Amelia Earhart and her plane.

Image: Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Because the internet loves a good conspiracy theory (who doesn’t?), this new, wild one about beloved aviator Amelia Earhart is blowing everyone’s minds.

A black-and-white image obtained by the History Channel suggests that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan actually survived their circumnavigation around the globe.

But, we’re just a bit skeptical.

Earhart and Noonan’s 29,000-mile flight, which departed on July 2, 1937, was cut short during the final stretch when the two mysteriously disappeared. It’s been said that Earhart died after running out of fuel and crashing into the Pacific Ocean, but according to Variety, former FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry is suggesting a different theory.

In a newly obtained image discovered by former U.S. Treasury Agent Les Kinney in National Archives records in 2012, there are two people resembling Earhart and Noonan on a dock with their Lockheed Electra airplane aboard a ship. Henry suggests that the two were captured by the Japanese military and held prisoner on the island of Saipan until their deaths, Variety reports. 

So, why are we just hearing about this now and not in 2012? According to People the photo was misfiled in a “formerly top secret” file until now. 

The photo’s big reveal comes in the form of an investigative documentary titled Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, airing Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. on History. According to this video about the photo from TODAY, the person who took the photo was later killed for allegedly being a spy.

Although the photo has been deemed legitimate by two separate, independent analyses and facial recognition has been performed, Japanese archives suggest that there are no documents stating that Earhart has ever been in the country. However, digital forensic analyst Doug Carner explains, “I can say with more than 99.7 percent confidence that the photo is authentic and untouched.”

Hmm. The conflicting reports of authenticity between the almost 90-year-old photo and Japanese records makes us super suspicious of this seemingly brand new theory. 

And, let us please never forget the other theories the History Channel has proudly aired.

However, we’d watch just about anything on cool conspiracy theories documented by the History Channel to find out more.

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