Forum artHighlights From the Forum

December 17 through 23, 2000

(click on the number to go directly to that message)
Post-Loss 0843 messages Mike Muenich
I’m Sorry I Asked Dennis McGee
Re: I’m sorry I asked Marty Moleski
Re: Two if by Air, Two if by Sea Dave Bush
Non-TIGHAR AE Researchers Dave Porter
DNA Marty Moleski
Electra 10E/Landing Gear Strut Ron Bright
Smoking guns David Evans Katz
The Elephants’ Graveyard Hypothesis Rick Seapin
Landing Gear Dennis McGee
Re: Smoking Guns David Evans Katz

Re: Electra 10E/Landing Gear

Frank Kuhre
Re: Elephants’ Graveyard Hypothesis Rick Seapin
Crouch, Ric and Evidence Kenton Spading
Re: Two if by air, two if by sea Troy
Re: Two if by air, two if by sea Cam Warren
Top Three Reasons Dennis McGee
Re: Top Three Reasons Randy Jacobson
Re: Two if by air, two if by sea Dan Postellon
Re: Top Three Reasons Marty Moleski
Re: Top Three Reasons Pete
Re: Top Three Reasons Ric Gillespie

Message: 1
Subject: Post-loss 0843 messages
Date: 12/11/00
From: Mike Muenich

Read the post by John Pratt re tidal information at Canton Island. Has anyone who has access to all of the times for post loss messags and tidal data done a spread sheet to see how they compare? Does Betty’s message time frame fit within a low tide window?

From Ric

One step at a time. I’m currently in the middle of compiling a list of all of the known (alleged) post-loss receptions in a standardized format and plotting them on timelines according to both Greenwich time and local time in the Central Pacific. It will also show transmission times for KGMB brodcasts to Earhart and the hours of daylight and darkness in the Central Pacific. We can also plug in the Kanton tidal information. Once it’s done we’ll put the list and the timelines up on the website.

My biggest concern at this point is that we don’t end up with something so cluttered with information that it’s unmanageable.


Message: 2
Subject: I’m sorry I asked
Date: 12/18/00
From: Dennis McGee

I want to apologize to forum members for my request last week asking someone to post the URL for Col. "Rollick’" Rollin Reineck’s web site. Someone did, and, boy, am I ever sorry I asked -- and for wasting your time.

I went. I saw. I blew chow. Just more endless speculation, invention, and conspiracy stuff; what a disappointment.

One of my greatest character defects is denial ("If it looks like a duck, etc."). I should’ve known better, really.

Perhaps a few minutes with the TIGHAR chaplain is in order and a proper admonishment to go forth and sin no more. Marty, you got a minute?

LTM, who is now doing penance
Dennis O. McGee, #0149CE

Message: 3
Subject: Re: I’m sorry I asked
Date: 12/19/00
From: Marty Moleski

Dennis McGee wrote:

> Perhaps a few minutes with the TIGHAR chaplain is in order and a
> proper admonishment to go forth and sin no more. Marty, you got a minute?

Dennis, it’s clear that you are already contrite.

I confess that I looked at the site, too, though only long enough to see which way it was going.

I believe that Ric told us about the note in the bottle several months ago and spent a little while indicating why he thought it was not worth exploring further. I certainly respect his judgment in not opening the forum to further discussion of this particular hoax.

I am betting that TIGHAR is going to find further evidence that AE and FN landed on Niku. That won’t squelch the conspiracy theories entirely; it will just give them a new starting-point.

Sorry I can’t give you absolution via e-mail. The Church requires that the sacrament be given in person.

Marty #2359

From Ric

This keeps coming up. Maybe it’s time we talked to Rome about a special dispensation. Marty could be the Church’s first E-Prelate.

Message: 4
Subject: Re: Two if by air, two if by sea
Date: 12/19/00
From: Dave Bush

[Note: This posting has been edited to delete references to personal character.]

Ric: Just what we need. More conjecture, hypothesis, innuendo. Could have been there, might have known about, may have sent, rumored to be. If this is the stuff of science, then I should have had straight A’s in everything I ever took in school. I know you went over the message in a bottle bit several months ago, and probably don’t wish to bring that up again, but what happened to the "lock of hair." Since DNA testing could positively prove it to be AE’s (or not be), then its location and testing is paramount. I, for one, don’t believe the bottle could have floated that far (currents are tricky at best, then you have the problem of storms that can throw all that off), but a crafty person could drop it along the beach a year later when he returned from a trip to the Pacific and be sure that it would be found. Anyway, if you want to pick it to pieces, it is more than possible, but again, why waste the time and energy. Let’s move on.

