“The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart”

David K. Bowman, 70, of Auburn, Wash., is a Vietnam veteran who retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1991 after 25 years’ service, including 10 years in Naval Reserve Intelligence. In 2002 he retired from a 31-year civilian career with the State of Washington.

Since his retirement, Bowman, 70, has been busy with his longtime preoccupation with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and has written more titles in that vein than anyone.  Bowman’s books include Legerdemain: Deceit, Misdirection and Political Sleight of Hand in the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart (First Edition 2005, Second Edition published by Saga Books in 2007); The Story of Amelia Earhart (2012); SAIPAN: A Search for Amelia Earhart in Modern Saipan (2015); and Amelia Earhart Philately (Enlarged Second Edition): The World’s First Book on Amelia Earhart Philately (2016). 2012 was especially busy for Bowman, as he published two books unrelated to his Earhart work: Tales of Westpac: Memoirs of a Carrier Sailor of life on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, and  The Forgotten Stars: Great Forgotten Talents from the Golden Days of Motion Pictures.  He tells me he’s working on yet another new book, A Waiting Dragon. To visit Bowman’s website, please click here.

Bowman’s story, “The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart,” initially appeared in the June 21, 2009 edition of Wings over Kansas website, and he’s kindly allowed me to offer it to you today.  All the photos, with the exception of the small shot of Amelia in white aviator’s togs, have been added here. 

“The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart”
by David K. Bowman

Merciless life, laughs in the burning sun, and only death, slow circling down, Shadows.”
Amelia Earhart

On a stormy day in June 1928, the Fokker tri-motor Friendship dipped down out of a leaden sky to land in the bay near Burry Port, Wales. The airship taxied through the pouring rain to a nearby buoy and cut its engines. A moment later, crewman Louis “Slim” Gordon, opened a door in the fuselage, hopped out, and moored the ship to the buoy.

At the controls of the airship was Wilmer “Bill” Stultz, and in the passenger compartment was a woman, who up until that flight, had been a recreational aviator and a social worker in Boston. On that rainy morning, however, she was catapulted to international celebrity. Her name was Amelia Earhart.

A few months before, the young, boyish woman with tousled hair, had been asked to an interview by George Palmer Putnam, the wealthy and powerful head of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, publishers. An athletic adventurer, writer, and promoter, Putnam had been asked by wealthy New England socialite Amy Guest, who had purchased a Fokker tri-motor aircraft from Admiral Richard Byrd, to find a woman to fly across the Atlantic in that aircraft. Initially, Mrs. Guest planned to make the flight herself, to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, but had been pressured out of the flight by her worried family.

A masterful promoter, George Palmer Putnam, or “G.P.” as he liked to be called, immediately seized upon the young Amelia Earhart at their first meeting. Earhart was tall, slim and had a remarkable physical likeness to recent aviation hero Charles Lindbergh, whose nickname was “Lucky Lindy.” Putnam instantly christened her “Lady Lindy,” a nickname that Earhart deplored.

Wilmer Stutz, Amelia and Louis Gordon bask in glory in New York after their transatlantic flight in 1928.

Wilmer “Bill” Stultz, Amelia and Louis Gordon bask in glory in New York after their transatlantic flight in 1928.

When asked if she wanted to make the flight, Earhart unhesitatingly jumped for it, as she was plucky, adventurous, and ambitious. She knew an opportunity when she saw one. As she said later, “You don’t turn down an opportunity like that!”

The rest was history. Immediately after the flight of the Friendship, commemorative medals were struck and sold, and the young aviatrix embarked upon a number of product endorsements.

At the same time, GP hustled his young protégé off to his luxurious estate, Rocknoll, in Rye, N.Y., so that she would have the privacy and peace to write an account of her famous flight. This she did, and before the end of 1928, 20 Hours, 40 Minutes was published. To this day, it is an important historical source and a sought after collectible.

Earhart then embarked upon a lucrative and busy lecture tour to discuss her new book. Upon her return to New York, she was appointed Aviation Editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine. By then, in 1929, she was all the rage.

