Highlights From the Forum
December 10 through 16, 2000
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
|Re: Shoes||Rick Seapin|
|Shoes, Good Evidence||Van Hunn|
|McGuffin and the Smoking Gun||Tom King|
|Roll Your Own 101||Dennis McGee|
|Re: Roll Your Own 101||Ross Devitt|
|Re: Swollen Ankles||Patrick Gaston|
|Reineck’s Observation||Ric Gillespie|
|Re: Swollen Ankles||Jon Watson|
|McGuffin and the Smoking Gun||Kenton Spading|
|Re: Reineck’s Observation||Chris Kennedy|
|Re: McGuffin and the Smoking Gun||Bob Brandenburg|
|The Mysterious 9 Hour Silence||Ron Bright|
|Re: The Mysterious 9 Hour Silence||Mike Everette|
|Re: The Mysterious 9 Hour Silence||Randy Jacobson|
|Rollin’s Rantings||Dave Porter|
|Re: Shoes, etc.||Patrick Gaston|
|Re: Reineck’s Observation||Skeet Gifford|
|Re: Reineck’s Observation||Jerry Ellis|
|Shoe and Sole Controversy||Ron Bright|
|Nauru Signal Reception||Ron Bright|
|Visitors to Gardner in 1930s||Janet Whitney|
One issue with surfing the web for shoe-size comparison charts is the web-bias to current or recent information. However, the URL “Shoes in Fiction” gives an interesting account of the origin of the British shoe size system. If correct, it argues that the system is very stable:
That began to change in 1305. Britain’s King Edward I decreed that for a standard of accuracy in certain trades, an inch be taken as the length of three contiguous dried barleycorns. British cobblers adopted the measure and began manufacturing the first footwear in standard sizes. A child’s shoe measuring thirteen barleycorns became commonly known as and requested by, size 13. And though shoes cut for the right and left foot had gone out of existence after the fall of the Roman Empire, they reemerged in 14th century England.And
Complete mechanization of shoemaking, and thus true mass production, was slow in coming. In 1892, the Manfield Shoe Companies of Northhampton, England, operated the first machines capable of producing quality shoes in standard sizes and in large quantities.The source given is Charles Panati’s The Browser’s Book of Beginnings, available from Amazon.
Wow. If only Longshanks had stuck to standardizing measurements.....
I have an autographed photo of AE (lucky me) circa 1928. She is wearing her leather helmet, with goggles, and her long leather flight jacket. On her feet are extremely high top leather boots. They are large, she certainly was no Cinderella. But just how large her foot was, you can’t tell by the photo. What did Putnam do with Amelia’s clothing when he closed/sold his L.A. home? I understand he had several children from his first marriage, would they know? I understand that Sally (Putnam) Chapman is still living.
Sally (Putnam) Chapman is TIGHAR #1126L. George Putnam (GP’s son) is TIGHAR #0741. A few items of AE’s clothing have survived in various collections (Atchison, Purdue, the Smithsonian) but shoes are rare. As previously mentioned, TIGHAR has a pair of French-made dress shoes she purchased in Ireland in 1932 that are about a size 7 narrow. She gave them away because they hurt her feet.
In this discussion about the shoes, I may have a different interpretation of what Gallagher found.
In telegram #71, he reports among other things:
(b) Shoe was a womans and probably size 10In telegram 66, The Resident Commissioner asks:
(e) In what state of preservation is shoe,In telegram 72, Gallagher responds to the question about preservation as:
(e) Only part of sole remains,He responds to the question about shoe style:
(f) Appears have been stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandalSome of the forum discussions about the above, seem to indicate that Gallagher found only part of a sole in which he based his estimate of size and possible ownership. It seems me he had the whole shoe (the part of the sole that was missing may be where the Catspaw heal was attached!).
I have to disagree. The very first mention Gallagher makes of the shoe is in that same Telegram #71 to the Resident Commissioner in which he says: "Some months ago working party on Gardner discovered human skull - this was buried and I only recently heard about it. Thorough search has now produced more bones ( including lower jaw ) part of a shoe, a bottle, and a sextant box. " He then comments on his estimate of the shoe size and gender.
It seems quite clear that the Resident Commissioner assumed that an entire shoe had been found but Gallagher corrected him in the second telegram ("Only part of sole remains"). There was similar confusion later about the sextant box which was assumed to contain a sextant.
Fascinating. So I guess we’ve actually had quite a number of McGuffins along the line -- the Navigator’s bookcase, the grave at Aukaraime South, for example.
I wonder if some discussion is in order about the whole business of the Smoking Gun. It seems to me that there’s a tendency to think that such a gun MUST be found in order to confirm the Niku hypothesis, and that therefore our emphasis must be on finding the bloody thing. But there may not actually be a smoking gun, or we may not be able to find it, but that doesn’t mean the hypothesis isn’t correct, or that it can’t be demonstrated to be correct within some range of probability. An awful lot of archeological projects generate basic consensus about things that happened in the past, based not on specific "Eureka" discoveries, but on the patient accumulation of circumstantial evidence. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last twelve years, and the record isn’t too shabby. As Ric put it some time ago in a particularly pithy email that we quote in the forthcoming (yes, it IS forthcoming) book on The Quest:
What are "the chances" that a given island that "happens" to be on the LOP described by Earhart will "happen", three years later, to yield the bones of a castaway which "happen" to appear most similar to those of a woman of Earhart’s stature and ethnic background and that a search of the same island will "happen" to produce the remains of a shoe which appears to match Earhart’s and aircraft-related artifacts which "happen’ to be consistent with the Lockheed Model 10.... Is there a way to quantify this heap of coincidence?There’s not, of course, but the farther we’ve gone with the project -- even when erroneously encouraged by McGuffin discoveries -- the harder it’s become to account for all the variables by any combination of events other than the end of the World Flight on the island. We ought to be careful not to get so hung up on finding smoking guns that we fail to put together all the little pieces of evidence that may cumulatively provide a fairly certain solution to the mystery.
