Tag Archives: Rollin C. Reineck

The Richards Memo: Was it legit or something else?

The so-called Richards Memo of Nov. 1, 1938 and retired Air Force Col. Rollin Reineck’s commentary on it appeared in the July 1998 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters I’ve always wondered why this document received so little attention.  Maybe I’m missing something.  Obviously, other researchers haven’t been enamored of it, and some must have found its credibility to be dubious, but Reineck was not one of them.  Here then, as close to the original piece as possible, is the Richards Memo and Reineck’s conclusions, presented for your information and entertainment.  (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)

FROM THE DESK OF . . . . . . . . . Rollin Reineck

The attached memorandum (following page), dated 1 November 1938, is very significant as it relates directly to the disappearance of Amelia Earhart in several ways.  This memo was written by Army Air Corps Colonel (before the days of the U.S. Air Force) H. H. C. Richards, who was assigned to the War Department as the Liaison Officer for the Australian Air Force.  Colonel Richards sent the memo to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G-2), War Department, who was probably an Army two-or-three star general.

The purpose of the memo was to clarify a letter that had been sent to the Information Division of the Liaison Office, alleging that Amelia Earhart had been shot down by the Japanese.

Colonel Richards says that this is definitely not the case, as it is known that Miss Earhart’s transmissions were heard by Army personnel (Army Air Corps Lt. Daniel A. Cooper and Army Signal Corps Lt. Henry Lau), who were stationed at Howland Island on 2 July 1937.  These officers reported that judging from the strength of the radio signals received, Earhart passed quite close to the island, some fifty miles or less.  Further, the Army personnel reported that Earhart stated she was turning north, and they continued to hear her at intervals.  Her signals became fainter each time received, until finally she stated she was out of gas.  That was the last they heard from her.

The little-known Richards Memo.  From page 64 of Rollin Reineck’s  2003 book, Amelia Earhart Survived, here is the caption: Copy of a memo sent from Colonel H.H.C. Richards, U.S. Army Air Corps Liaison Officer (Intelligence) to the Assistant Chief of War Department Intelligence (2 or 3 star general) dated 1 November 1938, which says, in part, Army people on Howland Island heard Earhart say she was turning north.

The significance of this memorandum is as follows:

1.  The memorandum was between high level, senior staff officers in the War Department about the fate of Amelia Earhart.

2.  The Army personnel (officers) on Howland Island could distinguish between the volume intensity of Earhart’s voice, and make reliable judgments as to her relative distance from Howland Island.

3.  It dispels the theory that Earhart ditched close to Howland Island.

4.  It enhances the theory that Amelia Earhart did land or ditched some distance north of Howland Island.

Editor’s [Bill Prymak] Comment: Why is top brass still pursuing this 14 months after she went down??  Is there more to this than meets the eye?  (End of AES July 1998 entry.)

          Rollin C. Reineck, circa 2003.

In Chapter 7, “Implement Plan B” of Reineck’s 2003 book, Amelia Earhart Survived, he begins by stating that he believed that Earhart had five to six hours of fuel remaining when her call was heard by the Coast Guard Cutter Itasca at 0843 Howland Island local time.  He goes on to discuss Earhart’s alleged statement to Gene Vidal, who claimed that Amelia told him that “if she could not locate Howland, when she was down to four hours of fuel remaining, she would turn back to the Gilbert Islands.  The author believes that Earhart remembered her secret conversations at March Field in Riverside, California, with Bernard Baruch and General [Oscar] Westover that advised: when you still have sufficient fuel remaining and you haven’t yet found Howland Island, implement Plan B, the alternate plan.

Reineck continued:

She made no mention on her communications frequencies of 3105 and 6216 kilocycles (kcs henceforth) of her intentions of what she was to do when she couldn’t find HowlandHowever, it is believed by this researcher that Earhart disregarded all orders and used her new high frequency discrete channel that had been activated in her transmitter for communications, to tell Howland Island that she was headed north.  It is believed that this high frequency channel was secretly installed, probably while she was in Miami, before her departure.  The crystal for the new high frequency was inserted in place of the vacant 500 kcs low frequency crystal.  The 500 kcs crystal became useless when Earhart eliminated her trailing wire antenna and decided not to use low (500 kcs) frequency, and use only high frequency for her communications and direction finding activity.

What was this “new high frequency discrete channel” that Reineck references, and why is no evidence of it in other researchers’ work?  He can’t be talking about the well-known 7500 kcs high-frequency direction finder that she reported receiving Itasca’s signals on but couldn’t find a minimum.”  Reineck writes that he believes “she used this frequency to tell personnel on Howland that she was turning north and she continued to communicate her progress until she ran out of fuel.”  Reineck went on:

These key messages  are not recorded in the radio logs of the Itasca or Howland Island, but were heard by Army personnel on Howland as reflected in a memo from Colonel H.H.C. Richards to the Chief of Intelligence at the War Department.  It was those short messages, heard by the Japanese, that not only helped the Japanese locate Earhart after she crashed at Mili Atoll, but told the Japanese that Earhart was turning north, probably for a specific purpose.  The Japanese knew at this time that Earhart was not just searching for an alternate landing site, but purposely headed for a specific site that was within the Imperial Islands of Japan.  Plan “B” had been compromised, because Earhart had disregarded all orders and broken radio silence. 