Dissatisfied with being just a passenger on the first transatlantic flight — mere “baggage,” as she called it — Earhart determined to pilot the Atlantic Ocean herself and spent the next four years in preparing for this. Preparations were set back by a crash during a practice flight in Norfolk, Virginia in 1930, which necessitated lengthy repairs that weren’t completed until 1931. Shortly after the Norfolk crash, GP obtained a divorce from his wife, Dorothy, and the following February, in 1931, he and Earhart were married in a quiet ceremony.

In May 1932, the aviatrix took off from Newfoundland and successfully crossed the Atlantic in 15 hours, 18 minutes, landing in a pasture in Londonderry, Ireland, and becoming the first woman to successfully pilot the Atlantic.

Another great photo of Amelia, as she prepares to take off from Derry, Northren Ireland, and fly on to London, where worldwide fame awaited. After a flight lasting 14 hours, 56 minutes during which she contended with strong northerly winds, icy conditions and mechanical problems, Earhart landed in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland. The landing was witnessed by Cecil King and T. Sawyer. When a farm hand asked, "Have you flown far?" Earhart replied, "From America." The site now is the home of a small museum, the Amelia Earhart Centre.

In May 1932, Amelia soaks up the acclaim of the Irish as she prepares to take off from Derry, Northern Ireland, and fly on to London, where worldwide fame awaited. After a flight lasting 14 hours, 56 minutes during which she contended with strong northerly winds, icy conditions and mechanical problems, Earhart landed in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland. The landing was witnessed by Cecil King and T. Sawyer. When a farm hand asked, “Have you flown far?” Earhart replied, “From America.” The site now is the home of a small museum, the Amelia Earhart Centre.

Over the next five years, under GP’s guidance, Earhart set more aviation records, participated in various aviation events, continued to tour the lecture circuit, was the spokesperson for a multitude of products, and lent her name to several businesses. One of them was a line of women’s clothing, which she personally designed. Another was a high-quality line of luggage that continued be manufactured for years after her disappearance.

Earhart also became actively involved in establishing commercial air routes and founding airlines. Beyond that, she was an ardent feminist in the best sense of the term, a public figure who radiated strength and independence, who eschewed the conventional female role and forged a new one for herself. On her passport, under “occupation,” she had entered “flyer.” And whenever she was on an airfield, she habitually wore custom tailored gabardine slacks, an open-throated man’s sport shirt with a knotted silk scarf, and a leather flying jacket. They became her trademarks. She was one of the most talked about, fashionable, admired, beloved and emulated women of the 1930s. She was an icon. Her name was a household word. Even the press referred to her more often as not as just “Amelia.” Everyone knew they were talking about the one and only Amelia Earhart.

During her brief career, she was always thinking about the next flight, because these flights kept her in the public eye. During her preparations for the round-the-world flight, she told a friend, “I think I’ve only got one more good flight left in me.” That remark turned out to be more prescient than Earhart could know.

Nine years later, in July 1937, the famed aviatrix suddenly vanished without a trace on the Lae to Howland leg of her round-the-world flight.

Many have tried to discover the ultimate fate of this charismatic flyer, but there is an aspect of Amelia Earhart’s life and disappearance which nobody has explored. I discovered it during my research for my book LEGERDEMAIN: Deceit, Misdirection and Political Sleight of Hand in the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart (Author House 2005). This aspect is almost more interesting than her aviation career and even her disappearance.

For, aside from being the First Lady of Aviation, as she was dubbed, Amelia Earhart was also a considerable psychic, or so some believed.  Since she almost never discussed this side of her life publicly, information regarding it is scarce. However, through the use of an online newspaper database, I was fortunate enough to uncover a few accounts not seen for nearly 70 years.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Washington Commentators Elmer Davis, H.V. Kaltenborn and Drew Pearson appear as themselves when an alien spaceship lands in Washington D.C.

Washington Columnist Drew Pearson appears as himself in the popular 1951 science fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. 

