Amelia Earhart: What The General Public Never Knew

The Amelia Earhart We Barely Knew...

Home Page: Amelia Earhart
About Tod Swindell
Drumming Out False Earhart History
The Curious Mrs. Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam
Past Significant Amelia Earhart Disappearance Investigations
About 'Operation Earhart' (1960-1970)
The 1980s and 1990s Words Of Monsignor James Francis Kelley On Amelia Earhart
Comparing Amelia Earhart To Irene O'Crowley Craigmile (Surname 'Bolam' added in 1958)
Wikipedia Deceitfully Misleads the Public About Amelia and Irene
Newspaper Fraud Tried To Hide The Truth In 1982

The Amelia Earhart We Barely Knew

In 1923, the year she turned twenty-six years old and five years before she became famous, Amelia Earhart took the following photograph of herself by pointing a camera into a mirror. She had enrolled in a photography course at USC and likely developed the picture herself.


In 1928, through the women's Zonta organization Amelia joined after she became famous, she befriended a prominent lawyer and Zonta official by the name of Irene Rutherford O'Crowley, who soon after introduced her to her niece, Irene O'Crowley Craigmile, who had recently married a civil engineer by the name of Charles James Craigmile:



Above left and enhanced on the right is an old newpaper photo showing Charles Craigmile and his wife, the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile in 1930. The couple was married in 1928, at the Newark, New Jersey home of Irene's paternal uncle and aunt, Dr. Clarence Rutherford O'Crowley and his wife, Violet. 
Charles Craigmile was fourteen years older than Irene. Sadly, Charles first, and later, Irene as well, were no longer seen by the time World War Two began.
Below are two articles about Amelia Earhart's 1930s Zonta friend, the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's lawyer aunt, Irene Rutherford O'Crowley:



The above-left 1928 newspaper article features a story about the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's attorney aunt, Irene Rutherford O'Crowley. On the right is a 1939 news article clipping describing her 'international relations chair person' position with the Zonta's, along with a mention of Amelia's past membership further down, who had gone missing in 1937, of which a Zonta scholarship in Amelia's name was adapted by Zonta that still exists today.
Attorney Irene Rutherford O'Crowley practiced law in New York and New Jersey. In 1928, she and Amelia Earhart became friends through the Zonta organization after Amelia became a Zonta member. Attorney Irene Rutherford O'Crowley helped to emcee Amelia's Zonta induction ceremony. By the 1930s, she and Amelia were two of the Zonta's better known members along with Nina Broderick Price, who they both knew as well. Nina had been born to British diplomat parents in India where she was raised before she relocated to the United States.
Attorney Irene Rutherford O'Crowley served as a legal adviser for Amelia when it came to contract matters for Amelia's branded merchandise, that included her well-known 'Amelia Earhart luggage' line. Nina Broderick Price helped on the publicity end for Amelia as well. All three also viewed themselves as sartorial experts, or 'smart with clothing' style and design.
Nina Broderick Price, and to a certain degree, attorney Irene Rutherford O'Crowley, who stressed "the importance of a well dressed woman" in a news article that referenced her, were enamored by their own keen senses of fashion. Nina designed women's clothing and Amelia, being a fashion bug herself, used her as a source inspiration and began designing her own 'Amelia Earhart brand' of women's clothing. She proved to be good at it, plus, she was a smart business woman to boot.
A downfall with both her clothing and luggage lines, however, was that Amelia insisted on high quality merchandise, something few people could afford during the early 1930s' depression years. For awhile, though, she had her own 'Amelia Earhart' boutique in New York's Macy's and other stores that peddled her branded merchandise. 


Amelia adjusts one of her creations.





Above, after she soloed the Atlantic in mid-1932, Amelia Earhart arguably became the most famous women in the world. She worked hard the next couple of years at developing her own line of clothing and luggage with logistical help and business advice offered by both Nina Price and Irene Rutherford O'Crowley. The exciting ventures ended up proving to be less profitable than she had projected, though, and she ultimately abandoned her clothing line. Her quality luggage line survived, however, and continued to be sold through different manufacturers for decades. 


Above, a 1936 article about Nina Broderick Price's fashion advice to women. Nina mentored Amelia Earhart on designing women's clothing.


Above, a 1932 Western Union Telegram sent to Nina Broderick Price to be redirected to Amelia's attention. When Amelia soloed the Atlantic that year she had pre-arranged for Nina to receive congratulatory Zonta messages for her within the New York City chapter both women belonged to.

Both Nina Price and and attorney Irene O'Crowley had served as international relations chairpersons for Zonta as well. Recall Amelia spoke 'several languages' that in the 1950s, while living as the new Irene Craigmile, helped pave her way to also serve as an international relations chairperson for Zonta, beyond serving as a Zonta Long Island Chapter president. (Again, the original Irene Craigmile was never a career oriented person and never a Zonta member.) 
By intention (?) or it might appear that way, Nina Price and Irene Rutherford O'Crowley, two prominent Zonta members who were east coast business associates of Amelia's from 1932 to 1934, (Amelia moved back to the west coast in early 1935) are never mentioned in any Amelia Earhart biographies. The reason had to do with Attorney Irene's direct link to her niece, the original Irene Craigmile, who Amelia had helped to become a pilot during the same early-1930s time frame. This endeavor came to a halt when the original Irene Craigmile realized she was pregnant out of wedlock in mid-1933.


Above, a few months after Amelia soloed the Atlantic she appeared in the same September 1, 1932 newspaper photo with the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile, who was recently widowed at the time. Amelia is outlined in white and the original Irene is outlined in black. The original Irene was not yet a licensed pilot when this photo was taken. She did not begin to take flying lessons until October of that year, but Amelia had invited her along to Ohio for the adventure and the opportunity to meet other pilot friends of hers, foremost to include Viola Gentry, seated next to the original Irene on her right. The occasion for the trip was to help cheer and support Lousie Thaden, who had recently been injured in a plane crash. Note: Along with Amelia's sister, Muriel, Viola Gentry went on to play a significant role in the cover-up of Amelia's future life as the new, 'Irene O'Crowley Craigmile.' At the same time it was Viola Gentry who took things too far when she accidentally exposed the truth in 1965, by introducing Joseph A. Gervais to her later life friend, the post World War Two only, Irene Craigmile-Bolam, AKA the former Amelia Earhart. Upon doing so, Gervais, a known investigator of Amelia's disappearance, recognized her for who she used to be right away. 

Attorney Irene O'Crowley had raised her niece, the original Irene nee-O'Crowley Craigmile, from age twelve on.
The original Irene Craigmile was the only child of attorney Irene's older brother, Richard Joseph O'Crowley, and his wife, Bessie, the original Irene's mother who died when her daughter was twelve. As the original Irene Craigmile grew up she was also close to her Uncle Clarence, AKA 'Dr. Clarence Rutherford O'Crowley,' a highly regarded physician who lived next door to his attorney sister. 
The original Irene Craigmile was nicknamed 'Beatrice' while further growing up with her aunt, that led to her pet-name of "Bee" in her mother's memory. After her marriage to Charles Craigmile, she went back to calling herself 'Irene' although "Bee" remained a common family moniker for her.
Of note, the original Irene Craigmile's December of 1928 newspaper wedding announcement, shown below, listed her as, 'Beatrice O'Crowley.' 


The 1930 Census listed Charles and Irene O'Crowley Craigmile living in Pequannock, New Jersey. Charles was listed as 'head of house' and Irene as 'keeps house.' Their marriage lasted less than three years, though, as sadly, while on a road trip in late 1931, Charles Craigmile died of appendicitus after he failed to seek medical attention. Below is a notice of his passing: 




Charles James Craigmile indeed was survived by his wife, Mrs. Irene O'Crowley Craigmile. Except she was not the person who went on to marry Guy Bolam of England in 1958. That person was the former Amelia Earhart, who was given the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile's identity to use after World War Two and for the remainder of her days.



Above: After World War Two the survived former Amelia Earhart was identified as "Irene O'Crowley Craigmile" until she married Guy Bolam of England in 1958. From then on she became more commonly known as 'Irene Bolam'. 
Below, excerpted from a 1984 typewritten letter from a long time paralegal assistant of Irene Rutherford O'Crowley's by the name of Lucy McDannel, she refers to the past friendship that existed between Nina Price and attorney Irene O'Crowley. The 'international group' she referred to was the Zonta organization. Lucy was 85 when she answered a letter sent to her by one Diana Dawes, who was a later life friend of the former Amelia Earhart's and had written to Lucy about the 'mix-up' she had noticed of multiple Irene Craigmile-Bolams.
Note Lucy's mention of Nina and attorney Irene both having been accomplished public speakers. Amelia became a skilled public speaker herself, honing her skill at it with help from her Zonta friends.
Diana Dawes wrote to Lucy because she was deeply convinced her later-life friend, Irene O'crowley Craigmile-Bolam, used to be known as 'Amelia Earhart' and she hoped Lucy might shed some light on her belief. Here, Lucy refers to both Nina Price and Irene Rutherford O'Crowley, who she referred to as "Irene Sr." while mentioning the Amelia Earhart luggage line.
Lucy had worked alongside Irene Rutherford O'Crowley from the mid-1920s into the 1950s. She also notated her understanding of there having been two different Irene's beyond Irene Sr. that she was aware of, one of whom she mentioned was "16 or 17" in 1940, who she described as a 'live-in errand doer' for both Irene Sr. and Dr. Clarence O'Crowley, her brother who lived next door. She referred to the younger in the letter as "Irene Jr." but was clearly confused by the other Irene O'Crowley Craigmile who suddenly appeared as a New York bank executive after World War Two, mentioning, "I don't understand it." In the full context of her three page reply to Diana, Lucy was also sure to include that although attorney Irene Rutherford O'Crowley and her brother, Dr. Clarence O'Crowley were fairly prominent figures in their fields, they were also very private. Lucy recalled the name of 'Craigmile' but appeared to know little about the original Irene O'Crowley Craigmile or what became of her, lending to the obfuscation long attributed to her past existence.  


The study determined the 'Irene Jr.' Lucy referenced as "born in 1924" and "16 or 17 in 1940" was more than likely the person who was imprinted as the ongoing 'mother figure' of the original Irene Craigmile's 1934 born son. So much left her serving as his 'surrogate mother' with the same Irene Craigmile identity applied to her person.

Below find the person the original Irene Craigmile's 1934 born son identified in the Study to have been his mother in both younger ('1940s') and older ('1970s') forms. The images combined do reveal the same person at younger and older ages.




Below is a display of the post-World War Two ONLY Irene Craigmile shown transposing into her former self, Amelia Earhart. The woman above was an entirely different person. Her true identity remains an enigma to this day. She and the former Amelia Earhart were attributed to the same identity, though, that of the original Irene Craigmile, whose death prior to World War Two was obscured to enable Amelia's post-war private life existence. 


The post-war only
Irene Craigmile in 1963 



Without knowing any better, it would otherwise appear that as she grew older, Irene Craigmile started looking a lot like Amelia Earhart, who had "vanished without a trace" in 1937. Yet that was not the case. The original Irene Craigmile never looked like Amelia Earhart:



According to public record, above once again is the original Irene nee O'Crowley Craigmile at age fourteen on the left and age nineteen on the right. Note: With few exceptions, the origin of all photos that purportedly display the original Irene Craigmile prior to the World War Two years is questionable, including for these two. Especially the one showing her at age nineteen (dated '1923') was shown to be a forged image of the surrogate mother who raised the original Irene Craigmile's 1934 born son to adulthood.

