So many questions surround this particular event that it certainly qualifies as a true mystery, I think.
The Mysterious Souvenir
In August 1943, a fierce battle on the island of Bougainville, off the coast of New Guinea, left many soldiers dead. After the fighting was over, a US marine happened upon the body of a Japanese soldier and decided to search it to see if he could find any “souvenirs.” To his great surprise, he discovered a newspaper clipping and a photograph of an American girl. The clipping revealed that the girl was 18 years old, from St. Petersburg, Florida, and about the take part in a beauty pageant. Being from St. Petersburg himself, he took the clipping and photo with him when he left the island.
Two years later, a young girl by the name of Wanda Wilson was visited by a stranger at her parents’ home in St. Petersburg. At the time, Wanda had a job at Florida Power, a part-time modeling career, and was in love with a colleague.
Marine corporal Robert Goddard was about to throw a spanner in the works, producing the photograph he had found in the dead Japanese soldier’s pocket. Wanda gasped as she recognized herself in the picture, which had originally appeared in the St. Petersburg Times in March 1942. No one knew how the picture and clipping could have ended up in a Japanese soldier’s pocket on the other side of the world, a year and a half after it was published.
Even if the Japanese soldier did what Goddard did, and took the picture from an American soldier’s corpse, who was the American soldier? Wanda did not recognize the names or pictures of any American soldiers who died on the island.
Thanks to the folks over at Listverse for digging up stories like this for all to read. Sure does make some handy reference material.
Coffee out on the hot patio this morning. No critters around that I can see!