Dave Bush

From Ric

I won’t comment on Daryll’s paper or Rollin’s website. They speak eloquently for themselves.

I will, however, clear up an apparent misconception about hair and DNA. If I understand it correctly (and I’d appreciate correction if I don’t), having a lock of cut hair will not give you mitochondrial DNA. For that you would need hair with the follicle still attached – in other words, hair that had been pulled out "by the roots." And even then, getting usable mitochondrial DNA from a sixty-plus year old follicle would be problematic.

What I don’t know is whether cut hair of uncertain origin could be conclusively matched to a sample of known hair from the subject.


Message: 5
Subject: Non-TIGHAR AE researchers
Date: 12/19/00
From: Dave Porter

For Christian D.

No, I do not think that non-belief in the TIGHAR hypothesis makes non-tighar AE researchers nonsensical. Most of them have accomplished that feat on their own, quite apart from TIGHAR.

I would be delighted if other AE organizations would do serious first hand research, rather than hash over the multitude of conspiracy theories time and time again. I would be even more delighted if such organizations would put such research up for critical review, comment, and question by novice and expert alike on their websites.

Of course, there’s also the crashed and sank proponents. That, of course, is not a conspiracy theory, but if Elgin Long’s book is the best that these folks can come up with, it is an indication of a lack of serious, critically analyzed research.

I’ve been a casual reader of AE related stuff ever since I saw the AE "In Search Of" episode as a kid some 25 or so years ago, and until I ran across TIGHAR in a magazine article two years ago, the only documentable fact I was certain of was that AE disappeared somewhere over the central Pacific on July 2, 1937.

As for "lightening up," Ric will have to be the judge, but I’m sure that I must be near the top of the list for dim-witted, half-assed, non-funny jokes submitted to this forum.

LTM, Dave Porter, 2288

From Ric

Dave brings up an interesting point. I’d like to think that we all recognize the value of having many people from diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of perspectives consider the available evidence and offer their views. I also think that we all are predisposed to respect the efforts of those who have gone before and assume that our work will be built upon the foundation laid down by others. That’s how science generally works. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and all that.

Unfortunately, with few exceptions, the Earhart case is not like that. Time and time again we find that we have to literally start over in the investigation in order to establish solid facts from which valid conclusions can be drawn. Understandably, our rejection of the work of previous (and some contemporary) Earhart researchers is not well received by those who have followed the mainstream(s) of efforts to solve the mystery.

I can think of one historical parallel. When the Wrights decided to tackle the problem of heavier-than-air flight they began with the assumption that they could build upon the work of predecessors like Lillienthal and Chanute. What they discovered, however, was that the assumptions, principles, and numbers amassed by all that previous research were, for the most part, just plain wrong. They had to start over, and they made a lot of enemies. I’m certainly not comparing TIGHAR’s efforts or accomplishments to those of Orville and Wilbur, but I think I understand some of what they must have gone through.

Here’s another interesting historical parallel. The Wrights’ approach to flight was to achieve control of an inherently unstable aircraft. The most prominent proponent of the most popular competing theory - to make the aircraft inherently stable - was Samuel Langley of the Smithsonian Institution. Today, the most prominent proponent of the most popular competing Earhart theory (crashed and sank) is Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian Institution. Tom is the author of The Bishop’s Boys, one of the finest biographies of the Wright brothers ever written. Talk about ironic.....


Message: 6
Subject: DNA
Date: 12/19/00
From: Marty Moleski

Ric wrote:

> ... I will, however, clear up an apparent misconception about hair and DNA.
> If I understand it correctly (and I’d appreciate correction if I don’t),
> having a lock of cut hair will not give you mitochondrial DNA.

One site claims to be able to use single hair shafts without roots:

"According to our results, even the shaft portions of the hairs contain enough copies of both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA to be detected using PCR." Promega. Two warnings:

  1. They are trying to sell their services.
  2. Their experiments used freshly-plucked hairs, not those from an archeological site or from a bottle found on the shore.
Another (UK) site records successful retrieval of mtDNA from two hair shafts: .

But two other hair shafts collected in the second case yielded no useful mtDNA.

A third site doesn’t answer the question about hair shafts, but it describes the kind of "circumstantial evidence" used in court which (in my opinion) is a good model for TIGHAR’s investigations:

In this way, by accumulating bits of linking evidence in a chain, where each bit by itself isn’t very strong but the set of all of them together is very strong, you can argue that your suspect really is the right person. Chaining Evidence.
I think the metaphor of the chain is the wrong image to use in this case. If you break one link in a chain, the whole chain is useless. A better image is of short strands woven into a rope. None of the strands separately can bear the weight of the whole argument; it is only when they are woven together that the whole is stronger than any of the individual parts considered in isolation.

