Amelia Earhart: What The General Public Never Knew

What President Roosevelt Knew, What The FBI Knew, & Amelia's Sister On Her friend, 'Irene'

Home Page: Amelia Earhart
About 'Operation Earhart' (1960-1970)
About Tod Swindell
Drumming Out False Earhart History
The 1980s and 1990s Words Of Monsignor James Francis Kelley On Amelia Earhart
Past Significant Amelia Earhart Disappearance Investigations
Comparing Amelia Earhart To Irene O'Crowley Craigmile (Surname 'Bolam' added in 1958)
About The Irene-Amelia Forensic Analysis Results
The Reality of Amelia Earhart Versus 'Freedom of the Press'
The Amelia Earhart We Barely Knew...
What President Roosevelt Knew, What The FBI Knew, & Amelia's Sister On Her friend, 'Irene'
Newspaper Fraud Tried To Hide The Truth In 1982

This Section: What President Roosevelt's Administration withheld, What The FBI Knew, Amelia's Mother's Thoughts On What Happened To Amelia, And Amelia's Sister On Her later Life Friend, 'Irene O'Crowley Craigmile-Bolam'


"It would be awful to make it public." Part of an official White House transcript, this comment made by FDR staffer, Stephen Gibbons, pertained to information the White House knew about Amelia Earhart's 1937 world flight outcome the general public remained unaware of. The statement was recorded nine months after Amelia was said to have disappeared without a trace. The FDR administration's refusal to disclose what it knew left Amelia classified as 'a missing person' until she was declared "dead in absentia" in January of 1939, at which point the 'missing person case' of Amelia Earhart was closed. See more about what the White House withheld about Amelia further down.
"Numerous investigations foundered on official silence in Washington leaving the fate of Amelia Earhart an everlasting mystery." Part of aviation historians, Marilyn Bender and Selig Altschul's evaluation of Amelia Earhart's 1937 disappearance. From their 1982 book, The Chosen Instrument.
In 1997, fifteen years after Bender and Altschul's astute observation was made, Tod Swindell's collaborative study that he embarked on with investigator, Joseph A. Gervais, and Amelia Earhart authors, Randall Brink and Rollin Reineck, commenced with a different kind of in-depth analysis of Amelia Earhart's 1937 'disappearance' and subsequent 'missing person' case.



Senator Hiram Bingham
& Amelia Earhart


Amelia & the post-war only Irene



The post-World War Two only
Irene Craigmile in 1977. Notice her
proud stature, air of self importance,
and prominently displayed pilot wings.
She was identified nowhere as Irene
Craigmile prior to the end of the war,
because she had previously been
known as, Amelia Earhart. 


How the reality of Amelia Earhart's post-war existence as 'Irene' initially surfaced before it was swiftly shouted down:


In 1965, a retired USAF Major met the woman above at a New York gathering of well known pilots from the golden age of aviation. He thought she looked hauntingly familiar to him and found the air of importance she commanded curious--because he'd never heard of her before--so he decided to look into her past. He astonished himself when he figured out who she used to be. Except the woman became very angry when he publicly asserted his realization. She dogmatically decried it as well, leaving the retired air force major to become a subject of ridicule. He was still certain he was correct, though, and he lived the remainder of his days professing so to his dying day. The USAF Major's name was Joseph A. Gervais, (1924-2005) a decorated pilot who had served in World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam. It was not until the results of a new millennium forensic comparison study began to be released that people finally began to understand the veracity of what Joseph A. Gervais had long known about Amelia Earhart.


Amelia Earhart, age 39 in 1937



Amelia & post-WWII Irene


Post-WWII only Irene, 1965
Photo taken by Joseph A. Gervais

Amelia's Sister, Muriel's Viewpoint
and her Mother, Amy Otis Earhart's Viewpoint



Above left: Amelia's sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey. Above right: The former Amelia Earhart living as 'Irene' in 1965.

