Forum artHighlights From the Forum

June 4 through 10, 2000


Subject: Warren's Hypothesis
Date: 6/5/00
From: Cam Warren

Please advise those interested that I have NEVER supported any "spy mission" theory, and point out that idea came from a Forum correspondent.

And, to set another matter straight, you are correct about the RDF-2 being a "heavy duty" version of the RDF-1. At the time I wrote the article - over a year and a half ago - detailed info was lacking. Since then, thanks to Hue Miller, some very valuable documentation has been unearthed, which helps explain the situation. As of the moment, it appears AE had some variation of the RDF-1 system (which included the loop - often referred to as the "direction finder" - and coupler). The coupler was most definitely tunable, and simultaneously tuned the loop itself. In the production RDF-1, the frequency coverage extended to 8,000 kc. (So there). And it was classified "Confidential" in 1936-7. Coupling it with the RA-1 receiver was apparently NOT standard procedure, but was done for Amelia on an experimental basis.

An indication of how well "covered up" the Earhart/Bendix setup was, is the apparent ignorance of the real experts, who should have known all about it. And I'm not referring to the latter day "Monday-Morning Quarterbacks", but such people as Fred Hooven, Al Gray, Paul Rafford, Capt. Safford and Comdr. Anthony. And I think I can add Randy Jacobson to that distin- guished group. (MORAL: Don't dismiss an idea out-of-hand just because it doesn't agree with conventional wisdom!!!) You should know Naval Intelligence (as often happens in intel operations) had two or more competing groups, who were intensely jealous of one another. So the left hand didn't always know what the right hand was doing, and vice versa. SOMEBODY in the Navy knew what was going on concerning Earhart. Quite likely a single individual. And if that sounds conspiratorial, I apologize.

Cam Warren


From Ric

>And it was classified "Confidential" in 1936-7.

I'm assuming that you know this from a stamp or notation on the "NRL Radio Materiel School manual, 1936" Hue was quoting from. As I'm sure you know, "confidential" is the lowest category of classification and is used pretty casually. If "NRL" stands for something like Naval Research Laboratory (possibly the forerunner of the current Office of Naval Research?) then it would probably be standard procedure for the manual to be "confidential." That does not at all mean that the equipment it describes was classified. The fact that Bendix was hawking the RDF-1 to the commercial aviation industry in March 1937 is a pretty clear indication that it was not classified at that time. If you have documentation that proves otherwise please say so.

>Coupling it with the RA-1 receiver was apparently NOT standard
>procedure, but was done for Amelia on an experimental basis.

Cam, that is 99 and 44/100ths percent pure speculation. Please cite ANY document or photograph that established the presence of a Bendix RA-1 receiver aboard NR16020.

>An indication of how well "covered up" the Earhart/Bendix setup was,
>is the apparent ignorance of the real experts, who should have known
>all about it.

And you wonder why people call you a conspiracy theorist. Absence of evidence is not proof of a cover up.

Cover ups do exist, but you can't say that one happened (and expect to be believed) unless you can prove it. For example: A comparison of Leo Bellart's original Itasca radio log with the transcript submitted by Warner Thompson clearly documents Thompson's (quite successful) attempt to cover his own butt at Amelia's expense. Whether you call it a whitewash or a cover up, it's a documented case of someone not telling the truth. Similarly, there is extensive documentation of Sir Harry Luke's refusal to tell the Americans about the bones found on Gardner. Cover up? Conspiracy of silence? Whatever. There is documented proof that it happened.

If there is ANY evidence that Earhart had access to any classified government equipment please enlighten us.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Warren's Hypothesis
Date: 6/5/00
From: Various members

From Frank Westlake

Cam Warren writes:

> As for the "proof"; the article was presented as a quick summary
> of our knowledge to date. All the material referenced is in
> the public domain. You COULD look it up.

Thanks for the tip. It would help if you could cite your references for me.

Frank Westlake
Clown #9237


From Bill Leary

> As for the "proof"; the article was presented as a quick summary
> of our knowledge to date.

Fair enough.

And now come the opinions and queries for you to provide sources for the information in the quick summary.

> All the material referenced is in the public domain. You COULD look it up.

If I go into the car dealership looking for a two door sports coupe, and they try to sell me a four door sedan, they have to do better than just say "you'll love it, the reasons why are in the trade press, go look it up." Rather, she'd better be prepared to walk out, kick the tires with me, and tell me why this is a better choice for me than what I already believe is.

So, many of us believe the evidence points to one set of conclusions. You've decided the evidence points somewhere else. Give us something to go on.

You COULD provide references. Otherwise we have little but to believe that you feel your sources won't stand up to independent examination.

- Bill


From Michael Holt

> As for the "proof"; the article was presented as a quick summary
> of our knowledge to date. All the material referenced is in
> the public domain. You COULD look it up.

Was Mr Warren's essay footnoted? I didn't keep a copy of it.

Thanks.


From Ric

No it was not, but Cam has since explained that the paper he sent me was only a summary and some of it was wrong anyway.


Subject: Secret? Navy?
Date 6/5/00
From: Hue Miller

>From Ron Bright
>
>I'm not sure what the fuss is that AE had Bendix equipment aboard the
>Electra. Is it controversial or in dispute?

--The only point is, the equipment was new, unproven technology, and it appears that her trying to use it, and her unfamiliarity with it, seems to have been one of the factors in the accident. At the very least, it was a waste of time and effort, when time and effort were not to be wasted.

>Goldstein and Dillion in Amelia also report that AE carried a "Bendix
>(miniaturized) direction-finder receiver, covering frequency ranges of 200
>to 1500 kilocycles and 2400 to about 10,000 kc..."

--Not a big deal here, but a typical layman-type error, it was a receiver accessory unit, not a "d-f receiver".

>Question to Mr. Warren: why did this Bendix df equipment installation
>support a secret Naval Intelligence spy mission? Because the equipment was
>"classified"? Was it "Confidential" or "Secret"?

--Right. Thru the fog of time, these adjectives seem to have been attached because of this equipment's connection to the military. Even if the news of this product appeared in some magazine, it's extremely unlikely it ever appeared on the open market, that is, it most likely was never seen outside of for-Navy production, and in Navy nomenclature.

>From Ric
>
>Elgen Long, for example, is quite sure that the aircraft carried a separate
>Bendix receiver exclusively for direction finding and goes into great detail
>about it, but I've never seen any evidence that any such radio was aboard the
>airplane.

--I am sure you are correct here. The Bendix receiver would have had to be a type RA-1, which Bendix was trying to sell with the RDF unit as part of a total package. However, the RA-1 is not channelized, requires cranking from frequency to frequency, was only carried on planes with a radio operator crewmember, and would have added a great deal of learning and trouble to AE's communications and homing efforts, for no obvious advantage.