The good news is that mtDNA can be obtained even from old bones; the bad news is that mtDNA does not conclusively identify one individual:

Recently mtDNA was extracted and sequenced from a Neanderthal skeleton. These results allowed anthropologists to say with some conviction that modern humans do not share a close relationship with Neanderthals in the human evolutionary tree. While all the applications of mtDNA, including forensic, are relatively recent, the general methods for performing a mtDNA analysis are identical to those used in molecular biology laboratories all over the world for studying DNA from any living organism. There have been over a thousand published articles regarding mtDNA.

MtDNA has advantages and disadvantages as a forensic typing locus, especially compared to the more traditional nuclear DNA markers that are typically used. As mentioned above, mtDNA is maternally inherited, so that any maternally related individuals might be expected to share the same mtDNA sequence. This fact is useful in cases where a long deceased or missing individual is not available to provide a reference sample but any living maternal relative might do so. Because of meiotic recombination and the diploid (bi-parental) inheritance of nuclear DNA, the reconstruction of a nuclear profile from even first degree relatives of a missing individual is rarely this straightforward. However, the maternal inheritance pattern of mtDNA might also be considered problematic. Because all individuals in a maternal lineage share the same mtDNA sequence, mtDNA cannot be considered a unique identifier. In fact, apparently unrelated individuals might share an unknown maternal relative at some distant point in the past.

Even if the hair in the bottle proved to share AE’s mtDNA to a very high probability (plus or minus a small percentage), it would not prove:
  1. That it was her hair and not from another family member.
  2. That the hair came from the Pacific and not from some other clipping taken during her lifetime.
This is the problem of "provenance" or "custody of the evidence." Finding an mtDNA association would not prove all of the other assertions made by the message in the bottle. It would only be one strand (pun intended) in a skein of arguments.

If TIGHAR can find bone fragments or teeth on Niku (or in Fiji) associated with AE or FN’s mtDNA, that would go a long way toward establishing the TIGHAR hypothesis. I doubt that it would silence the conspiracy theorists. For them, it would just be evidence that the government coverup continues to this day under the cover of historic aircraft recovery. How could anyone ever prove that the government didn’t exhume AE’s bones from her real gravesite (pick one, any one) and salt them on Niku where they would be "discovered" by secret agent Ric and his co-conspirators?

What Mark Twain says of science applies to conspiracy theorists, too: "One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."

Marty #2359

From Ric

Marty, this is great stuff. Thank you. Anyone who thinks that DNA evidence will always be accepted as proof should write "O.J. walked" on the blackboard a hundred times.

Let’s say we get lucky and recover a tooth from Niku from which usable mtDNA can be extracted and - - bingo -- we get a match to a sample taken from a cheek swab of AE’s niece. Based upon the infromation provided above, that would not be ironclad evidence that the tooth came from Amelia Earhart. It would be very strong evidence that the owner of the tooth and Earhart’s niece share the same female ancestor in a direct female line of descent. That ancestor might be Amy Otis Earhart (AE’s mother) or, I suppose, Marie Antoinette or anyone else. It all comes down to an issue of likelihood, odds, coincidence, whatever you want to call it.

I agree with Marty. The strength of TIGHAR’s case is the fact that it does not reside in any single piece of evidence. Look at it this way -- if a case hinges upon a single "smoking gun", then a single bizarre coincidence could have created the illusion of proof. If, however, the case rests upon an arsenal of warm, but not necessarily smoking, guns then it takes an entire circus of bizarre coincidences to dislodge the logical conclusion.

All of the concerns about a smoking gun or an any-idiot-artifact have to do with public perception and acceptance --- or more accurately media perception and acceptance. As Tom King has said, smoking guns are a rarity in archaeology but good solid work will eventually prevail through the acceptance by respected authorities of a well-documented, if somewhat complex, case. How long that would take is another question.

In the meantime, we’ll keep hoping and searching for the illusive and illusory smoking gun, not because we need it to prove the case but because the media need it for its theatrical value. A DNA match or an airplane part with a serial number would make what is complex appear to be simple and would fast-forward wider acceptance of what some of us have seen for a long time.




Subject: Electra 10E/Landing gear strut
Date: 12/20/00
From: Ron Bright

I think TIGHAR short changes himself and has an excellent chance of prevailing in a cross examination of the 10E Landing gear strut found on NIKU by Janet Whitney.

(Tighar last question)

Skeptic: How do you know this part is from the Earhart plance. Sounds like a 1 in 14 chance to me.