Amazingly enough, Grace 'Muriel' Earhart Morrissey, Amelia's only sibling, actually did know her older sister as 'Irene' in her later life years. Of course, after the book, Amelia Earhart Lives outed Amelia's post-war alias of 'Irene' in 1970, Muriel as well refused to admit who her later life friend, Irene, used to be.
In 1982, when pressed by a reporter about it, Muriel admitted, "of course I know Irene," adding how they were both, 'Zonta organization sisters.' [Note: While Amelia Earhart was a famous Zonta member in the 1930s, the original Irene Craigmile never belonged to the Zontas, a prominent organization for 'professional career women.' The original Irene Craigmile never had a profession, let alone a 'career' before she died prior to the start of World War Two.]
Muriel vocally deplored the controversy that arose over her sister's post-war alias and was quick to admonish anyone who brought it up.
To anyone who claimed her later-life friend, Irene, resembled her missing sister, Muriel typically responded by saying the suggestion was "ridiculous," and she was sure to add, "there is practically no physical resemblance" between the two. 
The comparison analysis, the first one ever done that commenced after Muriel's passing, proved otherwise. As well, in the above photo of Muriel, it is easy to see that she herself physically resembled her later life friend, Irene, in what could be described as a sisterly looking way.
Not to leave out, the original Irene Craigmile looked nothing like the post-war only Irene Craigmile.
Muriel died in 1998, at the age of 98. Her daughter, Amy, who was five years old when her Aunt Amelia went missing, has always adhered to the same disposition her mother maintained. That is, 'Amelia went missing in 1937 and she was never seen again.'
Amelia's mother, Amy Otis Earhart, was never shy about voicing her opinion when it came to what she believed happened to her daughter. She was certain Amelia ended up being sequestered by Japan and for at least awhile she maintained Amelia was still alive during the war years. (Note the articles beneath the following picture.) Amy Otis Earhart died in 1962, eight years before the controversy over post-war only Irene Craigmile Bolam's true identity made national news.  


Above: Amelia Earhart's family in a March of 1937 publicity photo, a few months before Amelia went missing. Left to right are Amelia's sister, Muriel; her niece, Amy; her mother, Amy Otis Earhart; and her nephew, David. Amelia's father, Edwin, who her mother had separated from in 1924, died in 1929.



Above left: An article from 1947, two years after World War Two ended, relays how Amelia's mother, Amy Otis Earhart, no longer believed her daughter, Amelia, was still alive. During the war years she had maintained that her daughter, Amelia, was alive and being held by Japan. Above right, another article from 1949 describes Amy Otis Earhart's assertion that her daughter, Amelia 'died' in Japan during the war years.
Of further note, Amelia's well-known pilot friend from the 1930s, Viola Gentry, had also maintained that Amelia was alive in Japan's care during the war years, yet after the war ended, Viola as well offered that Amelia 'likely died' while in Japan's custody. This is because Viola Gentry, (who also knew Amelia as 'Irene' in her later life years) along with Amelia's sister, Muriel, and no doubt, Amy Otis Earhart as well, were made aware that Amelia had survived the duration of the war--and for the sake of her future privacy, and to spare the U.S. and Japan the embarassment of having to admit deception from both sides about it, Amelia willingly agreed to be further known as 'Irene Craigmile' after the war. All who who knew about this recognized how Amelia's post-war survival and name change to 'Irene' was something the general public was never supposed to know.
Curiously, Amy Otis Earhart had attended the 1949 'Tokyo Rose' trial of Iva Toguri on a daily basis. She was aware it had been believed, at least in some military channels, that Amelia's war time detainment had inspired Japan to coyly invent its 'Tokyo Rose' broadcasts in an effort to confuse U.S. soldiers in the Pacific theater--by making them wonder if the detained Amelia Earhart had been coerced to broadcast as 'Tokyo Rose.' Former U.S. soldiers who testified in the Tokyo Rose trial offered that when Tokyo Rose signed off she did so by saying, "This is Tokyo Rose, good night, and try and sleep if you can." One outright testified that he believed the voice of Tokyo Rose that he heard sounded "just like Amelia Earhart."
Iva Toguri's broadcast name had been 'Orphan Ann' not 'Tokyo Rose.' After her trial ended, the FBI  filed an 'official report' stating there never was a radio broadcaster who called herself 'Tokyo Rose', rather, that the name had been a war-time G.I. invention.
Iva Toguri was a UCLA educated American citizen. While visiting some of her family she found herself stuck in Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack. She spent the duration of the war there, during which time she claimed she was all but 'forced' to deliver broadcasts because of her ability to speak good English. After VJ Day she was offered $2000 by two American reporters to identify herself as the elusive Tokyo Rose. She agreed to do so, even though she never went by that name when she delivered her radio broadcasts. She also testified she never received the money that was promised her.
An unsympathetic jury convicted Iva of treason, although she would always maintain her innocence. As his last official act, President Ford finally pardoned Iva in 1975.   


1970: The Irene-Amelia
Controversy Begins
Below details how the story of how the Irene-Amelia controversy first surfaced in 1970, before the former Amelia Earhart strongly dismissed it out of hand. Contrary to popular belief, the Irene-Amelia identity controversy was never settled, rather, it just faded from view.