Hue Miller


From Ric

The only part of Hue's a comments with which I disagree is his feeling that the RDF-1 was never really commercially available. The article in Aero Digest does not refer to the device as an "RDF-1" and it may be that that was merely the military nomenclature, but it does show a picture of what is quite obviously the same device shown in RDF-1 diagram and in the publicity photos taken with Earhart. Amelia and the press refer to the device as a "Bendix direction finder." Nobody says anything about it being military or naval equipment.

I see no reason not to think that this thing is nothing more than a new piece of avionics that came on the market and was also adopted for military use.

As for Goldstein and Dillon, remember that they are not researchers but, rather, specialize in rehashing and publishing the unpublished work of people who have died. At Dawn We Slept, for example, was Gordon Prange's work. Their book Amelia is basically a treatment of Laurence Safford's work from the 1960s. Safford did some excellent research to counter the conspiracy crowd but it's now old hat and many of his conclusions have been invalidated by new primary sources that have since come to light.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Tuning the loop
Date: 6/5/00
From: Hue Miller

>>From Warren Lambing
>>
>>Is the Bendix loop and RDF-1 Coupler Tuned?
>
>From Ric
>
>I'm not sure what you mean.

--I'm not sure either, but i'll have a stab at it and keep it short. The Bendix unit, the RDF unit (or coupler, or adaptor) was basically just a tuned preamp for the loop. Going to the loop really cuts down on the signal level, compared to using the wire antenna, and especially so on shortwaves, where AE was trying to do homing. So the act of tuning up the RDF, plus the amplifier stage inside, boosted the signal up. (The "Select-A-Tenna", a commercial product now sold to boost AM radio reception, works the same way, tuning the loop to the frequency gives a big signal rise).

Using the RDF did add some complexity to AE's task. With the Itasca heard in her headphones, she would then:

  1. switch in the RDF unit
  2. set RDF bandswitch to frequency range for channel
  3. look up on the tuning chart, or remember, where 7500 kc/s was on the 0-100 tuning scale of the RDF
  4. tune the RDF up or down til she heard the Itasca again
  5. tune for null, note bearing
  6. switch to direction and tune for max, to point to correct direction and eliminate 180 degree ambiguity

--Hue Miller


From Warren Lambing

I guess I answered my own question, I was wondering if you could tune the Bendex Loop via switch before it reach the reciever, (which would explain why AE could not appear to recieve) but it appears from the diagrams and word doc. that the tuning of the loop was done by the Bendix direction finder. Just in case I get jumped on for the idea of the loop being tunable, I have an 1940 RCA reciever which uses a loop for the domestic AM Band (Wire for Shortwave), this loop has two Dual connectors connected to the loop, the connectors are identical, if I switch the order they connect to the loop, I lose one half of the band (I think it is the bottom half) as I tune down the dial the frequencies repeat themeselves, when I hook them back in the right order, I receive the full band again. Anyhow the reason I mention it, is that in this 1940 receiver the loop plays a factor in the tuning of the radio, I doubt that is the case with the Westinghouse [sic] radio AE had, but I wonder other then weight, what differences the Bendix Loop had?

Regards.
Warren


Subject: Classifications
Date: 6/5/00
From: Dennis McGee

Ric said: "As I'm sure you know, "confidential" is the lowest category of classification . . . "

That is absolutely correct, the other two being secret and top secret. The two latter classification can also be used with "codeword" material. The codeword usually identifies the manner in which the intelligence was collected. As an example, the CIA might classify as material collected from foreign agents as SECRET Bluenose, and perhaps SECRET Hardrock for stuff from wire taps on overseas embassies. Codeword material is vastly more restricted in its dissemination than non-codeword stuff because of its sensitivity, either in who collected it or how it was collected.

Another thing to remember, a classified document carries the classification of its highest classified entry. As an example, an otherwise unclassified 300-page report on frequency propagation may be classified SECRET even if only a page or two contains SECRET material. This policy leads to vast amounts of otherwise benign materials carrying high classifications, which makes it all the more difficult for historians to obtain original documentation on important events.

Even decades later when the material no longer warrants classification, researchers have difficulties because the government doesn't want to be embarrassed when people learn that the material was collected in the first place. Thankfully, that mentality is disappearing and we are now gaining access to stuff that fills in the gaps of history.

LTM, who pines for the Cold War
Dennis O. McGee, #0149


From Ric

In my experience, both with materials my Dad has from WWII and from my own time in the Army, even the most innocuous training manuals were classified "Confidential."


Subject: Kilts Document
Date: 6/5/00
From: Dave Porter

The Kilts Document of the Week is fascinating. I have a hard time believing that there was no follow-up or investigation at the time. For any reader with more than a casual interest in Earhart, it reads like the sort of thing that makes your neck hairs stand up. I imagine you having that sort of reaction when you first saw it. That the Kilts story mentioned a "man's skull further down the beach" was new to me also. My big question is this: Did Floyd Kilts ever make the trip to the Philippines and Gardner that the story mentions?

To Hugh Graham: I live only a few miles from Willow Run Airport, the YAF's home field, and have seen their B-17 several times this year--it is a lovely sight (and sound). One of our regular customers at my job owns a pressure washing business, and he washes the YAF's planes for them. I'm hoping to use that as a contact if we ever go museum trolling for TIGHAR supporters.

LTM, Dave Porter, 2288


From Ric

Tom King has been in touch with Kilts' daughter and, if I'm not mistaken, she was able to confirm tha Floyd never got to make his trip to the Philippines and Gardner. I always thought it was a weird comment anyway. Like the Philippines and Gardner are in the same neighborhood? Like you can catch a commercial flight to Manila with a quick stop-over at Niku?


Subject: Re: Kilts document
Date: 6/5/00
From: Tom King

Kilts' daughter was quite sure he'd never made it back to Niku. He WAS in the process of writing a book, the ms for which we have unfortunately not been able to locate. I asked her specifically about a map, thinking he might have gotten his informant to do a sketch or something, and she said she recalled no such thing.

As for follow-up at the time, Fred Goerner DID follow up, got as far as the Isaacs diagnosis of the bones as those of a Polynesian male, and (presumably with relief) left it at that.

TK


Subject: Re: Kilts document
Date: 6/6/00
From: Randy Jacobson

Tom King wrote:

>As for follow-up at the time, Fred Goerner DID follow up, got as far as the
>Isaacs diagnosis of the bones as those of a Polynesian male, and (presumably
>with relief) left it at that.

WHOA! Goerner knew about the bones and Isaac? This is the first I've heard of this. Obviously, Fred Goerner did not relate this info very far afield...


From Ric

No, no, no - Goerner knew about Kilts' story from the same press accounts we have. One of his associates, Bill Dorais, interviewed Kilts. Goerner did not specifically know about Isaac.