The first is a lead item in a column entitled “The Washington Merry-Go-Round” by legendary journalist Drew Pearson and his partner, Robert S. Allen, in the Feb. 16, 1937 issue of the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune.  It reported as follows:

One development in connection with the recent air crashes which has been intriguing air officials is the way Amelia Earhart has gone psychic. America’s foremost woman aviator has now become the No. 1 seeress of the air. She believes she has developed a contact with the occult world by which she knows what happens in air crashes.

Her latest prediction is that May 10 she will make a startling discovery regarding the crash of the Western Air Express plane lost over the Wasatch Mountains on Dec. 15 between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, and not yet located.

Officials at first were inclined to laugh at Miss Earhart’s psychic messages. But her accuracy now has them mystified. When a United Airlines plane was lost just outside of Burbank, Calif., Dec. 27, Miss Earhart called the United Airlines office and told them to look on a hill near Saugus, a little town north of Burbank.

There the wreckage was found.

Again when the Western Air Express plane carrying Mr. and Mrs. Martin Johnson crashed Jan. 12, Miss Earhart reported the plane to be near Newhall, 15 miles north of Burbank, where it was found.

In the earlier crash of the Western Air Express in Utah, Miss Earhart had a vision to the effect that the bodies of the dead had been robbed by a trapper. Two days later, a trapper near Salt Lake City reported finding the wreckage, but then suddenly disappeared without giving the location of the plane.

This is the unfound plane regarding which Miss Earhart expects to make a startling discovery on May 10.

Two days later in the Elyria, Ohio Chronicle-Telegram, for Feb. 18, 1937, an interview with Earhart in Cleveland was published. In part of the interview, she commented on the Drew Pearson column. Given the details of the Drew Pearson column, it was quite clear that Earhart was trying to completely downplay her psychic ability. That portion of the interview ran as follows:

A few days ago a Washington columnist reported Washington agog over Amelia’s “psychic” ability to predict the location of lost planes. Commenting on the story today, Mrs. Putnam said:  “I suppose the story got started when I was searching north of Salt Lake City when all the others were searching south. The reason I went that way was not because I had been visited by spirits, but because that plane had a 50 mile tail wind and I reasoned it had been further along than the others thought.”

MASTERS OF DESTINY The Hands and Careers of Seventy-Five Famous Men and Women 1932

This alluring newspaper advertisement, featuring the alleged right-hand print of Amelia Earhart, calls readers to partake of the services of Joef Ranald, author of the 1932 book, MASTERS OF DESTINY: The Hands and Careers of Seventy-Five Famous Men and Women.

A check of newspapers for later in the year revealed news releases in June regarding the missing plane. The Hammond (Indiana)  Times for June 8 reported on operations to remove the bodies of the crash victims and retrieve the mail and valuables from the wreckage. Evidently the craft had been discovered within the previous day or so, and interestingly, there was no mention of Amelia Earhart or the trapper who had reported the downed aircraft.

The two events are the only ones of Amelia Earhart’s psychic ability to be found in the records so far. They seem to represent the only instances in which Amelia Earhart’s psychic side was revealed.

It’s understandable why Earhart would have all but debunked herself in the manner she did, as in a conservative era such as the 1930s a celebrity wouldn’t want to be stigmatized in this way. In those days, to be known as a psychic carried the risk of being thought of as a “kook,” and Earhart’s ambitions allowed no room for distractions such as this. Not long after her interview in the papers, another editorial confirmed Earhart’s concern, when it remarked that it was pleasant to hear that Miss Earhart has denied the reports of her psychic ability.

A remarkable article, entitled “Is Amelia Earhart Still Alive?” was published in the December 1939 and January 1940 issues of Popular Aviation. It described the communications from psychics received by GP, and also gave further hints regarding Earhart’s own psychic side. The relevant portion ran:

In looking back through the bright pages of Amelia Earhart’s adventurous life, George Putnam remembered something that might explain the curious fervor of all those men and women who wanted to help in his hour of despair. It was simply that Amelia Earhart herself had a fragile psychic quality, some strange susceptibility to conditions beyond understanding. She rarely mentioned it to friends, never discussed it publicly. But whenever AE participated in mental telepathy or psychic experiments to further her curiosity, observers were astonished at the results. And yet she never involved or followed the advice of countless clairvoyants and astrologers who besieged her at every stage of her great flights.

