Myth or Reality? Earhart & Noonan forever linked in one of history’s greatest mysteries!
By Gordon Allison, Jr. | Copyright 2017
Part Six – The Final Installment
My friend Major Joe Gervais (MJ), who co-authored the book ‘Amelia Earhart Lives,’ learned of two other women who were presented as ‘Irene Craigmile.’ Both of the women were pilots and supposedly knew Amelia.
One of the Irene Craigmiles married Guy Bolam and lived next door to Jackie Cochran Odlum in New Jersey. This is the woman who MJ believed was Amelia – under an assumed identity and well paid by the U.S. Government to keep quiet.
A number of years later — when this Mrs. Bolam was hospitalized in New Jersey — MJ interviewed her caregiver. She told him that Mrs. Bolam had a bridge for a missing molar that she had to remove to clean every so often.
When MJ asked the nurse which tooth was missing, he learned it was the same one that Amelia had pulled before her trip around the world! As I wrote in Part One, the July 9 History Channel program showed a dental bridge and hinted it could have belonged to Amelia. The Japanese were not known to make high quality products for consumers at that time. However, two exceptions were for eyeglasses and dental work, such as bridges. Could the dental bridge that Irene Bolam’s caregiver occasionally cleaned have been made by the Japanese to replace the one Amelia lost in Saipan? The dental bridge shown by the History Channel investigators looked like it would have fit Amelia’s mouth in the correct location. Without dental records, we’ll never know.
If we need more data to find out which Irene Bolam was Amelia, could we use the fact that the one who lived next door to Jackie Cochran in New Jersey had flowers in her hospital room, which were sent by Fred Noonan’s second wife?
The flowers? They were orchids – Amelia’s favorite flower! Fred Noonan had made a quick trip to Mexico to divorce his first wife. Just before he and Amelia departed for Hawaii in their first attempt to fly around the world, Fred married Mary B. Martinelli. At some later date after Noonan had been declared dead in 1938 by the government, his widow married Harry B. Ireland and settled in Santa Barbara, CA. It was there that Mary Bea (as she was known) grew cultivated Cymbidium Orchards – some 2,200 of them!
Or would Muriel Earhart Morrisey’s presence at the hospital from time to time be a huge clue? Muriel Morrisey was Amelia’s sister!
As discussed in previous parts of this series, Mrs. Irene Bolam filed a lawsuit against co-authors Joe Klaas and Major Joseph Gervais, and their publisher McGraw Hill for invasion of privacy. During the litigation, MJ and Klaas proposed that Mrs. Bolam be fingerprinted to prove she was not Amelia. She refused!
The suit was ultimately settled, and McGraw-Hill withdrew the book Amelia Earhart Lives from publication. The specific terms of the settlement were confidential.
Consider, if you will, that the “simple New Jersey housewife” Irene Bolam left her body to science at Rutgers University. BUT there were three conditions attached to the “gift”. First, the body could not be photographed; second, there could be no fingerprints taken; and lastly, the body had to be cremated when it was no longer useful. Strange, but true!
Remember Jackie Cochran’s husband, Floyd Odlum, an executive at RKO Pictures? Well, in April 1943 RKO produced a movie titled, Flight For Freedom. Although the female pilot was NOT named Amelia, all the story line matched her exactly. Note the movie title – Flight For Freedom. That is exactly what Amelia wanted to do. Disappear from public sight, get her freedom back. The movie showed the lady pilot crashing on Gull Island. Major Gervais told me he figured Amelia was headed for Hull Island, southeast of Howland Island. Very interesting!
Amelia’s spy mission to fly around the world was a great government ploy to allow aerial photography of Japanese-mandated islands. You induct Amelia into the US Army Air Force as a major so there is a reason to use US Navy and Coast Guard ships to hunt for her should she go down. You have planned for Amelia to “disappear” since she no longer wanted to be in the spotlight, or married to publishing magnate George Putnam either. As always, it is important to have friends in very high places!
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took care of his and his wife Eleanor’s friend, Amelia. He issued an executive order to place three Pacific islands, Jarvis, Baker and Howland, under the auspices of the Department of Interior so money could be spent on Howland to build the runway for Amelia’s airplane to land. Amelia and Fred were aware of the risks they were taking on this spy mission and the likelihood they would be killed by the Japanese if they were captured. For this, they were heroes.
However, when the flight goes badly, possibly treasonist deals with Japan happen – all meant to spare Amelia and Noonan’s lives, either by providing the plans and tooling of Howard Hughes’ Racer, also built by Lockheed, to the Japanese for their Zero Fighters, or for the Emperor Hirohito not to be charged with war crimes.
When researchers get close, you set up multiple people to draw the hounds off the right trail. Sometimes insiders give clues to researchers to help draw out the information to solve a mystery. Of course, you also remove files from where they are supposed to be so Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests cannot be found. The government pays our public servants with monies from secret accounts that appear to be legitimate businesses, such as Radio Caroline. Of course, you have to get rid of the evidence at some point. Cremation is a pretty good way to take care of that little point. That means there won’t be any DNA to prove the connection.
Fred Goerner in researching his 1965 book, The Search For Amelia Earhart, was given leads to put together his story by USN Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Fred recalled a conversation with the Admiral as follows: “The following day I received a call from Admiral Nimitz. ‘Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred,’ he said, ‘I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese.’
I contend, my friends, that quote pretty much puts the paint on the appliance and moves it to the shipping department!
Randall Brink, author of Lost Star, a book published in 1993 about the Amelia Earhart mystery, stated, “I would discover evidence that our government lied about, and continues to conceal, the truth in the Amelia Earhart affair. But most of the story would have to be ferreted out of long-secret storage, one piece at a time:” Note: Emphasis by author. It appears that nothing has changed in 25-plus years. IT’S STILL A MYSTERY!
The recollections in this series of articles are copyrighted by Gordon Allison, Jr. 2017.