Bigfoot expert claims to have located Amelia Earhart

guy who endorsed Bigfoot also endorses claims of finding Amelia Earhart's plane

guy who endorsed Bigfoot film also endorses claims of finding Amelia Earhart’s plane

Over the Line, Smokey! has followed the whole Amelia Earhart thing for some time; it’s a great historical-adventure mystery, in the vein that we love. One well-meaning guy, with his “TIGHAR” group, has been on his own “bigfootoid” hunt in the Pacific for many years collecting “evidence” of her, her plane and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Of course, he’s also collecting money. Every couple of years there is some news of these searches on the Discovery or History channel. For everything he finds, from coke bottles to condoms, he uses his confirmation bias to suggest it must have come from Earhart. Of course, unlike bigfoot, there actually WAS an Amelia, so he could possibly find something authentic. Anyway, the latest “discovery” by this guy and his crew is some sort of sidescan sonar blip in six hundred feet of water. Interestingly, a “bigfoot” forensic analyst named Jeff Glickman is involved:

A new twist in the search occurred last March when Richard Conroy, a member of TIGHAR’s on-line Amelia Earhart Search Forum, spotted an anomaly in a sonar map posted online.

They identified a small debris field of objects at the depth of 200 feet, which TIGHAR forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman described as consisting of man-made objects.

Located distinctly apart from the debris field of the SS Norwich City, a British steamer which went aground on the island’s reef in 1929, the site features objects which appear consistent with the interpretation made by Glickmann of a grainy photograph of Nikumaroro’s western shoreline.

The grainy photo was shot by British Colonial Service officer Eric R. Bevington in October 1937, just three months after Amelia’s disappearance on July 2, 1937. It revealed an apparent man-made protruding object on the left side of the frame.

Forensic imaging analyses of the picture found the mysterious object consistent with the shape and dimensions of the wreckage of landing gear from Earhart’s plane.

“The Bevington photo shows what appears to be four components of the plane: a strut, a wheel, a worm gear and a fender. In the debris field there appears to be the fender, possibly the wheel and possibly some portions of the strut,” Glickman told Discovery News.

Here is the original image, with the “mysterious object” boxed in red.

Bevington image, with unknown object in box

Bevington image, with unknown object in box

Neither Bevington nor anyone else in his party, who were exploring the island for colonization purposes, apparently thought enough of the object to mention it, or recall it. And remember, this was only three months after Earhart’s disappearance. And recall that the Phoenix Islands were searched by Earhart’s husband, shortly after the official search ended (Goldstein, Donald M. and Dillon, Katherine V. (1997) Amelia, p. 257). Frankly, it is difficult to believe that the would have ignored a broken landing gear sticking up out of the surf. Here is a cropped and enlarged view:

cropped and enlarged portion of Bevington image

cropped and enlarged portion of Bevington image

Hilariously, OTL,S! recognizes the name of the “analyst” Jeff Glickman as the man who, for $50,000, put his stamp of approval on the original “bigfoot” film shot by Roger Patterson in 1967, providing all sorts of bogus measurements to “prove” his “findings.”

The purported “landing gear” (much more likely either a tree trunk or a piece of the nearby shipwreck) in the Bevington image disappeared in relatively short order; it was never photographed again, nor noted by anyone at the time.  The purported “Earhart plane” has now sunk, supposedly, to a depth of 600 feet, which will take some doing to “recover.” It’s all about the Benjamins:

“We currently project that it will take nearly $3,000,000 to put together an expedition that can do what needs to be done. It’s a lot of money, but it’s a small price to pay for finding Amelia,” Gillespie said.

Recently, Gillespie hired Glickman again to “authenticate” some bit of “evidence.” This time, it was the length of Earhart’s forearm on photographs, compared with some old bone Gillespie had found:

Due to the length of its arms, experts initially ruled that the skeleton belonged to a man. Forensic analysis of photographs of Earhart’s arms now suggest that hers were longer than average for a woman. According to forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman, the proportions of Earhart’s arms were likely a close match to those of the Nikumaroro castaway.

OTL,S! would love to have someone find Earhart’s plane, but the stink of bigfoot-style fakiness is all over this one. We’ll pass.

