Forum artHighlights From the Forum

April 22 through 28, 2001

Contents:
(click on the number to go directly to that message)
1
Whose Mother? Ron Bright
2
Experts Andrew McKenna
3
Imagery Acquired Ric Gillespie
4
Re: Imagery Acquired Dick Pingrey
5
Need Information on Apia Ric Gillespie
6
New Shoe Thoughts Ric Gillespie

Message: 1
Subject: Whose Mother?
Date: 4/23/01
From: Ron Bright

The following is a report by Ron Bright on the apparent origin of the famous "Love to Mother" message sent to George Putnam in 1945. Ron has been pursuing this line of research for some time now and, although he is a TIGHAR member --- as are several of the researchers who are working with him --- this excellent piece of historical detective work is not a "TIGHAR project" per se.

If you're not familiar with the Love to Mother message you might want to first read the FAQ on the TIGHAR website at Love to Mother.

Without further ado, here is Ron Bright's report.


The Putnam Message: Who Wrote It?

Synopsis

An examination of the 135 messages sent from Weihsien 21 Aug 45 to the State Dept revealed two messages with identical phrasing: "...camp liberated..." One was an unsigned message sent to George Putnam and the other was a message signed by a man named Ahmad Kamal. Investigation of Kamal's background disclosed a close relationship with Putnam during the 1938-40 period in Los Angeles. Kamal's son was located and confirmed that his father sent the messages -- one to to his publisher, Scribner and Sons, and the other to George Putnam. He added the "..love to mother" because Putnam was "looking after Kamal's mother in LA when Kamal left for China."

Background

After Amelia Earhart disappeared on 2 July 37 enroute to Howland Island, an immediate Navy search disclosed not a single trace of Earhart or the Electra. As the years went by various archeological diggings at Saipan and Gardner revealed suspected Earhart related artifacts but only a few "hard" pieces of physical evidence remain today that might be linked to Amelia: one is the Radiogram message dated 21 Aug 45 from Weihsien Internment Camp, China, via the US State Dept to George Putnam at N. Hollywood, Ca., with the enigimatic closing of "... Love to Mother". It was transmitted as "unsigned" and the search for the author began.

Putnam had replied to the State Dept on 9 Sep 1937 with a terse letter that if any additonal telegrams are received foreward them to his home at Lone Pine,Ca. The government, Putnam nor anyone else initiated a investigaiton of Earharts presence at Weihsien. Putnam apparently did not tell Amy or Muriel Morrisey. The message was never made public.

Then in 1971, long time Earhart researcher Fred Goerner learned about the Putnam message and in 1975 received a copy from the National Archives. Goerner didn't publicize this discovery, although he exchanged letters with other researchers. Goerner dismissed the letter as an unsigned message to Putnam from someone at Weihsien who knew him pre-war; he didn't believe it was from Earhart.

Time passed and then on 28 June 1987, the LA Times published an article that a State Dept employee found an "unpublished" government telegram in the "Earhart" file at the National Archives. It was the Putnam message delivered to him in Aug 1945.

The clear implication was Amelia was held as a prisoner at Weihsien Civilian Assembly Camp. Some researchers believed this was compelling evidence that the Japanese had indeed captured Amelia after ditching or crashing and was held since 1937 by the Japanese government. The message was unsigned and made no mention of Amelia. After the Camp's liberation in 1945, Amelia reportedly was returned to the US, and evaded all publicity.

Adding support to the "authenticity" that the message was from Earhart, Lt. James Hannon, one of the OSS paratroopers who liberated the Camp on 15 Aug 45, told AES researchers that the message confirmed in his mind some of the strange events at Weihsien. He described a comatose, incoherent female "Yank" who he believed must have been Earhart because of the special treatment she was accorded; and in Sept 1945 she was spirited away by a Japanese Betty bomber. It was plausible, but not likely. It was not definitive.

