Advanced search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Down

Author Topic: "It's turtles all the way down"  (Read 43547 times)

Joe Cerniglia

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 284
  • Niku in a rainstorm
"It's turtles all the way down"
« on: September 05, 2014, 08:17:40 AM »

Yum - hard to pass up if you're stranded.

The absence of limb bones at the Seven Site suggests that no turtle flesh was actually eaten by the castaway.  She may have simply found a dead turtle on the beach decayed beyond use as food and salvaged the shell for water collection/storage.  Gallagher reported, "Body had obviously been lying under a "ren" tree and remains of fire, turtle and dead birds appear to indicate life."  He didn't describe what part of the turtle was there.

Last month's discussion on turtles prompted me to gather up the research materials I had on the turtle(s) at the Seven Site and write up a research paper that explored and expanded on some various hypotheses regarding the turtle bones that the EPAC (Earhart Project Advisory Council) had been discussing a few years back.  Tom King graciously invited me to his blog as a guest author.  It took me a number of weeks to arrange the material, and Tom has now posted it to his Amelia Earhart Archaeology website.  I hope you enjoy the article.

Joe Cerniglia
TIGHAR #3078CR
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6021
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2014, 08:41:02 AM »

The hole in the piece of turtle plastron is a possible indication of the presence of a .22 caliber firearm at the Seven Site, but there is much better evidence.  We have recovered 25 .22 caliber shell casings from the Seven Site and nearby Buka forest.  Earhart is not known to have had a .22 cal pistol.  The Coasties are not known to have had a .22 cal pistol.  Gallagher IS known to have had a Colt .22 cal pistol.  Gallagher is also known to have been present at the bone discovery location - which we feel sure is the Seven Site.  Gallagher would therefore seem to be, far and away, the most likely .22 shooter.  What he was shooting and why is a mystery.
Logged

Joe Cerniglia

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 284
  • Niku in a rainstorm
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2014, 08:53:42 AM »

Thanks for that addition, Ric.  I found the discussion of shell casings to be difficult to absorb, spread out as it was over several different threads.  I left the identity of the turtle shooter ambiguous to invite just this kind of additional detail.  Of course, we still have the mystery of why the turtle bones are missing all skull, vertebrae and limb elements.  Mighty odd for an islander and I'm not sure what the answer if available would advance, but it's interesting to speculate.  Maybe Gallagher dispatched a turtle on the beach and brought the shell and plastron to the Seven Site to collect rainwater, then for whatever reason, carved it up into smaller and interestingly shaped pieces (moose antler, etc.), maybe to pass the time.

Joe Cerniglia
TIGHAR #3078CR
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 08:56:15 AM by Joe Cerniglia »
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6021
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2014, 09:13:13 AM »

Here's a puzzlement.  If you're salvaging a turtle shell from the beach in which to collect water (whether you're Amelia Earhart, Gerald Gallagher, or Robinson Crusoe), why bring the plastron?  It will just get in the way.  All you want is the carapace.  Also, you can't gut out the turtle without removing the plastron.  Dragging a turtle in from the beach without gutting it out would make it unnecessarily heavy and the guts aren't good for anything.  Maybe the plastron is concave enough to be useful as a water collection surface and the carapace and plastron were brought to the site separately. 
I don't buy Gallagher needing to use turtle shell for collecting water.  He had access to tanks and barrels from the village.  There is both a tank and a barrel at the site.
I think the turtle remains are castaway-related.  Gallagher specifically mentions "dead turtle" at the site. If the hole in the plastron piece is from a .22 round it was probably put there by Gallagher as he was plinking at god-knows-what (rats?) around the Seven Site.
Logged

Joe Cerniglia

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 284
  • Niku in a rainstorm
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 09:58:08 AM »

I agree with that logic.  As you indicate, if the Seven Site and the human bones discovery site are the same, and Gallagher said he found turtle bones, which he did, then at least some of the turtle remains, including perhaps the holed plastron, need to predate Gallagher.

So Gallagher shoots at existing turtle remains, perhaps due to missing some intended target.  That seems uncharacteristically spendthrift for a thrifty Brit to shoot off a whole box of .22 rounds, but as I stated in the paper, people and groups can behave uncharacteristically. 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 09:59:51 AM by Joe Cerniglia »
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6021
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 10:09:12 AM »

That seems uncharacteristically spendthrift for a thrifty Brit to shoot off a whole box of .22 rounds, but as I stated in the paper, people and groups can behave uncharacteristically.

It does seem odd but all we know about whoever was shooting a .22 cal weapon is the distribution of the shell casings.  The pattern does not suggest stationary target practice but rather someone strolling around randomly shooting.  Birds?  Rats?  Loafing laborers?
Logged

Joe Cerniglia

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 284
  • Niku in a rainstorm
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2014, 10:17:26 AM »

The shooting pattern does seem to have an air of desperation to it, whether borne of boredom (a significant problem for the Coast Guard, as Dick Evans pointed out last weekend), or fear, or necessity.  The bullets and casings are a whole 'nother paper.  I find the types of casings and shells recovered to be one of the truly complex things about the site.
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6021
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2014, 10:31:53 AM »

I find the types of casings and shells recovered to be one of the truly complex things about the site.

I think the casings and rounds that match CG weapons and the shards of broken CG crockery, vacuum tubes, salt shaker, and coke bottle are pretty straightforward. No great mystery there.  The .22 casings are probably Gallagher.  We don't know what he was shooting at but I can't see that it much matters.
Logged

Monty Fowler

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1078
  • "The real answer is always the right answer."
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2014, 10:41:07 AM »

We don't know what he was shooting at but I can't see that it much matters.

