From Mary (U.S.A.)
July 9, 2017
In the United State tonight, the History Channel will broadcast at 9 p.m., Eastern time, a program that says a photograph has been found in the National Archives that may show that Amelia Earhart, who was trying to fly around the world, did not die, but was taken by the Japanese on the Marshall Islands. The photograph is not clear.
This is of great interest to me. Weihsien liberator, James Hannon, wrote about and told me in telephone conversations more than once that he had found Amelia Earhart in Weihsien. He told me the Japanese had kept Amelia Earhart in separate quarters from other prisoners — under a different name. . He said that the Japanese had flown Amelia Earhart out of Weihsien at the end of the war.. Her name was not listed in any prisoner lists that I have seen.
In 2001,. longtime researcher Ron Bright, of Bremerton, Wash., with a few associates, debunked the Weihsien Telegram theory, which proponents claimed showed that Amelia Earhart was alive in a Japanese civilian internment camp in 1945. [click here]
After Jim Hannon wrote about this, I was quizzed several times by almost fanatical researchers interested in this story. They wanted to know if this was true. I told each researcher, that I was a child in Weihsien and had never heard of Amelia Earhart when I was interned there.
Others of our Weihsien liberators, said that they did not believe this story that Amelia Earhart was held by the Japanese in Weihsien. Several other Weihsien internees have challenged Jim Hannon’s account — at least one, in her book about Weihsien.
I’m sure our early archives of the Weihsien Topica network include a record of this difference of opinion.
Mary Taylor Previte
Since the begining, we have exchanged messages about Amelia Earhart, first on "TOPICA" and now on "Yahoo". Here are some excerpts from the Topica-Archives ...
July 4, 2000
I have been reading documents found on the site 'Weihsien'. I found the following, that is part of a document sent to the State Department.
Apparently, there was some question of Amelia Earhart being at Weihsien.
Weihsien was not a prisoner of war camp. It was a Civilian Assembly Camp - an internment camp. According to a 1995 letter by one of the American soldiers who liberated Weihsien on August 17;, 1945 there were no Japanese military personnel in charge of the camp. It was run by a Mr. Izu of the Japanese Consular Service.
All internees were well documented.
Amelia Earhart was not there.
On the 18th of August, 1945 -- a general inspection was made of the camp and twelve internees were hospitalized and selected for early departure due to poor health. They were evacuated by C-47 on the 28th.............
My memory is certainly of a number of Japanese soldiers and officers at our camp.
I am probably misreading the whole document.
The document is about Amelia Earhart, and perhaps part of this was a hoax.
Natasha, Natasha! -- You'll have to read The Mushroom Years, my book on Weihsien, which covers dear Amelia, and a heck of a lot of other things.
Most of the questions you've asked to date on the Weihsien web page – which incidentally, I think is excellent -- I've covered in that many little opus. Both Major Stan Staiger (who lives close by me in Reno, Nevada) and Des Power said they couldn't put the darn book down. Incidentally, Staiger's comments on the Amela Earhart saga finally put Jim Hannon's story to rest. Hannon, if you recall, was the lieutenant who parachuted in and banged up his shoulder on landing. He wrote a movie script covering his conclusions on a wasted woman, called "The Yank", that he found in camp, and who was spirited away (according to him) in a Japanese Betty Bomber! Very Hollywood, and very intriguing. Trouble was, there wasn't a scrap of truth in it! I don't know about you, but I feel our own lives have so much intrigue already in them, who needs Hollywood?!? All the best for now.
Jul 07, 2000 23:43 PDT
The Amelia Earhart controversy rages on.
After Associated Press articles appeared across the USA about my finding our liberators, someone from the Amelia Earhart Society tracked me down. He contacted me again and again and again. He quizzed and he quizzed and he quizzed. I told him I was 12 years old when we were liberated. I most certainly did not know names of all the grown ups in the camp. I knew of no Amelia Earhart. No answer I gave him satisfied him. I felt that he wanted only one answer -- that Amelia Earhart was in Weihsien. I referred him to members of our liberation team. I referred him to grown ups in the camp. I referred him to all the books. As far as I know, he contacted none of them. I finally stopped responding to this man's inquiries.
