previews the long term forensic analysis and MSS, Protecting Earhart
scheduled for publication this year. [Protecting
Earhart U.S. Copyright Office Registration Number: TXu 1-915-926]
|Elgen Long and David Jourdan's 'Nauticos' logo
The national news media has shed a favorable light on Elgen
Long's 'Earhart crashed and sank near Howland' claim since the early 1980s. When Long began his quest, Amelia's sister, Muriel
had recently changed from supporting Fred Goerner's 'Earhart died on Saipan' assertion to Long's simpler, 'government favored'
offering. Muriel and Long became friends and remained so until her passing in 1998. Nauticos is the name of the organization
that champions Long's work. It's still going strong, Long as well, with its most recent expedition to locate Amelia's plane
on the ocean floor near Howland having taken place in 2017.
|Richad Gillespie's 'TIGHAR' Earhart Project logo
Richard Gillespie formed TIGHAR in 1985.
Since then the news media has covered and promoted his claim that Earhart and Noonan might have flown hundreds of miles south
of Howland to a desolate area, where they ditched their plane on Nikumaroro Island, and soon after died as castaways. Nothing
authentic was ever found on the island. Richard Gillespie's more romantic version of Earhart's and Noonan's demise made little
sense to those who believed the duo would not have dismissed their Plan 'B' option to head for the nearest civilized land
mass in favor of heading for a remote desert island. From a historical perspective, TIGHAR offers a 'Gilligan's Island' kind
of ending for Earhart and Noonan. Two novels, one by Alison Anderson called 'Hidden Latitudes' and another by Jane
Mendelsohn called 'I Was Amelia Earhart' did great jobs fictionalizing 'desert island endings' for the duo as well.
In 2017 Mr. Gillespie announced he was taking 'sniffing dogs' to Nikumaroro in his ongoing quest to locate Amelia's remains
|Bill Prymak's 'Amelia Earhart Society' logo
Bill Prymak took over Ron Reuther's 'Earhart Consortium' and
formed the Amelia Earhart Society (AES) in 1989. In the process he befriended Fred Goerner, Joe Gervais, Joe Klaas, Ann Holtgren
Pellegreno, and Rollin Reineck who he listed as 'Honorary AES Members.' He supported the Marshall Islands ditching of Amelia
Earhart's world flight, but he was adamantly against Gervais' long held assertion that Amelia Earhart survived and continued
to live beyond World War Two as a non-public person. Bill Prymak mostly sided with Goerner's more sensationalized idea that
Earhart and Noonan died while in Japan's custody after they were captured as spies. Unlike TIGHAR and Nauticos though, he
avoided promoting AES to the news media, and he disbanded it in 2007 without formally publishing a final thesis or launching
an AES website. However, before Bill died in 2014, he had grown to be friends with one Mike Campbell, a staunch believer in
the claims of Thomas Devine who had conveyed to Fred Goerner that Amelia and Fred Noonan were executed by Japan's military
on Saipan [ostensibly for 'spying'] and that Amelia's plane was found and intentionally burned by the U.S. Navy on Saipan
toward the end of the war, something Devine claimed to have witnessed. Campbell was gifted Bill Prymak's AES 'anthology archives' that was basically
a collection of about a dozen years worth of AES quarterly newsletters that Bill had mailed to AES members. Bill labeled the
AES anthology 'Part I and Part II' in separate volumes. His AES had served as a common funnel for the previous work done by
Gervais, Goerner, Loomis, Reineck, Brink, Wilson, and a few others who were prominently considered among many other
Marshall's ditching investigators and theorists. With the AES archives in hand, after assuring Bill he would firmly denounce
the Amelia-became-Irene claim that Joe Gervais stood by from 1965 until he died in 2005, Cambell was given Bill Prymak's blessing
to use the AES archives instrumentally for his 2012 book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth At Last issued by the author-collaborative,
Sunbury Press. Reissued since, Sunbury lists it among its best selling books whenever a significant news blurb about Amelia
surfaces. Except for Mike Campbell's false, misdirecting words about the Amelia-Irene coveyance within it, his book marks
an impressive compilation of the work of Fred Goerner, Joe Gervais, Thomas Devine, Vincent Loomis, Randall Brink, Rollin Reineck and a wide variety
of other former AES contributors.
