WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — One of the world's greatest aviation mysteries has a connection to Purdue University. Amelia Earhart went missing in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the entire world, but two years before that, she was a guest faculty member at Purdue.
This "Haunted Lafayette" story is about Amelia Earhart and Hangar Number One at the Purdue Airport. Some believe that she may still have a presence in the space she prepped for her final flight. The following is an excerpt from Dorothy Salvo Davis and W.C. Madden's book "Haunted Lafayette."
"Purdue University, like many colleges, is known to hold claim to its own urban legends and ghost stories. Perhaps the most famous ghost to have been spotted at Purdue University is Amelia Earhart. In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman and only the second person to fly solo in a plane across the vast Atlantic Ocean. In the fall of 1933, Amelia Earhart spoke to a large audience at Purdue University. One of those in the crowd was then university president Dr. Edward C. Elliott, who held a special interest in the education, and belief in the education, of women. After expressing this to Amelia in November 1935, she happily accepted the position of visiting faculty member in the Woman's Career Department. She was also given the role of adviser to the Aeronautic Department. On July 2, after completing nearly two thirds of her historic and published flight around the world, Amelia Earhart vanished along with her navigator Frederick Noonan. To this day, their fate is the subject of endless speculation, mystery and debate. Not just in regard to Amelia's life on earth, but also regarding her appearance, said to have been spotted after death. Hangar Number One at Purdue's airport has had a number of reports revolving around Amelia Earhart's ghost. Crew and maintenance members have claimed for years to see a figure of a slender woman in pants and an aviation coat with a scarf tied around her neck, fitting Amelia's description. She appears to be standing in the shadows of Hangar Number One. Just outside the hangar, it has been reported that an officer with the National Guard was so startled by the sudden, almost transparent apparition of a woman, that he fired shots at her. Later, he claimed that the woman seemed to melt into the air. Although Amelia Earhart vanished over seventy (eighty) years ago, the beautiful and adventurous woman will continue to inspire. Amelia's is a case that will never officially be closed. Perhaps you will find answers if you are brave enough to seek her out at Purdue's Hangar Number One."
According to the university, the Purdue Airport made history when it was built in 1930. It was the first university owned and operated airport in the country. It opened as a working airport in 1934, and Hangar One has been there since the beginning. It's since been renovated, and now contains classrooms for Aviation Technology students.
News 18 This Morning's "Haunted Lafayette" series continues Wednesday on Halloween with the story of one of Tippecanoe County's most odd murder cases.
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