This man told me that Jim Hannon had released a book about Amelia Earhart last year with Pacific American Books. I asked Jim Hannon about it. (I keep in regular touch with each member of the rescue team.) Gin Hannon (Jim's wife) told me she wished it were true. The book has not yet been released.
I believe they hope to release the book this year, timed with the 55th anniversary of the ending of the war. I believe the title will be: Amelia Earhart, 1945.
When I visited Jim and Gin Hannon in Palm Springs in February , they showed me the planned cover of the Amelia Earhart book in a portfolio of Jim's writing. Jim is a prolific writer.
Several years ago, The Amelia Earhart Society published an interview with one of our liberators -- no real name given -- telling about his finding this woman whom the Japanese kept doped in Weihsien. Jim Hannon was the source of this interview. He said the Japanese kept her under guard and separated from the rest of the prisoners in the camp. She was cared for by a nun, he says. They called her "The Yank." Jim Hannon has not been able to tell me exactly where in the camp "The Yank" was detained.
Jim himself has told me this story.
No other member of the rescue team knows anything about Amelia Earhart in Weihsien. Langdon Gilkey, author of Shantung Compound, says there was no such person. Amelia Earhart is not on any prisoner list I have seen.
After National Public Radio broadcast the story about the liberation of Weihsien on May 11, Gin Hannon wrote to me that they were deluged with dozens of e-mails from the Amelia Earhart Society people. Most of these letters challenged the validity of the facts in the broadcast. I have not been able to find out from Gin Hannon what facts these people challenged. For certain, not one of them was there on August 17, 1945.
I agree with Pamela Masters. Yes, yes, yes. You must read her book, The Mushroom Years. You will not be able to put it down. It's wonderful. You can order it from Pamfirstname.lastname@example.org She discusses the Amelia Earhart controversy extensively in her Author's Note.
Mary Taylor Previte, New Jersey
Dear Mary --
July 8, 2000
So you went through a hounding too! Don't Amelia's fans and followers ever give up? I probably will regret writing this, but I must. My sister Margo knew who the Yank was. She always has. The woman was a very close personal friend of our family who went through a nervous breakdown in the camp. `She contacted Margo as soon as they both hit the States. She was still in dreadful straits, but over a couple of years, with lots of therapy and help from her loving husband and children, she pulled out of it and can now look back without the trauma of those
years grabbing at her guts. They're a beautiful family, and none of them deserves to be hounded at this date. Why, oh why, can't the AE Society, Jim Hannon, and all the others out there stop dishing up this baseless story!?!
Sorry, Hon, didn't mean to get so worked up on this, but it seems so pointless, and almost cruel to those who really cared for Amelia Earhart.
Dec 30, 2000
Thought you had a copy of The Mushroom Years, where dear old Lt. Jim Hannon's story was completely debunked by dear old Maj. Stan Staiger. No, Amelia Earhart was never in Weihsien. The lady Jim refers to was a personal family friend of ours (the American wife of a Brit whom we all lovingly called The Yank) and who suffered a traumatic breakdown in camp. She was flown out of Weihsien along with Lloyd Francke the day after our liberation. Anything else Hannon wants to dream up is just that – a dream. Good news about her: she completely recovered from her ordeal, has a family (both children and grandchildren) and they don't need this tragic episode in her life warmed up and rehashed after 55 years.
Dec. 26, 2000
In California, the Hi-Desert Star filled most of a page in its Living Section, December 2, 2000, with a story about Lt. James Hannon, one of our rescuers. In the story headlined, STRANGER THAN FICTION, Lt. Hannon "claims to have spent over five weeks with Amelia Earlart after she was reported missing."
Let me quote from this article in the Hi-Desert Star: In Weihsien, Lt. Hannon says he was "asked to look after a semi-conscious woman who was being kept in her own room and being given high doses of morphine. 'She was so drugged she couldn't speak.' Hannon determined this woman was Amelia Earhart."
