Paulen Road House

South of Topeka, Kansas there once stood a three story limestone house on the corner of 93rd and Paulen Road. As many ghost hunting enthusiasts know there are scary stories surrounding the old house that was the target of vandals and wanna-be Satanists. When I was there with my best friend years ago we took pictures, but were unable to gain entrance as it was boarded up. The cellar steps were caving in, so we could not check out the supposed cistern rumored to be connected by tunnel to Stull Cemetery near Lawrence. The outside of the limestone house built between 1870-1890 was covered with graffiti. The creek out back was dried up, the bridge collapsed. The carriage house was long gone.

As the ghost story goes, there was a fourteen year old girl living there with her parents around the turn of the twentieth century who wanted more excitement out of life than her religious parents would allow. One night during a rain storm she took her father’s white stallion to town and met up with a secret boyfriend or rapist. The story varies regarding the sexual encounter being voluntary. The story also implies the man was either Mexican or Indian. When it was apparent that the girl was pregnant her parents locked her in the attic (where a pentacle would be painted years later) until the baby was born. The mother was disgusted when the infant appeared to be a half-breed and she took it down to the creek and drowned it. The girl then hung herself in the attic. People in the area have claimed to see the ghostly images of the girl riding to town on the white horse on stormy nights for decades.

I was curious to know if the ghost story had any basis in truth, so I researched the family that has owned the property for over a hundred years. Mr. William H. Coultis and his wife, Mercy (Buckman) lived on the property at least since 1892 and were very high profile with two children, Will and Lilly. Will Coultis moved to Richland where he raised his family. Lilly never married and she is the focus of my research since she was the only daughter, born April 6, 1893.

The Coultis family was very active in the community being members of the Highland Park Grange and Highland Park Methodist Episcopal Church. Lilly would also belong to the Berryton Grange. The Coultis family had frequent visitors to their farm that stayed for days, young men, women and couples. People camped near the creek and picnicked on the property or stayed as house guests. As an interesting sideline, W.H. Coultis had a ghostly encounter as recorded in the Topeka State Journal December 4, 1895:

A Gloomy Prairie

W.H. Coultis encountered a stranger near where a young man was murdered, Edward Illston. Last at night coming home from Topeka. He lived near Richland/Berryton. Believed due to his community standing

Every lifestyle aspect of the Coultis family was chronicled in the Topeka State Journal. At no time did Lilly leave the area long enough to have a child. Mercy and Lilly spent two months in Ohio and Indiana visiting relatives as mentioned in the newspaper of June 30, 1917. This was the longest period that Lilly was not in the area. The photographs of the Coultis family indicate the women in the family were slender and could hardly have hid an unwanted pregnancy.

Lilly Coultis was extremely active in church and community activities as were her parents who were always in the spotlight. Her father ran for the state senate in 1896. By 1916 Lilly was living at 2514 Maryland Avenue in Topeka with her parents. It is not certain who was living on the Paulen Road farm at this time.

The 1905 Census for Monmouth Township, Shawnee County KS also named.  Frances Burgert, age sixteen as living in the household who could possibly be a servant and might be a candidate for the rebellious girl of legend. Another candidate might be, Christina E. Prinslow, age 18 listed in the 1900 Census.

The closest towns at the turn of the century were Berryton and Richland where the girl could have ridden for a night of excitement. Again, with the constant houseguests and church groups camping on the property it is difficult imaging that no one would notice a young woman held captive in the attic or screaming as her mother drowned a newborn in the nearby creek. Whoever the ghost story is based on it could not be the Coultis family that owned the property.

The Topeka State Journal on December 28, 1906 ran a story about two men from the area being caught sexually assaulting their daughters.

Charles Ryder, of Berryton, and Jas. Morris, two brutes who were convicted of assault upon their little daughters, will be kept from further crimes for a period of from five to twenty-one years. Morris’ crime was such a shock to his wife, who at that time was ill at the hospital that she has since gone Insane.

Most legends are stimulated by some true event and I am sure the Paulen Road ghost is no exception. The above article demonstrates that shady characters were indeed in the area and someone could easily have assaulted a young girl who had gone to town without supervision. I could find no mention of servants or staff at the Coultis farm, but more than likely the Coultis family had employees with children at some point. We will probably never know the reality behind the old ghost story, but the answers are awaiting discovery somewhere.

Coultis family 1894. Lilly is the child on the chair.  Mercy is the second woman standing from the left. William H. is the man just right of the carriage house doorway.

Coultis family 1894 2



I have been researching the U.S. Navy secret space program and UFO cover ups recently and was reminded of a strange incident that happened to me in California in 1987. It was an odd day at the Ventura County Medical Center where I worked security, spending most of the time in the ER or watching autopsies with the medical examiner. The beginning of the shift was stranger than usual with a guy needing to be held down while the ER doctor removed a hamster from his rectum and a young woman with smoky gray eyes tried to commit suicide by swallowing a razor blade. Things turned really weird then the Navy showed up in droves.

The Ventura County Medical Center was designed with a heliport strong enough to handle President Reagan’s Chinook and, like all hospital landing pads, the elevator went right down to the emergency room cutting off precious time needed to treat trauma patients. Having said this, a Navy chopper arrived and landed out in a field near the parking lot some several hundred yards away from the hospital. An ambulance drove out to the edge of the field and took two gurneys to the Navy bird perched in the grassy field. The paramedics brought two severely injured pilots across that bumpy, dirty ground and loaded them onto the ambulance for the short trip to the ER.

By this time the media was storming the doors and I stopped a reporter and her camera man before they could enter the sliding doors of the ambulance bay. Before the pilots were brought in I was given a brief history of my father’s time at the Pentagon and his security clearance by a naval officer who instructed me to wait in a closed room with one of the dying pilots. Not sure why I got the lecture on my childhood as an army brat unless it was another way of saying, “We know who you are and where you live”. Another security officer was given the same lecture and was assigned to the other pilot.

