Tag Archives: Gillespie

Experts weigh in on Earhart’s “post-loss” messages

In my last post, several of Amelia Earhart’s best-known post-loss messages were discussed briefly; the information was taken from a chapter in the original manuscript of Truth at Last that had to be deleted during the publication process.  The receptions included the report from a Nauru radio operator, who claimed to have heard a “voice similar to that emitted from [Earhart] plane” 12-and-a-half hours after Earhart’s last message to Itasca.

Walter McMenamy and Karl Pierson, Los Angeles amateur shortwave operators, both claimed to have heard SOS signals and other messages on frequencies 6210 and 3105, the two main wavelengths used by Earhart. From Rock Springs, Wyoming, came the report of Dana Randolph, the 16-year-old operator who claimed to have heard, on the morning of July 4, “This is Amelia Earhart.  Ship is on reef south of the equator.  Station KH9QQ”  [sic] on 16,000 kc, a harmonic of 3105.

Various signals including long dashes were heard in response to requests sent by Pan American Airways radio stations on Midway Island, Mokapu (Honolulu, KGMB) and Wake Island on 3105 kc and 6210 kc.  Also noted was the  controversial 281 message, heard by operators at the Navy’s HF/DF  station at Wailupe and the British steamer SS Moorby, 370 miles north of Howland island, and in California by Charles Miguel of Oakland, and reported by the Coast Guard’s Hawaiian Section to the cutter Itasca early July 5.  Miguel reported hearing 281 … north … Howland … Can’t hold out much longer … drifting … above water … motor sinking … on sand bank 225 miles from Howland.

Several other alleged messages were also reported by various parties, and some were outrageous or bizarre enough as to be easily classified as hoaxes.  The reports presented here, in this writer’s opinion, are representative of the most credible of the alleged post-loss messages.

Commander Warner K. Thompson, Itasca skipper, included the Nauru message in his report without comment, but Almon Gray, a former Navy reserve captain and Pan Am Airways China Clipper flight officer, believed the signals, sent on 6210 kc and received at Nauru at 9:31, 9:43 and 9:54 p.m. July 2 (Howland time), merited “serious consideration. . . . The Nauru operator reported good signal strength and was able to judge the tone or timbre of the speaker’s voice yet was unable to understand what the speaker was saying,” Gray wrote. He suggested the possibility of modulation problems.

Gray noted that Harry Balfour, the Lae radio operator, as well as the “DF operator on Howland who was trying to take a radio bearing on the plane” had both reported similar symptoms and suggested possible modulation problems.  According to Gray, the probability thatmore than one transmitter in the area would exhibit the same symptoms of over-modulation on the same frequency at essentially the same time is very small.  It is the writer’s opinion that the signals intercepted by Nauru were in fact from the Earhart plane no longer in flight.

Paul Rafford Jr., who worked at Pan American Airways as a flight radio officer from 1940 to 1946, strongly believes that none of the alleged messages came from Earhart.

Paul Rafford Jr., who worked at Pan American Airways as a flight radio officer from 1940 to 1946, strongly believes that none of the alleged messages came from Earhart.

Paul Rafford, Jr., author of Amelia Earhart’s Radio (Paragon Agency, 2006), flew with PAA as a flight radio officer from 1940 to 1946, and worked in the Manned Spaceflight Program from 1963 until his retirement in 1988 disagrees the messages could have been sent by Amelia.  Reference the very unsteady voice modulated carrier described by Hansen, Rafford said in a January 2006 e-mail.  This immediately tells me that the signals could not have come from Earhart’s plane. Her transmitter was crystal controlled whereas unsteady carrier indicates that the voice modulated (radiotelephone) signal was not crystal controlled.  Prior to crystal control, when voice was applied to a radio transmitter it could result in an unsteady carrier.  However, this also suggests that the signal came from a naval or military transmitter.  These services were slower to adopt crystal control than the civilian services.  It was a matter of Depression era funding for new equipment.” 

In his little-known book, Amelia Earhart’s Radio, Rafford was less technical when assessing the reliability of the signals that followed the KGMB announcement, depicting the receptions as an outright hoax, and insisting the claims didn’t pass the common sense test. Would anyone believe that Earhart was running down her batteries by listening to music and news from KGMB instead of calling for help? Rafford wrote.

