The Landmark '1997-2017 Swindell Study' Of Amelia Earhart's Missing Person Case

About The Real 'Original' Irene Craigmile, Amelia Earhart's 1930s "Pal"

Home Page: Amelia Earhart
About The Real 'Original' Irene Craigmile, Amelia Earhart's 1930s "Pal"
About Tod Swindell
Reality Check: The 'Missing Person Case' Of Amelia Earhart
1982 Irene Craigmile Newspaper FRAUD Uncovered By The Swindell Study
Tod Swindell: One Filmmaker's Amazing Amelia Earhart Journey
Amelia Earhart: A True Story
Forensically Comparing Amelia Earhart To Irene Craigmile Bolam
About Monsignor James Francis Kelley
The Universal Truth About Amelia Earhart
Books Published On Amelia Earhart Research And Investigations

Coming This Fall: An investigative research journey spanning two decades culminates with the release of the anticipated documentary, Protecting Earhart.
©1997-2017 Amelia Earhart Compared To Irene Craigmile (Bolam) Forensic Research Analysis
©2004-2014 Protecting Earhart & WGAw Registration  ©2007-2019 Website  
 'The Swindell Study'

About The Real, Original Irene Craigmile:


According to a 1982 newspaper article, this photo shows the original Irene Craigmile with a son she had in 1934 during her brief marriage to Al Heller. 

Below is a page from the 'September 1, 1932' Akron Beacon Journal. Outlined in white is Amelia Earhart, who had stunned the world just three months earlier by becoming the first woman solo a plane across the Atlantic. The original Irene Craigmile is outlined in black



The original Irene Craigmile was not yet a licensed pilot when this newspaper photo was taken. Note: Further down is a brief version of her life story.


'Irene Craigmile' is listed between charter 99's members, Viola Gentry and Edith Foltz. Irene Craigmile only flew briefly and never joined the 99's, the international organization for women pilots formed by Amelia Earhart and other women pilots in 1929. Amelia was the 99's first president.


After Amelia Earhart married George Putnam in 1931, for a while she went by the name of 'Amelia Earhart Putnam,' just as she is listed here between her fellow 99's charter members, Dorothea Leh and future 'National Air and Space Museum Wall of Honor' inductee, Abbie Dill (Haddaway).

Preface: The Real, 'Original' Irene Craigmile

"Among the more miss-conveyed high profile news accounts of the Twentieth Century was the story of Amelia Earhart's long-ago pilot friend, Irene Craigmile. Especially where it concerned her later-life uncanny resemblance to Amelia. Before the forensic study most people had determined there wasn't anything to the Irene-Amelia controversy that was buried in the 1970s almost as fast as it surfaced. Ultimately, the results of the study proved there was a lot to it by displaying how Amelia Earhart and the original Irene Craigmile were entirely different looking human beings prior to the World War Two years. It wasn't until after the war that Amelia Earhart and her 'old pal,' Irene Craigmile began to look like carbon copies of each other, and when all was said and done there was only one way to explain such an anomaly." Tod Swindell



Above: An old newspaper article identified this person as Amelia's 1930s pilot friend, Irene Craigmile in 1932. Accordingly, the photo would have been taken a year after her husband, Charles James Craigmile, died from appendicitis The photo quality is poor and the origin of it is questionable. It likely does not depict the original Irene Craigmile, nor does the person in it resemble Amelia Earhart.

About "Truth"

"Truth is not a mystery -- its greatest secrets are yours to know through simple honesty and surrender to what that honesty reveals." John de Ruiter 



Above left and right are two photos of the original Irene Craigmile during her brief flying days. The middle photo, dated '1937' identified her vacationing alone in Florida with her 1934 born son. Below is the original Irene Craigmile in 1930 between her husband, Charles James Craigmile and her father, Richard Joseph O'Crowley. Her image is contrast enhanced underneath it. Note: Clear photo images of the original Irene Craigmile displaying her prior to the World War Two era proved to be non-extant.