Above, when the story first broke in November of 1970, it caught Irene (the former 'AE') off guard. She had newly assumed the role of President of the Advertising Division of Radio Luxembourg in Europe, a mantle handed down to her by her late husband, Englishman Guy Bolam, who died earlier that year. After the war she had worked on executive levels in the New York banking industry until she married Guy in 1958. (Amelia had been known as a meticulous manager of her own personal and business finances.) The new book, Amelia Earhart Lives by Joe Klaas, that was inspired by the investigative research of Joseph A. Gervais, accurately pegged the post-war only Irene for who she used to be, except it was published without her endorsement or cooperation causing a problem to quickly become evident to her. In no way was she about to go back to being the famous Amelia Earhart again, so she hired high-powered attorney, Benedict Ginsbergh, who had once been part of Robert F. Kennedy's legal team, to help her shut it all down.


Above: As mentioned, the former Amelia Earhart, living as 'Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam' in November of 1970, was caught off guard when the book, Amelia Earhart Lives was published. She saw no choice but to publicly decry the book and to flat-out deny who she used to be in the process. So she waged a defamation lawsuit after her press conference, that dragged on for five years. While she cited some inaccurate statements in the book she felt were damaging to her reputation, she never proved that she was not the former Amelia Earhart, and eventually settled with Joseph A. Gervais by way of exchanging ten dollars of consideration with him. Publisher McGraw-Hill paid her $60,000 for the inaccurate statements contained in the book, including one that implied she was a potential bigamist and another that suggested she was a possible traitor to her country. Below, in late July of 1974, obscured by the Watergate scandal and President Nixon's resignation that took place two weeks later, few seemed to noticed that the four-year-old by then assertion stating Mrs. Bolam was the former Amelia Earhart--was being referred to as, "still up in the air." Today, thanks to proper historification and a long overdue forensic comparison analysis, it is obvious anymore that Amelia survived her 1937 disappearance and went on to become known as "Irene Craigmile," and then "Irene Bolam" after she married Guy Bolam of England in 1958.    



Bill Prymak, former president
of the 'Amelia Earhart Society'


Collaborators Tod Swindell and
Joseph A. Gervais in 2002

In 2004, Bill Prymak, the 1989 founding president of the Amelia Earhart Society, referred to retired USAF Major Joseph A. Gervais as, "A World War Two flying hero who is recognized as the world's leading authority regarding the subject of Amelia Earhart's disappearance."
Continue on to learn about the 1960s-to-1980s investigative research of Joseph A. Gervais--and what his decade-long collaboration with The Swindell Study determined and revealed about it.

"After watching some video and reviewing the manuscript of Tod Swindell, I think Joe Gervais was right." Stateside New Zealand Journalist, Rosalea Barker, agreeing with the findings of the Gervais-Swindell collaboration.

Bill Prymak's comment about Joseph A. Gervais may beg one to wonder why Gervais is hardly recalled today(?) For according to Prymak and most all other Earhart aficionados, it was Joseph A. Gervais who examined the circumstances surrounding Amelia Earhart's 'disappearance' and 'missing person case' more comprehensively than anyone else ever did.

The 1997-2017 Swindell Study learned the answer: In 1970, without fully realizing what the fallout of it would be, Joseph A. Gervais exposed a concealed, high-level truth about Amelia Earhart he discovered in 1965; that Amelia had quietly survived after she went missing in 1937, and in time ended up changing her name.

Except, no one was ever supposed to know this.

While the discovery Gervais made exists today as an easy to observe reality, it was categorically rejected after he tried to go public with it those years ago, and Joseph A. Gervais was shunned (for lack of a better word) by official U.S. historians as well--and this is why few people recall him today.

The Swindell Study managed to present an objective, realistic look at the hushed, truthful discovery Joseph A. Gervais made those years ago--and by combining decades of in-depth investigative research with new technology, it delivered the reality of it in no uncertain terms.

Many who are reading this right now are shaking their heads and saying to themselves:

"Not true, Amelia died when she went down in the ocean." Or... "What about that desert island Amelia was said to have died on?"

Except, did Amelia die as a result of her plane going down in the ocean? Did she die on a desert island?

It's worth noting how no real evidence of either of these things happening to Amelia Earhart ever existed.

In the meantime, over the years scores of people who lived in the region Amelia went missing in--or who visited it at some point--relayed a different story. Their number included U.S. soldiers and officers who served in the Pacific theater during World War Two. What they commonly described about Amelia's actual fate was that she did not die by way of crashing her plane into the ocean--nor did she die after suffering as a castaway on a desert island.

Rather, they expressed how within days after Amelia was declared 'missing' her rescue had quietly taken place during the July-1937 onset of the Sino-Japanese War.




Above, a Republic of the Marshall Islands 50th anniversary commemorative stamp (issued in 1987) showing the rescue of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan--and the retrieval of Amelia's Lockheed Electra from a land spit in the far lower Marshall Islands.



