Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is this anti-freckle cream a clue to Amelia Earhart’s disappearance?

While Star Trek: Voyager and conspiracy theories suggest that aviatrix Amelia Earhart was kidnapped by aliens, it's looking more and more like she met her end right here on Earth. A handful of newly discovered artifacts, including a jar of freckle fading cream, suggest that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan landed on the island of Nikumaroro in 1937 and survived for some time.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), has made several expeditions to Nikumaroro, an uninhabited island in the Republic of Kiribati where the skeletal remains of an apparent castaway were discovered in 1940. There they've uncovered artifacts that could very well point to Earhart and Noonan's survival on the island. Among them is a shattered jar that appears identical to jars used for Dr.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬H Berry's Freckle Ointment, an early 20th century cream that claimed to fade freckles. Earhart was known to dislike her own freckles and may have well used the cream in an attempt to remove them.

Since the skeletal remains and other artifacts found in 1940 — including part of a man's shoe and part of a woman's shoe — were lost, researchers hoping to close the lid on the Earhart disappearance have to rely on more recently discovered artifacts. Much glassware has been discovered on Nikumaroro, but some of it can be explained by US‭ ‬Coast Guard visits to the island. However, TIGHAR has found some glass containers in a campfire that were heat damaged at the bottom but not the top, suggesting that they were used by castaways to boil water. TIGHAR is also especially interested in artifacts that would have been used only by women, such as a bottle that appears to be Campana Italian Balm, a hand lotion commonly used by American women in the 1930s, and what appears to be a small cosmetics jar.
This July, TIGHAR plans to launch Niku 7, its latest mission to Nikumaroro, to investigate photographic evidence of what might be an aircraft. In the meantime, researchers stateside will continue to analyze the bone fragments and artifacts found during previous missions. - io9


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