With detail added to her story, including her past acquaintances with Amelia Earhart and Viola Gentry, here is more about the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile:

The original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, who Amelia Earhart and Viola Gentry both knew and had flown with in the early 1930s, looked nothing like Amelia:

In the Photos: To reiterate, the 1930 dated newspaper photo features the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, shown between her husband, Charles James Craigmile (left) and her father, Richard Joseph O’Crowley.

Again, tragedy struck the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile’s life in 1931, when her husband of three years, Charles James Craigmile, died of a sudden illness.

After her husband died, the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile decided that she wanted to become a pilot. With Amelia’s and Viola Gentry’s encouragement, she purchased a plane in 1932, and she earned her wings in 1933. In fact, she was a pretty good pilot for awhile, and through Amelia and Viola she befriended other lady fliers that flew out of Long Island, New York’s Roosevelt and Floyd Bennett Airfields. The original Irene also relocated to Brooklyn from New Jersey, into the same apartment building where Viola Gentry lived.

An old newspaper photo of the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, shown next to her plane in 1933.

It was no small feat for any pilot in 1933, to fly a single engine, two-seater plane to Chicago from Long Island, New York.

Just when it seemed like the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile was coming into her own as a pilot, she realized she was pregnant out of wedlock right after earning her pilot’s license in May of 1933.

The original Irene was catholic so to legitimize her child to be, she eloped to marry the child’s father, a pilot by the name of Alvin Heller, before she gave birth to their son in early 1934. Naturally, of course, the combined experiences of her new marriage and sudden parenthood constricted her piloting activities. The original Irene was scarcely seen around Floyd Bennet and Roosevelt Fields again after that. [The subject of her 1934 born son and his future parenting is addressed further down.]

Retracing her past friendships with Amelia and Viola, in 1967, a retired pilot by the name of Elmo Pickerill, recalled the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile from the early 1930s, in the following manner below. Note that the 99s women’s flying organization was formed in 1929, with Amelia Earhart and Viola Gentry as charter members, and they were still “getting it going” in the early 1930s. There is a good possibilty that the original Irene would have joined the 99s had she not become pregnant, but as fortune had it, she never did join.

Strangely, approximate to when Amelia Earhart went ‘missing’ in 1937, the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile was no longer evident. Also as noted, in time clear photo evidence of the original Irene had been removed from circulation.

Whatever became of the original Irene is not publicly known, but it is certain anymore that as Amelia Earhart continued to live-on after she was declared missing during the pre-dawn era of World War Two, in due-time she was able to assume the original Irene’s leftover identity for herself to use… for the remainder of her days.

In other words, unknown to the general public, Amelia Earhart lived-on after she was declared missing, and in time she virtually replaced the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile’s person.

Any further, this truth about what became of Amelia Earhart after she went missing in 1937, exists as an obvious reality to behold. The accumulated over time forensic research evidence and later achieved comparison analysis results left it to exist in a non-contestable manner.

More About How The Original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile became a pilot with help from Amelia Earhart & Viola Gentry

After Charles James Craigmile died of a sudden illness in 1931, his widow, the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, who through her attorney aunt had earlier been introduced to Amelia Earhart, was cordially swept under the wings of Amelia and her well-known flying friend, Viola Gentry, to help their new friend pursue her dream of becoming a pilot:

Amelia Earhart in 1921. In 1928, when she was thirty years old she suddenly became famous. Soon after that she met the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile through Irene’s aunt, the noted attorney by the name of Irene Rutherford O’Crowley.

Above, Viola Gentry in 1927. She came to know the original Irene through Amelia Earhart. Viola Gentry was famous for her endurance flying and stunt flying.

Amelia Earhart (left) with Viola Gentry, the two good pilot friends who knew and helped the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile earn her wings. By the late 1930s, however, the original Irene was gone, and to this day it remains unclear what her ultimate fate was.

During the original Irene’s piloting days, she lived in the same Brooklyn apartment building that Viola Gentry did, as did lady pilot, Pearl Pellaton. The building was located at 316 Rutland Road, not far from the Dodger’s Ebbet’s Field. During that time period, Viola occasionally invited the original Irene to events she attended, such as the two in the 1933 newspaper mentions below, that listed both the original Irene and Pearl Pellaton accompanying Viola:

There would have been pictures taken at the events mentioned above, and likely the original Irene would have been in some of them. Today, though, locating any clear photos of the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile is difficult to do. While it seems clear enough that for a time the original Irene was an up and coming lady pilot who was friends with Amelia Earhart and Viola Gentry, and that she knew other lady pilots as well, she is never mentioned as a past flying friend in any of Amelia’s biographies, nor was

her 1930s friendship with Viola Gentry discussed in Jennifer Bean Bower’s biography of Viola Gentry — beyond Viola denying that the Irene Bolam she knew in her later life years used to be known as Amelia Earhart.