LTM (who doesn’t smoke and doesn’t own a gun)
The Wombat’s speculation that FN rolled his own cigarettes appears shaky from my own experience. Having watched my grandfather and uncle roll their own hundreds of times, the cigarettes FN is smoking are much too symmetrical and dry to be anything but store bought.
Symmetry: One of the attraction of store-bought butts is that there is an even distribution of tobacco from end to end. No hand roller could even come close to attaining the distribution patterns found is store butts. FN’s butts have an even distribution of tobacco from one end to the other for the entire length and circumference and are evenly cut on the visible end. When you roll you own (RYO) the smoker usually just pinches or twists the end to keep the tobacco in the wrapper until it is fired up.
Dryness: When you RYO you gotta lick one edge of the paper so it will adhere to the other side when you wrap it up. By virtue of the thickness of the human tongue and its owner’s inability to precisely control the amount of saliva the tongue generates, fastening the horizontal edges of a RYO is a messy process, hopefully never witnessed by women or children. The saliva/glue often permeates at least one-third of the circumferences of the cigarette paper on the RYO and is really, really disgusting to see. FN’s butts are perfectly dry, stem to stern.
Lastly, FN is shown in a couple of the photos using what appears to be a cigarette case, and someone speculated it was to hold his RYOs. NOT!
If in fact that is a cigarette case, it was in all probability not holding RYOs. I have never witnessed and self-respecting RYOer "stocking up" on his product and saving it for later use. RYO are so ugly, decrepit, misshapen, and deformed you smoked them as soon as you made them; mostly to feed your nicotine habit and also to destroy the evidence of your own ineptness as a butt roller.
That, Your Excellency, concludes my arguments that Fred Noonan was not indulging in the overt acts of RYOing.
LTM, who needs to get a life!
In one of the recent shoe discussions, we talked about Purdue photo XI_A_4_c, where AE is being shown something regarding the landing gear on an airplane. You pointed out that it was an L-10A, and we briefly discussed the ID numbers under the wing. Although only partially visible, the numbers appear to be UX. I checked a little on this, and Guinea Airways had two L-10A’s, one UXH (constructor number 1060) and the other UXI (constructor number 1105).
Now I’m wondering if this photo was taken at Lockheed, as you thought, or somewhere else --- maybe in Darwin. I don’t think it was taken in New Guinea, due to the paved ramp where it’s parked.
Anyway, my info doesn’t include the construction / delivery dates on these aircraft, but it almost seems like it has to be one of these two.
Also, I have a couple nother questions / observations.
In Purdue photo XI_B-16_d, the image is of AE and a couple men by the side door. It’s obviously her airplane (the side cabin windows are covered), but it’s an early photo (no window in the door). My question is, what’s the letter painted on the fusilage aft of the door? Looks like an E or B. I don’t recall having seen it in any other picture.
As you say, Guinea Airways bought two Electras --- c/n 1060 was VH-UXH and was delivered June 5, 1936; c/n 1105 was VH-UXI and was delivered June 23, 1937. My guess is that the photo shows AE with VH-UXH at Burbank in the summer of 1936. The guy in the photo with her is a Lockcheed employee who appears in other photos. Her plane is nearing completion and she’s looking over another recently completed Electra.
XI_B-16_d is a very interesting picture. I’ve never seen a letter painted on the side of the airplane before either, but I have a guess (as always). I think this is the Bendix Race in September 1936 and the big letter on the side is for the race.
Unfortunately Dennis and I will have to just disagree on this one.
> Symmetry: One of the attraction of store-bought butts is that there
Practised dedicated "roll your own" smokers can and do produce relatively straight smokes, especially if they "rub" the tobacco properly.
> Lastly, FN is shown in a couple of the photos using what appears to
Obviously you haven’t witnessed many at all. First, using a cigarette case to hold roll your owns is still a common practice, there are times when it is just too inconvenient to stop and roll one.
Second, many of these cases have a rather ingenious mechanism whereby you place the paper on a flexible strip of leather, having licked the edge, then place an appropriate amount of tobacco on the paper, and close the lid. A perfectly rolled cigarette comes out and is then placed in the case for later. Some hold 10 smokes, some hold 20, and some even allow you to add a filter. They have been around for over 40 years that I can vouch for. Unfortunately I don’t remember a lot before that!
I have "very" extensive experience with this "very common" practice.
> Having watched my grandfather and uncle roll their own hundreds of times,
Perhaps they’d like to learn how it’s done... For that matter, I’d hate to see the waste if they rolled a joint!
> FN’s butts have an even distribution of tobacco from one end to the other
The whole point of my post was that in the photographs I mentioned, they are most definitely NOT even, in fact there is a definite taper in one, and a bulge in the other. Also, good tobacco is not so dry that it needs to be twisted to keep it in the paper, and unlike pipe tobacco, is usually cut in long strands to stay in.
> By virtue of the
I’ll tell that to some of the ladies I know who roll their own quite delicately.
> If in fact that is a cigarette case, it was in all probability not
If it is in fact a cigarette case, and from my experience it is much more likely to be one than a makeup compact, it would be more likely to hold roll your owns than "tailor mades", which come already wrapped in either soft or hard pack.
Conclusion, it is very possible due to Fred’s seafaring background that he did in fact roll his own.
Dead Thread Alert. If you guys want to continue this discussion off forum just let me know.
According to Susan Butler in East to the Dawn, AE was sensitive about her thick ankles, which she termed "Piano Legs." It’s why she took to wearing trousers whenever she could. I don’t have the book in front of me so can’t pinpoint Butler’s source, but believe it was one of AE’s Challiss cousins.
I also find it intriguing that AE was buying Size 7 shoes as late as 1932. They could have hurt her feet for many reasons unrelated to length (like that pair of wingtips I bought last year. Right size, right width, still couldn’t wear ’em for more than an hour). Assuming that AE wore thick socks while flying, would this boost her feet two full sizes?