She used to say, laughing gaily: “I haven’t the courage to tell people my plans in advance. A pilot shouldn’t worry and if I listened to every prediction I’d probably never leave the ground.”

And, indeed, Earhart received profuse advice from psychics before her various flights. The feedback was usually in the form of warnings to her not to attempt her flight. And of course, each flight had been successful after all. That’s probably the reason that, despite her knowledge of the reality of psychic phenomenon and her own psychic ability, Earhart disregarded all psychic warnings just before her round the world flight.

After Earhart’s disappearance, psychics entered the picture again, via huge numbers of telegrams, letters and phone calls to G.P. Commendably, he gave impartial consideration to every communication, even occasionally spending considerable sums to follow out promising leads.

Of all the strange communications that Putnam received after his wife’s disappearance, the telegram he received on a late July morning at his Hollywood home in 1937 may have been strangest. It ran:

Amelia Earhart alive on coral shoal on one of Gilbert Islands latitude 2 above equator 174 longitude. This message received by Mr. L— New York Medium.

An hour later, Putnam received a short note from a Captain T__ M__ of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia:

 . . . I am the retired captain of a copra boat that used to trade in the South Seas. I just happened to remember an uncharted island that we frequently visited for turtle eggs. The Gilbertese natives know where it is, too. The island is at—

Here Putnam stopped in surprise and called his son David to locate the telegram he had received earlier that day. A few moments later, David returned with the telegram and the two compared the position given in that document with the position given in the note from Nova Scotia. Amazingly both positions were the same!

Amelia poses with her husband, George Palmer Putnam in a 1935 photo that must have raised some eyebrows, given the idea, popular among some, that their marriage was simply one of convenience. Putnam was actively engaged in the search for Amelia for years, even after he had her declared legally dead in January 1939.

Amelia poses with her husband, George Palmer Putnam in a 1935 photo that must have raised some eyebrows, given the idea, popular among some, that their marriage was little more than a convenient business arrangement. Putnam was actively engaged in the search for Amelia for years, even after he had her declared legally dead in January 1939. He married Jean-Marie Consigny James in May 1939, who filed for divorce in 1945. Putnam married his fourth wife, Margaret Havilland, shortly thereafter, and he died on Jan. 4, 1950.

Putnam called the captain in Nova Scotia and the medium in New York for additional details. The details seemed sufficiently promising that the publisher immediately left for New York City, where two days later, he was able to arrange a check of the island by British authorities. A ship dispatched from Makin Island a short while later steamed for the location given in the two communications to Putnam.

But eerily, there was no island at the given location. This baffled Captain M— and his former crew members, who all swore they had visited the island a half-a-dozen times. The only explanation that could be put forth was that the island had suddenly been sunk by volcanic activity. G.P. spent $1,000 on that adventure.

In September 1937, Putnam was contacted by a friend who was prominent in literary circles, and who was a serious student of psychic matters. Putnam considered his friend of unimpeachable character and integrity. His friend told him that he had encountered a medium of amazing ability, whose performance was yet to be explained.  According to Putnam’s friend, the medium in question was a woman who had two voices, her own and another, which came from someplace in her chest.

“Ventriloquism, perhaps?” Putnam interjected.

“No — I’ve already eliminated that possibility. The point is, George, she gave me a brief message from AE the other night.”

There was a moment of surprised silence.

“Oh . . . ” GP said.

“And there may be more. I just thought you’d like to sit in for a demonstration.”

“Of course,” GP agreed, and a date was set for the next night at 7:30 p.m.

The next night the medium appeared at the home of Putnam’s author friend in Los Angeles. Before the séance started, the woman was thoroughly examined for items hidden on her person and mouth taped shut. Untypical of such events, the lights were all kept on, with all participants crowding close to the medium. After just a few moments, a strange voice, like a soft whisper, erupted from the woman, although there wasn’t a sign of motion in the muscles of her throat or chest.

