known however that the area was made off-limits to MANY for an UNDISCLOSED period of time. The fact that accounts from persons living on the Island in the 1930’s and living on the Island in the 1950’s allude to this "taboo" area indicates to me that the period of time was significant AND that if the stories are true then the "taboo" area did exist! The Colony was abandoned in 1963/64. If you then believe that a "taboo" existed .. it would appear that it existed at LEAST from the 1930’s thru the 1950’s ... with a POSSIBILITY that it continued until 1963/64 when all left Niku (unless of course something changed to lift the "taboo").
The main point is ... of the 200 people or so that have been on the Island ... a small amount of those actually climbed aboard the NC. Of those who did, how many made a thorough search of the vessel?
I can’t quite get this straight. Could Earhart’s receiver [band 2] receive an AM broadcast of 1320 [KGMB]? Mike E says Earhart could not receive 1320 kHz on her "modified" WE20B that is KGMB. He adds that ergo that means a "second receiver". Well the other more probable explanation is that Betty did not hear "KGMB" broadcast from Earhart, but its source was another radio station. Please clarify.
Band 2 on the standard WE20B covered 550 to 1500, thus covering 1320. Mike Everette says that in modifying the receiver to accommodate 500, the top end of that band was lowered to 1200, thus eliminating the ability to receive 1320. As I will show below, the original record does not support that contention. If Mike is right and frequencies were thus restricted, then nobody knew about it at the time.
To help answer the question of what frequencies Earhart could receive and to dig out further information about the whole KGMB affair, I’ve gone back through the database of official messages and pulled out several that seem to provide useful information. I’ve added punctuation, paragraphing, and some implied words --- always in lower case and in , to make the messages a bit more readable. COMFRANDIV is Commander USCG San Francisco Division. COMHAWSEC is Commander USCG Hawaiian Section.
There really does seem to be only one receiver aboard the airplane.
From: COMFRANDIV Action: ITASCA
"About" 200 to 1400 would include KGMB’s 1320 Kcs, but the information comes from Putnam and the message is not specific.
Action: ITASCA (PRIORITY)
She must mean 200 TO 1500 AND 2400 TO 4800 KILOCYCLES. This seems pretty unequivocal, but also pretty strange. According to this, she should be able to get KGMB on 1320 but NOT be able to use 7500 for DFing.
Itasca is hearing KGMB just fine.
Action: COMDT CG
If we’re going to say that Earhart’s receiver could not accommodate KGMB’s frequency we have to also say that everyone, including Earhart herself, was operating under the illusion that she could.
Note the awareness that "RECEPTION FROM MIDPACIFIC OFTEN BETTER ON THIRD HARMONIC WHICH MAY ACCOUNT FOR REPORTS OF PLANE BEING HEARD ON 10 MC AND 16 TO 18 MC".
From: RDO WAILUPE
A whole bunch of people are hearing something.
But that also eliminates March Of Time as the source of the other reports.
So KGMB’s broadcasts were being heard easily in the vicinity of Gardner Island.
I couldn’t find my notes easily about this particular flight, but here is what I remember. I was able to infer the speed of the planes based upon the search for Winslow Reef: about 90 knots in still air. We knew where the Colorado was when the planes were launched and recovered, so that gives us total time aloft. We know approximately the flight paths, and that gives us about 10-15 minutes at each island.
That’s my recollection also. Looking at the Colorado’s deck log it appears that there was more than one catapult. The entry for July 9 reads, in part:
So BB45 was able to get all three planes in the air in a span of four minutes. Not bad.
>What is this? Are
you saying that you have known all along that
No, I said I recently (within the last few weeks) located it. Some time ago I agreed that it had apparently "disappeared". Doris Rich was kind enough to send me a copy of her notes, and a scrap of info therein set me on the right trail.
