(Full disclosure - I was asked to participate in the History Channel show. They filmed me for the sizzle reel that they used to sell the show to History Channel. Ultimately, based on my 25 years of research, having worked on all the films about Earhart (both Diane Keaton's and Hilary Swank) and my 30 hours of footage and 5k photographs, I decided to hang onto my research, as we're still hoping to put this together in film form. That being said, I'm friends with Les Kinney and Dick Spink, have interviewed them, have worked and shared notes with them, and what they have to say about AE's journey is accurate and based upon decades of research.
(This show is based on their research, Les and Dick worked independently of me and Mike Harris, but a few years back, we all got together and shared notes. Les told me about his photograph, and I've been waiting all this time to see it. And it's mind blowing.)
Here's a short time line of what the research shows based on eyewitness interviews collected over decades. Mike Harris filmed some of these interviews in the 1980's, we filmed more in Saipan recently, and the US Marines I collected over the years.
1. She landed the Electra on Endriken isle in Mili. Dick Spink found pieces of her plane on a number of occasions - a former NTSB investigator (Jim Hayton out of Seattle) confirmed "beyond a shadow of doubt" that they could only come from her Electra.
2. She was picked up by the Japanese. A number of islanders saw her plane land (they were fishing the shallow reefs) and the Queen of Mili was filmed and interviewed by a South African journalist in the 1980's. Many people saw her come down. On a recent trip to Mili, an island elder recalled that the Japanese had "ordered" 40 islanders to help drag the Electra off the atoll.
3. The Electra was put aboard a Japanese barge and taken to Majuro first. I got that info from a Navy veteran stationed on Majuro who heard it from a stevedore he worked with. He said they'd transported it to the Koshu Maru. (Note, in the photo of the ship, there's a barge attached to the Koshu. I never thought there would be a photo of that - but there it is.)
3. Google Earth photos show (from a decade ago) that the drag marks of some large object could be seen from space. There was Japanese rail equipment found on the island and recovered by Spink, Kinney, Mike Harris and others on a recent trip. Same gauge equipment Japanese used to haul cane in Saipan.
4. She was transported with Fred and the Electra to Jaluit (where this picture is taken. If you watch the footage you'll see eyewitnesses who boarded the ship and saw her there.)
click to view - about 30 minutes - the links at the end no longer apply
5. She was taken to Saipan - I interviewed Ms. Akiyama a few years back, and this show on Sunday interviews her as well. She's the original source for Fred Goerner's book - and her story has not changed. I interviewed other islanders (also in this footage) who corroborate her story - one congressman says his father told him the same story of Fred and Amelia being brought ashore.
6. She was held at first in the hospital (interview above) then the military HQ. Fred, according to reports, was beaten, tortured and killed for being a spy. (beheaded) Amelia was moved from her initial cell which she was a few doors down from Fred (in the footage) to a larger cell closer to the commandant's view.
7. She spent the rest of her days in this cell. She was occasionally allowed to meet with islanders (see "Eye on LA" report in the 1990's for those reports with Chuck Henry) but for the most part lived in a small cell (that is still there, and has a tree growing inside of it.)
8. She died of dysentery. She was held as a "playing card" for the Japanese to use against the US - but never got around to it. The US invaded June 1944.
9. The Electra was found in a hangar on Aslito field, Saipan June 19th. The man who decoded the messages, guarded the plane, numerous eyewitnesses are cited above in the footage and to the side of this page. Her briefcase was found, dry as a bone,her passport etc, all turned over to the same commander Louis Wallace (82nd.) Corroborated reports are cited in the footage.
10. Her body was dug up by two GI's Hanson and Burkes, as reported in Goerner's book "Searing for Amelia" in 1963. However, subsequent evidence points to the fact these two "found an arm and a partial ribcage." Her skull and other bones have not been found or recovered.
11. The Electra, after being guarded for 4-5 weeks in the hangar, was towed to the south end of the field, covered with gas and burned (as reported above.) It was shoved off the runway into a pit with other planes. We had permits to excavate that pit a couple of years back, but ran out of the money required to do so. However, I know where the pit is. According to the NTSB investigator, he could identify the frame of her plane from a field X ray. That remains to be done.
12. Her briefcase and arm were turned over to the US military. The next island in the war was Okinawa, and as Robert Wallack points out - "a number of ships were sunk by the Japanese." Perhaps her arm, rib cage and briefcase went to the bottom of the sea. However, recently, I heard from a reliable source that the briefcase is in the hands of a private collector related to the Earhart family. That too remains to be seen.
Over 200 people claim to have seen her, nursed her, fed her, washed her clothes when she got to Saipan. Some of those people are featured in the footage above. This footage has been posted for years now, and despite being invited to be on the History Channel, I felt that if I did not work on that show, and retained all the rights to my research, I might find another way to tell her story. And I'm still doing that.
This is not based on a theory, belief or philosophy. These reports are based on consistent eyewitness reports, that have been cross referenced - if one person said one incredible thing (she was shot, she was beheaded) I put it aside to hear corroborating evidence. When two people said the same thing ("I saw her in the back of a truck in May 1944 being transported by soldiers. I had never seen a white woman in my life, and it's not the kind of thing you forget, even at age 12 - a woman dressed like a man with her arms bound and a blindfold. She was parked in from of me for 30 minutes. My brother was next to me." (cited in the footage above.)
Ultimately, people can argue about what people saw or think they saw. Certainly the memory does tricks over the years - but when over 200 people say relatively the same thing, it deserves to be examined. And further - if what they're saying is true - then the US owes her a debt. She was the first victim of World War II and has never been honored for it.
(Sorry that this info disturbs some people - but if you take a look at my other work ("Flipside" "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" and "Hacking the Afterlife" - in which I reveal everything I've learned about Amelia's journey) I go into detail as to why that might not be the case.
In "Hacking the Afterlife" I submitted the same 20 questions to mediums who claimed they could communicate with AE. In all three cases, I got the same answers, as well as "new information" that no one knows, that I have confirmed, that could only come from someone who was Amelia, or knew her extremely well.)