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Author Topic: Freckle cream revisited  (Read 642 times)

Scott C. Mitchell

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Freckle cream revisited
« on: January 05, 2020, 07:47:30 AM »

In today's New York Times Book Review section, a book entitled "Expeditions Unpacked" by Ed Stafford is briefly reviewed.  The subject of the book is the collection of various things -- gramophones, mint cakes, etc. -- that explorers took with them on their excursions.  The reviews says, "For her 1932 trans-Atlantic trip Earhart pared her kit to the bone, with nary an extra ounce -- except, that is, for her bottle of Dr. C. H. Berry's Freckle Ointment."  The fact that glass fragments of such a bottle were located at the castaway site has been offered as evidence connecting the site to Amelia.  This is the first reference I've seen that she would carry the ointment with her on a prior flight, especially in the context of taking little else.

Scott
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« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 10:00:39 AM by Scott C. Mitchell »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2020, 08:29:45 AM »

Unfortunately, the reviewer's comment is not supported by the book itself.  I bought a copy.  The chapter on Amelia Earhart features a misleading graphic under the heading "Flight Across the Atlantic Unpacked" with illustrations of 24 items which are numbered and labeled in an accompanying key.  Most of the items are actually associated with the Lae/Howland flight and fully eight of them are artifacts TIGHAR has found on Niku (shoe heel, freckle cream jar, Campana bottle, liniment bottle, zipper pull, compact mirror, rouge, jack knife).  The text in the book is a fairly accurate account of Earhart's career and less accurately describes TIGHAR's work, but does not claim the artifacts have been conclusively linked to Earhart.  It looks like someone other than the author produced the graphic and it never got properly proof-read.
This is the second time in as many days we've become aware of a new book that botches the Earhart story.
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Bill Mangus

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2020, 08:57:09 AM »

Ric's comment just shows that even after all the evidence Tighar has collected, after all the research reports that have been written, after all the analysis done on things like the radio messages, artifact 2-2-V-1, the plexiglass window recently discussed in another thread and more, there are still writers out there who see a buck to be made on her story and loss, never mind that it may be a collection of myth, misunderstood facts or out right fabrication.  Some folks just find it easier to understand outlandish stories than take the time to review the serious work that has been done.  This is probably best described as "don't confuse me with the facts, just tell me a story."

$0.02 worth.
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Don White

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2020, 11:04:00 AM »

My first thought on seeing the post was "I wonder if they are naming the brand because TIGHAR found remains of a jar and identified the brand, or have they really found period documentation?" Of course they hadn't found anything new -- that would have been just too good. It would be nice to find an ad for the stuff with a testimonial from Amelia.

This is also an instance of a kind of circularity -- I am not sure what the exact name for it would be -- that I see occurring in some historical investigations and other kinds of inquiry.

For example, DNA tests that claim to tell you where your ancestors came from rely on previous test results and self-reported ancestry of tested persons to assess new results. "A lot of people who claim ancestry from X have this genetic trait, so we'll assume that anyone with this trait comes from X." I have several friends whose ancestry is entirely Western, but who were born in Thailand. If they said only, "I was born in Thailand, here's my DNA to test," their results would contaminate the database.

Or how the story that Amelia went to the Marshall Islands, which appears to have originated entirely from researchers' inquiries there (helped along by the Marshallese government scenting potential tourist dollars) has now become firmly fixed in their folklore as fact.

Or indeed how "crashed and sank" originated in some assumptions made by Warner Thompson (which in themselves were understandable from his point of view) which became hardened into fact.

It's important in our own investigations to keep distinct what was known in 1937 (and by whom) as opposed to what has been discovered or learned subsequently.

LTM,
Don
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2020, 11:57:54 AM »

Well said Don. In an investigation as long and complex as this one, we also have to be on guard against our own internal mythology.  Over time, our own stories inevitably get streamlined or forgotten.  The only remedy is to constantly loop back to the original source material to "keep our swords bright and our intention true." (Can anyone identify the source of that phrase?)
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Jennifer Hubbard

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2020, 12:22:46 PM »

To be exact, a jar specifically identified as Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream jar was not found on Niku, but rather fragments of a jar with mercury-containing material adhering to it, which could have been Dr. Berry's or some similar cosmetic. The jar pieces are discussed at length here:

https://tighar.org/smf/index.php/topic,1337.msg27867.html#msg27867
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Karen Hoy

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2020, 01:51:56 PM »

The quote about keeping your swords bright and your intentions true is a paraphrase from the 1959 movie "Ben-Hur."

LTM,
Karen Hoy #2610CER
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2020, 01:55:22 PM »

The quote about keeping your swords bright and your intentions true is a paraphrase from the 1959 movie "Ben-Hur."

You Googled it.
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Karen Hoy

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2020, 01:59:56 PM »

I Googled it and it's the most interesting reference question I've been asked all day!
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Scott C. Mitchell

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2020, 06:16:26 PM »

A few years from now somebody will be posting about the sword found on Gardner Island.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Freckle cream revisited
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2020, 12:49:33 AM »

In relation to the infamous freckle cream jar I do have a question for you Ric. As you see in the one picture that you took with the jar inside the freckle cream box...it fits perfectly at the top. Does the base of the jar fit the same way? I'd like to see a picture of the actual bottom of the jar and see if it too fits perfectly as the top of the jar does. One thing I have found out with all my personal research on Dr. Berry's Freckle Cream Ointment Jar is this special jar we have in our possession is one of a kind and very unique. According to old newspaper ads. Dr. Berry had a small jar. Granted to this day I have not been able to find a sister jar like that we have in our possession. As Joe will tell you most of the jars we have come in contact with are of milk glass content, and not of the clear kind we have. I have looked in almost 5 states of this date and nothing to find. Searched in Astoria, Oregon...Seattle, Washington...Chicago, Ill..Denver, Colorado...Cripple Creek, Colorado...Colorado Springs, Colorado...Kansas City, MO...Dodge City, Kansas...Wichita, Kansas...Topeka, Kansas. I also know from my visits to these old antique stores...that people are aware of this elusive jar. They know about it and are searching their collections as we speak. The freckle cream box I found in Hays was from a collector in Topeka, Kansas. So we know somehow and somewhere this product was at least sold in Kansas. One thing we do know is this jar was found in the middle of the Pacific on an atoll miles from Dr. Berry's office in Chicago or any other pharmacy to speak of. Yes, this might be from another cosmetic...but from all the facts we have...this jar is one of a kind...and it definately didnt get to Gardner on its own. So if I'm a gambling man I put my money on the idea that this indeed belonged to Amelia.
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