What Most Private Investigative Researchers Mistakenly Assumed:
The majority of serious Earhart disappearance investigators
always agreed Mili Atoll of the lower Marshall Islands was where Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan went down before they were
rescued by Japan's Naval Authority. None the less, a common thread grew to exist where past investigators mistakenly assumed
Earhart and Noonan must have somehow died in the broad circle of the Pacific Islands region they last flew in. As noted, 1.)
Researcher Richard Gillespie (of Tighar) stressed that the two died on the island of Nikamororo of hunger and dehydration after they went down there. The trouble with his decades old claim is there has never been any credible evidence introduced to
support it. 2.) CBS Radio Journalist, Fred Goerner asserted
the duo went down on Mili Atoll and later died on Saipan; Earhart of dysentery and Noonan at the hands
of a Japanese jail guard. Yet, no hard evidence supported Goerner's
'how they died' theory either. 3.) Researcher Mike Campbell and Amelia Earhart Society
President, Bill Prymak expressed their beliefs that Thomas Devine was right about Earhart having been
executed on Saipan, but no hard evidence supported their claim either, and Japan denied ever harming Earhart. 4.) Researcher Elgen Long
claimed Earhart and Noonan flew back and forth while looking for Howland, until they ultimately
crashed into the sea where they sank and drowned. Few people agreed
with Mr. Long after they weighed the overwhelming preponderance
of evidence that contradicted his hypothesis.
Official history never formally looked into Earhart's loss, and the above researchers
professed Earhart surviving her flight ending ordeal was
untrue, even though it was never proven untrue, leaving the following question to be asked: Was it possible Amelia Earhart could have survived
after she was said to have 'disappeared', and she quietly continued to exist beyond World War Two with a new name and a strong
desire for future privacy without the public knowing about it? The answer: Of course it was, and in time it became clear that
was exactly what happened.
The Real Story Of Retired USAF Major, Joe Gervais
For years the assertion that Amelia Earhart ended up changing her name in pursuit of future anonymity
seemed too hard to believe. Why would she have done such a thing?
From the onset of the suggestion of Amelia's private
survival and continuing the next four decades, the mere mention of it was joked about, ridiculed, and mistakenly described
as 'proven false,' leaving the 'Amelia changed her name to Irene' assertion mothballed as a historical fallacy.
true issue according to history itself, existed where the public was left to accept the only publicized information about
Amelia Earhart's disappearance:
1.) Amelia purportedly vanished with Fred Noonan in 1937 while flying
her plane over the Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
2.) Lacking an 'official explanation' about what
happened, the public was left to assume the duo perished at sea.
3.) Subversively promoting history's preferred,
albeit non-proven 'death at sea' conveyance, Earhart and Noonan were both legally declared dead by early 1939.
the way it ended up. Except, what happened later, in the 1960s caused the official historical record of Amelia Earhart's
demise to be continuously investigated and scrutinized ever since.
was Joe Gervais.
Joe Gervais happened in the 1960s, yet official history has done its best to bury him in favor
of a variety of alternate mystery-solving ideas ever since. Metaphorically, it was as if Joe Gervais' assertion of what happened
to Amelia ended up being placed on aviation history dart boards, all because he innocently shared the things he learned about
Amelia Earhart's disappearance after deeply investigating it for a full decade.
Consider one who
thoroughly examined the history of Gervais' incomparable effort to get to the bottom of the Earhart disappearance controversy,
and who came to know him personally the last ten years of his life; Joe Gervais should not have been treated badly at all.
Rather, he should have been lionized for having shone the most brilliant historical reality lamp on the truth about Amelia
Earhart's disappearance, ever.
In 1960, after Paul Briand's book, Daughter of
the Sky came out, it was Joe Gervais who started the feeding-frenzy on the Earhart disappearance mystery that continues
to this day.
Official history always refused to be part of it, as edified by FBI Director,
J. Edgar Hoover who personally responded to Joe Gervais in 1969 by writing, "I hope you will not infer either that
we do or do not have material in our files relating to the individual you mentioned." The 'individual' Mr. Hoover
referenced was Amelia Earhart. Time and again over the years, the FBI's [Hoover's] higher awareness of the Earhart disappearance
case was conveyed by people who had once been close to Amelia.
The profound reality
Joe Gervais uncovered could have easily been validated if follow-up investigations had been encouraged to thoroughly run their
course. Instead, Gervais was all-but tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.
all started in 1970, right after the suggestion of Amelia Earhart's continued private survival delivered national attention.
