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Author Topic: Is the Seven an "A"?  (Read 82104 times)

Timothy Takemoto

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Is the Seven an "A"?
« on: June 04, 2013, 01:32:28 AM »

As a couple of YouTube users  (Matt Haight and racheepoo9) have noted, recent aerial photographs of the Seven Site, by TIGHAR and Google Satellite images look very much like a capital "A" rather than a "7".

One of the reasons given against the Gardener (Nikumaroro) Island hypothesis is that Amelia Earhart would have been seen by the 1937 aerial search but as Ric Gillespie points out ( http://youtu.be/DL9FGsvB3E8?t=5m14s ) that was flown at 400ft, a height at which humans would be very difficult to see.

However, from the opposite perspective, it seems likely to me that had Amelia Earhart been on the island at the time of the search, there is every likelihood that she would have been aware of the plane. Assuming that she was there it must have been very frustrating, attempting to get a smokey fire going, attempting to set up a flag etc.

Thus, had Amelia Earhart been on the island, especially after the frustration of not having been seen in an initial search, she would have put considerable effort into creating a sign of her presence on the Island. Of course she could have died too soon, been too  weak, or simply failed in the attempt. But had she been on the Island, especially since she was an aviator, one would expect her to create a sign indicating her presence, at a size large enough to been seen at altitude from a similar search planet.

What would it be? "ELP ME" had been suggested. An alphabetical message seems likely. Seeing as how her name was Amelia, what is more likely, indeed what else, than a capital "A", Amelia's A?

The earlier aerial photo (still) from 1938 looks more like a "7" but also possibly an A since at least, there appears to be dots which if joined would form the cross bar of the A on the "7," and this bar may have been visible had the photo been taken from a different angle. 

The "A" might explain why the castaway relocated to that spot which may have and a natural clearing that could be adapted to one of the simplest, and yet obviously anthropogenic symbols.

I think it is a nice idea anyway and fortuitous or not, the "Amelia's A" can be found on Google Maps Satellite image by anyone. Spot the "A" ! http://tinyurl.com/ameliasa
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Bill de Creeft

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 02:13:41 AM »

Have thought the same thing...and the view from the helicopter on that ride with the tuna spotter seems that way also, if you look at that.
But I think that has been suggested in the past and been dismissed due to circumstances of which i am unaware or have forgotten...
Maybe now that it has popped up again the explanation will be repeated.
I am still curious about it.
Bill

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Timothy Takemoto

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 03:16:46 AM »

Thanks yes. The A was spotted by those watching the TIGHAR video of from the Tuna spotter helicopter

This is from the tuna spotter in the TIGHAR Aerial Tour of Nikumaroro video ( at time 9 minutes and 39 seconds )

This is from the 1938 aerial image in the same video at 9 minutes 42 seconds

And this is from Google Maps Satellite view

And this image, with the "A" clearing in view on the right hand side, is from the Approaching the Seven Site taken prior to the excavation in 2010

And another clearly visible "A" from the NikuVI PIPA report p2

And even the black and white 1939 aerial "7" seems to have a little bit of "A" (cross bar) to the seven



By the way, how likely is it that Gerald Gallagher's loggers put a line of corrugated iron to facilitate rolling logs? It seems a lot of trouble to go to for little advantage. In what direction was the line of the corrugated iron? The top of the "7"? The Stick of the "7" or the bar of the "A." If someone were attempting to transform a naturally occurring clearing and trying to turn it into a symbol they might add man made beach combed bits (iron) to add straightness and artificiality. 

Also, it is cool that the image from Google Maps it is almost perfectly orientated: an "A" the right way up! Are Google maps images facing North-towards-the-top? I think that they may well be. If I were going to cut my initial into a jungle I would want to orientated it with the compass in this way to increase the changes that it be recognized.

And I would like to reiterate the reverse engineered motivational analysis (for lack of better Jargon).

