Born from a Kickstarter campaign, veteran explorer Mike Harris Sr. and filmmaker Rich Martini have joined forces to examine the evidence that Amelia Earhart was on Saipan after she disappeared. They've been joined by a team of professionals from across the spectrum and are backed by a number of individuals with a desire to know the truth.
Stay tuned for more information...

EYEWITNESS REPORTS

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Friday

The story continues...

Back on the trail again - archaeologist Marilyn Swift is helping us file the permits necessary to start our dig.  She and fellow archaeologist Mike Fleming have been on Saipan for quite awhile and have vast knowledge about the environs.  Still - paperwork takes time so we are holding our breath...

Meanwhile...Here's an aluminum piece of a plane found out near one of our sites, lying in the grass.  Note the holes, as well as the flipside:

Still working on the identification of this piece.






Carlos Shoda
Had a great chat with Carlos Shoda, the son of Mathilda Arriola who saw Amelia Earhart on Saipan in 1937.  We feel comfortable stating that as fact because in 1965, Carlos helped translate for his mom when she was interviewed by CBS journalist Fred Goerner.  She was also interviewed by Father Arnold - the transcript of that interview is quite extensive.  Matilde was shown two photographs of women - and she clearly (out of a lineup) chose the photograph that was of Amelia Earhart and said beyond a shadow of doubt, that was the woman she saw numerous times.  

Matilde saw Earhart in and around the Kobyashi hotel in 1937 - the hotel was used by the Japanese military police as offices.  Carlos verified his mother's story for our cameras and we discussed the ring that Amelia reportedly gave to his mother as a gift.  While his mother said that her niece had borrowed the ring and lost it - that was in the 1950's - we are seeking perhaps a photo of it, or any relative that might have seen it.  Earhart didn't wear jewelry in general - her wedding ring was platinum because her husband George Putnam had forgotten the actual ring, and he borrowed one of his mother's which was "simple in design."  But in all the publicity photos of Earhart over the years - rings or necklaces were in short supply if ever used. So it's a mystery where she might have produced such a ring during her stay on Saipan.  

The ring Matilde described was "white gold" or "white with a white stone in a setting" -we're in the process of seeing if anyone saw it, or perhaps has a photograph of it via family members.


Sam McPheters
Sam McPheters is a local historian and instrumental in the creation of the archives based on the Northern Marianas College campus - spent a couple of hours with him, hearing the many stories that he gathered from the students in his classes at the college and his extensive catalog of historical evidence.  He pointed us to archival footage that was shot by the tv show "Eye on LA" (I happened to have seen that episode when it aired in LA) where host Chuck Henry interviewed a number of local residents about their memories during the war and of Amelia Earhart in particular.  I spoke to Chuck Henry some years ago about Earhart, and he told me he'd heard many great stories.  Now we have the actual video "Witness to War" that they shot.

Ernesto Sablan
Ernie Sablan sought us out - we were in the midst of doing an interview at the old folks home when he came in with a story that if it proves true, will be quite startling.  He heard the story second hand, but we are in the process of following up on what he heard. Simply put, we are grateful for his taking the time to speak to us, and as he put it "I've been waiting 15 years for someone to hear this story."  We are glad we were here to put it on camera.

Old Garapan Jail
This is the old jail where many folks claim to have seen "a european woman" a "white woman" - Amelia Earhart incarcerated in 1937.  There are varying reports on what happened to her after her incarceration here.  We are seeking corroborating eye witnesses, and hearing some pretty amazing stories.  As we try to repeat to everyone we meet; we aren't interested in taking any artifacts out of Saipan, we aren't interested in examining why these events occurred, we are just seeking the truth of those events - what people saw with their own eyes.

Captain Paul Cooper

Besides being a Southwest Pilot for many years, Captain Paul has been an expert "dowser" for 30 years.  For those unfamiliar with the practice, it's commonly used in the olden days of the US to look for water.  We consider Paul a secret weapon in our arsenal of search tools, which include GPR, eyewitness reports and triangulation of forensic evidence.  It just so happens that every time we've had a GPS coordinate for Paul to locate (four separate occasions) he's been accurate without benefit of the unit each time.

A GPR screen
Little bit hard to see - but the GPR screen gives exact precise coordinates, and tells the operator if there are any pieces of metal - or lack of metal, under the scanner.  Comes in handy when you're looking for spanish bullion - or airplane parts.

The team in action at a TV station
Rich Martini, Captain Paul Cooper, Mike Harris and our friends at the local television station which had us on the air this evening.

More to come...!






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Eyewitness Accounts: Published

EYEWITNESS: THE AMELIA EARHART INCIDENT BY THOMAS E DEVINE WITH RICHARD M DALEY

Pg 40. “Glancing out on the runway ramp.. an area not the main part of Aslito Field, but an extended arm of the airstrip at the southwest corner… Near an embankment was (AE’s plane). (LATER) .. a muffled explosion at Aslito Field erupted into a large flash fire… I crouched and crawled toward the airfield. When I could see what was burning, I was aghast! The twin engine plane was engulfed in flames! I could not see anyone by the light of the fire… in July 1944.”

