Today we conclude our review of the 1993 Amelia Earhart Symposium, held at The Flying Lady restaurant in Morgan Hill, Calif., organized by AES founder and President Bill Prymak and attended by nearly all the leading researchers and authors of the Earhart disappearance.
Names in bold capitals and other caps emphasis Prymak’s; all other bold emphasis mine.
A.E.S. SYMPOSIUM AUGUST 27-29th, 1993
LIST OF PRINCIPAL SPEAKERS
IRV PERCH: You can’t describe this guy as a “character”; there’s’ simply too much depth, warmth and charisma behind this man . . . his welcoming speech will be well remembered for the story of his 150 pair of white overalls . . . “What a character!” Hey! . . . I did say it! He IS a character!
BILL PRYMAK: Introducing principal speakers, special guests such as Bill and Nandine Southern, Bill being Neta Snook’s son; Irene & John Bolam, and a host of others. Pat Ward of the 99s a very special attendee; helped Bill immeasurably thru the early days of AES.
DON WILSON: Author of upcoming book Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend, has done a superb job of putting together an anthology of all the eye witnesses in the South Pacific associated with events immediately after July 2, 1937.
COL. ROLLIN REINECK: Describing his untiring efforts to initiate Congressional legislation to release State Dept. files that are still precluded from public scrutiny. His handouts to all attendees to be forwarded as detailed on the handout are vital to our cause: every attendee is urged to act on it! It only takes five minutes: Let’s do it NOW!
JOE GERVAIS: 1960, first AE investigation. Went to Saipan several times to interview native witnesses, first trip 1961. Visited Japan, Howland Island, Lae, Truk, Marshall Islands all in search of information leading to a solution. Joe supplied all research data for Joe Klaas’ book Amelia Earhart Lives (1970), which was nominated for COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PULITZER PRIZE in 1971 [and later pulled from all bookstores after Irene Bolam sued the publisher for defamation]. Joe to this day still keeps up a torrid pace on his quest for the truth. One of the true icons in Earhart research.
JOE KLAAS: Author of Amelia Earhart Lives (see above) . . . book now a rare classic fetching upwards of $125/copy. Felt Howard Hughes put substantial “heat” on himself and Gervais after their book suggested that possibly Japanese obtained Zero Fighter blueprints from Hughes. Hughes had great respect for the two Joes, who jointly earned approximately 30 combat medals between them. They were told by Hughes’ henchmen, “If it were not for their combat records, they would have been squashed like bugs.” A very strange story indeed.
ELGEN LONG: Put forth his theory that AE simply ran out of fuel and ditched approx. 40-75 miles NW of Howland Island. Mr. Long was heatedly contested on his position by several researchers, but, as is with AES policy, all sides are given time to plea their case.
ED MELVIN: A close associate of Art Kennedy, who was her chief engine mechanic prior to her last flight, and Ed thinks AE was approached by one of the military services to survey, not spy, on Japanese installations in the Pacific. Gave detailed insight on the personal life and accomplishments of Kennedy.
PAUL RAFFORD: Gave a detailed lecture on the radio analysis of the final flight . . . brought up serious questions re: events at Miami, where she spent one week, touching on issues as removing the 250 ft. reel-in antenna, how she blatantly refused a Pan American radio crystal that would give better coverage over the vast Pacific, how a ADF loop was installed on a “new” airplane, and the strange conduct by Amelia re: radio transmissions during her final hours. Technically, a superb presentation.
ANN PELLEGRENO telling of her appearance at the 1976 99/Zonta meeting at which a “shorter” Irene Bolam was to speak. (I wish the SYMPOSIUM could have made more time for Ann to tell of her fascinating trip around the world in an Electra 10, replicating the Amelia Earhart flight thirty years later–ED.) Ann was our helpful GOFER GAL!
BUDDY BRENNAN who has done much research in the Pacific, and is author of the book Eyewitness to the Execution: The Odyssey of Amelia Earhart (1988), tells of his interview with BILAMON AMARON, who treated in 1937 at Jaluit the wounds of two American flyers, one a woman, and who saw a twin-engine silver airplane, Japanese, on the fantail of the Japanese ship.
GENE TISSOT related how his dad was her mechanic on the VEGA and went to Hawaii with her to prep the plane for its historic flight to Oakland. “Amelia was an average pilot,” states his dad.
ELLIS BAILEY told how during the Saipan invasion in WWII remains of two flyers, purportedly downed before the war, were secretly transported away from the Island of Saipan.
JO ANN RIDLEY: Co-author of the fascinating book High Times, Keeping ‘Em Flying, recounting interesting tidbits from her book regarding Art Kennedy and his close relationship with Amelia. Jo Ann did for AES all the grunt work of putting together a superb detailed record of the entire SYMPOSIUM . . . available upon request.
ALBERT BRESNIK: set up a magnificent display of photos he personally took of Amelia. Albert was the only person at the SYMPOSIUM who had personal contact with Amelia Earhart, and his talk sharing with us his private time with Amelia was very moving.
NOTICE! Albert has shown the AES a proof of the group photo taken at the SYMPOSIUM: it’s a great memento, and it’s a MUST for everybody who attended: Send $10.00 for each mounted copy (8½ x 11) to:
16843 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA. 90272
Telephone 310 454-1825
JERRY STEIGMANN: Our most provocative speaker of the entire SYMPOSIUM. Jerry is an ex-NYPD forensic specialist who has carried on his research on the AE mystery for over 40 years, and his dogged investigations have led him to some startling conclusions:
1. Amelia Earhart was a “double agent” working simultaneously for the Marine Corps, ONI, plus the Japanese JOHOKYOKU.
2. Since the early 1920s, AE had been in contact with Admiral YAMAMOTO and the Japanese naval intelligence.
3. The “staggering revelations” gleaned from Japanese intelligence, services survivors, and former members of the Japanese Imperial Household guards, who are now dispersed, to the far flung corners of the globe, have avoided news media in an effort to thwart any uncover the of the mystery of “Mata Hari of the Pacific Skies.”
4. Amelia Earhart was the real reason that Gen. MacArthur declined to prosecute Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal, and why he covered up the many atrocities committed by the Japanese Army Medical Corps in the Pacific.
5. MacArthur feared that Hirohito would disclose to the world the role that Amelia Earhart played in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Steigmann claims to have documentation to all of the above statements, and will in short time present it in book form to the American Public. Good luck! (End of A COMPENDIUM ON THE SYMPOSIUM.)
Jerome Steigmann may have been the most “provocative” speaker at the three-day symposium, as Prymak euphemistically described Steigmann’s disturbed exploration into Earhart fantasy, but he was far from the most credible, nor was the nearly incoherent spillage of Ellis Bailey, who joined Steigmann in capturing top honors in the Earhart lunatic fringe category. Steigmann never produced the book he promised, nor any evidence to support his outrageous claims, and passed away in Phoenix, Ariz., in May 2003 at age 77.
Bailey, who died in 2004, also didn’t author a book, but his serial letter-writing adventures qualified him to join Steigmann, James A. Donahue, Robert Myers and others among the disreputable ranks of Fred Goerner’s “totally irresponsible weirdo fringe” in the annals of Earhart lore.
For much more on Ellis Bailey’s extensive Earhart fantasies, please see my Aug. 17, 2017 post, “From forgotten files of the Earhart lunatic fringe: The incredible tale of Ellis Bailey and USS Vega.”