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Is This a Photo of Amelia Earhart in Japanese Custody?

A photograph has been found in the National Archives, labeled "Jaluit Atoll," that appears to show Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan at a dock with several Japanese people. They are in the distance, but investigators says the image is consistant with known photos of the two.  

Earhart was last heard from on July 2, 1937, as she attempted to become the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the globe. She was declared dead two years later after the U.S. concluded she had crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, and her remains were never found.

But investigators believe they have found evidence Earhart and Noonan were blown off course but survived the ordeal. The investigative team behind the History special believes the photo may have been taken by someone who was spying for the U.S. on Japanese military activity in the Pacific.

Les Kinney, a retired government investigator who has spent 15 years looking for Earhart clues, said the photo "clearly indicates that Earhart was captured by the Japanese."  

Read what we know so far about the picture at NBC News. The story contains a much larger version of the photo, and a video with details of the image.-via Digg


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I suppose that a real historian would pursue an investigation in Japan. But wouldn't something have come out by now? And yes, the History Channel is no place for answers.
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The articles that have surfaced about this latest "evidence" all seem to be advertisements for a program on the History Channel. That channel is not exactly the best source for historical accuracy. History Channel has aired such programs as: "Bigfoot Captured" (it wasn't). They have also run specials about hunting Hitler, finding the lost colony of Roanoke and finding Atlantis, the truth about Alcatraz, predictions of Nostradamus, and secrets of Einstein’s brain.
Carl Sagan was famous for the advice:“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” One grainy photo found by someone intent on proving a claim is just as likely to be a case of pareidolia as it is outright fraud. They are claiming photo enhancements prove their claims. Ever been tricked by Photoshop? Supposedly, there is a barge being towed by the ship on the background. And in that barge is an object "precisely 38 feet long." Can you even see the barge clearly?
And none of the news stories that I have been able to locate have any independent corroboration. They are all using the upcoming History Channel program as their only source.
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