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Author Topic: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?  (Read 11847 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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TIGHAR has done the first systematic survey of all alleged post-loss radio receptions.  Some are very evidently hoaxes.  Some seem very credible.  Others, though highly improbable, cannot be ruled out as impossible.

We have learned that some reports of post-loss radio reception were not reported in the national press.  There is no way to search local newspapers except by having generous volunteers read their local newspapers from July 2 until a week or two later.

Are there any post-loss radio transmissions that have not yet come to TIGHAR's attention?
LTM,

           Marty
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N Miles

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 10:44:55 PM »

I'm not sure which articles are already known about. Is there any sort of database?
However, when I was doing a little searching, I found an article that I thought looked interesting. I was unable to view the whole article because there is a charge for it. The abstract states this:
"Los Angeles Times - ProQuest Archiver - Jul 9, 1937
(AN)-'Mrs. Joe Arnold, Okmulgee, told The Times she and her daughter heard a short wave radio message tonight in which the name "Amelia Earhart" was ... "
Mentioning a wife and daughter, to me, makes them seem more like real people, and maybe less likely to try to perpetrate a hoax.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 09:38:51 AM »

I'm not sure which articles are already known about. Is there any sort of database?

TIGHAR is developing a database.

It is not available online at present.

There's no harm in submitting what you find, if anything.

Quote
However, when I was doing a little searching, I found an article that I thought looked interesting. I was unable to view the whole article because there is a charge for it. The abstract states this:
"Los Angeles Times - ProQuest Archiver - Jul 9, 1937
(AN)-'Mrs. Joe Arnold, Okmulgee, told The Times she and her daughter heard a short wave radio message tonight in which the name "Amelia Earhart" was ... "
Mentioning a wife and daughter, to me, makes them seem more like real people, and maybe less likely to try to perpetrate a hoax.

That name doesn't ring a bell with me.  Ric Gillespie or Bob Brandenburg could say whether they've seen that article.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359
 
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Cynthia M Kennedy

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I am new to this forum, so perhaps the idea I have is already in the works, but here it is...

Since there are sites, used by genealogists and others, that provide access to digitized newspapers (understanding, of course, that these digitized newspapers are but a subset of all papers published in July 1937) and since many newspapers of that time period are also on microfilm, how about coordinating a group of volunteers (so that we would not duplicate each other's efforts) who would search these available newspapers from July 1937?  I am certainly willing to participate.

Cindy

P.S.  I have an old radio from the 1930s, and I think of Amelia--and Betty's notebook-- every time I look at it.
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Cynthia M Kennedy

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I found this article.  Mrs. Joe Arnold was living in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.  The report was from July 8, but was in the July 9 LA Times.  It's a short article, and it states that the name Amelia Earhart was "repeated several times" and then that the message was "weak, but distinct" and that the message said, "We're suffering, but holding on.  Couldn't see Howland Island."

Cindy



I'm not sure which articles are already known about. Is there any sort of database?
However, when I was doing a little searching, I found an article that I thought looked interesting. I was unable to view the whole article because there is a charge for it. The abstract states this:
"Los Angeles Times - ProQuest Archiver - Jul 9, 1937
(AN)-'Mrs. Joe Arnold, Okmulgee, told The Times she and her daughter heard a short wave radio message tonight in which the name "Amelia Earhart" was ... "
Mentioning a wife and daughter, to me, makes them seem more like real people, and maybe less likely to try to perpetrate a hoax.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Thanks for tracking this down, Cindy.

Do you have a complete transcript of the article?  Or a scan?  I'm trying to get the quotation marks right so that they help to distinguish between what Mrs. Arnold said, what the reporter said about her, and what is your own interpolation or paraphrase.

Los Angeles Times
9 July 1937
Okmulgee, Oklahoma

"Mrs. Joe Arnold, Okmulgee, told The Times she and her daughter heard a short wave wave radio message tonight in which the name Amelia Earhart was 'repeated several times' and then that the message was 'weak, but distinct' and that the message said, 'We're suffering, but holding on.  Couldn't see Howland Island.'"

This seems like a new story to me.  I worked on the database last summer for a few weeks.  Ric (currently on Niku) and Bob Brandenburg have been collating and evaluating the list of post-loss radio messages.  Their goal is eventually to make it available in some form on the website.   I don't see this message in their list (although the copy to which I have access may not be the most recent version).
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359
 
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 08:55:43 AM by moleski »
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Cynthia M Kennedy

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I have sent you an email with more information.

Cindy

Thanks for tracking this down, Cindy.

Do you have a complete transcript of the article?  Or a scan?  I'm trying to get the quotation marks right so that they help to distinguish between what Mrs. Arnold said, what the reporter said about her, and what is your own interpolation or paraphrase.

Los Angeles Times
9 July 1937
Okmulgee, Oklahoma

"Mrs. Joe Arnold, Okmulgee, told The Times she and her daughter heard a short wave wave radio message tonight in which the name Amelia Earhart was 'repeated several times' and then that the message was 'weak, but distinct' and that the message said, 'We're suffering, but holding on.  Couldn't see Howland Island.'"