As recently as October 12 you wrote:
use of Gene Vidal’s quote that Earhart intended to fly
Having the correct citation and the nature and wording of the long-sought document in hand, I’m curious as to why you did not (and still apparently will not) share that information with the rest of the forum?
says 157 degrees and 353 nm.
Mark Prange wrote:
trig formulas the distance and bearing information I get
I now agree with the solutions presented by Doug Brutlag and Mark Prange. My original solution was for the great circle from the Itasca’s position offshore Howland to the nominal center of Gardner Island, as computed by the HF propagation model. Subsequent to my posting, I noticed that Doug’s coordinates were for the center of Howland and the northern tip of Gardner.
Using Doug’s coordinates, I did a hand solution of the Mercator algorithm, which yields rhumb line course (a straight line on a Mercator chart) and distance. The results are 158.9 degrees true and 351.04 nautical miles, which round to Doug’s and Mark’s solutions.
The Mercator algorithm gives the exact result in the general case, but the great circle solution also works in this case because the Mercator chart projection distortion in latitude is minimal near the equator.
LTM, who hates not
knowing where she is.
My thanks to Tom Van Hare and Skeet Gifford for responding to the question I posed with respect to long range piloting technique. Your comments are quite useful to me as a layman whose only close association with flying is basically limited to jumping out of the back end of perfectly good Air Force transports while a member of the 82nd Airborne Division back in the early fifties.
Tom Van Hare’s observation that not enough is known concerning specific details about Amelia’s last flight (winds aloft, precise headings at any given time, actual power settings and so forth) is correct in the strictest sense. We do know sufficient information, however, to permit reasonable and intelligent estimates of her flight altitudes, power settings, and approximate gross weight at takeoff. The aerodynamics of the Electra 10 E are well defined in Lockheed technical reports. This is enough information to determine a nominal or baseline profile for her flight from Lae to Howland Island. Sensitivity analyses of the baseline profile will show what variables were most significant. It may (I do not say will) be possible, for instance, to examine the variables and find a scenario that comes close to matching the content of some of her later messages to the Itasca.
My effort in modeling her last flight is somewhat analogous to the excellent assessment of antenna radiation characteristics that Bob Brandenburg developed.
Will the final result indicate precisely when Amelia ran out of fuel and where she came down? The answer is no. Hopefully it will place reasonable limits or boundaries on the question, however. That should be useful insofar as eliminating certain speculative outcomes is concerned.
For these reasons, I am obliged to both Tom and Skeet for responding to my question about what a pilot would do under the circumstances. My sincere thanks.
>You saw transmittal
and return paperwork to and from Earhart? I wonder if
OK, now that I have returned home and could consult my notes, here is the documentation I have that might be related to Pacific Air Pilot.
Oct. 14, 1936, Letter from GPP to Capt. AC Read, Asst. Chief, Bureau of Aeronautics, asking about "Climatic Features of the Pacific Island Region" and "Detailed Information on Seaplane Anchorages and Landing Fields".
Oct. 15, 1936, Capt. AC Read to Capt. LR Leahy, Hydrographer of the Navy, forwarding Putnam’s letter.
Oct. 15, 1936, Read to GPP: says letter forwarded to Leahy; some info is confidential, but will endeavor to get unclassified material.
Nov. 2, 1936, letter from NB Sangree, BAC to AE: tried to obtain weather info for you, but book is confidential; info is not. Expects to have something tomorrow. Leahy of Hydrographic Office will messenger extracted info to me.
Nov. 6, 1936, letter from LR Leahy to NB Sangee, BAC. CNO has approved supplying weather data, enclosed is Climatic Features of Pacific Islands Regions. Please return when done; not for general circulation. Book contains beaufort scale descriptions, but not of sea state. General description of wind rose in upper air and surface charts, but no data.
Nov. 9, 1936, letter from NB Sangree, BAC to Leahy: Thanks for letter and info; have told AE to return and not to distribute.
Nov. 10, 1936: GPP to Sangree: Acknowledge no distribution and will return to Hydrographic Office.