Assuming that Amelia Earhart
1) survived on the island for a while (how long based on the remains?)
2) was active, proactive, a survivor
3) was an aviator with plenty of experience of (and ability to imagine/see) how things look from above
4) had experienced an abortive rescue in the form of a plane fly over, which did not spot her
5) knew how isolated the island was and how the only likely visitors would be by air

Then, on any island where the above 5 suppositions are true (other than the first, they are all no-brainers), one would strongly expect AE to
1) Have located herself near to prominent features that would attract attention from the air
2) Have at least attempted to make a sign visible from the 400 feet of a plane
3) Have made that sign indicate human presence and
4) Have made that sign indicate her own (word famous, important, people on the look out for) presence.
5) Have located herself beside any naturally occurring terrain feature that, by some stroke of luck, would suggest her presence.

What sign would Amelia Earhart she have made or chosen to indicate her presence to aviators? It seems to me that, considering the points above, one might almost reach the conclusion that.....

If there were not a large "A" on the island then Amelia Earhart was not there!

But there is an "A" clearly visible even to this day!! :-)

Bearing in mind that one can very plausibly and honestly claim that this looks like an "A", calling the site "Site A" or  "Amelia's A" (instead of "Site 7") just seems like good marketing, with a view to raising funds to send that sub down to see the newly found underwater remains. This was not my idea.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 06:34:44 PM by Timothy Takemoto »
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 06:22:36 AM »

Having been absent for a while, and just re-familiarizing myself with current events, I'd like to reply to this.
The Lambrecht overflight was 9 days after the disappearance. If in fact AE DID land on the northwest reef, as is suspected, she had several days in pretty bad conditions to hike a couple of miles, then clear out something that looked like a '7" , or an "A" as you suppose. I say bad conditions as being, on a deserted Island, with little provisions; early july very near the equator so it was hot, and hiking through scavola (?) several miles to a spot she thinks is better than where she was, to carve out a pretty good sized area. With what tools? Ric and Co. on a early expedition hacked their way through with machetes. Took a WHILE. Later trip, used saws or something else they brought. took a WHILE. Amelia had ---we think-- a pocket knife.
Think about it.
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 06:25:02 AM »

Tim,

you only have to look at the images to see that there are many varied shapped clear areas on the island.  In the fly past Ric even comments about these.

Nice idea but like Tom says you'r going to need the right tools for the job.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 07:31:58 AM »

The "seven" is a natural feature.  As Chris correctly points out, there are many such bare spots in the vegetation in a wide variety of random shapes.  Any area that is cleared by humans soon grows back. (Ask me how I know.  :-\)
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 08:59:26 AM »

My last attempt to modify my post resulted above in "This must be approved by a moderator" so I will assume that it is to be moderated, and I hope it will be accepted.

Yes, your posts are being moderated because you have not provided your real name.

I have put the body of your post in a private message to you.   You may resubmit your post AFTER you provide your real name in your user profile.

Thanks.
LTM,

           Marty
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Timothy Takemoto

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 12:47:30 PM »

Yes, "the seven" may well be a natural feature.

What features, natural or otherwise, on the island are prominent from the air? Are there many? Are many, or any of them seemingly artificial? Why did the castaway choose that spot, choose to die at the centre of that spot?

If I were a castaway that had experience a flyover, and if I especially I were an aviator castaway that had experience of looking down on things from the air, I would find and locate myself in the most prominent of these natural features, that looked most unnatural, most like a sign. Are there others other than the "7" (it is given an unnatural name)?

On google maps satellite view now  there seem to be few other man-made-looking features on the whole island.

Bearing in mind the "7" appellation used by Tighar to designate the site, it is one of the few sites on the island that gives itself a name because it is similar to a human symbol. And yet it also looks like a "A," the human symbol perhaps most likely to have been used by someone called Amelia, aware of her fame.

I am certainly not suggesting that AE made the "7" (or "A") prior to the Lambrecht flyover. She would have been more likely to have been camped nearer the wreck of her plane at that time. The jungle is very difficult to clear. It would certainly have taken longer than 9 days. I am suggesting, however, that especially because she had been missed by the Lambrecht flyover that she would have put great effort into creating a man-made-looking sign that would be viewable from subsequent flyovers.

Was the line of iron (corrugated?) along the line of the head of the seven,  stem of the seven or cross of the A, or elsewhere? 