On Howland Island Adm. Richard Black supervised construction of the air strip for Amelia Earhart’s scheduled refueling stop, and later arranged for a special high frequency direction finder to be set up on Howland.  Black was in the radio room of the USCG Itasca as he listened to Earhart’s last known radio transmission indicating that she was low on fuel and was searching for Howland.

Reineck cites the Richards Memo as the verification that Army personnel were on Howland, specifically Army Air Corps Lt. Daniel A. Cooper and Army Signal Corps Lt. Henry Lau, but he doesn’t mention Navy Radioman 2nd Class Frank Cipriani, who was also on Howland at that time, and who was sent there by Admiral Richard Black to man the high frequency direction finder that Black had set up there.  For more details on Reineck’s Plan Btheory, see pages 103-113 of Amelia Earhart Survived.

What are we to make of Reineck’s theory, specifically as it relates to the Richards Memo Has anyone ever seen statements from anyone on Howland that support his claims that they heard Earhart announcing that she was “turning north”?  I certainly have not, but the ever-imaginative Reineck weaves an interesting scenario, one in which many of his speculations seem to fit — and we know that Earhart did land at Mili.  But the Richards Memo has received scant attention from other researchers.  

What do you think?

Could Earhart be interred in her birthplace’s cellar?

We continue our brief inquiry into possible resting places for our heroine, Amelia Earhart, and the great Fred Noonan, her overlooked and misunderstood navigator.  In my last post,Amelia Earhart held in Saipan’s Garapan Prison: Was she also buried somewhere nearby?we saw more witness testimony that strongly suggested Amelia was buried on Saipan, just as so many others have told us.  Boldface emphasis is mine throughout.

Today we take a brief look at an Earhart burial theory suggested by a few of the more fanciful types who’ve speculated on this mystery, although its exact origin isn’t clear.  To introduce this bizarre idea, we present a letter from one of the most speculative and imaginative of all notable Earhart researchers and authors, retired Air Force Col. Rollin C. Reineck, who needs no introduction to regular readers of this blog.  Reineck’s letter to the director of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Louise Foudray, and her response, which follows after my brief comments, were published in the February 1999 issue of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters.

Louise Foudray, former director of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, circa 2004.  Photo courtesy Alex Mandel.

 

Rollin C. Reineck
1127 Lauloa St.
Kailua, HI 96734

24 October 1998

Louise Foudray
Amelia Earhart Museum
Atchison, Kansas 66002

The other day I received the enclosed letter from a researcher.

I find it interesting in two respects.  First, it indicates that Goerner had some inside information that Earhart was killed on Saipan and that her remains were returned so the United States.

Secondly it eliminates the Arlington National Cemetery as possible place where AE could have been buried had her remains been returned to the U.S.

When I read the letter, specifically that part of the 6th para. “I can’t be specific, but why don’t you look in the most obvious place.”  I immediately thought of her home in Atchison, Kansas, as the most obvious place.

(Editor’s note:  Here Reineck was referring to an Oct. 9, 1998 letter from Ross Game to Bob Ross, which was presented in our Dec. 20, 2019 post, Game letter suggests possible Earhart burial site In the letter’s sixth paragraph, Game wrote, “Just before the CIA assistance [he and Goerner were receiving] was cut off I pleaded with our contact to tell me where the Earhart remains had been placed after being brought from Saipan.  The reply:  “I can’t be specific, but why don’t you look in the most obvious place.’ ”  Game and Goerner’s subsequent investigations of Arlington National Cemetery came up empty.)

When you get a minute, I would appreciate your comments.

Aloha, Rollin C. Reineck

Reading Game’s account of the cryptic response from the unidentified CIA man about how he might find Amelia Earhart’s gravesite brought to mind a long litany of negative responses from officials that Donald Kothera’s wife, Florence, received during her brief fact-finding foray in Washington. D.C., as chronicled near the conclusion of Joe Davidson’s highly underrated 1969 book,  Amelia Earhart Returned from Saipan.  

“I do not remember going on any grave digging detail,” former Marine Capt. Tracy Griswold had told Kothera, John Gacek and Davidson at his home in Erie, Penn., in answer to their queries about his role in the 1944 Saipan grave-digging incident as recalled by Everett Henson Jr. and Billy Burks.  Before Kothera and friends left, Griswold, not content with leaving them flat, asked whether they had “checked with the National Morgue?  You might be surprised what you would find there.”  We continue, quoting directly from Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last:

Rather than ignore Griswold’s devious suggestion, Kothera sent his wife, Florence, to Washington to “check with the National Morgue.”  Florence soon learned that no such entity exists, but a phone call to the ever-helpful Griswold redirected her to the National Archives, as if the answers might be found there.  Three days later, her bureaucratic goose chase had taken her not only to the National Archives, but to the Naval History Office, Japanese Embassy, U.S. State Department, Chief of Naval Intelligence, and Navy Annex as well.  Along the way, she told several officials how she felt about their inability to produce any answers about Earhart, Griswold, or the remains he had removed from Saipan.  Florence Kothera learned a hard lesson from her frustrating Washington experience: Nobody in the U.S. government has ever offered anything helpful about the fate of Amelia Earhart.                    