The article pictures the rescuing B-24 bomber dropping relief supplies after the American team parachuted to the fields beyond the barrier walls of the camp.
Dec. 30, 2000
... Thanks for the message about Amelia Earhart I have written in my book which is now out that I was quite satisfied she was never in Weishien simply because the inmates would certainly have known about it but nobody ever mentioned it. Her face was so well known to everybody at the time she could not have been In the camp without being identified.. You have put the matter to rest as far as I am concerned.
November 21, 2001
In California, Jim and Gin Hannon continue working non-stop on their manuscripts. One of Stephen Speilberg's projects interviewed Jim recently about his experience escaping from a German POW camp in Europe during World War II. Jim was captured and imprisoned the year before he was part of the team that liberated Weihsien. Jim's been writing a book about that experience -- hoping that it will turn into a movie. He continues to mention finding Amelia Earhart in the Weihsien Civilian Assembly Center.
April 21, 2002
Has Jim Hannon published his book about Weihsien and Amelia Earhart? For some of you new to our Weihsien Bulletin Board, Jim Hannon is one of the six Americans who liberated Weihsien in August 1945. Several years ago -- using a pseudonym -- he wrote an article in the Amelia Earhart Association Magazine saying that in 1945 he found a woman in Weihsien (identified as "the Yank") whom he believed was Amelia Earhart. He described this woman as heavily sedated by the Japanese and kept in separate quarters. Within the last couple of years he told this same story to a California newspaper which covered almost a full page with his account.
Our other rescuers say the story is bunk.
As far as I know, Jim Hannon has not yet published his book about Weihsien and Amelia Earhart. (A zealot of the Amelia Earhart Association quizzed me mercilessly about this a couple of years ago when he heard that Jim had published the book. Believe me, these Earhart devotees don't give up. I don't know why these people don't ask Jim directly. I did.) Jim has talked to me about it several times both on the telephone and when I visited him and his wife a couple of years ago in Palm Springs, California. Though they showed me plans for illustrating the cover of his Earhart/Weihsien book, he has been secretive about this project. But, then, I find that he keeps most information about himself and his projects close to his chest. He does have a couple of other books in print. He sent me a copy of his novel, THE SAVAGE AMERICAN, and tells me someone is interested in turning this into a movie. You can find his writing listed on AMAZON.COM under the name James Jess Hannon.
Most recently he has been working on a book -- and I think a screen play -- about his own experience in -- and escape from -- a German POW camp in Europe in 1944.
Jim was interviewed a few months ago for Stephen Spielberg's SHOAH project -- capturing the oral history of the Holocaust. Jim told them his own story of being a prisoner of war in Germany. Jim is very hopeful that the connection with the Spielberg organization may open their doors to filming his stories.
Jim and his wife, Gin, work non-stop on his manuscripts as a two-person team. Jim writes by hand on legal pads and Gin types the manuscripts and screen plays for submission to publishers. After Jim was almost killed in an accident several years ago and he became plagued with double vision from that accident, the Hannons retired to the California high desert to concentrate exclusively on his writing. Gin tells me they now have a garage-full of Jim's manuscripts. With Jim in his 80s and both suffering from a variety of health problems, their sense of mortality keeps them writing full time -- racing against the clock.
September 18, 2004
...On another subject, have any of you had a recent round of inquiries -- again -- about Amelia Earhart-in-Weihsien? I have. I don't know what triggers these periodic waves of interest. These Amelia Earhart enthusiasts are inspired by unquenchable interest. They never give up.
November 14, 2004
Speaking of legend or fact --
Weihsien rescuer, Jim Hannon, told me this week that he has completed his manuscript, which he has titled "THE SECRET OF WEIFANG." Long in the works, this is Jim's controversial account of finding in Weihsien a woman whom he says was Amelia Earhart.
When I visited him in 2000, he showed me the manuscript -- then in progress.
Jim did not tell me this week when he plans to release THE SECRET OF WEIFANG. (Weifang is today's name for what we knew as Weihsien.)
go to :
What does "Love to Mother" mean? ....[click here]
October 31, 2005
Jim tells me he has released his latest book, THE SECRET OF WEIFANG. He told me recently that it is a fictionalized account of American aviatrix Amelia Earhart's being interned in Weihsien. Jim is very hopeful that a movie will be made of this book.
