The 1997-2017 'Swindell Study' Of Amelia Earhart's 1937 Disappearance

Promoted Misinformation About Amelia Earhart

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Promoted Misinformation About Amelia Earhart











This Practice Really Needs To Stop
Over the years many well-meaning individuals succumbed to the misguided offerings of Amelia Earhart plane-hunting, or 'mystery hyping' cottage industries such as TIGHAR, Nauticos, Chasing Earhart and more. In recent decades these and other privately run clubs intent on receiving financial gain within their adulatory pursuits--have promoted a slew of misleading ideas about Amelia's 1937 flight ending and outcome. The differing theories they offer, while inspired by similar 'solve the Earhart mystery' motivations, managed to divert the public from embracing the reality of Amelia's continued survival after World War Two. 
As a result of the 'official silence' from the governments of the United States and Japan--that from early on blocked the truth about Amelia Earhart's loss, the above mentioned cottage industries and other individuals recognized a way to assume 'vocational proprietary stances' when it came to addressing public curiosity about Amelia's last flight. Most exist as non-profit organizations, and while some have happened on some interesting underwater wrecks during their fruitless searches for Amelia's plane, the truth is they originally built their company profiles, some decades ago, by exploiting the so-called "mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance" to their financial advantages--before Amelia Earhart's "missing person case" was forensically addressed in the new millennium. Some actually market products bearing Amelia's name to support their endeavors. Those who run the cottage industries, especially the ones primarily devoted to 'finding Amelia's plane' pay themselves handsome wages (one has been making over $100k a year for some time now) from the donations they receive,  and this practice really needs to stop.
People grew to be somewhat romantic about Amelia Earhart's disappearance and many have donated huge sums of money over the years reliant on false-hope, 'we feel we know where Amelia's plane ended up' offerings. It is imperative to identify here, that Amelia recalled the last time she saw her plane while she was still living during her later-life years, and it certainly wasn't resting on the deep ocean floor at the time.      

The Misleading 'Media-Hyped' Amelia Earhart Enthusiasts: 


TIGHAR's Richard Gillespie

In the 1980s, Richard Gillespie started his soon to be well-funded 'non-profit' organization, TIGHAR, in order to promote the idea that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan died as castaways on a desert island. He included that their bodies were eaten by giant crabs and parts of their flesh and bones were dragged around and scattered about. He cited Nikumaroro Island, located in the Phoenix Islands group hundreds of miles south of the Equator, as the place where the duo ditched Amelia's plane on a reef. He offered that from there, after Earhart and Noonan safely exited it the plane, it was pulled out to deep sea waters by a strong tide. Although this concoction basically amounts to nothing more than false-story peddling to the general public, one winked and nodded at by those most informed about Earhart's loss, the TIGHAR club is still at it today. Its website is rather impressive, and over the years Mr. Gillespie has headed several well-funded expeditions to Nikumaroro (FKA 'Gardner Island') to look for both Amelia's remains and her plane under the TIGHAR organization umbrella, AKA, 'The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.' The basic theory Richard Gillesppie asserts is that with no pre-mention to anyone, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan chose to steer their plane deep into a vast ocean desert region--that other experts deemed to be an inexplicable death-wish decision. Of note, after over thirty-years of trying to convince people to believe his claim, none of the debris found on the once colonized Nikumaroro Island by Mr. Gillespie's TIGHAR club  has ever been authentically linked to Amelia's last flight. Still, incredibly enough, in 2019 the National Geographic Society, backed by Mr. Gillespie's enthusiaistic encouragement, engaged and funded famous Titanic locator, Robert Ballard, to try and find Amelia's plane underwater near Nikumaroro. Mr Ballard accepted Nat Geo's offer, but of course, found nothing. While his involvement did renew interest in TIGHAR's far-out theory, Mr. Ballard himself cautions that none of TIGHAR's claims have ever been backed by "definitive" evidence.


Elgen Long of 'Nauticos'

In the 1980s, Elgen Long started what later turned into a formidable non-profit organization known as, 'Nauticos' to promote the idea that Amelia Earhart simply crashed and sank near Howland Island, and that was it. Going up against experts from Lockheed and many others who disagreed with his fuel use analysis of Amelia's plane, Mr. Long still claimed to have 'solved the mystery' as described in the title of his 1999 book, Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved. Those most educated on Earhart's world flight ending dismissed Mr. Long's projection based on the hoard of evidence that showed Amelia continuing to fly in a northwest direction well after she gave up on finding Howland. Amelia had mentioned her plane to head back to the British Gilbert Islands if she missed Howland, and that's exactly what she did. She would have made it, too, if storm squalls had not pushed her farther north to the lower Marshall Islands, then controlled by Japan. No matter, with and without Nauticos, gentleman Elgen Long raised millions to finance several fruitless expeditions intent on finding Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E plane fathoms-deep underwater in the northwest vicinity of Howland Island.


