Farrell doubts theory of Earhart’s captivity on Saipan


A local historian has expressed doubts about claims that famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart was imprisoned and ultimately died on Saipan with her navigator, Fred Noonan.

Earhart was the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and the first female to attempt to circumnavigate the earth. Earhart mysteriously disappeared on July 2, 1937, on her flight across the Pacific Ocean. For over 80 years, theories of possible answers to what happened to Earhart has surfaced.

The History Channel aired Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence last July 9. It surmised that Earhart and Noonan were held captive on Saipan and died in the hands of the Japanese who ruled the island of Saipan in 1937.

The documentary showcased a photo that purported to show Earhart and Noonan on the Marshall Islands before they were brought to Saipan. The documentary also showcased interviews with Saipan residents who claim to have seen Earhart.

The evidence shown in the documentary is a photo that was retrieved from the U.S National Archives. It allegedly features Earhart with her back to the camera and Noonan.

Local historian Don Farrell, however, does not believe that.

Farrell, who has written several books on the history of Saipan and Guam, said it was not unlikely for Caucasians to have been seen on the island of Saipan during that era because Germans, Russians, Frenchmen, and even Americans were openly conducting business related errands on the island.

“It was not unusual to have Caucasian people visiting Micronesia in the era before July 1937. Germans, Russians, French, and Americans were all doing business out here,” said Farrell in an email interview.

Farrell said that Earhart’s hairstyle was also quite popular during the era and it is more than likely that many other women took up her style.

“Amelia was a hugely popular woman, due to the publicity given to her by her husband, G. P. Putman’s. Other worldly women would have copied her style,” said Farrell.

Farrell does not believe in the conspiracy theories regarding Earhart’s death and he most certainly does not believe in the theory that Earhart was held captive on Saipan.

“I do not believe in conspiracy theories. There is no evidence of either Amelia or Noonan surviving the wreck. They went down with the airplane when it ran out of gas, simple as that,” said Farrell.

Kimberly A. Bautista

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