The following is the portion of the transcript of the séance which Putnam had recorded, including some of his responses, in parentheses) to specific statements the medium.

Voice: Fred was not at fault. It was unavoidable.

Putnam: Were they killed instantly?

Voice: No, on a reef…

Putnam: What direction from Howland?

Voice: Almost directly north. (There are no islands north of Howland.)

Putnam: Is it Kingman Reef?

Voice: Near there. There are Navy planes flying near there now. (This is November. The Navy search ended in July.)

Putnam: What will they find?

Voice: They will find wreckage, in the water near the island. (Nothing was ever found.) Putnam: What did Fred Noonan call his wife?

Voice: Fred want you to tell B. that it was not his fault… He is living. (Evasive answer)

Putnam: Who is living? Noonan?

Voice: He is not dead. He wanted you to know there is no death… Maitland. He is here.

Putnam: Is Kingford-Smith there?

Voice: Yes. Maitland and Kingsford-Smith.

Putnam: Wiley Post? And Will Rogers?

Voice: Yes. Yes. Amelia is among a lot of friends.

Putnam: What about her mother?

Voice: She has not given up hope. (That was true.)

Putnam: Can you ascertain from Amelia what word she used in addressing me? Does the name begin in with the letter “K”?

Voice: No, “P”.

Putnam: This is important; I want to get this right.

Voice: Pug, Pug or Pugsy. (AE actually gave me a nickname similar to this, although only one or two intimate friends knew it.)

Putnam: What was it Amelia always carried with her that she didn’t take this time and left it with me?

Voice: Her bracelet. (This is true. No one knew but myself.)

Putnam: What country did the bracelet come from?

Voice: Africa. (Only AE and I knew that.)

Putnam: What would she like me to do with the bracelet?

Voice: Keep it. You gave it to her, so you keep it.

Putnam: Will any of Amelia’s things, like her watch, ever be found?

Voice: No. Parts of the plane.

Putnam: Will you ask Amelia, please, if she had the Seagraves watch.

Voice: She did not. (Wrong. She did have it.)

Putnam: Where is her will?

Voice: In the safe-deposit box. With the watch. (Wrong).

Putnam: Ask Amelia if she knows about the trip I am contemplating. [In December 1937, Putnam left on a trip aboard the yacht Athene, owned by film producer Tay Garnett.]

Voice: Yes. That is very good. By all means go. (I was planning a cruise. I did go later.)

Abruptly, the séance ended, and George Putnam went home, puzzled by the experience. He was never able to explain the correct information presented by the medium. Had the medium merely read Putnam’s mind, or had she really relayed messages to the publisher from his deceased wife?

The first woman to fly faster than Mach 1 was a famous female aviator named Jacqueline Cochran. Better known as Jackie, Cochran was born in 1906 and became one of the pioneering women of aeronautics. Jackie originally worked in the cosmetics industry and was encouraged to pursue a pilot's license by her husband in order to travel more efficiently. Always a quick learner, Cochran managed to complete her pilot training in 1932 in just three weeks! She quickly realized that flying was her passion and set about becoming one of the most accomplished pilots in history. In 1935, Jackie was the first woman ever to enter a prestigious annual event known as the Bendix Transcontinental Race. Jackie was the first woman to win the Bendix Race in 1938 and also set several aviation records before 1940, including three speed records and a world altitude record.

Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran, the first woman to fly faster than Mach 1, was born in 1906 and became one of the pioneering women of aeronautics. Cochran originally worked in the cosmetics industry and was encouraged to pursue a pilot’s license by her husband in order to travel more efficiently. Always a quick learner, Cochran managed to complete her pilot training in 1932 in just three weeks! She quickly realized that flying was her passion and set about becoming one of the most accomplished pilots in history. In 1935, Cochran was the first woman ever to enter a prestigious annual event known as the Bendix Transcontinental Race, and she was the first woman to win the Bendix Race in 1938. A close friend of Amelia Earhart, she also set several aviation records before 1940, including three speed records and a world altitude record.