In 1965 it was not the original Irene Craigmile who Joseph A. Gervais met and photographed at a gathering of well known pilots from the golden age of aviation. Rather, Joseph A. Gervais met and photographed the former Amelia Earhart in 1965, who had assumed the original Irene Craigmile's identity for herself to further use after World War Two.



Amelia Earhart


With Amelia's and the post-war only Irene's head-to-toe physical beings and character traits, The Forensic Comparison Study realized a complete match.




The post-World War Two only, Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam




USAF Colonel, Rollin C. Reineck in 1944 

"Your work relating to Amelia Earhart and Irene Craigmile is absolutely outstanding. There is no other way to describe it." Author-historian, Colonel Rollin C. Reineck, USAF (Ret.) in response to Tod Swindell's Amelia Earhart investigative forensic research and comparison analysis.




Twenty-two years ago I wrote the following review article about Susan Butler's new Amelia Earhart biography, East to the Dawn. Susan Butler, a Zonta organization member just as Amelia had been, timed her book to commemorate Amelia's 100th birthday and the 60th anniversary of her disappearance. Note the last three sentences of the article. The time has arrived. Tod Swindell 




More newsprint articles concerning Tod Swindell's unparalleled investigation of Amelia Earhart's disappearance and missing person case aappear further down.

Herein find a preview of the upcoming documentary about Amelia Earhart's stealth journey of survival during World War Two, that led to her being further known as, 'Irene Craigmile.'


Senator Hiram Bingham
& Amelia Earhart


Amelia & the post-war only Irene



Whether or not people choose to believe it, the person above was the former Amelia Earhart living as Irene Craigmile-Bolam in 1977. 'Bolam' became her added surname in 1958, when she married Guy Bolam of England. The original Irene Craigmile, who Amelia had known, died before World War Two began. 


"The forensic studies are very convincing. She was not an ordinary housewife. She was influential, knew many well placed people and was well traveled." From an Associated Press article, a quote from John Bolam, Irene Craigmile-Bolam's survived brother-in-law. John Bolam believed his sister-in-law was not the original Irene Craigmile, and deduced she could only have been the former Amelia Earhart after examining some of Tod Swindell's forensic study results. 


Amelia Earhart's Stealth Journey That Left Her Further Known As, 'Irene Craigmile'
By Tod Swindell

My interest in what really happened to Amelia Earhart dates back to the early 1990s. I was doing research and development for a motion picture company at the time when one Mike Harris sent me a David O'Malley screenplay titled, "Amelia Earhart: The Final Chapter."
Not long after that I read Randall Brink's new book at the time, Lost Star: The Search For Amelia Earhart, (W.W. Norton, 1994) and soon enough found myself hooked on the subject matter. I also decided I should meet Randall Brink, and we did meet in 1996, and became friends. In turn, Randall recommended that I should meet Joseph A. Gervais, and he arranged for me to do so that same year.
I had pressed Randall about the Irene Craigmile Bolam matter--that his book cited to be a 'still open case' ever since the late 1960s--when it came to whether or not the enigmatic elder woman of that name had actually been the former Amelia Earhart. For according to Joseph A. Gervais, a bonafide World War Two flying hero, from the time he met her and investigated her past those years ago, he remained 100% certain that was who she used to be.
So in 1997, I began an analysis to determine if Joseph A. Gervais was correct--after finding out from Gervais himself that an 'Amelia Earhart to Irene Craigmile Bolam forensic comparison analysis' had never been done before, something that surprised me.
By then I was also beginning to draw attention to myself as an 'Earhart aficionado' that led to my being asked to review forthcoming books about Amelia.
The first was the one above, on Susan Butler's impressive biography, East to the Dawn, commemorating Amelia's 100th birthday. The next one below I wrote for Max Allan Collins' (of 'Road to Perdition' fame) book, Flying Blind, a superbly researched historical-fiction version of Amelia's fame years and her odd disappearance, as seen through the eyes of a private detective Amelia had befriended. There are a couple of minor typos in the article; William McMenamy's first name was, 'Walter,' and the Forsgate Country Club is in New Jersey.





In the following years I was engaged to lecture to different audiences about the Amelia Earhart--Irene Craigmile Bolam equation, that led to the Bay area Contra Costa Times article, below left. The article was one of several issued in 2002 about the renewed interest the Gervais claim my efforts had caused. 

Then in 2006, a year after my friend and collaborator, Joseph A. Gervais died, I was asked to appear on the National Geographic Channel--only to watch my two hour 'on camera' interview that featured some of my study elements--get trimmed down to about a minute of screen time. The reason? One of the show's producers mentioned to me that Amelia's family, foremost including her late sister, Muriel, who died in 1998, had always refused to endorse anything in the direction of her famous aunt living beyond 1937. As it turned out, this long maintained attitude not only persuaded National Geographic to never afford it much credibility, but the Smithsonian as well.

Evidently, the resultant effect left people feeling that the suggestion of Amelia Earhart living-on and changing her name was, quite simply, too far-fetched.

So much also led to a misguided, invalid rumor stating the National Geographic Society had hired a detective who finally proved that the claim of Amelia's name-changed survival was false. This same invalid rumor then manifested a follow-up, strictly monitored, "Irene Craigmile Bolam" Wikipedia page that remains on-line today. About that, any contributions to the page favoring the reality of Amelia living-on and changing her name to Irene are swiftly edited out by a Dr. Alex Mandel, a self-proclaimed, 'Amelia Earhart image protector' [or 'Earhart fanatic'] who posted the page. Since 2007, the year his page was first published, this peculiar fellow from the Ukraine has also taken it upon himself to write and publish lengthy diatribes in opposition to the long-time assertion of Amelia's post-World War Two existence with a different name, with no real basis for doing so.  

No matter, under the Contra Costa article, The Arizona Republic still managed to find my reborn assertion to the affirmative of Amelia's post-loss existence as Irene, one backed by new research and haunting comparisons, at least curious enough to feature a piece about it.

In the right hand column are two other items of interest:



The image below was part of a 2007 feature story that appeared in 'The Arizona Republic' newspaper in Phoenix.


Upon considering the two items below from 2002 and 1987, the old "if this, then that" argument comes into play: If Amelia survived as Ambassador Cappele described after she went missing in 1937, then what became of her? Most people who agree that Amelia did survive the way the article and stamp illustration describe she did after she was declared 'missing'--offered that she either died of an illness she came down with while still overseas, or she was executed by a rogue Japanese military unit. (The latent, absurdly planted notion of Amelia dying as a castaway on a desert island where her remains were devoured by giant crabs merits no serious attention here.)



Above, a Republic of the Marshall Islands 50th anniversary commemorative stamp (issued in 1987) showing the rescue of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan--and the retrieval of Amelia's Lockheed Electra from a land spit in the far lower Marshall Islands.

Amelia's Death Overseas?
While any suggestion of how Amelia Earhart died overseas was never substantiated beyond hearsay, whenever the idea of Amelia somehow managing to live-on was mentioned in decades gone by, it was swiftly vilified by the Smithsonian and in turn belittled by the news media. None the less, it is absolutely true that Amelia survived her disappearance. She did not die 'on or around' the date she went missing in 1937. Rather, she continued to privately live on--and during the late World War Two era she changed her name, and her appearance to a certain extent, in the interest of her own future anonymity. Why? We don't know, and it may be the case that the former Amelia Earhart and others who did know took much of it to their graves with them.
This much is true: After the highly protected truth of Amelia's ongoing existence was learned, the conveyance of her living-on to become an ordinary New Jersey housewife renamed 'Irene' sounded too joke-like to be taken seriously. And while it is true the former Amelia Earhart once described herself that way after the suspicion of who she used to be was first made public, trust knowing in her later-life years, she was 'no ordinary housewife.'


Tod Swindell

To devalue the truth about what became of Amelia Earhart after she went missing in 1937, joking that she became "a New Jersey housewife" made it difficult to believe. This is why the national press circuit was encouraged to repeat it ever since the 1970s. Take a look:


"Five years into my Study, regarding the above Associated Press article lead-in, it's ridiculous how printed news sometimes works. The point being, I never told Ron Staton that I believed Amelia Earhart, ""survived a crash landing in the Marshall Islands, was captured by the Japanese and secretly repatriated, living as a New Jersey housewife."" Those were his words, not mine. While I've always respected the plausibility of Japan's quiet, temporary stewardship of Amelia Earhart after she went missing, when Ron Staton asked me what I thought happened to Amelia, all I told him was I believed she survived and in due time changed her name to 'Irene Craigmile.' I never called her 'a New Jersey housewife,' nor did we discuss how Amelia might have ended up in Japan's care or how she made it back to the United States. In fact, I barely spoke to him. Not to leave out, the person she became in her later-life years was no ordinary housewife. For instance, in the 1970s she was President of the Advertising Division for Radio Luxembourg--that sported the most powerful broadcasting tower in Europe." Tod Swindell


U.S.  Navy Rear Admiral, Ernest Eugene (Gene) Tissot Jr.

"I have carefully studied your presentation. Your conclusion that there were plural Irene Craigmile's has completely convinced me that this is indeed the case. You have also convinced me that one of them used to be Amelia Earhart. Incredible. You have quite an impressive package there. Keep charging - Gene."  From a note sent by retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral, Ernest Eugene (Gene) Tissot Jr. to Tod Swindell. Tissot's father, Ernie Tissot was a friend of Amelia Earhart's who served as her head plane mechanic during her 1935 Hawaii to Oakland flight. Rear Admiral Tissot, a long time member of the Amelia Earhart Society of Researchers, was a key advisor for The Swindell Study.

The original Irene Craigmile's later hidden demise went on to become an integral part of Amelia Earhart's life story in a profoundly unique way:  


In 1965, a retired air force major by the name of Joseph A. Gervais, was the first person to discover that Amelia Earhart quietly survived her 1937 disappearance and eventually assumed the left-over identity value of Irene Craigmile, a 1930s acquaintance of Amelia's.


Tod Swindell
Writer, Filmmaker, Amelia Earhart Historian

In Brief...

Below is a preview of the documentary film journey I embarked on in 1999, one dedicated to correctly profiling the interrelated life stories of Amelia Earhart and the highly enigmatic woman from the 1960s and 1970s known as, 'Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam.' I'm glad to announce this marathon endeavor of mine is on its way to completion.
Prefacing what it will entail, in the 1930s, when a woman by the name of 'Irene Craigmile' was a fledgling pilot, she and Amelia Earhart were acquainted with each other. For sure this was true, except, according to some formidable World War Two veterans and investigative researchers I came to know in the mid-late 1990s, (who are no longer with us) it was the original Irene Craigmile who ended up missing those decades ago, not Amelia Earhart. They explained the catch was the original Irene Craigmile's name ended up being given to Amelia Earhart for her later life use so the former world-famous pilot could further exist privately, away from the public eye. They included how unknown to the public, Amelia's new-name acquisition took place during the World War Two era--after she had quietly survived her so-called 'disappearance.'
They further mentioned that such a truth was actually discovered and revealed in the late 1960s, but it failed to gain a foothold in the annals of official history after it was strongly opposed by the indomitable  former Amelia Earhart herself--and her supportive constituency that included Amelia's sister, Muriel and several of Amelia's old friends. Because of this the story of Amelia's post-loss survival subsequently became viewed as a 'hoax-like' suggestion, even though the debate over it was never actually settled.
After I began testing the reliability of the veterans' common assessment--both were retired USAF; one a Major the other a Colonel--I guess I wanted to determine if such a thing was actually true.
I recall asking myself, "How, after decades gone by, has this not yet been settled?"
Either way I felt the highly curious Irene-Amelia story provided an automatic hook for a documentary. I'll add though, getting it done to my satisfaction proved far more challenging than I originally anticipated. Why? For starters, let's just say Amelia's family, college history professors, and people at the Smithsonian Institution all-but told me to "Hit the road, Jack!" when I asked them to weigh in on what I was doing.
Needless to say, I kept going anyway.