Fred explained to me in a March 1990 letter that, while in Tarawa in 1968, doing a documentary on the 25th anniversary of the WWII invasion, he made some inquiries of "older Gilbertese who had been a part of the colonizing activities on Gardner shortly after the Earhart disappearance. After much conversation and deep-thinking, it was decided that there was a legend about the remains of a Polynesian man being found on Gardner, what year or specific circumstances unknown. They were firm, however, that the skeleton of a woman had NEVER [emphasis in the original] been found. There was, too, a strange story of a woman's "high-heel shoes" turning up at some point on Gardner. This was a matter of some hilarity."

What Tom meant, I'm sure, is that Goerner made an attempt to follow up on the Kilts story and turned up some anecdotal detritus that almost certainly originated from Isaac's unauthorized examination of the bones in Tarawa.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Warren's Hypothesis revisited
Date: 6/6/00
From: Cam Warren

Two points you should all know. a) I don't make insupportable statements and claim they're supported. b) I don't suffer fools gladly, to recoin a phrase.

The opening paragraph clearly stated "Government documented facts." That's TRUE, like it or not, believe it or not. I didn't have the time or space to list all the backup material for the "Hypothesis" and merely presented it for your edification. ("You can lead a horse to water . . . .")

In the title, "Secret Mission" was intentionally in quotes, for obvious reasons, as was "covered up", incidentally. When I went to school (the desks had inkwells) a quoted phrase meant somebody else used the phrase, not necessarily the writer.

As for document classification, the Bendix RDF system was certainly under wraps. Ric says "'confidential' is the lowest category of classification and is used pretty casually. Not so, at least pre- and during WW2. (In at least one case, I wasn't allowed to SEE my own notebook, because it was stamped "confidential".) I happen to have a note on my cluttered desktop right now, that says "Navy BuAer Contract #C652717 (re RDF-2) was CONFIDENTIAL (Changed to RESTRICTED Nov. 1, 1937)" for example. (And that file consists of some 300 pages, if you don't trust my quotes and want to take you're own look.) The Archives people told me they had nothing on RDF-1, and thought it might still be classified.

I DO have piles of information - you should thank me for saving you the trouble of paying for copies, and wading through it all. Example, the SECRET document re the Kamoi using HF/DF is about 50 pages long, and contains two brief mentions of the intercept incident. I could give you the file number, but I doubt you can get easily get the document. Mine "was slid under the door".

And here's a sample, from C652717: "Navy Requisition #770, dated Oct. 1, 1936 ordered the following: 150 RDF-1A @ $148.50 ea."

"Some of it was wrong, anyway" is the way Ric dismisses my document. I had told him I was inaccurate re the RDF-2, which I originally suspected might be an advanced model of the RDF-1. Later info clarified that it was an ADAPTATION designed for remote rotation of a larger model loop. That I admitted to that minor point, does NOT negate any other portion of my document.

The use of an RA-1 aboard the Electra is called "99 44/100ths percent speculation" by Ric, who apparently hasn't read anything by Capt. Al Gray, Carol Osborne, Jim Donahue or Bendix engineer Vernon Moore, to name a few other speculators. (But he's right, I don't have a photostat of a purchase order with Earhart's name on it - sorry, sure wish I did!). Don't forget that up until recently all the experts denied the Navy couldn't possibly be using HF/DF in the '30s, an idea I have personally disproved. I'd say I was on much firmer ground than Nikumaroro.

Finally, the Hypothesis was NOT presented as a legal argument, as I've already pointed out, so I intentionally did not include endless citations but indicated I deemed my information reliable.

My time being as short as it is, I doubt I'll be getting around to answer all the potshots directed my way. So, if you don't want to believe any of it, that's your prerogative. Some folks still think the moon is made of green cheese, and know positively those NASA photos were all shot in a secret studio in Arizona.

Cam Warren


From Ric

> I don't make insupportable statements and claim they're supported.

> Coupling it with the RA-1 receiver was apparently NOT standard procedure,
> but was done for Amelia on an experimental basis.

>But he's right, I don't have a photostat of a purchase order with Earhart's
>name on it - sorry, sure wish I did!


Subject: Re: Warren's Hypothesis revisited
Date: 6/6/00
From: William Webster-Garman

Cam Warren wrote,

>Some
>folks still think the moon is made of green
>cheese, and know positively those NASA
>photos were all shot in a secret studio in
>Arizona.

I have never run into anyone who believes that the moon is made of green cheese (although the first episode of the wonderful Wallace and Gromit trilogy from the UK depicts the surface of the moon as being comprised of yellow cheese with a mediocre taste). However, I have met a handful of people over the years who adamantly (and always angrily) believed that the Apollo mission photos were shot in movie studios. Poor, hapless creatures.

I've also read lots of immature and sloppily composed screeds, lately, about "Amelia Earhart, Federal Spy." Personally, I think this entire thread easily violates the Forum guidelines for reasonable documentation of topics admitted for discussion. How about ending this one, Ric? When legitimate documentation (or at least annotation) appears, the thread can always be reintroduced.

william 2243


From Ric

While I agree that we've only managed to show (for the umpteenth time) that allegations of a covert relationship between Earhart and the Gummint are unsupported, I will say that the new (to me anyway) information about the Bendix RDF-1 loop coupler is very useful. I guess the lesson is that we should never turn down a chance to look at a primary source.


Subject: Re: Warren's Hypothesis
Date: 6/6/00
From: Frank Westlake

> From Cam Warren
>
> I didn't have the time or space to list all the backup
> material for the "Hypothesis" and merely presented it
> for your edification.

So then, I take it, you did not present your hypothesis to us to be evaluated. You expect us to behave as school children and accept what the teacher is telling us.

> From Cam Warren
>
> I DO have piles of information - you should thank me for
> saving you the trouble of paying for copies, and wading
> through it all.

Thank you, but I think that all we want to do is to look at the documents that you have evaluated and see if we reach the same conclusion. You are treating this as a rite of passage -- let's see if you think what I think, but you have to find it first!

Has anyone other than you evaluated these documents? It can be rather nerve racking having someone else check your work, but it is often essential.

> From Cam Warren
>
> And here's a sample, from C652717: "Navy Requisition
> #770, dated Oct. 1, 1936 ordered the following:
> 150 RDF-1A @ $148.50 ea."

It doesn't suffice to show us only parts of the evidence that support your claims.

> From Cam Warren
>
> Finally, the Hypothesis was NOT presented as a
> legal argument, as I've already pointed out, so I
> intentionally did not include endless citations but
> indicated I deemed my information reliable.

You alone deem it reliable? Surely you must see the folly in that.

Frank Westlake


Subject: Coral is a Beach
Date: 6/6/00
From: Ross Devitt

How wide is the beach (from water's edge to vegetation) on Niku around the ocean shore, and also around the lagoon shore at HIGH TIDE?

The aerial views show it as a huge expanse of coral rubble/sand or whatever. It certainly looks well in excess of the 70 feet or so you'd need to land an Electra with a 55ft wingspan without risking it on coral rock. (Bearing in mind that many world flights of that era landed on beaches).

