Jump to content
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  

A New Take on Earhart Mystery

Recommended Posts


user posted image

Amelia Earhart vanished nearly 70 years ago, but her fate remains one of the nation's great mysteries.

The pioneering aviator disappeared on July 2, 1937, as she was flying an equatorial route around the globe. The official U.S. position is that she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, ran out of gas and went down in the Pacific.

But conspiracy buffs begin with the premise that she was a spy captured by the Japanese. Maybe she died. And maybe she survived, living out her life anonymously. Which brings us to Rollin C. Reineck and his new book.

"Strange indeed for one civilian, contemplating a stunt flight around the world, to have involved the entire U.S. government, up to and including the president of the United States," he wrote in "Amelia Earhart Survived," published this month by the Paragon Agency. "It is little wonder that the thought of conspiracy enters into the Earhart research.

"Reineck, 83, is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who lives in Kailua, Hawaii. He was 17 when Earhart disappeared, and he has spent the last 32 years trying to prove his theory that she survived a crash-landing in the Marshall Islands, more than 2,000 miles from Hawaii. He believes she was captured by the Japanese, secretly repatriated, and lived out her life under the name Irene Craigmile Bolam.

user posted image View: Full Article | Source: LA Times (free registration required)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ever since my book report on Amelia Earheart in 5th grade I've been wondering what happened to her.

I remeber seeing a show on her and they found an old shoe sole on some tropical island in the Pacific identical to shoes she would have worn. But why just an old shoe sole... ? Where's the rest of her, her co pilot, and her plane?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alex Mandel

The concept of the survival of Amelia Earhart (AE)and her secret repatriation as Irene Bolam (IB) is fascinating and intriguing... However, whether the proposed material can be

considered as firmly proven and overwhelmingly convincing by any objective researcher?

I am afraid, alas, the answer is NOT... and it is known the serious AE researchers

tends to share this position.

The author of the research, Mr. Tod Swindell, made a great work presenting his arguments, but the counter-arguments that support conclusion that AE and

IB were different persons are numerous and seem as significantly more compelling.

Very obviously AE and IB had many differences, both in body structure and facial characteristics. Many people who knew both women personally were vehement in their statements attesting to their personal convictions that AE and IB were different


...Whether any official verdict of professional forensic experts was presented, published in scientific journal and reviewed by peers?

The answer is yes... it is known that the material was closely examned by two professionally certified PhDs specializing in Forensic research, and they refused to support the idea about "same identity" for AE and IB .

Why AE would want to engage in the extremely difficult and radical undertaking of abandoning her identity to become a New Jersey housewife? No fact or even believable theoretical reasons have ever been presented, only speculative guesses in complete

contradiction with many credible historical sources about AE's character and personality have been offered.

How it was possible for AE to abandon her family, especialy her mother and sister, to whom she was extremely close? How it was possible for her to abandon and never contact her husband George Putnam, as well as her numerous friends? AE's loyalty to family and friends was legendary and was among her most firmly proven, publicly known and deservely celebrated qualities.

Where was AE between 1937 and 1945? An impressive body of evidence has been amassed that indicates her presence on Saipan as a prisoner of Japanese, but no

evidence has ever been found to indicate her "evacuation" from Saipan - whether documental or anecdotal. Neither has any evidence been produced from Japan to indicate AE's presence there that appears minimally credible in any way.

The alleged evidence that Monsignor James F. Kelley allegedly assisted AE in her repatriation is disputable and probably can't be accepted without serious scepticism. Analysis of Kelley's other, similar outlandish claims has shown them to be

factually incorrect, and some serious researchers have concluded that he probably began developing some kind of dementia and mental frailty while in his 80s.

Some of his claims appear bizarre, such as his recollection of personally shaving AE's head in search of some "secret Japanese implants" (?..).

What happened to the real, original IB? It was conclusively proven that she existed between 1934 and 1945, and was working in the banking business in New York City.

Why would the US Government use the name and identity of a real person, known by many people and living an active, normal life, in a plot to transform this individual into another, discrete individual (AE) without these people becoming aware of it?

How and why could such an immense and long-lived conspiracy, with hundreds or even thousands of people necessarily involved, be organized and kept secret for decades?

It has been proposed that AE's family and friends were aware of the conspiracy, but were all somehow persuaded to remain silent about it. But nothing of substance has ever been offered to support this idea, and it's virtually impossible to assume that so many people, by some "secret agreement", successfully concealed this plot from entire world for many

decades. It is extremely hard to keep such a stuff in secrecy - for both "technical" and emotional reasons.

If even to guess that the "price of secrecy" that AE was compelled to pay included abandoning her family and friends, why then would AE, as IB, go on to live such a documented, semi-public lifestyle, attending aviation-related public events, joining organizations like Zontas and 99s (where AE was a former member) and meeting numerous people who personaly knew AE?

Finally, why would the U.S.Government allow the personal meeting of IB and Mr. Joe Gervais, who was already well known as a dedicated and persistent AE researcher?