Below: Graphic artist, David Harlan designed this illustration to be included in the promotional material for my Protecting Earhart book and documentary. Notice the ocean waves vectoring toward the 'Carmen Sandiego' looking Amelia on both sides and her inverted-image plane that is shown flying away from Howland Island. David did a good job there. (Btw, Amelia actually took the veiled-face photo of herself while looking into a mirror before she became famous. An AE selfie... gotta love it.)



February 5, 2000: Above, top row left to right: Ronald Reuther, Tod Swindell, Mr. & Mrs. John Bolam (Irene's survived in-laws); bottom row, left to right: Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, Joe Klaas, Joseph A. Gervais

Above is a portion of a larger group photo taken at the Joseph A. Gervais Amelia Earhart Society of Researchers 'Lifetime Achievement Award' ceremony held on February 5, 2000. Top row left to right: Ronald Reuther, myself, Mr. & Mrs. John Bolam (Irene Craigmile Bolam's survived in-laws who both recognized her as the 'former' Amelia Earhart); bottom row, left to right: Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, Joe Klaas, Joseph A. Gervais.


Filming part of my Protecting Earhart documentary in 2002 with Doug Peters. From 1999 to 2010 production took place in California, Kansas, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington DC. I shelved it for awhile as I continued on with the forensic comparison analysis so I could ultimately include it. I finished and copyrighted the forensic analysis in 2017, and am now back to editing Protecting Earhart. It is soon to be completed.  


A frame from my near two hour long filmed interview with my late friend and collaborator, Major Joseph A. Gervais, USAF (Ret.) It was the last 'broadcast quality' filmed interview he gave. From 1970 on, all the way to his dying day in 2005, he never stopped averring the truth he discovered, knew, and boldly went public with that stated Amelia Earhart lived well beyond the World War Two era after assuming the name of Irene Craigmile, a name that originallly belonged to a fledgling pilot Amelia was acquainted with in the 1930s. It turned out he was right. More than one Twentieth Century woman was attributed to the same Irene Craigmile identity and after World War Two the former Amelia Earhart was one of them... and anyone who ever doubted Joseph A. Gervais there... was wrong.


A frame from my interview with Joe Klaas. Joe, a former WWII POW in Germany for over two years, authored the 1970 controversial book, Amelia Earhart Lives that was chiefly inspired by the decade long investigation of Amelia Earhart's 1937 disappearance conducted by Joseph A. Gervais. Klaas's book boldy included Joe Gervais' 1965 discovery of, and even a photo Gervais took of the former Amelia Earhart living as Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam. The former Amelia Earhart sued he and Gervais for libel, (not for implicating her for who she used to be, as was widely assumed) and the book was withdrawn. I consider my interviews of both Gervais and Klaas to have been great achievements... even where others have a hard time understanding why.    


Pilot-Author, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who in 1967 duplicated the world flight journey of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, (successfully...) gifted me this great photo she took over the left engine cowling of her Lockheed Electra as she zoomed by Howland Island that year. Howland was the target Amelia and Fred failed to locate thirty-years prior to 1937, just before they went missing. Somehow I ended up working on two film projects that featured man and woman flying duos in peril in their airplanes; 'Six Days and Seven Nights' and 'Spin.' It's interesting how few ever noticed another Earhart-Noonan cinematic homage, where at the end of the classic motion picture, Casablanca, a man and woman climb aboard a Lockheed Electra that takes off and disappears into a dense fog. Tod Swndell  


Pilot 'Grace McGuire' took this 2017 photo of me being interviewed for her documentary in front of her rare Lockheed Electra 'Model 10' edition. This is the best existing replica of the Lockheed Electra 10E Amelia Earhart owned, flew, and went missing in with she and Fred Noonan on board. Grace worked hard for years restoring this beautiful aircraft. She recently transferred ownership of it to the Atchison, Kansas Chamber of Commerce that is now raising funds to build a Museum-Hangar for it at its municipal airport. Atchison of course, was Amelia's birthplace and original hometown. Grace McGuire was friends with Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, Amelia's sister, (see photo below) and as a tribute to their shared namesakes, Grace named her Lockheed "Muriel." Grace was born in Scotland and raised there by adoptive parents into her early teen years before she moved to the U.S. She lived in Rumson, New Jersey then, and in the 1960s sometimes helped tend the grounds at Monsignor James Francis Kelley's nearby estate, where she would occasionally see Irene Craigmile Bolam come and go through its rear entrance. Into the 2000s, Grace had planned a world flight adventure in 'Muriel' with Larry Heller, the original Irene Craigmile's 1934 born son to serve as her flight navigator. Their trip never materialized but for awhile it came close to doing so. Grace also once visited and even slept on Howland Island in a tent! She is a very special person. I'm not the only one sporting that opinion of her. Tod Swindell


Grace & Grace
Above is Amelia Earhart's sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey and Grace McGuire together in Hawaii in 1985, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amelia's Hawaii to Oakland flight. People often remark about Grace McGuire's strong resemblance to Amelia. It's no coincidence in my book, just as Irene Craigmile's sudden post-World War Two resemblance to Amelia Earhart was no coincidence either. Tod Swindell


Above, Victor Laszlo and Ilsa Lund are aboard this Lockheed Electra that takes off into a dense fog at the end of the movie, 'Casablanca.' Once they get through the fog their weather report is, "ceiling unlimited." This timeless-classic movie (atop my personal list of all time favorites) was directed by Michael Curtiz and premiered five years after Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan went missing in Amelia's Electra.

Two side-note metaphors: In Amelia's day, Lockheed named its airplanes after stars in the sky. In 1932, the plane Amelia flew solo across the Atlantic in--that left her the first woman to do such a thing--was a Lockheed "Vega" named for the brightest star in the Lyra constellation. Amelia did become her own bright star after accomplishing that feat. "Electra," on the other hand, the name of the plane she flew when she went missing, is a star in the Pleiades 'seven sisters' constellation. The sister-star named 'Electra' is referred to as the "weeping sister" because her illumination is not as bright as her other sisters. Electra is also referred to as the "lost star" since it is hard to see her, but you know she's there. This is how my good friend, Randall Brink, came up with the title for his classic, 1994 best-selling Amelia Earhart investigative book, Lost Star: The Search For Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart truly did become a lost star akin to Electra of the Pleiades, since after July 2, 1937, although she couldn't be seen anymore, many people continued to believe the lost star of Amelia Earhart was still alive and out there... somewhere. Tod Swindell



"Foudray calls the investigative research of Gervais and Swindell, ""Just the tip of the Iceberg."" "All the evidence all put together, I feel like she [Amelia] did survive. I think she survived and came back to the United States, but that she wanted her privacy." Lou Foudray, former proprietor of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas, quoted from interviews conducted by Lara Moritz of KMBC TV, Kansas City, and by The Topeka Kansas Capital-Journal's, Jan Biles.


Above, a 2016 photograph of Lou Foudray, Earhart historian and former caretaker of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum on the front porch of the home where Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas.


 Tod Swindell

I've always believed in the motion picture medium as the most powerful tool available when it comes to delivering profound insights and thought provoking themes to worldwide audiences.
I came by this persuasion honestly; my father is a noted motion picture historian.
My passion for filmmaking as a narrative art form initially materialized in 1982. That year I wrote, produced, and directed my first black and white 16MM film. I rented an Arri BL and a Nagra for two days to do it after being tutored on how to use both. I was twenty-four years old at the time and the twenty-minute reel I made was a comedy called, "A Wrench In The Works," and of course making it was harder than I thought it would be.
I shot my less-than epic saga on an egg farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania with some friends. Its premise was as basic as it was funny; the egg grading machine goes haywire after a wrench falls into it and mayhem ensues. Admittedly, I crossed the line a few times while making it, not to mention my small cast and crew ensemble was grossly underpaid and the clean-up wasn't so great to contend with. But it was a fun experience for all. 
In subsequent years I shot a few more short films and ever since then my professional career revolved around working in the motion picture industry--mostly as a research and development specialist--although as you've seen I also worked on a multitude of on-location film assignments while occasionally serving as a freelance journalist in between.

As well, I guess I've always demonstrated a strong penchant for analyzing U.S. history's relationship with its ever evolving pop-culture arena. This is how I was drawn into the Amelia Earhart story.
Twenty three years ago, in 1996, while shopping a well researched WGA screenplay about Amelia Earhart's disappearance written by David O'Malley, a film industry colleague of mine, I was recommended to go meet with a distinguished World War Two veteran, a retired USAF Major by the name of Joseph A. Gervais, who lived in the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Joe Gervais and I did meet and we became good friends and collaborators from that point on, until his passing took place in 2005.
Let me tell you, he was one utterly amazing, savant-like, Amelia Earhart historian. I can personally attest he was incomparable in that regard.
I miss Joe. History has mostly lost sight of him as well, and that's a shame because he was the last truth serum delivering 'Amelia Earhart expert' on the planet. (Well, I suppose I'm still here.) Or put it this way: Here's a guy, Joe Gervais, who in 1970 all but single-handedly caused the so-called, 'mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance' to reach a fever-pitch of consternation thanks to his simple assertion of a hard-truth he came to recognize and understand... about Amelia Earhart. 



On the left is USAF Major Joseph A. Gervais (Ret.) accepting his Amelia Earhart Society of Researchers 'Lifetime Achievement' award in 2000. The 2002 photo above features Joe and myself taking a break from filming.  

