The Theories of Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance

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“The past is an unsolved mystery and the truth a moving target”. For years people have pondered what happened to Amelia Earhart. Did she live under a false identity as a Jersey housewife? Did she end up living on an island, stranded? Speculations along the lines of these have been recorded but not yet solved due to the fact that the facts have not always added up in every possible theory. People would all like to know what happened to her, and the most likely theory on how Amelia disappeared is her plane crashed into the ocean and she drowned.

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One of the most plausible theories about what happened to Earhart is the “Crash and Sink” theory. This theory revolves around Earhart’s plane running out of gas and going down in the ocean. People and researchers believed that Earhart, and her co-pilot Noonan crashed in the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. It suggests that Earhart and Noonan were looking for Howland Island when her plane ran out of fuel. It was thought that after this, Earhart and Noonan crashed into the ocean and died.

Earhart and Noonan expected to be in radio contact with Itasca when they got closer to Howland Island. Although, the plane ended up not being able to make radio contact with Itasca. This was unfortunate because if they had been able to make radio contact they could have been able to make radio direction since Earhart was low on fuel. Therefore, Earhart and Noonan were left by themselves to try and find the island, but unfortunately, they ran out of fuel before that happened. An engineer and navigator named Elgen Long and his wife Mary K. Log devoted 35 years of their lives searching for Earhart’s plane in areas all around Howland Island.

The next theory about what happened to Earhart is the Gardner Hypothesis. This suggested that Earhart and Noonan didn’t land or crash near Howland Island at all. This is saying that since they had little fuel, they did not want to waste their time looking for Howland so they went searching for islands more south. It suggests that they used their radio transmitter to help them look for other islands. They were heading towards Baker Island, but if they ended up missing Baker Island, they would try to go to the Phoenix Islands.

Researchers had some reason to believe this hypothesis because of USS Colorado Navy planes flew over an island called Nikumaroro. They found signs of habitation which made them believe that they could have landed there. In spite of the fact that they saw signs of recent habitation, they did not see or find anything of Earhart's plane. The thing was the Nikmaroo wasunnhabtited to the fact they found signs of recent habitation was incredible and people wanted something to believe. Everyone wanted to try to figure out what happened to Earhart and Noonan. Once this became public knowledge, immediately researchers and americans jumped to conclusions.

Another reason they believed they landed on Gardner Island (Nikumaroo) is because of a scientific study done is 1940. This study was done on bones found in Nikumaroo. These bones could have belonged to any human but Nikumaroo was uninhabited. The fact that they even found human bones on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is crazy. Even though they never could prove if it was Earhart or Noonan, everyone still wanted to believe it was them. This is why researchers believe they could have landed on the island of Nikumaroro.

The next theory is very far fetched. This theory suggests that Earhart and Noonan. As after accidentally navigating her plane into the Japanesse South Pacific Mandate. There is a book that was written by Fred Goerner, a former CBS correspondent. Goerner proposes that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japenese after Earhart’s plane crashed on the island of Saipan. Soon after, Goerner says that Earhart and Noonan were executed. This book also suggests that they crashed near the Marshall Islands instead, about 800 miles from the original location Earhart was supposed to land.

Adding on to this theory, in the 1990s the TV show called Unsolved Mysteries had a woman on their show. This woman said that she witnessed Earhart and Noonan being captured and executed. Although she made this accusation, no evidence has been found to really support what she was saying. There has also been photographs that have been said to “show” Earhart and Noonan in captivity. Researchers quickly found that these images were either faked or taken before her final flight. Although an inhibitor from the Marshall Islands was found with a photo of what looked like Earhart and Noonan in her old photos and archives.

There is also a slightly different version of the Japenese capture theory. This theory suggests that Earhart didn’t get captured, but that the Japanese shot down her plane. Earhart and Noonan accidentally flew into their territory so the Japenese decided to shoot them down. An author by the name of Henri Keyzer-Andre was a former pilot of the Pan Am. Andres book was published in 1933 and was called Age of Heroes: Incredible Adventures of a Pan Am Pilot and his Greatest Triumph, Unravelling the Mystery of Amelia Earhart. Several researchers looked into this book to see if it could be the truth about what happened to Earhart.

Another coincidence that keeps this theory going is Mike Campbell. He published a book in 2012 called Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. Campbell says that the Marshall Inhibitors claim to have seen a crash nearby. Campbell also said that a U.S. Army Sergeant found a strange looking gravesite near an old Japenese prison in Saipan. Those two reasons just added into the suspicion about the Japenese.

There have been several other theories on what happened to Earhart and Noonan. There are some that assumed she returned to the U.S. with a new identity. Some suspected that she was a spy for the U.S. and that she was looking into the Japenese. George Putnam looked into her as a radio broadcast woman that was compelling women in Tokyo. Some even believe she turned back when she was in the middle of her flight. All of these are accusations people and researchers believe that could have been the possible truth.

Although there are several theories about what could have happened to Earhart and Noonan but if researchers are looking at the real facts and all the possible evidence. The best theory is the Crash and Sink theory. It makes the best sense out of all of the theories. Other than being the most likely theory, it makes the most sense realistically too. Every other theory is pushing it a little bit too far to be realistic.

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The theory that is most likely is that Earhart’s plane crashed into the ocean and she drowned. Even though there are several theories on what happened to her, not all of them add up and make sense. Everyone believes something different, you can’t overlook the facts. Only really through the understanding of the investigations that we will truly understand that it will continue to be a mystery. The following quote states that everything will always be a mystery but when you are solving it, there is a beauty in it. “It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between”. 

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The Theories Of Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from
“The Theories Of Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
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