November 26, 2005
At age 86, Jim Hannon and his wife, Gin, work non-stop on writing Jim's books and seeking to advance them towards movies. His current book is about Weihsien -- a fictionalized account, Jim says, about Amelia Earhart being held in Weihsien. He told me yesterday that his publisher wants him to add more of the social interaction in the camp.
From Ron Bright,
January 12, 2010
I just recently ran into your web site and find this opportunity to address the surviving Weihsein internees. I hope this is the right format.
I am a long time Amelia Earhart reseacher. Years ago I started to investigate the claim made by former OSS Lt, James Hannon, made circa 1987, that he believed a woman at the Weishein camp was in fact Amelia Earhart. She was comatose, emaciated, and held in a part of the Japanese side of the Assembly camp for years and attended to by a nun. Prior to the OSS team liberating the Camp in Aug 1945, a Japanese plane arrived outside and she was taken away, reportedly to Japan. Some researchers claim that Earhart was rehabilitated and eventually returned to the US and lived under a dilfferent name in New Jersey.
During the past few years. I have corresponded with Desmond Powers, Dr Nordo, Mary Previte, Pamela Masters and several other internees as well as interviewing some of the OSS team, Jim Moore, for one. Pamela Masters in her book "The Mushroom Years" addresses this claim. None of the above believed that Earhart was ever present at the Camp.
Yet even today, some of the Earhart researchers believe that Hannon, who came forward in 1987, believe that Earhart was hidden there and may have been known as the "Yank". Hannon based his belief on a telegram that George Putnam received in Sept 1945, unsigned. but indicated that the camp was "liberated with volumes to follow," and say "love to mother". Hannon believed that was a message sent via the State Dept from Amelia.
I have read several books, the "Duck Report" but can not find any confirmation that Earhart was interned at Weihsein. Major Steiger in charge of the liberators says he knew nothing of any unknown female and that was not his mission.
Thus in trying to close this chapter, I am soliciting any input concerning the woman held in the Japanese quarters or anyone having any knowledge that Earhart was held there. In view of the significance of this alleged imprisonment, I think it is worth pursuing.
From Ron Bright,
I will go thru my investigation again, but as I recall the possible arrival of "
Amelia Earhart" was late 1943 or so. Since noone knew exactly who Hannon was referring to, it is impossible, I think, to put a date on any arrival.
"The Yank" may have been who Hannon mistakely thought was AE. Her arrival can be determined.
Supposedly Earhart was in Japan from 1937 until her "transfer" to Weishein for some kind of security's sake. I haven't found any evidence she was in Japan. (Recall she disappeared somewhere near Howland Is on 2 July 37, Many theories range from crash and sank to her survival at Saipan, then Japan)
The internee that wrote the famous Love to Mother telegram to Putnam , after an extensive 2 year investigation , was most likely Amed Kamal. Many recall him at the Camp. (he is deceased).
Mary Previte has interviewed Hannon in person.
I questioned Father Hanquet on that subject. A young Catholic Missionary in his early thirties at the time of our imprisonnement. He was part of a group of very well informed persons such as Father de Jaegher and his answer was quite categorical.
"If an American -- whoever he or she might be -- was detained in the Japanese part of the camp we would have known it. No such thing ever happened!"
--- we never talked about the Amelia Earhart subject again.
I talked to Major Stanley Staiger, Jim Moore, Tad Nagaki, and Jim Hannon face to face. Staiger, Moore, and Nagaki were adamant: they knew nothing of Amelia Earhart or "the yank" in Weihsien. They told me -- repeatedly -- they did not believe Jim Hannon's story.
In the many times I talked to Hannon, I never challenged his stories. I listened. When I first visited him and his wife in Palm Springs, California, he showed me portions of a manuscript and artwork for the book he was writing about his story of finding Amelia Earhart in Weihsien. He told me that a brief news article about the Putnam telegram -- I believe in the 1980s -- stimulated his memory. As, I believe, Pamela knows, Jim Hannon was enfuriated by Pamela's comments in her book, The Mushroom Years, challenging his story. In later years Hannon told me he had revised the manuscript to make his Earhart story into fiction. He released the book as fiction -- The Secret of Weifang.