It's not surprising that few people recall Joe Gervais anymore. After all, Amelia Earhart's incomplete life story grew to be somewhat of a taboo subject matter since the 1970s, something caused by Joe himself. Today, people who take the time to look into the 1937 disappearance of the famous pilot, Amelia Earhart, are more in step with my personal rejuvenation of Joe's mind-bending contribution to Amelia Earhart investigative research studies; a contribution that in time grew to be viewed as 'infamous' in contrast to Joe's intuitive brilliance that spawned it.
Because of this general consensus, most people find it hard to understand my viewpoint when it comes to the story of Amelia Earhart's officially unresolved (according to history) but in recent years, solved in a cumulative forensic way, 'missing person' case.
Sounds crazy, no? Yet it's true. When Amelia Earhart purportedly disappeared in 1937, in legal terms she actually became a 'missing person.' I noticed people had lost sight of that in the giant mystery cloud hanging over the unknown circumstances of what happened to her.
Joseph A. Gervais? In 1965, he encountered the woman who used to be known as Amelia Earhart and he spent the remainder of his days making sure people did not forget he had done so--even to the endless stream of combatants he faced that abetted official history--when it came to all-but burying the important discovery he made.
Regardless, nowadays a person would be hard pressed to find anyone at the Smithsonian Institution, at the National Geographic Society, or on Capitol Hill who will freely volunteer an opinion that states they are certain Joseph A. Gervais was incorrect to have claimed what he did way back then, and samplings of the study results I made public in recent years are the reason for that. 
Many of you are now asking: "How is it that Amelia Earhart's missing person case is being referred to as "solved" anymore and people in general are still unaware of it?"
I'll cut to the chase: It took almost fifty years for it to ultimately happen after initial efforts to do so began in the summer of 1965, but for all intents and purposes, Amelia Earhart's missing person case ultimately was conclusively resolved, or solved over the course of the past decade--even though said truth still remains to be officially endorsed to the public. And there are a lot of reasons for that. (Incidentally, the same long-time 'lack of official endorsement' occurred with Charles Lindbergh's 'Careu Kent' alias that he used for decades, until it was ultimately confirmed in 2004, thirty years after he died.) 
Let me further explain, and I'll cut to the chase again: Since the 1980s, Amelia Earhart cottage industries and private sleuths have been feeding news media outlets a wide variety of hypothetical solutions within their individual attempts to explain what really happened to Amelia Earhart--that had absolutely nothing to do with the truth. In the meantime, however, the purveyors of these off-base ideas had also long been conjointly dismissing the missing person aspect of Amelia Earhart out of hand, that in turn managed to obfuscate the important final forensic strides that ultimately solved it. 
Myself? Beyond Colonel Reineck's above words about my accomplishment, I never personally claimed to have 'solved the mystery' of Amelia Earhart's 1937 disappearance. Yet I did claim, and still do claim by virtue of having examined it closely since the 1990s, to have helped solved the missing person case of Amelia Earhart after my study ended up clearly displaying how in 1965, retired USAF Major, Joseph A. Gervais did recognize the 'body evidence' of Amelia Earhart re-identified as "Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam."
I'm always sure to add that no one knows for certain what Amelia was doing or where she was from the time she went missing in 1937 to the time she resurfaced in the United States known as "Irene," although I do profess to know: To solve a missing person case one must find the missing person, or one must find and produce the body evidence of the missing person, and how CONCRETELY, in 1970, Joseph A. Gervais absolutely did produce the body evidence of Amelia Earhart for all the world to see. He did so when a clear, 35MM color photograph he took in 1965 of Amelia's living, renamed body appeared in the 1970 nationally published book, Amelia Earhart Lives by Joe Klaas. No, in 1965 the former Amelia Earhart wasn't expecting it and she did not give Major Gervais permission to take the photograph when he asked her if he could, but he snapped his camera shutter anyway right as she turned to him to politely say, "no thank you" to his request. After she realized he took the picture anyway she quietly said to him, "I wish you hadn't done that." But he did do it. In the full frame version (below) of the photo that appeared in the book, you can see the former Amelia Earhart's English husband who she wed in 1958, Guy Bolam, finishing advising her that he, "didn't think it was a good idea" in response to Joe Gervais' request to photograph them. 
I'll recommend that you not pay attention to the rest of the book Amelia Earhart Lives for now in favor of concentrating instead on the 1965 Joe Gervais taken photograph of the woman that appears in it. Do this as if you're watching the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination and observing the stark reality its film gamma conveys. In other words, concentrate very hard on the Gervais photograph only, and think as deeply as you can about it, while accepting the known fact that the woman featured in it appears nowhere identified as "Irene" prior to the end of World War Two. 
Directly below is an enlargement of the 1965 Gervais photograph next to the way it originally appeared in the book, Amelia Earhart Lives. As well, find a few of my many Irene-Amelia comparison samples that display only part of the overall head-to-toe body congruence the other comparisons revealed:




Irene Craigmile, 1965


Amelia, 1937




Irene-Amelia superimposed


Irene Craigmile, 1977


Irene-Amelia superimposed

Here above we have the same person shown in younger and older forms. There is no room for arguing this point anymore. Younger to older character traits also aligned. No, one is no longer able to say that the person identified as 'Irene Craigmile' in the above photographs is Amelia's 1930s pilot friend who was the ORIGINAL Irene Craigmile. If a person even tries to say that, my Study results will politely shut he or she down. For reality conveys how the Study did not devote twenty-years to unearthing some kind of bizarre doppelganger equation.
The TRUTH is, Amelia Earhart had a friend in the 1930s who was a budding pilot by the name of Irene Craigmile, and she looked nothing like the Irene Craigmile displayed in the above photographs... even though 'official' history says the Irene Craigmile displayed above was the original Irene Craigmile. Today anyone can see... it is 'official history' that is and always was incorrect there.


Above is an old newsprint photo of the original Irene Craigmile shown in 1930 with her then-husband, Charles Craigmile, who died the following year, and her father, Richard Joseph O'Crowley.

The overall comparison study led to an epiphany that stated Joe Gervais was entirely correct to have adhered to the truth he knew all the way to his dying day in 2005, and that anyone who ever doubted him or outright insisted he was wrong--was incorrect to have done so. This goes for our nation's top college history professors, national news media moguls and lobbyists, and the many individuals who have occupied our government's highest halls from the 1970s on. Yes, it is hard to believe, but this is history's new smelling salts of truth... about Amelia Earhart
This is also the new reality check Americans are further left to contend with, because when they look at the photos above most still have a hard time believing their eyes when they transmit the reality to their minds--that they are looking at older versions of Amelia Earhart's body re-identified as 'Irene Craigmile.' Yet the reason they do still doubt it is easy to understand: Ever since 1937, it was instilled in American pop culture that Amelia Earhart vanished without a trace and she was never seen again.
Granted, while living as Irene the former Amelia Earhart had put on a little weight according to the 1965 Joe Gervais taken photo, but people often do that in their later life years, and by 1970 she had trimmed down significantly. For example, here's how she looked when she appeared unaccompanied at the press conference she held in November of 1970 to defy the suggestion that she was Amelia Earhart. Joe Gervais said it best: "She handled the press like the old pro she was that day." And once again, he was correct:


Amelia in 1935. "Get me outta here!"


At her 1970 press conference. 


Flanked by her former self images.


The book, Amelia Earhart Lives in the foreground. "I am not a mystery woman and I am not Amelia Earhart!" (But she did used to be known as Amelia Earhart. Absolutely, she did.)

Hey, think about your own life and the way it was photographically recorded from the time you were born, then think about this: What is clearly evident by virtue of what the comparison study I orchestrated revealed, is that the woman identified as Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam in the 1965 Gervais photograph (and at her press conference) appears nowhere in photographs identified as "Irene" prior to the World War Two years, and, the study also displays how physically and character trait wise, the same woman matched Amelia Earhart's entire being to exactitude.
People still arguing or outright fighting against the proof I delivered that edifies these realizations (you know who you are...) or people looking for reasons to doubt it all are in denial and cannot be helped, unless they help themselves by looking at the old Amelia Earhart missing person case differently than they have done before.
As well, while what became of Amelia's long ago acquaintance, the original Irene Craigmile, still remains unknown, she is the actual person who ended up missing forever those years ago. By virtue of the study results, this is evident now too.
Simply put, Joseph A. Gervais was absolutely correct all those years ago when he unequivocally stated that Amelia somehow managed to live on after she went missing in 1937, and her entire earthly being was later attributed to her old friend, Irene Craigmile's left over identity for herself to use for the remainder of her days. As mentioned he kept repeating this truth he knew to others from 1970 on, to include throughout Irene's five-year defamation law suit against him, and all the way to his dying day in 2005. [Note: Irene did not sue Joe Gervais nor publisher McGraw-Hill for implicating her as the former Amelia Earhart. She sued them for some inaccurate statements in the book, Amelia Earhart Lives that she felt were damaging to her character. After she refused to submit her fingerprints as proof-positive of her identity, she settled with Gervais and author, Joe Klaas for ten dollars consideration she paid to them and they each paid to her. She originally sued publisher McGraw-Hill for $1.5 million but ended up only being rewarded $60k for its failure to better vet the information it allowed to be printed about her. For example, in the book, Joe Klaas referred to her husband, Guy Bolam, (who died earlier in 1970) as her "alleged husband," and she was able to produce her 1958 marriage license as proof they had been legally married.]
Even though the book, Amelia Earhart Lives turned into somewhat of a train-wreck, it's author, Joe Klaas, was a brilliant writer who knew how to lure people into the 'I found her' claim made by Joe Gervais. Hindsight, however, tells us that his book delved too much into trying to explain howAmelia ended up where she did and what she was doing while she was missing, where it ought to have worked on better identifying her renamed body that Joe Gervais clearly photographed in 1965. But no one is to blame for that. The former Amelia Earhart proved far too strong and resourceful in her defiance against the book. 
I am proud to have known Joe Klaas, who was a past World War Two prisoner of war held by Germany for twenty-five months. I am also very proud to have known Joseph A. Gervais. He was a war hero who flew combat missions in World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam before the Air Force honorably retired him as a Major in 1963. He was also a respected family man known for his good character.
Oh yeah, by the way, it is easier for people to accept this now identifiable reality about Amelia Earhart if they don't automatically reject it just because they are encouraged by others to do so. Rather, people ought to think for themselves about the information displayed in, and perhaps wonder in some kind of ethereal way, (as blatantly obvious as the 'Amelia became Irene' truth is now) if the universe of Amelia herself has worked its way back in order to be recognized for the full life-long person she ended up being.
If you have a hard time believing that... then take it from one who knows; living as 'Irene' in her later life years, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, the former Amelia Earhart clearly emulated the great individual human being she was known to be, until she died in 1982. In contrast to this, my in-depth research on the original Irene Craigmile illustrates that it would have been all-but impossible for her person to posture herself in such a 'proud Amelia image way' had she lived a full life.
In 1998, as the former Amelia Earhart's later-life sister in law described her to be, "She had a commanding presence," and "She was the epitome of a classy lady." As well, John Bolam, her survived brother in law, was well settled on his own determination that she could only have been the former Amelia Earhart years before he died in 2008.
And I'll add to that; the Irene Craigmile Bolam shown directly below in 1977, most definitely had been, previously known as, "Amelia Earhart."


Amelia, right


Irene, FKA 'Amelia Earhart.' With her "commanding presence," she was "the epitome of a classy lady."




Above, four books that played key parts in Tod Swindell's Earhart research history. Fred Goerner's 1966 groundbreaking classic, The Search For Amelia Earhart was originally inspired by the Earhart investigative work being done by USAF Captain, Joseph A. Gervais in the early 1960s. 1970's Amelia Earhart Lives by Joe Klaas featured the original postulation of Joseph A. Gervais, (who had retired from the Air Force as a Major in 1963) where Gervais asserted his belief in Amelia's non-recognized ongoing existence in the U.S. with the name of 'Irene Craigmile Bolam,' something he would never stop asserting to his dying day. Tod Swindell and Joe Gervais met and became friends in 1996 and were collaborators from that point on as well, until Joe's passing took place in 2005. Randall Brink's 1994 book, Lost Star caught Tod's eye where Brink commented on the ongoing controversy over Irene Craigmile Bolam, who had died in 1982, as a "tantalizing persistent account" when it came to various explanations offered about Amelia's true fate. Brink, a good friend of Tod's and a Pacific Northwest neighbor of his as well, originally introduced him to Gervais. In turn, retired USAF Colonel Rollin C. Reineck soon came to know Tod through Joe Gervais. Colonel Reineck was first to elaborate on Tod's in-progress forensic study when his book, Amelia Earhart Survived was published in 2004. In it, Tod permitted the Colonel to reproduce portions of his study, to include the initial human separation part that proved there was more than one woman historically identified as the same, 'Irene Craigmile Bolam.' The book below, Legerdemain by David Bowman that was published in 2006, featured one of Tod's study overlays on its cover and credited his Irene-Amelia comparison analysis as the first one achieved.



