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Author Topic: Betty's Notebook dispute  (Read 2617 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Betty's Notebook dispute
« on: June 27, 2021, 08:16:17 AM »

I've been having an interesting discussion on Facebook with Japanese Capture advocate Les Kinney. I offer it here to the Forum for consideration and comment.

Les Kinney
Has Tighar ever released the complete diary?
Why would Amelia tell George to get a suitcase out of the closet when she should have been telling her location?

Ric Gillespie
Les Kinney Betty’s notebook is not a diary. It’s a notebook she kept by the family radio for making sketches and sometimes writing down the lyrics of her favorite songs. All of the pages relating to what she heard from Earhart are on the TIGHAR website.
She didn’t say where she was because she didn’t know where she was. All she could do was describe her surroundings.
Before she made her 1935 flight from Hawaii to California, she wrote a letter to her mother who was house-sitting in North Hollywood. She said there were some papers in a briefcase that should be destroyed if she didn’t survive the flight. In 1937 it was her husband who was in California. It was looking like she might not survive so she reminded him about the papers that should be destroyed.


Les Kinney
I'm familiar with Amelia's secret papers. They are variously described in a couple of the Earhart bios. I have no reason to believe they didn't exist.
With that said, in 1968, Don Kothera had a lengthy conversation with Margo Decarie which he reduced to notes. As you know, Decarie was Amelia's part-time secretary and house friend. Among other things, Decarie told Kothera that Amelia handed her a thick manila type envelope just prior to the last flight take-off from Burbank. Amelia said, "If I don't come back, destroy this, If I do, return it to me. It means nothing to anyone except me."
I have always been intrigued by the contents - perhaps an emotional affair?
Kothera asked Decarie what she did with the package. Decarie answered, " I honored her wishes." When Amelia never returned, Decarie burnt the package.
I recorded all this in an interview with Don Kothera, who by the way had no knowledge of this secret package prior to Decarie's statements.
So, the idea that Amelia would take the time to send a message to her husband to get rid of the papers in a suitcase is rather far-fetched considering Amelia had already planned for their disposal.
Ric, why not release the entire journal of Betty? it would be the sensible thing to do - you can't just introduce evidence without the complete journal being subject to scrutiny.

Ric Gillespie
Les Kinney I keep telling you it is not a diary or journal. Other than the pages with notations that refer to what she heard from Amelia, which we have published on the TIGHAR website, it's a notebook full of sketches and song lyrics. I'm happy to publish the whole thing.
Kothera's notes about DeCarie's comments are interesting but no more documented than Albert Bresnick's claim that AE confided to him that she was pregnant.

Les Kinney
Ric Gillespie If two other people heard Bresnick's story independently, then it would have credibility but there wasn't any. Bresnick was undoubtedly full of it. His story changed over time.
Meanwhile, Decarie tells an identical story as heard by others: Amelia's mother and a second person (who, at the moment I can't recall without looking it up.) In other words, Ric, Margo's account has been corroborated. Why would you doubt it? Well, one reason might be that it goes against your theory of a suitcase in the closet.

Ric Gillespie
Les Kinney Where did Amy mention the destroyed papers? If two more people tell the same anecdote does it mean the story is true? If so, then we have proof there was aircraft wreckage on the reef at Gardner Island and you have proof Earhart was captured by the Japanese. Stories are not hard evidence.


Les Kinney
Ric Gillespie Ric, you're grasping at straws. If three people tell the same account (notice I said account) because two of them didn't see the material being destroyed doesn't make them less credible. In fact, it enhances the credibility of the third person who actually destroyed the material. In this instance, Amelia is asking three persons, on separate occasions for a favor. Because she doesn't come back, the last one carries through with Amelia's request.
If three people are told by a person that he or she is going to rob a specific bank and only one person actually sees the bank being robbed by that person, do you suppose a court would throw out the testimony of the other two because they didn't jot down notes of the conversation at that time nor see the bank robbed?? I think not!
You play with words all the time to lessen their impact. There is zero reason to question Margo's credibility.
As to your aircraft wreckage analogy, if you found specific wreckage of a Lockheed Electra Model 10 E on Gardner versus the run of the mill WWII aircraft wreckage - you might have something.