This is the portion of the basement of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum with the mounds that some have speculated house the bodies of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.  Photo courtesy Suzanne Bower, July 2012, and taken from the 2015 book, The Amelia Earhart Saga: Plausible Suppositions, by Barry Bower.

Rudely, Louise Foudray did not respond directly to Reineck’s sincere letter, but wrote a brief note more than three months later to Bill Prymak, whom she presumed would publish it in his Amelia Earhart Society Newsletter, and he promptly did.  

Jan. 28, 1999

Dear Bill,

I have not responded to [the above from] Col. Reineck, so will do so via the newsletter.

We have joked for years about the 2 large cement mounds in the basement of the birthplace.  One for Amelia Earhart, one for Fred.  If she requested they be “entombed” together, it’s ideal.  According to certain sources, this may be true.

[Researcher] Art Parchen observed thesemounds recently and said he didn’t think so.

When the new fiction book comes out, maybe we’ll know.  The lady researching for the book says, “’You are going to be surprised!

These are exciting times!  I can just “feel” an answer coming — can you?

Bless you all and “Happy Hunting”
              Louise Foudray

I don’t know to which Earhart fiction book Foudray was referring, but considering the numerous tomes of varying uselessness published since 1999, it couldn’t have been terribly compelling.  The very idea of producing more Earhart fiction is a insult to Amelia and her legacy, which had already been muddled, nearly beyond redemption, by decades of disinformation and fiction.

That’s about it, I have only the basics on this one.  The source of the birthplace basement theory remains a mystery, at least to me.  Others may be out there besides Alex Mandel, who has personally visited there several times and rejects the Earhart-Noonan interment idea, who might have their own stories or insights.  Special thanks to Alex for his assistance with the photos.

Senator Inouye’s Earhart legislation would “declassify any records that have been classified”

We rejoin the saga of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye’s attempt to release the secret Earhart files by drafting Congressional legislation in 1993.  Longtime Earhart researcher and author Col. Rollin Reineck (U.S. Air Force, retired) was far from a single-minded devotee of the truth, as we’ve already seen in several posts, but we also must give the colonel his just due.  (Boldface and italics emphases mine throughout.)

If not for Reineck’s diligence, Inouye would never have become informed and motivated enough about the Earhart disappearance to actually step out from the establishment mob and risk his proverbial neck for the truth. 

I find it beyond ironic that Inouye was not just the only U.S. senator to ever actively advocate for total disclosure of the secret Earhart files, but that he was a Japanese-American citizen who narrowly escaped internment during World War II.  With 50 more like him, we might write “Case Closed” to the Earhart disappearance.

Inouye was one of only seven members of the U.S. Senate to be awarded the Medal of Honor;  five of those were cited for their valor during the Civil War.  Sen. Robert J. Kerry (D-Nebraska), whose actions came in Vietnam in 1969, shares the 20th century senatorial distinction with Inouye, whose story is an inspiring chronicle of selflessness, courage and devotion to duty and comrades.

Undated U.S. Army photo of Lt. Daniel Inouye, platoon leader in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, activated on Feb. 1, 1943 at Camp Shelby, Miss.  The team was composed of Japanese-American volunteers from the internment camps, Hawaii, states outside of the west coast exclusion zone, and Japanese-American soldiers who were already serving in the U.S. Army when the war broke out.

Born in Honolulu in 1924 to Japanese parents who had emigrated from the mainland, Inouye was surrounded by anti-Japanese sentiment during his childhood, graduating from high school in 1942, just after Pearl Harbor. 

Inouye immediately tried to enlist in the military, but was rejected with a draft classification 4C, which stood for enemy alien,unfit for duty, but after more than a year, the Army finally dropped its enlistment ban on Japanese-Americans.  He quickly enlisted and volunteered for the storied 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese-American combat unit that fought in southern France and Germany.

Promoted to sergeant in his first year, and after a major battle in the Vosges Mountains of France in the fall of 1944, Inouye received a battlefield commission to second lieutenant.  During that offensive, he was hit by a German round right above his heart, but two silver dollars he had stacked in his shirt pocket stopped the bullet.  He carried those coins with him through the rest of the war, but the worst was far from over.

On April 21, 1945, Inouye was near San Terenzo, Italy, leading his platoon on an attack on a mountain ridge against enemy troops who were guarding an important road junction when they were ambushed by three close-range machine guns.  During the attack, he was shot in the stomach, but Inouye was undeterred and destroyed the first machine gun position by himself with grenades and gunfire.  He and his squad then attacked the second machine gun nest, successfully destroying it.  For the rest of the late Senator Daniel Inouye’s Medal of Honor story, please click here.