Above, in 2002 the Associated Press ran a story that featured the Marshall Islands Ambassador to the United Nations' expressed opinion about the true fate of Amelia Earhart. Ambassador Capelle mentioned how ever since the World War Two era it had remained "common knowledge" in his country that Amelia ended up there in 1937. Few people noticed the article or seemed to care much about it if they did. A new tabloid-like story had recently surfaced at the time--that began dominating Earhart mystery headlines. It suggested Amelia had made it to a barren island far south of the equator and died there, leaving her remains to be consumed by giant crabs.
Inauthentic as they may be, false platitudes akin to the the macabre desert island story always managed to spark more public interest when it came to ideas that attempted to account for Amelia Earhart's actual fate. At the same time, substantiated conveyances, such as Ambassador Capelle's, never received much attention.
It is worth noting hoa Ambassador Capelle's understanding of Amelia's flight ending was based on firm historical roots. For instance, beyond it being recognized as 'common knowledge' among the Marshallese people that Amelia ended up there, in 1965, Admiral Chester Nimitz, the commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet during World War Two who was put in charge of the Marshall Islands after the U.S. occupied it in 1944, outright admitted to CBS radio journalist, Fred Goerner, that it had quietly been, "known and documented in Washington" that Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, "went down in the Marshall Islands and were picked up there by Japan." 
Here's another example substantiated years after it first surfaced in 1938: 



The above article appeared in a May 25, 1938 issue of Pacific Islands Monthly magazine. The credited writer was Rev. Carl Heine of the Marshall Islands. Rev. Heine died early on during the World War Two conflict. Attorney John Heine, a distant relative and early 1960s Marshall Islands diplomat, (Heine being a common surname in the Marshalls; the current Marshall Islands President is Hilda Heine) was unaware of the article when he described to author, Randall Brink, how in 1937, he and his brother, Dwight, had helped off-load Amelia's wing-damaged plane from a Japanese Naval ship at Taroa Island in the Marshalls, while understanding that the plane's pilots, "a man and a woman" remained on board the ship at the time. It so happens Taroa is situated fairly adjacent to Maloelap Atoll.

Indications had it that Amelia was billeted at Maloelap for awhile before she was transferred to Saipan, and then later to Japan itself. [Within that mix, a false rumor later arose saying Amelia had been executed by Japan on Saipan--supposedly for spying on its installations.]

It is worth noting as well, at the time of the date on the letter, November of 1937, Amelia's office at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where the unclaimed letter was mailed from, was still being maintained by her husband, G.P. Putnam, with Amelia's secretary, Margot DeCarrie, keeping hours there. That is not to say either one of them wrote or mailed the unclaimed letter; if they did they never mentioned it. The letter may have been sent by a resident hotel neighbor who had known Amelia, and it may not have been the first and only letter mailed to Amelia at Maloelap--where the tone of the address seemed personal and familiar.



"Dear Mr. President..."
Over the years, countless letters have been written to the Oval Office requesting information about Amelia Earhart's true fate, only to receive placating, 'no information here' replies. One thing is certain, however, as notated directly below, from early on the White House did withhold pertinent information it was aware of that concerned the true fate of Amelia Earhart.


Above: President Franklin D. Roosevelt with long-time family friend and his administration's Secretary of the Treasury, Henry P. Morgenthau, Jr.

"I hope I've just got to never make it public." "Amelia Earhart disregarded orders." Quotes from an official White House transcript recorded nine months after Amelia Earhart went missing. The comments were made by FDR right hand man, Henry P. Morgenthau Jr., in response to a request forwarded his way by Eleanor Roosevelt--pertaining to what actually happened to her missing friend, Amelia.
The White House had incorrectly ascertained that after Amelia disregarded orders by choosing to head north toward Japan's Marshall Islands, and that she and her navigator died when they were shot down after they entered Japan's air space. FDR's administration later learned the duo had actually survived after ditching at Mili Atoll, and Japan had quietly sequestered them, except the U.S. was powerless to do anything about it as World War Two heated up. Directly below are excerpts from the official White House transcript referred to above, dated May 13, 1938, nine months after Amelia Earhart was declared a missing person. Henry Morgenthau Jr. is identified as "H.M.Jr." in the transcript when he speaks; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Stephen Gibbons is identified as "Gibbons" when he speaks. Together, both men had travelled the great distance from Washington DC to Hawaii just three weeks after Amelia went missing. There, they personally interviewed and debriefed Comander Thompson of the Coast Guard Cutter, Itasca, that had awaited Amelia at Howland Island; participated in the search for her after she never showed up there; and later filed a report on the last radio messages it received from Amelia and its follow up search efforts: 