I was to keep the press from finding the man and write down anything he might have said. He was about thirty-five years old, short buzz cut blonde hair and light blue eyes that stared at the wall while blood dripped from his open mouth. He was nonresponsive and his arms and legs broken and twisted in every direction. It took thirty minutes for him to die, but finally his chest stopped moving. No one tried to treat him or provide comfort. I was told to write down the time of death and eventually the naval officer came into the room to ask me if the pilot had said anything. He had not. I was told not to talk about anything that had happened. Medical staff came to retrieve his body while the officer removed his wallet and ID before the being taken down to the morgue.

It was clear that the Navy did not want the two pilots surviving and did everything possible to make sure they did not. With the injuries they both suffered, it was unlikely the men would have lived, but you would think that some effort would have been made for last visits from family or pain control. All I learned about the incident was that the two had crashed in the desert somewhere outside of the Ventura area. What made the plane crash and what did the two Navy pilots see? It cannot be a coincidence that the Navy weapons and research base at China Lake is just north of Ventura. The China Lake facility has long been associated with UFO sightings and the reverse engineering of captured UFO craft. Some even believe the U.S. Navy has a secret space program with bases on the moon and Mars. The pilots that were killed were from Point Mugu and probably did not have top secret clearances, unfortunately for them.

Children have been hearing about the Pied Piper for 725 years, but who was he and where did the children go? Historians agree that some event did happen in Hamelin, Germany in 1284 that involved the disappearance of the town’s children. What is not clear is what actually happened.

The typical story states that a man dressed in colorful clothing showed up in the rat infested town of Hamelin and offered to rid the town of rats for a fee. The town was desperate and hired him. The man played a flute and the vermin followed him out of Hamelin into the Weser River where they drowned. The story would have ended there if the townsmen had just paid him; however, they backed out and in retaliation the Pied Piper again played his flute and the children followed him doing strange jerky movements out of town. There was a deaf child and a crippled child left behind.

A nanny followed the group and stated that one half went into the woods and the other to the right into a cave in the Weser Mountains. The townspeople went to investigate and found body parts hung from the trees in the forest. There was no sign of the children in the cave, which did not have an exit.

The earliest known reference to the story was a stained glass window in the local Market church depicting the Pied Piper that was created in 1300 and was destroyed by fire in 1600. The original tale did not mention rats, but was added in the sixteenth century. So what really occurred in Hamelin, Germany in 1284?

The Pied Piper’s name suggests two theories. One he was poor and wore patched clothes or he was a King’s representative dressed in official garb. In either case he could have been recruiting for either a crusade or trying to convince people to settle Eastern Europe. The term, “children” could refer to people in general and not just minors. Some believe that people from Hamelin settled in Romania and may be the origin of the gypsy (Roma) clans. Others think if the Piper was gathering children for a crusade to the Holy Land the children did not make it back home. This is quite possible as crusades took years and cost many lives before ever arriving in the Holy Land.

One of the disturbing aspects of the tale is the strange, jerky movements the children did as they walked out of town. Disease or nervous disorders have been suggested, but how could all the children experience it at once?  Did they display such odd behavior before the Piper showed up? Or did the sound of the flute actually trigger that response? Few details of the incident actually survive, so any ideas are pure speculation. It could be that the Piper taught the children a dance of sorts prior to leading them out of town, but to what end?

Another suggestion is that a pedophile kidnapped the children and murdered them in the woods, dismembering them and decorating the trees with body parts. More than likely there were serial killers in medieval Germany, so that cannot be ruled out on the face of it. If that is true, then who lead the other group to the cave? If the music kept the children hypnotized, then why did the cave group not wake up and run back to town? Does this indicate the Piper had a partner?

Throughout history there are stories of caves or openings in mountains that seal up once people enter, such as in the French Pyrenees. The Nazis had many hidden bases in mountains that have not been discovered like the money train in Poland recently revealed. It makes no sense that children could enter a cave and just disappear. There must have been a secret exit in existence at that time that the townspeople did not find.

Or the nanny was not telling the truth about a second group climbing up to the cave. What reason did she have to lie? Could she have known the Piper before he arrived in Hamelin or become acquainted with him while he was there? A young woman with a bleak future might well be infatuated with an intriguing stranger spinning who knows what yarns to impress the locals. She might have been talked into doing anything, including kidnapping and murder.

If the Pied Piper were a King’s messenger recruiting volunteers to settle Eastern Europe, then there is no big mystery to the story. Some villagers simply decided to pick up and immigrate to Romania or Hungry for a better life or more land. Family members remaining behind may have started the story describing the smooth talk of the man who lured loved ones away. The same could be said for a Children’s Crusade.

Two issues remain: the strange jerky movements of the children as they followed the man playing a flute. Such a detail is not likely to be invented, but something actually witnessed. One theory suggests that the townspeople paid the man to get rid of diseased and disabled children, which is plausible with the plague and other contagious diseases running rampant. The colorful clothes the Piper wore might have been patches because he was poverty stricken and desperate to make money however necessary. He might have had some disability of his own as medieval minstrels often were blind or crippled and had no other way to earn a living aPied_piperside from music. The jerky movements could have been the way the Piper moved and the children simply copied him.

The second issue is the body parts hung from the trees. If this really occurred then the Piper may well have been a sadistic serial killer that preyed on unwanted or orphaned children. There are not many other explanations for this situation, if true.

The picture depicts a painting copied from the Market Church stained glass window  before its destruction in 1600 AD.  Clearly, both the forest and cave are illustrated. The stained glass window was created just sixteen years after the incident and thus should be based on memory. The story of the Pied Piper is a fascinating one that mostly likely will never be fully explained unless some hidden diary comes to light.