U.S. Government confiscates PAA intercepts

Mrs. Ellen Belotti, George Angus’ secretary in 1937, contacted Fred Goerner in 1971 about the reports from the three PAA HF/DF stations she had retained under somewhat unusual and suspicious circumstances.  “One day several U.S. Navy officers who identified themselves as from the Office of U.S. Naval Intelligence appeared at the office (PAN AM) and confiscated all of the reports dealing with Earhart,” Goerner wrote in a 1971 letter to Fred HoovenShe says the Pan Am people were warned at the time not to discuss the matter with anyone, and that the reports were to be considered secret and any copies of the reports were to be destroyed.  Mrs. Belotti says she decided not to destroy her copies of the reports because she believed the Navy did not have the right to require that of Pan Am.  She also felt a fair shake was not being given to her idol, Amelia.

In 1979, Goerner told radio technician Joe Gurr, hired by Lockheed to work on the Electra’s radio at Oakland prior to the first world flight attempt, that he traced the PAA intercepts seized by the Navy in July 1937 to the Navy Security Group in Washington, D.C.  The records are in effect part of NSA [National Security Agency] and the records of radio intelligence are beyond the purview of the Freedom of Information Law [sic], Goerner wrote.  I have also learned that the FCC conducted a full investigation into the radio receptions believed received from AE by amateur radio operators.  The records of this investigation were also turned over to U.S. Naval Intelligence Communications and are considered also to be beyond the Freedom of Information Law.  There’s something wrong there, isn’t there, Joe? What in God’s name is worth classifying after 42 years?  To this researcher’s knowledge, the PAA intercepts remain classified.

Navy, Coast Guard skippers unanimous in rejecting messages

Capt. J.S. Dowell’s “Report of Earhart Search,” of July 20, 1937, is a sometimes confusing summary of the Lexington Group’s two-week involvement in the mission.  Dowell’s report begins with a 10-page segment labeled “Estimates and Decision,” replete with several subsections.  Nowhere in Dowell’s report can a heading labeled Conclusions be found, and the statement  commonly accepted as such — That at about 2030 [GMT, 9 a.m. Howland time] the plane landed on the sea to the northwest of Howland Island, within 120 miles of the island – is presented in this opening section under seven other “Probable Actions of Plane,” before any narrative or summary of the search itself.

More germane to this discussion was the DESRON2 commander’s apparent willingness to consider the legitimacy of several of thepost loss radio receptions.  Under “Possibilities Arising from Rumour and Reports,” Dowell listed 10 reported messages, including Walter McNemay’s July 3 reception, which he noted was given credibility by the Coast Guard; the “281 message”; Dana Randolph’s Rock Springs, Wyoming reception; and KGMB Hawaii’s test announcement that received dashes in response to its request.

Captain Leigh Noyes, Lexington’s commander, had no such inclinations, and in his nine-page summary of the carrier’s actions, “Report of Earhart Search Operations 3-18 July 1937,” Noyes’ comments, later echoed by other official sources, left no doubt where he stood on the idea that any of the transmissions could have originated from NR 16020.

“Numerous radio messages were reported to have been received by various agencies, particularly amateur radio operators, which purported to give information received directly from the plane after it landed,” Noyes wrote.  “Many of these messages were in conflict and many of them were unquestionably false.  None could be positively verified.  These messages were a serious handicap to the progress of the search, especially before the arrival of the Lexington Group.” 

The late Fred Hooven, the noted engineer, inventor and creator of the Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) landing theory, was adamant that some of the post-loss transmissions originated from Amelia Earhart's Electra 10E.

The late Fred Hooven, the noted engineer, inventor and creator of the Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) landing theory, was adamant that some of the post-loss transmissions originated from Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E.

Commander Thompson was equally convinced that none of the broadcasts received after Amelia’s line of position message at 8:43 a.m., July 3, came from the Electra.  The Itasca commander’s 106-page report, “Radio Transcripts – Earhart Flight,” of July 19, 1937, is the chronological record of more than 500 official messages received and sent by Itasca from June 9, when it received orders to assist in the flight, to July 16, when the cutter was released from the search by the Navy.  The report contains far more than official communications, however.  Thompson freely inserted his comments and complaints wherever he felt appropriate throughout the document, and in his zeal to represent Itasca as blameless for the Earhart loss, some of his statements have been shown to be inaccurate and possibly dishonest.

For example, Thompson claimed that Itasca had been repeatedly attempting to contact Amelia since 10 a.m., July 3, and that the signals sent by Itasca “as picked up by other units are steadily reported as possible signals from other sources. A careful check of the ITASCA radio logs shows that in most cases the signals were originated by ITASCA.” 

As Ric Gillespie points out in Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance, this statement is “patently untrue. A careful check of Itasca’s radio logs shows that not one of the purported receptions from the plane corresponds with a transmission by the cutter.  In fact, Itasca’s own radio operators logged more unexplained signals on Earhart’s frequency – forty-four in all – than any other station.”  Gillespie notes that as reports of distress calls came in to the cutter from various outside sources in the first several days of the search, Itasca shared virtually no information about what its own radio operators were hearing.