The Itasca report, that eventually was released in July of 1938, had carefully been edited to eliminate the 'damaging to Amelia's reputation' material it contained. It was also altered a bit to leave the final direction Amelia ended up flying in unrevealed to future readers. What later became known through FOIA released files, was that Amelia had stated her final decision to stay on a northern heading, in an effort to head back to the Gilbert Islands.
The "any reputation she's got is gone" comment of Morgenthau's, had less to do with her "disobeying all orders" as it did with Amelia's known habit of swearing over the radio. As a plane mechanic by the name of Art Kennedy who knew Amelia  recalled, she was known to "mix in a lexicon of vulgarities" over the radio to control towers if she disapproved with the instructions or commands being given to her. In that respect, Amelia further showed how she was just 'one of the boys' when she hung around airfields and plane hangars. 
It is certain that FDR's administration had learned through U.S. Naval intelligence that Amelia ditched in the Marshalls after missing the Gilberts. Other conveyances left it aware that Amelia did not die as a result of being shot down by Japan either. Yet Japan had not allowed the U.S. to search the Marshall Islands for Amelia or her plane wreckage, and after subsequent weeks of silence, the White House either assumed, or chose to publicly exhibit its own feeling that Amelia likely died in some non-specified manner that was directly related to the premature ending of her world flight attempt.
Rather than confuse the public about it, though, FDR's administration chose to sit on what it had gleaned about Amelia's world flight outcome, that in time included Amelia's continued existence in Japan's care. Basically, FDR's administration remained quiet while hoping a viable solution or 'rescue plan' might present itself as time passed.
The solution did not arrive until the end of the war, when it was determined the still living, Amelia Earhart, would change her identity in order to enable the U.S. Federal Government, in tandem with Japan's post-war cooperation under the watchful eye of General Douglas MacArthur, the ability to permanently move-on from the notion of the U.S. or Japan ever having to publicly acknowledge the truthful aftermath that pertained to Amelia's 1937 'failed' world flight outcome. 


Amelia Earhart was a recognized pacifist before she went missing.

Her male counterpart, Charles Lindbergh, had been an outspoken isolationist leading up to World War Two as well, and he fell out of favor of President Franklin Roosevelt's administration that way. Later, from the 1950s to the 1970s, while serving his country under the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations, Lindbergh led a double life in Europe using the alias of, 'Careu Kent.' 

Beyond being a pacifist, Amelia Earhart was a very smart person who was known to stubbornly hold her ground if she deemed it necessary... and she eventually paid a price for having those character attributes.

Yet through it all, she continued to quietly exist on her own terms for many years after she was declared 'a missing person.' At the same time, she fully recognized that the person she used to be, Amelia Earhart, had been declared 'dead in absentia' in January of 1939, a declaration that was never to change.



Long time FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, shown above, personally commandeered the World War Two FBI files on Amelia Earhart. Throughout the war, reports of Amelia's continued survival overseas kept surfacing from U.S. military sources that were funneled directly to Hoover, who kept them in his charge. The FBI's war-time file on Amelia Earhart was not released until after the FOIA, and it was only partially done so with names and places blacked out. Below is a sample page extracted from the file dated December 27, 1944. Note toward the bottom the quoted statement of a Japanese intelligence officer about Amelia, "Don't worry about her well being. She is perfectly all right." In the last paragraph find the quote of "various Japanese guards" having "stated they had heard her (Earhart) over Japanese radio, others that they had seen her in Tokyo, and still others that they had heard she was alive and in Tokyo." Add to this to Admiral Chester Nimitz admitting in 1965 that it was quietly, "known and documented in Washington" that Amelia Earhart had been rescued by Japan. This information was later corroborated by Monsignor James Francis Kelley, a well known priest who in the late 1980s and early 1990s confided to various individuals that his later life friend, Irene, was actually the former Amelia Earhart--with a different name applied to her person after World War Two. (See photos of Monsignor Kelley underneath the document and read more about him throughout The Swindell Study.)          


Below find separate photographs featuring Monsignor Kelley with J. Edgar Hoover and Admiral Nimitz: 


Standing left to right; J. Edgar Hoover, Monsignor Kelley, and Archbishop Thomas Walsh. In November of 1945, Monsignor Kelley received a citation from J. Edgar Hoover for assistance rendered during the war years to the Internal Security of the Nation through the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States Department of Justice. In the late 1980s, Monsignor Kelley began disclosing to people that he helped Amelia Earhart with spiritual counseling after the war, and that he had been instrumental with her name change to 'Irene.' Kelley died in 1996. He was called 'crazy' by people who refused to believe what he said about his later life friend, Irene. 


