Nearly 75 years after the mysterious disappearance of legendary aviator, Amelia Earhart, researchers from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) said they found on a remote Pacific island a small cosmetic jar that is almost identical to a jar of Dr. Berry’s Freckle Ointment, a once-popular American face cream for fading freckles.
It was a well-known fact that Earhart disliked her freckles so TIGHAR is investigating whether the found jar belonged to Earhart.
TIGHAR has long been investigating Earhart’s disappearance and has conducted nine archaeological excavations on the uninhabited island Nikumaroro in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.
“This is one of several bottles that we’ve identified from the castaway campsite that seem to be and, in some cases, are very definitely personal care products that were marketed exclusively to women in the United States in the 1930s,” said Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR.
The jar was found broken into five pieces, four of which were together. The fifth piece was about 65 feet away near the bones of a turtle and appeared to have been used as a cutting tool.
On July 2, 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, mysteriously vanished while flying over the Pacific Oceanin the middle of an attempt to fly around the world along the equator. She and navigator Fred Noonan were never found.
The general consensus has been that Earhart’s twin-engined plane ran out of fuel and crashed in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere near Howland Island.
According to TIGHAR, the possibility that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan might have made an emergency landing on Nikumaroro’s flat coral reef, some 300 miles southeast of their target destination, is supported by a number of artifacts which, combined with archival research, strongly point to a castaway presence on the remote island.
Gillespie said that according to recovered documentation, the partial skeleton of a female castaway was discovered in 1940 in the area along with part of a woman’s shoe, part of a man’s shoe and a navigational tool, but the artifacts were later lost.
Along with the cosmetic jar, TIGHAR found pieces of a woman’s compact, a zipper that was manufactured in the 1930’s, and a bottle of hand lotion that has been chemically analyzed to match Campana Italian Balm, which was popular during Earhart’s time.
The researchers also discovered a bone-handled pocket knife that was similar to one Earhart had taken onboard a previous expedition.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is lending her support to TIGHAR in pledging $500,000 of government funding to aid the search. “Amelia Earhart may have been a unlikely heroine for a nation down on its luck, but she embodies the spirit of an America coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and dangerous world,” said Clinton. “She gave people hope and she inspired them to dream bigger and bolder.”
The TIGHAR team will be conducting its next expedition in July and hopes to find an artifact that will provide irrefutable proof that Earhart died as a castaway on the island.
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