That year, Joe Gervais' assertion made the news with the release of the McGraw-Hill book, Amelia
Earhart Lives by Joe Klaas. Beyond Klaas indirectly chronicling Gervais' decade-long investigative effort, the book also
offered how it was evident to Gervais, that Amelia Earhart continued to live after she disappeared, and in pursuit of future
privacy she optioned to change her name. Furthermore, the book described how she was still alive and living in an upscale
neighborhood just west of Newark, New Jersey. Joe Gervais offered how he met and recognized her at an 'Early Birds of Aviation'
club gathering in 1965, and he brazingly took her picture at close range in the interest of having 'visual proof' to refer
After the book Amelia Earhart Lives came out, all that was needed at that point, was for the curious
to rise up and collectively demand the truth.
But that didn't happen.
the news media needed to do was request evidence of the woman's [the Gervais-Irene's] full life history, to include legitimate
family and personal photographs that chronicled her life from the time she was born to the present. Had the news media done
that, the truth would have surfaced showing how more than one woman had used the same Irene identity, and the Gervais-Irene,
who appeared nowhere as Irene prior to the 1940s, surely had been formerly known as 'Amelia Earhart.'
the news media didn't do that. Nor was it pressured to.
All McGraw-Hill, one of the largest and most reputable
book publishers in the world who the Gervais-Irene levied a law suit against over its book, Amelia Earhart Lives, yes,
all McGraw-Hill had to do was to ask the Gervais-Irene if she used to be known as Amelia Earhart before she became known as
'Irene' ...instead of lazily accepting her present-tense denial of "I am not she."
did not do that. Instead, it accepted her present-tense denial as a blanket-testimony that she was never anyone else other
than the person she currently claimed to be.
All that was needed, was for a gutsy Woodward and
Bernstein styled team of investigative reporters to step up to the plate and not take 'no' for an asnwer, in support of the
obvious warranted suspicion about who the Gervais-Irene really was, or used to be.
No gutsy reporters
did any follow-up investigating at all.
All that was needed, was for some hard questions
to be asked of the families of the original Irene and Amelia, to include interviewing the 1934 born son of the original Irene.
Instead, the Gervais-Irene stared down her accuser all by herself, handling the media like the experienced pro she was. She
lashed out at Gervais and at McGraw-Hill during a press conference she held at the Time-Life building in New York, ending
it in dramatic fashion by throwing the book, Amelia Earhart Lives down on the ground and stomping on it, before storming
out of the room.
No one from the press or from McGraw-Hill ever bothered the Gervais-Irene
again after that. The American public as well, instantly assumed some kind of elaborate hoax had been perpetrated by Joe Gervais,
to the point where even McGraw-Hill had inanely fallin for it. But in 1970, a little pre-history displayed how Gervais had
not been perpetrating a hoax at all.
Cut to four years earlier.
1966, when Fred Goerner's classic investigative book, The Search for Amelia Earhart was published and also caused a
national sensation, few realized it had been the early 1960s overseas investigative efforts of Joe Gervais and his then partner,
Bob Dinger that originally inspired it. It's true. Gervais and Dinger were the ones who enabled Fred Goerner to convince CBS
to fund his effort to look into the Earhart controversy. Few today recall that Gervais and Dinger were also the first to gain
the Earhart controversy U.S. military attention abroad, before Goerner took interest, became involved, and all-but deflated
the Gervais-Dinger team of their own would-be 'national media' thunder.
Few today are aware
that in 1963, USAF Captain Joe Gervais, a career military man, a former World War Two pilot and a married father of two sons
was honorably retired as a 'Major' by the Air Force at the age of 39. It was made clear to Gervais at the time, the Air Force
wished to disassociate itself from appearing as if it had anything to do with investigating Amelia Earhart's 1937 disappearance.
It was well aware while Gervais was on active duty in the early 1960s, he had started up 'Operation Earhart' with Captain
Dinger, while the two were stationed near the last coordinates Earhart was known to be flying, just before she disappeared.
follow-up chain of media white-washing started to become evident after that.
Ever since Paul
Briand's 1959 book, Daughter of the Sky shed a rekindled light on the old idea that Amelia Earhart continued to survive
under the auspice of Japan's Naval Authority, and that it may have been a withheld U.S. military secret, a historical signal
flare about Earhart had remained high in the sky.