I’ve examined all letters (not computerized and indexed as yet) up to the end of March, 1937, and do not see when GPP returned the pamphlet. However, the pamphlet is in the archived records along with the Nov. 6 letter. Unless two pamphlets were sent from Hydrographic Office to Bureau of Air Commerce, the only alternative is that they were returned and filed accordingly.
Apologies to Cam Warren and the rest of forum, if this information is not pertinent to what was originally talked about. It sure does sound similar in content. BTW, LR Leahy is not to be confused with Adm. William Leahy, who was the CNO in a couple of months!
Hmmm...no mention of Goerner’s "Capt. Pye."
This maybe a duplicate of Cam Warren’s report, but since I spent a lot of time and money with the Univ. of Wyoming on this project, a quick summary.
As you know from earlier postings after several months of hunting, the Assistant Archivist Carl Hallberg was unable to confirm the Doris Rich cite of Box 19, p 97 reference to Vidal’s claim that Amelia told him (hearsay) that if she missed Howland, still had four hours of fuel left, she would fly back to the Gilberts and land on a nice sandy beach. Numerous other authors cited Vidal’s claim but none provided specific cites except the "Vidal Collection", Univ of Wyoming.
Although Dustymiss and I tried to get Rich’s notes, who first reported them "discarded", Cam Warren finally obtained her notes and with that new information found the reference in Box 40, pages 94-103; and sure enough on page 96-97 there is Vidal’s recollection of Amelia’s intention. This is a lengthy "oral history" tape now transcribed. I am attempting to find out exactly when the tape was made, transcribed and to whom it was made. (It was taped after the loss as it refers to Amelia’s remark that she was "running low" on gas when "she should have had 4 hours remaining.")
As Cam has pointed out that is only an insight into her possible plans, although no other contingency, i.e., Phoenix is mentioned, at the planning stage of the 2nd World Flight. Vidal was obviously close to Amelia and he says he helped her with her route and maps. A lady can change her mind and of course she was in "exigent" circumstances. Nevertheless, the Gilberts were a strong possibility, based on Vidal’s story. All of us realize that that doesn’t solve the "where" yet but it confirms there are still records existing out there in archives, and museums that may lead to the solution.
In view of the controversy over Vidal’s cite, Cam Warren deserves a TIGHAR T-shirt with the Gilbert Is on the front; seriously, Warren’s diligent efforts in this research deserves commendation and reminds us of the painstaking methodology it takes to examine a report.
Thank you Ron. Cam Warren hasn’t made a report. Cam Warren, in the grand tradition of pre-TIGHAR Earhart researchers, hoards his little treasures like a schoolboy and allows other to peek only when it suits his own agenda of self-aggrandizement. If it weren’t for you we still wouldn’t know what the facts are.
As with Cam’s other revelations, this one sounds completely overblown. The vaunted Vidal source for a Plan B turns out to be not a contemporaneous document at all but an "oral history" (which is just a polite way of saying anecdotal recollection) of as yet undetermined vintage. The fact that the recollections were "taped" puts them, by definition, at least a quarter century after the events described. Much ado about nothing.
The real question that arises out of this whole affair is whether Cam Warren should be permitted to enjoy continued access to the Earhart forum given his clear contempt for the openness and good will that is the forum’s underlying ethic. I leave it to those whom he has wronged --- the members of the forum --- to decide whether they wish for him to remain among us.
You’ve long belittled the writing and reports of other Earhart researchers, including Goerner, Lovell, Long, Rich, Stairwell, Gervais, et al. So, when someone on the Forum mentioned the Gene Vidal quote, you lost no time in discrediting both Goerner and Rich, implying that their information was not to be trusted. Especially so, since recent searches of the U. of Wyoming Vidal Collection failed to produce the document in question.
