This website profiles the Protecting Earhart Chronicles
and new millennium Irene-Amelia Forensic Analysis by Amelia Earhart Historian, Tod Swindell. Past WGAw registrations include: "The Lost
Electra" (1997), "Redefining Earhart for the New Century" (1999), "Protecting Earhart"
(2004, 2009, 2014). United States Copyright Office Registration Numbers: TXu 1-915-926 (2014);
TXu 2-061-539 (2017)
Above: Avid Earhart Historian, Tod Swindell
first became interested in Amelia Earhart's curious legacy in 1980. He was a senior in college then, spending time in Pasadena,
California with his maternal grandmother, Doris Clearwaters Eby. Doris had been a contemporary of Amelia Earhart's and a
fan as well, beyond being a devoted follower of United States history and politics. To this day Tod regards Doris, who raised
two children alone during the height of the depression, as one of the smartest individuals he has ever had the pleasure
What Tod learned from his grandmother, Doris about the controversial loss of Amelia Earhart stuck
with him. Then some years later, in the 1990s while he was working as an R & D specialist for a Universal Television
company, he came down with the 'Earhart disappearance malaise' that led to his remarkable collaborative quest dedicated
to learning the forensic truth about what really happened to the famous pilot... on and after July 2, 1937.
Among Tod's early realizations
was how imperative it became to steer clear of privately run 'Earhart cottage industries' such as the Amelia Earhart Society,
TIGHAR, and Nauticos. These clubs all offered vastly differing theories by which their individual leaders claimed
they had, "solved the mystery." The first one, the Amelia Earhart Society formed in the 1980s by
the now-late Bill Prymak, (d. 2014) claimed Amelia died on Saipan while in the custody of Japan's military. The next one,
TIGHAR, that was formed around the same time by one Richard Gillespie, claimed Amelia died as a castaway on a desert
island seven hundred miles away from her last given coordinates. The island was far removed from her publicized route and
her announced 'Plan B' option. The last one, Nauticos, gestated in the 1980s as well by one Elgen Long, claimed Amelia
flew-on in radio silence after missing her intended destination of Howland Island--until she crashed down into the ocean
somewhere approximate to it.
By the end of the Twentieth Century, Tod Swindell had realized that beyond not
holding any true historical weight, all of the above 'mystery solving theories' (or claims) were seriously flawed from the
start. They did, however, manage to garner media accolades and in some instances--significant financial gains for the individuals
who promoted them.
Doris Clearwaters Eby, 1920s
Amelia Earhart, 1920s
the mid-1990s, for the next twenty years Tod Swindell researched and collaborated with the individuals who most closely examined
the recorded circumstances of Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight ending and outcome. Herein find his documented journey.
is a 'meme' used to better define and 'protect' Amelia Earhart's heroic legacy. It does not simply reference the Witness Protection
Program [WPP] endorsed for her by the U.S. justice department after World War Two, but equally-so, its intention was and still
is devoted to delivering a better public understanding when it comes to the historically discarded saga of Amelia Earhart's
missing person case, and her eventual 'private life desired return' to the United States after the war years.
Beyond this, his aim remains geared toward helping people interested in Amelia Earhart to conceptualize the truthful nature
of what actually became of her after July 2, 1937, in order to return public thought to a higher understanding of her remarkable
legacy--that became mired in ambiguity as a result of the 'mystery' aspect so deftly applied to her non-publicized world flight
a result of the U.S. government's long ago created 'official silence mystery cloud' that has perpetually remained
over the subject of Amelia's missing person case, over the years people less-recalled 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 pacifist born
from deep U.S. history roots, and oh yes, she remains listed as ONE of the FOUR MOST remarkable champions of early aviation
next to Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, and Charles Lindbergh.
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 well known pilot-author, 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.
|Amelia and her later-life self superimposed...
informed people 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
in the ambiguous 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.
Protecting Earhart 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 discovered by Protecting
Earhart, had been attributed to three different Twentieth Century women. And anymore it is clear, Amelia Earhart ended
up as one of them.
An Amazing Journey...
...on the Winding Road to Key Forensic Discoveries
that pertained to Amelia Earhart's World Flight Outcome
By Tod Swindell
[Special thanks to Randall Brink, Joe Gervais,
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.