The Case for State Hospitals and Orphanages:

The Failure of Foster Care, Group Homes and the Public School System

D.A. Chadwick

            The move to shut down state hospitals began in the seventies and by the year 2000 most mentally retarded residents were placed in privately run residential homes.  In the state of Kansas, the failure of SRS (Social and Rehabilitative Services) to monitor foster children resulted in that function being removed from SRS responsibilities.  Those who once pushed to have orphanages closed in favor of foster families are the same type who managed to have the state hospitals shut down, bleeding hearts who patted themselves on the back for changing laws while they rode off into the sunset, leaving the mess they created for people actually working in the field. People like me.

I had once considered teaching special education and began taking classes where I did observations in numerous special education classrooms in the Wichita area. It was different and a challenge I thought worth following up.  When I was offered a program director position at Camp New Hope in Minnesota I jumped at it. For nearly three months I worked with mentally retarded adults from the state hospital at Cambridge and children from private homes. I learned all aspects of these individual’s lives since we had them twenty-four hours a day for five days. I made lessons plans for all levels of disabilities and participated in their daily care.

The experience was invaluable and surpassed any teaching internship in the public schools. On the way back home I stopped by Emporia State University to discuss my work at the camp as an internship. It was turned down and I was told that I would have to first obtain a degree in Education and then a Master’s in Psychology where I would watch rats run through a maze in order to teach special education. My hands-on experience was pretty much worthless. This would be a continuing phenomenon through my involvement with special needs populations and social work in general. Theory and ideals seem to dominate and not reality.

The next job was at a residential facility for children with behavior and emotional problems where I met my future foster child, Jo Smith (a pseudonym) age thirteen.  The facility, the Communication Institute (CI) , consisted of blocks of brick buildings divided into apartments shared by two clients. Doors between the apartments could be opened in the event the single staff on duty in each apartment should need assistance. I worked in two apartments as relief. There I met Anne Wright, a delightful woman with a strong Scottish brogue and years of teaching experience. Jo had a roommate with Down’s syndrome named Jenny. Jo had been at the facility for two years before Anne and I were employed there and yet there had been sixteen different workers in that apartment, not including us, due to Jo’s aggressive behavior, which included biting her helpless roommate.

As a toddler Jo had spent six weeks in a nursing home run by an order of nuns, Sister Adorers of the Blood of Christ. When taking classes at Kansas Newman University I sometimes took Jo with me and one day one of the sisters remembered Jo. She told me that she had once taught at the St. Joseph’s orphanage in Eldorado, Kansas in the fifties. One of the issues bothering this sister was the completely negative viewpoints of orphanages. It reminded me of similar comments by staff at Cambridge State Training Center in Minnesota.

Some very positive aspects of state hospitals and orphanages were the longevity of employees, consistency of location and fellow residents. While there are always exceptions to the rule, foster care and group homes have done nothing to lessen abuse or high staff turnover, quite the opposite. At Cambridge there were many staff who had been employed there when residents in their thirties and forties were admitted as children.  Such long term involvement will no longer be the case.

In the apartment next to Jo and Jenny at CI there was a nine year old girl, Helen (a pseudonym) who was being sexually abused by her grandfather when she went home for two weeks or when he would visit. When the grandparents would visit, grandma got her hotel room and grandpa and Helen shared their own. After these visits Helen would tirade for four days straight cussing worst than a trucker, painting the walls with feces or flour or whatever she could find. She would also attempt to rape her roommate, Molly. The intimidation and language Helen would use in terrorizing Molly were very sophisticated and disturbing, shedding light on what grandpa had been teaching her.

Staff spent the night at this facility without pay unless the clients got up. I was the relief staff in that apartment and had been without sleep for three nights due to staffing problems and the need to monitor Helen’s actions. I told the supervisor that I was not able to stay awake and feared for Molly’s safety.  He simply told me that there was no relief staff and I had to just endure.  I woke up in the middle of the fourth night to Molly screaming as Helen molested and threatened her. I again tried to obtain help from the supervisor only to hear excuses.  The only time I have ever broke confidentially in my career was in this case when I told Molly’s mother what was happening to protect Molly.  Only then was action taken and Helen removed from the apartment. The priority here was that Helen was from out of state and the facility was making a great deal of money having her there.  SRS, of course, found no fault with the supervisor’s actions. I did suffer a round of retaliation from CI before quitting.

When I left CI I took Jo with me into private foster care. It was very difficult as Jo’s behavior escalated as is typical with foster and adoptive children.  The first year was filled with Jo busting holes in the walls and windows in my van, attacking me in the car and showing herself in public. She was a head banger who liked to break glasses and noses. I spend many hours in the ER because there was no helmet made that Jo could not break and that included a professional football helmet.  At that time there was no respite care except for six beds at the state hospital once a year. The rest of the time I relied on my mother and sister as no one else could handle her.

Jo had a good social worker for a short time until she went back to school for a Master’s degree and left SRS. The real nightmare started. It was then that I found out why so many other foster parents hated SRS. I would soon join them.  I was worn out not just from Jo’s behavior, but from the complete lack of concern SRS had for compensating foster parents. I did what was called Level IV Foster Care due to the severity of Jo’s disability. For fifty dollars a day the state of Kansas got a real bargain. If I had not taken Jo into foster care the state was looking into a facility on the east coast that cost $500 a day. SRS paid their employees first and then “vendors” and often my check came two weeks late. I guess it never occurred to the state that if I lost my house they would have to find another place for Jo to live.  I also was not paid when I had to spend seven days in the psych ward with Jo to have her medications reviewed, yet groups homes, which are paid some $8000 a month to care for clients are paid because, “they still have expenses no matter where the child resides”.