Is it clear that crossbar of the A, clearly visible in the photos above, is also a natural feature?   

And even if the "A" is an entirely natural feature, if you were Amelia, where on the island would you camp?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 06:03:21 PM by Timothy Takemoto »
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Charlie Chisholm

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 01:34:50 PM »


Thus, had Amelia Earhart been on the island, especially after the frustration of not having been seen in an initial search, she would have put considerable effort into creating a sign of her presence on the Island. Of course she could have died too soon, been too  weak, or simply failed in the attempt. But had she been on the Island, especially since she was an aviator, one would expect her to create a sign indicating her presence, at a size large enough to been seen at altitude from a similar search planet.

What would it be?
It would be a giant arrow complete with a tail, just north of the seven site, pointing directly at the seven site, made by removing vegetation and leaving the highly visible white coral and coral sand clearly visible to aircraft. It is brightly visible in the 1938 photo.

In all later photos it is not visible. In all early photos, it is not visible. It came into existence sometime after the aerial search for Amelia and before the 1938 photo - exactly the time when we think Amelia was there at the seven site.

In my amateur opinion, this has been dismissed too easily. The spot was checked on one of the expeditions and dismissed, because there was nothing but coral and sand there, covered with vegetation. But of course, that is exactly what would be there many years later after the vegetation grew back.

There never has been a satisfactory explanation for the giant arrow just north of the seven site in the 1938 photo.

I still think it's quite possible it was a sign to aerial searchers built by Amelia in the weeks after the first search failed to spot her.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 02:08:53 PM »

In my amateur opinion, this has been dismissed too easily. The spot was checked on one of the expeditions and dismissed, because there was nothing but coral and sand there, covered with vegetation. But of course, that is exactly what would be there many years later after the vegetation grew back.

We went to the spot (a real b--ch to get to BTW). There was nothing there except a bare patch of coral.  We swept it thoroughly with metal detectors.  Nothing.  In your amateur opinion what should we have done?
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Charlie Chisholm

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 04:22:29 PM »

In my amateur opinion, this has been dismissed too easily. The spot was checked on one of the expeditions and dismissed, because there was nothing but coral and sand there, covered with vegetation. But of course, that is exactly what would be there many years later after the vegetation grew back.

We went to the spot (a real b--ch to get to BTW). There was nothing there except a bare patch of coral.  We swept it thoroughly with metal detectors.  Nothing.  In your amateur opinion what should we have done?

Nothing - you did everything you could do.

I just think it's plausible the arrow was really there at the time of the 1938 photo because it doesn't have any of the indicators of a photo anomaly and it certainly looks man-made (or woman-made). That would point to Amelia being there and removing vegetation in order to make a sign that would be visible from the air (as suggested in this thread).

I just think it shouldn't be discounted as possibly made by the castaways. Not sure if one would expect for metal to be there, but it was a good idea to sweep it. But just because no metal was found doesn't mean the castaways did not build it. There would really be no remaining sign of it having been cleared in summer 1937.

But the fact that it was not there before and it was not there afterwards, does seem to indicate it was created right at the time we think Amelia was there.

Truth is we may never know, since clearing the vegetation would not leave much evidence, if any. I'm just saying it should not be dismissed just because you did not find any indications, since one would not expect to find much evidence in this case.

It really does look like an arrow made by the castaways.

What are the odds of an arrow being there at that time, and only at that time, in that particular spot, 50 yards from where we think Amelia was stranded? And if it was just a random natural feature, why did it not last like the 7 shape lasted? Why was it right there and not somewhere else on the island? Even the fact that it was pointing to the seven site and not some other random direction like out to sea or whatever, suggests that it is what it appears to be. Just figuring the odds, it seems to point to possibly being made by the castaways.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 07:14:24 PM »

Well, I see your reasoning, but it seems odd that AE and perhaps FN would go that far away and go to all that trouble to make an arrow rather than carve out some attention getting shape right where they were. Anyway, if the arrow was intended to direct an aircraft's attention to the Seven Site, it didn't work.  There's no indication that the crew of the Royal Navy Supermarine Walrus from HMS Leander who took the photo paid any special attention to the Seven Site. Of course by December 1938 when the photo was taken, Earhart was probably dead.
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Charlie Chisholm

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 10:43:57 PM »

Well, I see your reasoning, but it seems odd that AE and perhaps FN would go that far away and go to all that trouble to make an arrow rather than carve out some attention getting shape right where they were. Anyway, if the arrow was intended to direct an aircraft's attention to the Seven Site, it didn't work.  There's no indication that the crew of the Royal Navy Supermarine Walrus from HMS Leander who took the photo paid any special attention to the Seven Site.