Suffice it for the purposes of this article that an extensive investigation, including interviews with other OSS troops, Camp Administrators, internees, and Camp documents, did not confirm the supposition that Earhart was at Weihsien. Yet it was not an absolute conclusion.

Most researchers agreed with Goerner and believed it was an associate or friend of Putnam's that wrote the message pointing out that Putnam apparently did not ask for additional investigation. But then who did write the LTM message (as it is called)? If we could find out the author and it wasn't Earhart that would close the speculation on Earhart's presence at Weihsien.

The Investigation

We believed that the author

  1. Had to know the 1935-41 address of Putnam at 10042 Valley Spring Lane, N. Hollywood, CA
  2. knew Putnam well enough to send the message with some kind of reason and
  3. that the author was conveying a code or initimate purpose with the "love to mother" closing.

Steps in the Process

1. I examined a list of all 1400 plus internees on a June 1944 roster for any clues regarding, age, business, occupations, and nationalities (American) but none seemed to suggest a link a professional or business link with Putnam.
2. I examined the Radiogram from the State Dept, transmitted from Chungking to the US State Dept via Navy radio, with the 135 messages. They were mostly addressed to relatives, business partners, schools, and all were limited to about 10 words.
3. Only two messages were designated with a (*) meaning signature omitted, and it was Putnam's and the very next message. This suggested a possible transmission problem.
4.

Examining the text of each disclosed that only two messages out of the 135 were strikingly similar in the phrasing of "... camp liberated..." Those messages belonged to an "A. Kamal" and to GP Putnam.

Putnam's: "Camp liberated; all well. Volumes to tell. Love to Mother. (sig.omitted)"
Kamal's: "... advise mother all safe concentration camp liberated books ready, Kamal."

5. Kamal's message was addressed to Maxwell Perkins at Scribner and Sons, a publishing house.
6. None of the other messages used the "camp liberated" phrase , and the "advise mother" phrase. I felt that Kamal could be a possibility as he was a self proclaimed author and writing a competitive publishing house of Putnam's. Maybe he too was writing to Putnam about a forthcoming book, just a guess.
7. The Camp roster listed A. Kamal as a 30 yr old "student" and a Mrs A.T. Kamal, housewife.

We then contacted numerous former Internees and learned that Kamal was "Ahmad Kamal" a self proclaimed expert in Central Asia matters, authority on Mongolian and Chinese Turkestan, a guide on the Roy Chapman Andrews expedition in the Gobi desert, and an "author."

Former internee Pamela Masters, who wrote The Mushroom Years, a story of the Weihsien experience, recalled that Kamal from Weihsien looked up her sister in LA in 1947 trying to sell a story something about Six Fathoms Deep; he was attempting to break into the Hollywood scene. She described him as a "flaming red headed" Turk.

We reviewed publishing companThe Seven Questions of Timur published in 1938 and Land without Laughter, published in 1940. These books described his adventures in Central Asia, getting charged as a spy by the Russians, escaping with a Chinese general to Peking.

These descriptions of the book lead us to believe that the Ahmad Kamal at Weihsien was the same Kamal as the author. And if he was an author it was possible that he had some connection with George Putnam pre-war. But we couldn't find any direct link.

A fellow TIGHAR researcher found that AE and George Putnam had a social relationship with Andrews (the Gobi expedtion) in the mid- to late 30's. Thus, we speculated, if Kamal at Weihsien was the author Kamal, it could be a common link between Kamal and Putnam.

Then a major breakthough came in April 2001. A review of FBI records of Putnam, obtained thru FOIA, and just declassified in 1998, disclosed an amazing connection betweeen a "young man" who spoke Turkish and Chinese, who was writing about his adventures in China c. 1935-38. According to the FBI files, Putnam was recruiting a "young man," never identified by name, to be a double agent against the Japanese at Los Angeles. The young man, said Putnam, was working for the LA Japanese Consulate and was furnishing them with aircraft data, contruction, ship movements, etc., (overtly) and Putnam wanted the FBI to recruit him as a double agent. After an exchange of letters with J. Edgar Hoover, and meetings with the LA FBI agents, it was clear the FBI didn't want anything to do with this scene, and suggested Putnam contact Navy Intelligence. Putnam declined as he had "bad experiences" with two Navy Admirals earlier.