From Ron Bridge,
I had long exchanges with the late James Hannon in writing and on the phone and have no idea where this suggestion came from he could not tell me the source of what he was investigation, it had " just kind of happened". She is not listed in any of the numerous list of inmates that I hold, sadly the Swiss US records had been destroyed when I started on the historical analysis but I have a copy of the Swiss Consular British records which include next of kin date of birth, passport details, Etc. Hannon's idea was that she was one of three women with mental health problems who were living in a block behind the Japanese HQ block( Blocvk 45 or 46) I think that if she had been there Langdon Gilkey would have mentioned it in "Shangtung Compound." After all that was written 1964/5 from his notes taken in Weihsien.
In answer to Dwight Whipple there were odd people drifting in and out throughout the latter stages of 1943. The main move out was the RC Priests and Nuns on the 15 and 17 August 1943 the Gripsholm evacuees in the first ten days of September 1943 whilst the Chefoo School moved in early Sept 1943. In 1944 the only movements other than the escape were medical cases going for treatment generally to Tsingtao but occasionally Peking.
For those that do not know me I have accumulated a database of over 100,000 names and it includes all British Civilians and nearly all US civilians. I also have all the British military but not the Dutch and not all US military RGds
From Mary, January 2010
I am interested in Ron Bridge's report of what building Jim Hannon told him where Amelia Earhart was kept.
In my meeting with Jim Hannon and his wife in Palm Springs, I asked Jim if he could tell me exactly where Amelia Earhart stayed. He couldn't remember where it was. That seems strange. Hannon parachuted in with the team on August 17, 1945, and stayed until all internees were evacuated well into the fall.
Major Stanley Staiger had both a strong will and a gripping personality -- who fought off a strong challenge when head of a failed OSS rescue mission on August 17, 1945, flew in to Weihsien and tried to take charge of the show there in order to save his own face. (Incidentally, Tad Nagaki says that that interloper should have been court martialed for dereliction of duty.) I simply cannot imagine that a leader like Major Staiger would not have found out about Amelia Earhart being confined in secret at Weihsien if indeed she were there.
Ron Bright, yes, I remember getting phone calls from several members of the Amelia Earhart Association.
From Ron Bright, January 2010
I have files and files of the Weishein claim, but I have not made any report. I did make a report on my investigation into the "Love to Mother" telegram from Weishein, that appears in the Tighar.org group. The fellow was Kamal who was a friend of George Putnams in Los Angeles and had asked Putnam to look after his aging mother.
I never talked with Hannon, so I have no idea where he thought Earhart was. In one newspaper account, [Hi Desert Star, Yucca Valley, Cal] Hannon claims he was hurt during the parachute drop and he was asked (?) to look after a semi conscious woman in her own room where she was being given morphine by the Japanese warden. He claims that for almost six weeks he was with her twice a day. ( seems someone from the Camp would know where a very sick lady was located and that someone would follow Hannons day to day activities)
He claimed that a "mysterious message" was radioed into the camp that one prisoner out of the 1500 was going to be evacuated differently. While he was away, he said, a supposed American Col arrived in a Japanese Betty Bomber and took out the woman he thought was Earhart. She disappeared.
Of course this account lacks details. I think from other sources Hannon claimed that the woman was held in the Japanese quarters where she was attended to by a sister "Mary Ann", and thus noone in the camp would know.
It is an interesting story but I doubt if there is any public interest now.
January 26, 2010
... By the way, when I took Tad out for Saturday breakfast, I asked him again about the Jim Hannon story of "the yank" or Amelia Earhart in Weihsien. As many times as I've asked him, Tad had never wavered in his response: He knows nothing about such a thing and he cannot imagine any unusual happening like that would have escaped the attention of Major Staiger in a camp under Staiger's jurisdiction. He doesn't believe any such thing happened.