Left to right; Admiral Chester Nimitz, Monsignor Kelley, Senator Al Hawkes


Monsignor Kelley next to a bust of himself commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute.

"FDR's administration eventually left J. Edgar Hoover's fingerprints all over Amelia Earhart's private survival and her later name-change to Irene." Joseph A. Gervais

"Amelia Earhart's hidden world flight outcome resulted in the most absurdly fake accounts ever compiled--that somehow ended up being presented as 'newsworthy' information. The old Nikumaroro bones' story merely exists as one of them." Tod Swindell


Senator Hiram Bingham and Amelia Earhart


Amelia and the post-WWII only Irene Craigmile (Bolam).

Recognizing the plurality of Amelia Earhart's 1930s acquaintance, Irene Craigmile, is the key to understanding what was learned about Amelia in the 1960s.


Once again, the above September 1, 1932 Akron, Ohio newspaper photo features Amelia Earhart (outlined in white) and the original Irene Craigmile, (outlined in black) who was not yet a licensed pilot.

The photo was taken just a few months after Amelia became the first woman to solo a plane across the Atlantic Ocean, and just a week after she became the first woman to solo a plane coast-to-coast by flying from Los Angeles, California to Newark, New Jersey.

As mentioned, in 1931, just a year before this photo was taken the original Irene Craigmile's husband, Charles James Craigmile, had tragically died. 


As it turned out there was more than one person attributed to the same 'Irene Craigmile' identity, so... Will the real 'Irene Craigmile' please stand up?

"One will not find a high-resolution photograph showing the original Irene Craigmile as she looked in the 1920s and 1930s. They don't exist in the public realm anymore. 'Haven't for a long time." Tod Swindell


Above is a low-quality, 1932 photograph of the original Irene Craigmile. A past acquaintance of Amelia Earhart's, she's shown next to a plane she was learning to fly in at the time.
Beyond losing her husband in 1931, more trying circumstances and the expense of flying planes left it a difficult hobby for her to keep up with. For instance, when she finally earned her pilot's license in May of 1933, she realized she was pregnant out of wedlock and barely flew again after that. She eloped to wed her child-to-be's father in August of 1933, but their marriage soon failed and was subsequently annulled. In fairly short order after that, their son, who was born in early 1934, was being imprinted and further raised by a surrogate mother figure. (This is expounded on further down.) As well, when the time came for it to be done after 1936, her pilot's license was not renewed .


An old newspaper article identified the person
above as the original Irene Craigmile in 1932.






In the top-left photo, the original Irene Craigmile is shown in 1930, between her husband, Charles James Craigmile, and her father, Richard Joseph O'Crowley. Her soft image is contrast enhanced underneath it. The above-right '1933' dated photo shows (L to R) Amelia climbing on the plane wing with her back to the camera, the original Irene Craigmile's flight instructor, Al Heller, seated in the plane, (who the original Irene became pregnant by and later eloped with) and the original Irene Craigmile standing with Viola Gentry, a common pilot friend of she and Amelia's.

In the photo below, the original Irene Craigmile holds her 1934 born son, Clarence 'Larry' Heller, who kept the surname of his father.




Herein lies the problem identified by The Swindell Study about Irene Craigmile, that intially surfaced some fifty-years ago (without visual aid) before it was shouted down:

For half-a-century the general public was persuaded by history itself to accept that the Irene Craigmile shown above was the same Irene Craigmile as the one shown directly below--holding a press conference at the Time-Life building in New York City in November of 1970.

This is a problem because the claim stating the Irene Craigmile below was the same Irene Craigmile as the one above is now a recognizable fallacy.

While the woman holding the press conference most definitely had been attributed to the same Irene Craigmile identity as the one above, anymore it is clear she was a different human being.

Who was she, or who did she used to be? The 1997-2017 Swindell Study results enabled that question to answer itself. 




Above is the post-World War Two only, Irene Craigmile at her 1970 press conference. With no friends or family by her side, she arrived alone at the conference and handled the press like a pro. She tersely delivered a short statement, took no questions, and left. She held the conference because a new book that caught her off guard was suggesting she was the somehow 'survived' Amelia Earhart living under an assumed identity. Beyond the idea itself seeming preposterous to most people, her thorough negation was so well accepted no one felt a need to more thoroughly look into her past.
The Swindell Study became the first to deeply examine the complete life story of the original Irene Craigmile, that featured a brief 1930s friendship she had with Amelia Earhart, and a detailed story of the post-war only Irene.
Directly below, the post-war only Irene's image from the press conference is again shown in perfect alignment with her former self, Amelia Earhart.


