March 22, 2012

The Sound of Wings: Amelia Earhart Returns


As many of you may know, this week Amelia Earhart was back in the news. One headline from March 20th read: Investigators say they've found key clue to fate of Amelia Earhart

On July 2, 1937, pioneering pilot Earhart, with her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean. Earhart was attempting to set the next aviation record by circumnavigating the globe in her Lockheed Electra. The crash site of the Electra and Earhart’s final resting place, of course, have long been a mystery. Earhart herself has become a legend.

The “key clue” recently found involves a photograph of the Pacific atoll Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island). Further investigation of the atoll will be headed up by Richard Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

While it’s not the first time (nor the last, no doubt) that the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance has been probed, Gillespie and TIGHAR may be getting closer to an answer. It’s interesting to note that, as recently as 2009, he and his crew were focusing on that same coral atoll, Nikumaroro, for other reasons (see Earhart's Final Resting Place Believed Found, October 23, 2009 http://news.discovery.com/history/amelia-earhart-resting-place.html).

So what's this news got to do with ghosts and ghost stories? Quite a bit, oddly enough.

The fresh interest in Amelia Earhart reminded me of a terrific ghost story I once read: The Sound of Wings by Spencer Dunmore. It’s a fun, fast-paced novel featuring the ghostly apparition of a dynamic female aviator whose monoplane disappeared over the Atlantic shortly after Lindbergh’s famous flight. (She’s very reminiscent of Amelia Earhart in character.) Her ghost has returned to haunt the co-pilot of a contemporary commercial airliner. What does she want? and Why is she haunting this particular pilot? are among the many questions demanding answers.

Though The Sound of Wings is a ghost story gem, I’ve discovered that it’s hard to find in print these days. But, if you can get your hands on a copy, I think you’ll enjoy its well-plotted mix of mystery and the supernatural.

Do you have a favorite ghost story related to aviation? Recommendations are always welcomed!

Happy Hauntings,

P. A. Peirson

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