"Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart?" So a popular song asks. Well, the general belief is that the pilot died in a crash, in one of the most famous cases of aircraft disappearance in history. Now, experts have unearthed new evidence that Earhart not only did not die in a crash, but she survived and was captured by Japanese authorities.

A mysterious disappearance

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to attempt to fly around the world. She was important in that regard itself, but what made her even more famous in history and popular culture was her mysterious disappearance.

Her plane vanished while it was traversing the skies above the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

There were many theories surrounding the disappearance, most of them speculation that could not be backed up by solid evidence (though not for lack of trying to find clues). One of the most widely-accepted theories is that her plane crashed.

Yet another one of these theories is that she and her navigator Fred Noonan were captured by the Japanese. This, as with most of the other theories, used to have no evidence in support. But now, investigators think that they have found the photograph that will give this theory more credibility.

According to the Washington Post, investigators have unearthed a photograph from the National Archives that they believe depicts Earhart, Noonan, and their aircraft on the docks of an atoll somewhere in the Marshall Islands.

New evidence from 'mislabeled' file in the National Archives

A former U.S.

Treasury Agent named Les Kinney happened upon the photo as a mislabeled file at the National Archives. Kinney is retired; he began investigating the disappearance of Earhart after his retirement.

The 8"x10" black-and-white photo went unnoticed for many years until Kinney took it and went for a closer look. He said that what he saw was Earhart facing away from the camera.

He believed that the figure's haircut and body type fits the pilot. On the left of the photograph, a man he believed to be Fred Noonan was present, as well, and on the far right is the aircraft.

At least two photo experts have analyzed the said photo and both of them declare that it was not manipulated in any way.

Of course, the new evidence was not warmly received immediately.

Even former FBI assistant executive director Shawn Henry was skeptical at first. Still, he said that the fact that the photo came from the National Archives gives it more credibility (as opposed to it coming from "somebody's basement or garage somewhere.")

A new History Channel documentary called "Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence" will be airing on July 9. The documentary aims to take a closer look at the new photographic evidence, as well as shed some more light regarding the current status of the Amelia Earhart investigation.