But who was this "young man," who Putnam declined to identify to the FBI? Was he the same Kamal from Weihsien?

A social security death index check disclosed that a Ahmad Kamal was born in 1914 and died 13 Oct 1989 at Santa Barbara, Ca. The FBI in LA estimated the young man's age at 24 in 1938 and as we know the Kamal at Weihsien was age 30 in 1945. Kamal was looking better to us. But we could not find any exisiting autobiographies or biographies in major libraries about him.

Our conjecture then was that the author Kamal was the same Kamal as Putnam's young man based on age and on the Central Asia background, and Kamal's published book in 1938 at Santa Ana, near Santa Barbara. But nothing conclusive. Why would Weihsien Kamal send a message to Putnam? A new book? Kamal seemed to be the LTM author but why use this intimate phrase, and since he was now dead could we ever find a specific link between Kamal as the "young man" and the Kamal that Putnam was recruiting?

The Final Link

On 18 April 01, I located Ahmad Kamal's son in Southern California and his revelations about his father were extraordinary. Yes the Kamal was the prolific author of The Seven Questions of Timur and Land Without Laughter, and the Kamal at Weihsien Civilian prison camp were one and the same! Yes there was a close link between Putman and Kamal at Los Angeles, pre war.

The following is based on his son's recollection. After extensive traveling in Turkestan, China, and Central asia, Kamal returned to the US circa early 20's . In 1924 Kamal obrtained a pilot's license and kept an airplane at the Burbank airport. There in the mid-thirties he met Howard Hughes (flew with Hughes), George Putnam and Amelia Earhart. At the Burbank airport, Kamal was close to Hughes' personal secretary Nadine Henly. (Earhart was at Burbank airport prior to her world flight first starting in March 1937.)

During this time in 1937-38, Kamal became closely acquainted with Putnam who was helping him find a publisher. About this time, 1938, Kamal published his Seven Questions book about his adventures in Central Asia, fighting against the Russians, imprisonment, and escape out to Peking.

Sometime after circa 1939- 1940 , Kamal returned to China where he met and married his wife at Tientsin,China. The war broke out in Dec 41 and soon afterwards, the Japanese Temekai (Secret Police) captured him and his wife, and as they refused to cooperate, they were transferred to Weihsien Camp c. mid 1942. There he remained until liberated until Aug 1945.

According to his son, shortly after the camp was liberated, Kamal, sent out two radiomessages: one to Scribner and Sons about publishing a book, and one to GP Putnam. His son said he has seen either notes or a journal of that message and could repeat it almost by heart-- something like "camp liberated, all was well, volumes to follow and love to mother." The "love to mother" was added, said his son, as Putnam agreed to look after Kamal's aging mother when Kamal left for China. Putnam was to look in on Mrs Kamal, also in LA, but she didn't live with Putnam. It was an informal caregiver arrangement.

Kamal spoke Turkish, Chinese and was an "international figure," later becoming involved in assisting rebels in other countries.

Kamal's son said that his father never discussed with him any of Putnam's efforts to recruit him for the FBI. (The son was born in 1950.)

After liberation, Kamal returned to the US and continued to publish and lived in the LA area from 1945-51. (By this time, Putnam had moved in 1941 to his Lone Pine address). He does not know if Kamal ever got in touch with Putnam after the war.

In summary, Kamal said his father often discussed Amelia Earhart and various disappearance theories. His father, who knew Amelia, said she was not at Weihsien while he was there from 42-Aug 45. The story of Earhart in the son's words was "apocryphal" and that's why he recalled his father's stories while he was growing up in the 60s,70s and 80s. His father thought she went down in the sea.

The son said he would search through his material, his father's journals and provide any relevant document or record.

