“This lady was a very famous woman, right? I didn’t even know her name. How could I tell a lie?” demanded Josephine Blanco Akiyama over Zoom last summer. She was talking about Amelia Earhart, and Akiyama’s claim that in 1937 she saw a white woman matching the aviator’s description captured by Japanese soldiers on Saipan.
Elgen Long’s version of Earhart’s fate was very different. He said he could prove that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan crashed into the ocean. “She was in the middle of her last radio message when they went in,” he said in a 2020 interview. “I can tie that down pretty good.”
Akiyama and Long were two of the most influential figures in the decades-long search for Amelia