From 1932, the below Akron, Ohio newspaper photo featured Amelia Earhart (outlined in white), and Viola Gentry (outlined in gray) shown next to the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, (outlined in black.) Reprinted from today’s available newspaper archive, when enlarged, the original Irene’s facial image is the only one in the group with no distinguishable features:

Viola Gentry, who maintained Amelia was still alive after she went missing in 1937, was among the individuals who continued to know Amelia — after Amelia assumed the original Irene’s leftover identity. As mentioned, the same went for Amelia’s sister, Muriel. However, neither ever acknowledged who their later-life friend, ‘Irene’ used to be. Instead, both strongly contested the suggestion whenever they were asked about it.

Below is an excerpt from Jennifer Bean Bower’s 2015 biography of Viola Gentry, The Flying Cashier, where a 1941 interview Viola gave to Maybelle Manning was recalled. While reading these words, know that Viola maintained that her missing friend, Amelia, was still alive throughout the war years, except after the war ended she stopped talking about Amelia:


There may have been more to the McGraw-Hill publishing controversies that took place in 1971, and their relationship to Amelia Earhart’s old ‘missing person’ case than was realized at the time, and once again, where so, Viola Gentry figured in.

That one of the most reputable publishing houses in the world would issue consecutive books that dialed in on the life of Howard Hughes, and then quickly withdraw them both, is somewhat odd in itself. The first book was Amelia Earhart Lives, that threaded a theorized level of involvement Howard Hughes possibly had in covering for Amelia after she went missing. (Read about the ‘Irene Bolam versus McGraw-Hill’s Amelia Earhart Lives book lawsuit’ further down.) Hughes, a great pilot himself, was a known 1930s acquaintance of Amelia’s, but he was never consulted by Joe Klaas, the author of Amelia Earhart Lives, and the book was withdrawn by McGraw-Hill in early 1971, shortly after it was published. Next, throughout 1971, Clifford Irving wrote a supposedly authorized by Howard Hughes ‘autobiography’ that was set to be published by McGraw-Hill at the end of the year. Once again, however, Clifford Irving did not consult with Hughes, and he was charged with perpetrating a hoax after Hughes objected to his book and claimed he’d never met Irving. This led to pressed copies of the book being

burned by McGraw-Hill before they made it into circulation, and to some jail time for Irving as well. Interestingly enough, Joe Klaas was never challenged by Howard Hughes at all, nor was he fined or convicted of any crime, and neither was Joseph A. Gervais, whose ten year investigation Amelia Earhart Lives was largely about.

The Amelia Earhart medal displayed below, was presented to Howard Hughes by Viola Gentry two years before the former Amelia Earhart was first publicly recognized for who she used to be. Perhaps not so ironically, it was Viola Gentry who introduced the post-1940 only Irene to the gentleman who recognized her as the former Amelia Earhart, Joseph A. Gervais the day before this photograph was taken:

Photo: Viola Gentry and Guy Bolam, on August 9, 1965, outside of the Sea Spray Inn of East Hampton, Long Island. The original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile was long gone by then. Viola had known her, just as she knew the new post-1940 only Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, who had married Guy Bolam in 1958, and who had previously been known as her famous flying friend, Amelia Earhart. (Photo taken by the former Amelia Earhart, AKA, Mrs. Guy Bolam.)

Knowing how close Viola Gentry had been to both Amelia Earhart and the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile, it is incomprehensible to entertain the idea that after 1940, Viola’s friend, the original Irene, could have suddenly morphed into an older-version, carbon copy twin of Viola’s famous friend, Amelia Earhart, who had gone missing years before. It turned out the original Irene was gone by the end of the 1930s, and basically, Amelia, who had continued to live-on, took her name in the 1940s to further use for herself.

Once Again…

In the Video Above: Amelia Earhart, age 39… digitally transitions into… Mrs. Guy Bolam in 1965

Amelia Earhart, age 36

 …digitally transitions into…

…Mrs. Guy Bolam in 1977

Follow-up Notes

“It’s sad, in a way, how the profound greatness of Amelia Earhart’s person became lost in the so-called mystery of her disappearance. Here, for a brief moment let’s again look back at the outcome of Amelia’s loss through words generated by the White House nine months after she was declared missing:


The White House never did reveal what it knew about Amelia Earhart’s world flight outcome, and by now it is certain that the general public was diverted away from being able to realize what really happened to Amelia.