Conclusion

Thus the author of the LTM message is Ahmad Kamal . Kamal was at Weishein and knew Putnam and AE. His message to Putnam was a generic hopeful notificagion. Putnam was taking care of his mother, hence the "love to mother." The message has a simple mundane explanation. Nothing more than an endearing message for Putnam to convey to his mom after his three years at the Camp.

For those that wish to know more about Kamal I suggest reading his first two books. We intend to continue correspondence with Kamal son, obtain confirming documents, to supplement this preliminary report.

Acknowledgements

Dusty and I wish to thank Rollin Reineck, who intially researched, located State Dept radiograms to Putnam and generously provided them. Also to Pat Gaston, Don Neuman, Don Jordan, and Andrew McKenna for advice and direction in this investigation. Early researchers did not have the advantage of the 1998 declassified Putnam FBI file that disclosed the relationship between a Weihsien internee and Putman.

Ron Bright


Message: 2
Subject: Experts
Date: 4/23/01
From: Andrew McKenna

Charles Lim wrote:

>When I first went to the site years ago I remember feeling intimidated by
>the wealth of knowledge that TIGHAR had built up, it is like WOW you GUYS
>KNOW THAT MUCH??...

Wow, Charles, you flatter us.

We are not all experts, not by any stretch of the imagination. We are interested and focused, and those of us who have been members for a while have absorbed much information through osmosis or some such. If being knowlegeable about the subject makes me an expert, then guess what, you're an expert now yourself.

Think about it, would you feel comfortable trying to explain the big picture of the Earhart mystery to someone new to the Forum? If you have been with the Forum for a year or so, I would think you could do it. You already know more about it than 99% or the folks out there.

And another thing, if you polled the Forum (or even the NIKU expedition members) for professions, I think that you would find that the vast majority are not airline pilots, archaeolgists, anthropologists, and the like. Most of us have employment that is totally non aviation related, yet we are members because we are interested in the work TIGHAR does, and the AE project. I work on commercial and industrial energy conservation projects. Doesn't qualify me for any special TIGHAR category unless Ric wants me to recommend how to maximize the efficiency of his refrigeration.

I am hoping some of the past and future NIKU team members will pipe in here just to show you we are not all "experts." (Cue for the team members.)

That is one of the beauties of the Forum. We can draw on the expertise of the entire group rather than depend upon a small select group. You don't know what you might be able to contribute until it comes up, and there have been many offshoot threads from the forum quilt, like shoes, fire extinguishers, thunder boxes, buttons, radio stuff, etc, etc, etc. Something just might come up in your field, and indeed you would be the expert. This is why the Forum is so powerful as a research tool.

So the bottom line is that nobody should be intimidated by the Forum. We don't know it all, if we did, there wouldn't be a Forum.

And, yes the Campaign continues, so thanks for signing up. The $$ are greatly appreciated, but increasing the membership is primary in my mind. The money will follow the membership, and I like the current trend.

Who's Next??

LTM (who is no expert, and thankfully not a Monk either)
Andrew McKenna
1045CE


Message: 3
Subject: Imagery Acquired
Date: 4/25/01
From: Ric Gillespie

On Monday, April 16, 2001 at 21:59 Zulu the Lockheed/Martin IKONOS 2 satellite looked down from space and captured two images of Nikumaroro specifically for TIGHAR -- a black and white panchromatic image with one meter resolution and a four-band multispectral color image with four meter resolution. We have not yet seen the imagery but the quality is reported to be excellent and basically cloud-free.

The acquisition of this imagery was contracted through Space Imaging, Inc. of Thornton, Colorado but the actual arrangements turned out to be far more unusual and fortuitous than we had originally anticipated.

Ordering custom satellite photos is a bit different from hiring a photographer to take pictures. The customer does not own the images outright but rather purchases the rights to use the images in specific ways via a licensing agreement. We originally thought that the project would cost $6,000 but, as it turned out, our intended use of the imagery -- analysis for research purposes and reproduction for the TIGHAR membership -- carried a far higher price tag. Further complicating the issue was the fact that we do not have the expertise internally to analyze the data. Making the high resolution data available to another entity to do the analysis would further increase the cost.