I took issue with your remarks, and redoubled my efforts to substantiate the authenticity of the Vidal quotation. I was successful in that endeavor, and reported to you that its existence was confirmed, and was, in fact in the U/W archives. I didn’t feel obligated to hand you a copy of that document, since a call to the University should now get a copy for the TIGHAR files.
Your two unsuccessful emissaries, (Ron Bright and "Dusty Miss") have been provided with an appropriate summary -- only a couple of pages of the interview transcript are applicable--- indicating my willingness to "share". I did not receive copies of the actual transcript until today. You probably would not regard a copy of my copy as sufficiently authentic.
In a word, Vidal was present at one of Earhart’s planning sessions (post Honolulu) when Amelia indicated her alternate choice would be a beach somewhere in the Gilberts, to where she would head when four hours of fuel remained. The University has indicated it has no information as to who did the long (104 pages of transcript) taped interview, but it was likely a graduate student. The date is also unknown, but Ron Bright and I are attempting to trace its provenance.
Nice try Cam. What you said was that the information "is CONFIRMED to my satisfaction. "Dusty Miss" notwithstanding, the material IS in the U. of Wyoming collection." You did not say that it had been located, much less where and what it is. What any other forum subscriber would have said was something like, "I have found the reference in the U. of Wyoming collection. It was in Box 40, not Box 19, and is a transcript of an oral history taken at an unknown time." Any other forum subscriber probably would have also included the pertinent excerpts from Vidal’s anecdotal recollection. Ron Bright, in fact, did just that in a fax to me. I’ll put them up as a separate posting.
You are correct. I have long belittled the writing and reports of other Earhart researchers who, like you, eschew the ethics of collegial research and peer review. Like you, they don’t feel obligated to hand anyone a copy of what they find but they’re more than happy to take advantage of the obligation TIGHAR feels to hand everyone of copy of anything we uncover. I’ll let you in on a little secret. We do it this way, not so much out of some sense of noble purpose, but because it’s the best way to get at the truth. No one researcher can find Amelia Earhart --- that has been adequately demonstrated --- but TIGHAR has shown, time and time again, that by working together, a network of dedicated amateurs and professionals with an almost infinite variety of expertise and experience can make amazing strides toward solving the puzzle.
Ron Bright has provided the applicable excerpts from the Eugene Vidal oral history transcript located in Box 40 of the University of Wyoming, Eugene L. Vidal Collection by archivist Matt Sprinkle using a rough copy of Doris Rich’s notes provided to him by Cam Warren.
Interview with Gene Vidal talking about Amelia Earhart, pages numbered 94-103 [undated]
The tuning range of AE’s Western Electric receiver, a Model 20B, had to have been modified if she was to receive the 500 kHz distress frequency.
My conclusions regarding the modification are based upon the data in the 1939 edition of Aircraft Radio and Electrical Equipment by H.K. Morgan.
In the absence of an actual Western Electric document such as a maintenance manual, addenda to that manual or work orders detailing the mods specific to AE’s rig (and we are not likely to ever find those) or other published specs such as advertising, this is the best we have.
My view is that the 1939 specs mirror what was done to AE’s receiver in 1936-37 as a one-off job. Being quite familiar with commercial electronic communications gear from many manufacturers and its lineage/evolution through modifications and revisions, I believe firmly that this is reasonable and correct.
The tuning range most easily modifiable was Band 2.
In that era, most radio receivers tuned in "straight line wavelength" fashion... that is, the dials were calibrated so that the frequencies at the lower ends of the bands were more spread out than at the high end [look at any AM home radio of pre-digital design to see what I mean]. This is due to the design of the tuning capacitors. The plates of the capacitors were asymmetrical, so that WAVELENGTH remained constant all across the dial... even tho the dials may have not been calibrated in wavelength at all. This practice was a holdover from earlier days when stations specified WAVELENGTH in meters, rather than frequency in kilocycles (kilohertz, in modern terms)... but wavelength is not as precise to specify (and is more cumbersome) than frequency.