©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'

The Original Irene Craigmile
A Brief Look At Her Life Story  By Tod Swindell
[Excerpted rom his MSS, Protecting Earhart, ©2017 and the 1997-2017 Swindell Study ©2017]

The original Irene Craigmile's life was at times subjected to difficult circumstances.
Her birth name was 'Irene Madalaine O'Crowley,' although she was also known as 'Beatrice' and her middle name was often spelled by her family as, 'Madeline.' (Her birth certificate was never located.)

Seven years younger than Amelia Earhart, the original Irene Craigmile was an only child whose mother died when she was twelve. Her father, Richard Joseph O'Crowley remarried another woman after his growing daughter had already been sent to live with her paternal grandmother and aunt in Newark, New Jersey.

Since her paternal aunt's name was also 'Irene,' the original Irene was nicknamed 'Beatrice' and she became commonly known that way. This led to school friends and family informally calling her "Bee." Even her 1928 wedding announcement listed her as "Beatrice O'Crowley." when she was married to Charles James Craigmile.

After high school, in 1922 the original Irene briefly attended Columbia University but chose not to keep pursuing a higher education. She also twice became pregnant out of wedlock, the first time at age twenty-one and the second time at age twenty-eight, and she delivered sons both times that she never had the opportunity to raise or know beyond their childhoods.

The original Irene's first husband, Charles James Craigmile, tragically died in 1931, less than three years after the two were wed. A year later, Amelia, who was a good Zonta organization friend of the original Irene Craigmile's aunt, and Amelia's well-known pilot friend, Viola Gentry, helped introduce the original Irene to the world of piloting airplanes.
This took a hard turn as well, leading to the second of the original Irene Craigmile's two unwed pregnancies due to an affair she had with her last flight instructor, Al Heller. The original Irene realized she was carrying Al's child at the same time she earned her pilot's license in late May of 1933. She and Al eloped to Ohio to marry that August to legitimize their child and the original Irene barely flew again after that. The couple's marriage soon disintegrated, though, and it is evident by 1937 any civil communication between the original Irene and Al ceased when Al relocated alone to Buffalo, New York. The annulment of their marriage and an ugly child visitation and custody rights battle commenced soon after that as well, with Amelia's Zonta friend, attorney Irene Rutherford O'Crowley, the aforementioned original Irene Craigmile's aunt guiding the annulment process.

The original Irene Craigmile never had a professional career but she was employed for awhile as a 'floor walker' at Macy's in the 1930s, that was basically a low pay shelf-straightening and light 'store security' position. For awhile Amelia had a boutique in the same Macy's where she sold her self-designed clothing and luggage lines, and she may have been instrumental in getting the original Irene Craigmile hired there.
The true fate of the original Irene Craigmile remains unknown in the public arena. What is decipherable is at some point, while she was still in her thirties, she no longer appeared in plain view and in due time clear photo records of her person were all-but expunged.
One also does not find Irene Craigmile's pre-1940s image anywhere in the post-1940 photographic record of Irene Craigmile's person. In 1982, a news article series that appeared in the New Jersey Tribune after Irene's death was reported amid renewed speculation that she was the former Amelia Earhart, featured a conglomeration of photos from prior to the World War Two era in it that combined unclear images of the original Irene Craigmile with images of the surrogate mother figure of her 1934 born son, Larry Heller. It also featured some poorly executed photo forgeries to cloud the historic photographic trail of Irene Craigmile. This 'red-herring' effort was intent on leaving all curious souls who observed the photos completely unaware that they were actually looking at images of three different human beings combined to appear as one life-long person. The three different people were the original Irene Craigmile, the surrogate mother Irene Craigmile, and the former Amelia Earhart Irene Craigmile. 