As an answer to it, by the early 1960s Gervais and
Dinger had soundly validated Briand's supposition to a point where by 1962 the Air Force realized no other choice than to
call them on the carpet at the its Fuchu Military Air Base in Japan. There, it confiscated their investigation findings, placed
a security clamp on it, and reprimanded the two for using military channels to help their efforts, even though they had been
doing it on their own free time. Gervais recalled "it wasn't just a slap on the wrist." He could tell the Air Force
brass the two were summoned to face seemed "deeply concerned" that something might get made public that wasn't ever
supposed to be made public, especially by way of active duty military personnel.
Enter Fred Goerner
It was time to convince the American public that the long recognized, and now further substantiated
rumor of Earhart ending up in Japan's custody needed to have some kind of acceptable closure applied to it. For the Government
to deny it would have meant knowingly lying to the public, something it was never supposed to do. And Goerner, a 'private'
citizen with his own news-talk radio show in San Francisco was a good fit to 'privately' break the story.
Goerner wrote about the ruckus Gervais and Dinger caused, and concluded the two were correct with their suspicion of some
kind of military, and therefore too, long ago Executive Order cover-up. But Goerner went a step further. He introduced
the idea that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan had been on a secret spying mission for the U.S. Government, and after they went
down in the Marshall Islands at Mili Atoll, they were captured by Japan's Naval Authority and imprisoned. Goerner was given
the support of Amelia's sister, Muriel, and he worked closely with Admiral Chester Nimitz as well, who confided in him that
it was long ago 'known and documented in Washington' that Earhart and Noonan went down in the Marshalls and were 'picked up'
by Japan. Beyond that however, the Admiral disclosed nothing else of a similar magnitude to Goerner, other than his beffudlement
toward why the U.S. Government still refused to allow its long withheld truth about Amelia Earhart to become public information.
Fred Goerner's book, The Search For Amelia Earhart became a national best seller and in
turn caused prominent historical scholars to conclude Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan ended up existing under the auspice of
Japan after going down in the Marshall Islands and being captured as spies. Goerner was sure to convey as well, based on hearsay
conjecture, that the two died while in Japan's care. He offered how it appeared Earhart eventually died of dysentery while
sequestered on Saipan, and Noonan might have been beheaded by a Japanese prison guard whom he'd thrown a bowl of soup at.
Goerner also wrote about 'execution rumors' of Earhart he'd heard while he was overseas, but he remained unconvinced of their
At the time, most accepted Goerner's conclusions at face value. The Amelia Earhart riddle had
been solved at last! She'd been spying and Japan caught her, and Uncle Sam knew it and had no choice but to leave her to fend
By way of Goerner's book the public believed it was made smarter about
Amelia Earhart's disappearance then, but really, it had merely been herded like cattled into a large stockyard labeled 'the
For one need only recall, it was just a year before Goerner's book came
out that Joe Gervais found himself face to face with Irene and Guy Bolam. He'd been living with Amelia's image etched in his
mind for five years by then, so among the other well-known retired pilots he'd been flown to New York to lecture to about
his Earhart investigations, it was not hard for him to instantly recognize Irene for who she truly was, or had previously
been. He recalled the crowd parted like Moses walking through the Red Sea when Irene and Guy arrived at the function. Amelia's
old friend, Viola Gentry who had invited and arranged to pay for Gervais' trip appeared surprised to see them. And after he
met them, to Gervais the questions instantly became; how did she end up here? And why had she changed her name? Truly, he
realized, only she knew the complete answers to those questions.
By 1970, because the Gervais-Irene had necessarily
in her own mind, refused to be called Amelia Earhart ever again, Joe Gervais would soon enough find himself disgraced. He
became a media laughing stock, although he remained undaunted by it all. For he knew she was the former Amelia Earhart anyway,
but he began to see the bigger picture and a problem as well, by imagining what would have happened if she HAD fessed up.
The historical ramifications and outcroppings would have been too enormous to calculate. The Gervais-Irene would have been
destined to live the rest of her life having to explain things that perhaps would have disgraced herself and the U.S. Government.