We do see the rationale: Noonan certainly would have plotted their position by celestial navigation before dawn, and at dawn, so he knew their “line of position” (roughly speaking, he knew they were somewhere on a “mostly north south line” at a known distance from a line passing through Greenwich, England) to a high order of accuracy, just by looking at his watch at sunrise and consulting a table.  After that, he had to depend on dead reckoning, wind speed and direction, airspeed, and radio locating devices, to estimate the time required to fly from their line of position, to a parallel line which passed through Howland Island. At that point, he (or rather Earhart) would turn onto that line and follow it until he came within sight of the island.  There existed the possibility that one could turn the wrong way on that line, going AWAY from the island, but that should become apparent fairly quickly.

In fact, shortly before vanishing, Earhart did transmit that she had turned and was flying on that line, either north or south.  So were they north or south of Howland when they traveled the calculated time, and which way would they have chosen to turn at that point?  TIGHAR suggests there was another factor: the “backstop” idea: North led to the open Pacific; south led eventually to the Phoenix Islands, not much more than coral reefs but at least they were land. Did they have enough fuel to reach them, 300 miles away? We just don’t know. But if Noonan could not find Howland on his LOP, why would he try to find Gardner on that LOP? when he knew that even if he found it, likely he would die and/or at a minimum wreck the plane.

Further, much of the TIGHAR case rests on supposed “post-loss” radio transmissions triangulated to the area of the Phoenix Islands, yet the Electra’s radio would not transmit unless the plane was on land and the engines running, which was almost certainly not the case. Radio communications are completely confusing, and can be interpreted to support almost any theory. Certainly there were a lot of eager amateurs on the air in the days after the loss. And there were a number of search vessels and planes transmitting as well.

Interestingly, there is a discrepancy that could be accounted for by postulating that Noonan failed to compensate for the International Date Line. This line of reasoning is presented here. If he used July 3 as the date and local time, he would have come up about 60 miles short of the desired longitude. OTL,S! thinks this is unlikely, but intriguing.

The initial search was directed at a cloud bank some 50 miles to the northwest, because Earhart had said she was flying at 1000 feet elevation, on an otherwise clear day; this would have been highly usual and dysfunctional if she were searching, unless she was in a cloud bank. However, since this area was thoroughly searched immediately and not even an oil slick was found, OTL,S! tends to think this is not where the Electra went down.

The captain of the Coast Guard ship Itasca put up heavy smoke as a marker for the Electra, and stated COULD NOT HAVE FAILED TO SEE SMOKE SCREEN IF SHE PASSED SOUTH PERIOD. However, this assumes that the smoke went up before the Electra turned away to the south. OTL,S! will guess that when the Electra is found, it will be more or less on one of these dashed lines:

intended course solid red; mostly likely course in red dashes; less likely, green dashes

intended course solid red; mostly likely course in red dashes; less likely, green dashes

In 2009, the Waitt Institute CATALYST 2 Mission performed deep sea sonar exploration of an area west of Howland, though OTL,S! does not know the exact location of this search. One would assume it was designed to explore the area suggested by the green route in the figure. This search was negative for any debris of the Electra. Apparently there is a plan to search east of Howland. OTL,S! believes, rather, that a search to the south would be more likely to be productive.

Noonan must have known at least an hour before reaching the line of Howland island that the radio homing plan was not working, and that they were running lower on fuel than had been anticipated. If that were the case, then he might have deviated north or south so as to be sure which side of the Island he was heading for, and so he would know which way to turn when he reached the line. This would prolong the time needed to reach the Howland line. One factor which may not have been factored in is the easterly wind, at about 20 knots, as it would tend to exaggerate whichever deviation he plans, and further prolong the time needed to reach the line of position of Howland. It should also be recalled that he actual position of Howland is about 5 miles farther east than was shown on the charts, and that Baker island is about 30 miles south of Howland.

In sum, since Baker Island and/or the smoke column would have been visible if the plane had been within 50 miles south, it seems most likely that the Electra was always to the north of Howland.  It also seems that the plane was approaching the island at the time of the last transmissions, and was running out of gas.  The scenario that seems most compatible with these “facts’ is that the Electra reached the Howland line of position, but for some reason Earhart turned north initially instead of south.  After going north for a few miles, she turned south, but ran out of gas and ditched.  Since the area to the northwest was searched immediately, and the area to the west has now been searched with sonar, it seems time to do a sonar search to the north, either side. However, the plan seems to be, rather, to search to the east. We are not aware of the rationale for this plan.