Back to the progeny of the original Irene Craigmile:

The original Irene's first born son, that she delivered out of wedlock in 1926 two years before she married Charles Craigmile, was adopted and raised by her paternal uncle, Dr. Clarence Rutherford O'Crowley, and his wife, her aunt Violet. The boy's given name was Clarence Rutherford O'Crowley Jr. He died in 2014. Her other 1934 born son whose father was Al Heller, ended up being raised by a surrogate mother figure. He was also placed in a boarding school during the war years. He lives today known as Clarence Alvin 'Larry' Heller, and he identifies a different 'Irene' to have been his mother than the 'Irene' who matched Amelia Earhart after the mid-1940s. This is because after World War Two ended, Amelia Earhart, who had gone missing in 1937 and was declared "dead in absentia" in 1939 (even though she did not actually die) assumed the left over identity of the original Irene Craigmile for her later life use.

In other words, the person who was known as Amelia Earhart was to remain 'legally dead' forever after said declaration was made in 1939, even though her body lived on to become known as 'Irene' until the death of Irene Craigmile Bolam was recorded in 1982.

Both of the original Irene's natural born sons were aware of the assertion of it, but appeared unaware that their biological mother's identity was additionally attributed to the former Amelia Earhart after the war years. It also remains uncertain if the original Irene Craigmile's first born son, Clarence Rutherford O'Crowley Jr., was ever made aware that the original Irene Craigmile was his true biological mother. In 2003, his daughter, New Jersey newspaper journalist, Peggy O'Crowley, mentioned that her father's biological O'Crowley birthright had always existed as a "family bone of contention." In other words his own progeny was left uncertain when it came to the question of their father's biological lineage.

Larry Heller, the 1934 born son of Al Heller and the original Irene Craigmile, was always put-off by people who questioned if Amelia Earhart was his mother. He was justified to feel that way since the woman he recognized as his mother from childhood on until her death was recorded in 1982 (as conveyed) was an entirely different Irene Craigmile than the one whose post-World War Two image and character traits forensically aligned with Amelia Earhart's.



The second Irene Craigmile identified by her son, Clarence 'Larry' Heller as, "my mother, around 1940."
©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'


Above, a "1970s" dated photo of the Irene Craigmile Bolam identified by her son, adorning the cover of her Memorial Dinner program. Where Irene Craigmile Bolma's death was recorded on July 7, 1982... the question remains to this day: Who actually died in 1982, the Irene Craigmile Bolam shown above or the former Amelia Earhart (shown below) who used the same 'Irene' identity in her later life years?


Above, the younger and older versions of the Irene Craigmile Bolam identified by her son are superimposed, displaying one in the same human being. She was not the same Irene Craigmile Bolam, AKA 'the former Amelia Earhart' who Joseph A. Gervais met and photographed in 1965, even though according to history she should have been.

©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'


Above, Amelia Earhart in 1937, the year she went missing.


The two left and right photos superimposed. ©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'


Above is the 1965 Joseph A. Gervais photo he took of Irene Craigmile Bolam. This was not the same Irene Craigmile Bolam who appeared on the cover the Memorial Dinner program above, even though history still maintains she was. Anymore it is a plain reality how in total there were three different Twentieth Century women attributed to the same Irene Craigmile Bolam identity, and this one used to be known as Amelia Earhart. The United States Department of Justice and the Smithsonian Institution have let reality down in what can only be described as a 'misleading manner.' The have done so by refusing to address the information gained in the new millennium--that fortified the awareness of the truth about Amelia Earhart being withheld from the general public dating back to the World War Two years. In essence, since its inception in 1997, the Swindell Study evolved to become an incontestable forensic reveal of this high-level historical deception.

The final conclusion about the past connective tissue that linked the original Irene Craigmile to Amelia Earhart is this:

Amelia Earhart's ongoing existence after she went 'missing' in 1937, and her eventual assuming of the original Irene Cragmile's identity, that for the last half of her life she shared with Larry Heller's surrogate mother figure, now exists as the obvious known-truth about what became of Amelia Earhart and it is a shame the world public continues to be misled about it.



