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Debunk: That ‘smoking gun’ photo isn’t of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart prior to last take off in Papua New Guinea.

Looks like one of the greatest historical mysteries will, for now at least, remain unsolved.

The History Channel threw the internet into a tizzy earlier this month when it boasted claims of new evidence to support the theory that Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, had survived their plane crash and been held prisoners by the Japanese on the Marshall Islands.

But two bloggers have since then shot down that new evidence as complete trash. It took one blogger just 30 minutes to debunk. Looks like the History Channel needs to boost their factchecking game.

The biggest "smoking gun" from the documentary was this blurry photo that reportedly showed Earhart and Noonan, surrounded by, supposedly, their Japanese captors:

Image: HANDOUT/EP/REX/Shutterstock

Two bloggers independently found the photograph in a Japanese coffee-table book from 1935, which was two years before Earhart’s plane vanished. The bloggers then shared their discoveries online and with news outlets, such as CNN and The Guardian.

According to the bloggers, the photo was originally published in a travel book called "Naval life line; the view of our South Pacific: Photo album of Southern Pacific Islands."

Kota Yamano, a Japanese military history blogger, said he unraveled the mystery and found the photo in the book after about 30 minutes of research.

"I wonder why [the] History Channel did not have even one person who understand Japanese or the history between Japan and [the] U.S.," Yamano told CNN.

The other blogger, Matt Holly, told the network the lack of Japanese soldiers on the dock suggested it was not taken in 1937 because in 1937 the military activities on the Marshall Islands increased due to the war on China.

Holly even took it a step further, saying the figure previously identified as Earhart more closely resembled a man than a woman.

Yikes. History Channel released a short statement on Twitter after the debunk:

Ultimately historical accuracy is most important to us and our viewers. (2/2)

— HISTORY (@HISTORY) July 11, 2017

Even if this was nothing but a conspiracy theory, let’s hope we do find some real proof of Earhart’s whereabouts within our lifetimes.