"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Arthur Schopenhauer


More from Tod Swindell, orchestrator of the first ever, 'Irene-Amelia forensic research study and human comparison analysis.' 

From the time I was a kid I've always been the same person. Toward the end of her defamation lawsuit that lasted from 1970 to 1975, Irene Craigmile Bolam told a newspaper reporter the same thing, "I've always been the same person." That was a true statement, but Mrs. Bolam definitely did change her name during the course of her lifetime. There is virtually no doubt about that anymore.
People sometimes change their names for a number reasons. Stefani Germanotta did it for professional stage-name reasons. So did Alecia Moore. Cassius Clay and Lew Alcindor did it as homages to their religious beliefs. Amelia Earhart? She did it for deep rooted personal reasons, and out of respect for three countries she grew to become unwaveringly devoted to during the course of her lifetime; the United States, England, and Japan.
Most people think I'm stretching things or even outright crazy to voice such an opinion. I'm not. Try to accept, if you can, that the reason the 'name-changed' truth about Amelia Earhart was never endorsed to the public is perhaps simpler to explain than was realized before, where according to the conviction displayed by the former Amelia Earhart herself when she was known as 'Irene' during the last half of her life, in tandem with the post World War Two executive government levels of the United States, England, and Japan... nary a soul in the realm of the general world public was ever supposed to know that Amelia Earhart lived-on after she went missing, and then later changed her name.
To myself anyway, it appears clear enough Amelia did such a thing by way of a multi-nations endorsed, and conjointly agreed upon Witness Protection Program carefully arranged by the U.S. justice department--spurred by the omniscient recommendation of General Douglas MacArthur, and excuted under the guise of J. Edgar Hoover himself.
Still not sold? Then consider this: No executive government branch from any of the three above mentioned countries has ever come close to offering an opinion about the 'Amelia became Irene' suggestion, even though it is certain all knew about the postulation of it surfacing in a public way when it made national headlines in 1970. According to an acquaintance of President Richard Nixon at the time, when he was asked in the Oval Office about Amelia Earhart after the story about her possible continued survival began making national headlines, Nixon wryly replied, "We don't discuss Earhart around here." It is equally true as well, to date the executive branch of the U.S. government has never officially commented on the 1937 disappearance and subsequent missing person case... of Amelia Earhart.     

More from Tod Swindell:
I first launched in late 2007. It was initially meant to serve as a rebuttal to the recently expressed viewpoint of the National Geographic Channel that asked me to appear on an Amelia Earhart special it aired the year before. The producers of the special tracked me down after learning from different Amelia Earhart historians about a 'forensic comparison analysis' I controlled that shed a different light on Amelia's never resolved "missing person" case. Upon locating me, they asked if I would allow them to include the analysis in its program, having additionally learned how its preliminary results drew attention from the Associated Press a few years earlier. 
To Hawaii, where much of its Amelia Earhart special was filmed, Nat Geo flew myself and covered the cost to ship a dozen of the large panels that displayed the key results of the Irene-Amelia forensic analysis I had sponsored and initiated in the mid-1990s, after consulting with a variety of forensic experts who explained to me how to go about it.
Enhancing the study, for several years I had dedicated myself to conducting much investigative research on Amelia Earhart's old 'missing person case.' Disappointingly, though, Nat Geo elected not to address or feature the study panels in it's program after its producers reviewed the controversial information they displayed.
So what displays is what Nat Geo opted not to share with the public. Its final program did show a trifle of some forensic overlay samples I had carried with me, but it was barely enough to whet the appetite of a skeptic. I was also grilled on camera for two hours, only to see my contribution trimmed down to about thirty seconds of air time. (Evidently, Nat Geo considered my expressed opinion about Amelia Earhart's true fate unpalatable for a national TV audience.)
Nat Geo's inability to recognize or believe what the forensic analysis accomplished is what inspired me to display it on the World Wide Web. So was launched in 2007, and it has remained on-line ever since while being periodically refined and added to. To date hundreds of pages worth of pertinent data have been published on to better fortify the reality it conveys. This especially includes its main forensic truth of a renamed Amelia Earhart continuing to live-on after World War Two in the United States until her passing took place in 1982, with the general public remaining unaware of it. (Thanks to the comparison analysis there is no doubt anymore such a thing did happen. That's not to say this was not already known. Retired USAF Major, Joseph A. Gervais figured it out in the 1960s and never stopped averring it to his dying day in 2005, causing endless consternation along the way.)
At this point, I need to make it clear that I am not and never have been a 'conspiracy theorist.' "Conspiracy" is a dark word used to describe an immoral group of unnamed individuals who work in concert to keep their nefarious activities and their orchestrated result(s) from becoming known beyond their inner circle.
I do not believe there ever was an active conspiracy embarked on to keep the true outcome of Amelia Earhart's so-called, "disappearance" from being recognized by the public. Rather, I view it as something that met silence from the very beginning, before becoming deeply buried during the conflagration of World War Two, similar to so many other misplayed actions, stratagems, hostilities and atrocities the war left behind. It is my belief that it was commonly determined how the best attitude to adopt after World War Two ended was to move-on with as little looking back at such war-time happenings as possible---with the obvious exception of the 'never again to occur' holocaust remaining queued in the forefront of the world's memory banks.
In essence, while countries that had been war-time enemies worked to mend their own fences and to help mend each other's, they did their best to look beyond negative war occurrences not only in the spirit of atonement, but for the imperative need of a better geopolitical future.
This included the U.S. and Japan conjointly agreeing to always view the unnoticed by the world public, anonymous post-war reemergence of the then still existing, all-be-her war-time obscured and name-changed Amelia Earhart with, "official silence." (Note the 1982 Bender & Altschul quote below.)
Highlighting this post-war credo, in the fall of 1945, in response to a reporter's question on how he believed the world was different after the war, President Harry S. Truman replied, "The only thing different is the history you don't know."
Think about that.   
In the meantime, though a handful of important sounding individuals continue to decry the obvious forensic analysis results, the forensic analysis itself has never been over-challenged and it never will be, because it merely displays the truth about what became of Amelia Earhart after July 2, 1937. Only unanswered questions remain, and they pertain to 'how' and 'why' Amelia Earhart ended up as she did after she went 'missing' all those years ago--and then was prematurely declared, "dead in absentia" in January of 1939.
To reiterate, I would like to emphasize that the analysis only ascertained what became of Amelia Earhart after she went missing. It does not offer a certain conclusion about what actually happened to her (and Fred Noonan) on July 2, 1937, nor does it offer a certain conclusion pertaining to where Amelia was and what she was doing during the World War Two years.
My gut feeling is those questions are now destined to be answered by concerned official U.S. historians in order to account for the truthful information the overall analysis displays, plenty of which is observable on In the meantime, somewhat myopic individuals, or those not willing to take the time to review, understand, and accept so much carefully researched and forensically developed information, will more than likely remain in denial when it comes to what became of Amelia Earhart after she went missing in 1937, until said 'how' and 'why' questions are authoritatively answered by high-level U.S. and Nippon offices. Hopefully this will take place sooner than later.
At least in part, I have my maternal grandmother, Doris Clearwaters Eby to thank for initially sparking my interest in Amelia Earhart's curious legacy. Long ago, she and I got into a conversation about the long-ago famous pilots, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh when I was on break from college and visiting her in Pasadena, California. Doris had been a contemporary of Amelia Earhart's and a fan of hers as well, beyond being a devoted follower of United States history and politics. To this day I regard my grandmother, Doris, who raised two children alone during the height of the depression, as one of the smartest individuals I ever came to know, and among her many keen insights she shared with me, she once described how there was, 'a lot more to the Earhart disappearance matter than people realized.'
In any case my self-documented 'Amelia Earhart journey' begins after the following images and descriptions, and the pivotal 1982 Bender & Altschul quote concerning the post-loss fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
Very truly yours,
Tod Swindell


Doris Clearwaters Eby, 1920s


Amelia Earhart, 1920s

The Bender & Altschul Quote:

"Numerous investigations foundered on official silence in Tokyo and Washington, leaving the true fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan an everlasting mystery." 1982 quote from the voluminous Marylin Bender, Selig Altschul 'Pan Am Airways anthology,' The Chosen Instrument




Above: The Kailua, Hawaii set of the National Geographic Channel's Amelia Earhart 'mystery update' special. The photos here display six of the twelve 'comprehensive forensic analysis' panels that drew a certain conclusion on Amelia's never officially resolved 'missing person' case. This particular location was at the home of retired USAF Colonel Rollin C. Reineck, whose then recent book, Amelia Earhart Survived featured portions of the analysis with permission granted by Tod Swindell and 1967 Earhart flight duplicator, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who supplied some of the photo-data used in the analyisis. Within the panels, the multiple individuals attributed to the same "Irene Craigmile Bolam" identity were clearly displayed, (shown further down) as was the head-to-toe physical congruence and character traits congruence of the post-World War Two 'Irene Craigmile Bolam' and her former-self, Amelia Earhart. Needless to say, after observing the controversial realities presented in the panels, the show's producers were clearly ill-prepared to contend with them. Even though they had asked to feature them and paid for their shipping cost, after some deliberating they requested the panels be removed before filming commenced. Hence, this website provides a thorough overview of the analysis results the panels displayed that Nat Geo elected not to share with the public.
Below: Nat Geo's 2006 produced, "Where's Amelia Earhart?" special that featured researchers, Tod Swindell and Colonel Rollin Reineck in support of the long-maintained Joseph A. Gervais assertion (Joseph A. Gervais' passing occurred the previous year) was eventually released on DVD. Beyond Nat Geo dismissing the forensic analysis results and choosing not to display its most important elements (that shored-up Joseph A. Gervais' long maintained Amelia became Irene assertion) its program merely rehashed the same old stories about Amelia's disappearance without offering anything new or enlightening to its viewing audience. 



Alethephobia: "Fear of Truth"

When it comes to the Irene-Amelia truth, ever since the controversy over Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam surfaced in the 1970s, historical dictum influences have deftly avoided it. Senators, Congressmen, government supported institutions, news media moguls, even Amelia's extended family members have always optioned to quickly dismiss it out of hand over seriously addressing it. This is mainly due to the 'official silence' devoted to the topic of Amelia's disappearance from the governments' of the United States and Japan dating back to the World War Two era. In the new millennium, however, thanks to the undeniable results of the new, comprehensive forensic research and comparison analysis, the truth grew to be recognizable to what is now an obvious state, and understanding, accepting, and embracing any truth once it becomes identifiable, especially if it's an important historical truth, is always best in the long run.

Keeping relative discoveries from the past in perspective, in the case of Charles Lindbergh's "Careu Kent" alias, he used that name for decades while leading a separate life without the public knowing until it was verified in 2004, thirty-years after he died.