A creative solution to the problem was made possible with the cooperation of Space Imaging and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It seems that NOAA is conducting a study of the world's coral reefs to assess their health and the environmental factors threatening them. The reef at Nikumaroro is one of the few pristine examples left but, because it's not U.S. territory, NOAA is not able to spend money to take pictures of it. The deal we worked out is that TIGHAR will pay for the acquisition of the imagery. We'll share it with NOAA who will both analyze it for our research purposes and use it in their own coral reef study, and we'll be able to make pretty pictures of Niku available to our members with proper credit to Space Imaging --- and the cost of all this to TIGHAR is $3,000, half of what we originally anticipated.

It's still $3,000 that was not in the budget but contributions in response to February's appeal in TIGHAR Tracks have already covered two-thirds of that amount. Jim Thompson (TIGHAR #2185) of Select GIS Services, Inc. has been a major contributor to this project and has generously offered to match dollar-for-dollar all contributions toward covering that last thousand bucks. TIGHAR members who send at least $100 will receive an 8x10 color copy of the satellite photo of Nikumaroro --- and Jim will double your money for us.

Analysis of the imagery is scheduled for early May.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 4
Subject: Re: Imagery Acquired
Date: 4/25/001
From: Dick Pingrey

My check for $100 for one of the space image photos will follow by mail shortly. Could you outline briefly for the Forum what TIGHAR is hoping to find in the analysis of the photos?

Dick Pingrey 908C


From Ric

Thanks Dick. Certainly.

In terms of searching for direct evidence, we'll be looking closely at the blue/green bands of the multispectral imagery which (we're hoping) will give us up to about 90 feet of water penetration with four meter resolution. If a chunk of the airplane that big is on the reef-slope anywhere around the island down to that depth we might be able to see it or at least identify an anomally that could be investigated "in person."

The same is true for the lagoon which is only about 25 feet deep. Even if we can't tell what kind of wreckage it is, we might be able to see if and where there is a debris field on the lagoon bottom.

Our ground operations later this summer will benefit greatly from having a current picture of the vegetation distribution and, for the first time, we should be able to accurately georeference the island with GPS.

Combined with the 1985 aerial photography we found in Tarawa and the earlier aerial photos we have dating from the 1930s,'40s and '50s, we should be able to track any changes in the island's morphology right up to the present. When you're investigating something that happened a long time ago it's real important to know how the lay of the land has changed over the years.


Message: 5
Subject: Need Info On Apia
Date: 4/28/01
From: Ric Gillespie

I'd like to recruit the forum's help in some logistical planning for Niku IIII.

Here's the plan:

As we have on the past two trips ('97 and '99), we're chartering the Fiji-based motor/sailer Nai'a as our expedition ship. This time, however, rather than staging the expedition out of Fiji we'll be flying to Samoa where Nai'a will join us after completing a previously scheduled charter in the Kingdom of Tonga. Because Samoa is quite a bit closer to Niku than is Fiji, it means we'll only have three days at sea (insted of five) enroute to the island. That's good.

But meeting Nai'a in Samoa raises some logistical questions. It is essential that the team be there and ready to go when Nai'a arrives. Any time Nai'a spends waiting for us in Samoa is money and work time on Niku down the toilet. Also, Nai'a will need to refuel and reprovision in Samoa and that needs to happen efficiently and economically.

There are two distinct national entities with the Samoan island group. American Samoa is a territory of the United States just like Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. It has an excellent harbor at Pago Pago (pronounced Pahngo Pahngo) on the island of Tutuila with good fueling and reprovisioning facilities. Were familar with Pago Pago because we refueled and reprovisioned there on the first Earhart Project expedition in 1989 because the ship we were using did not have the capability to go Fiji/Niku/Fiji without replenishing enroute. The airport at Pago Pago is served twice weekly by Hawaiian Air out of Honolulu.