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

Average beachfront from water's edge to vegetation line on Niku is about 150 feet. At high tide it might be 10 or 12 feet less. Along the northern shore the beach is steeply sloped and, because it doesn't get hit directly by storms, is deep soft sand. Along the southern shore (Aukeraime) the beach tends to be broader and less steeply sloped, but still quite soft and sandy. The western end of the island (Nutiran and the village area) varies a lot depending on whether there have been any big storm events in the past few years. Fewer storms mean deeper sand. Recent storms mean a surface of coral rubble.


Subject: Re: Coral is a Beach
Date: 6/6/00
From: Ross Devitt

Ok, there is a reason behind this...

>From Ric
>
> Average beachfront from water's edge to vegetation line on Niku is about 150
> feet. At high tide it might be 10 or 12 feet less.

Gallagher wrote that the bones were found about 100ft above ordinary high tide mark. The "story" of the finding of the bones suggests a native was walking on the beach and saw them about 5 feet into the vegetation line.

I know that is only a tale, but it seems reasonable from the trouble TIGHAR has finding stuff on the island that the tale of a native seeing the bones whilst walking on the beach could be more likely than a native struggling through the scrub. I know when we walk around the islands here we use the beach as a highway rather than fight through the undergrowth, spiders and other bugs.

That would mean the bones were somewhere close enough to the edge of the vegetation for the castaway? to have a view while he/she rested under the shade (and died), with about a 90ft beach to the high tide line. Close enough to be seen by someone walking along the beach. Which, if you have spent a lot of time alone on uninhabited islands (as I have) is not at all strange. For some reason the view and sound of the sea is soothing, relaxing. I have tried to put myself in the place of this castaway, and compared his/her situation to what was one of my favourite passtimes. The more I think about it, the less time I spent "inland".

So has the TIGHAR crew had a look at high tide for a place where you could drive say a dozen motor cars side by side along the beach at high tide? (distance wise of course, I realise they'd get bogged....) That might narrow some of the search area around Aukaraime, Kanawa Point and the 7 site.

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

Nice try Wombat but Gallagher makes it pretty clear that the castaway's campsite was close to the lagoon shore, rather than the ocean shore. Also, Kilts says that the skeleton was found "in the brush about five feet from the shoreline." Nowhere on the ocean beach is the brush five feet from the shoreline. That has to be the lagoon shore he's talking about.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Coral is a Beach
Date: 6/7/00
From: Tom King

We've also got to remember that where the edge of the bush is now, vis-a-vis the high tide mark, may be considerably different from where it was then, at least locally. Then the island was substantially covered with buka forest; now it's mostly scaevola and tournefortia. And wave action, shoreline slumping, etc. etc. have all certainly altered the shoreline. However, Ric, I'm trying to think why you're so sure Gallagher means the lagoon shore. Because of the Kanawa tree he says was growing on the lagoon shore not far from the discovery site?

LTM
Tom King


From Ric

Yes. That, and his comment that the bones were found about 100 feet above high spring tides make it pretty hard (for me at least) to place the site on the ocean side. I can't think of anyplace on the island where you can be only 100 feet above the highest high tide line on the ocean side and still be close to the lagoon shore. Besides, anything that close to the ocean-side waterline would be very susceptible to storm activity. Gallagher has gotta be talking about the lagoon side.


Subject: Re: Coral is a beach
Date: 6/7/00
From: Ross Devitt

> Nice try Wombat but Gallagher makes it pretty clear that the castaway's
> campsite was close to the lagoon shore, rather than the ocean shore.

Gallagher doesn't make anything pretty clear, or TIGHAR would not have spent so much time trying to search out the location!

Ok, please look at this one a little closer, rather than dismissing it out of hand...

Gallgher says 100ft above the high tide mark. (Ordinary high water springs). That's "pretty clear" ORDINARY high water springs as I understand it is the high tide mark in the absence of seasonal variations like king tides etc. Kilts' (handed down) story suggests "in the brush about 5 ft from the shoreline". Gallagher was writing a report. Kilts was repeating a tale, itself repeated, that had been around (though not "spread around" for years. The same tale told of more than one skeleton, and of another skull being found further down the beach. It also definitely identifies the skeletons and the "beach" skull as to sex! We choose to dismiss some of these inferences as unlikely, and have documented evidence that some were wrong, whilst taking as gospel that the bones were "in the brush 5 ft from the shoreline".

Gallagher did not write "about 5 feet from the shoreline", he wrote 100ft above HWS.

To me, the Kilts' "shoreline" suggests where the waves lap against the sand (or coral). That would suggest a spot where the vegetation comes very close to the water's edge, and at first sight is logical enough. However it could just as easily mean the place where the vegetation meets the beach!

On the other hand, Gallagher's 100ft above ordinary high water springs is what I am looking at. It is possible that Gallagher judged the measurement from the ocean side, across the island to the edge of the lagoon shore - in which case we are looking for a piece of land not more than 100ft wide from the water's edge of the lagoon to the water's edge of the ocean.

Now THAT should narrow the search area down a LOT! However I can't find a 30 yard wide piece of land in any of the pictures nor does the map suggest that.

If we are to take Gallagher's written report as definitive, and IF we can believe the Kilts story, and IF the bones were found on the lagoon shore, we need a 30 yard beach at high tide! I can see places along the edge of the lagoon that look possible. Then look along the edge of the vegetation.

On the other hand, if, at high tide there is no 30 yard beach on the lagoon side it might just be possible that the bones were found on the ocean side. And that 30yard beach should still narrow down the search.

Of course there is always a "flip side". I believe Kilts story could be completely erroneous as to the location.

"They were about through and the native was struggling through the "brush" on one end of the island. There in the brush about 100 feet from the shoreline he saw a skeleton......."

Were I conducting a search for the site, I'd be torn between looking up to 25-35yds inland from high tide mark, and looking for a spot a few yards from inland from the "beach", and with a large beach left at high tide, however I still think that the logic leads to the second option. Especially when one considers the sort of place to lie down and relax. (As I suggested in the other posting).

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

Believe me Ross, this is NOT a question that I treat casually or dismissively. I 've looked at it from every angle I can imagine and I once wrote an entire article for TIGHAR Tracks advocating just the point you make about where a castaway would most likely want to hang out (see "A View To The Sea," Vol. 11 No. 4, December 31, 1995 and on the website at A View to the Sea).

You're focusing on one clue ("100 feet above ordinary high springs") and missing another ("not very far" from a kanawa tree on the lagoon shore). All things considered, I keep coming back to the "Seven" site as, by far, the most likley candidate for the place where the bones were found.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Secret? Navy?
Date: 6/7/00
From: Hue Miller

>From Ric
>
>The only part of Hue's a comments with which I disagree is his feeling
>that the RDF-1 was never really commercially available. The article in
>Aero Digest does not refer to the device as an "RDF-1" and it may
>be that that was merely the military nomenclature, but it does show a
>picture of what is quite obviously the same device shown in RDF-1 diagram
>and in the publicity photos taken with Earhart. Amelia and the press refer
>to the device as a "Bendix direction finder." Nobody says anything about
>it being military or naval equipment.
>
>I see no reason not to think that this thing is nothing more than a
>new piece of avionics that came on the market and was also adopted for
>military use.