Tod Swindell

This page is devoted to the original Irene Craigmile, a once budding pilot in the 1930s who was acquainted with Amelia Earhart. Joseph A. Gervais first became curious about who Irene Craigmile was in the 1960s while endeavoring in his in-depth investigation of what went wrong with Amelia Earhart's last flight. His years of research dedicated to finding the real Irene Craigmile preceded my own but were not as forensically extensive, especially in a comparative way. In 1965, when Joe Gervais met the woman who handed him a business card identifying herself as "Irene Craigmile," it was on the same day he noticed the great respect she commanded among other noteworthy pilots from the early days of aviation. He felt that not only did she look very familiar to him, but he also wondered why he never heard of someone who was held in such high esteem by her peers, to include Amelia's former good pilot friend, Viola Gentry, who had introduced him to her. As the story about Irene Craigmile played out after my comparison study began, it soon became evident there had been more than one woman attributed to the same Irene Craigmile identity. To recap, the real Irene Craigmile's birth name was 'Irene O'Crowley.' Born in 1904, she married Charles Craigmile in the late 1920s and Amelia Earhart did come to know her as 'Irene Craigmile' sometime after that, but today no one knows what became of the real, original 'Irene Craigmile,' and having to embrace this truth marked a sad realization for me. What my study revealed is at some point in time while in her thirties, the original Irene Craigmile no longer appeared in plain view. Whatever became of you, Irene O'Crowley Craigmile, there is no doubt Amelia loved you and greatly appreciated how you ended up helping her so profoundly. She was even proud to be known as 'Irene Craigmile Bolam' in her later-life years, thanks to her memory of your spirit. TS   


©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'

Above: In 1987, Diana Dawes, a former Princeton, New Jersey radio show host who was one of Irene Craigmile Bolam's better friends in the 1970s, recalled some revealing anecdotes about her late friend as newspapers around the country marked the 50th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's storied 'disappearance.' Ms. Dawes, who firmly believed her late friend, Irene had formerly been known as Amelia Earhart, mentioned on a high shelf in Irene's closet she noticed a uniform collection of "large leather bound ledger-books with the letters 'AE' embossed on their spines." In the above excerpt about the "christening dress," the former Amelia Earhart slips and refers to her long gone friend, the original Irene Craigmile, in a past-tense way when she replied to Diana's question, "That was Irene's."


As Amelia Earhart transitioned from her thirties to the way she looked in her early seventies (see below) no matter how one may try to soften the reality blow, it's as if the universe itself has finally delivered this landmark amazing truth to all. It did so by gifting us the recognizable older version of Amelia Earhart when she was known as 'Irene.' The following now exists as an absolute forensic certainty: After Amelia Earhart went missing in 1937 she did not die. She changed her name for the sake of her future privacy and continued living a meaningful and productive life to a ripe old age. Uell Andersen may have said it best when he mentioned how 'after thirty-years of absence it can be hard for families to recognize a loved one.' People do age and more often than not their features harden in the process. The samples shown here, featured among the hundreds of physical and character trait comparisons from the massive 1997-2017 conducted Swindell Study, speak for themselves:


From early adulthood on, as decades pass people do age and their facial features often harden and grow to look care-worn during the process.


Above, a photo of Amelia when she was thirty-one, taken by George Putnam.


The two left and right photos superimposed. ©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'


Above, photo of Irene Craigmile Bolam at her 1970 press conference.

Below: Welcome home, the former Amelia Earhart.



©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'


"Your work relating to Amelia Earhart and Irene Craigmile is absolutely outstanding. There is no other way to describe it." Amelia Earhart author-historian, Colonel Rollin C. Reineck, USAF (Ret.) responding to the long-term, Amelia Earhart compared to Irene Craigmile forensic research study conducted by Tod Swindell.