A revolving door began on caseworkers and there was even a time when Jo did not have one for six months, but I was unaware of it as SRS offered so little support I did not notice. SRS also conveniently seemed to forget my phone number or even who Jo was to them in the rare occasion that I called for help.  SRS had nowhere else to place Jo and feared that I wanted to leave the foster care program. If they did not answer my calls, I was stuck. Several times program support workers would call me and chew me out for drinking while I was pregnant as Jo had fetal alcohol syndrome. I would let them finish then inform them that Jo was a foster child.  SRS did recall my phone number when I applied for a job as a program support worker and interviewed for the job. They called five times trying to catch me at home, so I assumed that I had got the job. No, the social worker was hunting me down to criticize my interview.

As the state hospitals began to close, new programs were created such as Home Community Based Services (HCBS). Jo was nearing the age of eighteen and would no longer be eligible for foster care. SRS caseworkers at the time were not educated regarding HCBS and told me that I could not be paid to care for her under that program. They told me this because SRS thought I was Jo’s biological family, which was not true. Even if I had been, HCBS would have paid me to keep Jo at home with me.  SRS was wrong. Since I had to work, and could not have Jo at home with no one to watch her, I placed her at an ICF MR facility where she could still attend high school until age twenty-one.

The ICF MR turned out to be a toilet and I moved her to a group home about seventy miles from my home.  I don’t think I ever saw the same staff twice when I visited. Several times I would find all the residents shut up in their rooms so some jock could watch football undisturbed.  On one occasion I went to pick Jo up and could not find anyone that looked like staff, so I just walked Jo outside to the car. Someone I thought was a client came out behind us, whining and rocking back and forth like Rain Man. No staff came out to get her because she WAS the staff. I moved Jo shortly after that incident to a facility closer to home in Wichita.

Starlight was a poor choice also. Jo’s weight escalated due to the high fat diet and lack of exercise at the home. They complained about her behavior numerous times, so I suggested that she go back on Lithium for about six months as for Jo that was a miracle drug. They did not bother to have her blood levels checked and Jo was admitted to the hospital for dialysis to remove the toxic drug levels in her blood stream.  SRS found no evidence of neglect or abuse. One day her medical doctor called me to ask if I knew Jo was being treated for sexually transmitted disease (STD). Of course, I had not been informed by Starlight and I was furious. When SRS called me the caseworker tried to put the blame on me for not calling the police when the assault occurred. I informed her that I was never told of the assault by Starlight at all and could hardly file a police report. If the doctor had not been angry and called me I would not have known. Nothing was ever done to the offender. Once again SRS found the abuse allegation unsubstantiated. I had Jo moved out of there in an emergency placement to another facility.

Jo was in two additional group homes and is now in the last facility she will be in. She lives near me and I visit her residential and day services. In the facility prior to the present one, CCC, Jo lost weight and was healthy, but the house manager had the notion that he could blow me off completely as her guardian and spend her money whenever and however he chose. He looked like a felon and had the attitude of one. At the group home where he worked prior to becoming a house manager at CCC, he was fired for having sex on a washing machine with another employee.  CCC chose not to discipline him in any manner regarding my complaints and did not cooperate with Jo’s outside case manger. The law states that a person can chose the services they wish to obtain and cannot be forced or coerced into accepting all services from the same agency. This was not the reality of the situation.

While there are many good people working in residential and day services, there are also many who cannot find jobs anywhere else and people with disabilities pay for it.  The pay is bad and often there are no benefits or they are lacking. Well qualified people simply do not stay under such conditions.  My advice to any parent or guardian is to hire separate case mangers and payees and not have all services from one agency. It is a conflict of interest and should never have been allowed. The regulations have since changed and having case manger services from the residential provider is considered a conflict of interest.

I worked in the public school system where I saw the results of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind, which indicates that behavior cannot keep a child from public school.  As a foster parent I often had to deal with people that have the notion that children and adults with special needs should have the right to hit, kick, pinch, scream, swear, throw furniture, feces or whatever else they can lay their hands on, with no consequences. Many times we had to clear the classroom so one student could throw a fit. Such behavior is not a consequence of any disability, but of attitudes that dictate that such children have more rights than anyone else and cannot learn to behave otherwise.  While public schools may have to endure aggressive and violent behavior, residential homes do not, and since there are no more state hospitals equipped to deal with aggression, such children may end up back at home with their parents as adults.

Criminal behavior is also ignored in students with special needs and it should not be. You get just what you expect out of DD/MR (developmentally disabled/mentally retarded) people: if you expect the worse or nothing that is what you will get. I know of one student we’ll call Wayne, who broke the bully policy five days a week, roamed the halls, stalked staff, mocked staff, insulted staff, intimidated regular education girls and often had an erection. There had been times when the school bus waited fifteen minutes for  Wayne to decide if he wanted to get on or not or the driver took him around the block and brought him back because he changed his mind. This student hit a pregnant woman in the stomach and was allowed to buy a cookie anyway and was not sent home. Wayne should have been suspended. He insulted kitchen staff and was then allowed to order pizza delivery. Sometimes he would insult the kitchen staff, buy lunch from them and then throw it in the trash where they could see it.  Wayne is mean and a bully. No matter what he does Wayne has a ‘get out of jail free card’ because of his disability. When I was going to school we called people like Wayne punks and they went to jail for their behavior, they were not allowed to terrorize the school.  None of his behavior can be blamed on his disability. There was a more appropriate placement for Wayne, but administration would not put him there because he is MR.

We have become a society of excuses and hold no one accountable for their actions. I find this very sad as teaching special needs children socially responsible behavior and vocational skills is very possible and is done every day. How can you teach children correct behavior and attitudes when students like Wayne can perform nearly no school work and refuse to participate in vocational programs? He would tell you that he not a student and does not have to follow orders of other staff since he is staff. Well, Wayne was certainly treated that way, so little wonder he believed that he was above other students. He graduated with a high school diploma and is illiterate.

