On July 2, 1937, record-setting aviator Amelia Earhart, along with navigator Fred Noonan, likely ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean somewhere between New Guinea and California and disappeared forever, according to the Smithsonian. Not so, says writer WC Jameson. In Amelia Earhart: Beyond the Grave, out Tuesday, Jameson builds on the existing theory that Earhart was a spy and was shot down by the Japanese (or captured after a crash or forced landing) and taken prisoner while on a mission to photograph Japanese military installations in the Pacific, Fox News reports. FDR knew about the whole thing, per Jameson, but kept it quiet. Released by the Japanese in 1945, he claims, Earhart returned to the US and lived under the name Irene Craigmile Bolam until she died in 1982, when she would have been about 86.
The theory that Earhart was a spy and that she and Noonan were taken prisoner has been around for some time. Early last year a group of men traveled to the Marshall Islands (which was held at the time by the Japanese military, Red Orbit notes) to hunt for evidence to back up the claim, WKYC reports. They found about six pieces of metal they believe came from Earhart's plane. They were having the items tested for authenticity, but there's been no word on the results. For his book, Jameson reportedly interviewed the nephew of a former US Army official who said it was common knowledge in "high-ranking intelligence circles" that Earhart was "involved in an intelligence-gathering operation." Jameson also claims that flight logs from the last Coast Guard station she communicated with were altered after her disappearance. (Click for another intriguing Earhart theory.)