This webpage examines the eyewitness accounts and other evidence that shows Amelia and Fred were arrested and taken to Saipan. There were over 200 individuals who claimed they saw her, this site examines who they were, and what they heard or saw. It includes details of evidence the Electra was found on Saipan, interviews with people who saw her and the Electra before and after they were taken to Saipan. Interviews with over two dozen Saipanese who claim they saw her there and over a dozen US Marines who claim they found the Electra, her passport, briefcase and other details.


Amelia's Ring, a prison tale and a ghost story...

Digging continues on Saipan.

Captain Paul Cooper has been diligently pursing all leads, sometimes with a magnatometer, sometimes with a GPR, and sometimes with intuition. (Helped by a shovel and some good luck).
Talking to Connie about the ring - photo by Robert Rustin
Connie Kaufer, a relative of the woman who Amelia gave a ring to, has been helping in the effort.  She met with Robert Hunter, curator of the CNMI museum on Saipan (an excellent museum if you're even in the area), and Connie described the ring so that he could generate some sketches.

Meanwhile, Paul has been on site with the help and assistance of the photographer Robert Rustin, looking in the ruins of the family home to see if it can be located.  It was lost during a typhoon, went under the floorboards... and perhaps is still there.

Looking for the ring - photo by Robert Rustin
One of the friends of this blog, Woody Peard, contacted us about the ring.  He supplied us with a photograph that was sent to him by Ann Pellegreno.  Ann is the aviatrix who recreated Amelia's flight in 1967, flying in an Electra.  While she was in Lae, New Guinea, she met the famed photographer James Francis, who has done a number of books about the history of the island.

At some point she was given this photograph - I'm not sure if it was taken by Francis, but if memory serves me correctly (and I think the story of the photograph can be found in "Last Flight" - Amelia's book about her last flight) she met with a local mission on the island, and a number of people came to meet the famed Aviatrix after she had dinner with them.  I've been looking at photos of Amelia and her last flight for 30 years, and I have seen another foto of this same meeting - not sure if it was the same photographer, or if it was with someone else's camera - and I have to dig through the files to find out where it currently is being held.

Lae with AE and Fred - photo courtesy Ann Pellegreno & Woody Peard

But the story is that the woman on the far left of the photograph is holding a ring in her hand, and it's been reported that that was the ring that was given to Amelia before she left on her last flight.

Holding what looks like a ring - Photo courtesy Ann Pellegreno & Woody Peard
And may, perhaps, be the same ring that Amelia gave to Mathilde Arriola (interviewed by Fred Goerner and Father Arnold in 1960 for "Searching for AE") when Amelia was incarcerated on Saipan.  Forensic technology can help us get a better view of the bauble in the woman's hand, as well as help us see if there are any written accounts of this woman giving her that same ring.  But we're on a path and we are pursuing it.

Sam being interviewed by Alexie of the Marianas Variety & Saipan Tribune
photo Robert Rustin
We also got a request from Sam McPhetres, local historian and co founder of the Northern Marianas College.  Sam has been instrumental in our research, helping us with searching the archives for eye witness accounts, and many other leads.
Scott Russell from the NMI Humanities Council - photo Robert Rustin

Sam had one request; could we help him drain the large water tank located in the middle of the jail in Garapan?  This cistern contains water that hasn't been disturbed since 1944, when the jail was taken by US forces.  Sam suspected there was a detention room under that cistern, a "hot box" for prisoners who were given extreme punishment.  With all the permits involved with getting our first shovel into the ground, we thought it was unlikely we'd be able to fulfill that request.  However, Captain Cooper insisted that he could and would do so, and here's some photos of that historic event.

Draining the cistern at the jail - photo Robert Rustin
 Finally, we had a wonderful interview with Tan Escolastica, who has been a historian of sorts, one of the frequently interviewed people on Saipan for her memory of people and events.  We spoke to her first when we arrived on the island, and then a few weeks later when she helped us find an old hidden cemetery, and finally, another interview where she wanted to recount a profound vision she had the night before.  She was in her home and saw a figure appear in the hallway.  She described the figure as tall, thin, wearing khaki and when she turned towards Tan Escolastica, she clearly saw that it was Amelia.
Tan Escolastica telling her story. Photo Chris Neltner
Science will tell us that because of the stirring up of events, the search for her plane, that this "vision" of Amelia's ghost was just an imaginary event.  That may very well be the case.  However, as we've outlined in previous posts, we've left no stone unturned in our search. And that includes interviews with "dowsers" who were able to pinpoint ley lines on Saipan that Paul Cooper also found independently, and in my case, it involved a psychic who I happened to meet while working on the feature film "Salt."  I was having lunch with an old friend, and this old friend had brought her friend Pattie Canova to our brunch.  At some point, Pattie offered to do a "reading."

Pattie Canova -
I told her that was very kind, I didn't need to do a reading, as I've done my own research into the world of ESP, and I was very comfortable with the results I'd gotten - no need to do one.  She insisted, and I said "Ok."  She had me flip over some playing cards and said "You're doing a project about a female pilot.  Is it Amelia Earhart?"  I look at my friend in chagrin, assuming she must have said something.  I didn't know that Pattie is renowned in NYC, and does this kind of thing for a living.  I've become friends with her and believe beyond a shadow of doubt, she knew nothing about the famed flier.

Amelia and her Electra
So I set aside my skepticism for an hour - and instead of trying to get her to prove she was accurate, I dove into an interview with someone, or something that knew more about Amelia Earhart than anyone I've spoken to, past or present.  And I know a lot about her - from family secrets, to other secrets that have never been published, but were part of my research for the film "Amelia."

So - when we say that it could have been Amelia's ghost visiting Escolastica - we mean literally that whatever energy that is out there in the Universe that contains the engrams of memories that belong to the Aviatrix, it may very well have made a visit to this gentle older Chomorro, who is very religious, who has never claimed to have seen Amelia on Saipan, despite knowing many folks who have, and who isn't making this claim to satisfy any modicum of fame, fortune.. or to appear on this blog.

So.  Take it for what you will.  A dear elderly lady, who has been instrumental in helping the historians of the island, gave us a call and wanted to tell us about her encounter with Amelia's ghost.  We will include a transcript of it when we get around to completing our book, film and exhibit; Earhart on Saipan.

Thanks for tuning in....

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Eyewitness Accounts: Published


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.”


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


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



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.


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.


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.”


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.