Western Samoa is part of the British commonwealth. Its main port is Apia on the island of Upolu (about 150 miles west of Tutuila). The airport at Apia is served by Air New Zealand which has a once-a-week nonstop flight to/from Los Angeles.

So - the question is, do we stage the expedition out of Pago Pago or Apia?

Pago Pago has some advantages:

  • It's an excellent port with adequate facilities.
  • Air service is twice per week (Mondays and Fridays).
  • Air fare from LAX is a little cheaper than Air New Zealand's fares to Apia.
There are also some disadvantages:
  • It's 150 miles farther out of the way. That's half a day to Nai'a on the way out and on the way back. Using Pago rather than Apia would cost the expedition a full day of on-site time.
  • Flying nonstop from LAX is a whole lot more attractive than doglegging through Honolulu.
  • Hawaiian Air has a terrible reputation for late and cancelled flights, while Air New Zealand's record is excellent. Any savings in airfare would quickly be negated if our sailing was delayed.
At the moment, Apia seems to be the more attractive alternative but we don't know anything about the port facilites there. Can Nai'a refuel and reprovision efficiently and economically at Apia? I've told the folks at Nai'a that I would let slip the dogs of war and put the question out to the forum. Let's see what we can find out.

LTM,
Ric


Message: 6
Subject: New Shoe Thoughts
Date: 4/28/01
From: Ric Gillespie

Continuing debate about the whole issue of shoes has produced some new thoughts that are worth throwing out to the forum for consideration and comment. It has also become apparent that some specific research is needed if we are to replace speculation with fact.

Let's review what we know, what we want to know, and some suggested answers.

What We Know

One of Gallagher's initial discoveries with the bones in September 1940 was "part of a sole" of what he took to be a woman's "stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal." He judged the size to be "probably size 10." Later, after an "organized search" ordered in October, the artifacts found and shipped to Fiji included, according to Dr. Steenson's note to the file in July 1941, "parts of shoes worn by a male person and a female person."

What We Want To Know

What was it about the "part of a sole" that prompted Gallagher to say that it was from a woman's "stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal"? Given that he only had part of a sole, how reliable is his size estimate? What was Steenson looking at that prompted him to agree with Gallagher's assessment that there was part of a woman's shoe but add that there was also part of a man's shoe? How are these people making these gender distinctions?

Suggested Answers

One theory holds that the gender identification of the part of a sole initially found by Gallagher was based upon the speculative presence of a higher heel than would be considered normal for a man's shoe. This is supported by an anecdotal account reportedly heard by author Fred Goerner on Tarawa in 1968 that a "woman's high heeled shoe" had been found on Gardner.

Another suggestion is that the part of a sole found by Gallagher was too narrow to be a man's shoe. A shoe sole, it is argued, is more likely to break along its lateral rather than its longitudinal axis so Gallagher probably had better information about the shoe's width than about it's length. The idea that the part of a sole thought to be feminine was narrow is supported by the Floyd Kilts' anecdote in which he described the shoe as "size nine narrow."

Here's another idea. What if Gallagher found the rear half or two-thirds (whatever) of the sole of Earhart's Pair #3 (as shown in the Shoe Fetish Part 2 research bulletin at http://www.tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Bulletins/04_05_01%20Bulletin/04_05_01bull.html)? Unlike the blucher oxfords she wore when flying, photos show here wearing these shoes in casual settings and when sight-seeing during the World Flight. Perhaps their most distinctive feature is a relatively thick white or cream-colored sole which appears to be a single molded piece including the heel. If all you had was the rear portion of such a sole the light color might be seen as a strong indication that it was feminine, the thickness of the sole might account for the "stoutish" characterization, and the one piece sole/heel is typical of " heavy" sandals.

And the continuing question, are the shoe parts found by TIGHAR on Aukeraime in 1991 related to the Earhart disappearance?