Thompson also declined to report that on the night of July 4, the Howland Island operator said that he heard Earhart call Itasca and that “Baker heard Earhart QSA 4 [strength 4 of 5] R7 [readability 7 of 9] last night at 8:20 p.m.Nothing is noted in the Howland log for July 4, however, except the notation charging batteries all day. Thompson did not include the Itasca or Howland Island radio logs in his report, but Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts and Radioman 3rd Class Thomas O’Hare kept their original logs and donated them to the National Archives in the early 1970s. Bellarts’ son, Dave, has also provided copies to many researchers, including this one.

Thompson denied that any possible transmissions from the Electra had been received by Itasca, Swan, Howland or Baker Island, basing this claim on speculation that these units “were closest to the signals,” as if he knew where the broadcasts were originating.  None of these units heard the apparently faked messages, Thompson wrote. … Throughout, ITASCA opinion was that if the plane was down some of these units would get the traffic.  He then questioned the content of messages that were reported, without naming the sources, because ITASCA was of the opinion that the traffic would consist of some useful information and not just call signs and dashes. Both Earhart and Noonan could use code.  Why should a plane in distress waste time on repeated calls or on making special signals.  If the plane was using battery the carrier signals were out of all proportion to the length of time the battery could stand up.” 

In his 16-point summary, Thompson continued to dismiss the idea that messages could have been sent by the Electra, depicting the stateside amateur reports as “all probably criminally false.”  Moreover, he incorrectly stated that the only interceptions were by amateurs, with the exception of one Wailupe interception and concluded it it wasextremely doubtful that Earhart ever sent signals after 0846, 2 July.  As for the Electra, ITASCA’s original estimate after three (3) weeks of search problem still appears correct, that the plane went down to the northwest of Howland, Thompson wrote.

The commanding officer of USS Colorado, Capt. Wilhelm L. Friedell, essentially agreed with Thompson.  The broadcasting stations and the ITASCA continued to send messages to the [Earhart] plane, Friedell wrote in his July 13, 1937 search report to the Fourteenth Naval District.  On the night of 3 And 4 July no signals were heard on the plane frequency by the ITASCA or COLORADO, but reports were received from Wyoming, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Australia and other points that signals, and in some cases voice reports, had been received from the plane. … There was no doubt that many stations were calling the Earhart plane on the plane’s frequency, some by voice and others by signals. All of these added to the confusion and doubtfulness of the authenticity of the reports.

Other expert opinions vary

Were any of the intercepted messages sent by the lost fliers?  It’s impossible to be sure, but any fair and objective consideration certainly must include more than the flatly dismissive verdicts of the Navy and Coast Guard.  Although George Angus, the Pan Am official who directed the Earhart watch in the Pacific area, didn’t share the enthusiasm expressed by R.M. Hansen, the operator in charge at Wake Island, who said he was positive that a bearing of 215 he took on a very unsteady voice-modulated carrier . . . was KHAQQ [Earhart],  Angus didn’t rule out the possibility that one or more transmissions had come from the Electra.

All of the above information was turned over to the Coast Guard officials at Honolulu with emphasis being made at the time that there was nothing definite in what we had heard because of no identifying signals of any nature being received, Angus wrote in his July 10, 1937 report, later seized by U.S. Navy Intelligence agents after it was sent to the Pan Am communications center in Alemeda, California. While it would appear there may have been some connection between the dashes and the KGMB broadcast, we could not state definitely that the signals were from the Earhart plane.” 

Almon Gray wrote at length about the Nauru receptions reported 12-and-a-half hours after Amelia’s last message, concluding that “the signals intercepted by Nauru were in fact from the Earhart plane no longer in flight.”  Moroever, Gray believed that the “peculiar signals” intercepted by the PAA stations at Wake, Midway, and Honolulu “may very well have come from the Earhart plane.

Fred Goerner based his opinion on years of experience gathering news and dealing with people rather than technical expertise, and was convinced of the validity of some of the receptions.  Writing to Fred Hooven in 1970, Goerner addressed the various amateur operator claims of receptions from the Electra. “The messages were publicly discredited by the Navy and the amateur operators were branded as cranks,” Goerner wrote.  “I have contacted a number of those operators within the last couple of years, and I believe the messages they received were bona fide.  The men I have talked to are all dedicated and responsible amateurs who were very upset at the official attitudes in 1937.  Several of them have accused the Navy of having asked the editors of QST and other radio magazines not to print the letters of protest they wrote.