Amelia Earhart                      Irene & Amelia



More Background Info on the original Irene Craigmile--and how Amelia Earhart ended up using her left-over identity:
From The Swindell Study
The original Irene Craigmile never demonstrated a career ambition. The 1930 Census listed her as a 'homemaker' living in Pequannock, New Jersey with her husband, Charles, who at fourteen years older than she was listed as 'head-of-house' and employed as a 'Civil Engineer.'
Born in 1904, the original Irene Craigmile had been an only child. When she was twelve her mother, Bessie O'Crowley, died. From then on the original Irene was further raised by her paternal aunt and grandmother (her father's sister and mother) in Newark, New Jersey.
The original Irene Craigmile's paternal aunt, Irene Rutherford O'Crowley, was a recognized New York-New Jersey attorney who knew Amelia Earhart through the Zonta organization--and it was through her that the original Irene Craigmile met Amelia, her idol, who was seven years older than she.
A year after Charles James Craigmile died, at the bequest of the original Irene's aunt, Amelia briefly took his young widow under her wing to help her become a pilot.
As mentioned, things didn't work out there for very long.
In the meantime, Amelia's famous life and career kept her on the move. She endured a demanding pace of lecturing around the country and created her own, 'Amelia Earhart' brand that featured her self-designed clothes along with a durable and stylish luggage line--sold at her own boutique in Macy's. The original Irene Craigmile's attorney-aunt served as a contract adviser for Amelia within the endeavor.
Amelia had been a regular participant in women's air races and she briefly flew a Pitcairn Autogyro as well--all while continuing to be a celebrated member of the 99s, the women's flying organization she co-founded and served as the first president of, and of the Zonta organization for professional women, with her popularity helping to expand both.
Amelia became the matriarchal figure of her small family as well, that included her aging mother, Amy Otis Earhart, and her married sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey with her two young children. She was quick with criticism and advice to both but would send money their ways if it was needed--while tightly managing her own income sources with her manager-husband, G.P. Putnam.
Amelia was described by author Susan Butler as, "a person not about to cede control of her life to anyone," and by author Doris Rich as, "a meticulous manager of her personal finances."
Not to leave out, Amelia spoke several languages.
Bottom line, Amelia Earhart was a very smart person. Few recall she had done well while taking pre-med courses at Columbia University before she optioned to become a pilot.
She also made it clear she was not one who could ever stay tied-down for very long.
In 1931, when she wed her manager, G.P. Putnam, she arrived at the alter with a prenuptial agreement that described marriage as 'confining, no matter how attractive the cage' and included the edict, "I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me nor should I consider myself bound to you similarly."
Approaching a marriage that way was practically unheard of then.
Back to her self-branding effort: In 1933--the year Amelia and Eleanor Roosevelt became friends--when her preference for 'quality control' waned and a 'lack of sales' during the depression became evident to her, barely a year after it opened Amelia decided to close her Macy's boutique.  
Then in 1934, after a personal hiatus that involved a sinus procedure, a few summer weeks in the wilds of Wyoming, and a fire at G.P. Putnam's Rye, New York homestead where she had off-times resided, Amelia decided to move from the east coast back to Los Angeles that fall--where she had first learned to be a pilot.
She and G.P. Putnam found a nice bungalow in North Hollywood's Toluca Lake district there, and by early 1935 their move was complete.
At that point, G.P. Putnam strived to become a writer in the film industry while Amelia began spending a lot of time at the Lockheed plant in Burbank.
Amelia returned to flying for major records as well then; in January of 1935, she became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to Oakland, California; in April, the first to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City, and in May, the first to fly solo from Mexico, City to New York, (actually Newark, New Jersey) once again accomplishing the feats, so impressive at the time, in her reliable Lockheed Vega.
Then in late 1935, Amelia accepted an invitation to be a visiting instructor at Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. While she was in residence there in 1936, the institution awarded her a new, state of the art Lockheed Electra, a beautiful twin-tailed monoplane dubbed, 'The Flying Laboratory.' In it, Amelia planned to circumnavigate the globe at the equator the following year. Except while attempting to do so in mid-1937, something happened toward the end of her journey that was never clearly accounted for, leaving Amelia to be declared "a missing person" along with her world flight navigator, Fred Noonan.
Although rumors swelled suggesting the two had been rescued somewhere in Japan's Mandate Islands--and they had precariously ended up in Japan's private care during the onset of the Sino-Japanese War, within a year and a half both fliers were legally declared, "dead in absentia."  
Back To The original Irene Craigmile and Amelia
After Amelia went missing, in time the original Irene Craigmile's sad, non-translucent demise ended up providing a new, private-life beginning for the famous and quietly survived pilot, who after World War Two was known as 'Irene Craigmile' ...until 1958, the year she married Guy Bolam of England.
When she married Guy, it left her to be further known as, 'Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam.'
For half a century the public was conditioned not to believe or accept the reality of it, yet below truly is the image of the former Amelia Earhart as she looked in the mid-1970s, while going by the name of Irene Craigmile Bolam:


A Sad Truth...