In a legal footnote, it appears that TIGHAR and/or Jeff “Bigfoot is real” Glickman may have over-hyped its “discovery” in the Phoenix Islands. This is the third piece of evidence that Glickman has “analyzed’ as a sign of Earhart.

A new twist in the search occurred last March when Richard Conroy, a member of TIGHAR’s on-line Amelia Earhart Search Forum, spotted an anomaly in a sonar map posted online.

TIGHAR forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman described as consisting of man-made objects.

“The anomaly gives the impression of being an object that struck the slope at the base of the second cliff at a depth of 613 feet, then skidded in a southerly direction for about 131 feet before coming to rest,” Gillespie said.

An investor is suing, claiming that TIGHAR had already discovered the Electra at the time they solicited a million dollar investment. So TIGHAR is now in the position of having to undercut its own claims.

Mellon’s lawsuit says the 2010 search in the waters around the Kiribati atoll of Nikumaroro, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii, captured underwater images of the “wreckage of the Lockheed Electra flown by Amelia Earhart when she disappeared in 1937.”
The suit claims the aircraft recovery group intentionally misrepresented the status of its exploration to Mellon last year, telling him a discovery of Earhart’s plane was yet possible if he supported the search.


Stubson said Mellon engaged experts to examine the underwater images against parts they knew were unique to the Earhart aircraft. He said they reached a “definitive conclusion that that is in fact the wreckage, and it had been discovered two years before our client paid for another expedition.”

Stubson acknowledged that the aircraft preservation group might have had more to gain by publicizing a true discovery of the Earhart wreckage. But he noted: “For whatever reason they didn’t do that in this case, and they continue to solicit funds under the pretense that they have not found it.”



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5 responses to “Bigfoot expert claims to have located Amelia Earhart

  1. Pingback: Texas DNA specialist writes that Sasquatch is a modern human being. UPDATED 5/22/2013. That was 2010; now she says it’s a hybrid. Or something. | Over the line, Smokey!

  2. Are you sure she still alive?

  3. Defontein

    Glickman just uses a lot of waffle and inflated terms to make his analysis seem valid; the pose shown above by Amelia and the Bigfoot hoaxer demonstrates that either 1) Bigfoot has the same gait and stride pattern as Earhart or 2) Earhart had the same gait and stride pattern as Bigfoot. Which is more likely?

    No other animal on Earth walks as humans do, anyone who has seen our cousins in the ape family ‘walk’ know this.

    Is this guy seriously suggesting that a known hoax is a real sighting of Bigfoot? For me, apart from the gait, one clue as to it being human is the look to camera, which, being a bit of a hoaxer myself in the past, is most probably to confirm the hoaxing is proceeding OK and to see if they are out of shot yet, to take the head off, they’d be hot walking that distance in a furry suit with such a fast gait.

    I have not hoaxed Bigfoot, but have done similar hoaxes, and if I were to have undertaken this one, the cameraman would be giving a prearranged signal -as simple as a hand held in the air or even lowering it- to confirm the shot is in progress and then has ended. Example, just out of shot the suit-walker looks for the camera ready signal, say, an upraised arm, when the arm is lowered the suit-walker can proceed, until they are definitely out of shot -possibly a prearranged location. But, in the magic-of-the-moment the suit-walker may get disorientated or even feel the stress of having to walk in a hot suit (breathing could be getting difficult) and so look to camera to see if the ‘completed’ ‘shot over’ ‘cut’ signal has been shown -perhaps the arm raised a again.

    For me, other than the obvious human gate, the look over the shoulder has been the most obvious sign this was a hoax.

  4. That is an interesting take on the head turning. There were two such moments, both occurring in the first half of the 60 seconds of film. This would lead me to believe that these were scripted, rather than a sort of query by the actor to see whether the camera was still rolling.

    The man who came forward to confess that he had been the actor in the suit supports this ‘scripted look-back” idea. His story (and much more aout the making of the film) is in the book “The Making of Bigfoot” by Greg Long, in 2004. I would add that when the book came out, the bigfoot believers tried to do the digital equivalent of book-burning by low-rating it at Amazon; it is actually quite a good detective story, filled with interviews that flesh out the characters involved in the hoax.

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