Paul Rafford Jr., who recently celebrated his 95th birthday, says he never saw eye to eye with Gray, and puts little stock in the post-loss receptions.  In 1981, Rafford built a nine-to-one scale model of the Electra, and ran tests to determine the difference in transmitting efficiency between a trailing antenna and the Electra’s fixed “V” antenna, based on his knowledge of its parameters and characteristics.  Measurements with the model, confirmed by mathematical formulas, show that the trailing antenna would have radiated almost all of the 50 watts supplied to it by the transmitter, Rafford writes.  By contrast, her fixed antenna transmitted only ½ watt on 3105 kHz.”  In April 2009, I asked Rafford if he thought any of the messages could have come from the Electra.

Personally, I don’t go along with any so called post loss messages,” he wrote in an e-mail.  “Some of them are outright bogus and none of them provide any useful information as to her whereabouts.  In any case she would have to be down on land, undamaged, in order to put out a useful signal.  It would be virtually impossible for her to be heard on 3105 for more than 200 miles by day and 100 by night.  On 6210 she might be able to be heard out to 500 miles by day and 1000 by night, but most of the intercepts were on 3105.

After more than 15 years of studying data from the Pan Am intercepts and other alleged radio receptions, Fred Hooven, the noted engineer and inventor who spent his last years as a Dartmouth University professor, besides working with Fred Goerner on the Earhart case, presented his paper, “Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight,” at the Amelia Earhart Symposium at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in June 1982.

Citing the bearings on the signals reported by the three Pan Am radio stations and the Howland Island high-frequency direction finder supplied by the Navy, Hooven announced it was “undeniable” that the transmissions had originated from the downed fliers.  “Five bearings were taken on the weak, wavering signal reported on the frequency used by the Earhart plane,” Hooven wrote, “and four of them, plus the 157-337 position line of the last message all intersected in the general area of the Phoenix Group.  This constitutes positive evidence of the presence of a transmitter in that area which could only have been that of the downed plane.  No hypothesis purporting to explain the events of the last flight can be credited that does not offer a plausible explanation of these signals, and why they originated along the plane’s announced position line at the only location, except for Baker and Howland, where there was land.

“Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight”: Birth of the Nikumaroro theory

“Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight” is more than an erudite analysis of the alleged post-loss radio intercepts.  Hooven studied everything available about the ill-fated flight, and saved his most damning criticism for George Palmer Putnam,who promoted the flight in the first place, and characterized Putnam’s role as its most tragic aspect.  It was his responsibility to see that the flight was properly administered, Hooven wrote that Miss Earhart had the best equipment and the proper instruction in its use, that the best possible logistic arrangements had been made, and above all that the most complete provisions possible had been made for the safety of the flight, and for the organizations of rescue operations, especially for the hazardous over-water flights.” 

Hooven was convinced that “Putnam failed completely” to fulfill his responsibilities to Amelia, leaving “important management details to her,” and failing to sufficiently fund the required support operations.  He consistently showed interest only in the promotional aspects of the flight, Hooven continued, noting that Putnam’s last messages to his wife were exhortations to her to reach the United States by July Fourth in order to meet appearance commitments he had made for her.

Hooven’s paper was a milestone in Earhart research, possibly the first academic, objective analysis of the post-flight intercepts, and firmly established him as the progenitor of the McKean-Gardner Island landing theory – which became popularized by Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR and the mainstream media as the Nikumaroro hypothesis during the past 25 years.  In his conclusion, Hooven not only emphasized his conviction that Almon Gray’s peculiar signals were sent by the Electra, but he embraced Fred Goerner’s belief that Amelia and Noonan met their ends on Saipan, in Japanese custody.

“The evidence strongly supports the hypothesis that has been presented here,” Hooven wrote, “that the flyers landed in the Phoenix area, probably on McKean or Gardner, that they transmitted signals from there during the next three days, that they were removed by the Japanese, who either removed or destroyed their plane, that they were taken to Saipan, where they died sometime before the end of 1937, and that the U.S. Government knew about their fate, but for reasons of foreign relations and military secrecy were not able to make that knowledge publicWe hope that one day records will be found or released that will reveal the truth about the fate of the flyers. Meanwhile the memory of a brave and gracious lady remains bright after forty five years.”

Hooven reportedly changed his theory that the Electra landed in the Phoenix Islands area – from which has sprung so much confusion and misinformation through the TIGHAR-Nikumaroro hypothesis that so dominates media coverage – and returned to Fred Goerner’s original Mili Atoll-landing scenario. Several researchers, including the late Ron Reuther and Rollin Reineck, and the still-living Bill Prymak and Ron Bright, agree that Hooven indeed changed his mind.