--I feel this unit would have had very limited appeal to commercial flyers and likely bombed in the commercial market. It was flakey enuff on its higher (extended coverage) ranges that the Navy abandoned it in a in the next 2 or 3 years, maybe sooner, and I doubt there were many civilian aviators interested in experimenting on their flights. But what really persuades me it did not make it on the civilian market, is note, the high frequency range was added at the expense of the very important LF range, 200 - 400 kilocycles, probably at least important if not more important than the AM broadcast band. I'm sure you all have seen some kind of aviation radio with the LF and BC ranges, or even aftermarket carry on things to carry on small boats, with rotatable antenna and LF + BC coverage. The NDB's (Non Directional Beacon ) stations are still in business on the LF band around airports and airfields of all sizes, from private grass fields on up. ( BTW, around 1985 a friend of mine in Montana told me the FAA had just scrapped out an old NDB LF beacon transmitter - in operation since 1938.)

Hue Miller


From Ric

I agree. The thing turned out to be a bad idea and probably did bomb on the commercial market, but at the time we're talking about - the spring of 1937 - it was newly available to civil aviation (as documented in the Aero Digest article) and, for Earhart, may havbe looked like a good alternative to the heavier Hooven Radio Compass.

The important point in all this is the absence of any indication of a covert deal with the military. And that makes sense. Think about it for a second. You're the U.S. Navy and you have some new radio technology you want to test and so you enlist the aid of - who? - Amelia Earhart? Gimme a break.


Subject: Re: Coral is a Beach
Date: 6/8/00
From: Ross Devitt

>I can't think of anyplace on the island where you can be
> only 100 feet above the highest high tide line on the ocean side

Correct me if I'm wrong (you always do... lol) but isn't the lagoon tidal. I mean, there are two whacking great openings for water to flow in and out. If Gallagher referred to 100ft above OHWS, he'd most likely measure it from the edge of the closest water to him.

That means it could be either the ocean OR the lagoon. You shouldn't always automatically assume we are trying to ridicule your ideas. I, for one, believe the site could just as well have been on the lagoon shore. But I still think you should be looking for what would have been 35yds of beach at high tide!

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric I don't worry about ridicule. I just state my reasons for thinking what I think and if someone disagrees I expect him or her to do the same.

Yes, the lagoon is tidal but not very much. Most days it only changes by a foot or so and lags a couple of hours behind whatever is happening out on the ocean side.

In deciding where to search, I think it makes a lot more sense to consider areas where we know there was human activity and which best fit all aspects of Gallagher's description of the site. To focus on one clue (100 feet above OHWS), make assumptions about what he probably meant by it, and then base a search on that just doesn't make any sense to me.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Coral is a Beach
Date: 6/8/00
From: Tom King

Well, maybe, but the island's pretty narrow down toward the Seven Site, and while "100 feet" is pretty specific, "not far" isn't; we don't really know what he meant about the Kanawa tree being not far from the site.

tk


From Ric

Okay you guys, I'm willing to be convinced. Yes, one of the most interesting things about the Seven Site is that (at least in 1937) it was the narrowest place on the island that was partially forested rather than open scrub. According to the aerial photos, the depth of oceanfront beach along there doesn't seem to have changed significantly since that time. It's hard to be exact, but it looks like the vegetation line might be just about 100 feet above the highest high tide line, and I know that there are "ren" trees (tournafortia) along that vegetation line.

So let's consider this hypothesis:

The bones were found under a ren tree at the Seven Site on the ocean beach.

That would mean:

  • That when Gallagher said the kanawa tree on the lagoon shore was "not very far" from where the bones were found, he meant about 100 yards.
  • That the castaway(s) camp was in a position to watch the ocean horizon for ships ("a view to the sea" as Robinson Crusoe called it)
  • That the turtle found at the site did not have to be dragged very far from where it was most probably caught (on the beach at night).
  • That the clearing along the oceanfront vegetation line that is evident in the 1941 aerial photo may be specifically the result of the "organized" search ordered by Vaskess.
  • That the water tank near the lagoon shore was some distance (maybe 75 yards) from where the bones were found and where work was going on and the bird bones we found near the tank are not the same bird bones described by Gallagher.
  • That the hole near the tank, if it is where the skull was dug up, means that the guys who found the skull didn't bury it right where they found it but carried it back toward the lagoon a ways.

I don't see a problem with any of those "therefores." However, it's probably not going to be practical to do a thorough search of both the area around the tank AND the beachfront vegetaion line within the time constraints we're likely to have on the next expedition, so we better decide which one we like best.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Warren's Hypothesis
Date: 6/8/00
From: Hue Miller

>From Cam Warren
>
>As for document classification, the Bendix RDF system was
>certainly under wraps. Ric says "'confidential' is the lowest
>category of classification and is used pretty casually. Not
>so, at least pre- and during WW2 I happen to have a note
>on my cluttered desktop right now, that says "Navy BuAer
>Contract #C652717 (re RDF-2) was CONFIDENTIAL
>(Changed to RESTRICTED Nov. 1, 1937)" for example.

--I have to support Cam here. Owning hundreds of WW2 and prewar manuals, I have to say this is what I have seen. RESTRICTED, for average military gear, and that which had something spooky going on with it, CONFIDENTIAL or higher.

I may differ a little bit in that I am thinking the CONFIDENTIAL part was mostly about the idea and process of operation and results, rather than the equipment, which could be duplicated by any skilled home builder. For an example of this idea, consider a Navy WW2 direction finder in a suitcase type box. Unfortunately, no one seems to absolutely know the intended purpose, one rumor sez for use in recovering commando teams. The technology is in no way new and radical, but the item photo and description does not appear in the standard Navy catalog, just the type name & a notation that this equipment has a higher classification. (I don't have the catalog handy, but will recover it with a mind to at least having the citation down exactly.

>And here's a sample, from C652717: "Navy Requisition
>#770, dated Oct. 1, 1936 ordered the following:
>150 RDF-1A @ $148.50 ea."

--Think i'll try to find some other contemporaneous equipment pricing to see how relatively expensive this set was.

>The use of an RA-1 aboard the Electra is called
>"99 44/100ths percent speculation" by Ric,
>who apparently hasn't read anything by Capt. Al
>Gray, Carol Osborne, Jim Donahue or Bendix
>engineer Vernon Moore, to name a few other
>speculators.

--I do NOT know, but I'll tell you, the RA-1 does not have a channelized feature. This means cranking from frequency to frequency. 3105 is on one band range and 6210, 7500 are on another so you may have to change bands too when going to a new channel.