"It is a sad truth where people continue to be force-fed different stories about Amelia Earhart's world flight ending that have absolutely nothing to do with reality. For decades now, the stupidly-false promotion of Amelia's flesh being torn apart by giant crabs on the desert island of Nikumaroro has received more media attention than anything--even though there has never been one iota of authenticity applied to it--and there never will be because it was never true. It is hard for myself and others in the know not to be disheartened by the timid stalwarts at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society--who turn blind eyes to tabloid level bs such as the 'giant crabs' story when it manages to permeate American pop-culture. Their apathetic viewpoint grew to be more recognizable when the truth about Amelia Earhart's post-World War Two existence with a different name became so obvious."
Tod Swindell, 2019

"You're onto something that will stagger your imagination."
The above 1962 quote came from retired United States Navy Commander, John Pillsbury, concerning CBS Radio Journalist, Fred Goerner's quest to learn the truth about what became of Amelia Earhart.
Fred Goerner joined in on researching Amelia's true fate after hearing about the "Operation Earhart" investigation of Joseph A. Gervais. He solidly agreed with Gervais, that Amelia survived after she was declared 'missing' in 1937, but he could not precisely pinpoint where she eventually ended up and surmised she may have died of an illness after living overseas for awhile.
Just like Joseph A. Gervais, though, by the 1990s Goerner's research and his best-selling 1966 book, The Search For Amelia Earhart were barely recalled anymore. For Fred Goerner's work was shunned as well--for having gotten too close to the fire of truth about Amelia Earhart.


Let's Review...
In the 1960s, after retired USAF Major Joseph A. Gervais met Mrs. Irene Craigmile (Bolam) at a gathering of noteworthy pilots from the golden age of aviation, he found her air of importance curious and thought she looked hauntingly familiar to him.

The encounter prompted him to look into who Irene Craigmile was--and after five-years of doing so as she deftly eluded him--he determined she could not possibly have been the original Irene Craigmile, even though history proclaimed she was.
To account for who she really was, or had been, Joseph A. Gervais brazenly concluded she was the former Amelia Earhart living under the assumed identity of Irene Craigmile.
Caught off guard when he went public with his conclusion, Mrs. Bolam lawyer-ed up to strongly reject his claim, resulting in Joseph A. Gervais being sued and becoming a subject of ridicule. Few noticed at the time, however, that she never proved she was not the former Amelia Earhart before settling her lawsuit against Gervais by exchanging ten dollars of consideration with him as the result of a summary judgment. 
In 1997, thirty-two years after he met and conversed with Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam, Joseph A. Gervais was still insisting his conclusion about her former identity of 'Amelia' was correct--when he agreed to participate in The Swindell Study--that had been designed to forensically evaluate what he claimed to know.
The creator of the Study, Tod Swindell, was well-educated on Amelia's disappearance himself and found it hard to believe an in-depth forensic evaluation of Mrs. Irene Craigmile Bolam's past--that included comparing her being to Amelia Earhart's being--had never been done before.

After the Study was completed in 2017, it left it clear to an obvious degree that Joseph A. Gervais had been right all along.






Post-War Irene & Amelia
digitally combined


After Digital Face Recognition arrived
it acheived a positive match between
Amelia and the post-war Irene





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About The Swindell Study
The Swindell Study [1997-2020; copyright registrations: TXu 1-915-926 & TXu 2-061-539] is an Investigative Journalist's forensic research evaluation combined with a human comparison analysis. The Study was orchestrated and chiefly executed by Tod Swindell, an independent researcher who developed a consuming interest in the facts attributed to Amelia Earhart's disappearance and missing person case. The complete Study consists of over ten-thousand pages and features rare documents, analytical text, photographs, comparisons, maps, charts, and past-obscured but again revisited investigative research findings. The condensed MSS features 415 total pages; 110 of which contain logistical and visual elements drawn from the 'Amelia to Irene' Comparison Analysis. The Study elaborates on--and plainly exhibits Amelia Earhart's ongoing existence after World War Two with the re-purposed name of, 'Irene O'Crowley Craigmile.' (Surname of 'Bolam' added in 1958.) It also examined the post-war reasoning that left the general public out of the loop of Amelia's ongoing existence with a different name. Simply put, Amelia Earhart was declared 'dead in absentia' in 1939, and the intention after the war, as co-endorsed by the former Amelia Earhart herself and her only sibling, her sister, Muriel, was for it to always remain that way. The complete Study is available for review on a selective basis.
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