Probably the most famous psychic incident involved Jackie Cochran, one of Amelia Earhart’s closest friends, who was said to have psychic abilities of her own. After Earhart’s disappearance, Cochran contacted G.P., telling him that she had received strong psychic impressions that Earhart was floating at sea at a particular location northwest of Howland Island. Putnam practically moved heaven and earth to get the navy and coast guard to search that location. But the search was, unfortunately, fruitless, and two days later Cochran told Putnam that it was too late, that AE had perished.

Some 25 years after Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, a strange psychic postscript occurred on the Island of Saipan. Researcher, Eugene Sims began employment on Guam, from which Saipan could be reached by air in thirty minutes. As a part of his business activities, he began making weekly trips to Saipan.

Sims soon made friends with numerous families on the island, frequently discussing the disappearance of Amelia Earhart with the older members. He soon noticed that few people were comfortable openly discussing the aviatrix’ disappearance.

On one visit, Sims brought his wife with him and as part of a tour of the island, the two were shown Garapan Prison. They were taken to a cell that they were told once held Amelia Earhart. Sims took copious photos of the jail. A few days later, when Sims got the photos back from the processor, he was stunned to see, in one photo of Earhart’s cell a ghostly white figure standing in the metal door frame.

Thinking the photo to be some sort of laboratory error, Sims had another print made. It came out exactly the same. In an article in the Kwajalein Hourglass for Jan. 7, 2003 , Sims reminisced that as far as he was concerned, the image was a message from Earhart. For more on the Sims story, please see “Eugene C. Sims and the “Ghost of Amelia Earhart.”

Had Gene Sims captured the restless spirit of the long-missing aviatrix on film? And what could she have been trying to tell him?

The 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance approaches, and after all those years, we are left with more than just the mystery of her last flight. We are left with the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s remarkable ability and the even more profound mystery of the human psyche.

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8 responses

  1. Thanks Mike for this intriguing article. We are allowed into Amelia’s physic ability and the characteristics which distinguished her from others. She seems to have acquired greater strengths in geographic perceptions & calculations. We could also call it angelic or a bird like spirit, that took her to greater heights.

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  2. This stuff is not to be believed, if you’re a believer in God. The psychic simply gives “information”. That doesn’t mean the info is true. All of God’s prophets had one thing in common: all the prophecies they gave were 100% true. If they made even one mistake, they were killed because that meant they weren’t from God. Go ahead…test the spirits. Ask the ouija board where it’s power comes from; whether God approves of its power; whether its power is stronger than God’s… But I admonish you to Be Careful! Once you have opened the door of the Evil Occult you must ask God to close that door forever, and to forgive you for your faithlessness. Please do not fall into this iniquity!!! It’s extremely dangerous! I know whereof I speak. S.

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    1. Sally,

      Nice to hear from you again! I would go a step further and advise against anyone using a Ouija board in any circumstance, as they are well-known portals for malevolent spirits. I presented this piece simply as a matter of interest, and didn’t even write it myself. As a practicing Catholic, I look askance at all so-called mediums and psychics, but my own personal beliefs have no relevance to this story.

      Mike

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      1. Hi Mike! So glad to know you understand what I was talking about. Like you, I really don’t mean to encourage Ouija board use, hence the warning. I just feel bad that psychic stuff gets any attention, because I know it can be dangerous. Good to hear from you…pet your cats for me.

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    2. Isn’t that special pleading saying that Biblical Prophets were killed if they were wrong? We don’t know that, all we know is that the Scriptures record the alleged ‘predictions’ they got right, we have no clue if they ever made any that were wrong, this is called ‘Cherry Picking’ and it is the mechanism by which most belief in psychic phenomena rely on. Study after study show that people remember positives over negatives, this is why people believe in horoscopes, they read that trash from newspapers and only remember the ‘hits’ and the positives “People born under Aries are humorous, intelligent and generous” will get more people born under that sign believing or relating to that star sign than if the newspaper said “People born under Aries are evil, nasty and hateful”.

      Personally, I am an evidenced based human, I see no evidence for spirits, psychics (and I’ve known a few who claim to such) or even gods or God (whichever one is flavour of the month).