We come now to possibly the highest point of the 12 years Bill Prymak invested in producing the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletter (1989-2000) for his friends and fellow researchers.  As we can see below, Prymak’s February 1993 newsletter trumpets the news that his friend Rollin Reineck had persuaded Sen. Inouye to write legislation that would, if approved and enacted, end 56 years of government denial and deceit, as reflected by Inouye’s letter to Reineck, followed by the bill that he would soon introduce.

Army 2nd Lt. and future Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye (far left) smiles with Bob Dole (front right) at Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., sometime after World War II.  (Photo courtesy of Robert Dole Library.)

Prymak’s closing comment:  “The above, hopefully, will be the fruition of many years of hard, dedicated effort to break down the doors of the State Department, where the Colonel is certain that files on Amelia Earhart never seen before by the American people lay sequesteredEverybody owes him a debt of gratitude for his untiring efforts and perseverance in what we all hope will be a major breakthrough in the Earhart mystery.  GOOD SHOW, COLONEL.

Nothing more was ever heard of Inouye’s proposed bill, and the AES Newsletters are silent as wellThus has been the fate of all efforts aimed at breaking through the stone wall erected by the U.S. government and its agencies that protects the secrets of the Earhart disappearance from the public.  Even an important, highly placed U.S. senator’s actual proposed legislation was dead on arrival, with no chance of passage whatsoever.

Joe Gervais, left, and Rollin Reineck, circa mid-1990s, overlooking Honolulu, Hawaii.  Still esteemed by some as the greatest of Earhart researchers, Gervais can count among his contributions the vile and false Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart theory, which his friend Reineck unsuccessfully tried to reprise in his 2003 book, Amelia Earhart Survived.

Congress has yet to do anything approaching a real investigation of the Earhart disappearance.  When Fred Goerner’s bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart, rocked the nation in 1966, selling over 400,000 copies in an age when far more Americans actually read books, untold numbers of congressmen and senators from coast to coast were besieged by constituents demanding that they get to the bottom of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.  Nothing happened.

In an event that appears to have been completely suppressed from the public, in July 1968 Goerner appeared before a Republican platform subcommittee in Miami, chaired by Kentucky Governor Louie Broady Nunn. 

In his four-page presentation, “Crisis in Credibility — Truth in Government,” Goerner laid out the highlights of the mountain of facts that put the fliers on Saipan and appealed to the members’ integrity and patriotism, doing his utmost  to win them to the cause of securing justice for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.  Nothing eventuated, of course.  I have the record of Goerner’s congressional encounter only because I briefly had access to his 900-plus files, housed at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, which continues to ban Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last from its bookstore.

In 1997, Rollin Reineck took another shot at it — an extreme longshot, to be more accurate — and wrote an excellent letter to President  Bill Clinton in hopes of achieving a miraculous breakthrough in the Earhart case.  This time Reineck had no inside connection, and his missive probably never got past a GS-11 screener.  This has been the fate of all attempts to reveal the truth about the Earhart disappearance — among the most sacrosanct of the U.S. government’s sacred cows — to the American public.  And so it goes.

Reineck asks vital questions in ’98 Game letter

The late Rollin C. Reineck was a war hero, retired Air Force colonel and an original member of the Amelia Earhart Society, whose passion for Earhart research often produced fascinating, informative work.  At other times, Reineck’s penchant for the spectacular and bizarre led him into areas populated by Fred Goerner’slunatic fringe, and these ill-conceived forays have somewhat tainted his reputation among Earhart researchers.

Reineck’s authorship of the dreadful Amelia Earhart Survived (Paragon Agency, 2003), his failed attempt to resurrect the long-discredited Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart myth, was a sad day for the former B-29 navigator and the clueless who signed on to that travesty. 

The below letter from Reineck to Ross P. Game reflects Reineck’s better angels, and touches on the theme of our previous post, to wit: the possible location of the grave site of Amelia Earhart, and he adds two additional, more important questions, which will be addressed forthwith.  It also appears to be Reineck’s first contact and introduction to Game.

Rollin C. Reineck, circa 1945, served as a B-29 navigator in both the European and Pacific theaters during World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Bronze Star.  A true patriot in every sense of the word, Reineck passed away in 2007, and left some very controversial writings about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

 

Rollin C. Reineck
1127 Lauloa St.
Kailua, HI 96734

Mr. Ross P. Game                                                                  24 October 1998
Post Office Box 176
Napa, CA 94559-0176

Dear Mr. Game,

Your letter of 9 October 1998 to Mr. Bob Ross was forwarded to me for information.

I have been studying the Earhart mystery for almost 29 years, and have been a admirer of Fred Goerner for the same period.  His work helped everyone get interested in the Earhart affair.  Hopefully, because of his tremendous research, we’ll solve this mystery some day.

I had corresponded with Mr. Goerner on several occasions and have a large file with his answers and views on all aspects of the Earhart Story.  As a side note, we both graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Although I was a few classes ahead of him.

I find your anecdote about where the Earhart remains had been placed extremely interesting.  I would have guessed Arlington, just as you did.  l’m glad to know that you did a thorough investigation of that possibility.

