Giant Crabs: The Key to Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance?
Amelia Earhart blazed a trail across the sky and left a comet tail of awe and inspiration. Her signature move? Oh, just casually zipping across the Atlantic Ocean, all alone — a feat only a person with nerves of steel could pull off. And if that wasn’t enough, she whipped out another first: the inaugural solo flight from tropical Hawaii to the mainland U.S.
However, one day, Amelia vanished during an audacious attempt to circle the entire globe in her trusty plane. Despite extensive searches, neither she nor her aircraft were ever found. Amelia’s vanishing act turned into one of the most enduring whodunits of the twentieth century. Now, let me tell you a bit more about the hero of our story. For starters, she came from the picturesque Kansas town of Atchison. But what made her truly special from a young age was the fact that she liked to break social molds. She liked to play basketball and tinker with cars!
In between her adrenaline-filled exploits, Amelia served as a nurse’s aide in Toronto. There, she started hanging around local airfields, probably trying to pick up some flying tips from the local pilots. Returning to the U.S., Amelia dipped her toes in pre-med at Columbia University but traded her textbooks for a pilot’s jacket after a thrilling airplane ride with a veteran pilot in nineteen twenty. That was the hook: Amelia became irreversibly smitten with the sky.
Learning to fly was no small feat, but Amelia was up for the challenge. She enrolled for flying lessons soon after. To fund her high-flying dreams, Amelia got down to earth, slogging away as an administrative clerk in the city of Los Angeles. After scrimping and saving, she finally bought her own set of wings — a bright yellow plane, which she lovingly dubbed “the Canary.” After her flight test in nineteen twenty-one, she managed to snatch her first flight exhibition, wowing the crowds in Pasadena, California.
When it came to setting records, Amelia was a master. She flew solo at amazing heights, a feat no woman had achieved before at that time. Next, she made a solo transatlantic flight, making landfall in a cow field in Northern Ireland. Despite her individual success, Amelia wasn’t one to hog the limelight. She actively worked to bring more women into aviation. For this, she co-founded an organization dedicated to the promotion of female pilots. Today, this group still champions women in aviation across forty-four countries.
By nineteen thirty-seven, Amelia was itching for another adventure. She planned a spectacular eastbound flight around the world, aiming to be the first pilot to pull off this celestial showstopper. Taking off from Oakland, California, she aimed to encircle the globe like a hawk circling its prey. This time, she had a sidekick, a navigator named Fred Noonan [noo-nuhn]. The duo blazed a trail from Miami to South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, then to India and Southeast Asia.
But tragedy struck. Amelia and Fred never made it to one of their refueling stops at Howland Island. Their last radio contact with the U.S. Coast Guard was enigmatic, to say the least. After US officials green-lit a massive search, the world waited. Sadly, after two weeks of suspense, Amelia and Fred were declared lost at sea. Ever since countless theories have bubbled up about their fate. The official verdict is that the pair were lost in the Pacific Ocean. This theory suggests they finished up all their fuel while searching for Howland Island and plunged into the vast ocean. Over the years, various well-equipped expeditions have tried to locate the wreckage near Howland, but alas, the ocean isn’t spilling the beans.
There’s another intriguing theory — the ’Gardner Island Hypothesis.’ Some folks reckon Amelia and Fred landed on Gardner Island — now named Nikumaroro [nee-ku-ma-roh-row], in the Republic of Kiribati [kee-ruh-bas], which was a long distance off their course! Though search planes saw signs of recent activity on the island a week after Amelia’s disappearance, they found no trace of the plane.
This theory, however, strongly suggests that Amelia and Fred ended up as castaways on the island and eventually met their end there. Some evidence supporting this includes artifacts like a piece of Plexiglas, a woman’s shoe, improvised tools, and a cosmetics jar from the era, even some suspicious bones. But despite expeditions and sniffing border collies, no conclusive proof has emerged.
Now, what do Godzilla-sized crabs have to do with Amelia Earhart’s disappearance? It turns out that these quirky creatures might possibly hold the keys to one of history’s greatest unsolved mysteries! These ginormous creatures, the coconut crabs, would make you think twice before you dismiss anything as too large. They tip the scales at a whopping nine pounds and can stretch out to a startling three feet. To put it simply, they make your average pug look like a snack!
This theory takes us back to that tiny island in the Pacific, where Amelia supposedly made a pit stop but left no trace — Nikumaroro. When people went looking for clues regarding the famous aviator’s disappearance, one rule was drilled into their thoughts: “Watch out for those monster crabs! Their pincers can really pack a punch!” By day, our explorers could easily steer clear of these hard-shelled creatures. They’d find the crabs lounging under the lush coconut palms, or maybe enjoying the breeze among the branches of the trees. Yes, you heard right. These critters are also good at climbing!
But when the sun sets? Well, that’s when things get crabby. Those courageous explorers quickly learned that sleeping off the ground was essential unless they fancied a late-night claw massage. You see, these jumbo crabs are like the leading actors in this theory about what happened to our heroine Earhart and her navigator. According to this hypothesis, when the aviators missed their mark at Howland Island, they improvised a landing strip on Nikumaroro’s reef. The plane eventually wandered off (planes do that sometimes, you know), leaving Earhart alone on the island. Well, alone except for our mighty crustacean friends.
By the nineteen forties, people had set up shop on the island, and a chap unearthed some bones. However, he managed to find only thirteen of them out of a possible two hundred and six — the total amount of bones in a human body. So, where did the rest of them go? You guessed it! Our “robber crabs” might have fancied a little midnight toy. Evidence indicates that the crabs have a tendency to clean up the island by dragging stuff back to their cozy burrows.
Over the years, multiple experiments have been conducted to verify if these crabs have a peculiar hobby of bone collecting. In one such study, they introduced some bones to the island and kept their eyes peeled. Within a fortnight, the crabs had made a buffet out of it.
In another exciting chapter, our researchers brought dogs from the Canine Forensics Foundation to give the area around a ren tree a good sniff. The dogs had earlier indicated that someone had “kicked the bucket” there. Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t find any bones, but they’re still hopeful. After all, if history has taught us anything, it’s to never give up.
These theories at least have some science to back them up. But as with many famous disappearances, there are also juicy ones. Was Amelia captured by someone? Were she and Fred secret spies who returned to the U.S. under new identities? One of the craziest theories was neatly packaged in a book called “Amelia Earhart Lives.”
The author put pen to paper and argued that our beloved lady of the skies didn’t just vanish into thin air. Instead, she pulled a Houdini. And here’s where things get extra zesty. According to this book, Amelia was nabbed by a foreign government. Thankfully, US officials came to her rescue! After a heroic effort, they transported her into the most clandestine relocation program ever. Her new identity? She transformed into a mysterious suburban housewife under the name Irene Bolam.
But, as with all good stories, there was a twist! The hiccup was that Irene Bolam was already out there, living her life and probably whipping up a mean meatloaf in her suburban kitchen when she got wind of her new identity as a repackaged Amelia Earhart.
Obviously, Irene wasn’t too thrilled about this revelation. So, she lawyered up and took a stand against the claims, vigorously denying this shocking identity swap.