(Cross continued)

Tighar: Let me explain further. Earhart’s plane flew within a minimum of 380 miles north of NIKU on 2 July 37 and reported she was heading on a LOP that would nearly intersect this Island if she followed it southeast.

Skeptic: How do you know she landed at NIKU.

TIGHAR: A search of the ocean and surronding Islands in 1937 for days by thousands of men and many ships yielded no trace of her aircraft at sea or land. And a review of the logs of the 14 other 10Es in the world indicated that x were in Canada, x were in Lae, x were in the US, and x in South America (etc) and only one was flying in the south pacific and almost out of gas in July 1937.The logs of each other 10E showed no flights in or around the Pacific in the summer of 1937.

Skeptic: Do you mean you reviewed each 10E flight log and found none flying in the vicinity of Howland or the Phoenix in the summer of 1937?

Tighar: That’s correct. And we have no reports of any other lost, missing or stolen 10Es in the Pacific theatre during this time. We have checked each home field and owner. In addition, a review of the repair logs of each shows none were missing or lost a gear strut.

Skeptic: Well who found the strut. (Like OJ, it could have been planted!)

Tighar: I, Richard Gillespie, Executive Director, found it under the ren tree, not far from a Catspaw heel that fits a blucher oxford,about size 9-you know the kind that Amelia always wore while flying.

Skeptic: Can you produce the specs and plans for Earhart’s 10E.

Tighar: Yes there right here and you’ll see that that this strut is from Earhart’s 10E in which a mechanic at Lockheed recalls several distinctive scratches and slight dent marks that were incurred in a March 37 accident in Hawaii. (I would certainly show it to a Lockheed guy, not too far out.)

Skeptic: How much does a Tighar membership costs?

So all may not be lost based upon Dave Bush’s hypothetical discovery. (But if the glove matching OJs style and make (only a dozen or so sold) was found by Det Furhman in OJ’s backyard with his wifes DNA, I woud be suspicious)

Ron Bright

From Ric

I see. All I have to do is lie.

It is true that Earhart’s was the only 10E west of Los Angeles – ever, as far as we can tell. There were a few Electras in New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia; but no "E"s.

However, we’ve never seen a flight or maintenance log for any 10E and it’s highly doubtful than any still exist. We know where some, but not all, of the other 14 10Es ended up but we can’t say what happened to their parts and there is no way to find out.

It all comes down to shades of probability. A so-called "smoking gun" is not a piece of irrefutable evidence. All evidence can be refuted given adequate imagination. A "smoking gun" is merely a piece of evidence that seems very convincing. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury – the accused was found standing over the body. The gun in his hand was still smoking from firing the bullets which killed the deceased. Surely he is the murderer." Any one of us could construct a scenario in which the man holding the smoking gun is innocent.


Message: 8
Subject: Re: Smoking Gun
Date: 12/20/00
From: David Evans Katz

SKEPTIC - "How can you say that? There were 15 Lockheed 10Es built. One was Earhart’s. Only one other still survives. Can you account for all the parts of all of the other 13?

Except that how many of the 10-E’s were ever anywhere near that part of the world, and how many of them disappeared mysteriously (in that part of the world)?

David Evans Katz

From Ric

None, of course. But you don’t have to have an airplane crash on an island in order to have a part show up there. From the time the first settlers arrived in 1938 we’re quite certain that no airplane ever crashed or was even damaged at Gardner, and yet we’ve identified parts from a Consolidated Model 32 (B-24, PB4Y-1, C-87, etc.) on the island.

Remember, we’re talking about bizarre scenarios to explain away apparent smoking guns. Let’s say we find a Lockheed 10 gear leg on the island. Smoking gun? Not necessarily. Suppose an airplane that crashed on Canton was carrying a spare gear leg destined for one of the Lockheed 10s in Australia and suppose that that part got salvaged by a worker on Canton whose home was on Niku. It could happen. How likely is it that it DID happen? About as likely as a woman’s blucher oxford being stocked in the Gardner Co-Op store.

My point is that skepticism, like love, will always find a way.


Message: 9
Subject: The Elephants’ Graveyard Hypothesis
Date: 12/20/00
From: Rick Seapin

Recently, Dave Porter asked, "what if you found a strut belonging to an Electra 10E on Niku..."

Viewing recent photos of the Norwich City, would anything be left of the Electra? Radial engines are large, but not as large as the super structure of the NC, and I believe that has rusted away.