Ric Gillespie
Les Kinney Let's be clear.
• In a December 26, 1934 letter to her mother, prior to her January 1935 flight from Honolulu to Oakland, Amelia wrote:
"I have taken possession of the stuff in the zipper compartment of my briefcase. Put it away until I turn up and if I don't - burn it. It consists of fragments that mean nothing to anybody but me."
She obviously does not mean burn the briefcase. She wants her mother to get the "stuff" out of the zipper compartment and "put it away."
• Amy (her mother) therefore knew about the "stuff" Amelia wanted destroyed in the event of her death.
• Assuming her mother did as requested, the "stuff" was removed from the briefcase and put somewhere else. There is no way to know where.AE, of course, did turn up and presumably again took possession of the "stuff." Did she leave it wherever her mother put it, or did she put it somewhere else? No way to know.
• Your statement that Margot DeCarrie's claim of having received papers and later destroying them has been corroborated is not true unless you can provide documentation that someone else saw the papers handed over and saw them destroyed. Where did Amy, or anyone else, ever say Margot received and destroyed the papers?
• That there were papers Amelia wanted destroyed in the event of her death is beyond dispute but, without corroboration, DeCarrie's claim 31 years later is no more credible than Bresnick's claim that AE told him she was pregnant.
You accuse me of "grasping at straws, but our disagreement about the credibility of Margot's claim is really just an example of our larger disagreement about investigative methodology and what constitutes reliable evidence. I am perfectly willing to accept that Margot received destroyed papers given to her by Amelia if you can provide proof her calim is true.

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Karen Hoy

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2021, 10:06:49 AM »

Les Kinney can't seem to understand that BOTH scenarios could be true.

The folder contained Important Secret Papers and Margot burned them. The suitcase held Other Secret Items and George (possibly) disposed of them.

I think Kinney's arguments actually reinforce Betty's Notebook: more proof that there were many items AE wanted destroyed and people who would respect her wishes.

LTM,
Karen Hoy #2610CR
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Andrew M McKenna

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2021, 10:23:57 AM »

I agree with Karen, the fact that there is documentation that AE had things she wanted destroyed in the event she did not return from one of her flights only adds context to the statement in Betty's notebook that otherwise might seem out of context.

The package given to Decarie could easily have been stored in a suitcase in a closet, and AE, realizing her situation was dire, was reminding GPP, and through him Decarie, to destroy it.

A McKenna
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2021, 10:29:22 AM »

Probably copies of her orders from the Office of Naval Intelligence.
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Karen Hoy

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2021, 11:39:59 AM »

Along with a freckle cream prescription, receipts from Toluca Lake Pharmacy, and an unread copy of the book "Radio Navigation for Dummies."

 Sarcasm  ;D

LTM,
Karen #2610 CR
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Scott C. Mitchell

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2021, 04:11:55 PM »

Another possibility is that Amelia got confused.  Since we don't know the exact date of Betty's reception, we don't know how many days AE and FN were castaways by this time.  Amelia could have been dehydrated, FN is thrashing around in the cabin close to delirium, the water may be rising into the body of the aircraft, the aircraft cabin was probably an oven, there's an overall tone of fear and desperation during the broadcast--all these could play havoc with memory and rational thinking.  The fact that she is giving post-mortem directions in the blind shows the state of her mind.  Even if she had given the Secret Papers to someone else, her mind may have fixated on the last thing she remembered with some emotional attachment, the "suitcase in the closet"./
Scott
3292R
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Leon R White

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2021, 02:40:04 PM »

Well here's a chance I never thought I'd get. 
I spoke to  the secretary in North Hollywood in Dec 1967 about Ms Earhart, and in person.  The first thing to note was that, while she was somewhat shorter then AE, on that evening she LOOKED like AE when she answered the door.  It kind of distracted me. We had a good relaxed talk. 
Using Mr. Kiney's logic, since she did not mention the secret documents to me, they must not exist.
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Ross Devitt

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2022, 02:23:50 AM »

Ok, this is one of my LONG musings - please forgive me.  I've been absent the Forum for some time.