Japan would have had to explain its own viewpoint on the matter, along with its current position, and the U.S. Executive Order
Seal would have to be broken as well. Plus the story on what became of the ORIGINAL Irene would have to be addressed, Amelia's
sister, Muriel and the ZONTA organization would have to come clean about their involvement with the cover-up, history books
would have to be rewritten world-wide, and so much more.
In 1970, reality had it that Amelia Earhart had
already pulled a Greta Garbo-like move when she chose not to return to the U.S. after Japan rescued her. Word had it she had
intended to remain in Hawaii anyway, the described 'last stop' of her world flight, so to her, the matter of accidentally
ending up in Japan's Marshall Islands instead resulted in her making lemonade out of lemons. Few had an inkling that it was
her choice not to return to the U.S., and Japan merely obliged her and respected her discretion.
the discovered and revealed 'former' Earhart, she no doubt would have optioned to pull a Greta Garbo again. (No, Garbo never
changed her identity, but she did unexpectedly moved far away from the spotlight to live as a recluse, after being compelled
by a strong growing desire to no longer be a public figure.) The press-hounds would have been sure to cause the Gervais-Irene
to do it again. "My, how the world hounded that poor woman," Jackie Cochran once said of her friend, Amelia. It
was quietly evident that Amelia had been aiming to retire from the public spotlight well before she departed on her 1937 world
flight, that she had openly described would be her "last flight" before she left. She wasn't kidding. So in 1970,
if she'd admitted who she used to be it would have been too enormous of a historical mess for herself and her two countries,
Japan and the U.S. to even begin to explain it, not to mention the sanctum of honest American history official record
keeping would have been permanently marred.
Famous pilot, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who duplicated
Earhart's world flight in 1967, was justified in 1982 when she remarked how the Irene-Amelia coverup was "bigger than
No. If it was not made completely clear by the early 1970s, it soon dawned
on the more astute that Amelia Earhart needed to remain dead no matter what. Hence, the media white-washing campaign that
would ensure forever keeping her that way necessarily emerged.
First, the Gervais-Irene's good friend and ZONTA
sister, (and previous real sister) Muriel Earhart Morrissey would change her stripes from having supported Fred Goerner's
'Earhart died on Saipan' claim to Elgen Long's claim, who by the late-1970s was saying everyone else was wrong, that Amelia
had simply crashed and died in the ocean near Howland Island, and that was it. To Muriel's satisfaction, and no doubt to the
Gervais-Irene's as well, the news media began supporting Elgen Long's rebirth of the easier to accept, 'crashed and sank'
Also by the end of the 1970s, Richard Gillespie was claiming that Amelia and Fred died as castaways
on a desert island hundreds of miles south of Howland, and the news media, additionally fortified with another 'innocent'
alternative, started supporting him as well.
No matter. The real truths about Earhart's flight
ending refused to go away, so in the early 1980s, Ron Reuther's upstart 'Earhart Consortium' group began making waves by demanding
the 1960s investigative research of Gervais, Dinger and Goerner should not be irresponsibly swept under the rug of history
the way Long and Gillespie, and Amelia's own kin had been recently trying to convince all to do.
Bill Prymak from out of nowhere, who in the mid-1980s buddied up to Ron Reuther and Joe Gervais by offering his wherewithal
and financial support to help shore-up their endeavor. By 1989 Prymak had completely taken over Reuther's Earhart Consortium
and renamed it the 'Amelia Earhart Society' (the AES) while inserting himself as its founding President. Such a tactic was
essential, evidently, for the controversy about the Gervais-Irene had refused to go away, especially after her death in 1982.
If anything it was gaining steam all over again, raising more and more eyebrows as one new witness after another came forward
with different non-connected testimonials, all of them avowing Gervais had indeed been right about the Irene he'd met and
challenged all those years ago. It had grown clear to many by then, the Gervais-Irene really had been the former Amelia Earhart,
and history missed it due to a bullied news media that had been casually guided to never take it seriously. Prymak, Gillespie,
Long, and even Fred Goerner were all united in the way they consistently convinced the media to simply dismiss the Irene-Amelia
idea out of hand.