From Ric

You raise an excellent point. That reef is about as brutal an environment as you could imagine. You can see what it has done to a 400 foot, 5,500 ton steel freighter in the course of 71 years. It doesn’t take much imagination to think what it would do to a flimsy little aluminum airplane in 63 years. Like looking for the remains of toilet paper used by Aristotle.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that any part of the airplane that stayed on that reef is now rusted and pulverized into oblivion.

Realistically, any part of the airplane that still exists got transported (by man or nature) to some less reductive environment fairly early on. The good news is that there were lots of forces available to do that. Nature could have moved pieces onto the ledge off the west end of the reef; or perhaps through the main channel and onto the lagoon floor; or for buoyant pieces, maybe somewhere along the lagoon shoreline. Parts found by the early settlers on the reef or shore may have been brought back to the village and used for local purposes. We’ve found scraps of material (dado, plexiglass, radio cables) in the village that may be from such use.

An interesting question that occurs to me is where did the rest of the Norwich City go? Did it just rust away? I don’t think so. If that were the case then all of it should be there in more or less the same state of oxidation. Instead, the big chunks that are still there are easily identifiable.

From a close look at the availble photos, this is what happened to the Norwich City.

The grounding in 1929 broke her back but she remained pretty much intact. There were a few pieces of debris on the reef around her, but not much. Sometime after April 1939 but before June 1941 her stern, which was hanging off the edge of the reef (about 40 percent of her entire length), broke off and tumbled down to reef slope to God-knows-where. My suspicion is that his may have happened during the big storm of November/December 1940. Now her severed hull was open to the sea but the surviving forward half of the ship remained suprisingly intact up through 1953. Still not much debris on the reef. It had now been 24 years since she went aground.

The next photo we have was taken 22 years later and the change is dramatic. She is no longer recognizable as a ship, just a massive engine and a row of three huge tanks on a base of rusted steel. Her bow has broken off and lies prow-skyward on the reef with the anchor still in the hawspipe. Scattered on the reef toward the main lagoon passage is a litter of debris. It’s as if, at some point, the rust weakened her seams to the point that the next big storm quite literally blew her apart, and yet there does not seem to be nearly enough sheet steel on the reef flat to account for all the hull and deck structure that was there. Where did it go?

She has remained largely unchanged since then (another 24 years when we last saw her in July 1999). The bow has broken up and the anchor now rests on the reef but the engine, and the three tanks are still there although one of the tanks has moved about 50 yards toward the shore.

Another observation: The debris on the reef is distributed in a path that leads toward the main lagoon passage but stops abruptly with one large sheet of hull plating at the edge of the beach.

Let’s call this the Elephants’ Graveyard Hypothesis:

Weather events out of the northwest drive debris on the reef toward the main passage. Due to the shape of the passage it acts as a venturi (a gravitational analogy would be a "black hole") and the closer an object gets to the "throat" of the passage the more intense are the forces pulling it toward the passage. Objects that have a sufficient ratio of surface area to mass (such as pieces of hull plating) pass a certain critical point and are pulled through the passage and end up on the floor of the lagoon just inside the passage. We know that material from the Norwich City can travel through the passage because there is a tank (apparently buoyant) from the ship that is up on the shore well inside the lagoon. Non-buoyant material ends up in an Elephants’ Graveyard of reef debris on the lagoon floor. That’s where most of the Electra went.

Testing the hypothesis:

  1. Go to island.
  2. Get in water.
  3. Look around.
If the hypothesis is correct the bottom should be littered with junk that was once out on the reef. We already know that the visibility is crummy and the tricky part could be sorting through the stuff to see if there are big chunks of aluminum there.


Message: 10
Subject: Re: Landing gear
Date: 12/20/00
From: Dennis McGee

All of this discussion regarding a landing gear from a "10E" overlooks the fact that the landing gear on AE’s 10E was not specific to the 10E. Is that correct, Ric?

It is my understanding that the 10E was a derivative of the Lockheed 10 and was produced in the A, B, C, D, and E (and beyond?) variants. The major differences in variants were the type/size/power of the engines and internal configurations for passengers versus freight hauling.

Therefore, if you find a landing gear from a "10E" if could also be from an A, B, C, or D model. That being the case there would be more than 14 aircraft (the number of Es produced) that need to be accounted for.

My argument is of course picking nits. Finding ANY landing gear on Niku would be a major discovery. Finding one from a Model 10 . . . .well, as Ric would say, "What are the odds?"

LTM, who has two legs to stand on
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC

From Ric

That’s right Dennis. The only parts of an E that are any different than other Electras are the engines, cowlings and nacelles. Of course, Earhart’s was a "10E Special" and had other unique features such as the fuselage tanks, but the basic airframe was pretty much the same as the other 147 Model 10s built by Lockheed. Incidentally, there was a 10A,10B,10C, and 10E but the 10D never got built.