The public school system has spoiled parents and students alike in that the schools are expected to make up where parents fail or refuse to take responsibility for their children’s behavior. Schools and teachers are to blame for everything. If all children are not taught properly they will have a difficult future, but especially special needs children. The waiting lists for residential and day services are around five years long, which means that many adult children will be living at home, including those who are aggressive or violent. There are no longer state hospitals where such behaviors could be treated, where they HAD to be treated.  While public schools have to tolerate inappropriate behaviors, society should not.  A good example is a case in Wichita, Kansas where an autistic adult male slapped a six month old baby in the head because she was crying in a department store. He was not sorry and said that he had done it before, obviously with no consequences.

I am sure that I will offend and anger many people with this essay, but those people need to remember that Wayne and those like him will be wandering the streets because they have nowhere else to go and their parents cannot handle them.  The consequences of closing orphanages has already been seen in the disaster of the foster care system, but the long term effects of the  state hospital closings is yet to be determined. I cannot imagine that it will be positive after what I have witnessed in my thirty years working with special needs populations. There has to be an alternative for those with Intellectual Disabilities and violent/aggressive behaviors. Other students have the right to learn in a safe environment and should not have to work wondering if they will be hit or have something thrown at them or attempt to do school work with screaming or shouting all around them. Why should the rights of a few override the many and not just in the school system, but in society as well ?

The Lindbergh Kidnapping-The Folly of Hero Worship

One of the most infamous criminal cases in the United States began in New Jersey on March 1, 1932 when the two year old son of aviator Charles Lindbergh was taken from his nursery at the family estate called, Hopewell.  The nursery was on the second floor of the mansion with entry gained by a ladder leaned against the house. The kidnappers left a note on the window sill demanding $50,000 in exchange for the child. A strange emblem consisting of three interlocked circles served as the signature. Eventually an illegal German immigrant named Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnap and murder of the child.

This sounds like a typical kidnapping gone bad, however, it is far from it. The fiasco that was the Lindbergh Kidnapping case would never happen today. The suspect would have been promptly detected and apprehended regardless of his celebrity status. But it was 1932 and Charles Lindbergh was the darling of America, one above reproach much less suspicion. The police played a secondary role in the investigation with Lindbergh heading up the case and making all decisions. You might ask what does flying an airplane over the Atlantic have to do with criminal investigation, the answer, of course, is absolutely nothing, but Lindbergh directed every aspect of the case with law enforcement taking a back seat.

The kidnapper’s note was full of mistakes that no actual German would make. I am a translator of French, German and Dutch to English and the first thing I noticed was how hard the writer was trying to appear “German”.  The writer attempted to write like a German speaking English, which is ridiculous. Germans writing English know correct spelling, which is unrelated to difficulties in pronouncing certain English sounds.

The first odd thing Lindbergh did was to contact underworld types and distribute the ransom letter to supposedly discover the identity of the kidnappers.  This resulted in numerous copies of the letter spread about so that anyone who desired could extort the Lindbergh family since dozens, if not hundreds, of people now knew the unique signature of the kidnappers.

The second act was to advertise in the newspapers for intermediaries between Lindbergh and the kidnappers. Why this was necessary is open to debate, but was not something the police approved; and then enters Jafsie, otherwise known as Dr. John F. Condon who offered to barter the transactions between the Lone Eagle (a Lindbergh nickname) and the unknown kidnappers.   Jafsie was the moniker he invented to intercede with the criminals holding the baby. He was basically a con man who enjoyed the sound of his own voice and who initially did not identify Bruno Richard Hauptman as the man in the cemetery who is known to history as “Cemetery John”.  The man in the cemetery was to collect the ransom money from Condon.

When the police did offer good ideas such as staking out the mail boxes from which the numerous kidnapping notes were mailed, Lindbergh exploded and forbid it claiming it would endanger the child. Police also suggested tapping Condon’s telephone to discover the origin of the kidnapper calls, but again Lindbergh nixed the idea. In any way possible Charles Lindbergh screwed up the investigation of his son’s disappearance.  Why would he do that?

For months there were no leads, which would trigger another look at the family and household staff in today’s world, especially when you consider that this was the third kidnaping episode involving Colonel Lindbergh. Before Charles dated Anne Morrow he was first interested in her younger sister, Constance, who did not return his affection. When Anne and her parents (Dwight Morrow was a banker and U.S. ambassador to Mexico) went to Europe Constance went to college where she received a letter stating that unless the writer was given $50,000 she would be kidnapped.  It was the exact same amount demanded by whoever kidnapped the Lindbergh baby. Two months before the Lindbergh baby went missing from Hopewell, his father had played a sadistic joke on his wife and the Hopewell staff. He hid the child in a closet and let his terrified wife believe the baby had been kidnapped. (Lindbergh was well known in personal circles for his mean jokes. Amelia Earhart had witnessed one where Charles had dripped water onto his wife’s silk dress in front of company, knowing that the dress would be ruined. Earhart did not like being called; “Lady Lindy” and his in-laws bore him little affection).

When the child disappeared on the evening of March 1, 1932 Anne Lindbergh and the nanny, Betty Gow, both thought that Charles had taken the baby. There was no kidnapping note when the two women searched the nursery; it only appeared later after Lindbergh entered the room. His first response upon entering the room had been, “Anne, they have taken our baby.”  Rather than open the note, Lindbergh ordered no one to open it as fingerprints could still be on it. It was the only time he displayed any concern for preservation of evidence or respect for law enforcement.

The police did manage to override Lindbergh in marking the ransom money, which led to the arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who maintained his innocence despite being offered large sums of money to confess. He claimed to have received the money from an acquaintance named Isadore Fisch, a con man to whom Hauptmann had lost $7000. Fisch gave Hauptmann a sack of money to hold and since the man owned him money, Hauptmann withdrew some of the bills, which were gold certificates recently recalled by the government and spent them.  Police had placed the certificates in the ransom payoff and recorded the serial numbers so that they would be easy to trace.  Aside from the bills, no other evidence ever connected the German to the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder. Later the prosecution would mention Condon’s contact information written inside a closet at the Hauptmann house and a missing board from the attic allegedly from the kidnap ladder, which amazingly was not missing when police searched the attic the first time. The information etched in the closet had been placed there by a reporter who later admitted it.