Considering all he above, it seems very difficult to accept the concept of Amelia Earhart's secret repatriation as Irene Bolam as a proven, established fact. It is just a a theory, and enough far-fethced, bizarre and radical one, at that. The hard work and sincere dedication of this theory's proponents can be commended, but it seems to me that unless and until some supporting hard facts and authentic documentation can be presented, any

claims to its legitimacy are more a reflection of some people's natural desire for a solution to AE mystery than anything else.

Respectfully submitted - Alex V. Mandel, Ph.D. (Naval and aviation historian, author; AE historian and enthusiast since 1982)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart. They were off course, the plane ran out of fuel, and fell into the ocean. Exactly where is unknown. Sad, that's true, but the most likely solution to the disappearance. The chances of the plane crashing on an island is remote, as there is alot more ocean than land in that part of the world. :hmm:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

When my name 'pops up' I like to chime-in if I can.

In 2002 it was discovered and revealed, that there had been more than one Irene Craigmile Bolam.

Family denies this, history denies this.

It's still true though, forensically.

According to the researched photographic history of her person, the Irene Craigmile (Heller) who bore a Son in 1934, was not the same Irene Craigmile Bolam (Heller dropped, Bolam by re-marriage) who was once implicated to have been the former Amelia Earhart in 1970.

After extensive comparisons, it honestly does look to be the case, that the woman who a retired Air Force Major thought he recognized in 1965, may well have been the former Amelia after all. Believe it or not.

How can this be so?

The Irene Craigmile who appears from the mid-1940s on, when measured physically appeared to have been a carbon copy of Amelia Earhart.

Handwriting was subsequently compared, and character traits, and personal references and acquaintances. The results were positively astounding.

But what of this Irene Craigmile person? Was she real? Who was she?

Yes she was real.

According to record she was born on Oct. 1, 1904 in Newark, NJ as Irene Madaline O'Crowley. The O'Crowley's were of upstanding citizenship, and Irene was the only Grandchild of Sarah Rutherford O'Crowley.

Irene's Mother died when she was twelve, causing her Father to succumb to woe, and by 1920 Irene had been living with and was being raised by her Grandmother Sarah and her Aunt Irene Mary O'Crowley, Sarah's second eldest daughter who then at thirty-five, had just passed the New Jersey bar exam, among the first women to do so.

Irene Mary O'Crowley would go on to practice law in New Jersey and New York. And by 1928, she was a recognized ZONTA member who helped welcome Amelia Earhart in as a new member, and 'Sister Zonta.' It was then, according to Amelia's long time friend Viola Gentry, that after Amelia's successful Friendship flight both Amelia and Viola were introduced to the young and pretty newlywed, Irene Craigmile by her Aunt, Attorney Irene O'Crowley.

Attorney Irene and Amelia naturally became acquainted through ZONTA, although we also point to another listing of Amelia's O'Crowley family acquaintance.

Tragically Irene Craigmile's husband suddenly took ill and died in 1931. A year later, after Amelia's succesful return from her solo Atlantic crossing, both Viola Gentry and Amelia gifted Irene her first flying lessons out at Floyd Bennet Field, LI. Viola's husband, Jack served as Irene's first instructor.

By 1933 Amelia had started her fashion-clothing and luggage lines, with Attorney Irene O'Crowley advising on contractual matters for her. (Though her clothing line folded, corporate headquarters for Amelia Earhart Luggage continued to be listed in Newark, NJ well into the 1950s.)

Anyway, just after Irene O'Crowley Craigmile earned her pilot's license in late May of 1933, she realized she was pregnant out of wedlock, with a baby sired by her last filght instructor, Al Heller.

According to record she never flew again. Rather, Irene and Al eloped to wed and their Son Clarence Heller was born in early March of 1934.

The woman who appears as Irene Craigmile (Heller) prior to the 1940s, who Clarence Heller identifies as his 'Mother,' is not the same human being who lived as Irene Craigmile (later Bolam) from the 1940s until 1982, the year she passed away.

All that is known, is there is too much connective tissue now, even though the families of both Earhart and O'Crowley have always instantly dismissed the changed ID claim out of hand.

They may end up being called on for their opinions, someday. But that may also be less likely to happen than one might think... for a variety of reasons.

Still, I have extensively studied the life histories of Amelia Earhart and Irene Craigmile Bolam over many years time, and my only offering is to call it like I see it... and that is... somehow, somewhere the original Irene Craigmile Heller became no-more in the 1930s, and her old family friend, Amelia Earhart who had actually survived her disappearance in 1937, had returned to the U.S. to live as the new 'Irene Craigmile' by the 1940s.

This really is, now, appearing to be the newly recognized forensic reality of this long and strange, unwritten history.

Yet we all know, it's still just too hard to fathom, in so many ways.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Col. Kurtz

I had always heard that the Japanese captured her and made her the infamous Tokyo Rose. Not sure if i belive that or not. :devil:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Post made by evantod

Col. Kurtz...