Message: 11
Subject: Re: smoking guns
Date: 12/20/00
From: David Evans Katz

Ric wrote:

>"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury --- the accused was found
>standing over the body. The gun in his hand was still smoking from firing
>the bullets which killed the deceased. Surely he is the murderer." Any one
>of us could construct a scenario in which the man holding the smoking gun is

You are so right about your last sentence (above). There is a commentary in the Talmud about just such a scenario in which an innocent man discovers his wife’s body with a knife in it. Just as he removes the knife, the neighbors walk in to discover him holding it and leaning over the body.

In any event, if parts of an Electra 10-E are found on Niku, then the whole world would undoubtedly concede the TIGHAR hypothesis to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt (although Talmudic scholars may point out that it is not proven beyond any doubt). Just the same, if such parts are discovered on the ocean floor far away from NIKU, one would have to question at least part of the TIGHAR hypothesis -- that is, the part that has the plane landing on Niku. In such a circumstance, it may remain open to conjecture that AE & FN made it out of the plane alive and reached Niku (or some other island) safely.

David Evans Katz

From Ric

Assuming for a moment that the Electra DID run out of gas and go down at sea, I’ll consider it a sign of divine intervention if somebody discovers it on the ocean floor. All of the calculations I have seen which attempt to constrain the search area to even a few thousand square miles are pure fantasy. If that thing did not end up on Niku it is truly lost.

Message: 12
Subject: Re: Electra 10E/Landing gear strut
Date: 12/21/00
From: Frank Kuhre

Ric you may not remember me, but I was the refurb manager for the "Finch Electra." I missed any previous commentary on this landing gear issue, but I have a personal intimacy with the Electra landing gear, as I had to completely overhaul the strut, screw, track, and structural mounting for the one on the Finch 10E. Could you update me on the evidence (photos, sketch, text, etc.) are there any unresolved issues?

From Ric

Thanks Frank. Actually there is no evidence involving as gear strut, just some what-if speculation. The struts are probably the biggest steel components on the airplane and may have survived (if we look in the right place). It’s my recollection that the part number is cast into the gear leg, is that right?

Message: 13
Subject: Re: Elephants’ Graveyard Hypothesis
Date: 12/21/00
From: Rick Seapin

Ok, there is this force which funnels things into the lagoon. There must also be an outlet for the lagoon to purge things. I would imagine that heavy objects would sink and remain on the lagoon’s floor, but floatable items such as fabric and Plexiglas would be purged from the lagoon. I remember the Forum discussing this runoff from the lagoon is what caused the discoloration to part of the reef. Has this area of discoloration been examined for aircraft debris?

From Ric

Look at the map on the website. The southern lagoon passage --- Bauareke Passage --- acts as the overflow outlet but it’s not in a direct line form the main passage. There is lots of lagoon shoreline for buoyant debris to get caught on.

The speculation about a mark on the reef being evidence of overwash had to do with the Seven Site. I’ve been on the reef both there and at Bauaraeke Passage. There is no aircraft debris at either location --- nor should there be given the dynamic nature of the reef environment.

Message: 14
Subject: Crouch, Ric, and Evidence
Date: 12/21/00
From: Kenton Spading

Dennis McGee wrote:

>A brief review of Crouch’s sources and the detail he provides makes
>it evident that he worked long and hard on the book and applied many of the
>scientific principles of investigation used by TIGHAR. So, in that light I
>still find it hard to believe that Tom is unable to subscribe to TIGHAR’s
>theories and holds tight to the crashed-at-sea version of Earhart’s fate.
>I’ve seen the "Ric and Tom Road Show" and both men make compelling
>arguments for their cases. But I’ll still put my money (literally) on

Indeed Tom does do nice work and he clearly understands that scientific process. His occassional comments indicate that he is not as well versed in the Niku theory as he is in say the Wright brothers. However, he is not the only scientifically orientated person who is not married to the Niku hypothesis. Many subscribers to this forum are in the same boat. Out of curiosity Dennis, and recognizing you as a frequent contributor to this Forum, what are the top three reasons you are tightly bound to the TIGHAR hypothesis? What are the top three reasons you, or for that matter other Forum members, would bet the farm on it?

Kenton Spading

Message: 15
Subject: Re: Two if by air, two if by sea...
Date: 12/21/00
From: Troy

Ok, I was going to just lurk, but after seeing Daryll Bolinger’s web site and Reineck’s, a few comments from a computer techy who likes substance over the more ephemeral elements--and who wishes people weren’t so enamored with conspiracy theories, aliens, and their ilk.....