Below: Two 1976 photos of the former Amelia Earhart signing autographs after a poetry reading she gave during a Zonta function in Detroit, Michigan. Known then as Irene Bolam, when she was Amelia she was much appreciated for her poetry and she had been an early famous Zonta member as well. [Photos courtesy of Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who attended the event that day.]



Left photo above; the former Amelia Earhart in the center. Right photo, the former Amelia Earhart is to the far left.
Below: Amelia's former and later-life 'selves' superimposed using her later-life profile from the upper-right photo.

As Amelia...
Amelia and her later-life self superimposed...

My Journey...
In a time span of over twenty years after commencing to do so in the 1990s, I researched and collaborated with the individuals who most closely examined the recorded circumstances of Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight ending and outcome. Below is my self-documented journey. Tod Swindell
Protecting Earhart is a 'meme' I use to better define and 'protect' Amelia Earhart's heroic legacy. It does not simply reference the Witness Protection Program [WPP] endorsed for Amelia by the U.S. justice department after World War Two. Equally so, it is devoted to delivering a better public understanding when it comes to the historically discarded saga of Amelia Earhart's missing person case, her quiet survival during the World War Two years, and her 'self-desired private life' in the United States after the war.
Beyond this, its aim is geared toward helping people interested in Amelia Earhart to conceptualize the truthful nature of what became of her after July 2, 1937, in order to return public thought to a higher understanding of her remarkable legacy--that ended up mired in ambiguity as a result of the 'mystery' aspect applied to her non-publicized world flight outcome.
As a result of the U.S. government's official silence cloud that has long hovered over the subject of Amelia's missing person case, today people less-recall what a profound thinker, engaging orator, multi-linguist, universal philosopher, feeling poet, skilled photographer and dedicated writer Amelia Earhart was. Not to leave out she was always highly regarded as a patriotic American, even a 'pacifist' who came from deep U.S. history roots.
And oh yes, Amelia Earhart will always remain solidly listed as ONE of the FOUR MOST remarkable champions of early aviation, right next to Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, and Charles Lindbergh. 

An Amazing Journey...
...on the Winding Road to Key Forensic Discoveries that pertained to Amelia Earhart's World Flight Outcome
By Tod Swindell
© 2017

[Special thanks to Randall Brink, Joe Gervais, Joe Klaas, Rollin Reineck, Ronald Reuther, and Donald Moyer Wilson; past collaborators I met and came to know in that specific order, whose unsurpassed investigative research efforts helped to enlighten the highest understanding of Amelia Earhart's world flight outcome.]



           With all that has been learned, discovered and revealed over the years about Amelia Earhart's world flight ending, it is amazing how the most obvious truths about it ended up skewed or outright ignored by historical dictum influences. As a result, news outlets were limited to reporting updates about Amelia's loss in an ‘anything goes’ way, that in turn shored-up the 'official silence' mantra, 'the mystery exists because it's supposed to exist.' Yet in the case of Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight ending and outcome, until the new millennium forensic analysis took place it remained difficult for the public to assess what actually happened during the course of Amelia's unplanned world-flight ending, or to envision what became of Amelia herself afterward.

This journey of mine began slowly at first, in 1991, when I was doing research and development for a Universal Television satellite company, Desperado Films, Inc. But it took a dramatic turn in 1996, then catapulted forward to 2006 after I was asked to participate in a National Geographic Channel special about the so-called ‘mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance.’ I reluctantly agreed to appear in the program, then regretted doing so after watching its timid-effect results that edited out 99% of what I brought to the table. It was clear in the aftermath of the program, Nat Geo's effort was deliberate when it came to whitewashing my contribution. The reason? When it comes to the late-great, Mrs. Irene Bolam, both the National Georgraphic Society and the Smithsonian Institution have always adhered to practices of deflection. But hey, I’m still here, and the important thing to realize is to this day the United States government, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Geographic Society as well have never offered their own definitive opinions about the Amelia Earhart disappearance matter. Rather, while the U.S. government kept its distance (and remained 'officially silent' about it) the Smithsonian and Nat Geo developed a habit of equally placating the many different viewpoint wielding 'Earhart disappearance theorists' out there--while steadfastly adhering to Amelia's loss as an 'unsolved mystery,' or even more preferred, to favor the idea for the public to always view it as an unsolvable mystery.

Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum once told me over the phone, “We’re not allowed to favor any certain viewpoint about Amelia Earhart's disappearance.” Noel Dockstater, a producer for the National Geographic Channel likewise mentioned to me, “There is no way we can say the mystery is solved.”

I’m the first to agree that something happened to Amelia Earhart on July 2, 1937 that the public realm lacks key information on. Equally though, today it remains a hard, unrecognized reality that Amelia’s missing person case was solved by USAF Major Joseph A. Gervais (Ret.) when he presented her body evidence on a national level in 1970, in the form of an enigmatic woman known as ‘Mrs. Irene Bolam’ who he met in 1965, and then photographed up-close without her expecting it.  The forensic study I embarked on and completed in the new millennium, that featured an objective to prove the assertion of Major Gervais about the Irene Bolam he met and photographed either way, or, right or wrong, ended up proving him right—in what now exists in a highly obvious forensic way. Be it known the forensic study was far more comprehensively involved than the simple comparison of photographs, (although TIGHAR's Richard Gillespie tries to herd people into thinking that's all it was) as it also encompassed complete historical reviews of Irene Bolam's full life story as compared to Amelia Earhart's full life story. For decades, Mrs. Bolam's admission that she had "known Amelia well" in the 1930s was accepted. What wasn't known was the true depth and familiarity of her friendship with Amelia, or how her physical being proved to be a complete carbon copy of Amelia's. Oh, you'll still hear otherwise, such as 'one was taller than the other' [the study revealed they were the exact same height] or how Mrs. Bolam's life story was fully documented. [It was, but people did not realize there were three different Twentieth Century women attributed to the same Mrs. Irene Bolam identity.] [Folks, what can I say? This highly controversial, albeit, perpetually downplayed story runs very deep. Investigators weren't kidding back in the late-1970s and early 1980s, when they began referring to the discovered inarguable truths about Amelia Earhart's disappearance as amounting to, "the FDR administration's Watergate." This is not meant to imply that there was anything underhanded going on like an outright cover-up. Rather, it is most likely the case that the White House misread some key, non-publicized information it became privy to about Amelia's flight ending, and as World War Two approached said information became shuffled and de-prioritized.] 

Presently, while the general public is still being coerced to ignore the post-loss, 'learned truths' about Amelia Earhart, I'm one to believe that is likely to change before too long. For universal truths, as opposed to often inaccurate world generated ones, always do manage to prevail. Besides that, it's time. TS 

My Journey

In the latter part of the Twentieth Century, it grew clear that if one wanted to understand the full scope of the so-called 'Amelia Earhart mystery' he or she was in for a confounding ordeal. Amelia's disappearance had long existed as a hotly debated topic, which is why only a handful of individuals ever commanded the depth of knowledge and tenacity required to take it on.

From the past it can be said Paul Briand, Joe Gervais, Bob Dinger, Fred Goerner, Vincent Loomis, Joe Klaas, T. C. 'Buddy' Brennan, Randall Brink, Donald Moyer Wilson and Rollin Reineck existed foremost on the short list of the most formidable Amelia Earhart disappearance historians. Sadly, with the exception of two, they're all gone now. [I am proud to have previously collaborated with Gervais, Klaas, Brink, Wilson, and Reineck.]

An important qualifying factor for the above investigators; their individual efforts led to reputable published books where all drew the same conclusion: On July 2, 1937, after not locating Howland Island, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan went down at Mili Atoll of the Marshall Islands where they were picked up by Japan's Imperial Navy and detained without public awareness.

Unfortunately, official history has never endorsed this common summation, for according to 'official history,' Amelia Earhart, her plane, and Fred Noonan were not seen nor heard from again after Amelia's purported last words of, "...we are running north and south" were received---as she and Noonan remained safely airborne with hours of fuel left to burn.

Yes, officially that is where their story ended. The only thing missing was the truth concerning the final direction the duo decided to head in, and where they ultimately ended up. Even though the above impressive collection of Amelia Earhart historians ascertained the answers to both questions, they were still greeted by 'official silence' in Washington and Tokyo after their information was made public. Ever evasive about it due to a quiet post World War Two pact than remains in place to this day, the governments of the United States and Japan have managed to avoid any public discussion of Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight ending in a serious, meaningful way. 


In the 1990s, after learning most of the basic Earhart disappearance facts while culling stories for a television series, I found myself embarking on my own analysis of Amelia's loss. I was originally inspired to by a Life Magazine article I read about a fellow by the name of Richard Gillespie, who claimed he had 'solved the mystery' of Amelia's disappearance. What further caught my attention, though, was a follow-up story citing the claim as presumptuous—where the mystery had not at all been solved 'forensically.' The many conflicting viewpoints about it further revealed to me how Amelia's disappearance had evolved to become a polarized historical subject matter.

But it was the mention of 'forensically' that got my attention. Its root word, 'forensic' is most often associated with evidence examination techniques used in police laboratories, although there is a broader scope to its meaning. Webster’s defines it this way: 

forensic (fə ren’sik) adj. 1. pertaining to or used in courts of law or public debate. 2. adapted or suited to argumentation; rhetorical. 3. of, pertaining to, or involved with forensic medicine or forensic anthropology; forensic laboratory –n 4. forensics, the art or study of argumentation or formal debate. 5. forensics, a department of forensic medicine as in a police laboratory.

There is a simpler definition where 'forensic' is combined with 'evidence' via 'forensic evidence.' It reads: "That suitable for argumentation in a court of law."

Interestingly enough as well, 'forensic' came from the Latin word, 'forens-is' that when translated means, "of, or belonging to the forum, public." Realistically, forever lacking an authoritative explanation for what happened to Amelia Earhart, this was exactly the way her 'missing person case' story eventually came to exist. Official history wanted nothing to do with it, so it ended up being exclusively debated in public forums. In fact, to date there has never been an official investigation that looked into Amelia Earhart's disappearance, or an official explanation offered about it; nothing akin to a Warren Commission Report, a Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial, or FBI hunts for Jimmy Hoffa or D.B. Cooper.

Hard to believe but true, even Eleanor Roosevelt was met with deflection by the White House when she queried about her friend, Amelia’s disappearance ten months after the incident occurred. The cautious reply she received stressed that Amelia's flight ending was something that would be "awful to have to make public," and how Amelia's "reputation" would also suffer if the White House divulged what it withheld about her, "last few minutes."

It's true, that beyond admonishing Amelia for having "disregarded all orders," FDR right hand man, Secretary of the Treasury, Henry P. Morgenthau Jr. could not have been more blunt in his response to the First Lady when he described how the White House controlled information pertaining to what really happened to Amelia Earhart in an official transcript dated May 13, 1938. Referring to Amelia's loss, Morgenthau responded, "We have the report of all those wireless messages and everything else, what that woman--happened to her the last few minutes. I hope I've just got to never make it public." Morgenthau's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Stephen Gibbons added, "We have evidence that the thing is all over. Sure, terrible. It would be awful to make it public."

Evidence? What evidence? The "wireless messages" the White House had surely wasn't 'smoking gun' evidence. It was second-hand evidence at best. Smoking gun evidence would have amounted to Amelia's body, Fred Noonan's body, or Amelia's plane. The White House did not have any of those 'smoking gun' items. On the other hand, the hearsay pertaining to Amelia's 'last few minutes' ostensibly left the White House believing she and Noonan had been shot down by Japan as they trespassed into its Marshall Islands airspace, and Japan's follow-up silence left the White House believing the duo met their demise that way.

