The Obfuscated Reality Of Amelia Earhart's 1937 World Flight Outcome

Detours Taken In Pursuit Of Answers; The Real Joe Gervais

Home Page: Amelia Earhart
Protecting Earhart's Up-To-Date Recap
About 'Protecting Earhart'
Forensic Comparisons: Naturally Revealing The Truth
Amelia Earhart: Controversial 'Leaked' U.S. State Department Information
Why The Public Never Knew What Happened To Amelia
The 1982 'Red Herring' Woodbridge New Jersey News Tribune Series
The History of Amelia Earhart Mystery 'Investigative Research'
Detours Taken In Pursuit Of Answers; The Real Joe Gervais
Amelia Earhart Press Notice Samples
TIGHAR's Misguided 'Nikumaroro Castaways' Claim
Protecting Earhart's Investigation Results
Separating Fact From Fiction About Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart AKA 'The New Irene Craigmile'...
The U.S. Military And State Department Grew More Aware During The World War Two Era...
Photo Evidence Of Amelia's Plane In The Marshall Islands
Hiding The Truth With Photo Forgeries
Why The Truth About Amelia Earhart Was Dismissed
To The White House: An Open Letter About Amelia Earhart
Forensic Analysis Support: Seeking Privacy, Amelia Options For A New Identity
Monsignor James Francis Kelley & Astronaut Wally Schirra Discuss Amelia Earhart
About Irene Madeline O'Crowley Craigmile Heller Bolam; Did You Know?
A Less Recalled Look At Amelia Earhart's 1937 Disappearance
Amelia Earhart: True or False
Three Women Used The Same 'Irene' Identity, One Was FKA 'Amelia Earhart'

This website 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 there.

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.

Discovering 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.
The 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.
That's 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.
What happened..... was Joe Gervais.
Joe Gervais, 1983

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.
It 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 to.
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.
All 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.'
But 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."
McGraw-Hill 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.
In 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.
The 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 and CBS.
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. 
Fred 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 veracity.
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 for herself.
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 dumbed-down masses.'
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.
As 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 Watergate." 
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' scenario.
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.
Enter 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 as well.
Bill Prymak's 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.
Except 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.
A 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.
In 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.
Soon, 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 Amelia Earhart.
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.”

What Mike 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 2007.

A Note From USAF Major Joseph A. Gervais (Ret.)  8/11/99
Dear Tod,
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 it all.
Sincerely, Joe Gervais

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 1/21/07

The Associated 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."
About 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.'  
The Topeka Capital-Journal
"Foudray said 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 analysis.   

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 superimposing begins.

Orville Wright & Amelia

Enter supporting content here

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 first 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 in 2014. For publishing and subsidiary film rights availability, phone 323-317-0886 or send an e-mail inquiry to the above provided address.
Protecting Earhart is dedicated to the 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 special thanks also goes out to Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, whose enormous help with supplying never before made public 'Irene' photo data and handwritten letters in 2002, paved the way for the overall forensic comparison study to eventually reach its reality based conclusion. Thanks as well to former CIA operative, Bazzell Baz, who breathed some additional life into the 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 suspected 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 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 Tod Swindell's 'Protecting Earhart' forensic analysis. Portions of the 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.

This site  The Web

Web site hosting by