“I should have also mentioned that Fred Hooven, after making original conclusions that Earhart came down SE of Howland, thus influencing Goerner to concur, later recalculated and changed his conclusions and determined that AE/FN came down close to Mili,” Reuther wrote in an email to me shortly before his death in 2007.  I strongly believe Goerner would have reassessed his position and very likely would have agreed with Hooven’s final conclusion – near Mili, if Hooven hadn’t passed away in 1985.

One possible post-loss message remains to be considered, perhaps the most controversial of all.  We’ll take a look at it in the next post.

A look back at 2013

I’ll try to make this year in review as brief as possible, since my efforts to promote Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last are far outweighed by many more negative incidents and unhappy encounter that need not distract or bore the few interested readers who might visit this blog. 

Truth at Last was published by Larry Knorr’s Sunbury Press in June 2012, thus we mark the first full year in the life of this book.  Although we enjoyed a few bright moments, 2013 will be memorable almost solely for the nearly overwhelming number of rejections the book and its message received.  I thought I’d learned all about rejection during the more than a year it took to find the right publisher, but that was merely an introductory course.  2013 has offered a high-octane dosage of rejection on a scale that dwarfs all previous experience, leaving me to ponder how much longer I can continue to pursue this worthy cause while being almost completely ignored.

This “pan-institutional aversion to the truth” described in the final chapter of Truth at Last is alive, well and even worse that I imagined.  Make no mistake, the powers that be at the network and corporate levels fully understand that honest discussion of the Earhart disappearance is off limits.  No matter that after nearly 77 years of government-media propaganda, the idea that Amelia’s loss is an irresolvable mystery has been a familiar, universally accepted piece of our cultural landscape virtually since the day she failed to land on Howland Island.  No slippage can be tolerated, so the insidious campaign of lies and disinformation continues in its incessant refrains, ensuring the ignorance and disinterest of media consumers nationwide, and maintaining the status quo.

The TIGHAR plague

No honest discussion of efforts to solve – or, more accurately, explain the Earhart disappearance — would be complete if it didn’t include Ric Gillespie and The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has done more damage to the truth in the Earhart matter than anyone over the past 25 years or so.

Before Gillespie we had Elgen Long and the even more ridiculous Navy-Coast Guard crash-and-sank verdict, which for the most part kept a gullible public stupid for the first five decades following Amelia’s loss.  Thanks to these two paragons of deception, with their abject contempt for the truth, and a long list of lesser lights, as well as the enthusiastic help of the American media, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart remains among the most misunderstood and misreported events of the 20th century. 

Every other year, well in advance of the next TIGHAR-Nikumaroro boondoggle, we get the endless press releases, TV news stories and documentaries trumpeting and exploring the latest follies announced by TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie, a propaganda blitz now led by Discovery Channel and Discovery News (see Oct. 24 and July 11 posts).  Other possibilities are rarely if ever mentioned; it’s as if Gillespie is the only man on earth who has any clue about what happened to the lost fliers

For 25 years now it’s been one phony claim after another; one might think that few are taken in anymore, yet the false headlines keep coming, telling us that the Earhart mystery might be solved soon if TIGHAR’s latest hunch pans out.  If the search were for anything or anyone else except Amelia Earhart, this shopworn charade would have been ignored by the national media after TIGHAR’s first few jaunts failed to produce any credible evidence.  But after a much-too-long 50-year run, the original crashed-and-sank lie became impossible to maintain by the late 1980s; lacking anything better to keep the public distracted from the unpleasant truth, the establishment holds its nose and keeps dishing out nausea-inducing portions of Nikumaroro gruel to a public that could hardly be more disinterested.

The media’s aversion to the truth

No overt or covert conspiracy compels most establishment types to run from the truth in the Earhart case; most of them are completely ignorant of the facts.  Cynicism, disinterest and even boredom motivate many of these jaded characters to avoid the subject, while others who express initial interest flee in fear from public discussion upon learning of the very unpleasant ends that Earhart and Fred Noonan met on Saipan.  Others, informed by their habitual servitude to political correctness, instinctually understand that the subject of the fliers’ miserable deaths at the hands of the Japanese, now our good friends, is simply not a proper topic for cultured eyes and ears.  The reasons are many, but they add up to a colossal societal resistance to the truth.  If we lived in a world that encouraged truth seekers in the Earhart matter, I’m convinced Truth at Last would be a bestseller by now.  Of course, without the 77-year government cover-up, no need would exist for Truth at Last to be written, nor any of the other fine books that present the truth in varying degrees of effectiveness.

I won’t name the numerous talk radio hosts, newspaper editors, bloggers and others who have scheduled me on their shows or promised their help in various ways and then bailed without warning, explanation or apology – as if they had suddenly learned that I had leprosy, with apologies to any lepers who might be reading this.  It’s bad enough to be ignored by more than 95 percent of these media types when I send them my standard query, but for them to respond, schedule a date and then ignore me is truly unprofessional and inexcusable. 