©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'

"Nothing is as invisible as the obvious." Richard Farson



©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'



©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'



©2017 'The 1997-2017 Swindell Study'

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In 2017, Protecting Earhart's, Tod Swindell finalized and copyrighted his long term Irene Craigmile Bolam Versus Amelia Earhart forensic research and human comparison study. His study results enabled him to claim the forensic solving of Amelia Earhart's eight decades old missing person case in his name and in the names of his long-time collaborators, Randall Brink, Joseph A. Gervais (posthumously), Rollin C. Reineck (posthumously), and Joe Klaas (posthumously).
To contact Tod Swindell directly about his multi-tiered Amelia Earhart IP objectives, including rights to his feature film, "The Lost Electra," his Earhart animation project, and various literary IP's, not to leave out his two-decades long 'Irene-Amelia journey,' send an e-mail query to or phone his voice-mail at 323-317-0886. Viable reach outs will be put in touch with his Entertainment Attorney. Thank You.

Click here to e-mail Protecting Earhart/ E-mail address: advertises nothing but the truth about Amellia Earhart. It has existed as a World Wide Web internet website since 2007. Although periodically shouted down by naysayers, it has never been overchallenged. It features researcher, Tod Swindell's first ever embarked on, "Comprehensive Forensic Analysis and Forensic Comparison Study" that, 1.) Proved more than one person used the same 'Irene' identity. 2.) Displayed the head-to-toe physical and character-traits congruence the Joseph A. Gervais 1965 recognized "Irene Bolam" shared with Amelia Earhart. 3.) Proved the Joseph A. Gervais 1965 recognized "Irene Craigmile Bolam" appeared nowhere identified as 'Irene' prior to the mid-1940s, ultimately concluding against the grain fo conventional knowledge, that she and Amelia Earhart marked the same physical human being in younger and older forms going by different names.
Tod Swindell's forensic analysis endeavor was initiated in 1997. It first received national notice in 2002 while it was in progress. His original titled 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. It was again copyrighted in 2017 with additional combined elements from the forensic study newly inserted, # TXu 2-061-539. For subsidiary-rights inquiries call 323-317-0886 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 major thank you goes to Tod Swindell's chief collaborative partner, Lost Star author, Randall Brink, who worked directly with Joseph Gervais for well over a decade before introducing Tod Swindell to him in 1996. A thanks also goes out to pilot-author, Ann Holtgren Pellegreno, who supplied additional 'Irene' photo data and handwritten letters for the study, along with much similar data Joseph Gervais and Rollin Reineck forwarded Tod's way after it was transferred from a 1970s good friend of Mrs. Bolam's, the late Diana Dawes. All of these elements combined enabled the study to reach its reality based conclusion. Thanks as well to former CIA operative, Bazzell Baz, who provided some keen insight to this Earhart truth seeking endeavor when it was first getting underway in Santa Monica, CA in the mid-1990s.
Joseph A. Gervais, who is still 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 Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam, AKA the Gervais-Irene, FKA 'Amelia Earhart.'
From Tod Swindell: "Regardless of the fallout caused by Amelia Earhart Lives after 1970, my good friends, Major Gervais and Colonel Reineck spent the remaining decades of their lives working to better advance the reality of Amelia Earhart's name-changed survival to authenticity, after enduring their own long term evaluations of the existing evidence that supported it. Their efforts, but especially the decades old, never wavering "Amelia became Irene" assertion made by Joseph A. Gervais, inspired me to orchestrate the forensic analysis that ultimately proved their long held beliefs correct. Colonel Reineck's book, Amelia Earhart Survived that was published in late 2003, and was driven by my 'newly embarked on' forensic comparison study. Portions of my study appeared in his book, although a more extensively display of my material is seen here in Colonel Reineck's book was also the first to credit my study for "proving" how one of the Twentieth Century women who used the same 'Irene' identity had been previously known as Amelia Earhart."
Protecting Earhart, Beyond 37', and are the intellectual properties of Aether Pictures, LLC.

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