Last week, a theory based on a photograph purporting to feature Amelia Earhart and her guide surfaced, suggesting that Earhart had not in fact died in a plane crash but had been captured by the Japanese and died in prison.
The theory sounded good. I mean, the History Channel aired an entire documentary special on the theory. Experts came in and suggested that the Earhart was definitely in the photograph looking at what appeared to be her downed plane being pulled to shore by a ship. I got really excited.
I know, I know: A lot of people here were skeptical. But, 1) I want to believe, and 2) you people know I love a good conspiracy theory.
Unfortunately, that conspiracy theory has been completely shot down now after military history blogger Kota Yamano did a little research of his own, and by that, I mean very little: It took him less than 30 minutes to find that photograph in the Japanese National Archives. The photo comes from a Japanese language travel book published in 1935 … two years before Earhart’s flight.
“I have never believed the theory that Earhart was captured by the Japanese military, so I decided to find out for myself,” Yamano told the Guardian. “I was sure that the same photo must be on record in Japan.”
Yamano ran an online search using the keyword “Jaluit atoll” and a decade-long timeframe starting in 1930.
“The photo was the 10th item that came up,” he said. “I was really happy when I saw it. I find it strange that the documentary makers didn’t confirm the date of the photograph or the publication in which it originally appeared. That’s the first thing they should have done.”
Look, y’all: When the President of the United States colludes with our biggest geopolitical rival, these wild conspiracies start to not sound so wild. Duped by The History Channel, damnit! Now, who am I going to believe?