I'm thinking they would try to find a place for their signal that already had a dark surrounding such as dark vegetation which also contained an area of already exposed (or easier to expose) white coral. The location of the arrow I believe is the nearest place to the seven site which had those characteristics. If they tried to make the signal at the seven site it would not stand out because large areas are already exposed (or only thinly covered with vegetation). I believe in those days the scavolae had not yet severely overgrown that area like the situation there today. It was also the beginning months of the 1937-38 drought, so it may have been easier to remove the vegetation (and there would be less of it).

This is all conjecture of course, and I may be dreaming, but I swear I see a "game trail" leading from the arrow down to the seven site, a few feet inland from the ocean beach. I remember reading an article on here about several so-called trails in the area, most of which I can't see or can only barely see. But the main trail leading down from the arrow to the seven site is pretty darn clear. Of course, by the time of the 1938 photo, it was in the hottest part of the 1938 drought so the trails could be something caused by dryness or something else, but it sure does look like a game trail. Since there's no "game" on Niku, it could only be crabs or humans making the trail. And if the castaways were indeed building the arrow sign, it would make sense that the most-worn trail would be the one leading from the arrow down to the seven site.

I'm not clear on what direction the search planes approached Niku, only that they ran down off the eastern shore and then headed to the Norwich City area. Obviously they were over the seven site on one of the passes because we have a photo of it (sans arrow incidentally). If Amelia saw the planes approaching and flying over the seven site (possibly on more than one pass), or even if she just noted that they came from the east, it would make sense for her to build the sign in that area, and also to stay near that area in case planes arrived again (and also to constantly keep a fire going for signalling, which she apparently did based on all the different fire sites in the seven site).

It's true that by the 1938 photo, when the arrow is still very visible, nobody thought anything about it. But if another plane search had been ordered, say, 3 weeks or a month after the first one, and the searchers were specifically looking for Amelia, that arrow would have stuck out like a sore thumb, and the searchers would find it curious, and they would have looked at where the arrow pointed - the seven site, and they would have found Amelia (alive or not-so-lucky).

It's fun to play "what-if's", but what if somebody had looked over the Lambrecht report and saw the notation about recent habitation and asked someone else about recent habitation on Gardner, and found out there was no recent habitation on Gardner, and convinced the powers-that-be to go look at that island one more time just to be sure. That arrow would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

Or what if the powers-that-be had believed some of the radio reports, and triangulated them to the vicinity of Gardner and sent more planes just to check it out one more time. That arrow would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

Well, you get the idea.

I'm pretty sure Amelia would have at least tried to make a signal of some sort after not being spotted in a 15-minute flyover - that must have been indescribably heart-breaking. She would have hoped beyond hope that planes would come again and I think she would have tried to be prepared by making a sign of some sort. In the 1938 photo, we see something that looks pretty convincingly like a sign - the arrow formation. Did Amelia or Amelia and Fred build the arrow formation? We will never know. But I like to think they did - I can't imagine them sitting at the seven site and not building a sign of some sort, but who knows? Just getting enough water to survive would be incredibly difficult and draining so maybe they didn't have the energy.

If they did build it, it's just too bad that nobody ever got to see it until the search was long over. The energy they (possibly) put into it was wasted. Would building the arrow have drained them so much that their survival time was shortened? It's a good possibility. But they made the right choice to build it (if they did), based on their not being spotted in the first search. I think most people in the same situation would have done the same thing.
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Timothy Takemoto

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2013, 09:38:11 PM »

Wow you are right! There is a very pronounced arrow! It looks a bit like the arrow that I added to Google Satellite! I agree with Charlie Chisholm's last post entirely.