I understand TIGHAR derived AE’s probable shoe size from a photograph, using the distance between wing rivets as a yardstick. Is the length of her heel discernable in that photograph, and how does it correspond to the length of the heel found on Niku in 1991?
Yes, both the length of the entire shoe and the length of just the heel are discernable in the photo. We have checked the length of the shoe against the length of the sole found on Niku in 1991 and they appear to be virtually the same. We had not thought to check the length of heel itself against the length of the heels found on the island until yesterday when Rollin Reineck pointed out an apparent discrepancy in the measurments. It’s an excellent observation and may point up a real problem in matching the shoe in the photo to the artifacts found on the island. I’ll address Reineck’s comments in a separate posting.
I’m happy to consider the possibility that there may be good reason to discount the shoe remnants we found as being from one of Earhart’s shoes. We’ve always said that we’re only interested in learning the truth. There’s no need for Reineck to engage in whispering campaigns and there’s no need for you to act like a lawyer.
Copied below is a message Rollin Reineck sent out on Monday to a list of a couple dozen people he apparently thinks are sympathetic to his views. Like Rollin himself, several people on Reineck’s List are also subscribers to this forum and postings from here that are considered interesting are regularly shared around for private (and usually derogatory) comment. We, of course, use our copy of Carnivore 2.0 courtesy of the FBI to monitor all of that traffic (just kidding, just kidding) but we don’t pay much attention to it unless something worthwhile comes up --- which it never has, until now.
I’m posting Reineck’s latest tirade because it contains an interesting observation which needs open discussion and consideration. To save bandwidth I’ll offer my response concurrent with his allegations. Here he goes:
Earhart’s shoes have been a main topic on the TIGHAR web page lately.
Here is the straight poop about the shoes (so called) found by Gillespie on Niku.
One of the corner stones of the Gillespie theory is that he found the remains of a shoe on Niku which he claims belonged to Earhart.
ACTUALLY, what he found was a partial rubber sole and a heel of a shoe. He found these in 1991 on one of his many trips to Niku.
From Ric: Of course, that’s exactly what we’ve always said we found. Make that a fragmented rubber sole, two heels and a brass eyelet.In a TV interiew, Gillespie said "The partial sole is about the size of an 8 or 9 shoe. Laying beside it was a heel of a shoe with the name CATS PAW imprinted on it. According to the Biltrite Shoe Co. that owns Cats Paw, the heel was produced in the 1930s. From that heel we are able to determine that it came from a women’s shoe of a style called BLUCHER OXFORD. Interestingly enough, photos show Earhat was wearing Blucher Oxfords when she flew on her last flight."
From Ric: I’m not sure which TV interview he’s quoting but it seems odd that I would say that the gender of the shoe can be determined from the heel. Biltrite’s identification of the shoe as being a woman’s blucher oxford was made from the sole, not the heel. I’ve always known that and I don’t know why I would say otherwise.Gillespie goes on to say that the "Cats Paw heel was almost certainly attached to the partial sole found at the same site as the 8 attachment holes in the heel match precisely the holes in he partial shoe sole"
HOWEVER, the site where the partial sole and heel were found was very close to one of the USS Bushnell towers. So close in fact that Dr. Jacobson (Tighars Historian) is quoted as saying "Ric and I have had many arguments about this. It is quite possible that the fire remnants as well as the shoe parts, may be due to the Bushnell party."
From Ric: That’s not quite right. All of the Bushnell towers were on the opposite [north] side of the island. The mapping technique was to take line-of-sight observations from the towers to many and various points on the island. One of those points was on the lagoon shore about 60 meters from where the shoe parts were found. Randy Jacobson, Tom King, Kenton Spading and I have indeed argued back and forth about the possible association of the shoe parts and other artifacts with the Bushnell survey. The fire, however, seems safely out of that equation having been reliably dated to not-earlier-than the 1970s. The Bushnell survey was in November 1939. I’m sure that Randy, who is a scientist by trade, will be surprised to learn that he is "TIGHAR’s Historian".According to Gillespie the sole and the heel measure about 10 + 7/8 inches long, which equates to a size 9 shoe.
Gillespie claims that he can determine the size shoe that Earhart wore by comparing her shoe to the rivet pattern on the wing of the Electra where she was standing. (Look at TIGHAR TRACKS, Sept. 30 1996, page 26) The rows of the rivets are 2 1/2 inches apart . With this ruler, Gillespie measured the shoe at 10 7/8 inches long.
NOW HERE COMES THE GOOD PART
Using the same rivet pattern as a ruler, the heel of the shoe that Earhart was wearing on the airplane wing is less than 2 1/2 inches long. In fact, a close measurement the heel is 2 1/8 inches long. HOWEVER, the heel that Gillespie found measures 3 inchs long. See top of page 25 of the TIGHAR TRACKS mentioned above.
From Ric: Yes, this is the good part. Rollin has a point. We never measured just the heel in the photo. I have now done so and it does appear to be less than three inches. I make it more like 2 and 3/8s. That’s clearly a problem.What does this tell us. ANSWER, 1. The relplacement heel certainly did not come from the Earhart Blucher Oxford. It is too big.
From Ric: If the measurement is valid, I have to agree with Rollin.2. If the partial sole and the heel were mated, as Gillespie states they were, than the partial sole didn’t come from the Blucher Oxford either.
So much for mathematical proof.
From Ric: That would follow logically, yes, but there is obviously no way to mathematically prove that the shoe in the photo is the same shoe found on the island and we never said there was.Cats Paw heels were replacement heels only. In 1937 they could be bought at the local 5 and 10 cents store for about 35 to 50 cents a pair. They were do-it-yourself products. Fix your own shoe type item. I know because I was there in 1937.as a 17 year old who fixed his own shoes (one Pair).
From Ric: I’m looking at a 1915 ad for Cat’s Paw replacement heels and the price was "50 cents, attached. ... Get them at your dealers or repair shop." It wouldn’t be surprising if they were also sold as a "do-it-yourself" item, especially during the Depression.Now ask yourself a couple of questions. If Earhart could afford Blucher Oxfords, she wouldn’t be doing her own shoe repair.