That's not what happened though.

In the 1960s, thanks to the deep research efforts of Paul Briand, Joseph A. Gervais, and Fred Goerner, it was first publicly ascertained that the Earhart-Noonan duo survived their Marshall Islands plane ditching until they were picked up by Japan's Naval authority and subsequently detained. History itself recalls Japan declaring war on China just five days after the duo went missing, a World War Two precursor that all-but severed Japan's diplomatic relationship with the United States. Japan chose to remain silent about its pickup and detainment of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan at that point, that happened fairly near to the same time the Marco Polo Bridge incident occurred.

There was a similar historical atmosphere realized there as well: Right at the time Amelia was declared 'missing' a Japanese soldier had also gone missing in Wanping, China near the Marco Polo Bridge, and after China refused to allow Japan's military to conduct a search for him there, Japan opened fire on the bridge, then invaded China. It is perhaps no irony that right before its assult on Japan began, the U.S. had asked Japan permission to search the Marshall Islands for Amelia, and Japan had refused to allow it. The U.S. certainly didn't open fire on Japan after it refused to allow it to even approach the Marshall Islands then, and Japan evermore remained silent when it came to the subject of Amelia Earhart's world flight ending.

As a result, early on FDR and his administration could only guesstimate what happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, although in due time the White House surely did come to understand and accept... it had guessed wrong by determining the two died as a result of Amelia's plane being shot down.

As for Morgenthau's mention of Amelia having "disregarded all orders," her decision to steer into the vicinity of Japan's 'no-fly zone' Marshall Islands likely had something to do with that.


After beginning my forensic analysis journey those years ago, initially with the help of former CIA operative, Bazzel Baz, an Amelia Earhart researcher by the name of Mike Harris, a Forensic Anthropologist by the name of Walter S. Birkby, and WGA screenwriter, David O'Malley--whose well-researched screenplay, "Amelia Earhart: The Final Chapter" got my attention--I soon found myself evaluating the wide variety of ‘cottage industry’ debates over what really happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan--until my mindset took a major turn in 1996. That summer, Earhart investigative author, Randall Brink paved the way for my introduction to legendary Amelia Earhart disappearance historian, retired U.S. Air Force Major, Joseph A. Gervais.

When I met Joe Gervais he was spry and sharp at age seventy-one. We went on to become good friends and remained so until his passing in 2005. [I remain in touch with my friend, Randall Brink, whose 1993 classic investigative book, Lost Star: The Search For Amelia Earhart was then considered to have been the quintessential modern thesis when it came to describing the events and aftermath of Earhart's ‘globe circling flight.']

What Randall Brink told me was right: Joe Gervais was an amazing, walking encyclopedia when it came to Amelia Earhart's disappearance. To be sure, he had a den in his home entirely dedicated to his forty-years of investigating Amelia Earhart's loss. Upon our acquaintance I already believed Amelia lived beyond the date she was reported missing, although I remained unclear on the ‘how’ and ‘where’ parts of her continued survival, and I hoped Joe Gervais would better enlighten me there.

I found Joe Gervais curious as well, for ever since the 1960s he had professed—and still was professing—that the wool had been pulled over the public’s eyes about Amelia’s disappearance dating back to the time the event occurred. What’s more, he was still asserting how the woman known as 'Mrs. Irene Bolam’ who he met and photographed in 1965 among other well-known retired pilots, the same woman who inspired and whose photo appeared in the 1970 Joe Klaas book, Amelia Earhart Lives, had been none other than the still living, re-identified Amelia Earhart. [Note: In 1965 Joe and his wife, Thelma and their two sons, Gerald and Douglass were flown to Long Island, New York from their Las Vegas home by Amelia's 1930s pilot friend, Viola Gentry so Joe could lecture about his Earhart disappearance investigation to a club known as 'The Early Birds of Aviation.' It was there on the day of August 8, that Joe Gervais met the curiously prominent, Mrs. Irene Bolam and her British husband, Guy.] Yes, in 1996, a quarter century after Mrs. Bolam sued Joe Gervais and Joe Klaas for libel, causing Amelia Earhart Lives to be removed from the stores by its publisher, McGraw-Hill, Joe Gervais was still insisting Mrs. Irene Bolam had previously been known as 'Amelia Earhart.'

To Joe Gervais, Mrs. Bolam's defiance didn’t matter. “She still knew who she used to be," he'd say. And, "people don't realize, she didn't sue us for suggesting she used to be known as Amelia Earhart, she sued us for some libelous information contained in the book, such as Joe Klaas having referred to her recently deceased husband, Guy as her 'alleged husband,' when in fact the two had been legally married in 1958, and she produced her marriage license in court as proof." Gervais added, "After I had my attorney request her fingerprints to prove her identity, she refused to comply and dropped the suit against myself and Joe Klaas, although McGraw-Hill was still ordered to pay her a high five figure sum for the libelous information the book contained." [The record shows Irene Bolam and Gervais and Klaas paid a ten dollar consideration to each other to finalize her suit against them.]

Joe’s ongoing resilience begged my question: "Did anyone ever conduct a Forensic Analysis that examined Irene Bolam’s complete life history, to include comparing her physical being and character traits to Amelia’s?" His reply surprised me: "No, not that I am aware," adding. "...but I knew who she was right away." He further added, "People continued to suspect her," and, "There was an investigative news article series about her in 1982, a few months after she died. You should take a look at it."

I was able to obtain a copy of the series Joe referenced. It was published over a two week span in October of 1982 by the Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune. A long time good friend of Mrs. Bolam’s, John Burk was the paper’s publisher at the time. It wasn't so obvious at first glance, but the more I studied it I could tell the series had been no less that a contrived Red Herring. The effort that went into it was significant though, and displayed how the level of the ongoing protective stance over who Irene really was [or used to be] was truly stupefying. It also increased my curiosity, especially after reading a few key words spoken by former Seton Hall College President, Monsignor James Francis Kelley in the series, who it described as Irene's "Close friend and confessor." Responding to a reporter who questioned him if the rumor of Irene’s past 'dual identity' was true, Father Kelley responded, “I could not state my feelings. Doing so would violate everything I learned in the confessional.”

In the years that followed, Monsignor Kelley would disclose to different investigators how his late friend, Irene truly had been the 'former' Amelia Earhart, who, adjacent to her return to the United States had her name changed in order to live anonymously. "She didn’t want to be Amelia Earhart anymore," according to Kelley.

After Monsignor Kelley died in 1996, opposing theorists who heard about his earlier admissions began shouting them down. For example, Richard Gillespie of Tighar, whose decades of searching for Amelia's plane came up empty, soap-boxed Monsignor Kelley's conveyance about Irene as if his words amounted to the deposition of a chronic liar. 

Conversely, close friends of Monsignor Kelley's who knew him well spoke of how sharp and on-point he was in the late 1970s, when he first shared with them his ordeal of 'having helped Amelia' with her 'healing process' and 'new identity' after she returned from overseas. All of them were certain it was not something the highly regarded priest made up. Among them was his St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands good friend and seasonal neighbor, Donald Dekoster, a former Detroit automobile executive whose recorded testimony described Father Kelley as "quite lucid" when he disclosed the Gervais-Irene’s ‘Amelia past’ to him. When asked if he felt Monsignor Kelley's statement about Amelia's identity change was true, Mr. Dekoster remarked, "It had to be true, or he wouldn't have said it." Another supportive account came from Helen Barber of Wayne, Pennsylvania [both Donald Dekoster and Helen Barber were interviewed on tape, and their spouses were also present during Monsignor Kelley's disclosures about his friend, Irene, who he referred to as 'Amelia' in their presence] whose detailed recollections of her conversations with Monsignor Kelley about his post war experiences with the former Amelia Earhart were compelling to say the least; and of course there were the recorded statements Father Kelley himself allowed to investigators, Dean Magley and Rollin Reineck, in which the well-known and highly respected Monsignor spoke of his late friend, "Irene" having previously been known as "Amelia" in a matter of fact way.

When listening to Monsignor Kelley’s 1991 unwavering tape-recorded confirmation of the truth he had protected for many years with few exceptions, (as long as the former Amelia Earhart remained among the living) and then by combining it with the forensic comparison analysis that plainly displays how three different women were attributed to the same 'Irene' identity--with the one matching Amelia appearing nowhere as 'Irene' prior to the mid-1940s, the most astutely objective individuals are able to grasp the ‘Amelia became Irene’ reality in no uncertain terms.

To edify: Monsignor Kelley arrived at his own resolve during the years following his good friend, the Gervais-Irene’s passing, that enabled him to plainly speak of the controversial reality he had long shielded from the general public. 

Back to my journey...

After thoroughly digesting the 1982 so-called "investigative newspaper article series," I steered my own ship in the direction of sponsoring and conducting a serious in-depth analysis of the complete life history of the woman in question, Irene Madeline O’Crowley Craigmile Heller Bolam. Ultimately, I believed a Forensic Comparison Study and thorough analysis of her background would be a sure-way to close the book on Joe’s long-time assertion of Amelia Earhart’s post-loss survival as a re-identified person.

I was wrong. It wasn't that simple. It soon dawned on me that a complete forensic analysis of the full historical record of the events leading up to, during, and after Amelia's loss would also be required in order to: 1.) Determine the true probability of Amelia's continued survival after July 2, 1937, 2.) Determine what the circumstances of her post-loss survival entailed, 3.) Determine when she actually emerged in the United States as 'Irene,' and 4.) Objectively evaluate her later life friendships and routines as 'Irene.'

With much help offered by Joe Gervais, retired USAF Colonel, Rollin Reineck [Reineck tape-recorded Monsignor Kelley’s admission in 1991] and famous pilot-turned-author, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno--who collectively furnished rare photos and compelling information about Irene’s personal life history--it began to dawn on me why Joe had remained so sure of himself when it came to the Irene he met and photographed all those years ago. I also realized why the debunking or affirming of his assertion was never going to be done easily, for after all, by the late 1990s three decades had passed without anyone else having done it.

During the arduous process I became involved with, I also found myself increasingly intrigued by Joe’s 'Irene' as I worked to determine how and why her enigmatic psyche had evolved to exist the way it did.

For instance, some individuals who had acquainted her but did not believe she was formerly known as 'Amelia' offered that she wanted people to think she was the survived Amelia Earhart as an 'odd publicity stunt.'

I didn’t buy that.

The late Bill Prymak, founder of the now defunct 'Amelia Earhart Society' tried to convince me Irene Bolam was "placed on the scene" to make Joe Gervais think she used to be Amelia, because Joe had gotten, "too close to the fire."

I didn’t buy that either.

A private detective, the late Jerome Steigmann told me Irene Bolam and Monsignor Kelley had been long time secret lovers, and Father Kelley told people Irene used to be Amelia in order to hide it.

"Oh brother," I said to myself, knowing the shared Irene identity equation and the head-to-toe physical and character traits congruence the Gervais-Irene and Amelia Earhart shared were no coincidence.

So no, I didn't buy the 'Msgr. Kelley and Irene were secret lovers' malarkey either.

Mr. Steigmann also mentioned he knew a different truth about Irene, one where she had been a Russian spy and the United States government had paid him "a lot of money" to keep quiet about it.