Dr. Alex Mandel

Ukranian Physicist, Dr. Alex Mandel, emerged onto the 'Earhart mystery' scene in 2001 to support the suggestion that Amelia died on Saipan while in Japan's custody. Dr. Mandel offered that Amelia was captured, held, and died in Japan's custody, admitting at the same time that he had no certifiable knowledge as to how or when Amelia's death occurred. Still, after posting a non-truthful Wikipedia bio-page on Irene Craigmile Bolam, he then enlisted one Mike Campbell's help, (see below) that resulted in the two of them presenting a co-written dissertation at the Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison, Kansas in 2012, based on false pretenses, that overtly campaigned against The Swindell Study's forensic findings, let alone any possibility at all of Amelia Earhart's continued survival after she was picked up by Japan's Imperial Naval Authority. Even though no evidence was ever located that offered authenticity to the differing claims on how Amelia died while she was in Japan's care, Dr. Mandel and Mike Campbell both attested to believe Amelia did die in Japan's custody and campaigned that it happened under the guise of Japan's military. They stressed Amelia's 'death' while in Japan's care was later covered-up by the United States and Japanese governments. It's worth noting here: Japan averred it never harmed Amelia Earhart--and the United States never accused it of doing such a thing.

Mike Campbell

In the early 2000s, Amelia Earhart theorist, Mike Campbell, befriended the Amelia Earhart Society's 1989 founding president, Bill Prymak. Marshalling Mr. Prymak's gathered Earhart files to suit his objective, Mr. Campbell rebirthed the idea that Amelia Earhart died according to the earlier claim of one Thomas Devine, who offered she was executed by Japan's military on Saipan and was subsequently buried there. Mr. Campbell wrote a book chocked with Devine's beliefs entitled, Amelia Earhart: The Truth At Last, issued in 2012. His assertion about Amelia's final fate, however, was misguided from the start.

Woody Peard

Woody Peard, an Amelia Earhart theorist knowledgeable of Japanese culture during the World War Two era, asserted that Amelia was executed by Japan's military on the Island of Taroa in an incredibly macabre way, and that the event was filmed and surreptitiously sent to Washington DC. In May of 1938, when Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Stephen Gibbons said about Earhart's loss, "We have evidence that the thing is all over. Sure, terrible. It would be awful to make it public...," Mr. Peard suggested Japan's filmed execution of Amelia Earhart was possibly what he referred to. Others more prudently maintained it was the withheld "wireless messages" of Amelia's "last few minutes" notated in the same transcript where Gibbons' "we have evidence" statement appeared.  

A Remarkable Twenty-Year Journey
From the mid-1990s on, The Swindell Study analyzed and expounded on the previous '1950s to 1990s' investigative research efforts of Paul Briand, Joe Gervais, Fred Goerner, Vincent Loomis, Randall Brink, Donald Moyer Wilson, and Rollin Reineck. Each of these investigators devoted decades to unconvering the non-conveyed realities of Amelia Earhart's last flight, with their individual efforts resulting in the following published works:

Daughter of the Sky by Paul Briand, 1960
The first book to expound on Amelia's post-loss existence in Japan's Mandate Islands
CBS Journalist, Fred Goerner's 1966 classic...
A Best Seller; concluded Amelia went down in the Marshall Islands and ended up in Japan's custody.
1970 Joe Klaas book re: Joe Gervais' investigation
A best seller, concluded Amelia survived WWII in Japan's custody and later assumed a new identity

Don Wilson's 1993 book, Amelia Earhart Lost Legend
Cited numerous Marshall Islands accounts re: Amelia's survival under Japan's stewardship

By Colonel Rollin Reineck, 2004
The first book to promote the new millennium forensic work of Tod Swindell

Randall Brink's 1993 'Best Seller'...
Proved a White House cover-up; concluded Amelia ended up in the Marshalls and continued to survive

The Vincent Loomis account... 1985
Also concluded Amelia ended up going down in the Marshall Islands


Bill Prymak

In 1989, Bill Prymak started the Amelia Earhart Society after researching the work of the above mentioned investigators and ascertaining that Amelia was quietly picked up by Japan in the Marshall Islands. Over time a variety of rumors came to exist describing different ways Amelia Earhart might have died while in Japan's custody. Conveyances of a mysterious illness, executions in the Marshall Islands or on Saipan, a plane crash in China at the end of the war, even her death in a prison cell or on a deserted island entered the fray. Here again, it's important to recognize that Japan denied ever 'harming' Amelia Earhart--and the United States never accused it of such a thing. From the 1980s into the 2000s, Prymak traveled to the Marshall Islands time and again to conduct interviews, at times in the company of famed Amelia Earhart historian, retired USAF Major, Joseph A. Gervais, whose own research findings led him to conclude that Amelia survived her disappearance and later changed her name to 'Irene.' Joe Gervais died in 2005, Bill Prymak died in 2014.


Above: Amelia 

Below: The same human being, different names, different eras. As hard as it is to believe, it's that simple to explain.






1923, 1978
1933, 1965
1928, 1963
1932, 1976
1928, 1977

Mrs. Bolam superimposed with her former self


Amelia Earhart in 1937


Amelia & post-WWII Irene


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

The former Amelia Earhart in Yugoslavia in 1976

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