From Ric: No, she would have her shoes professionally repaired and the shop may well have used Cat’s Paw heels. They were clearly not exclusively a do-it-yourself item.Secondly, How could the BuiltRite shoe company look at a used Cats Paw (replacement heel) and say it came from Blucher Oxford shoe as Gillespie contends?
From Ric: They didn’t and I never thought they did. Biltrite’s opinion that the shoe was a blucher oxford was based upon the pattern of stitching holes visible in the sole. The tightness of that stitching and the small size of the brass shoelace eyelet were the basis of their opinion that it was a woman’s shoe. This was all explained in detail in our very first description of the shoe parts in TIGHAR Tracks Vol. 8, No.1 &2 in March 1992.The answer to both these questions tends to affirm that the heel and the sole of the shoe did not belong to Earhart. This is just like the Zippo Lighter and the storage batteries that Gillespie thought came from Noonan and the Electra.
The Zippo lighter was a Ronson and the nonsense about the storage batteries in 1989 was the result of a completely erroneous news story.Isn’t "Sound Investigative Methodology" fun?
From Ric: Yes it is.Comments are welcome. Rollin
As soon as possible we’ll put a Research Bulletin (see "Shoe Fetish," Parts 1 and 2) up on the TIGHAR website with the photos and information needed for anyone to make their own judgement about the shoe parts. If this or any other new observation makes it apparent that the shoe parts found on the island by TIGHAR can not be from the shoe in the photo, we’ll happily accept that and proceed with our investigation with the benefit of that new information. This is how "Sound Investigative Methodology" works. We gather information, formulate a hypothesis, then test that hypothesis with research and/or experimentation. It often takes a long time to test a hypothesis. We struggled with the navigator’s bookcase for two years testing the hypothesis that it had been aboard the Electra. It looked really good for a while but we (not our critics) were ultimately able to identify it as being from a B-24D or a PB4Y-1.
Similarly, the section of aircraft skin --- Artifact 2-2-V-1--- has been the subject of tremendous debate. We thought we had it placed on the Electra a couple of times but we eventually proved ourselves wrong. At this time nobody can say what airplane the thing came from. I still think it came from someplace on the Electra but I can’t prove it. Maybe Rollin can find a match for it on some other airplane. As has been said many times, none of the artifacts recovered so far is, in itself, diagnostic - that is, a "smoking gun." Any of them and all of them are utterly disposable without affecting the basic hypothesis that the Earhart flight ended at Gardner. I’m grateful to Rollin for his observation about the discrepancy in the apparent heel length. If the shoe parts found on Aukeraime can be eliminated as part of the Earhart puzzle it also eliminates the conflict between where we found them and where we think Gallagher made his discoveries.
Just a quick observation. Even if we effectively identify the heel as not being from AE’s shoe, that doesn’t eliminate Fred’s shoes --- of which there are a pretty good number of photos in the Purdue library collection. I’m not sure what kind of financial resources Fred had, but it is not difficult at all for me to imagine him having new heels put on his shoes before taking off on a trip like this --- cheaper than new shoes, and much more comfortable on a trip.
Also, in spite of my prior caveat about gentlemen’s comments and AE’s ankles, it strikes me that when I’m on an airplane for any length of time, not moving around much, it is not unusual to experience such swelling in the lower extremities (sp? --- sorry, too tired to look it up).
Off the top of my head, a couple things would argue against the sole and Cat’s Paw heel being Fred’s. Biltrite felt that the tightness of the stitching holes in the sole indicated a woman’s shoe, as did the small size of the brass sholeace eyelet. Tight stitching could be a questionable judgement call but I haven’t noticed brass eyelets in the photos of the shoes Fred is wearing.
I would like to comment on Tom K’s recent post.
Ric wrote, and Tom quoted:
>What are "the chances" that a given island that "happens" to be on the LOP
Tom and Ric raise a good point here that is an interesting exercise. As Tom pointed out, there is no easy/accurate way to quantify the probabilities involved. It would be very difficult, if not in some cases impossible, to assemble the various populations of data which could then be used to determine a combined probability. The best we can do is some "ballpark" type of estimates of the individual probabilities. By ballpark I mean you would ask questions like "which is a more likely source for the artifact....A or B?". You then ask this question for the items listed which are bones, 1991 shoe(s) and aircraft parts. I won’t look at all the items here (although future threads could). For starters, lets just ask one question.
Which is a more likely source for the castaway/bones Gallagher found? Arrival following a ship wreck or arrival following an aircraft wreck during the period say 1870 to 1937? [For ease of computing, each item is analyzed independently in order to facilitate combining the, in this case, ballpark probabilities.]
There is not an obvious answer to this question although most people at first glance would probably guess ship wreck given the volume of people brought to the region by ships versus airplanes during the period in question. You have to assume, of course, that some of those ships were lost/shipwrecked or that some folks were washed overboard (all of which, of course happened to some degree). We know an airplane was lost. Records of lost sailors/lost ships that sailed for the Pacific out of say Hartford, New Bedford and elsewhere are available put I am not sure how convenient or well organized they are. If you assume that the bones were female in origin the question becomes a bit more interesting. However, the references below, indicate that it was not uncommon for women, and for that matter their children, to serve on ships.
All of this aside, a good case can still be made for Niku being the spot where Earhart and Noonan ended up. TIGHAR has built a pretty good case. While waiting to go back to Niku we can help our case by conducting archival research and identifying and in some cases eliminating and/or investigating sources for existing artifacts.