When it came to Gervais himself, fortunately Bill Prymak was there to
control him. Prymak showered Joe Gervais with adulations and accolades, appearing as if to lionize him, when in fact his goal
was to always keep Gervais and his most ardent supporters tucked-away in his AES back pocket. By 2002 Prymak saw it become
public information that more than one woman had been identified as the same Irene, and he more-than-likely already knew the
Gervais-Irene was the former Amelia Earhart. But Prymak's Amelia Earhart Society functioned similar to a point, where just
as the John Birch Society had been formed to steer attitudes in a politically correct direction about Birch, who had been described as 'the
first casualty of World War Three,' so too had Amelia Earhart been long ago referred to as 'the first casualty of World War
Two' after she disappeared in 1937 in a soon-to-be hotbed region of the war in the Pacific. Yes, it became essential for the
'Amelia Earhart Society' to come into existence as well. For the reality that Amelia had actually taken up with Japan after
requesting asylum in its Imperial Mandates, could never be allowed to surface. Fred Noonan? No doubt Amelia requested his
freedom, and no doubt Japan honored her request, and no doubt Noonan returned to live in the United States with a new name
AES ploy was simple: Politely disagree with Elgen Long, privately wage a little war between himself and TIGHAR's Richard Gillsepie
in his quarterly AES newsletters, support the old Fred Goerner theory that Amelia went down in the Marshalls and died while
in Japan's custody, and otherwise shout down anyone who asserted that the Gervais-Irene was formerly known as Amelia Earhart.
But that wasn't so easy. As witnesses kept coming forward, Bill Prymak made it his objective to personally confront all of
them so he could explain why they were wrong. He was willing to tell people almost anything about the Gervais-Irene, that
word had it she was 'a double agent Russian spy, but she was never Amelia Earhart,' or that the meeting between Gervais and
his Irene in 1965 had been 'an elaborately staged event meant to make Gervais believe she was the former Amelia Earhart.'
Good gravy, how more dumbed down could we get?
By the mid-late
1990s it had become quite clear, any sane argument in support of the Gervais-Irene claim had time after time been expertly
twisted by Bill Prymak and Richard Gillespie into the uninformed ramblings of lunatics.
in 1996, enter Tod Swindell. That's me, and 1996 was the year I met 71 year old Joe Gervais for the first time at his Las
Vegas home in his subculturally famous 'Amelia Earhart Den.' His wife, Thelma was a gracious host. Their son Gerald was married
and living in Chicago where he worked as a medical technician. Sadly, they had tragically lost their other son, Douglas when
he was in his teens, to an injury he sustained during a high school football practice. Hearing that choked me, being the father
of two growing boys myself.
I could tell instantly that Joe Gervais was a straight
shooter. For sure, he and Thelma were good people. What I couldn't wrap my head around was why history had deemed it necessary
to so deeply bury, and then forever sidestep what he managed to achieve through his investigation of Amelia Earhart's disappearance.
History treated Gervais like a pariah, or as if he never happened, or as if what he did wasn't historically worth anything.
couple of years after befriending Joe Gervais and staying in regular touch with him, it began to dawn on me that for all of
Bill Prymak's boisterous AES overtures, he and the AES were little more than a shill used to keep the Gervais-Irene story
and the old 'Marshall Islands' ending of Amelia's flight away from receiving serious media attention. The AES was more like
Bill Prymak's private cult. True, whenever TIGHAR or Elgen Long had serious national media attention paid to their Earhart
mystery solving efforts, that they consistently have had since the late 1970s, Bill would answer his phone when a reporter
called and politely offer that he disagreed with their opinions, but he wished them luck. Never did he stick his neck out
in support of the Marshall Islands truth, for by default it meant that Earhart had continued to survive with no solid answer
to what became of her, and Bill Prymak could never begin to lend credence to the idea that the Gervais-Irene possibly could
have been the former Amelia Earhart with a new name by promoting her continued survival in any way at all.
1998 I didn't catch it at first, when Bill Prymak started sucking up to me. Joe Gervais had told him about the forensic analysis
of the Gervais-Irene I had embarked on, generated by my own curiosity toward why Gervais refused to forsake his certain belief
that she had been the former Amelia Earhart, whether people chose to believe and accept it or not. Gervais had also introduced
me to retired USAF Colonel Rollin Reineck, another World War Two veteran who he'd partnered up with begining in the late 1970s
and remained in close touch with. Reineck lived in Hawaii with his wife, Esther. Reineck believed Gervais was right about
Earhart's survival and name change, and he was highly interested in my forensic comparison study as well.
to Prymak's obvious chagrin, most all members of the AES had been alerted about my study. The mid-90s advent of the internet
and e-mailing had taken off, and daily communication was the latest craze.
