The Forensic Truth About Amelia Earhart's 1937 World Flight Outcome

The Twenty Year Journey of Protecting Earhart's, Tod Swindell

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The True Story of Amelia Earhart
The Twenty Year Journey Of Protecting Earhart's Tod Swindell
Reviewing The History of Protecting Earhart's, ''
What Became Of Amelia Earhart After July 2, 1937
Forensic Comparisons: The Amelia Earhart, Irene Bolam Reality
The Universal Truth About Amelia Earhart
The 1982 'Red Herring' Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune Series
Hiding The Truth With Photo Forgeries
Monsignor Kelley & Astronaut Wally Schirra
The History of Amelia Earhart Mystery 'Investigative Research'

[ previews the forensic analysis, documentary, and MSS Protecting Earhart. [Protecting Earhart U.S. Copyright Office Registration Numbers: TXu 1-915-926; TXu 2-061-539]

For two decades...
...Amelia Earhart historian, Tod Swindell closely examined her disappearance controversy

See Tod Swindell's "My Journey" story further down.
On Protecting Earhart's Tod Swindell: Born 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 interest 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.

Protecting Earhart has long been been devoted to returning public thought to a higher understanding of Amelia Earhart's profound legacy, one that became mired in ambiguity as a result of the 'mystery' aspect casually applied to her 1937 world flight outcome. Over the years people forgot what a profound thinker, expert linguist, multi-language speaker, universal philosopher, feeling poet, skilled photographer and engaging writer Amelia was, beyond herself being a patriotic American with deep U.S. history roots, and the aviation champion she truly was.
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 listed among the best in the world at his skill in the 1930s, and both Amelia and Fred were excellent two-way radio operators as well. These formidable 'plane piloting attributes' of theirs were forgotten 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's impressive anthology comprehensively analyzed the most significant findings accumulated on Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight ending over the years, dating back to when 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 ended up as one of them.

My Journey
...that led to multiple 'Landmark Forensic Analysis Discoveries' about Amelia Earhart's World Flight Outcome
By Tod Swindell
© 2017

[Special thanks to Randall Brink, Joe Gervais, Rollin Reineck, Ronald Reuther, and Donald Moyer Wilson; past collaborators who helped to enlighten a higher understanding of Amelia Earhart's world flight outcome.]



           With all that has been learned, discovered and revealed about Amelia Earhart's world flight ending over the years, it is amazing how such obvious truths ended up being so ignored by historical dictum influences. As a result, news outlets were limited to covering perspectives on 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 Protecting Earhart's forensic analysis took place it remained difficult for the public to envision what happened to Amelia as a result of her unplanned world-flight ending, or to physically recognize what became of her afterward.

This journey of mine began slowly at first in 1991, 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 95% of what I brought to the table. Nat Geo's effort was deliberate when it came to whitewashing my contribution. 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, the Smithsonian and Nat Geo developed a habit of equally placating different viewpoint wielding 'Earhart disappearance investigators' out there--while steadfastly adhering to the ideology of Amelia's loss perpetually existing as an unsolved, or even more-so, an unsolvable mystery.

Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum once told me over the phone, “We’re not allowed to express a 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 people in the public realm are lacking 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 ‘Irene Bolam’ who he met and photographed in 1965.  The forensic study I embarked on and completed in the new millennium, that began with the objective to prove Major Gervais wrong, conversely ended up proving him right—in what now exists in a highly obvious way.

Presently, while the general public is still being coerced not to ignore this truth, I'm one to believe that is likely to change before too long. For universal truths, as opposed to often inaccurate world generated truths, always do manage to prevail. Besides that, it's time. TS 

My Journey

In the latter part of the Twentieth Century, I learned quickly 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 it was first publicly divulged that the Earhart-Noonan duo survived their Marshall Islands plane ditching before they were picked up by Japan's Naval authority and subsequently detained. History itself recalls Japan declaring war on China just five days after Earhart and Noonan 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 about 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, then 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 embarking on 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 investigator, retired U.S. Air Force Major, Joe 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 

Note: 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. [Note: 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 unexplained, Mr. Prymak always fought hard against the Amelia-became-Irene reality being promoted within public arenas.] 

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]
"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 Earhart Survived.

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 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.
"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.'

"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


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

The Protecting Earhart copyrighted intellectual properties that feature MSS, Forensic Study, Documentary & Feature Film rights are owned by Aether Pictures LLC and Tod Swindell.


Click here to e-mail Protecting Earhart/ E-mail address:

Protecting Earhart came into existence in 1996 and launched in 2007. Its comprehensive Forensic Analysis and Forensic Comparison Study 1.) Proved more than one person used the same 'Irene' identity. 2.) Displayed the head-to-toe and character-traits congruence the Gervais-Irene shared with Amelia Earhart. 3.) Proved the Gervais-Irene appeared nowhere identified as 'Irene' prior to the mid-1940s, ultimately concluding against the grain fo convention, said two individuals marked the same human being.
Protecting Earhart's forensic analysis began in 1997 and was initially copyrighted in 2002. Author-creator, Tod Swindell's original manuscript, Protecting Earhart: The Beautiful Alter Ego and Silent Legacy of History's Most Famous Flying Heroine has been housed and registered at the Writers Guild of America West since 2004, #1033972, and was ultimately copyrighted after several revisions and updates in 2014, # TXu 1-915-926, then finally, after some important new revisions were made, it was again copyrighted in 2017, # TXu 2-061-539. For publishing and sub-rights availability inquiries send an e-mail to
Protecting Earhart is dedicated to the past tireless efforts of the late USAF Major, Joseph A. Gervais [1924-2005] and the late USAF Col., Rollin C. Reineck [1920-2007], two World War Two heroes who began expounding on the 'Amelia became Irene' truth decades ago. A thanks also goes out to pilot-author, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who supplied additional 'Irene' photo data and handwritten letters for my study, that along with the same data Joe Gervais and Rollin Reineck forwarded my way, helped it to reach its reality based conclusion. Thanks as well to former CIA operative, Bazzell Baz, who provided much inspiration into my Earhart truth seeking endeavor when it was first getting underway in the late 1990s.
Major Gervais, who was considered by many to have been the most knowledgeable Amelia Earhart investigative researcher ever to pursue the truth, first asserted the Irene-Amelia reality in 1965. The controversial 1970 McGraw-Hill book by Joe Klaas, Amelia Earhart Lives delved into the enormous amount of Joe Gervais' investigative research and displayed the first nationally published photo of Irene Bolam, AKA the Gervais-Irene, FKA 'Amelia Earhart.' Regardless of the fallout caused by Amelia Earhart Lives, Major Gervais and Colonel Reineck spent the last four decades of their lives working to better advance the claim of Amelia Earhart's name-changed survival to authenticity, after enduring their own long term investigations of the evidence that supported it. Colonel Reineck's book, Amelia Earhart Survived was published in 2004 and was greatly inspired by my 'Protecting Earhart' forensic analysis. Portions of my study appeared in Colonel Reineck's book, though it is more extensively displayed in Protecting Earhart, Beyond 37', and are the intellectual properties of Aether Pictures & Press, LLC.

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