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  3. Thanks, Mike, for suggesting that I post my comments directly following your recent article, so I am copying the post I had first made under the story by Eugene Sims.

    I see that all of the comments above are more than a year and a half old, so I’m not sure whether further comments are being monitored. This just came to my attention in an email from yesterday, 18 January 2017, attached to an addendum to the story about Amelia Earhart’s alleged psychic abilities.

    As a professional photographer, I can say with a great deal of certainty that both of the images of the jail which were included in the recent post are clearly double exposures, as a minimum, or possibly triple exposures. This can be done deliberately or accidentally, and I have no way to say they are one or the other. I have done it both ways. At that time I owned only two Nikon bodies and four lenses, and I often used both at the same time for work. I also used them for my own pleasure, and sometimes had to rewind a partially exposed roll of color film so as to be able to load black and white film. Later, I would reload the color film and try to wind past the last exposed portion of film, so as to use the remainder of the roll. So I have a picture of the Balancing Rock in Garden of the Gods Park, west of Colorado Springs, with a superimposed image of the famous “Face on the Barroom Floor”, in Central City, Colorado, on the floor of the Bar in the Teller House. It was accidental, but I could not have planned it any better if I had wanted to do it.

    I’m not much of a believer in paranormal activity. The double exposure I described doesn’t require any special darkroom technique. It’s on the film. All you have to do is print it. My father created two images of himself in one picture, sometime in the 1930s.

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    1. So true, I’ve had many double exposures over the years and my first thought was that film didn’t advance properly first time.

      The problem with any belief is that you do not need actual proof of its existence, mostly because there is none, but the human mind embraces anything that it may see bolsters such belief, that is why any believers in anything have very low evidence-thresholds, that’s why ‘orbs’ are ‘proof’ of spirits and blurs on photos of the sky are ‘proof’ of alien piloted spaceships.

      Personally, after the Cottingley Fairies affair I can’t see how anyone can take a photo of as proof of existence anything that already doesn’t have empirical and physical evidence to support it already…it despairs me that we live in the photoshop generation, yet people seem more gullible than ever.

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  4. I remember reading about her alleged psychic abilities quite a while ago, I found it intriguing but, as with any of these claims we can’t rule out coincidence or luck.

    Psychics rely on the human trait to remember hits over misses, I’ve had psychic readings myself -for reasons I won’t go into- and still have the recordings, and those of other peoples’ readings, and it is very interesting to see the way people leave believing what was said if the ‘psychic’ got a lot of hits.

    Readings often start with some kind of validation, to ‘prove’ the psychic has a connection with the client, this can be a series of questions and Barnum Statements, as long as the psychic ‘proves’ they are connected to you at the beginning, you are more likely to believe what they say. So, if during the interrogation they can get a hit about you personally -you can read a lot from people in their body language, voice and even clothing, and also ‘interpret’ and adapt their responses to questions- so maybe they’ve worked out you have a sick kid, a recent holiday or even personality traits, then once the coincidence of this truth manifests, they are free to tell you your future, with the proviso that it comes true if you don’t change the path; a great get out if the reading is wrong.

    The readings I had were mixed, but two individuals were amazingly good at validation, even to the point of ‘knowing’ something only I knew, and their ‘predictions’ kind of so-so; if I were a believer they would have been close enough ‘predictions’ for me to sustain my belief.

    I do think that a few so-called psychics genuinely believe they are gifted, self-deluded by the same mechanism that wins over their clients, they remember the hits, strengthening their belief, and forget the hits.

    However you look at it, belief is something humans have evolved to have over millennia, and it hasn’t been bred out of us yet, despite the fact that at no other time in history have we had the means to prove the existence of anything that does exist…the Higgs boson considered to be in the realm of the unicorn until it was found, for example.

    I liked Amelia, I’ve read many of her words, I feel her heart, I read her mind, I think she had much more to give, shame she ‘disappeared’…but, I think if she hadn’t left us as she did, wherever she may be, she’d just be another almost anonymous footnote in history, like General Custer, remembered for the last failure.

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