Is there even the slightest possibility that Betty had patchy radio reception and was writing stuff quickly as she heard it?

Having been a radio operator in charge of comms for search operations (including sole operator of Police radio comms, and also co-ordinating Police and Civilian comms for search teams, I have seen some weird and wonderful stories written in the comms logs, that turned out to be what the operator thought they heard, but by the time they wrote it in the log, it had changed somewhat.  Even only a little error can make the notes seem wrong.

In the old days we were taught about a 'supposed' WWI message passed by mouth to a 'runner' to be passed to several others on its way through the trenches.
"Send reinforcements, we're going to advance", in the lesson, became "Send three and sixpence, we're going to a dance".

This was usually followed by a practical exercise which resulted in some ROFL moments.

So, the point of this long winded story is:
Is it possible Betty heard something along the lines of "get the 'briefcase' in my closet", but by the time she actually wrote it (and it can only take a second to forget a word in a message) she thought she heard 'suitcase' and that is what she wrote.

I have frequently compared what doctors and lawyers wrote in their notes, with what was actually 'said' in a recording made at the same time.
The average person would be shocked at the glaring errors these supposedly trained professionals make - and our lives often depend on their scribblings!
Even my own team of stenographers and typists in the Navy had a propensity for small errors, and were always checked.

I imagine Betty, as a fifteen year old teenager was not professionally trained in stenography or even transcription.

Th' Wombat . .
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2022, 02:35:54 AM »

Ok, this is one of my LONG musings - please forgive me.  I've been absent the Forum for some time.

Great to hear from you again, Wombat!

I would gladly absolve you from your sins, but the Church that gave me faculties to hear confessions also prohibits me from offering the sacrament online or over the telephone.

All is forgiven!

I first played the Telephone Game (Operator, Chinese Whispers) in Techno-Scientific Perspectives on MAN and HIS Environment in the spring of 1971.  Our teacher was not as kind as yours.  His sentence was about the mechanics of a reciprocating steam engine.  I, in turn, used the ugliest and least comprehensible sentence that I had the misfortune to read in Time Magazine: "The classroom is a behavior modification laboratory where one practices child-centered strategies that optimize the personological variables of interactive relationships, thus producing awareness enhancement."

I always asked the students to write down what they said to the person next to them after they had whispered what they thought they heard.  The results were predictably comical as the students read their version aloud.  The greatest laugh came once upon a time when one of my most memorable students decided not to play the game.  He whispered to the person next to him, "Fr. Moleski is an idiot." 

Every single person in the second half of the class got and transmitted the same message!

My students proved that the game can be defeated. 

Sometimes garbling happens.

Sometimes it doesn't.

That's life with humans!
LTM,

           Marty
           TIGHAR #2359A
 
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Don White

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Re: Betty's Notebook dispute
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2022, 12:09:30 PM »

Marty's funny story illustrates another point pertinent to discussions of transcribed radio messages. I learned, as a teacher (not formally, but informally) that people can't take in something they can't relate to what they already know. This is why we have to progress from beginning, foundation-level knowledge to advanced levels. I have noticed it myself when I wanted to learn something new. There is that moment when it suddenly all makes sense.

It would be very difficult for a listener to retain and repeat a complex sentence full of technical language outside their expertise, but much easier to do so with a sentence to which their minds could already relate.

The significance of this in our discussion is that Betty and most of the other people who credibly reported hearing intelligible transmissions from Amelia (more of them female than male, interestingly) were not technical people trained in the languages of aviation or navigation. They did pretty well at transcription, considering.

We may compare this with the transcriptions of Amelia's last certain transmissions, as reported by the trained radio operators on Itasca, who did this daily. Then we may consider the discrepancies between the versions of those transcriptions that have survived -- the rough and smooth radio logs, and the memorial reconstructions of some of the operators in later interviews. And consider that even on board the ship, there was a discrepancy between what they reported and what Commander Thompson thought had been said -- how much fuel was left and where they must be -- that, when his suppositions solidified into certainty, sent the search off in the (probably) wrong direction and gave birth to Crashed and Sank as the official version of events.

LTM,
Don
« Last Edit: February 14, 2022, 12:13:52 PM by Don White »
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