In a nationally broadcast news conference at San Francisco’s KCBS studios in November 1961, Fred Goerner (seated right) answers fellow reporters’ questions about recently recovered remains on Saipan.

I do have a couple of questions about the Goerner thinking that perhaps you can answer for me:

First, Fred Goerner originally believed that Earhart went down in the Marshalls and was taken captive by the Japanese.  They, in turn, took her to Saipan.  Later in life, he seemed to reject this theory and expressed the view that she went down about 80 miles southeast of Howland.  My question is, what evidence did he have to validate or substantiate that later view?

Second, I have been told that Goerner made a tape just before he died concerning Earhart.  What did he say on the tape?  Where is the tape now and how can I hear the tape?

I would appreciate any assistance you can provide.  We’re still actively looking.

Aloha                                                Rollin C. Reineck
                                                         Colonel USAF (Ret.)

P.S.  I am not associated in any way with TIGHAR.

In our next post, we’ll see how Game responded to Reineck’s questions.  Reineck passed away in 2007 at his home in Kailua, Hawaii.

Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society: Part II of IV

Some of the more perspicacious readers of this blog know that the very same day Part I of  Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society was published, Dec. 29, 2015,  the UK’s Daily Mail, followed by Fox News ran stories promoting a new book that, unbelievably, attempts to re-resurrect the absurd Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart lie, as if this is something new and important that the world needs to know about!

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous, is a statement attributed to Albert Einstein, and I suppose it’s more poignant than simply saying, There are no such things as coincidences.”  Could anyone be so clueless as to write a book in 2015 based on 50-year-old, discredited garbage, unless this is the latest government disinformation effort in the Earhart case, mixing the Marshalls-Saipan truth with the Bolam falsehood in order to discredit all three elements?

The Daily Mail will not allow anyone to post a comment that names this blog, my book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last or even my name, and with one recently reported exception, Fox News has been equally exclusionary, so determined are they to keep readers ignorant about the truth, and this has been going on for many years.  This should tell even the minimally observant where the truth can actually be found, and it’s nowhere near the fair and balanced place on your cable TV news lineup.  With that said, I present Part II of Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society for your information and entertainment.)

Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society” Part II

What is the hardest task in the world? To think.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those of us concerned about the damage that might accrue as a result of the National Geographic Channel’s revival of the Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart canard didn’t wait long to see our fears realized.  Less than a month after the Earhart special’s first airing, a glance at the Internet site Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that’s not always credible, revealed the first ripple in the new wave of media attention that the National Geographic Channel had instigated.  In late December 2006, the Wikipedia entry for Amelia Mary Earhart featured a new subhead, “Planned disappearance and paranormal explanations,” wherein Wikipedia informed readers:

In November 2006, the National Geographic Channel aired . . . the theory that Earhart survived the incident near Howland Island, moved to New Jersey, changed her name, remarried, and became a person named Irene Craigmile Bolam and lived the remainder of her life in relative peace and quiet (a book published in 1970 called  Amelia Earhart Lives by Joe Klaas detailed this theory). 

Bolam denied being Earhart and filed a lawsuit requesting $1.5 million in damagesOne source stated that five years later, the book’s authors offered to settle for the requested amount if Bolam would agree to provide her fingerprints to establish her identity in front of the judge. Bolam declined and later dropped the suit.  This source also stated that Bolam died in 1982, was cremated, and that her death certificate listed her parents as “unknown.”

By now a collector's item, this is the back of the booklet Rollin Reineck sent to those who bought Amelia Earhart Survived to so that they might be kept current on the latest insanity ton the Irene Bolam

By now a collector’s item, this is the back of the booklet Rollin Reineck sent to the few, including this observer, who bought Amelia Earhart Survived, several months after publication of the book.  By then it was clear that Reineck had become thoroughly unhinged over this ridiculous idea.

Note that unlike National Geographic, which exposed the photo overlays purporting to prove that Bolam and Earhart were the same person, advanced by Reineck and his associate, Tod Swindell, as bogus junk, Wikipedia simply repeated the original theory without mentioning that it had been thoroughly discredited many times.  Ukrainian researcher Alex Mandel, Ph.D., contacted the owner of Wikipedia’s Earhart page in December 2006, and urgently needed counterbalance was soon added to the Bolam material.  By February 2007, much to Wikipedia’s credit, the entire Bolam entry was rewritten in a shorter, more concise form under a new subhead, Assuming another identity.”  The false claim that Bolam dropped her suit over the fingerprint issue was deleted, as was as the dubious statement about her “unknown parents” on her death certificate.  In Wikipedia’s new version, its conclusion was emphatic, succinct and most importantly, accurate:

Bolam’s personal life history was thoroughly documented by researchers, eliminating any possibility she was Earhart.  Kevin Richlin, a professional criminal forensic expert hired by National Geographic, studied photographs of both women and cited many measurable facial differences between Earhart and Bolam.