This seems like a new story to me.  I worked on the database last summer for a few weeks.  Ric (currently on Niku) and Bob Brandenburg have been collating and evaluating the list of post-loss radio messages.  Their goal is eventually to make it available in some form on the website.   I don't see this message in their list (although the copy to which I have access may not be the most recent version).
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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I have sent you an email with more information.

Thanks.

It's good to see the original page.  It shows that the date of the AP article was 8 July.  That suggests to me, in turn, that the latest possible date for the reception of the transmission would have to be 7 July.  Are there any Oklahoma papers that have the same story?

The same page also has a separate article on a claim made by someone in Hawaii to have heard Earhart and the Itasca on "1420 kilocycles" (8 July, UP). If the Hawaii article has the correct frequency, it must be false.  AE's transmitter was crystal-controlled and only had three frequencies: 500 kcs, 3105 kcs, and 6210 kcs.  1420 kcs is not an even multiple of any of those three frequencies.  Moreover, there is no record of the Itasca receiving such a message from AE or transmitting a message like that in reply.  On those grounds, I would judge the Hawaii story as not credible.  But it should still go into the count of "post-loss radio messages."
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359
 
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Erik

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Also from July 8th....

Here's a newspaper report of post-loss radio transmissions indicating a latitude/longitude of AE/FN.  The lat/long is remarkably close to Gardner.  If you excuse the timing errors introduced in calculating longitude, that puts the reported position within ~20 miles of the island.

It seems unlikely a hoax given that the reporter immediately tuned in to also hear a man's voice.

Click Here to read the full article.

Article text from:
The Southeast Missourian - Jul 8, 1937
   Ray Havens, Conrad creamery worker, phoned the Great Falls Tribune that at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, he heard a man's voice giving a position and saying "all's well."
   A few minutes later, he said, he picked up a second message, which he gave as follows: "Position 173 west longitude and 5 south latitude."

Newspaper Joins Hunt.
  Luke Wright of the Tribune editorial staff immediately tuned in his set of 3105 kilocycles, and reported he heard a voice, presumably a man's, but could not distinguish the words.
   Coast Guard officials at San Francisco said the message appeared promising for two reasons. First, the longitude and latitude intersects a spot approximately where they believe the missing flyers are down.  Second, the wording of the message sounded authentic.

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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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... Coast Guard officials at San Francisco said the message appeared promising for two reasons. First, the longitude and latitude intersects a spot approximately where they believe the missing flyers are down.  Second, the wording of the message sounded authentic.[/i]

That one is in the database.

The location is 50 miles west of Hull and 90 miles east of Niku.

The link you give does provide the frequency the reporter tuned to: 3105 kcs.  But the man's voice he heard could have been from another airplane--the reporter was not able to make out what the man was saying.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2010, 05:51:37 PM »

Quote
TIGHAR has done the first systematic survey of all alleged post-loss radio receptions.  Some are very evidently hoaxes.  Some seem very credible.  Others, though highly improbable, cannot be ruled out as impossible.

Bob Brandenberg is skeptical about reports of hearing AE and FN after the March of Time Broadcast on 8 July 1937.  Calculations of the fuel available to run the engine and generator come into play as well for drawing the boundary of credibility at an earlier rather than later date.
LTM,

           Marty
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« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 05:53:16 PM by moleski »
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Erik

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2010, 12:42:13 PM »


 
I feel we should investigate this news article a little further.  90 miles east of Gardner is not too shabby if you have a damaged or lost (hint.. hint..) sextant.  Rember this is not an actual location but simply a 'reported' position of where they thought they might be - since they were lost afterall.  The longitudinal component is off by 90 miles. The lattitudinal component is off by 20 miles or so.

Not having a sextant highly suggests relying on the thumb-and-forefinger method for determining celestial angles.  Using this thumb-and-forefinger method as means of establishing location via celestial positioning can yield approximately 60 miles real-world error for each finger's width.  So it would only take a finger-and-a-half to come up 90 mile error.  That's one-third-finger's width for 20 mile errror.  Given the extraordinary circumstances, it's very plausible they may have had to rely on this type of method for determing angles and such.

As an aside:
I wonder if this may have had some influence on choosing the eastern side of the island.  For example, the celestial almanac may have been using the rising sun/moon timetables that were better suited from easterly view - without any pesky island or trees to obstruct the view.   : ) 

Another factor to consider is the errors introduced in calculating the longitudinal component of position.  Longitude calcualtions require both angles and timing to be accurate.  With an innacurate timing device combined with and innacurate measuring device (such as a finger), longitude becomes more trickier than lattitude.  Thus, possibly explaining the larger error on the longitude - 90 miles  v.s. 20 miles.  It's worthy of consideration.