The child’s body was found on May 12 not far from Hopewell, tossed in a ditch. The American public was outraged and already prejudiced against Germans after the First World War and the Nazi activities abroad (though Lindbergh was an ardent Nazi supporter), so Hauptmann was doomed from the start. He was shafted by his lawyers and Lindbergh sat at the prosecutor’s table further fanning the flames against the poor carpenter who would never have made such a flimsy ladder.

The prosecution claimed that Hauptmann placed the ladder against the house, outside the only window that had shutters that did not latch. (A recent book Cemetery John claims that Hauptmann then took off his shoes and tiptoed upstairs to snatch the baby, which is farfetched. However, the contention that a man named John Knox could have been Cemetery John is entirely possible, since many people had access to the initial kidnapping letter.) Charles Lindbergh sat fifteen feet from the front door of an isolated house built for the purpose of evading snooping reporters and fans, so why would the door be left unlocked? Charles reported that he heard the sound of wood breaking sometime around 9pm, but never got up to check it out. Odd, since he put on a good show of running about the house with a rifle two months earlier during his practical joke. Anne heard nothing. The dog, a viscous one that Lindbergh bought for that very reason, failed to hear strangers outside or inside the house, but barked at police or anyone else entering the property. The baby was not checked on until 10 pm per Lindbergh’s orders that the child not be pampered.

It was definitely an inside job since the Lindberghs were not usually at Hopewell, but had been staying with the Morrow’s. Someone close had to have been involved to know the change in plans. The nanny later committed suicide prompting suspicions toward Gow and her boyfriend who was later deported, but not charged. Charles telephoned his wife the afternoon of March 1 and told her not to bring the baby out in the rain since he had a cold, but Anne wrote to her mother-in-law that the baby was over the cold and either way could have been bundled up. The fatherly concern does not hold water as Lindbergh ran his household like a boot camp, being very hard on his future children.

Lindbergh was extremely focused on details and planning, so his later explanation for arriving at Hopewell at 8:25pm and honking the horn to announce his presence is suspicious. He had an important speaking engagement that night and claimed that he just got the dates mixed up.  He should not have even been at Hopewell or the Morrow’s residence that evening.

To anyone with common sense Charles Lindbergh should have been considered a suspect, especially with a kidnapping practical joke just two months earlier. The public never knew the inconsiderate side of Lucky Lindy that make his pregnant wife fly thousands of feet in the air with no oxygen for hours, more than likely causing some damage to the fetus. Whether Charles Jr. suffered mentally or physically from that incident is unknown, but Lindbergh would hardly have had any sympathy for a disabled child.

Recently, the sleeper and other items kept as evidence were released to the family who plan to lay the whole incident to rest. The evidence should have remained in a museum as historical exhibits. Questions about the identity of the body recovered will remain unanswered as Charles Lindbergh had the body of Charles Jr. cremated before any examination could be done, which is strange right in the middle of a criminal investigation and once again nobody stopped him. Lindbergh was the only one to identify the infant body as Charles Jr.

An interesting note on the sleeper that helped put Hauptmann in the electric chair was that it was new or recently washed with nothing to distinguish it from thousands of others on the market. Why would kidnappers wash a sleeper before sending it in an age before DNA? It’s obvious that someone bought one and sent it to the Lindberghs to identify it as belonging to their son. Charles Lindbergh was a major force in the prosecution and execution of Hauptmann for the crime.

On June 25, 2012 a man claiming to be the Lindbergh baby did an interview on Coast to Coast AM radio. His story is very plausible in that he states his father, Charles Lindbergh, was not the great guy the media portrayed him to be and he was into cruel practical jokes that included staging his earlier kidnapping.  The man known as “Paul” for years was followed by FBI agents and in fact met with Charles Lindbergh at a coffee shop in California in 1943. His DNA test matched that of his Lindbergh sister indicating that they both shared Anne Morrow Lindbergh as a mother. Charles was a well known Nazi supporter who had numerous affairs that included German women. By 1943 it was clear that supporting Hitler was a mistake and Charles was trying to repair his reputation. Admitting that he had his son kidnapped because of a deformity or as a joke was not an option by 1943, so he never admitted Paul was his son.

The case is an interesting one and too complicated to fully investigate here, but even in grade school I wondered why Lindbergh was never investigated or questioned regarding the kidnapping and death of his child.  For further reading check out;

The Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax by Gregory Ahlgren and Stephen Monier

Cemetery John by Robert Zorn

The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Kidnapping and the Framing of Richard Hauptman by Ludovic Kennedy

Examiner Article on Charles Jr.

There is hardly a mystery more prominent in the United States than the tale of the pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan who disappeared in 1937.  Many are content to believe that she was a lousy pilot and simply crashed somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, end of story.  Others are sure that Amelia was captured by the Japanese and either was executed on Saipan along with Fred Noonan or she was taken to China and interred in a Japanese POW camp. Some take the theory one step farther and say Amelia returned to the United States in 1946 as Irene Craigmile who married an ex-MI5 British agent named Guy Bolem.  Ric Gillespie thinks she crashed on Gardiner Island and regularly leads searches to the island.

At first I dismissed the theory of Amelia being Irene Craigmile Bolam, but there are many questions that would be answered if one considers that Amelia was recruited by President Roosevelt to spy on the Japanese and was thus assisted in her return to the States.  It isn’t so farfetched since thanks to President Hoover spying was illegal in 1937  as “gentlemen do not open other gentlemen’s mail”.  FDR knew that the Japanese were up to something on the Marshall Islands and had no discrete way to be sure they were not fortifying the islands (they were of course). Amelia was also personal friends with the First Lady, Eleanor.

