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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.

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 ?

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

Was Joan of Arc a Peasant Girl? The Evidence Says No!

Questioning the tale of the Maid of Lorraine.

The story of a passionate, religiously devout nineteen year old woman saving France has long been a favorite of school girls (myself included), but how realistic is it?

As the story goes, Joan was born in 1412 in Domremy, France to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romee who also had a number of other children. At age 13 she began to have visions of angels while tending the animals in the fields. These visions were of the saints, Michael, Marguerite and Catherine. They told her that she was the maid who would save France. These conversations went on for several years. The young girl spent a great deal of time in church talking with the priest and praying. When she heard church bells ringing Joan would drop to her knees where ever she happened to be. She told the voices, her “counselors” that she was just a girl and could not do as they demanded. She did not even know how to go about saving France.
In her late teens the voices rather aggressively insisted that Joan do as commanded, it was God’s wish. This was no easy task, but turned out to be much easier than it should have been for an illiterate peasant girl. She began by talking her cousin into escorting her to see Robert Baudricourt, captain of Vaulcoulers. At first Baudricourt blew Joan off and sent her back home insisting that she needed a good spanking. He finally relented after some months and took her to see the dauphin (prince) Charles. Placing Charles on the throne was the vehicle required by the voices for saving France.
The first clue that things were not quite as they seemed was the fact that Charles, instead of just officially meeting the girl, hid among his courtiers to see if she would recognize him. Recognize him? How would a peasant’s daughter know someone she had not seen or had any interest in before? This has been viewed as a miracle, proof that God guided her as Joan went right to him. It does not seem to have occurred to anyone that perhaps Charles already knew Joan and her parentage and feared the consequences of the meeting. He also did not trust her until she told him a secret in private, which was probably what he wanted to hear-that Charles VI was his father. It must ever have occurred to him that maybe Isabeau was not his mother, even though they had formed no bond whatsoever.
Charles was eventually convinced of her mission with much influence from his guardian, Yolande of Aragon who was married to Louis II of Anjou, her father- in-law was Charles V of France and her son, Rene d’Anjou, who would ride with Joan throughout her military career. Joan was eventually given an army by the dauphin Charles and the opportunity to oust the English, so that he might be crowned.
Joan displayed an extraordinary ability to led men and an uncanny knowledge of artillery, not to mention that she could ride as well as any of the combat veterans. She often had her own methods of accomplishing military objectives as her voices disagreed with the strategies of the commanders. They were victorious and the dauphin Charles was crowned, but not in Paris as Joan had hoped. That great city was still held by the English.
This is the point where things begin to go wrong for the passionate young woman. Charles no longer wished to keep up military campaigns as they were expensive (and he was a bit of a sniveling wimp) and he was now King of France, Charles VII. Joan was becoming an inconvenience. If Joan had just gone back home she probably would have lived out her life uneventfully, but she truly believed in a united France and could not see that diplomacy would accomplish that goal. She continued the fight.
Joan was captured at Compiegne on May 30, 1430 when the town folk closed the draw bridge and would not let it down for fear of losing the city to the English. She was held prisoner and moved several times until her Condemnation trial. Joan’s ransom could have been paid by Charles VII, but instead she was sold to the English. The Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, went to great efforts to be appointed her judge even though the case was out of his jurisdiction. She was found guilty of heresy and burned at the stake May 31, 1431.  Or perhaps it truly was Claude des Armois, the impostor who burned instead?
It was with Cauchon that the mother of Charles VII, Isabeau of Bavaria, drew up the Treaty of Troyes, which knocked him out of the line of succession, thus requiring the intervention of Joan of Arc in the first place. Her grandson, Henry VI of England would rule when old enough and until then his father, Henry V would rule as regent. The problem with this arrangement was that both Charles VI and Henry V died within a few months of each other leaving the infant Henry and Charles de Ponthieu to vie for the French throne.
Is it really such a mystery why Isabeau of Bavaria would team up with the Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, in the Treaty of Troyes to side step the dauphin Charles when it became clear that he was not king material, and make her grandson, Henry VI the next heir to the French throne? Isabeau’s daughter was Catherine de Valois, queen of England. The power would have stayed in the family with young Henry on the throne. Isabeau has been painted in a very bad light thoughout history, perhaps without just cause.