Therefore, when the tuning range was shifted downward to 485 kHz at the low end, the number of kilohertz gained at the low was far less than the number lost at the high end... so the tuning range stopped at 1200 kHz in the modified version.
It might also have been conceivable that Band ONE was the band undergoing mods in AE’s case, but I don’t believe this at all. Here is why:
The beacon band probably was deemed more useful for a flight outside the US, as many airways stations and control towers transmitted on these low freqs.
Also, from a receiver design standpoint, modifying the high end of Band One presents two problems:
One, the 500 kHz freq would be at the high end of the dial on Band One... if your radio’s high end tuning is compressed, it’s harder to set the receiver exactly. Two, freqs toward the high end of the dial are subject to be affected more by "drift," a phenomenon in tube type and capacitive tuned radios when heat affects the physical spacing of the capacitor plates.
Lest we forget, a good chunk of the low end of the beacon band would have been lost.
I believe (to quote the sheriff in Cool Hand Luke) what we have here, is a failure to communicate... unless AE had a second receiver on board.
Most military radios employed tuning via the "straight line frequency" method, whereby the dial markings for frequencies were evenly spaced across the dial. This required a different shape of tuning capacitor, and these capacitors were generally a lot more expensive than the straight line wavelength types which were available "off the shelf."
Yes, I believe AE’s receiver tuned staright line WAVELENGTH. The figures for the original tuning range vs. the modified confirm this.
Note the bands listed in the posting by Ric, for the "df apparatus" do NOT correspond with the WE set in any way.
In fact... these figures for the bands suggest, to me, the Bendix way of doing things...
OK: Either AE had  a second receiver or  she was NOT USING the Western Electric set at all.
The evidence seems to be getting clearer to me, at least.
LTM (who’s always
tuned in) and
Much as it pains me to point it out, the evidence for Earhart being able to receive a KGMB broadcast on 1320 (regardless of what or how many receivers she had) comes from official contemporaneous written sources, while the evidence that her Western Electric receiver could not receive that frequency is based solely upon (expert) conjecture. No contest.
I side with you, and Commander Hawaiian Section. I cited the reference in an upcoming post-in 1937 KGMB was at 1320 with 1000 watts. Does Randy Jacobson have a different cite or reference or document?
From Randy Jacobson
Well well well. You are right. According to other sources, KGMB was 1000 watts as of Jan 1, 1937 at 1320 kHz I suspect my handwritten notes (not original source material) was to imply that they went to 1320 AND 590 kHz, so that the 5000 Watt signals could be more efficiently broadcast as a Clear Light signal. So...it was in 1939 that they went to 590 kHz! Me bad. And Ric: you’re beginning to sound like my wife, with your constant correction of errors. Now stop that dear!
I’m just trying to help, you big silly.
The key to this little puzzle is not the KGMB frequency but Earhart’s receiver.
For Cam Warren:
I, for one, am always grateful for expert guidance.
> I think too much is being made about Earhart’s antenna.
I would appreciate knowing which aspects of Earhart’s antenna can be ignored, and which are crucial.
Does the WE recommendation make any assumptions about loading coil configuration, or does that matter?
> After previous mods, the Pan Am guys in Miami set it up that way.
Did the Western Electric recommendation apply to any particular antenna configuration? Or was the antenna configuration irrelevant to the WE recommendation?
You seem to be saying that Pan Am adjusted the antenna length to 40 feet. When and exactly how did they do that? Where was the antenna feed point after the Miami modification? What documentation do you have that describes the details of the Pan Am changes in Miami?
> Fine tuning was completed at the transmitter.
Exactly how was that done? Did Pan Am use Gurr’s home-brew loading coil or did they remove it and use the factory-recommended loading coil? What documentation do you have describing how Pan Am "fine tuned" the transmitter?
> The effective, radiated power was considerably less than 50 watts
even on the
What numerical values correspond to "considerably less than 50 watts" and "not much"?