Any RA-1 hypothesis, I assume, reckons it as only a part of the df system with the RDF, not as a communication receiver. Otherwise you have to explain how the RA-1 was netted or whistled-through to set on the exact transmitter channel.

The RA-1 was a labor-intensive radio and as far as I know, only carried on cargo and patrol craft that could afford to carry a fulltime radio operator.

Hue Miller


From Ric

As Randy Jacobson has corrected my earlier impression, the levels of classification in 1937 went RESTRICTED, CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET. So far, my understanding is that a Navy training manual describing the RDF-1 was classified CONFIDENTIAL in 1936. I've yet to see anything that indicates that the device installed in Earhart's airplane in late February/early March 1937 which looks like an RDF-1 and also appears in a March 1937 magazine article as commercially available, was classified in any way.


Subject: Re: Coral is a beach
Date: 6/9/00
From: Tom King

I'm on the road without my copy of Gallagher's quarterly reports (no, I don't carry them wherever I go), but it's my recollection that in talking about the heavy weather around the end of 1940 he mentioned high spring tides flooding out some plantings. This suggests to me that when he referred to such tides in the bones messages, he may have been referring to something higher, i.e. farther up on shore, than the normal highest high tide line. I'm uncomfortable with equating the beachfront vegetation line of today with what was present in 1940, too. What do Dick Evans and Bill Moffitt remember about the vegetation in the vicinity of the Seven Site when they visited it? If it wasn't as dense as it is now, maybe the beachfront veg line was a lot closer to the tank, hole, etc. then than it is now.

TK


From Ric

Gallagher's 4th Quarter 1940 Report says, in part:

The second half of the quarter was marked by severe and almost continuous North-westerly gales, which did considerable damage to houses, coconut trees and newly planted lands. Portions of the low-lying areas of Hull and Gardner Islands were also flooded by high spring tides, backed by the gales, and, it is feared that many young trees have been killed.

At that time the only planted areas were near the village and I suspect that the plantings he's talking about getting flooded are the ones that bordered the depression that we call "Crab City." As we saw all too well in 1997, unusually high spring tides backed by gales caused some big-time flooding there.

As for the vegetation line in 1940 compared to today, we don't have to rely on recollections. We have aerial photography from 1937 (Lambrecht), 1938 (HMS Leander), 1939 (USS Pelican), and 1941 (Patrol Wing Two) that shows that the Seven Site was a bit more open then than now, but the general distance from waterline to vegetation was pretty much the same as it is today.


Subject: Re: Coral is a beach
Date: 6/9/00
From: Ross Devitt

> within the time constraints we're
> likely to have on the next expedition, so we better decide which one we like
> best.

And I'm almost sorry for bringing it up! I gather from one of Ric's replies that he had similar thoughts early on. My main point was that Gallagher's report was official at the exact time this was going on. The Kilts story was reminiscences after about 30? years.

>* That when Gallagher said the kanawa tree on the lagoon shore was "not very
> far" from where the bones were found, he meant about 100 yards.

I was not trying to "influence" the location of the search so much as compare the two possible locations, hoping to find a large beach area close to the seven site to "prove" the site.

"Not very far" is different from "Close to". However, I'd like to know if the "7" site just happens to be around 35yds from high tide on the lagoon side.

Back again.

I just went out and looked at a tape measure. 100 feet is from one corner of my front yard to half way across my neighbour's. 100 yards is a little less than the length of my neighbour's (110 yards) block.

> That would mean:
>
>* That when Gallagher said the kanawa tree on the lagoon shore was "not very
> far" from where the bones were found, he meant about 100 yards.

I don't what you consider a long way, I would not consider the length of my yard (220 yards) to be a long distance. In fact I regularly stroll down half of it, then up the hill at the back to relax and enjoy the view (and cuss the original owner who built at the lowest point on the block).

A double car garage in Australia is 6 metres x 6 metres. So 100 yards is about the same distance as walking past 9 double garages. I would still call that "Not very far away". If there was a Kanawa tree half way down my block, I'd consider it "not very far from the road". If it was right behind my front fence I'd probably think it was "Close to the road".

The biggest problem for people like me is that we have not been to the island and we have only written clues to go on. Some of TIGHAR have been and can see the flaws in our reasoning.

Of course there is still the fact that Gallagher supposedly conducted a "thorough" search and apparently found little in the way of extra bones, and "nothing" in the way of personal artifacts/clothing - other than shoe parts. That means there ARE still bones there somewhere. A whole rib cage, lots of leg and arm bones - mst of the fingers and feet... Somewhere on that island is an answer. It either was or was not Amelia or Fred that was found, and the clues must turn up. Some of those bones are too big to be hidden for good. Gallagher may have missed something obvious.

In the mean time, to me the whole thing comes back to the shoes. If there was no chance that a naked Polynesian crew "man" from the Norwich City floated ashore on a sextant box, wearing a pair of size 9 women's stoutish walking shoes (obviously a cross dresser) and swigging from a benedictine bottle; then decided to make camp on the island and enjoy the scenery whilst his mates were rescued some days later, then there should be every likelihood that the bones related to Fred and Amelia.

Then there are the shoe parts, both men's and women's? That's got to mean something. Somewhere on the island there has to be a shallow grave.... And another (perhaps full) skeleton.

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

>I'm almost sorry for bringing it up!

Don't be. This is a valuable discussion.


Subject: Classification
Date: 6/9/00
From: Ric Gillespie

I haven't seen the whole thing yet but here's the introductory page of the Navy instructional manual that includes the description of the RDF-1 that seems to be like the one installed in Earhart's plane. From previous discussions about this document I had somehow gotten the impression that it was classified "confidential" (hence, all the discussion about classification categories and what they mean), but the cover of the manual has no indication that it was classified at all!

NAVAL RESEARCH LABORATORY
ANACOSTIA STATION
WASHINGTON, D.C.

P R E F A C E

It is the aim of this pamphlet to assemble all available information necessary for the study of Naval aircraft radio material. Aircraft radio involves many applications of the principles of radio engineering not generally considered in other branches of the art. Therefore, such of the approved practices as are considered necessary for clarity have been included.

This pamphlet was compiled by Chief Radio Electrician Clifton Evans, Jr., U.S.N., with the assistance of the instructors and students of the Warrant Officers Class Nine and Enlisted Men's Classes Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five, and various interested Naval Activities.

The excellent cooperation of the various interested Naval Activities is very much appreciated as it was this interest that made this pamphlet possible.

D.C. Beard
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
Officer-in-Charge, Radio Material School.

FIRST EDITION
August 20 1936.


Subject: Covering the window
Date: 6/9/00
From: Ric Gillespie

This is really neat. TIGHAR member Bill Harney, who unfortunately is not on line, has come up with a fascinating, and I think totally logical, reason why the large rear window on the starboard side of Earhart's Electra was skinned over while the airplane was in Miami.