A word of caution on ALL these measurements: I assume that the distance between rivets on an Electra is something that can be independently verified and there is no need to refer to the picture in question for that number. However, isn’t there a potential depth perception problem, here, in determining the length of the heel in the picture by reference to the rivet spacing in the picture? You have at least two dimensions to have to correct for: The first would be the distance between the fuselage rivets and the heel, the second is the angle from which the photo was taken. I would think that as the heel gets farther away from the fuselage it appears longer when measured against the rivets in the background, yet as the angle increases from a direct side-on view it would tend to foreshorten the length of the heel. Be careful when making calculations on these two variables. Do we really know either? How much makes a real difference in measured length? This is further complicated by the simple fact that we are not talking about there being much difference between all these measurements---rivet spacing, Earhart heel length and replacement heel length. So, it sounds like there are holes--big ones-- in the Reineck theory unless he can reliably correct for all these variables so you get a true one-on-one comparison.
You make an excellent point, but it cuts both ways. None of the photogrammetry in this analysis was done by experts --- not on TIGHAR’s end nor on Reineck’s. In 1992 we didn’t have the resources. Today we may be able to get that kind of help. That needs to happen.
From Dave Bush
Ric: What is the clearance from the cabin floor to the bottom of the rudder pedals on the Electra? After flying for some distance and discovering that the heels of her shoes were catching due to the spacing, is it possible that Earhart would have replaced the heels with longer ones that wouldn’t catch? Also, just because the heel in the photo doesn’t match does not necessarily rule out this heel. A subsequent replacement or another similar pair of shoes repaired at a different time and place may have a different heel --- whatever was available when she went to repair them!
The dimensions of the bottoms on the heels are dictated by the dimensions of the heels themselves (the leather built up bit). You can’t just put bigger bottoms on the heels.
One of the nice things about the photo showing Earhart standing on the wing is that it was taken only about ten days before she disappeared. While it’s theoretically possible that she had her shoes or heels changed in the meantime, I wouldn’t argue that as a realistic probability.
I agree with Kenton’s assessment. We just don’t have enough information on the relative frequencies of similar occurrences elsewhere in the Pacific to derive a credible estimate of the numerical probabilities involved. A while back, we had a discussion on this general subject and I offered a simple example illustrating the difficulties involved.
The example was the case of the expedition member who discovered shoe fragments after having stopped at a tree for a rest, and who happened to glance in the direction of the fragments and saw and recognized them as artifacts. Just to quantify the probability of that isolated event would be impossible.
Kenton’s approach of asking whether A is more likely than B is the best way to get at this problem. It is a "fuzzy logic" kind of problem - - which we have discussed before. Despite the fact that it can’t yield a precise numerical probability result, it nonetheless is an important tool in situations like this. Through iterative application it leads to the conclusion that the preponderance of evidence shows, as Kenton said, that TIGHAR has built a pretty good case.
The preponderance of evidence criterion is interesting in another way, i.e., with respect to the burden of disproving the TIGHAR case. As a starting point, that task would require developing an alternative hypothesis that explains all of the TIGHAR evidence in terms of events not connected with the Earhart disappearance. It is significant that no one has done that yet. Just consider the joint probability that all the pieces of evidence incorporated into the TIGHAR hypothesis have nothing to do with the Earhart disappearance - - it’s nil.
LTM, who knows a good case when she sees it.
The Forum’s recent examination of alleged post-loss transmissions again brings up what appears to be over a nine hour inexplicable gap between the last transmission at 08:43 am and the sudden resumption of transmissions reportedly beginning at 6:00 pm that evening. To my knowledge researchers have not adequately addressed that gap which casts serious doubt on their authenticity.
The importance of authenticating a post 08:43 transmission would certainly support that Amelia was able to fly some 3-4 hours in order to reach one of the island groups-Phoenix, Marshalls, or Gilberts -as she could only transmit from land after she went down. (TIGHAR’S theory is not dependent on post-loss messages as she could have found NIKU, but was unable to broadcast.)
"Proof" of the alleged post-loss transmissions comes almost exclusively from the literally hundreds of amateur reports of radio intercepts of Amelia some 2-12 days after her disappearance. Most of the amateurs were in the US and "heard" her on various short wave frequencies. Adding a certain degree of authenticity is that many of the intercepts were reported immediately to newspapers, Coast Guard officials and the Bureau of Air Commerce. Many were respected short wave operators with good equipment and familiar with Earharts assigned frequencies.
A look at Amelia’s pre-08:43 transmissions ,based on Chater’s report and the Itasca log, may give us some significant clues to the post 08:44 alleged signals.
After departing Lae at 1000 am, AE was in hourly contact with Lae’s radio operator Balfour for the next 7 hours and 18 minutes,broadcasting on 6210 kcs. At 3:19 and 5:18, as scheduled, AE broadcast her postion. On her last transmission, Balfour asked her to remain on 6210 because of her strong signal strength. Either Amelia couldn’t receive or she disregarded that suggestion and switched to her preplanned daytime frequency of 31ight, radio Nauru reported hearing her commenting on seeing a "ship in sight ahead". (Probably the Ontario.) Itasca began hearing faint transmissions about 2:45 am on 3105. Itasca heard her eight more times on 3105 with ever increasing signal strength until her last signal was heard at 08:43 at strength "5", the loudest category. In this last signal, Amelia radioed she was running on a LOP of 157-337, north and south, and said she was switching to her daytime frequency of 6210. (Apparently for better transmission).
The Itasca did not hear from her again. Others such as Col Reineck, say they did hear her.
Col Reineck,USAF (Ret), an Earhart researcher, argues that Army officers on Howland heard AE’s signals after her last 08:43, with the signals becoming fainter each time "until she finally stated that she was out of gas." These signals were not reported in the Itasca log,says Col Reineck. (In the material I have there is not a time recorded for the last signal.)
Then about nine hours later, about 6:00 pm, radio Nauru about eleven hundred miles away, said they heard a women "shouting" sounding like the women heard the night before (Earhart). The signal
was overmodulated and a positive identification couldn’t be made. Note: Goldstein and Dillion claim Nauru heard those signals shortly after her last 08:43 transmission at 0901, 0913, 1924, Howland time, suggesting these were more likely authentic Earhart signals as her disappearance was unknown to the outside world at that time. TIGHAR disputes those times saying that the authors used times given by Safford who confused time zones and that the signals came more closely to 6:00pm.