Recent forum discussions have considered the possibility that the various photos of Earhart's blucher oxfords seem to indicate that, rather than featuring replacement heels, the bottom part of the heels appear to be "two-tone", with the inside portion being a lighter color than the outside portion. Some forum subscribers have offered recollections of such heels but what we really need is something like a catalog picture or advertisement from an old magazine documenting that such heels were in use in 1937.

With such documentation in hand we could pretty well discount the Aukeraime shoe parts as being Earhart's.

Whatever the results of that research, it occurs to me that it's not very likely that the shoe parts Gallagher found included a Cat's Paw heel. It's fairly easy to read "Cat's Paw Rubber Co. U.S.A." right on the heel and given his initial suspicion that the castaway might be AE, it's hard to believe that such an obvious U.S. connection would not be mentioned in the file.

LTM,
Ric Continuing debate about the whole issue of shoes has produced some new thoughts that are worth throwing out to the forum for consideration and comment. It has also become apparent that some specific research is needed if we are to replace speculation with fact.

Let's review what we know, what we want to know, and some suggested answers.

What We Know

One of Gallagher's initial discoveries with the bones in September 1940 was "part of a sole" of what he took to be a woman's "stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal." He judged the size to be "probably size 10." Later, after an "organized search" ordered in October, the artifacts found and shipped to Fiji included, according to Dr. Steenson's note to the file in July 1941, "parts of shoes worn by a male person and a female person."

What We Want To Know

What was it about the "part of a sole" that prompted Gallagher to say that it was from a woman's "stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal"? Given that he only had part of a sole, how reliable is his size estimate? What was Steenson looking at that prompted him to agree with Gallagher's assessment that there was part of a woman's shoe but add that there was also part of a man's shoe? How are these people making these gender distinctions?

Suggested Answers

One theory holds that the gender identification of the part of a sole initially found by Gallagher was based upon the speculative presence of a higher heel than would be considered normal for a man's shoe. This is supported by an anecdotal account reportedly heard by author Fred Goerner on Tarawa in 1968 that a "woman's high heeled shoe" had been found on Gardner.

Another suggestion is that the part of a sole found by Gallagher was too narrow to be a man's shoe. A shoe sole, it is argued, is more likely to break along its lateral rather than its longitudinal axis so Gallagher probably had better information about the shoe's width than about it's length. The idea that the part of a sole thought to be feminine was narrow is supported by the Floyd Kilts' anecdote in which he described the shoe as "size nine narrow."

Here's another idea. What if Gallagher found the rear half or two-thirds (whatever) of the sole of Earhart's Pair #3 (as shown in the Shoe Fetish Part 2 research bulletin)? Unlike the blucher oxfords she wore when flying, photos show here wearing these shoes in casual settings and when sight-seeing during the World Flight. Perhaps their most distinctive feature is a relatively thick white or cream-colored sole which appears to be a single molded piece including the heel. If all you had was the rear portion of such a sole the light color might be seen as a strong indication that it was feminine, the thickness of the sole might account for the "stoutish" characterization, and the one piece sole/heel is typical of " heavy" sandals.

And the continuing question, are the shoe parts found by TIGHAR on Aukeraime in 1991 related to the Earhart disappearance?

Recent forum discussions have considered the possibility that the various photos of Earhart's blucher oxfords seem to indicate that, rather than featuring replacement heels, the bottom part of the heels appear to be "two-tone", with the inside portion being a lighter color than the outside portion. Some forum subscribers have offered recollections of such heels but what we really need is something like a catalog picture or advertisement from an old magazine documenting that such heels were in use in 1937.

With such documentation in hand we could pretty well discount the Aukeraime shoe parts as being Earhart's.

Whatever the results of that research, it occurs to me that it's not very likely that the shoe parts Gallagher found included a Cat's Paw heel. It's fairly easy to read "Cat's Paw Rubber Co. U.S.A." right on the heel and given his initial suspicion that the castaway might be AE, it's hard to believe that such an obvious U.S. connection would not be mentioned in the file.

LTM,
Ric


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