Beginning in late 2002 and continuing until about mid-2006, the growing Bolamite wing of the AES, by far its most vocal subgroup, became increasingly more emboldened in its asseverations against those who dared offer solid research findings that questioned their dogmas.  In early 2005, Reineck’s literary misadventure reached its final frontier, culminating in the publication of “The Last Chapter, also known as “Chapter 13, a small booklet produced as a supplement to Amelia Earhart Survived, an update, as it were, of the latest innovationsin Bolamite thinking. 

In “The Last Chapter,” Reineck levels the most outrageous allegation yet conjured against Earhart – that she secretly gave birth in 1924 at the age of 27 to a girl he identifies as “Irene Jr.,” whom, he says, was adopted by Irene Bolam’s aunt, attorney Irene Mary O’Crowley, and O’Crowley’s mother, Sara Rutherford O’Crowley, who “became the little girls [sic] childhood Nanny” in Sara’s Newark, New Jersey home

Are you following this?  As evidence for this incredible claim, Reineck cites a 1984 letter from family friend Lucy McDaniels, 83 at the time, to Diana Dawes, a close friend of Irene Bolam, recalling that in 1928 she “saw a baby in a crib” at Sara’s apartment.  According to McDaniels, Irene Senior, i.e., Irene Mary O’Crowley, told her the baby was the child of her deceased sister, at which point Reineck interjects an author’s note informing us that Irene Senior did not have a deceased sister.  “Of course I don’t know who the baby in the crib grew up to become,” McDaniels wrote, according to Reineck.  As if to lend credence to this bizarre fantasy, Reineck presents an inscrutable diagram on the booklet’s next-to-last page, purporting to illustrate the family tree into which Earhart’s imaginary child was adopted.  Needless to say, the personIrene Jr. never existed.

In mid-December 1982, the Woodbridge (N.J.) News Tribune published a series of investigative stories by Lois DiTomasso, News Tribune managing editor, that fully exposed the obvious truth about the Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart myth. Irene Bolam herself died of cancer earlier that year, in December 1982.

In mid-December 1982, the Woodbridge (N.J.) News Tribune published a series of investigative stories by that fully exposed the obvious truth about the Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart lie. Irene Bolam died of cancer earlier that year, in July 1982.

In the booklet’s opening pages, Reineck credits theinvestigative efforts of Tod Swindell for this latest revelation, which isn’t the only new discovery he unveiled for befuddled readers.  Inside “The Last Chapter” Reineck inserted a four-by-five slip of paper, titled “Preface,” in which he advises, For ease of understanding ‘The Last Chapter’ (13),” there were three Irene Craigmiles, two of them became Irene Craigmile Bolam.  The third Irene Bolam, Reineck wrote, was the face on the 1982 [Irene Bolam] Memorial Dinner cover. . . . We can only speculate who she really was.  In fact, Reineck’s third Irene Bolam is none other than the first and only such woman, photographed at a younger age.

The torturous logic through which Reineck declaims the existence of two Irene Bolams, the first of whom vanished without a trace to be replaced by Amelia Earhart, is already far beyond our ken.  But in “The Last Chapter,” Reineck asks us to take complete leave of our senses and accept three such discrete persons. Further exploration of the preposterous Bolamite delusions advanced in this absurd addendum would be pointless.

Sad indeed was the state of affairs within the AES in the years following the release of Amelia Earhart Survived.  If the Bolamites weren’t busy launching vitriolic attacks and accusations of intoleranceagainst non-believers, they were ignoring the most recent submissions in the ever-growing mountain of evidence laying waste to their claims.  I experienced my own rude introduction to this collegial group in late 2002, when, before publication of With Our Own Eyes, I sent the forum its most important chapter, “More GIs Step Forward,” which presented the never-before-published accounts of two-dozen Saipan veterans that revealed the presence and deaths of Earhart and Noonan there prior to the 1944 invasion.

The wall of silence that greeted this important new evidence told me all I needed to know about the AES and its so-called search for the truth.”  It was then that I realized any findings associated with Devine’s eyewitness account would be roundly rejected by this agenda-driven group, which, with few exceptions, is populated by non-contributing pretenders and aging cynics unwilling or incapable of adding anything of substance to their decades-hardened biases.  During the 14 years since I freely shared the new chapter of eyewitnesses in an open spirit of cooperation, that opinion has been borne out in spades.

"Pat O'Brien, Wiliard Reineck (father of) and Maj. Rollin Reineck at Columbia Pictures Studios soon after WWII. Willard was an Assistant Director on over four dozen films; Rollin was 25 here."

On the last page of “The Last Chapter” booklet, Rollin Reineck brings out this treasure in an apparent attempt to lend credibility to his Irene Bolam fantasies.  The cutline reads, “Pat O’Brien, Willard Reineck (father of) and Maj. Rollin Reineck at Columbia Pictures Studios soon after WWII. Willard was an Assistant Director on over four dozen films; Rollin was 25 here.”