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
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.]
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.
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
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
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
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
The Protecting Earhart 'Irene-Amelia coalition' dates back to 1996, when its founder, Tod Swindell, met and started
collaborating with Amelia Earhart historian and author, Randall Brink; retired USAF Major, Joseph A. Gervais; retired USAF
Colonel, Rollin C. Reineck, and the Oakland Amelia Earhart Consortium founder, Ronald Reuther.
[In 1989, 'The Amelia Earhart Consortium' dovetailed into 'The Amelia Earhart Society' based in Broomfield, Colorado headed
by AE enthusiast, the now late, Bill Prymak. For reasons he left unexplained, Mr. Prymak always fought hard against the Amelia-became-Irene
reality being promoted within public arenas.]
About Tod Swindell
in Yonkers, New York, Tod Evan Swindell was raised in Southern California and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A Cinema Arts graduate of the University of Arizona, his
in Amelia Earhart's disappearance began in the 1990s when he was researching stories for the CBS TV series, 'Miracles
and Other Wonders' hosted by Darren McGavin, a show that later spun into, 'Encounters of the Unexplained' hosted
by Jerry Orbach. A veteran of the motion picture industry, beyond
specializing in the research and development of film properties he has also served as a part-time journalist with published
articles on the subjects of sports and pop-culture. His major production work began with Universal's Desperado westerns for
NBC, Executive Produced by Walter and Andrew Mirisch. For several years he made MOW's around the country for Desperado Films,
Inc., eventually serving as its corporate President while also heading its story rights acquisition division. His producer
credits include The Woman in the Moon, The Legend of the Phantom Rider, Ghost Rock, and Spin.
Credits on numerous other productions include Geronimo, Major League, Six Days and Seven Nights,
and Tin Cup. His past TV series work includes The Young Riders, Legend, The Game, and The Magnificent
Seven. Tod holds the copryright on all Protecting Earhart endeavors and
owns the rights to the Grizzly Adams trademarked brand as well. He is the son of Texas Literary Hall of Fame member,
Larry Swindell and former Equity Theater actress, the late Eleanor Eby. ~~~
|1970 Klaas book about Joe Gervais' investigation
|Tod Swindell's late friend/collaborator, Joe Gervais died in 2005.
|Randall Brink's, 'Lost Star' 1994
|Randall Brink worked with Joe Gervais and introduced Tod Swindell to him in 1996
|By Colonel Rollin Reineck, 2004
|Reineck was an ardent supporter of Tod's work; willed his own trove of Earhart research to him
|By David Bowman, 2005
|With a Protecting Earhart overlay its cover, cited Tod Swindell's study as the first of its kind.
From The Associated Press [Featured on CNN.com]
"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.
"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 head of the Amelia
Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas, quoted from interviews conducted in 2009 by Lara Moritz of KMBC TV, Kansas
City, and in 2007 by The Topeka Kansas Capital-Journal's, Jan Biles.
"Special recognition goes
to Tod Swindell, who undertook an extensive, in-depth forensic analysis of the Gervais-Irene Bolam and Amelia Earhart to
show the world they were one in the same person." USAF Colonel, Rollin C. Reineck, reprinted from his book, Amelia
|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.'
original Irene's son, Larry Heller specifically identified the second Irene shown in the middle
as his 'mother' from his early childhood on.
Above left: The Gervais-Irene Bolam in
with her previous 'Amelia' self
As Amelia, age thirty
© Protecting Earhart
From The Arizona Republic by John Faherty
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:
have carefully studied the overlays and your presentation. Your conclusion that there were multiple
Irene Bolams has completely convinced me that this is indeed the case. You have also convinced me that
the Gervais-Bolam was AE. 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.
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
"All truth passes through three stages. First,
it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
|Amelia, 1923 'into a mirror' self photo-portrait
|Amelia and her future-self
|Amelia Earhart, age twenty-six.
|1923 into a mirror self-photo portrait. She would become famous in 1928.
|Amelia Earhart, 1933
|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
The Protecting Earhart
copyrighted intellectual properties that feature MSS, Forensic Study, Documentary & Feature Film rights are owned by Aether Pictures LLC and Tod Swindell.