As intriguing as ALL of the little side mysteries of the 7 Site are, we have to always keep in mind that they are just that, side mysteries. Unfortunately, shell casings can't talk (at least in this reality), so we are let with supposition. Plenty enough of that to go around for the few bits that TIGHAR has turned up there.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECSP
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
Logged

JNev

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 778
  • It's a GOOD thing to be in the cornfield...
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2014, 10:43:45 AM »

Maybe he (Gallagher) was shooting at crabs, out of boredom.  22's are still relatively cheap by the 'brick'; I wouldn't assume that it would be regarded as spendthrift for him to have decided to enjoy a bit of plinking.

To have shot the plastron - that being the lower 'plate' of a turtle vs. the carapace, which is the upper 'dome', as it were - on a turtle normally-fixed upon the earth, implies either -
a) to have shot from above, i.e. from whence the turtle's innards once (but no longer) were, that the turtle was dismantled, e.g. carapace, etc. removed for harvest, etc. prior to the act, or
b) to have shot from 'below' that the creature was on it's proverbial back somehow (thus 'dispatch' might be possible - but this seems most unusual to the writer and unlikely to have happened) - or that the plastron was merely lying upon the earth belly-up, quite long removed from the dead creature. 

Randomly shooting a dead turtle's partial remains seems the more likely scenario, somehow - and with 22's being lovely plinking instruments due to low cost and recoil, it was perhaps done for mere sport - by Gallagher.

The value in this to me seems to be some degree of affirmation of Gallagher having been where the shot critter was found, which adds weight to our supposition of the 7 site being 'the place' of the wretched castaway.  The bird bones, shot turtle shell, etc. all seem to lean toward the 7 site being 'the place' of the Gallagher-found castaway, as the bullet hole and 22 casings seem to point to that gent - argue as one will just whom that hapless wretch of the thirteen bones was, if other than Earhart.
- Jeff Neville

Former Member 3074R
 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 11:07:50 AM by Jeffrey Neville »
Logged

Mark Pearce

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 163
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2014, 01:36:26 PM »

The Coast Guard has used .22 caliber rifles and pistols in it's 'training arsenal' since the 20's and 30's.  See links below.

"Annual Report for the US Coast Guard 1921"
http://books.google.com/books?id=Lb00AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA7-PA37&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false
Page 37;
"...New 1922 M-1, .22 caliber rifles have been issued for use in target practice..."

http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/wwiitms/TM9_280_1944.pdf
Caliber .22 Rifles, All Types
General. The caliber .22 pattern of U.S. rifle described in this manual was initially developed by the Ordnance Department to provide an accurate small-bore weapon for use of civilian rifle clubs, ..... Subsequently, the weapon was adopted for use in small-bore rifle marksmanship courses throughout the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

http://www.coltautos.com/1911a1aceci_5241.htm
"Colt Ace .22 LR - Colt Ace Serial Number 5241, Shipped to the US Coast Guard"


http://www.loran-history.info/jupiter/My_Coast_Guard_Memories_LorSta_JUPITER_Chapter_1-Bob_NIK_Nahikian.pdf
Page 6
" ...This was an “ACE” conversion of the standard M1911A1 service pistol to shoot .22 cal ammo in lieu of the standard .45 cal rounds. The pistol had the Coast Guard seal as well as “UNITED STATES COAST GUARD” neatly engraved on the slide. It was a beautiful weapon and had seen very little use...."

http://ww2.rediscov.com/spring/VFPCGI.exe?IDCFile=/spring/DETAILS.IDC,SPECIFIC=10287,DATABASE=objects,
"The Colt Ace was introduced in 1931 as a sub-caliber model of the Colt M1911A1 for practice use for target shooters. The standard Model Ace was pleasant to shoot. Recoil was light, and the accuracy was good... Although the Army normally bought small arms for the Coast Guard, there were times when the Coast Guard, and the Navy as well, bought handguns directly from the manufacturer."

http://www.5nr.org/topside/archives/March_1943_Reduced.pdf
see page 14 of 16
"...The arm used is the United States Army Colt .45 caliber Automatic Pistol but with a .22 caliber bore to accommodate .22 caliber Long Rifle ammunition which is used in the interest of economy."
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 6021
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2014, 02:07:15 PM »

The Coast Guard has used .22 caliber rifles and pistols in it's 'training arsenal' since the 20's and 30's.

Loran Unit 92 was not a training facility.  None of the veterans we've interviewed recalls any weapons other than M1 carbines, Springfield rifles, .45 sidearms, and a Browning .30 cal machine gun that frightened everybody because they weren't sure they had assembled it correctly.
Logged

Brad Beeching

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 158
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2014, 04:41:48 PM »

The .22 shell casings were found scattered around the site? In and around the fire features? Do you think the fire features were prominant when Gallagher was there? It sounds to me he was walking around shooting dinner. Coconut crabs .... walk up, bus' a cap in they a#$# and feed your crew.... good fun and you don't waste the resource...  ::)


Brad

#4327R
 
Logged

Chris Johnson

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1069
  • Trying to give a fig but would settle for $100,000
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 04:54:37 PM »

How many shell casings and what calibre? That's important to know
Logged

Tim Gard

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
Re: "It's turtles all the way down"
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2014, 06:18:28 PM »

It sounds to me he was walking around shooting dinner. Coconut crabs .... walk up, bus' a cap in they a#$# and feed your crew.... good fun and you don't waste the resource...  ::)

Maybe he took a shot at an appealing crab that was investigating the turtle remains. The round travelled through the crab and into the turtle.



/ Member #4122 /
/Hold the Heading/
 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 06:25:27 PM by Tim Gard »
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Up
 

Copyright 2023 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org • Phone: 610-467-1937 • Membership formwebmaster@tighar.org

Powered by MySQL SMF 2.0.18 | SMF © 2021, Simple Machines Powered by PHP