There had always been rumors about the parentage of Charles VII; most gossip consisted of Charles being the illegitimate son of Isabeau of Bavaria and Louis II, his uncle. He was very self conscious and defensive of such ideas and the talk continued well after the Maid of Lorraine burned at the stake.
Twenty-five years after Joan’s death a Rehabilitation Trial was ordered by Charles VII, which determined that the first trial was unfair and the reputation of Joan the Maid was restored. There was a great effort made to establish her roots in Lorraine as the daughter of the two lower class residents of Domremy, Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romee.
This is a very condensed version of the life of Joan of Arc, but will allow us to examine a few of the alleged “facts” of the case.
When I first began writing my novel, Rennes le Chateau: The Road to Sion, I didn’t really believe that Joan was illegitimate aristocracy or that she could have escaped the stake, however, I began to look at her story like the law student that  I was then and asked what I considered obvious questions. I also found surprising, but entirely logical answers.
In villages like Domremy it was unlikely that a family would have lived so exposed with marauding, unemployed knights running about raping, pillaging and setting people on fire. As the story goes, the inhabitants of Domremy would run to the fortified town of Greux for safety. Such a scenario is not very reasonable. There simply would have not been enough time or warning for entire families, which would have included the elderly and infants, to even run the short distance to Greux. Villages like Domremy were most likely occupied by healthy male farm laborers who could have defended themselves. Families lived in more secure walled towns.
There are other problems with the Joan growing up in Domremy story. The first being, which town called Domremy was it? In the fifteenth century there were four other villages on the Meuse River called Domremy and others called Greux. If it were indeed the village now in the department of the Vosges, there is a question about the house reputed to have belonged to her parents, Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romee. The house now shown to tourists was built in 1481, long after she allegedly died in 1431, by the son of Charles VII, Louis XI.
Even the identity of Jacques is questionable as I point out in the book,
“The man who was supposed to be Joan’s father had several names throughout the time period; Jacques Tart, Jakes Delarch and Jacques d’Arc, so his identity is questionable. There was a man named Arc who was the tax collector for the Duke of Lorraine, but he did not live in Domremy.”
The fact that people attacked Isabelle Romee at the beginning of the Rehabilitation Trial is perhaps a good sign that people knew that she was not Joan’s mother. The Rehabilitation Trial is amazing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is used to declare that the life of Joan of Arc is the most well documented of all medieval historical figures.
Indeed, there were a great many witnesses claiming to know her and at first this is impressive, until you consider that we are talking about fifteenth century France when a person was considered old at age 40 and lucky to see age 50. Twenty-five years later, we have nearly everyone who knew Joan as a girl still alive and their memories crystal clear. Not just clear, they also tell the exact same stories with the same details and this should catch the attention of any first year law student.
So who was Joan of Arc really? In a nutshell, since it took an entire book to develop this theory, she was the legitimate daughter of Charles VI and Isabeau of Bavaria. Charles was indeed the illegitimate one and he knew it. Why would the king and queen of France wish to switch babies? The first motive would the most obvious in that they wanted a male heir. The Salic Laws prevented females from inheriting titles, thus putting France at the mercy of whomever Joan married.

When Joan began hearing voices and dropping to her knees at the sound of church bells, her parents would have thought their fears justified  that Joan had inherited the same mental illness as her father, Charles VI. The political risk of Joan being queen of France would have been enormous since  Isabeau had to often take the reins of the kingdom when the king would gallop down the palace halls howling like dog. The political landscape of fifteenth century France was volatile and fractured at best. France could not afford another weak ruler.
A thorough reading of the Condemnation Trial transcript sheds a different light on the questions asked of Joan and her responses when you consider that she was royalty. It would also explain why a nineteen year old woman (though she was probably closer to age 24) would speak to men as equals or inferiors and order nobility around without a second thought. A royal upbringing would also explain why Joan seemed to know so much about military strategy, particularly artillery, and her excellent horsemanship skills. If Joan were really the true queen of France, it would explain the hatred displayed by some of the English and the obsessive need of Charles VII to use the whole Maid of Lorraine story to convince people she was a disillusioned nobody.
The real truth of the Joan of Arc story will probably never be known, but it is not the set in stone tale that historians declare it to be. There are far too many unanswered questions and more than enough reasonable doubt that Joan was not an ignorant peasant girl.
D.A. Chadwick

Copyright 2009 by D.A. Chadwick