First, a little background. Early in 1937, as part of the preparations for the first World Flight attempt, additional windows were installed in the cabin of the Earhart aircraft. On the port (left hand) side of the airplane, a large window was installed in the cabin door. On the starboard (right hand) side of the fuselage, a larger-than-normal window with flat glass was installed in what would be the lavatory in the airline version. Presumably this increased window area was to facilitate celestail observations. Photos taken in Burbank on March 20, 1937, the day after the airplane came out of repairs following the wreck in Hawaii, show the starboard window in place as before, but photos taken when the airplane left Miami for the public start of the second World Flight attempt show shiny new aluminum skin where the window formerly was. Why would they do that? If they decided that they didn't need that window after all, why not remove it when the airplane was in the shop for repairs? What could have happened between Burbank on march 20 and Miami on June 1 to make it necessary, or at least desirable, to skin over that window?

Bill Harney reasons that it was all about the sun. When the airplane was going to fly westward around the world, that big window would always be on the north and shady side of the airplane. No problem. But traveling eastward put the window on the south and sunny side. Nobody realized it would be a problem until Earhart and Noonan flew the airplane from Burbank to Miami with George Putnam and mechanic Bo McKneely riding as passengers in the back. The sun streaming in probably made the cabin an oven, so when they got to Miami they decided to skin over the window before they headed for even warmer climes. Makes sense to me.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: New light on Morgenthau
Date: 6/9/00
From: Ron Bright

I know the Forum loves a mystery and controversy, so here goes.

Cam Warren's hypothesis brought up again another interesting, if not inexplicable, aspect of the Earhart mystery when he referred to the Morgenthau diary entry re Earhart's alleged "disregard of orders." Morgenthau's remark or opinion is contained in the transcript of his telephone call to Eleanor Roosevelt's secretary in May 1938 when he was trying desperately to avoid releasing the Itasca's report and a verbal briefing of AE's last hours and disappearance. He stated that AE had "absolutely disregarded all orders" and the release of this report would "smear AE's reputation" forever.

Researchers have struggled with that language and meaning of that remark in Morgenthau's dairy. Some examples. Cam Warren interpreted the "disregard for orders" remark as possibly AE's "breach of security" when she mentioned "7500" kilocyles over a open commercial radio. Do we know of any classification was given to any of Amelia's broadcast bands?

Muriel Morrisey and TIGHAR give a pretty vanilla and plausible explanation. Morrisey didn't believe that the release of the Itasca report would be injurious to AE's reputation. Morrisey blamed the fatal flight on malfunctions of the radio, failure of AE/FN to learn Morse code, etc and that the communication failure between Itasca and AE could not be attributed solely to AE simply disregarding orders. TIGHAR agrees with Morrisey and added that if you looked a the transcript in the "correct historical context" that the disregarding orders comment was more indicative of the basic problems AE had with CDR Thompson who, said TIGHAR, was not about to take "instructions from a girl" and thus largely ignored the schedules Earhart had specified. Sounds like Capt Thompson characterised AE as a spoiled pilot and had no problem in blaming her for the flight's failure.

Randall Brink put a more malevolent spin on the "disregard of orders". He writes that Morganthau refused to provide more details to Roosevelt because on 5 Jul 38, the day of "her last radio transmission" and in the final moments a Japanese shore patrol party was advancing toward her plane and AE said "He must be at least an Admiral".(Brink attributes the quote to Walter McMenamy, who reportedly intercepted AE's last message on the West Coast, when Brink interviewed Walter in 1983).

Here's the controversy. I think TIGHAR and Morrissey are correct for the most part and Brinks version has been discredited. But I think there is more to the story that Morgenthau was trying to suppress. He clearly referred to two sources---the Itasca report and a verbal report (unattributed) in the transcript. Recall the final paragraph: "... And we have the report of all those wireless messages and everything else, what that women---happened to her the last few minutes. I hope I've never got to make it public, I mean. ---ok---Well, still if she wants it, I'll tell her---I mean what happened. It isn't a very nice story.---Well,yes..."

I submit that Morganthau was not just talking here about Amelia's inadequate equipment, radio failure, and apparent disregard for radio procedures mentioned in the Itasca report. From a linguistic standpoint, the content, word usage, tone and reference to the "last few minutes" strongly suggest to me that some one had briefed Morgenthau orally (true or false) and provided some very ominous information and that was what he did not wish to convey to Mrs Roosevelt.

Here we speculate. Perhaps it was in regard to a crash landing at sea and what was happening the last few moments. Did Morgenthau receive information from other sources that may have heard AE's last transmissions that have variously been described as "undecipherable" or unreadable; for instance some messages may have been readable and classified "Top Secret" in 1937. Later after May of 38 those transmission may have been discredited,but never revealed to the public. (Here we go with a conspiracy theory).

We are aware of most of the post loss wireless radio messages, some patently false, that were received and none of the credible messages contain a "horrible ending"; as far as I now the last readable message was the line of position 157-337 comment without any sense of urgency or impending doom.

The main thread of my inquiry here is does anyone know who was Morgenthau's primary source in the verbal briefing? Navy? Treasury sources? Or is this impossible to track down. (It is conceivable that Morgenthau had received information in 1938 that was erroneous, such as a Japanese wireless message re Amelia, and elected not to disclose to Mrs.Roosevelt.)

Is there any more archival information of Morgenthau relating to this transcript or later corrections or additions?

In sum I can't buy that Morgenthau's words re the last minutes referred basically to the overall "disregard" of orders and Amelia's piloting,navigating and radio performance.

So there it is for the Forum to speculate further on the transcript. Sometimes one has to kick a dead horse (Ric's favorite saying) to see if it is dead!

ltm,
Ron Bright (who does not keep a diary)


From Ric

Someone correct me if I'm wrong (like I have to worry about that) but I seem to recall the it has been established through the ship's logs that Morgenthau actually met with Thompson aboard Itasca in Hawaii when the cutter returned from the search. I also recall that this was not a special trip but that the Secretary was in Hawaii on vacation anyway. If I'm remembering this right, then there's your verbal briefing.

As for what "very ominous" information Thompson or anyone else may have imparted to him on that occasion (if any) is, of course, pure speculation. However, a memorandum written 17 May 1938 -- four days AFTER the famous transcribed one-sided telephone conversation -- by the then-Commandant of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral R.R. Waesche to Assistant Sectretary of the Treasury Gibbons (who had been present at the May 13 meeting) may provide a clue. I copied the memorandum from the collection at the NASM Library in 1989 but never paid much attention to it, until now. Here's what it says:

Memorandum for - Assistant Secretary Gibbons

With reference to the article in the New York Times, regarding the Earhart flight, the paper gives correctly, in quotation marks, the last message received from the Earhart plane. Following that, the newspaper article states. "The voice sounded broken and choked." This is the newspaperman's own version of what somebody told him, or his interpretation of what he read in the report. At no place in the official report are such terms used. Later on in the news item, he commences to use his imagination, and quotes radio engineeers regarding chlorine vapors from radio batteries, and the fact that such vapors could account for the choking voice. None of this is verified by the official report, nor by commander Thompson's personal letter, and the statement is in no way justified.