Joe Gervais refused
to get a computer, so he began to write me letters and notes, and to physically send me information, much of it compelling
if not downright controversial. He was fascinated by my initial overlays that matched Amelia to the Gervais-Irene. I explained
to Joe that I named the Irene he met and photographed in 1965 the Gervais-Irene, because it was evident she was not the original
Irene Craigmile--who had been a real person Amelia was acquainted with in the 1930s. Joe agreed, adding no one ever heard
of Irene Craigmile before he put the spotlight of the Irene he met in 1965. As it turned out, the original Irene had barely
ever flown planes at all, maybe a total of 20 hours of flying time according to Reineck's research, before she became pregnant
out of wedlock in 1933 and abandoned the new flying hobby she'd been introduced to by Viola Gentry, with encouragement from
By 1999 Bill Prymak could hold back no more. He called to invite me to
come and stay with him at his condo in Aspen, Colorado. There we would ski and talk about Earhart, and the Gervais-Irene.
I went, we skiid, and talked, and talked. Bill's intention was clear; he would box me into a corner in an attempt to thoroughly
convince me that the Gervais-Irene was NOT, and in NO WAY could have ever been known as Amelia Earhart. He appeared obsessed
with his own desire to get through to me. I soon realized, something was really askew with this whole AES thing. Bill Prymak
was never going to support the Gervais-Irene reality. No matter how well she lined up with Amelia's body and character traits,
no matter how many women shared the same 'Irene' identity, Bill stressed that he knew for certain she was not the former Amelia
Earhart, even though he could not prove it.
We ended up going our separate ways with our separate
beliefs. Bill kept trying to enlist me as a full fledge member of the AES, but it was someting I'd never been interested in
calling myself. Bill Prymak's voice was the only authoritative AES voice, and I wasn't about to let him speak for me through
his organization. I would soon learn he told others I was an AES member, and he that he had convinced me Joe Gervais was wrong
about AE changing her name to Irene. His agenda became very recognizable.
The following year
Bill Prymak called me again. He was inviting me to Las Vegas where he and his AES contingency were to honor Joe Gervais for
his forty-five years of unparalleled investigative research into Amelia Earhart's disappearance. He would comp me a room at
Cesar's Palace, telling me both Joe and Rollin had requested my presence and wanted me to display more in-progress results
of my forensic study. So I went. But knowing what I knew about Bill Prymak's true opinion about the Gervais-Irene, I felt
like I was a party to his odd hypocrisy by not letting Gervais know how adamant Prymak was against promoting the most important
truth he knew. I felt I'd newly realized that for the previous ten years Joe Gervais had been an unsuspecting victim of bait-and-switch
salesmanship. The impression I got, was that Bill Prymak would do anything to make sure people, and the news media especially,
were never to take Joe's claim about the Gervais-Irene seriously. It almost began to appear as if that was a big reason the
AES existed as it did under his autonomous control. Proponents of the Marshalls theory grew to respect him over the years
in the meantime, as described by researcher/author Mike Campbell in recent years:
“Bill Prymak, founder of the Amelia Earhart Society of
Researchers, is among the last of the old vanguard of Earhart researchers that once included such luminaries as
Ron Reuther, Thomas Devine, Rollin Reineck, Vincent V. Loomis and Joe Gervais, and at 85, he is still sharp
as a tack. His hand-bound two-volume collection of Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, produced from December 1989
to March 2000 in his Broomfield, Colo. office is, without question, among the greatest collections of original Earhart research
extant, rivaled only by Fred Goerner’s papers, 900 files on hand at the Admiral Nimitz Museum, in Fredericksburg,
Texas. Bill has never been one to seek the limelight but his three Marshall
Islands expeditions in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in some of the finest original Earhart eyewitness and
witness testimony ever recorded.”
