History Investigates Amelia Earhart Doc Claims, Suspends Repeats

Amelia Earhart
Underwood Archives/UIG/REX/Shutterstock

History has decided not make a documentary about Amelia Earhart available on streaming and on-demand platforms as it investigates challenges to evidence behind claims made in the two-hour special.

“Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” proposed that Earhart, who disappeared while piloting a plane over the Pacific Ocean in 1937, had survived a crash landing and been captured by the Japanese military. As evidence, it offered up a photo that analysts claimed was likely taken between 1937 and 1943. The special premiered earlier this month on the A+E Networks cable channel.

But on the heels of reports about the photograph and capture theory, a Japanese military blogger stepped forward last week with evidence that the photograph had been taken in 1935, two years before Earhart’s disappearance. The blogger cited a book allegedly published in 1935 containing the photograph.

That claim counters assessments by multiple analysts quoted in the History special, but itself has been challenged by an analyst who told History that the authenticity of the book may be questionable.

History said last week that it would investigate the photograph. The network decided to not move forward with scheduled re-airings of the special and to remove it from on-demand and streaming platforms as the investigation continues.

In a statement released last week, History said, “HISTORY has a team of investigators exploring the latest developments about Amelia Earhart and we will be transparent in our findings. Ultimately, historical accuracy is most important to us and our viewers.”

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  1. John R says:

    All countries have been slow in revealing wartime or pre-wartime secrets. Final records of the American Civil War weren’t revealed until around 1960. Still, the Japanese have always been notoriously slow in admitting/revealing wartime autrocities or even questionable acts. I find it curious that the Japanese blogger quickly came forward to state that it took him “only 30 minutes” to find proof to debunk the photo. Sounds like the Japanese government has a damage control mechanism that can squash any gremlins that pop up.

  2. Summer Karen says:

    It’s good that they are investigating the photograph and whether it appeared in this book. I would hope that they would make sure that no digital content was altered. Someone could have placed this picture in this archive to disprove this theory. Do other paper copies of the book exist? I do wonder if Amelia Earhart was actually captured by the Japanese if the ship she was later transferred to was sunk by Allied forces. I think they would have kept that secret because it would have hurt the war effort. I would like to see the documentary and hear their proof.

  3. John says:

    The History Channel has been producing nothing but fake reality shows for years now.. Why would I believe any crap they have to shovel

  4. Sheev Palpatine says:

    Ancient astronaut theorists say the photo is most assuredly the real thing.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    The book is in print and copies ARE available, evidently. So where is the confusion? I know it is hard to admit you made a mistake, but to deliberately cover that mistake up makes this a whole ‘nother story. Salvage what pride you have left History Channel and ‘fess up!

  6. OPie says:

    “History has decided not make a documentary about”? Who wrote the copy, a 3 year old?

    • BN says:

      “History has decided not make a documentary about Amelia Earhart available on streaming and on-demand platforms…”

  7. SDB says:

    Noonan’s hairline was quite symmetric (as shown in the History program). The left-right flip was done to match the way his head was turned in the Jaluit photo, not as some way of falsifying the comparison. Most unbiased peole viewing that photo would admit, at a minimum, that the 2 individuals in question resemble Earhart and Noonan somewhat, and it does appear the ship has a barge attached with something that conceivably be a plane. And this photo is at Jaluit island, where for decades and decades there eyewitness reports (published in books in the ’60s) said Earhart and Noonan initailly were taken to Jaluit and their airplane was towed on a barge. Just wild coincidence? Or —could that 1935 date be a typo? I probably have made a typo in this post.

  8. “That claim counters assessments by multiple analysts quoted in the History special, but itself has been challenged by an analyst who told History that the authenticity of the book may be questionable.”

    What is the source for this? It’s a pretty bold claim which has nothing to back it up so far.

  9. Wph says:

    Whether she was captured by the Japanese is up in the air. What we can be sure of positively? That any truth,facts or admission of wrong doing or guilt will never come from the Japanese government or it’s disgusting military

  10. Greg George says:

    The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery debunk this photograph for other reasons over a year ago.

    Notably, the image supposed to be navigator Noona was compared to a reference flipped 180 degrees, photoshopped if you will, to make the hairline in the found image appear to match original.

    Five minutes of Googling on the part of the History Channel would have revealed this.

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