Coincidently:
Howland's longitude is about equi-distant (in the opposite direction of course) to that of the 173 longitude being reported.  I know it's a stretch, but it is possible that the longitude figure was somehow 'inverted' during calculations.  Ok a bit dillusional, but wouldn't you be if you were a castaway?

Bob B's skeptisim coincides nicely with other reported radio events and the likelihood that the electra was most liikely missing from sight July 9th as the search planes flew over.  It's plausible that the last credible radio transmission was July 7th just before the plane could have been swept to sea sometime before resuce came by.  By the 9th it's no wonder credible radio transmissions and the search planes themselves couldn't find the electra.  1-2 days time is certainly enough time for a buoyant plane to float away!

I like Cindy's idea of coordinating newspaper archive volunteers.  Any takers?  I'm in.  Let's talk.

Erik



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Cynthia M Kennedy

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2010, 03:31:34 PM »

Hi Erik,

I'm in.  I have access to some databases, and can also do microfilm research in newspapers in the San Antonio TX area (including small town newspapers).  I can also travel to the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin (they have microfilmed newspapers).  I also have an Ancestry account--they have a number of digitized newspapers.

Cindy


 
I feel we should investigate this news article a little further.  90 miles east of Gardner is not too shabby if you have a damaged or lost (hint.. hint..) sextant.  Rember this is not an actual location but simply a 'reported' position of where they thought they might be - since they were lost afterall.  The longitudinal component is off by 90 miles. The lattitudinal component is off by 20 miles or so.

Not having a sextant highly suggests relying on the thumb-and-forefinger method for determining celestial angles.  Using this thumb-and-forefinger method as means of establishing location via celestial positioning can yield approximately 60 miles real-world error for each finger's width.  So it would only take a finger-and-a-half to come up 90 mile error.  That's one-third-finger's width for 20 mile errror.  Given the extraordinary circumstances, it's very plausible they may have had to rely on this type of method for determing angles and such.

As an aside:
I wonder if this may have had some influence on choosing the eastern side of the island.  For example, the celestial almanac may have been using the rising sun/moon timetables that were better suited from easterly view - without any pesky island or trees to obstruct the view.   : ) 

Another factor to consider is the errors introduced in calculating the longitudinal component of position.  Longitude calcualtions require both angles and timing to be accurate.  With an innacurate timing device combined with and innacurate measuring device (such as a finger), longitude becomes more trickier than lattitude.  Thus, possibly explaining the larger error on the longitude - 90 miles  v.s. 20 miles.  It's worthy of consideration.

Coincidently:
Howland's longitude is about equi-distant (in the opposite direction of course) to that of the 173 longitude being reported.  I know it's a stretch, but it is possible that the longitude figure was somehow 'inverted' during calculations.  Ok a bit dillusional, but wouldn't you be if you were a castaway?

Bob B's skeptisim coincides nicely with other reported radio events and the likelihood that the electra was most liikely missing from sight July 9th as the search planes flew over.  It's plausible that the last credible radio transmission was July 7th just before the plane could have been swept to sea sometime before resuce came by.  By the 9th it's no wonder credible radio transmissions and the search planes themselves couldn't find the electra.  1-2 days time is certainly enough time for a buoyant plane to float away!

I like Cindy's idea of coordinating newspaper archive volunteers.  Any takers?  I'm in.  Let's talk.

Erik




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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2010, 10:31:06 PM »

I like Cindy's idea of coordinating newspaper archive volunteers.  Any takers?  I'm in.  Let's talk.

I'm in.  I have access to some databases, and can also do microfilm research in newspapers in the San Antonio TX area (including small town newspapers).  I can also travel to the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin (they have microfilmed newspapers).  I also have an Ancestry account--they have a number of digitized newspapers.

Go for it.  In the case of the Oklahoma lady, what you need to dent Bob Brandenberg's skepticism is the frequency on which she was listening and evidence that she heard something before the March of Time broadcast.  If there's no frequency and it's after MoT, then it's doubtful that you can get her moved to the "credible" list.

There may also be coverage of post-loss radio messages in Pacific newspapers--Australia, NZ, Hawaii, Japan, etc.--though the dearth of such reports may come not from a lack of research but from a lack of interest in or awareness of the story.  AE's loss was a huge story on the west coast of the U.S.; it may not have been such a big deal elsewhere around the Pacific rim.  But if anyone has a way of looking for such out-of-the-way newspapers, it might be worth a try.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Does your local paper have stories about messages after July 2, 1937?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2010, 02:56:34 PM »

I like Cindy's idea of coordinating newspaper archive volunteers.  Any takers?  I'm in.  Let's talk.

I've put up a very abbreviated timeline of post-loss radio messages.

I've only got a few things in it.  It needs a lot more to make it really useful.  But it's a proof of concept and a start for keeping track of what people find in their newspaper searches.

If anyone can get at an AP archive for the key dates (July 2 to July 9), that might help in fleshing out some of the details.
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359
 
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