Just three days into 2013, the retail sales manager at the Admiral Nimitz Museum unwittingly set the tone for the coming year when she refused to stock the book that significantly expands upon Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s revelation to Fred Goerner in 1965, a year before Goerner’s bestseller The Search for Amelia Earhart was published.  

Search immortalized the famed admiral’s statement to the San Francisco radio newsman that Earhartwent down in the Marshalls and was picked up by the Japanese.  My letter to the museum directors appealing this decision was ignored; even the simple decency of a response was refused me.  Maj.  Glenn MacDonald (U.S. Army, retired), editor-in-chief of the popular rank-and-file military-oriented site, www.militarycorruption.com, is among our book’s greatest supporters.  Glenn chronicled the Nimitz Museum travesty with this story, which was also ignored by the Nimitz Museum’s enlightened leadership.

In early March we had the Jim Bohannon debacle.  Charles Heller, a Tucson, Ariz., radio host, had recommended me to Bohannon after having me on his own show.  Bohannon’s late night show is syndicated to more than 350 stations nationwide, and I had high hopes that his program might provide a launching pad to the breakthrough this book badly needed.  It wasn’t to be, as Bohannon had invited me only as a favor to Heller.  He didn’t do a minute of show preparation, knew nothing of the Earhart matter and told me he didn’t receive the PDF of the book and other material I had twice sent to him, which I seriously doubt.

Bohannon spent the first half hour by reacting with hostility and disbelief to everything I said, catching me off balance and unprepared.  I finally stood up to the bully, and Bohannon had little to say over the last 25 minutes or so.  This sad episode, captured in a post by Jessica Renshaw on her Hidden in Jesus blog, served as a hard-learned lesson I will never forget: Never assume anyone is on your side going into a media interview unless you’re absolutely certain.

Earhart Truth Presentations: A rough start

During the second half of the year, inspired by the success of veteran Earhart presenter Rob Ellos, of Stillwater, Minn., I embarked on my own attempt to spread the word, dubbing my new enterprise “Earhart Truth Presentations.”  Sounds impressive, and I even had 1,000 business cards made for distribution to interested parties, but most of these are still in my drawer at home.  The inaugural version of Earhart Truth Presentations failed to pay for its rollout.  I sent my query to many hundreds of assisted living facilities and senior centers, as well as Kiwanis, Rotary, Moose and Elk Lodges and Daughters of the American Revolution chapters within a 90-minute drive of Jacksonville, with pathetic results.  Apparently only phony searches on tramped-down islands in the central Pacific have any chance of making money in the Earhart information business.

After talking to the few groups I visited, it was obvious that it’s not the older people who aren’t interested, but the much younger activity directors who don’t care about the Earhart disappearance.  The future of Earhart Truth Presentations is quite dim, with nothing at all scheduled for the New Year.  As for Rob’s success in Stillwater and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, maybe the baby boomers up there, the ones who run the senior facilities, are better educated and informed, and thus more inclined to invite him to their facilities.  Who can say?

I also sent the flyer to all private and public high schools, and the response was exactly zero, which speaks volumes about the pathetic state of our secondary schools.  It’s common knowledge that our public schools ceased to teach true American history decades ago, but I thought the private schools might have retained a semblance of traditional curricula.  Sadly, none of them have any interest in anyone coming into their classrooms to set the record straight about Amelia Earhart, whom few of any have heard of anyway. 

Perhaps the highlight for my year was a lengthy commentary I wrote to commemorate the July 2 anniversary of Amelia’s last flight, published by Veterans News Now, the same outfit that posted Dave Martin’s fine review of Truth at Last in August 2012, “Hillary Clinton and the Amelia Earhart Cover-up.”  Titled “The truth in the Earhart ‘mystery’ is a sacred cow,’ and posted June 13 by editor Debbie Menon, the piece stayed atop the VNN top 50 for over two weeks and continues its run in VNN’s top 25 with over 11,300 reads as of Dec. 31.  Joel Freedman, my friend from Canandaigua, New York, placed some guest columns in local newspapers, and Jessica Renshaw, whose Hidden in Jesus blog was among the first to discover Truth at Last, did what she could to help.

I did about 18 radio appearances with the relatively few independent radio types who were unafraid to step up and help, PC be damned.  Many of these hosts failed to read anything I sent them, were completely unprepared to do a decent interview, and simply were filling time by having me on.  But a few were outstanding professionals, did plenty of show prep, read the book and had great programs.  The best of these were author and host Deanna Spingola, who had me on her show, “Spingola Speaks” on the Republic Broadcasting Network for a return engagement;  and Bill Xam, host of the Internet program “Surrounded by Idiots,” which recently joined the Freedom Talk Radio/SETV network.  Bill spent many hours preparing notes and special features for our two-hour discussion, which can be found on the EarhartTruth.com Media page. 