To me, Mr. Steigman's broad claim was another outlandish detour to avoid. 

          What I did buy into, at long last, following a ton of investigative work requiring countless reach-outs, a massive amount of information gathering, endless letters and e-mails of correspondence, well over a hundred comparison studies, extensive travel that involved meeting and interviewing the most noted Amelia Earhart disappearance investigators and a slew of other disappearance story or family connected individuals, lectures I was engaged to deliver at research symposiums to include a few at the annual Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison, Kansas and a major one at the Oakland Air and Space Museum's 'Earhart Research Symposium' [resulting in my early study efforts making national news] yes, by 2006, just a year after the passing of Joe Gervais, I found myself sitting high above Time Square in the office of Larry Heller’s attorney for a pre-arranged meeting with Larry Heller himself, the 1934 born son of the ‘original’ Irene Madeline O’Crowley Craigmile Heller Bolam. 

            It was then I confirmed with absolute certainty, after Mr. Heller's identity placements indicated the younger and older versions of the "Non Gervais-Irene" [as labeled in the forensic comparison study] to be the woman he recognized as his 'mother,' how three different women had been attributed to the same 'Irene Bolam' identity, and the 'Irene' who Joe Gervais met and photographed in 1965, [labeled in the study as the "Gervais-Irene"] who matched Amelia in every way... could only have been the woman previously known as 'Amelia Earhart.' By the time all was said and done, while still facing massive public denial, this long buried truth had finally revealed itself in a forensically determined way. I just wished Joe Gervais had lived to see the forensic verification of something he honestly determined for himself decades earlier.

My book, Protecting Earhart examines the overall history of Amelia’s loss and features an extensive Forensic Analysis and Comparison Study that closely scrutinized and dissected Joe Gervais' 'Amelia Earhart changed her name to Irene' conclusion. The entire effort enables one to realize how Wikipedia’s, TIGHAR’s, Alex Mandel’s, Elgen Long’s, and the Amelia Earhart Society’s versions of Amelia Earhart’s final fate--along with other non-representatives of official history whom over the years presented different theories while backing perpetual efforts to decry the decades-old Gervais claim, consistently endorsed misleading, if not outright misinformation about the Irene Bolam story that resulted in their own and others' false-drawn conclusions.

By reading Protecting Earhart and examining the entire Forensic Analysis, one is finally able to objectively review the full-gamut of available investigative research data on the Irene-Amelia case that confirms its incontestable conclusion.

While Protecting Earhart encapsulates the historical record of Amelia Earhart's 'missing person' case, the Forensic Analysis ventured well beyond physical comparisons alone. It also examined and compared character traits such as voice patterns and handwriting, and personal backgrounds to include the family histories of both Amelia and the original Irene, and Amelia's and her later-life self, the Gervais-Irene's individual social backgrounds--that proved to be so blatantly intertwined.

In consideration of the complete physical comparisons, the medical history of Amelia Earhart revealed her to have endured more than one sinus operation, leading to the examination of procedure evidence noticeable on both Amelia Earhart and the Gervais-Irene. The study also compared eyes, teeth, hands, feet, arm lengths, shoulders, breast plates and more on its way to unequivocally verifying who Joe’s Irene used to be.

Further backing the reality of it all, the study displays how the 'Irene' who Joe Gervais met and photographed in 1965, appeared nowhere identified as 'Irene' in photographs prior to the mid-1940s, and it includes the transcript of, and a physical copy of the tape recording featuring Monsignor James Francis Kelley’s 1991 admission, when he confirmed his long time close-friend, Mrs. Irene Bolam, who he helped after World War Two, truly was the survived, re-identified Amelia Earhart. 

The fair conclusion drawn by it all, much to the dismay of those who would rather not have to believe or accept such a reality; anymore it is impossible to deny the equation’s naturally displayed results after combing through the tonnage of indisputable data supporting what said results convey. As Randall Brink previously pointed out, there already existed an 'overwhelming preponderance of circumstantial evidence' describing Amelia’s post-loss continued survival under Japan’s auspice. Thus, adding the physical 'smoking gun' evidence, that being, the 'body evidence' of Amelia Earhart, [in the form of the Gervais-Irene] it basically closed the book on Amelia Earhart’s age-old 'missing person' case.

In all reality it is true anymore, in 1965 Joe Gervais actually did find a 'smoking gun' in the form of Amelia’s body... cloaked as, 'Mrs. Irene Bolam.' 

It is also true, where the question of Amelia Earhart having been privately re-identified as 'Irene' after she went missing, yes, the very idea this same question was still being asked four decades after Joe Gervais first claimed it to be true with such veracity, really should have been enough to create a greater academic concern. In a way it is an insult to the combined intellect of the American public that a forensic analysis should even be required to show that Joe Gervais had been right all along about his deeply investigated Irene-Amelia deduction. Considering a basic Webster’s definition of the word 'science,' [systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation] anyone who would have taken the time to seriously delve into the 'forensic science' of it, not only would they soon-enough have realized Joe Gervais was right about the Irene he met and photographed in 1965, but had they tracked the story from the beginning they would have also realized how over time the 'Amelia became Irene' truth evolved from being greeted by high states of ridicule in the early 1970s, to exist any further today... as an obvious reality.

Then again, the many "important sounding people," as Gervais used to say, whom over the years so vehemently tried to convince the curious that Joe Gervais was delusional, preferred [evidently] to continue with their less-informed assumptions in lieu of accepting how it was actually they-themselves who fell victim to their own delusions--by not taking the time to correctly evaluate, recognize, and endorse a truth that was plainly visible all along.

Reality is reality, though, and it’s time we all face it where the truth about Amelia Earhart’s continued existence as a re-identified person after her famously storied 'disappearance' …is of anyone’s concern, anymore.

Tod Swindell, 2017 

Some have tried--and still do try to claim otherwise--but the truth is Amelia Earhart was an excellent, highly skilled pilot. So too was her world-flight navigator, Fred Noonan a good pilot who was listed among the best in the world at his skill as a navigator in the 1930s. Amelia and Fred were both excellent two-way radio operators as well. These formidable 'plane piloting attributes' of theirs were somewhat dismissed and even villified by some during the aftermath of their disappearance. Just know in their given time period, both Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan proved themselves as top-level aviators when it came to every aspect of piloting an aircraft.  
Tod Swindell comprehensively analyzed the most significant findings accumulated on Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight ending over the years, dating back to the time the event occurred. It also culminated with a conclusion achieved by forensically comparing Amelia Earhart to the enigmatic Irene Bolam--whose same identity, as Tod Swindell's analysis discovered, had been attributed to three different Twentieth Century women and anymore it is clear, Amelia Earhart ended up as one of them.

From The Associated Press [Featured on]
"The forensic studies are very convincing. She was not an ordinary housewife as she claimed. She was influential, knew many well placed people and was well traveled." John Bolam, referring to Tod Swindell's Protecting Earhart Forensic Analysis in an Associated Press article by Ron Staton. John Bolam was the survived brother of Irene's English husband, Guy who she wed in 1958. Mr. Bolam further added his understanding that his brother, Guy [who died in 1970] had been an MI6 operative.
From The Contra Costa Times

"Tod Swindell told the audience Saturday, ""The executive branch of the government was aware of Earhart on a level the rest of the public wasn't."" Swindell discussed letters, tapes and presidential communications that surfaced many years after Earhart's disappearance that provided tenuous clues." Linda Davis of The Contra Costa Times, reports on a 2002 Investigative Research Consortium held at the Oakland Air and Space Museum.

The former Amelia Earhart, 1978

"No matter how it has been discounted in the past, and though some opposing theorists still choose to argue against it, anymore it is certain three different women were attributed to the same, 'Irene Madeline O'Crowley Craigmile Heller Bolam' identity, and one of them, the 'Gervais-Irene' who was identified nowhere as 'Irene' in the United States prior to the mid-1940s, was previously known as 'Amelia Earhart.' Evolving from the time the controversy about 'Mrs. Irene Bolam' first surfaced in 1970, anymore this forensic truehood is incontestable." Tod Swindell, 2017

The three different women attributed to the same Irene identity: On the left is the original Irene Craigmile in 1930, whose family Amelia had known. 
In the middle is the second Irene shown in the early to mid-1940s; on the right is the third Irene [Gervais-Irene] in 1946, FKA 'Amelia Earhart.'
The original Irene's son, Larry Heller specifically identified the second Irene shown in the middle as his 'mother' from his early childhood on.
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Above left: The Gervais-Irene Bolam in Japan, 1963
Middle: Superimposed with her previous 'Amelia' self
Right: As Amelia, age thirty
© Protecting Earhart

From The Arizona Republic by John Faherty
"For more than ten years Tod Swindell has been actively pursuing the notion that Amelia Earhart went on to live a long, full life before dying in New Jersey. He is not the first person to have this theory, but he may be the person most actively trying to pursue it. Far-fetched? Sure. But there are pictures [Protecting Earhart's forensic photo data] that are quite startling..." 2007, by John Faherty of The Arizona Republic
Below, additional Protecting Earhart Forensic Study Reactions: 
"Tod, I have carefully studied the overlays and your presentation. Your conclusion that there were plural Irene Craigmiles has completely convinced me that this is indeed the case. You have also convinced me that one of them used to be Amelia Earhart. Incredible. You have quite an impressive package there. Keep charging - Gene." From a letter to Protecting Earhart's Tod Swindell from Retired Navy Rear Admiral, Eugene Tissot. Tissot's Father, Ernie was a friend of Amelia's and her head plane mechanic during her 1935 Hawaii to Oakland flight. This was Gene Tissot's response to his examination of the first distributed forensic analysis results packet he was one of four original recipients of.
"Your work relating to AE and IB is absolutely outstanding. There is no other way to describe it. I just wanted you to know that I have nothing but admiration for you and I am honored and proud to be on the winning team. I'm convinced you have solved the mystery." From a note by USAF Colonel Rollin C. Reineck (Ret.) to Protecting Earhart's, Tod Swindell. Colonel Reineck was also among the four original recipients of the first distributed forensic analysis results. Reineck's book, Amelia Earhart Survived was published through the Paragon Agency, duly crediting Tod Swindell's forensic achievements. Featured in Reineck's book from pages 156 to 165, reproduced directly from Protecting Earhart's analysis with permission, is the first publicly displayed separation of the different women who used the same 'Irene' identity, with one of them having been formerly known as, 'Amelia Earhart.'


Orville Wright & Amelia Earhart

Gervais-Irene & former self superimposed:
Amelia went by different names in different eras
Gervais-Irene, FKA 'Amelia Earhart'
In early 1978, her true eightieth year

Amelia, 1923 'into a mirror' self photo-portrait
Amelia and her future-self
superimposed photos

Amelia Earhart, age twenty-six.
1923 into a mirror self-photo portrait. She would become famous in 1928.

Amelia Earhart, 1933

Amelia, 1928

Classic Amelia, the blend begins.

Orville Wright & Amelia

Gervais-Irene & Amelia
Two photos superimposed.
Gervais-Irene & Amelia superimposed
Gervais-Irene,1965 / Amelia,1933
Gervais-Irene & Amelia superimposed
Gervais-Irene,1963 / Amelia,1928
Gervais-Irene & Amelia superimposed
Gervais-Irene,1976 / Amelia,1932
Gervais-Irene & Amelia superimposed
Gervais-Irene,1978 / Amelia,1929

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