THE SEARCH FOR AMELIA EARHART BY FRED GOERNER

Goerner gathers dozens of eyewitnesses to Earhart’s incarceration and second hand info about her execution.

AMELIA EARHART: LAST FLIGHT

Amelia reveals she did not know Morse code (and neither did Fred Noonan)

AMELIA EARHART:HER LAST FLIGHT

By OLIVER KNAGSS

South African journalist gathers numerous eyewitnesses at Mili, Majuro and Jaluit. There is footage of these interviews, but it exists somewhere in Miami – still trying to locate the negative.

AMELIA EARHART: THE MYSTERY SOLVED By ELGEN M LONG AND MARIE K LONG

Elgen shows how the original plan devised by radio man Harry Manning was adhered to by the Coast Guard Itasca – they didn’t know Manning got off the plane in Hawaii and wasn’t on the electra. So 90% of all their communication was in Morse code – something neither AE or FN knew.

“WITH OUR OWN EYES – EYEWTINESSES TO THE FINAL DAYS OF AMELIA EARHART” MIKE CAMPBELL WITH THOMAS E DEVINE

PG 32. Robert Sosbe, 1st battalion 20th Marines, 4th marine division) Sosbe said he saw the Electra before and during its destruction) “on or about D+5 after our infantry had captured Alsito, the night before, then were driven off, only to capture it again, our Co was called up to fill a gap between our infantry and the 27th Army infantry. The trucks carrying us stopped off the opposite side of the runway from the hangars and tower about 3 to 5 hundred yds. This two engine airplane was pulled from the hangar to off the runway where it was engulfed in flames from one end to the other. I can still remember exactly the way it burned, how the frame and ribs because it was visible. It was about half dark. It burned approximately 15-30 minutes.”

Same page: a letter from Earskine Nabers: “I am seeking Marines who were placed on duty at Aslito to guard a padlocked hangar containing AE’s plane. The hangar was not one of those located along the runway. It was located near what may have been a Japanese administration building, and an unfinished hangar at the tarmac, in the southwest corner of the airfield.

The follow up letter (pg 33)

…”we had to get Col. Clarence R Wallace to sign all the messages that came through the message center.) Hq 8th moved back to bivouac area. I was dropped off at the Hangar for guard duty at the main road that went by west side of hangar. The road that went out to hangar, I was placed on the right side, just as it left the main road….

Pg 34 The best I can recall the plane was pulled on the field by a jeep.. the plane was facing north after the plane was parked and jeep moved. A plane came over real low and on the next pass he strafed the plane and it went up in a huge fireball. (We were sitting on the west side of the airfield about one hundred yards from the plane. We were on higher ground. As far as I remember, the (men) that pulled the plane on the field and us guys from H & S 8th were the only ones there.”

Pg 36 Marine Capt Earl Ford of Fallbrook, CA, artillery master sgt with 2nd Marines. Interview 6-7-88 by Paul Cook. “The aircraft was about 100 yards (from me) maybe less. We all saw it. No way we could miss it. A civilian twin engine. No way it was military. American aircraft in civil registration… some officers were saying it was Amelia’s… it had only two windows on the side, back here.”

Arthur Nash, Air Corps Corps, P47 group on Aslito. Claims he saw the plane on July 4, 1944 (book says 1945, must be a misprint based on following) pg 40:

“After landing on Isley.. at 2:30 pm, Japanese soldiers were running around the airstrip, one killed himself in the cockpit of a P47D with a grenade…” I slept fairly well (in the hangar) and (in the morning) wandered over to a large hole in the hangar wall facing the other hangar. The hangar floor and the area between the hangars was littered with debris, displace with siding from the hangars, maybe 65 yards apart, but close enough to get a good look at a familiar aircraft outside the other hangar. My eyesight was acute and what I saw was Amelia Earhart’s airplane!... the next morning I went over to see it but it was gone.”

Jerrell Chatham, 1st platoon, I company, 3rd regiment, 2nd marine deivions: “I was driving trucks .. on Saipan… when we went ashore I saw the hangar where Amelia Earhart’s plane was stored, I also saw the plane in the air. They told us not to go close to the airplane hangar and we did not…”

Pg 44: Howard Ferris, US Marines: “Sent to Saipan for guard dutey… an old hangar structure at end of a runway. This hangar was not large,.. small trees in front of big doors.. (then he recounts the same Marine argument that Devine and Nabers recount – where some Navy brass attempted to get in, but a Marine (Nabers) refused them entry.)” Howard was not present at the fire, but one of his buddies was. The buddy said a truck arrived with many gas cans and the guards saturated the entire hangar.. and it burned totally.

Pg 50 Robert Sowash, 23rd regiment 4th Marines Division: “I saw a plane in a building that was not a military plane.. I remember other Marines saying it was the same as Earhart’s. Later the place was cordoned off..”

Pete Leblanc, 121st Naval CB’s, 4th Marine division: “some of our guys were sneaking over towards the airfield to try and see (AE’s plane). We heard there were guards there. Then it was burned up later.”

AMELIA EARHART: LOST LEGEND - DONALD MOYER WILSON

Over 200 eyewitnesses as gathered by all the different authors with the various reports of her landing on Mili, being brought to Jaluit and incarcerated in Garapan prison.