Other radio people I should thank again for their help included Chuck Wilder, host of “Talkback with Chuck Wilder” on CRN; Michael Betteridge,  general manager of WTHU 1450 AM “The Source,” Thurmont, Md., and nephew of noted Earhart researcher Paul Rafford, Jr.; Bill Hay, host of “I’m Speaking Plainly,” on local Jacksonville’s 600 AM “The Answer” and Dr. Stan Monteith, veteran host of Radio Liberty, heard in multiple cities including Cincinnati and Spokane, Wash., who has invited me back on Jan. 7 at 6 pm EST and Jan. 9 at 11 pm.

I also want to express a special thanks to my old friend Sonny Auld, who has been the webmaster of www.EarhartTruth.com since its inception. Without Sonny’s unselfish efforts, we’d be nowhere at all.

That’s about it.  I continue to do whatever I can and hope that somehow the breakthrough that Truth at Last needs to come to the attention of the American public will eventuate.  It can’t happen if we give up, and so I won’t.  Amelia deserves far better than she’s received since her tragic loss, and so does the book that presents the truth about it without apology.

July 11: Another Amelia Earhart anniversary passes

I suppose it’s about time I posted something here, if only to justify the existence of this blog, so far out on the fringe of obscurity, much like the object of its focus.  Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last marked its first birthday on June 21, a few weeks before the arrival of the 76th anniversary of Amelia’s last flight, on July 2, 1937.  Since nothing memorable happened on the “platinum” anniversary, when one might reasonably expect something of significance to occur, we shouldn’t be surprised when the 76th anniversary would pass quietly.

All wasn’t entirely calm on the media front, as Ric Gillespie of TIGHAR was promoting another of his bi-annual schemes to collect prodigious sums of money from the stupid for the ostensible purpose of returning to Nikumaroro and searching for Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and their lost plane.  Gillespie has done this 10 times already and found many curious “artifacts” among the island’s buried garbage that he’s brazenly attempted to connect to the lost flyers or the Electra, never successfully of course, because they were never on Nikumaroro.

No need to provide the details of Gillespie’s latest scheme here; it’s possibly the most absurd of all his ridiculous offerings to date, and would be hilarious if it wasn’t such an outrageous affront to all common sense and decency. Regardless, Gillespie need only utter his latest fantasy to Discovery News, which publishes his newest excuse to fundraise, and the monkeys and stenographers in the entire major media fall in line with their always-predictable press releases and breathless broadcasts, once again hyping a delusion as the Second Coming.

Many can attest to the fact that the American flyers never visited the atoll once known as Gardner Island, including Henry Maude and Eric Bevington of the British Colonial Service, who was there just 100 days after Earhart vanished. Ninety-odd days earlier, Lieutenant John Lambrecht and two other pilots from the USS Colorado, whose planes were launched by the battleship to search Gardner mere days after the flyers went missing, saw nothing amiss.  The hundreds of Gilbertese settlers who lived there from 1940 until the early 1960s, as well as the dozens of U.S. Coast Guardsmen who manned the LORAN Station in 1944-’45, would say the same thing — no trace of the missing American pair was ever seen on the island.

Meanwhile the major media blackout of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, continues unceasingly.  Good people such as Deanna Spignola, Michael Betteridge and Jessica Renshaw were willing to offer their support, stand up for the truth and have me on their radio shows and write about this on their blogs.  Thanks to great support from Debbie Menon of Veterans News Now, my long commentary, “The truth in the Earhart ‘mystery’ is a sacred cow” reached No. 1 on that news site, with many thousands of reads (please see “Media” at www.EarhartTruth.com).

Otherwise, the entire lame-stream media vehemently opposes and ignores this book and its message; their longtime investment in perpetuating Gillespie’s falsehoods is obvious to any rational observer. If the publication of Truth at Last has proven anything, it’s that the Earhart cover-up is alive, well and more real today than everHow else can one explain the media’s unbridled, never-ending enthusiasm for the so-called Nikumaroro “hypothesis,” which is nothing more than long-debunked, thirdhand, unmitigated crap, while completely ignoring Truth at Last and its uncompromising presentation of the overwhelming eyewitness, witness and documentary evidence that places Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and their Electra 10E on Saipan in the weeks and months following their loss?

