Forum artHighlights From the Forum

May 17 through 23, 1999

Subject: Diplomatic Message and the Author of the Bottle Message
Date: 5/17/99
From: Herman De Wulf

May I further add to the confusion by reminding that Eric de Bisschof is not a French name but undoubtedly a Flemish one.

Let me first state that I am convinced that the "message in the bottle" is a hoax. Nevertheless it would be interesting finding out who plays such tricks and why.

If Mr. de Bisschof lived in Paris, he might well have been one of many Belgians who emigrated to France after World War I (more emigrated to the US) . Or he may simply have come from the Pas de Calais area in Northern France, which used to to be part of Flanders until 1713, in which year the Treaty of Utrecht decided it would go to the king of France.

Has anyone researched this guy ? If he had lived in Flanders, which is in Belgium, (remember the "Flanders' Fields" of WW I fame), his name would be spelled Erik De Bisschop (although Eric - with c - is just as frequent). There are plenty of people over here who are called De Bisschop. The article "De" before "Bisschop" is typical for a Flemish family name and has nothing to do with nobility as suggested when spelled "de", as is frequently believed in the Anglo-Saxon countries. I wonder if anyone could provide more details on this Paris "bishop". He may have plenty of relatives in Belgium and it might be interesting to find out more about him. Any more details anyone?


From Ric

There is certainly no harm in chasing this obscure footnote but I'm not at all sure there is much point in it either.

Subject: Ray Eliot
Date: 5/18/99
From: Andrew McKenna

Here is a theory:

Just suppose that one Ray Eliot was in fact the mysterious person set ashore by the crew of the Buttonwood during Jan of 1947, and suppose he takes pictures of one wrecked airplane, either as part of his mission or not, and suppose his mission is classified for whatever reason, resulting in deck logs later being removed.

Sheech, sounds like a conspiracy!

Then, years later, our Ray Eliot meets a guy, or has a good friend who is very interested in AE, and through friendship turns over a copy of his photo thinking it might be of interest or help, but only on the condition that the source of the photo remain secret. The guy with the photo takes it to Lockheed and the Smithsonian for analysis, but the cat gets out of the bag, and a group called TIGHAR picks up the scent and starts asking questions. The natural response would be DENY DENY DENY.

Having spoken with Capt Carrington, USNRet myself (and had a similar experience to Ric's although a somewhat longer conversation), it strikes me that the above scenario or something similar may explain why he is so tight with the source of the photo.

Is it a possiblity that Carrington himself is the photographer?

I also agree that if pushed, Carrington will only stiffen his resolve against helping TIGHAR. I am not sure what the best way to proceed with that particular prickly pear.

It would seem that perhaps we should scour the country and Canada for Ray Eliot.

Andrew McKenna

From Ric

I don't think there is much chance that Carrington is the photographer. He thinks Earhart was spy and he didn't use the photo in his own book.

A search for Ray Eliot (spelling speculative) sounds like a massive undertaking and Carrington may well have changed the name to protect his source.


Subject: Buttonwood Itinerary
Date 5/18/99
From: Ric Gillespie

I have some further indication of the itinerary of the Buttonwood via former crewmember Ed Zeigler. It's not as good as logs, but it's pretty good. Seems that at the beginning of each cruise the ship's yeoman would pass out copies of the official Sailing Directions for each island to be visited and a map showing where they were. Zeigler still has his copies and map from that trip and made copies for me. The ship's travels for the voyage in question appear to include:

Upolu (British Samoa)
Tutuila (American Samoa)

It's an interesting list. It does not include Apia in Western (British) Samoa which former crewmember Dan Skellie says was visited, but I suspect that he was thinking of Upolu. Otherwise, the itinerary matches Skellie's recollections except that he did not recall calling at Atafu which Ziegler says was visited on the way back north to Hawaii.

Baker, Canton, Gardner and Atafu were all stations in the WWII Loran chain that had been shut down the year before, so it may be that they were doing some sort of security check on the warehoused equipment left behind. What may be a bit odd is that Atafu is very much on the way from Gardner to Samoa. Why wait until the trip back to Hawaii to make a visit that would then require a considerable detour? Was there some urgency in getting from Gardner down to Tutuila so that the captain could fly to Fiji (if, indeed, he did)?

Sure wish we could find those logs.


Subject: Location of Bones
Date: 5/19/99
From: Kenton Spading

On 5/13/99 Tom King wrote:

>Not meaning to be picky, but a kanawa growing on the lagoon
>shore northwest of the Loran Station site would be pretty close to
>anything on the SE ocean side shore.

Tom, thank you for illustrating my point, the atoll/land mass is very narrow up there. I have also have studied the map of Niku in detail in an effort to try and define Gallagher's use of the description "south east corner of island" in his effort to describe to the WPHC in Fiji where he found the bones.

The entire eastern half of Aukaraime (south) is only approx. 200 yards wide from lagoon to ocean but then that may no be in a coco planting area?? Up near the shoe/baby's grave site it is wider but still only about 3000 feet wide. It really gets down to an opinion of what Gallagher meant by "not very far". Not very far to me personally is less than one mile. It is anyone's guess what Gallagher's perception was.

The key word for me is "Corner". Corner speaks to me of an outer extremity.

Kenton Spading

Subject: Why Not Take Off?
Date: 5/23/99
From: Ang.

>You doing great right up until you started talking about the Japanese.
>Why on Earth would the Japanese, supposing that your unfounded speculation
>about their DF capability is true, travel over a thousand miles from their
>nearest area of interest to kidnap Earhart?

Sorry; I have not recently studied a map to appreciate these distances.

I bring up the Japanese only because of the lack of acknowleged radio contact by our side, and the possibility that AE could have transmitted for some days. My understanding from reading the Itasca log transcripts is that direction-finding at shorter (HF) wavelengths was not common for US ships in that Pacific area, while it may have been so with the Japanese - who were in close technical contact with Germany at the time. It is my hunch that Germany had by then deveolped good DF capability at a wide variety of wavelengths. I need to research my files for these notions to be more definite. In any event, if there was discovery by the Japanese, it would have been through that (HF-DF) method.

As to their motivation, I think they were competitive for the maintenance and domination of all these Mandated Islands and beyond. Pearl Harbor occurred 4 years later. All of this speculation, of course, during an enumeration of reasonable "possibilities".


From Ric

It's really pretty amazing how the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 has affected popular perceptions of what was going on in the Pacific throughout the 1930s. The truth is that the Phoenix Islands were not part of the Mandated Islands and were over a thousand miles from anywhere the Japanese had an interest. The islands of the central Pacific were, in fact, the object of considerable international competion and tension during the 1930s but the contest was between the United States and Great Britain who were vying for the ownership of atolls that had lagoons that might be useful as seaplane landing areas. And the concerns were more commercial than strategic. Everyone knew that somebody was going to make a lot of money flying passengers from the U.S. to New Zealand and Australia. The country that controlled the refueling points would control the routes. Japan was completely out of the picture.

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