Recent Discoveries End in Disappointment and More Mysteries in Earhart Disappearance
Recent Discoveries End in Disappointment and More Mysteries in Earhart Disappearance

Recent Discoveries End in Disappointment and More Mysteries in Earhart Disappearance

Larry Holzwarth - February 20, 2021

Recent Discoveries End in Disappointment and More Mysteries in Earhart Disappearance
Amelia and her husband, publisher George Putnam, in 1931. Wikimedia

20. Earhart has eluded history for more than eight decades

On January 5, 1939, at the behest of Earhart’s husband George Putnam, the courts declared Amelia Earhart legally dead. Putnam needed the decision (which waived a seven-year missing rule) in order to manage her estate. Later that year World War II began in Europe, and the Earhart mystery faded from public consciousness. Following the war, largely fed by the reports of returning servicemen in the Pacific of knowledge of Earhart’s fate, it resumed. Much of the new speculation derived from the perceived involvement of the Japanese in her fate. In the 1960s the idea of conspiracies involving shadowy government agencies fed further speculation. Driving them all is a simple refusal to accept the famed aviatrix could have perished because she simply made a mistake.

Several researchers, including Robert Ballard, believe the aircraft or the remnants of its wreckage will one day be found. Whether it is 18,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean or sunk in the silt off a Southern Pacific island is a question still unanswered. Even more than eighty years after she vanished, Earhart’s name and image are compelling. Numerous companies have licensed her name to support their products, including Apple, Jeep, and Google. No doubt she will remain compelling following the day when it is finally announced the site of her disappearance has been found, and the mystery of her fate solved.


Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Expedition Amelia”. Documentary, National Geographic Society. 2019. Online

“Thanks to an Old Photograph, an Explorer Believes He Can Solve the Mystery of Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance Once and For All”. Susan Cascone, Artnet News. August 13, 2019

“Amelia Earhart’s Final Flight”. Peter Garrison, Flying Magazine. December 22, 2020

“Naval Aviation and the Search for Amelia Earhart”. Article, National Naval Aviation Museum. Online

“The Earhart Project in a Nutshell”. Article, The Earhart Project, TIGHAR. Online

“Has aviator Amelia Earhart’s beauty case been found?” Rosella Lorenzi, NBC News. July 13, 2012

“Has Amelia Earhart’s plane finally been found? Not so fast”. Alan Yuhas, The Guardian. October 30, 2014

“Inside the search for Amelia Earhart’s airplane”. Rachel Hartigan, National Geographic. August 12, 2019

“Finding the Plane”. The Earhart Project, Niku VII, TIGHAR. Online

“Finding Amelia Earhart’s plane seemed impossible. Then came a startling clue”. Julie Cohn, The New York Times. August 12, 2019

“Will the Search for Amelia Earhart Ever End?” Jerry Adler, Smithsonian Magazine. January, 2015

“Why the Much-Publicized Mission to Find Amelia Earhart’s Airplane Is Likely to Come Up Empty”. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine. July 31, 2019

“Amelia Earhart Mystery: Lost Pilot Spent Days In Prison Before Being Killed In Saipan, Says New Evidence”. Summer Meza, Newsweek. November 25, 2017

“Welcome Aboard E/V Nautilus”. Article, Ocean Exploration Trust. Online

“The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep”. Julie Cohn, The New York Times. October 14, 2019

“Researchers hope DNA testing may finally prove bones found on a remote island were Amelia Earhart’s”. Elizabeth Wolfe, Brian Ries, CNN. October 15, 2019

“Making Room for a New Guess”. Joe Cerniglia, Amelia Earhart Archaeology. November 2, 2019. Online

“Looking for Amelia”. Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson, Johns Hopkins Magazine. Online

“An American Obsession”. Paul Hoverstein, Smithsonian Air & Space. June/July, 2007