Soon after Reineck’s posting of his Chapter 13 on the AES forum in late February 2005, Alex Mandel wrote a rebuttal of the latest despicable allegations laid at Earhart’s feet.  Mandel called it, Amelia Earhart’s Survival and Repatriation: Myth or Reality? and it later became known as The Atchison Report, the most comprehensive deconstruction of the IB theory extant.  Mandel’s paper, nine single-spaced pages of unassailable logic, was met with abject silence on the forum, a certain indication of its efficacy.  From the first rumblings of the IB theory’s baneful resuscitation in early 2002, to its unfortunate materialization in Survived, Mandel, trained in rigorous scientific logic, untiringly and enthusiastically deconstructed the steady stream of irrational Bolamite claims.  More than anyone in the AES, Mandel did the hard things necessary to keep the IB myth in its proper perspective, inspiring others, who, while not in sympathy with the Bolamite faith, lacked the will or resources to confront it directly.

In addition to the The Atchison ReportMandel’s other contributions to Earhart research include  “Amelia Earhart: Unusual Celebrity,” a meticulous day-by-day timeline of Earhart’s activities from mid-1928 through May 1937, which Mandel composed in 2006 by drawing upon his near-encyclopedic knowledge of Earhart biographical literature; and his 2004 essay, “Amelia Earhart: The Mystery of the Queen of the Air: Dispelling the Myths.” Throughout the protracted conflict fueled by the Bolamite ascension, Mandel, who speaks and writes English as a third language, continued to tread the ethical high ground he has held since joining the AES in 2002, always respecting his ideological opponents despite constant provocations and frequent insults. He also retained a wry sense of humor, as this message to Reineck suggests:

You wrote, Some researchers believe that Amelia entered the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston sometime in late July and gave birth to a daughter which she subsequently turned over to Denison House for foster care.”  Dear Rollin, generally – please why are you using at all this unclear and a bit foggy formula. “Some researchers believe” – as it is pretty well known that it is Tod Swindell’s theory, that Tod presented to the Forum several times?  About the theory itself – sorry, but am forced to repeat that it is purely artificial invention, created specially for to “support” in some way the IB theory.  Please see above for argumentation.

. . .  Mainly, as I can see, this theory is supported now rather by the power of faithof the people who are reluctant to abandon this belief, against many already presented arguments conclusively showing that it is baseless.

At Amelia Earhart Airport, Atchison, Kansas, in July 2004, Alex Mandel, Ph.D., stands near the 1935 Lockheed Electra 10E piloted by Linda Finch during her “World Flight ’97,” in which she successfully retraced Earhart’s ill-fated final flight. A leading light in the Earhart community since 2002, Mandel’s significant contributions to Earhart research include The Atchison Report “The Atchison Report,” a complete debunking of the Amelia Earhart-as-Irene Bolam myth; “Amelia Earhart: Unusual Celebrity,” a virtual day-by-day timeline of Earhart’s activities from mid-1928 through May 1937; and “Amelia Earhart: The Mystery of the Queen of the Air: Dispelling the Myths.” (Photo courtesy of Michele Cervone.)

At Amelia Earhart Airport, Atchison, Kansas, in July 2004, Alex Mandel, Ph.D., stands near the 1935 Lockheed Electra 10E piloted by Linda Finch during her “World Flight ’97,” in which she successfully retraced Earhart’s ill-fated final flight.  A leading light in the Earhart community since 2002, Mandel’s significant contributions to Earhart research include The Atchison Report, a complete debunking of the Amelia Earhart-as-Irene Bolam myth; “Amelia Earhart: Unusual Celebrity,” a virtual day-by-day timeline of Earhart’s activities from mid-1928 through May 1937; and “Amelia Earhart: The Mystery of the Queen of the Air: Dispelling the Myths.”  (Photo courtesy of Michele Cervone.)

Mandel’s thorough dismantling of Chapter 13″ was ignored by IB partisans on the forum, nor could a single expression of agreement or support be heard, which also wasn’t surprising.  For the most part, I had been observing the spectacle silently, in near-helpless wonderment at the return of this long-slain monster from the pit of obsolescence, while privately praising and encouraging Mandel in his yeoman efforts.  But Mandel’s devastating critique and the stony silence that greeted it inspired me to go on the record on his behalf in this March 3, 2005 message:

Rollin, Alex and Forum members,

The silence on the forum following the introduction of Rollin’s Chapter 13″ and Alex’s lengthy rebuttal is deafening.  With so much material to discuss, I wonder why this could be?  Is the polarizing nature of this issue such that some are compelled to hesitate in expressing their thoughts because they may offend one or the other parties, who have staked out such dichotomous positions?  We’ve all been watching this circus for several years – most, like me, mainly from the sidelines – as the AE as IB idea rose from the ashes to dominate the forum.  Nature abhors a vacuum, so I’ll jump in now since no one else will.

In contrast to the tiny, parochial and extremely politicized atmosphere of the AES forum where the IB/AE theory has been resurrected and enjoys a thriving existence, acceptance in the “real world,” which after all is the goal of the Bolamites (to use a clever AES researcher’s term), has not proceeded apace.  Indeed, another deafening silence has intruded itself into our awareness – that of the media and the reading public in the year following publication of Amelia Earhart Survived.  (Full disclosure: The book I co-authored with Mr. Thomas E. Devine, With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart, hasn’t made too much noise or sold many copies either, but it has received several excellent reviews and is the partial basis for Rich Martini’s movie in the works – “EARHART.”)