On both of these sites, I was struck with the lack of evidence outside of a "message in a bottle" (great name for a C movie, by the way...but I digress). On these sites I am given an interesting story (with some fairly decent investigative research) over the sound scientific method of providing repeated evidence supporting a theory. How can someone support something so strongly, when the evidence is sparse and shaky? Urghh! Ok, it might have been on this forum or somewhere else, but the quote that comes to mind is, "Do not attribute to malice that which can be explained by mere incompetence." In other words, I find it much more plausible that AE/FN were lost due to incompetence (that of their equipment and personal abilities) rather than that of maliciousness (Japanese with some conspiracy theory).

Ric, thank you for continuing to enforce an "open-minded-but-skeptical" forum in which all thoughts will be entertained as long as there is evidence to support it. And thank you for filtering out so much of the gobbly-gook so that we can focus on facts and not fantasy.

I better go before I get carried away and say something strongly.....

LTM (who asks, "Didn’t this LTM thing get started in a Japanese prison camp, anyway?")
--troy-- TIGHAR#something (have no idea how to find out my number, but I gave at the office)

Message: 16
Subject: Re: Two if by air, two if by sea
Date: 12/21/00
From: Cam Warren

The ancient myths and legends about Noah’s Flood, Atlantis, the Golden Fleece, Amazon women, et al, invariably have some factual basis, with the stories subsequently embellished to make some point or other, and make entertaining tales to be told around the campfire.

The same holds true for the disappearance of Earhart and Noonan. Eric de Bischopp was a professional lecturer, erstwhile soldier- of-fortune, informant to the military, etc. The fact that he was eventually traced to being the author of the "Ms. Found in a Bottle" (title courtesy of E. A. Poe) tells you something about the man’s character. A fascinating individual, as most con men are, and one who undoubtedly experienced some wild adventures in the Pacific, but also one who sought to parlay an alleged knowledge of AE/FN into his own benefit. Did he hob knob with US naval intelligence? Very likely, for pre-war they were most anxious to talk to anybody that appeared to have a working knowledge of the Pacific islands. And yes, the same applied to Hawaii’s Bishop Museum, the source of a substantial information for the classified "Pacific Air Pilot" publication.

Cam Warren

Message: 17
Subject: Top Three Reasons
Date: 12/21/00
From: Dennis McGee

Kenton Spading (no "L") asked:

>Out of curiosity Dennis, and
>recognizing you as a frequent contributor to this Forum, what are the top
>three reasons you are tightly bound to the TIGHAR hypothesis. What are the
>top three reasons you, or for that matter other Forum members, would bet the
>farm on it?

Last things first: I didn’t say I’d bet the farm on TIGHAR’s hypothesis, I said I’d bet my money, which isn’t too much because I’m but a humble public servant.

Why do I support TIGHAR? One word: credibility.

I’ve been a TIGHAR member since about 1986 or so and have joined the group on three expeditions to Maine looking for Nungesser and Coli. We didn’t find them.

Nonetheless, TIGHAR’s methodology of looking for things pretty much mirrors how I do things: form a hypothesis, collect data, analyze, review, collect, review, analyze, collect, etc. until you’re right or wrong and then start all over again. I know this isn’t a very "scientific" explanation, but you get the idea.

Also, TIGHAR walks the walk. Most of the other groups talk the talk but can’t seem to get their acts together (lack of credibility?) to go out and prove the theories they’re flinging around. They seem more content trying to disprove TIGHAR rather than doing independent research to substantiate their claims.

TIGHAR’s burned up some pretty serious big bucks over the past several years on the Earhart search, and so have some other guys. So far TIGHAR’s investment have provided far more substantial clues as to her disappearance than all of the others combined. Until some one can come up with better evidence . . .

Lastly, Ric has a video tape of me in the Maine woods doing . . .ah . . well, let’s not get specific. So for $45 a year I get to keep the tape out of the public domain. It’s a real good deal.

LTM, who was once young and foolish
Dennis O. McGee #0149EC

From Ric

Yeah, and I’ve got videotape of Spading too.

Message: 18
Subject: Top Three Reasons
Date: 12/21/00
From: Randy Jacobson

I’ve not bet the farm (yet) on the Niku hypothesis, but I sure do like the methodology, tenacity, and sheer determination involved in the historical research. Besides, it is the journey, not the destination, that is the most important thing in life. I rather like this particular keeps my mind sharp.