That information was originally reported on in 1970 through the Joe Klaas book, Amelia Earhart Lives. It has never been substantiated beyond hear-say, however. It is my understanding and belief, that the suggestion of 'Tokyo Rose' infuriated the former Amelia, who did not cooperate with the Klaas book, and thus said book was withdrawn and chalked up as 'a hoax.'

The woman Amelia became was beautiful and important in so many ways. But accordingt to the U. S., Japan, and England after WWII, the name "Amelia Earhart" was always to be identified with the famous 'dead person' who had been the first woman to solo the Atlantic in 1932. We now know she lived to be just shy of eighty-five years old, although in the U.S. from the 1940s on, she had been re-identified as "Irene Craigmile" to later become "Irene Bolam" by virtue of her 1958 marriage to former British MI6 chap, Guy Bolam.

Evantod, you pressed the report button instead of reply button... :tu:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A new identity is something I haven't heard of. The last show I watched a company claimed to know about where her plane went down from transcripts of her and the military dispatcher who tried to keep in touch with her. Of course the big ending was that this company was planning a deep sea search for the plane soon. :mellow:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

During many years a volume of facts and evidence was collected that thoroughly discredits the "repatriation theory" about Amelia Earhart (as well as the old urban myth about Earhart being as if somehow "connected" to the Japanese wartime radio propaganda broadcasts).

Contrary to some claims made in different times, nobody from AE's family ever supported the "repatriation theory", neither in their interviews nor in any written statements.

Another important and principal fact is that two certified forensic professionals, Dr. Walter Birkby (Arizona) and Dr. Todd Fenton (Michigan), after studying the "photograph overlays", came to a negative conclusion about the credibility of the theory (yet in 2005), refusing to support it. In 2006, another professional - criminal forensic expert Kevin Richland - was hired by National Geographic to study photographs of Earhart and Bolam. He cited many measurable differences between them, eliminating any possibility that Bolam was Earhart.

The same was the conclusion of many long-time serious researchers who studied Bolam's personal life history for years and found that her life is a matter of public record, thoroughly documented and not "mysterious" in any sense. Some results of these studies are summarized, for example, here:


The claim about "several" Irene Bolams was made but was never substantiated. Actually there was no any mysterious "gaps" in Bolam's life. On the contrary, the massive evidence was presented to prove that Bolam was always the same person during all her life, well known by many credible and respectable people since her youth years till her deathbed. The amount of facts collected and established about her completely eliminates any reasonable possibility to speculate that she as if somehow "disappeared", or could be somehow "substituted" by other person, ect.

Thus, the whole idea about Amelia Earhart's "secret repatriation" is a baseless speculation, not only built on nothing real and factual but contradictive to many well proven facts.

There are the real enigmas - and artificial ones... The disappearance of Earhart is a real one... but the proposed "repatriation theory" alas is certainly an "articifial" one - just an baseless guess built on sand and unable to stand against the hard factual reality... a guess still "alive", apparently, only because of people's eternal love to something mysterious... just like an absolutely fantastic allegation about the "Tokyo Rose connection" that actually never existed.

Respectively submitted - Alex V. Mandel, PhD, Earhart researcher and historian for 25 years

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

:hmm: While I don't know anything about this Irene Bolam person,I do recall once hearing something thatAmelia Earhart

was not just flying this trip across the pacific for fun, but may have been recuited by the government to do some sort of spying on the japanese. I think I heard this from my late father,and somewhere else. Where my dad got this idea from,I have no idea,and never asked either.He had top secret and crypto clearences in the USAF,so whether he saw papers at NSA to that effect or it was some rumor around there,have no idea.But the subject has I think been mentioned before.

If the Japanese did get ahold of Amelia,she most likely died in a japanese prison.

Surprised no medium has ever tried to get in contact with her,like they do on the anniversery of Houdini's death.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A 15-member TIGHAR expedition visited Nikumaroro from 21 July to 2 August 2007, searching for unambiguously identifiable aircraft artifacts and DNA. The group included engineers, environmentalists, a land developer, archaeologists, a sailboat designer, a team doctor and a videographer. They were reported to have found additional artifacts of as yet uncertain origin on the weather-ravaged atoll, including bronze bearings which may have belonged to her aircraft and a zipper pull which might have come from her flight suit.


I guess the most likely explanations are that she either landed on Gardner Island, or she ran out of fuel and landed in the ocean.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Princess Serenity
Ever since my book report on Amelia Earheart in 5th grade I've been wondering what happened to her.

I remeber seeing a show on her and they found an old shoe sole on some tropical island in the Pacific identical to shoes she would have worn. But why just an old shoe sole... ? Where's the rest of her, her co pilot, and her plane?

Same here. I've been wondering what had happened to her. I forgot what grade I was in, when I first heard her name.

I remember seeing a program about her. In the late 90's, but ever since then she's been my favorite American pilot.

Who knows.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.