On July 2, 1937, the plane carrying Amelia Earhart, a 39-year-old pilot from Kansas, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. What happened to Earhart remains a mystery today, but here are 5 interesting facts about her disappearance you may not know...
Earhart was On Her Third-to-Last Leg of the Journey. Earhart's planned landing on Howland Island was a simple refueling before she would continue on to Hawaii and then California. In her final hours, Earhart claimed to have been within 100 miles of her destination, but faulty radio signals made it so that she had no help or direction from the ground on Howland Island. Her last radio message states that she was running low on fuel, giving legs to the most likely and popular theory of Earhart's disappearance: that she ran out of gas and crashed into the Pacific.
Investigators Found a Jar of Her Freckle Cream on Gardner Island. One of the possible theories of Earhart's final days centers around a small, remote island known then as Gardner Island, but today called, "Nikumaroro." Some believe that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, landed on the shore of Nikumaroro after running out of fuel and being unable to find their true destination, Howland Island. The theory suggests Earhart and Noonan lived out their final days as castaways on the island. Over the years, researchers, archaeologists, and investigators have searched for evidence proving the theory, but have come up with very little. Then, in 2012, an interesting development occurred. Researchers found a small glass jar that matched the shape of a cream Earhart used to try and remove her freckles.
In 2017, Investigators Claimed They Found a Photo of Earhart in Saipan. It Was Quickly Debunked. Another theory claims Earhart landed on the Japanese island of Saipan where she and Noonan were captured and later killed. The theory was disregarded by serious investigators for quite some time, until a photo surfaced in 2017 that claimed to show Earhart sitting on a dock in the Marshall Islands with Noonan by her side and the wreckage of her plane being towed by a ship in the distance. For a few days, news outlets went wild with the new photo, until two bloggers quickly revealed that the picture originated from a Japanese travel guide published in 1935—two years before Earhart's final flight.
Some Conspiracy Theorists Claim She Started a Second Life...In New Jersey. Most people wanting to disappear from the public eye to start a new life under an assumed identity don't flee to New Jersey. But, according to a few of the more "out there" Earhart theorists, that's exactly what happened. Some believe Earhart was a spy for President Roosevelt who the Japanese gunned down over the Marshall Islands, held captive, and then released following the end of World War II. Upon release, the theory proposes that Earhart assumed the identity of Irene Craigmile Bolam, a banker from New Jersey. To be clear: Bolam is almost certainly not Earhart. Not only have forensic scientists compared the two women's faces and found considerable differences, but Bolam also had a well-documented history with husbands, a child, and various friends attesting to her existence long-before the Earhart disappearance.
There's a New Amelia Earhart. And She's Doing Big Things. While no one can replace the old Amelia, a young pilot bearing her same name is carrying the torch and setting records in aviation. In 2014, the new Earhart became the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single-engine plane. She was just 31-years-old at the time!