The story of Amelia Earhart has been told many times, so I will not repeat every detail here, but there are some highlights that need to be looked at closer.  The first item to be noted is that the Earhart file is under WWII files at the National Archives, which is interesting since the U.S. did not enter the war until 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.  Two high-ranking military officers visited her in California before she left on her around the world flight. This was no easy task in 1937 as transportation was lacking and required changing planes, trains and taxis several times. One did not just hop a plane from one coast to the other,  so there was some pressing issue for the government to meet with a civilian.  During the meeting with the officers, Amelia’s husband and Noonan were asked to leave the room.

After the meeting Earhart changed flight plans and reversed her original route, instead taking one that sent her east over Africa where maintenance stops were unprepared and caused long delays.  Amelia also turned down help from Pan Am which offered to track her with their state of the art high frequency technology. This would make no sense unless one considers the alleged mission she did for the government and she did not want to be found. Earhart was also quite rude in turning the help down.

Earhart then was swing around and approach tiny Howland Island from the west stating that she was in a cloud bank and could not see.  Howland was a rest and refueling stop and the last leg to California. They would come around and approach from the east, but instead of actually landing on Howland (which was a difficult feat anyway since it was a like finding a blue marble in a swimming pool) Earhart would turn north where she would run into “bad weather”. Rather than spy on the Japanese personally, she would “get lost” and fly instead to a privately owned island in Hawaii where she would remain while her search ensued. For those who think that is a bizarre idea, consider that Amelia had dinner with the owners, the Robinson’s, the night before leaving on the historic flight. The U.S. military could then search for a world-famous lady pilot in the areas where the Japanese were suspected of fortifying.  How could the Japanese say no when Earhart was even admired in Japan?

It should be mentioned that the military search for a “civilian” flyer was extensive involving both ships and planes and never was there any trace of an oil slick found anywhere. It is unlikely that the plane went down in the water for this simple fact alone. Oil and water do not mix and there would have been oil floating on the water days or even weeks after the accident.

A crucial part of this plan was for Amelia and Fred to maintain radio silence and they did not for which no explanation has been given. The Japanese would have been able to pick up on transmissions and know that the Americans were dangerously close to the Marshall Islands.  Whether she was shot down or crashed for some unknown cause researchers cannot agree.  The people of the Marshall Islands have no doubts about the incident and issued postage stamps detailing the rescue of Earhart and Noonan by a fishing boat.  The plane was hoisted aboard by a crane also depicted on a stamp. A letter addressed to Earhart was later found at the Marshall Island post office unopened. Who could have known to write to her there? Predictably, the current whereabouts of the letter are now unknown.

Prior to rescue by the fishing crew, Amelia had broadcast for hours trying to reach someone in the U.S. and there is considerable controversy about who did hear her. The U.S. Navy did not, but two teenagers in Florida and Idaho did.  Radio experts say that it was impossible for radio waves to have traveled such a long distance, however, the two teens tell similar stories. Betty Klenck Brown of St. Petersburg, Florida wrote down the dialogue she heard from a voice she recognized as Earhart. Betty heard the woman tell of a plane half in the water on a reef and a man with a head wound who was panicking and trying to climb over her head to get to the escape hatch over the pilot’s seat. The Marshall Island postal stamps portray a tall woman and a man with a bandaged head. A local medic also stated that he treated a woman named Amelia for an injured knee and a man with a head wound on a ship.

Betty heard something much more interesting though, which lends credibility to who she heard that night.  The woman broadcast that she hoped they could hear her in New York (her home) and that if they could, to tell George to destroy the suitcase.  As it happened, Earhart had a suitcase full of unknown items that she wanted no one to see. She had informed her husband, George P. Putnam, before leaving that if anything happened to her he was to get rid of it.  How could a young girl playing with a ham radio know that? How could she even make it up?

A young sixteen year old black boy, whose father had installed an extended antenna like Betty’s father had also done, heard Amelia say they were stuck on a reef south of the equator. He ran to get his father who recognized the voice and the two of them went to the sheriff.  I mention his race here because it backs up the story. In 1937 two black men in Idaho telling tales about a famous white woman could have been disastrous if taken for hoax. Fortunately, the sheriff believed them and notified authorities.  I have no doubt that Dana Randolph and his father heard the desperate pleas of Amelia Earhart who was not only stranded, but dealing with a delirious injured navigator.

From the Marshall Islands the two downed flyers were taken to Saipan, also controlled by the Japanese where various stories abound regarding their fates.  Some theories have them held at the prison in deplorable conditions and then beheaded. This could be entirely possible for Fred since he was a drunk and could be belligerent. It is doubtful that the Japanese would have executed a famous woman flyer wearing men’s clothes as Japanese men were fascinated by her. Women did not act that way in Japan. Another version has Amelia dying of dysentery at a hotel on Saipan. There was at that time a young, tall Japanese American woman who could have been the woman seen instead of Amelia, one called Tokyo Rosa years before the notorious “Tokyo Rose”.

When I worked in nursing I met several older gentlemen who told me that they saw Amelia’s plane in a hangar on Saipan after the war. Rather than pay to ship equipment back to the States, the army was destroying it or sinking it in the ocean.  The plane in the hanger was completely burnt. It’s interesting to note that later the CIA built a secret training facility at one end of the island.

I tend to believe the theory about Amelia being transported to China where the Japanese had several POW camps. Several facts persuade me this is the correct version. The Japanese liked to have English-speaking women broadcast as “Tokyo Rose” the radio personality designed to weaken the morale of U.S. fighting men in the southwest pacific.  Two American soldiers stated they heard Amelia Earhart over the airwaves talking as Tokyo Rose.  The government took it seriously enough to do something odd. George Putnam, who had no military training was commissioned as a Major in Army Intelligence and sent to the pacific area to listen to the woman who was allegedly Amelia. He stated that the woman had certainly done her homework, but she couldn’t be Amelia. One year after his wife’s disappearance Putnam had her declared legally dead when the usual time period is seven years.