Want more evidence?  Hollywood director Rich Martini and associates recently spent months on Saipan vainly digging at the old Aslito Airfield in search of Amelia’s Electra, as well as interviewing aging Chamorros in search of new eyewitnesses to the prewar presence and deaths of Earhart and Noonan. Naturally, Martini’s activities were big news on Saipan, and were covered extensively in the two newspapers there, Marianas Variety and Saipan TribuneBut one could search forever without finding a single media organization in America – not one newspaper, radio or TV station, or even a single blog – that contained a whisper of Martini’s Saipan excursion.  Enough said for now.  I continue my efforts, for whatever that’s worth.

June 2: Gillespie and TIGHAR — Again

Two months have passed since I posted an entry on this virtually invisible blog, where only a scant few intrepid souls dare to tread.  Just as I was beginning to wonder why we haven’t lately heard from Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR (which has also become an acronym for deceit and misdirection in the Earhart disappearance), they turn up in the headlines once again, like the bad pennies they are.

Apparently it took nearly a full year before Gillespie could conjure up a new reason to fleece the unwary and justify yet another trip back to  godforsaken Nikumaroro Atoll, where he insists he can find Amelia Earhart’s Electra, if only he’s given enough OPM (other people’s money).  How many times have we seen this despicable song and dance?  I’ve lost count.

 “Amelia Earhart’s Plane Revealed in Sonar?” Discovery News asks its uninformed  readers to consider in its May 29 edition.  A grainy sonar image captured off an uninhabited tropical island in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati might represent the remains of the Electra, the two-engine aircraft legendary aviator Amelia Earhart was piloting when she vanished on July 2, 1937 in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator, Discovery News reporter Rossella Lorenzi writes.

 Released by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which has long been investigating Earhart’s last, fateful flight, the images show an anomaly resting at the depth of about 600 feet in the waters off Nikumaroro island, some 350 miles southeast of Earhart’s target destination, Howland Island.

. . .  We currently project that it will take nearly $3,000,000 to put together an expedition that can do what needs to be done. It’s a lot of money, but it’s a small price to pay for finding Amelia,” Gillespie said.

Loathe to miss another golden opportunity to keep its readers across the pond as stupid as possible, the UK’s Daily Mail echoed the Discovery News story two days later in its Mail Online edition, asking Is this Amelia Earhart’s plane? Sonar image from uninhabited Pacific island could show remains of aviator’s aircraft Electra that disappeared in 1937.  The extensive high-tech photo and graphic layouts in both articles are hugely overdone, as if both publications are trying to force-feed Gillespie’s latest red herring to their readers.  For anyone remotely informed about the Earhart matter, to label these stories and Gillespie’s claims utterly ridiculous is an exercise in abject understatement.

Pouring gasoline on a roaring fire of mendacity, Lorenzi reports that a number of artifacts recovered by TIGHAR during 10 expeditions have suggested that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, made a forced landing on the island’s smooth, flat coral reef.  What Lorenzi fails to tell readers is that NONE of the artifacts Gillespie has dug up on the trampled-over island has ever been connected to Earhart or Noonan, that hundreds of U.S. Coast Guard LORAN Station personnel and Gilbertese settlers lived on Nikumaroro for over 20 years between 1940 and the early 1960s, and that the media’s continuing embrace of Gillespie’s third-hand, long-debunked theory is pure disinformation, meant to keep the public ignorant about the facts in the Earhart matter.

This time Gillespie wants $3 million to seek out the source of this sonarhit or whatever.  It’s getting very difficult to read this crap anymore.  With Gillespie, TIGHAR and their media accomplices, it’s just the same hag dressed up in different clothes.  What it does show, beyond a doubt, is how alive and well the Earhart cover-up is, and how heavily invested the establishment is in keeping the masses in the dark about the truth. 

No observers in their right minds would give Gillespie a dime after 10 trips to Nikumaroro and nothing to show for it, so why would an objective media, without an agenda, spend two lines in promoting Gillespie’s constant failures?  Once again, Gillespie has proven Amelia Earhart was never on Nikumaroro, and once again, he’s going to be rewarded for it with a fat payday.  Don’t ask me where I think the money to fund these unending Pacific cruises comes from.

The Mail Online article saved the worst for last, dismissing the truth in two sentences, which actually is more than mostnews organizationswill spend.  A few theorists reckon that she Earhart was spying on Japan and had been captured and executed, the unnamed Daily Mail reporter wrote.  This theory has been discounted by the American authorities and press.  Just WHY American authorities and the press have discounted this “theory,” of course, is not mentioned, nor is the location of Earhart and Noonan’s deaths — SAIPAN.

 If you’re curious, and you’ve somehow stumbled upon this blog, I suggest that the truth about these and other questions about the so-calledEarhart Mystery can be found in my book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

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