Jacqueline Cochran was one of if not the greatest and most famous women pilots of her time. Yet she was able to keep something largely secret about herself: she believed she had psychic powers– a “strange gift.” She was dear friends with Amelia Earhart, and through a demonstration she proved to Amelia that she could, in fact, see across time and space. Amelia had come to her with the problem of a missing airliner that had crashed somewhere en route to Los Angeles. Jackie retired and considered. She called Amelia back in an hour as promised. She described the area and even the direction the crashed plane was facing. She turned out to be right.
From this startling demonstration Amelia was certain that together Jackie could help locate her if she had to go down at sea on her planned ’round-the-world flight. Jackie agreed.
In her 1954 memoirs (The Stars at Noon) Cochran brought up this previously unknown episode in her and Amelia’s life. She had to even ask the rhetorical question “So why didn’t I locate her?” Her answer: “I did, or at least I think I did.” She tells us that as soon as Amelia’s non arrival at Howland was announced, G.P. Putnam burst into her apartment and asked her to help find Amelia in that unusual way they both believed in.
Cochran wrote that she did help. She located Amelia in a certain area of sea that was being well combed. They had ditched here and were drifting in the Electra. Amelia’s navigator, Fred Noonan, had cracked his skull upon the ditching, but Amelia was all right. She told G.P. the spot, either by showing it on a map or by giving exact coordinates. We can easily assume this, for there is evidence this episode really took place.
The commander of the Lexington search group noted in his report that on July 17 G.P. Putnam made a request through the San Francisco Coast Guard to search an area around a precise coordinate. The Navy responded that they couldn’t do it. It was “impracticable.” This area was far west of the Gilberts, on the way to Nauru. The Gilberts had long been searched. There was nothing.
This area– 170 degrees east by 0. degrees 09 minutes north– was never searched.
Cochran’s memory made some mistakes in her recital. She never gave us coordinates. (Thanks to the Navy log we have them, however.) She believed the area was well searched and that the Navy searched it in response. It also wasn’t just after Earhart vanished. Putnam sent in the request on July 17, over 2 weeks after his wife disappeared.
As far as Cochran could remember, Amelia drifted for 2 days after she had psychically located her. Then on the third day, as Cochran writes, she went to the cathedral and lit a candle for Amelia’s soul, which “had taken off on its own long journey.”
Far west of the Gilberts, far off course for Howland Island. A legend developed very early (during WWII) that Amelia had been seen on the Marshall Islands, but so far all the explanations for how she could have gotten there have fallen flat.
Balancing all this out, Jackie Cochran actually thought Earhart had survived not three days, but died on the 3rd day after she was asked by Putnam to help find her. Thus is seems Cochran believed Earhart lasted about 18 days after ditching at sea.
Coincidently this drift placed her south of the Marshall Islands, on the trade routes between them and the Gilberts. Cochran had psychically seen 2 boats involved in Earhart’s fate. One was the Itasca, which she named though she said she had never heard of it before. The other was a Japanese fishing boat, the name of which she had forgotten.
So much of the legend of Amelia Earhart is reflected in Cochran’s memory of her contribution to the search. According to the legend, the Japanese ship came and got Earhart and took her to the Marshall Islands, and from there she went to Saipan, the Japanese administrative center for the mandated islands. From there several legends have unfolded.
The purpose here is not to argue on the reliability of psychic powers. The purpose is to put in place a coherent narrative that explains to us the actions of those involved in this real life drama. Many things came together, and for those who are actors upon the stage, they knew of this psychic reading and were influenced to a certain extent by it; G.P. certainly enough to ask that the area be searched.
But it goes beyond that one annotation, and in putting everything straight in Then Came The Dawn I have to pursue how it intertwines with several other bits of information. Together they give us an alternate view on the conspiracies that are said to have motivated some of Earhart’s inner circle.
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.