You will remember that, at your request, I wrote Thompson a personal letter, telling of the rumors that somebody on the Itasca had heard Miss Earhart scream, and had heard the crash from the radio. This Thompson categorically denied, and he knew the facts --- for he himself, as well as the radio operators, were listening over the radio. The official report states, which was confirmed by Commander Thompson's personal letter, that -- "toward the end, Earhart talked so rapidly as to be almost incoherent" and, also, that --- "Earhart's last message was hurried, frantic, and apparently not complete."

I am convinced, from the official report, and from Commander Thompson's personal letter, that no sound whatsoever was heard from the Earhart plane after it hit the water --- nor, for some minutes previous thereto.

I am returning the New York Time's article.

R.R. Waesche
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard,
Commandant

It sounds to me as though Gibbons, possibly via Morgenthau via somebody aboard Itasca, had heard and believed a bunch of unfounded rumors - hence the comments on the transcript.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Coral is a beach
Date: 6/10/00
From: Ross Devitt

> but if
> they were on Niku covered with Scaevola, whether it was "far" to the end
> of the row would depend on whether there was a trail along which to walk.

I was under the impression that the Seven site was light open Buka forest. Also, that the bones according to legend were easily visible by a native who happened to be walking in the area, hence my earlier joke about our native struggling along through thick jungle. From what I have seen of scaevola in the published picture it's not the sort of thing a native would be stolling through for a relaxing walk. As for the Kanawa tree, Gallagher said it was not far away - not that he was in the habit of walking to it.... What I'm trying to do here is clarify the location of the "7" site in relation to (a) high tide mark on the lagoon shore, (b) high tide mark on the ocean side, (c) distance from the sand/vegetation border - so that a native walking on the sand could see the bones.

There is another point that has been missed in the discussion of the seven site; at least as far as I can see. We have a conical depression that may have held a buried skull. I have already aired my thoughts on that, bearing in mind that the ground the hole is dug in must be damp to qualify as "the hole", not dry and sandy.

The skull was buried separately and the bones were apparently left where they lay. Is it not possible that the "7" site was where the skull was recovered, but the rest of the bones were a little closer to the water's edge near the sand/vegetation line, either at the lagoon, or the ocean.

We already know not to expect the other bones to be lying there waiting, as Gallagher said a thorough search had been carried out. However I can't see all the missing bones on the list vanishing completely or being spirited to parts of the island outside walking distance (or crab crawling distance?). If scavengers got at the bones, you need to know WHAT scavengers realistically were there. Many animals are territorial, so they would cart the bones back to where they felt safe to chew on them. I have no idea about the territorial ranges of rats, and we have discussed crabs at length!

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

Due, probably, to Gallagher's clearing operations, the Seven Site is now dense scaevola where it was once open buka forest.

Your point about the islander having to be able to spot the skull in the first place is a good one. Kilts says that the skeleton was found first because "what attracted (the islander) to it were the shoes" and that the skull was found "farther down the beach." But we know from Gallagher that it was the skull that was found first, and I think it's reasonable to assume that it was someplace fairly out in the open --- whether along the lagoon shore or the ocean beach.

The issue of what scavengers scattered the bones is an important one. Some big bones got moved and if rats did it, I sure don't want to meet those rats. Coconut crabs remain the prime suspects but dogs and/or pigs are another possibility. The problem is, the dogs and pigs (if they were there at all) arrived with the colonists and, if the bones were still fresh enough to be interesting in, say, June of 1939 it implies that the person had not been dead for all that long. Hence the image of a round-the-bend castaway lurking in the bushes, being seen briefly by Koata's wife and mistaken for Nei Manganibuka, and hiding from the "cannibals" that had come to live on the island. (I'm not suggesting that happened but it's one way the clues might be interpreted.)

LTM,
Ric


Subject: The coconut grove
Date: 6/10/00
From: Ross Devitt

Regarding my recent posts, there is madness in my method... If the "7" site is where I think it is (along the nothern shore of the island, but close to the loran station end and on the opposite side of the lagoon from where TIGHAR found the shoe fragments) then there are a few things that made me ask what I did.

Obviously by now you know I firmly believe the site was 100 feet above high water. That is not all that great a distance, only 5 "double garages", hell, the room I'm sitting in downstairs is 30 feet. Also the anecdotal evidence suggests close to the sand/vegetation line. This could feasibly be either the lagoon shore OR the ocean shore, and to be honest, because I haven't been there or seen good photographs I don't care, nor do I care to speculate which. You are the guys on the ground.

I do also believe that "not very far away" could easily relate to 100 yards, for reasons that I have posted. And also there is the likelihood that the skull was buried in a slightly different location from the rest of the bones. So that ALL points to the possibility, even the likelihood that the "7" site - if it is where I think it is - might be the skull site. It also leaves open the possibility that the bones were closer to the edge of the vegetation/sand line. (I'll call it sand, we know it is probbably broken coral, hence the reason for my title in the postings).

Now, In Gallagher's report, there was a small grove of coconut trees less than 2 miles away. We have all looked at the coconuts up near the wreck (1949) and round the village (1939-40) and down around Baureke (can't remember the spelling) Passage (1941). However, what interests me is on the North side of the lagoon, a promontory like Kanawa Point, only larger. On this you have a coconut grove shown with no date.

From your web page:

Con:

The only aspect of Gallagher's description of the bone discovery site that does not fit the 1996 Site is that the nearest stand of cocos in 1941 is more than two miles away (Point 10).

That grove just happens to be "less than 2 miles" from where I think the "7" site is. I have marked them on your map.

If this was in fact a grove perhaps of coconuts washed ashore from the old plantings, then it adds more credence to the "7" site regardless of the lagoon / ocean question.

The thing that had me thrown was that in Gallagher's Clues you have the map marked as Aukeraime, but showing the finds attributed to the 1996 site on the Northern shore. If I am correct, and the "7" site is on the North Shore OF Aukeraime, it throws a whole new rock at the turtle.

So what is the go with the cocos with no date? If they were there in 1938 --- you have your bone site!

RossD


From Ric

Good thinkin' Wombat. The cocos with no date are on the promontory known as Taraia and are shown on a map made by Ass't Lands Commissioner Paul Laxton in 1949. If the trees are the result of nuts that washed ashore from the Arundel plantings and were present before the island was settled (certainly a possibility) then you may be correct that this was the grove Gallagher was referring to. No cocos are shown in that location on the map produced by the 1938 New Zealand Survey (and Arundel's original plantings ARE shown) but I'm not sure that necessesarily means that there were not a few trees there.

LTM,
Ric


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