Message: 19
Subject: Re: Two if by air, two if by sea
Date: 12/21/00
From: Dan Postellon

Cam wrote:

>And yes, the same applied to Hawaii’s Bishop Museum, the source of a
>substantial information for the classified "Pacific Air Pilot" publication.

Except the Bishop Museum published results in peer-reviewed publications, and puts the conclusions up for debate.

Daniel Postellon Tighar # 2263

Message: 20
Subject: Top Three Reasons
Date: 12/21/00
From: Marty Moleski

Kenton Spading asked:

> ... What are the top three reasons
> you, or for that matter other Forum members, would bet the farm on it?

I’ve bet $80 on it so far (two years of dues). I’m thinking of buying the Eighth Edition (another $100).

Top three reasons:

  1. The LOP.
  2. Gallagher’s finds.
  3. The Catspaw heel.
But these don’t stand alone. There are other pieces that seem to me to interlock: sufficient fuel
  • landing site on reef
  • anecdotes from colonists
    • fishing line story
    • landing gear story
    • stories of man & woman’s bones
  • the unmarked (non-military) piece of aluminum

All of the post-loss radio signal stories seem to me to be of doubtful worth in pinpointing Niku. They are consistent with a landing elsewhere. They will gain credibility if Niku IIII finds more evidence to support the TIGHAR hypothesis--or if someone on Fiji turns up the bones and the sextant case.

Marty #2359

Message: 21
Subject: Re: Crouch, Ric and Evidence
Date: 12/22/00
From: Pete

I agree with Randy. Using TIGHAR standards, my research for school has intensified tenfold for all I’ve done. I have the references lined up and checked too (yes, I think it was aerial shots I was thinking of) I’m 35 and ex-Navy folks, no high school kid here. I’ve counted pennies for gas, and wanted to send them for Niku IIII.

Now, Ric has to wade through all the postings before they get on the Forum. Ric is busting a gut to get financing to go back to Niku and search. Pat is putting up with all this, and helping too.

While Ric is getting a break, go to the library, view micofilm, look again. We have shoe construction of the 30’s, aircraft design and manufacturing of pre- and during WW2 to compare, radio propagation and reception ability using pre-solid state technology, weather patterns, capabilities of the aircraft --as modified, message traffic from different sites. Add navigation problems, ship’s positions via logs, documented history of island in question, ad infinitum.

SUGGESTION: Forum members take a few days off, then look back at what is noted, saved, jotted down, whatever. See what can match what in data (times and locations and events and capabilites for the Electra versus interception times versus weather patterns versus sites ,,,,OR NC manifest versus artifacts of found with what would be had in 1929 ) Recharge batts, reset brain. Compile data gathered, do the analysis, then present. Months of data and opinion flow here folks, Niku IIII has limited time on-site, I believe the Forum is to make every second there count.

Ric, if you make me drive up there from Florida and duct tape you so you’ll go on vacation I’ll be shoving snow down your pants.


From Ric

Okay Pete. I know a serious threat when I hear one.

Message: 22
Subject: Top Three Reasons
Date: 12/22/00
From: Ric Gillespie

I notice that no one except Marty actually answered Kenton’s challenge to name the three most compelling pieces of evidence which support TIGHAR’s hypothesis. Of course, as has been said, the real strength of the hypothesis is that there are far more than three pieces of good evidence but I do think there is some value in soul-searching for the top three.

For me, at least right now, they are:

1. The navigational logic.

Gardner is where they SHOULD be based upon everything we’ve learned about how the flight was conducted.
2. The castaway(s).
SOMEBODY, and probably two somebodies, a man and a woman, died marooned on Gardner in the years immediately preceding 1940. The woman probably was of Earhart’s general height and ethnic type. There is no other known woman or couple missing in the region.
3. The airplane wreck.
There is a rich and consistent body of folklore from many different sources and corroborated (but not yet proven) by historical photos and recovered artifacts which tells of an aircraft wreck on Gardner sometime before the arrival of the first settlers. Such a wreck can only be the Electra.
A few years ago my top three would have been somewhat different but the most encouraging thing about this whole project has always been the fact that new information keeps coming out that trumps the old stuff. When we started in 1988 all we had was a basic understanding of the navigational logic and look where we are today. Before long I expect that my top three will change again.

I respect Kenton and Randy and others whose nature and training lead them to hold back and make sure all the "i"s are dotted and "t"s are crossed before reaching a conclusion. That’s the way it has to be before a scientifically supportable conclusion can be presented, but to reach that point there has to be an advocate who is willing to stand up at the beginning and say "I think this is true and I think we can prove it." It is the role of the advocate to lead the quest, to take the heat of unfounded criticism and accept the corrections of well-founded challenges. That’s what I try to do.


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