Another thing the Japanese liked to do with American POWs was to make them nationalized Japanese citizens after being held captive for years for further humiliation.  In 1946 an Irene Craigmile, AKA, Mrs. G.P. Putnam, a Japanese citizen applied to immigrate to the United States.  This will be addressed again a bit later.

Further evidence that Amelia was in China with the Japanese military can be found in a photograph of Amelia standing next to a Japanese plane that was experimental at the time and not being used during the war. It would not be so unusual for the flyer to feel at home among the Japanese as she spoke fluent Japanese, learning it from a housekeeper her parents employed when she was a child.

Now enters Irene Craigmile Bolam, wife of a retired MI5 agent named Guy Bolam, and a writer/pilot named Joe Gervais. He met her at a meeting of a women’s pilot group named the “Ninety Nine’s” started in 1929. Gervais’ research is chronicled in a book by Joe Klaas, Amelia Earhart Lives, and is well worth reading as Mr. Gervais also describes four planes and not just one made for the around the world flight. The plane Amelia supposedly flew he found crashed on a mountain side in California.

Upon meeting Irene Gervais was struck hard by the realization that the woman was Amelia Earhart and indeed had the very same medals and awards as Amelia.  He wrote a book asserting that theory and Irene sued him and his publisher, MacGraw Hill. The book was withdrawn.  Gervais was surprised at the hostility and asked her why it would be such an insult to be called Amelia Earhart, a well-known and loved American heroine. Her response revealed much more than she realized.

Irene retorted, “Well then, that would make me a traitor and a bigamist wouldn’t it?”  A bigamist yes, but how could she have known that Amelia could be judged a traitor?  Joe asked Irene to be fingerprinted and put to rest the allegation and she refused. Mrs. Bolam went steps further by donating her body to a medical school and left instructions for no prints to be taken or any samples to be kept. The body was cremated forever leaving the question open. Even her best friend, also a pilot, thought Irene was Amelia Earhart but never brought up the subject for fear it would ruin the friendship.

What stories of such persons as Earhart present to us is that nothing may be as it seems and the versions printed in textbooks are meant to make us accept a certain template. Recent movies about Amelia fall short when they try to convince us that Amelia had a hot romance with G.P. Putnam. Difficult to buy when Putnam badgered her regarding marriage and she only relented after the sixth proposal when she no longer had the funds to keep flying. Right before the wedding Amelia had Putnam sign an agreement stating that she had reservations about the marriage and if she was still not happy in a year they would divorce- true love all right.

Whatever the truth about Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, she did not just crash in the ocean and vanish from history. I would recommend that anyone interested in the Earhart story read the following books, as well as others, to ask questions and form their own opinions.

  • Joe Klaas, Amelia Earhart Lives
  • Ric Gillespie, Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance.
  • Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident
  • J.A. Donahue, The Earhart Disappearance: The British Connection
  • Amelia Earhart, Last Flight
  • Muriel Earhart Morrissey, Amelia, My Courageous Sister
  • Joe Davidson, Amelia Earhart Returns from Saipan
  • T.C. Buddy Brennan, Witness to the Execution
  • Col. Rollin Reineck, Amelia Earhart Survived.
How Real is that PhD?
          We live in a world where a person’s expertise is judged by the level of their education and experience. Employers and universities evaluate prospective personnel based on degree subjects, research topics and publications. Education, after all, is for the training and grooming of experts that keep societies around the world functioning, now and in the future. But how accurate is education as a gage for expertise?
          Like many people in the past few years, I have found working one job does not allow for much financial comfort, so I have also been self employed as a freelance translator and a ghostwriter.  When I first looked into ghostwriting I had the notion it was mostly autobiographies, but soon discovered that most writing projects would be academic works for PhD candidates. Of course, there were also many jobs for high school assignments and undergraduate degrees, in addition to both master’s and doctorial dissertations.
          Though cheating is unethical, one could almost overlook the struggling high school or undergrad student paying for some difficult writing assignment. However, advanced degrees are indicators that the owners know what they are doing and their skills can be trusted. Okay, not everyone is a good writer, so you could still be a master in your field and not be able to put together a high quality thesis or dissertation without professional help, but there is simply no excuse for those studying for doctorates to hire writers.
          People holding PhDs are expected to write and publish in academic journals. They are called, Doctor, and held in high regard; their research is scrutinized and quoted by other professionals.  But how many well respected individuals with PhDs really know their subjects or did their own work to earn that respect? I know of at least twenty people running around with the title of doctor based on work that I did for them. I don’t know their names as that is always confidential, but at around $700 a paper it did not concern me at the time. 
          After two years of hard work I recently earned my Master’s in Law. I know that I am knowledgeable in the law because I studied and did all my own writing. I am also very learned in risk management for international investing, cancer research, biometrics, airport planning, forensic pathology, railroad systems in Saudi Arabia and juvenile delinquency in the UK.  I cannot call myself, Dr. Chadwick, because I was not the one enrolled in those PhD programs.  I cannot claim to be an expert in the above topics, but those who can did not earn the right to do so.
          I could still use the extra cash, but cannot bring myself to do work that other people should be doing if they want that degree. Education used to mean something, and I will no longer contribute to helping those that do not have the capability of doing academic work earn that distinction.
          There is no shortage of companies willing to write dissertations for a price. How long this practice has gone on is anybody’s guess, but there are more of these ghostwriting businesses on-line all the time.  So the next time you hire an expert based on PhD qualifications spend a moment wondering if that person actually did their own work.
D.A. Chadwick  MSL