Within hours after AE’s disappearance was broadcast to the US (about 10:30 am Howland) radio hams and professional radio operators in the US reported hearing Amelia on various frequencies for the next week. Other sources in Hawaii, for example, reported hearing dashes in response to KGMB Honolulu radio’s request. Other "bona fide" signals were reported and checked out. None to my knowledge have been proven as authentic. No known post 08:43 transmissions were heard by official Navy and Coast Guard stations.
Thus the perplexing question is how could Amelia transmit for twenty hours on both 3105 and 6210 for twenty plus hours, stop, then resume some nine hours later. She had to be on land/atoll at this time. Therefore the broadcasting environment, vis-a- vis in the air, was certainly more hostile: sea level, battery drain, and perhaps a makeshift antenna.
Amelia did not report any malfunctions with her transmitter after she left Lae. TIGHAR sometime ago postulated that when Amelia switched over to 6210 just after 08:43, (daytime frequency) that this frequency could have been a problem in the "morning hours" for reliable transmissions to the Itasca some 50-100 miles away,no further away than 400 miles. (est).
Additionally, TIGHAR pointed out that Amelia had transmitter problems in Lae and that Itasca never heard her on 6210. (Lae, however, heard numerous tranmissions on 6210 from Earhart earlier in the flight, some as far out as 7-800 miles out) The frequency change in TIGHAR’S opinion was the primary reason Itasca (or for that matter any official Coast Guard station)never heard Amelia again.
It is logical that Amelia, after the 08:43 signal, still in the vicinity of Howland, would switch back and forth between frequencies of 3105 and 6210 after she quickly found that she was not getting a response on 6210.. Those were desperate hours as her gas supply dwindled. Amelia and Fred must have tried every band on that radio in a final attempt to make contact with Itasca to relay a downed position. Nonetheless, Itasca did not hear any transmissions on any frequencies even as the radio operators also frantically attempted to contact the Electra.
Are the post-loss signals (heard only by amateurs) bogus? Were they all hoaxes? Were they simply misinterpreted Itasca and other Navy traffic describing the search? Were there malfunctions in her radio? Crystal problems? Skip problems? Atmospheric interference? I don’t think that these could account for that period of silence, particularily the critical 3-4 hours she was presumably in the air searching for a landfall or preparing to ditch.
Concerning possible intrinsic frequency/crystal problems Eric Chater reports that although Amelia had some technical problems with her transmitter in Lae, eventually it was fixed and two way communication was established between the Electra and Lae. Chater said that some of the transmissions on 6210 were "very rough" and she was asked to pitch her voice higher to override this problem; other wise Chater said that Amelia’s transmitter "seemed to be working satisfactorily". And as reported supra, she successfully transmitted to Lae on 6210 for over seven hours in the daytime after departure. Chater believed Lae lost contact when she switched to 3105 around dusk.
In sum, one can argue there is no reason to speculate on why she went nine hours without transmitting, because the transmissions started again and even though the signals were helter skelter messages, no further explanations are necessary.
But to me the resumption of intermittent signals from the Electra after nine hours of silence would depend on some miraculous resurrection of the 50 watt transmitter capability and casts serious doubt on the authenticity of any post 08:43 broadcasts, including those purportedly heard on Howland Is.
You bring up some interesting points but your argument is riddled with factual errors. For example:
>After departing Lae at 1000 am, AE was in hourly contact with Lae’s radio
But Chater says quite specifically:
Arrangements had been made between the plane and Lae station to call at 18 minutes past each hour and arrangements made to pass any late weather information, but local interference prevented signals from the plane being intelligible until 2.18 p.m....It’s not clear from Chater’s wording whether transmissions were heard but were too garbled to understand or whether they couldn’t get anything because of the interference --- you could read it either way. What is clear is that Earhart was over four hours away before Lae could understand anything she said on 6210. In fact, Lae received and understood only three transmissions from Earhart --- 2:18 p.m., 3:19 p.m., and 5:18 p.m.
>"Proof" of the alleged post-loss transmissions comes almost exclusively
Not so. If there is "proof" that post-loss transmissions occurred it will be found in the entire body of transmissions received by not only amateurs but official sources as well. That’s why we’re compiling the Post-Loss Radio Matrix.
>No known post 08:43 transmissions were heard by official Navy and Coast
Numerous official Navy and Coast Guard stations were hearing transmissions that they suspected came from Earhart. If any of those were "known" to be authentic we wouldn’t be having this discussion. You seem to be under the impression that the Central Pacific was silent while amateurs in the States were hearing intelligible messages. That is not the case. I think that when our Post-Loss Radio Matrix is finished you’ll see some interesting patterns of reception.
The first reports of post-loss transmissions begin as soon as it starts to get dark. That’s when signal propagation is best. I find nothing odd in that.
>The first reports of post-loss transmissions begin as soon as it starts to
For what it’s worth....
One possible simple explanation might be that only after dark would it be cool enough inside the aircraft to be able to stay there, and operate the radio.
I have read, and heard, many accounts from veterans in the Pacific and CBI about how hot it got inside a/c on the ground, and how one could not touch the metal skin during daylight because of fear of being severely burned. Much maintenance had to be performed after dark, after the planes cooled sufficiently to eliminate this danger.
LTM (who was a hottie in her day) and
Good point. In fact, Betty’s description of just such a problem is one of the things that makes her notes so credible.
There is another possibility for not hearing anything for the first 9 hours after the last known transmission: no one but the Itasca was listening, as no one knew that AE was lost. While we don’t know for sure when the public became aware that AE was missing, it surely was sometime mid-afternoon at the earliest, Howland time, as Itasca didn’t notify the CG and Navy until sometime before noon. Then, CG and Navy officials would have to have notified the public. Unless someone knew to listen for possible AE signals, no one would be listening. Also, transmissions from the Pacific during daylight hours either on 3105 or 6210 at very long ranges (e.g. to the US mainland) is notoriously fickle, adding even less of a chance of anyone who was listening to hear anything.