The abject failure of Amelia Earhart Survived to impress or move anyone in the literary marketplace is compelling evidence of the academic and intellectual bankruptcy of its propositions.  Although the ideas it presents have been consistently and convincingly debunked within our closed society by Alex Mandel and Ron Bright, their dedicated and protracted efforts weren’t necessary to condemn this book to obscurity in the real world, where it failed miserably due to its own lack of any redeeming merit.

There is no light in the IB theory, which to those who love and can discern truth, is an extremely revealing attribute that identifies and marks it as blatantly false in virtually all its claims.  Dark and ugly in its vile allegations against a defenseless Amelia Earhart, the IB theory, if its proponents had their way, would forever stain and besmirch the Earhart legacy to the point that her name would become a national embarrassment and an international joke.  If the Bolamites are to be believed, AE is guilty of so many amoral and treacherous acts that her infamy would rank her among the most sociopathic personalities of the 20th century.  Are we to believe this is what the “best evidence available has to tell us?  Please.  (To Fred Goerner and Thomas E. Devine, not to mention AE herself: Don’t bother to roll over in your graves.  It will never get that bad.)

Longtime researcher Ron Bright, of Bremerton, Wash.,

Longtime Earhart researcher and retired Office of Naval Intelligence agent Ron Bright, of Bremerton, Wash., along with the late attorney Patrick Gaston, of Overland Park, Kansas, located the 1971 defamation lawsuit filed by Irene Bolam against McGraw-Hill, publishers of Joe Klaas’ Amelia Earhart Lives, requesting $1,500,000 in actual and punitive damages.

The absurd and ridiculous speculation they engage in – which has been granted currency by many within the forum – defies credulity.  Ironically, despite the grave serial depravity the book falsely accuses AE of engaging in, Amelia Earhart Survived was doomed from the start by its own sheer weightlessness.  Like its creators and adherents, who grasp at every wispy straw to support their delusions but refuse to recognize, admit or correct even their most obvious, egregious errors as they build their house of cards, “AE Survived” is an utterly unserious book, a parody of academic inquiry, laughable in its pretentiousness and pathetic in its presentation. 

Alex Mandel’s comprehensive and erudite rebuttal of Rollin’s “Chapter 13” is a clear reflection of his ongoing passion, attention to detail and unselfish willingness to do the hard things necessary to produce true research and oversight based on established biographical and historical facts, irrespective of the outcome.  Alex is also a serious, highly respected academician with a Ph.D. in physics (a rigorous science with little or no tolerance for speculation), an author of several Russian books about the U.S. Navy, and a longtime Earhart devotee and bibliophile with no horse in this race. His ideological opponents will downplay and deprecate his achievements while extolling their own, but along with Ron Bright, Alex has been a beacon of reason and light who performs an invaluable service for all in the AES forum who are solely interested in searching for and discovering the truth about the fate of AE.  The success of that search, by necessity, also means the abandonment of falsehoods, regardless of who is perpetrating them – or how long they may have been engaged in such counterproductive pursuits.

Of course this letter, like Mandel’s extensive trashing of the latest IB cant, also fell on deaf ears.  Soon the relentless Bolamite gibberish resumed, utterly impervious to reason.  Any random scan of message traffic on the forum during virtually any period between late 2002 through 2005 would likely reveal a sampling of the anti-intellectual, invective-laden discourse that was common fare in the AES during the height of the Bolamite incursion.  Since the group site is accessible only to AES members, it’s not possible for most readers to see these shabby missives; however, though apparently no longer available, in early 2007 three pages of the most refined sophistry yet spun in support of the Bolamite movement was available to the public on John Stossel’s Message Boards at ABCNews.com, under the heading, “New controversial material sparks more Earhart interest.”

The controversial material, of course, was the IB theory, and its main expositor was Reineck’s associate and technical advisor, Tod Swindell.  On June 14, 2005, Swindell posted a message regarding the Joe Gervais Memorial Dinner that several AES members, including Prymak, were planning for Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on June 25.  Swindell ridiculed the event, and called it a “mock lionizing tribute” to Gervais, because some of those in attendance, notably Prymak, did not embrace the IB theory, despite the fact that it was solely Gervais’ creation and Prymak was a close friend of Gervais. 

For Prymak, Swindell’s characterization of the memorial dinner for his longtime amigo was reportedly the last straw, though five full months would elapse before he sent his official notice of resignation to the AES forum.  In his letter, Prymak called Swindell’s remark “truly shameful and disgraceful,” and reminded Reineck and the Bolamites that the Amelia Earhart Society name was his creation and remained his property.

In my next post, we’ll continue our Irene Bolam retrospective and delve more deeply into the rotten core of this absurd canard, and pile plenty more facts on the growing heap of evidence that leaves no doubt as to its falsehood.  I’ll also present some of the most humorous missives ever penned about the Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart fantasy.  Be sure to tune in!

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