From Amelia Earhart to Natalee Holloway — how history's greatest mysteries are being investigated on TV
Plus, new information about what might have contributed to the sinking of the 'Titanic' and the real identity of London serial killer Jack the Ripper
Political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously declared the “end of history” back in the ’90s. But considering recent revelations about pilot Amelia Earhart’s fate, emerging leads in the 12-year-old disappearance of Natalee Holloway, and new theories on what contributed to the sinking of the Titanic, it seems history is far from dead.
Here’s a roundup of interesting ways history is currently being revisited on TV.
H.H. Holmes was also Jack the Ripper?
More than a century after multiple women were mysteriously and grotesquely killed in the Whitechapel district of London, Jack the Ripper’s true identity remains a mystery. HISTORY’s new eight-part miniseries American Ripper has a fascinating idea, however — not just that the killer of British legend was actually an American, but that he was literally H.H. Holmes, the serial killer made famous by Erik Larson’s 2003 book Devil in the White City. American Ripper focuses on Jeff Mudgett, the the great-great-grandson of Holmes (a.k.a. Herman Mudgett), as he attempts to connect these dots and make his case.
Fire sank the Titanic?
Thanks largely to James Cameron’s iconic film, the story of the Titanic has long held a particular pull over the American imagination. How could such an invincible ship sink so catastrophically? According to Titanic: The New Evidence, an hourlong documentary originally aired by the Smithsonian Channel back in January, a major undiscussed factor in the ship’s sinking was a coal fire. By analyzing new photos, the filmmakers demonstrate that the iceberg collision only sank the ship because a fire had already weakened the ship’s steel, priming it for destruction.
Amelia Earhart survived her final flight?
Ever since she disappeared while attempting a circumnavigational flight of the world in 1937, Amelia Earhart’s fate has remained as mysterious as the identity of Jack the Ripper. On July 9, HISTORY attempted to answer this question with Amelia Earhart: The New Evidence. It used new photographic evidence to claim Earhart survived her flight and was captured by Japanese forces, though some have questioned the validity of this evidence.
A roommate with new clues to Natalee Holloway?
Natalee Holloway’s 2005 disappearance in Aruba still remains unsolved, but Oxygen’s new documentary miniseries The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway promises to finally provide the missing link. The show follows Natalee’s father Dave Holloway and the family’s longtime private investigator T.J. Ward as they press a new lead: A man who claims to have been roommates with one of the co-conspirators. The show is set to premiere Aug. 19.
America the way it was meant to be seen?
One factor that serves to separate the present from the past is the weakness of historical records. Although the present pops to us in magnificent color, seeing old photos in black and white sometimes makes the past seem even farther away that it is. Enter America In Color, the new Smithsonian Channel program that re-animates old American footage with new color — making everything from the Jazz Age to the Civil Rights Movement feel like it happened yesterday.