Yahtzee Shaker Sheds Light on Amelia Earhart DisappearanceJune 3, 2012
One of the world’s most enduring mysteries has taken a major step closer to being finally resolved. American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared 75 years ago in an attempt to fly around the globe at its equator. She and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were never to be heard from again. Now researchers believe they have discovered artifacts that once belonged to the famous pilot on a far-flung island in the Pacific Ocean.
A weathered jar of freckle-remover cream that the self-conscious Earhart was known to use was unearthed on Nikumaroro Island in the republic of Kiribati. The island is within the estimated range where her plane would have gone down after radio contact was lost in 1937. The new findings suggest that Earhart and Noonan were able to survive in a controlled landing and lived out their remaining days or years as castaways on a deserted island.
But not everyone in the scientific community is convinced by the explanation for the jar of anti-freckle cream. Steve Janson, of the World Yahtzee Institute, was leading a study on the online Yahtzee habits of Pacific Islanders when the artifacts were uncovered and was able to examine the artifact firsthand. “I think the notion of Amelia Earhart being so vain as to carry freckle cream on the first round-the-world flight is laughable,” said Janson. He believes that the jar has been properly identified but its purpose is being confused:
“Clearly this was not being used for the freckle cream. As an expert in the area of Yahtzee cups and shakers, I’m quite certain that the only thing this jar ever contained was five dice. Unfortunately, no trace of her Yahtzee scorecards or dice have been found, perhaps being lost to the elements. The glass jar makes for a very sturdy dice shaker but regular Yahtzee equipment can be quite delicate.”
Janson’s claim is receiving more and more serious attention as new facts concerning the “freckle cream jar” come to light. The cream is claimed to be “Dr. C. H. Berry’s Freckle Ointment”, a popular cosmetic product of the 1930′s. However, it seems that Dr. Berry’s cream was only sold in opaque jars – the jar discovered on Nikumaroro is perfectly clear.
“It’s a well-known historical fact that Amelia Earhart preferred clear Yahtzee shakers – she never liked to be kept in the dark,” according to Mr. Janson. “And the wear and tear that you can observe around the mouth of the jar bear the tell-tale signs of dice action. There is no way a cream could have caused these obvious dice markings.”
Assuming that the Yahtzee cup did indeed belong to Amelia Earhart, life on Nikumaroro would have been challenging. She or Noonan may have suffered injuries in what would surely have been a crash landing. Sources of fresh water would be hard to come by on the coral atoll and they would need to hunt, fish, and forage to survive. But carrying the ultimate version of Travel Yahtzee, Earhart was clearly prepared for anything. One can imagine the pioneering pair sitting around a campfire in their old age, throwing a game of Yahtzee out of that old freckle cream jar.