It's long been believed that American aviator pioneer, Amelia Earhart, died while on a 1937 voyage across the globe. And without strong evidence of what actually took place, many just assumed this was true for the past 80 years. However, an upcoming History Channel documentary is bringing new theories about Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan's disappearance to light. And one theory suggests Amelia Earhart could have been a spy.
Retired U.S. Treasury Agent, Les Kinney, has spent the past 15 years trying to piece together Earhart's disappearance, and after perusing the National Archives' top secret files, he came across a picture of Earhart that could offer some clues. The photo — which is believed to have been taken around 1943 — is of Noonan and Earhart; it was discovered in 2012. The pair appears to be in Japanese custody on the Jaluit Atoll boating dock in Saipan — Earhart reportedly seated with her back toward the camera.
There's also an object measuring at around 38 feet tied to the back of a ship in the image. And as explained in the video below, after being examined by a facial recognition expert, it's pretty likely that the picture is of Noonan, Earhart, and Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane.
The upcoming History Channel documentary, Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, will explore possible explanations for this new evidence on Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. This includes the possibility that Earhart was held captive for allegedly being for an American spy.
This theory also suggests that Earhart and Noonan may have landed their aircraft in the Japanese sieged Marshall Islands in 1937, instead of running out of fuel and crashing in the Pacific Ocean, as historians have suggested for years. According to Kinney, Earhart and Noonan's aircraft could've been blown off course, resulting in their landing on the Japanese territory. And since all Westerners were banned from the area, the Japanese Imperial Army may have assumed that the pair was working against them. Because of this, they believe that Earhart and Noonan's deaths could've been by execution, and not as a result of being castaways.
Whether on a secret espionage mission or just indulging in a extreme case of worldly curiosity, Earhart's disappearance has been deemed one of the greatest mysteries of of our time. And now with this new info, historians are finally getting closer to filling all of its gaps.