How did you calculate radiation efficiency?
Does your calculated effective radiated power vary in the vertical radiation plane, or do you consider takeoff angle to be irrelevant?
> Voice reception
from Howland vicinity to Miami? Little short of
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I thought the topic was propagation from Gardner Island to St. Petersburg.
You seem to have solved a very complex problem that some of us are still working on, and I congratulate you for your achievement. I hope you will share the details of your solution with us. I believe that forum members in general would appreciate seeing it. And I’m certain that those of us who are still working on the problem would appreciate seeing the proof that we are wasting our time.
> And Bob Brandenburg
shouldn’t be worrying about the minute
Please enlighten me, and the forum, as to which details of Betty’s backyard wire are "minute" and thus unimportant.
LTM, who loves to
stand on the shoulders of giants
I’ve been away a while and haven’t read all the back-issues of the Forum so someone may have already picked this up on this, but here goes anyway:
You are currently wondering if there may have been a skeleton found on Norwich City (Fred Noonan). I think the answer is yes, and evidence for it is already in your archives.
Doesn’t Dr Emily Sikuli in her interview say that, growing up on Nikumaroro Island, they never went near Norwich City because it was tabu.
Interesting! And also very suggestive! In Polynesian society, a tabu is a serious matter, and is never placed lightly --- not, say, just to keep kids away from a potentially dangerous wreck. It is placed most frequently when something is inexplicable and seen to have a supernatural connection; the most common reason being an unexplained death in some spot; especially a death that is likely to produce a restless and wandering spirit that could be accidentally picked up by someone visiting the site and thus be brought back into the community to cause havoc among the living.
As DR Emily is talking about the first generation of Gilbertese colonizers, any death in their number would be in common memory and the person who died would be named. Also, as Emily is a doctor, it is logical to think she would remember a death among her own in natural terms --- how and why it happened --- and not in terms of a tabu.
This means the chances are strong that there WAS a death on Norwich City and whoever it was was not one of the Gilbertese colonizers.
Try this on for size: while exploring their new island, the newcomers look aboard the wreck (a logical move -- useful objects could be found -- and don’t the Gilbertese use bits of metal in their woodwork? The wreck would have provided that in abundance.) It’s during this first exploration that a skeleton is found.
In such a situation, the superstitious islanders would immediately back out of there, assuming the person died in the fire that took the ship; a horrible death that would definitely produce a wandering, troubled spirit. The discoverers would instantly cleanse themselves of any accidental attachment and then place an immediate tabu on the wreck to stop someone else accidentally transferring the ghost home.
This, I think, would be the most logical explanation for Norwich City being made a tabu place, but it will need to be proven. I know it is the height of ill-manners to question a tabu, but is it possible to find a polite way to ask DR Emily if she can find out from her elders WHY they placed the tabu on Norwich City.
I think this might just produce the answer you’re looking for.
Emily would be surprised to learn that she is a doctor (she left Niku to attend nursing school) and offended at the idea that she would pay any attention to a "tabu" that was based upon superstition. Emily never used the word "tabu" or "taboo", she never suggested that Norwich City was off limits to everyone, and she never said that bones were found on the Norwich City. Emily said repeatedly that the bones were found near the wreckage of the plane. The bones certainly did engender fear among some of the people. Here are some quotes from the interviews:
"Some people would not go to that area [where the plane wreck was] to fish because they were frightened."
"Fishermen found the bones. They were frightened and they brought the story of them to the Onotoa man [Koata]."
"He [Koata] sent people to bring the bones. People were frightened."
"People who found the bones near the plane were frightened to touch them."
"We were frightened to go close to the plane. Where the shipwreck was, the remainder of the plane was not very far from there."
"We were forbidden to go there [where the plane wreck was]. I was following my father. When I went there my father stopped me."
to Page Two, Messages 18 through 34.
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