Leader Ric Gillespie wrote " it seems odd that AE and perhaps FN would go that far away and go to all that trouble to make an arrow rather than carve out some attention getting shape right where they were. "

I can't think of anything more visible than an arrow pointing at a naturally occurring "A," as partially demonstrated by the fact that  an arrow is exactly what I added to the "A" to make it visible above.  Making the arrow may have been very time consuming but if Amelia found the A, and was able to visualize what it would look like from above, then she may well have saved the energy of making a symbol (what better than A) as well as an arrow to make it stand out.

Has that arrow been investigated? I.e. did someone check to see if there was sign of human interference in that region?

There should have been a sign. They would have tried to make one. And it looks like they did. Seen at last, thank God almighty, her sign was seen at last :-)

The seven site needs to be called the "A site" a for Amelia, A for arrow. 

I am not sure what to make of bing maps.
http://binged.it/18Sz3BZ
I guess it is the TIGHAR excavations. 
« Last Edit: June 06, 2013, 09:39:53 PM by Timothy Takemoto »
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Charlie Chisholm

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Re: Is the Seven an "A"?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 12:01:33 AM »


Has that arrow been investigated? I.e. did someone check to see if there was sign of human interference in that region?

Ric was there personally on a previous expedition. They carefully calculated the location of the arrow and had to hack their way in to the area. Scaevola has severely invaded the area in recent decades and getting to anything is very difficult. But they got to the location and found nothing but bare white coral under the scaevola. They ran a metal detector over the entire area and found nothing. I believe at the time the theory was that if it was a marker it was probably made of coral blocks or sand brought in from the beach (I'm going by memory here). Since they didn't find coral blocks or sand artificially brought in, and didn't find any metal, they kind of concluded that it wasn't a marker.

Prior to that expedition, there was plenty of talk and speculation about it being a marker, including photo analysis of "trails" made by the castaways. The only real viable trails to my eye are the trail from the seven site to the clam bed in the lagoon (which remains a very viable and exciting possibility), and the trail from the seven site to the arrow. Several others were pointed out but I have trouble seeing them (or I see them and they just look like other bare ground around the seven site and not necessarily a trail). The trail to the lagoon is pretty clear and the trail to the arrow is very clear. Those two trails led over ground with vegetation on it and the ground is bare only on the trail in those areas, so they really do look like trails made by humans. The trail to the arrow is easily visible in the 1938 photo - just start at the point of the arrow and you'll see a thin jagged winding trail leading down and over to the right towards the beach. It then heads straight down parallel to the beach (although still in the vegetation), but it is definitely winding, not a straight line like the long side of the seven. It goes all the way down to the top of the seven (or A). There is still an article on here somewhere with that info in it including pictures and drawings of where they believe the trails were.

But ever since the expedition concluded that the arrow wasn't man-made, the issue hasn't been discussed much at all. My theory is that they didn't do anything artificial to make the ground white, like bringing in sand or coral block. They just found an area of exposed coral already in existence, or an area of coral where vegetation would be easier to remove, and expanded it into the shape of an arrow. Even the fact that the expedition found bare coral under the scaevola, and not soil or short vegetation, or anything a dark color, supports the possibility that in 1937 that area may have been the best place to remove vegetation in order to make a sign for search parties.

There was some discussion about it being a photo anomaly, but that dog doesn't hunt. You can see trees or shrubs silhouetted against the white coral on the edge closest to the camera, but the edges on the far sides are smooth - exactly what you would expect if it's really there and not some kind of photo anomaly. The tail of the arrow is also a different color. So whether it was man-made or natural, that arrow was definitely there in 1938 (and at no time before or since that we know of). There was an area of no vegetation at that location, and it was in the shape of an ARROW pointing to the seven site; and there is a clear trail leading from the seven site directly to it. That's pretty convincing evidence in my view.

But hey - it could have been a naturally made arrow. The trail could have been made by crabs and not humans. Maybe the crabs built the arrow!
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