No, I am not at all concerned that there is a post-loss gap in possible AE transmissions after the last known transmission.
Actually, it was Fort Shafter who was the first radio station to hear anything purported to be from AE after her downing, and that (from memory...excuse me if I am wrong) was about dusk, Honolulu time.
Here are the first few signals heard on the night of the 2nd/3rd.
HMS Achilles heard transmissions at 06:00Z, July 3 which was 18:30 on July 2 in the Central Pacific.
Fort Shafter in Hawaii was next at 07:27Z, July 3 which was 19:27 on July 2 in the Central Pacific.
Next came the string of transmissions heard by Nauru at 08:31 - 08:43 - 08:54Z, July 3 which was 21:01 - 21:13 - 21:24 on July 2 in the Central Pacific.
Then at 10:57Z (22:27 on July 2 in the Central Pacific) Coast Guard HQ in Hawaii heard signals.
There were lots more.
I had no idea that you are such an important guy that an entire email discussion group is singularly dedicated to discrediting your work. Maybe Rollin’s boys could hire some of the now unemployed dozens of Bush and Gore lawyers, whose expertise at misrepresenting each others’ positions needs no introduction here. Or maybe, just maybe, the good Colonel could supply us with the URL for his website where his organization posts all their research for critical review. Oops, sorry, that won’t happen. I just remembered that non-TIGHAR Earhart "researchers" have to closely guard their "secret" finds, lest the light of day show them to be the nonsense that they truly are.
LTM, who wonders just what Rollin and co. will do with their time if y’all find AE bones at the 7 site and a serial #’d NR16020 engine in the lagoon.
Dave Porter, 2288 (who suggests that they spend some time in the "front leaning rest" position)
No need to get offended. Yes, I was among the recipients of Rollin’s message and no, I didn’t post it on the Forum because I, too, found it needlessly argumentative in tone and laced with factual assertions I could not verify. However, I wasn’t trying to lay any traps. In light of Col. Reineck’s contentions, I was simply interested in whether TIGHAR had ever measured the 1991 Niku heel. I raised the question "as if it were my own" because it was my own. Apparently, the answer to that question is "no". Perhaps I should have prefaced my query by alluding to Rollin’s message, but it was a spur-of-the-moment post and no guile was intended.
As long as we’re on the subject, however, I am disappointed that TIGHAR has been less than forthright on this Forum about Biltrite’s conclusions with respect to the 1991 shoe parts. As stated in "Forum FAQs": "An analysis of the artifacts by the Biltrite Company (which owns Cat’s Paw) concluded that the shoe was a woman’s blucher-oxford style with brass shoelace eyelets. The heel was matched to a mold dating from the mid-1930s."
In fact, as Kenton Spading has recently pointed out, Biltrite said the sole could have come from a women’s or small men’s shoe, and in the context of their letter, the dating of the heel sounds more like an educated guess -- certainly not as ironclad as the above quotation suggests. I don’t mean to dismiss the importance of the shoe parts as potential clues to Earhart’s fate, but nothing is served by omitting these important qualifiers.
Asking questions and pointing out discrepancies in the evidence are, indeed, tools of the lawyer’s trade. So I guess if the shoe fits ...
It is never our intention to be less than forthright or to overstate the significance of evidence. Over time, descriptions of complex issues inevitably get condensed and simplified and that can lead to errors such as the one you point out about the heel being "matched to a mold dating from the mid-1930s." It wasn’t and we’ll fix the FAQ.
The pertinent part from Biltrite’s letter reads:
... there’s no question that the heel is a Cat’s Paw heel but since the production dates are missing we cannot pinpoint the exact year. Because of type of molds, we’d say it was produced somewhere in the mid-thirties.Bill Foshage of Biltrite and I talked about this at some length on the phone at the time and he seemed very sure about the dating, which probably led to my unintentional misrepresentation.
It is not, however, true that
>Biltrite said the sole could have come from a
Their description of the Cat’s Paw heel held that "This could be for a large size Women’s shoe or used on Men’s shoes." To my knowledge I have never said otherwise. The only comments about the sole in the official report are:
Looks like rubberMy original notes from telephone conversations with Foshage on January 31, 1992 contain his expressed opinion that the sole is from a size 9 women’s oxford and my original notes from a similar conversation with him on February 7, 1992 contain his explanation that he based that opinion on the "fine and close" stitch marks in the sole.
The official report says that the brass eyelet is:
Small; appears to be Women’sAll of this stuff will be included in the Research Bulletin soon to be mounted on the TIGHAR website.
Chris Kennedy’s concerns are appropriate--may I also suggest another point or two:
I assume that the heel in question is formed from natural rubber. Are there any persons on the Forum who can attest to the long-term effects of exposure of such an item to a tropical climate? Does that material have a "memory" and tend to return to its original size and shape over time? Does immersion in salt water cause the rubber to expand? These, and possibly other, questions should be addressed before discounting the artifact as postulated in the original hypothesis.
I’ll provide my opinion, based upon my training as an organic chemist, in this copy of your post.
Skeet Gifford wrote:
> Chris Kennedy’s concerns are appropriate--may I also suggest another point or
Not sure, maybe so. Synthetic rubbers were known then by I suspect not being used for commercial purposes by the mid thirties.
> Are there
Not me. Exposure to air (oxygen) and sunlight cause chemical reactions such as oxidation and crosslinking to occur that cause plastics to become hard and brittle. An example is your windshield wiper blades that eventually become ineffective because their surface has become too hard. Dry rot of auto tires, (surface cracks, etc.) is another example.
> Does that material have a "memory"
Not that I am aware of. If it did expand for some reason, (degredation) then it might "pass through" its original size on its way to total disintegration. But the concept of memory in a plastic is not general. Heat shrinking might be thought of as an example, but those have to be prepared to shrink, and those are a more recent innovation.