Today, people seem to have forgotten that Amelia’s 1937 disappearance was a major controversy, that ended up being systemically swept under the rug of official history by the U.S. federal government. The exercise of it was already in the works in September of 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.

The facts of Amelia Earhart’s loss continued to be obfuscated throughout the war years as well, and then even more exponentially after the war was over. Indeed, the effort to muddle the truth about what became of Amelia Earhart, actually continued on into the 1950s, until finally, it was determined that people in general had been conditioned enough to accept that Amelia simply crashed and sank at unknown ocean coordinates prior to completing her world flight, even though that never actually happened.

Heeding to the false dictates of government institutions, and offshoot cottage industries that managed to keep the curious stupefied, non-truths are all the public continues to recognize at this space in time. And that’s a shame. Basically, for decades gone by the citizenry of the United States has been spoon fed false facts about Amelia Earhart’s world flight outcome, by people who felt they were doing it for the better good of the body public. Anymore, though, it is obvious that Amelia managed to live-on and become known as one of three Twentieth Century women attributed to the same Irene O’Crowley Craigmile identity.” Tod Swindell

Continue With The Study



The Protecting Earhart MSS and Forensic Analysis [1997-2020; copyright registrations: TXu 1-915-926 & TXu 2-061-539] mark an Investigative Journalist’s comprehensive forensic research evaluation combined with a human comparison analysis. Writer-filmmaker, Tod Swindell, devoted decades to conducting a comprehensive researcher study, that included orchestrating its accompanying ‘Amelia to Irene’ comparison analysis, the first ‘Amelia to Irene’ comparison analysis ever done. After meeting some World War Two veterans who insisted Amelia privately lived well beyond the war years, he developed a consuming interest in the facts attributed to Amelia Earhart’s disappearance and missing person case.

The complete Study was inspired by the original findings of Joseph A. Gervais [of the ‘Operation Earhart’ investigation he conducted from 1960 to 1970] and consists of over ten-thousand pages featuring rare documents, analytical text, photographs, human comparisons, maps, charts, and past-obscured but again revisited investigative research findings.

The condensed Protecting Earhart MSS features 415 total pages; 110 of which contain logistical and visual elements drawn from the ‘Amelia to Irene’ Comparison Analysis. The overall Study results elaborates on, and plainly exhibits Amelia Earhart’s ongoing existence after World War Two with the re-purposed name of, ‘Irene O’Crowley Craigmile’ applied to her person. (Surname of ‘Bolam’ added by marriage in 1958.) It also examined the post-World War Two, ‘let’s move on‘ logic that left the general public out of the loop of Amelia’s ongoing existence with a different name applied to her person. Simply put, a year and a half after she was declared ‘missing‘ in 1937, Amelia Earhart was declared ‘dead in absentia‘ in 1939, even though she did not actually die.

The intention to keep the name ‘Amelia Earhart’ exclusively associated with a dead person, evidently came into strong focus during the conclusion of World War Two. This was most notably endorsed by the former Amelia Earhart; her pilot friend from the 1930s, Viola Gentry; former Seton Hall College President, Monsignor James Francis Kelley; Amelia’s only sibling, her sister, Muriel; and the son and key family members of the original Irene O’Crowley Craigmile.

Amelia Earhart’s WPP (Witness Protection Program) that allowed her to become the new Irene O’Crowley Craigmile from the 1940s on, was most likely put in place under the omniscient guise of the federal government’s long time FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI’s ‘Amelia Earhart’ file contents from the World War Two years, that included Mr. Hoover’s signatures, indicated an awareness that he had gleaned pertaining to Amelia Earhart’s quiet ongoing existence during the war years under the auspice of Japan. Mr. Hoover was still the Director of the FBI when the ‘Amelia became known as Irene’ assertion surfaced in 1970, and was sure to remain silent about it where otherwise he would have been expected to weigh-in with an FBI opinion. Hindsight reveals that no one from the Federal Government of the United States offered an official opinion at all toward the matter when the controversy first surfaced, and it remained that way ever since.

The complete Study is available for review on a selective basis, [serious inquiries only] The portions of it displayed here are otherwise telling enough.

Questions? Comments? E-mail admin@protectingearhart.com