Campbell did not mention, is the bulk of what Bill Prymak’s AES newsletters contained was basically reprinted information
originally researched by Joe Gervais, Fred Goerner, Rollin Reineck, Vincent V. Loomis, Randall Brink, Ron Reuther and a few
others. Prymak didn't do much investigative research himself. Moreover, he rounded up those on the who’s who list of
everyone who ever contributed significant investigative research that supported the ‘Earhart ended up in the Marshall
Islands with the Japanese’ claim, in order to give them one collective, albeit monitored-by-himself voice by way of
his AES club. Of his trips to the Marshall Islands, two of which he took Joe Gervais with him, those basically amounted to
little more than duplications of investigative research Gervais, Goerner and others did beforehand. Mike Campbell also did
not mention that Gervais had willed his own incredible trove of Earhart investigative research to the University of Texas
at Dallas, who received it after his passing in 2005, and he wouldn’t know it, but Rollin Reineck willed his thirty
years of accumulated investigative research files to yours truly, that were shipped to me after Rollin’s passing in
A Note From USAF Major Joseph A. Gervais (Ret.)
Your writing breathes life into the fascinating story
that has consumed my interest for more than forty years. Of course, as in the generally held opinion
of the public, that A. E. simply crashed her plane and disappeared in the Pacific--a
theory which seems to be promoted by our government--would not have held my interest
these many years--if true.
I have never felt that the AE-FN disappearance solution was my proprietary
property. Rather, I have been sharing my findings with those as deeply interested as
I am, in the hope that the final information could be obtained by pressing the government
to release documents that can resolve
The Arizona Republic by John Faherty (2007)
"Swindell is a filmmaker,
among other things, who for more than ten years 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 that are quite startling..."- John Faherty, The Arizona Republic
Press (Also on CNN)
"We were inclined to think Irene probably was not
Amelia. However 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."
The now late John Bolam, referring to the in-progress Swindell/Beyond 37' Forensic
Analysis in a 2002 Associated Press
article by Ron Staton. John Bolam was the survived Brother of Irene's British
husband, Guy who she wed in 1958. He believed Guy (who died in 1970) was British MI6.
Scoop Archives, National Press Circuit of New Zealand
by Rosalea Barker, 2002
"After watching [some of his
documentary footage] and looking at the self-published book by researcher, Tod Swindell,
who employed the methods and expertise of forensic anthropologists to compare AE and
IB physically, I think Joe Gervais was right. Swindell's book is called 'The People
vs. The Executive Office' and it is his use of that title that really got my interest."
the overall 'Earhart Research Symposium' Ms.
Barker attended with three hundred others, before drawing her above conclusion Ms. Barker
described the 'symposium' the following way:
"For two days many knowledgeable people had been explaining their
theories and supporting them with the fruits of their research to the point where
I felt like I was trying to separate black sheep from white in a computer game that
kept randomly changing the colour of sheep. Just when I thought all the facts had been marshalled in support of
one theory, those same facts would be marshalled in support of another, completely opposite
one." Rosalea Barker - Scoop Archives, New Zealand, 2002. A stateside New Zealand News Journalist, Ms. Barker had just
attended the Oakland Western Aerospace Museum's 'Earhart Research Symposium.'
she understands why Earhart would not want her identity known after returning to the United
States.""She was tired of being famous and her privacy was important to
her,"" she said. Foudray also believes the research of Gervais and Swindell is 'just the tip of the iceberg.'"
Lou Foudray of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison,
Kansas. From a Topeka Capital-Journal Article by Jan Biles, 2004
The Contra Costa Times
"Tod Swindell, an Earhart researcher
since 1991, 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, The Contra
Costa Times, 2002.
Forensic Study Reaction Statements:
"I have carefully studied the overlays and your presentation. Your conclusion that there were two
Irene Bolams has completely convinced me that this is indeed the case. You have also
convinced me that the Gervais-Irene was AE. Incredible. You have quite an impressive
package there. Keep charging - Gene." From a note
to Tod Swindell from Retired Navy Rear Admiral, Eugene Tissot. Tissot's Father, Ernie was a friend of Amelia's
who had served as 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."
Note from USAF Colonel Rollin C. Reineck (Ret.) to
Tod Swindell. Colonel Reineck was also one of the four original recipients of the first
distributed forensic analysis results. In 11/04 Reineck's book Amelia
Earhart Survived was published through the Paragon Agency, duly crediting Swindell's forensic
argument achievements. Featured in the book from pages 156 to 165 are several samples
and photos separating the different identified 'Irene's' reproduced directly from the
|Amelia Earhart, age twenty-six.
|1923 into a mirror self-photo portrait. She would become famous in 1928.
|Amelia Earhart, 1933
|Classic Amelia, the superimposing begins.
|Orville Wright & Amelia