> Does immersion
Not likely. Rubbers and other plastics will expland when soaked in some organic solvents but water is too polar for this to happen extensively.
> These, and possibly other,
Hope this helps.
Jerry W. Ellis #2113
Maybe the simplest explanation for TIGHAR’ discovery of a sole and Catspaw heel, which according to a provisional analysis doesn’t match the Earhart’s "blucher oxford" photo, is that it is an entirely different "blucher oxford" or shoe-maybe Earharts,maybe not. Wouldn’t a lady take two pairs of shoes on a round the world trip! Any evidence for this, yes, see infra.
A second explanation is possible. It looks like there is a little wiggle room in Biltrite’s "opinion" of the origin of the sole. If Biltrite erroneously identified the sole as one coming from an oxford, maybe it came from a different, but closely related shoe style.
It is entirely possible that Earhart was not wearing the oxfords on NIKU post crash. Newspaper accounts report she would wear "light,low shoes" [oxfords] while flying, but was taking along a pair of "heavy, high walking boots...just in case". Well the in "case" happened.
Could Gallagher’s description of a part of a sole, probably a size 9-10, from a "stoutish walking shoe or sandal" more closely match Tigar’s sole and heel, a bit larger than the oxford style? Earhart may certainly have changed shoes on NIKU to walking boots because of the coral,etc.
Any information of these walking boots at Purdue?
In Tighar’s continuing investigation of the sole/shoe, could Biltrite give an opinion to see if the sole and Catspaw replacement heel could within a certain degree of certainy be from a heavy walking shoe. Or is Biltrite’s call on the oxford sole to the exclusion of all other types in concrete. A heavy walking shoe (?) looks alot like the shoe Earhart’s wearing in the photo. Looks pretty "stout" to me.
A "heavy walking shoe" could be an "oxford". The term "oxford" merely means that it’s a lace-up shoe (as opposed to a boot or a buckle closure). The term "blucher" has to do with the pattern in which the uppers are stitched to the sole.
I saw nothing about walking boots at Purdue. All of those descriptions about what AE would take along on the World Flight were in press stories that preceded the first attempt. I don’t think we can rely on them for information about what she really ended taking along on the Lae/Howland leg.
The work with Biltrite was done eight years ago and all the people involved have since retired. We may want to go back for more opinions but it would mean starting over with Biltrite.
For one last time, can you clarify the times Nauru heard signals that might be attributed to AE. In your post to Jacobsen you report that Nauru heard the signals at 08:31, 08:43 and 08:54Z, July 3. That translated to 21:01,21:13, and 21:24 in the Central Pacific. Is that Howland time/NIKU time?
Recall that Safford, cited by Dillion, said the first signals came in at 20:31/2, 20:43/2 and 20:54/2 at Nauru. This translated to 09:01, 09:13, and 09:24 Howland time. In an earlier post you reported that it was actually just after 6:00pm Howland time.
Using zulu time, 1/2 hour time zone differences, GMT, GCT, military time, and local time is confusing.
Obviously the time the first signals were heard is of utmost importance, and you indicate that HMS Achilles was probably the first to hear a signal at 18:30 on July 2, in the Central Pacific. Is that 6:30pm Howland time.
With all those times, I hope I’m not the only one confused on exactly what time the first signal was heard using Niku time. Were NIKU and Howland using the same time?
Yes, the whole time zone thing is terribly confusing and you can be sure that you’re not alone in struggling with it. I screw it up more often than not and am constantly having to go back and double check the conversions.
The Itasca was using the Navy’s system of local time zones and so, when it was at and near Howland, was using Greenwich minus 11.5 hours.
Just to make things interesting, the civilian Dept. of Interior employees on Howland were using Hawaii time as local time which, back then, was Greenwich minus 10.5 hours.
If you think about it for a second, there was no such thing as an established "Niku Time" in 1937 because there was nobody there. We’ve been using "Itasca Time" (11.5 hrs) as local time for Niku but that’s purely our convention.
Greenwich Civil Time (GCT) is simply what Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was called in 1937 and is what the military and others (such as the aviation industry) call Zulu time today. All same same. That’s where Safford got screwed up. He somehow got it into his head that GCT was something different. We beat this horse to death on the Forum a long time ago.
Okay, so what about the Nauru intercepts? The best original source --- a telegram received by the U.S. State Dept. from "Doyle" in Australia (probably the U.S. Consul) --- says that they were heard at 18:31, 18:43, and 18:54 Sydney time. Sydney, then as now, was Greenwich plus 10 hours so the signals were heard at 08:31, 08:43, 08:54 GCT, GMT, Zulu, whatever. That’s 21:01, 21:13, and 21:24 Itasca Time (which we’re using as Niku time).
As these discussions go on it seems to me that is likely that a party or parties visited Gardner in the 1930’s, spent a short time there, and left. All we "know" about them is that they left some debris and possibly human remains.
I read the recent controversy about which anthropologist is "right" about the Yanomami tribal system in Brazil and Venezuela. This is a tribal system that’s been studied by anthropologists for decades.
I find it plausible that a group or groups visited Gardner for any of several reasons, stayed a few weeks, found it unpleasant, and left. They may or may not have shared information about their visit(s) with the "local authorities" and others.
Well, let’s consider your hypothesis. I take it that you’re attributing the human remains and artifacts found by Gallagher to this party or parties who visited Gardner. Okay.
Are you suggesting that they left behind an unburied dead body or are we back to pirates marooning a shipmate on a desert island? Assuming that you are not suggesting that Gallagher found the remains of Ben Gunn, don’t you find it a bit odd that we’ve come across no mention of anyone showing up in Fiji, Samoa or Hawaii with a hair-raising tale of death on a tropical isle --- especially since the deceased was apparently female? Please let us have at least one reasonable scenario that would account for what Gallagher found.
Why, I wonder, do you find it more plausible to invent an occurrence for which there is absolutely no evidence rather than think that the castaway woman was the woman KNOWN to be lost in that region a few years before?
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