In her 2011 paperback The Practical Psychic author Noreen Renier is noted as "the first psychic ever to work with the FBI." And in her book titled Médium : Enquetrice pour le FBI author Noreen Renier is falsely identified right on the book cover (translated from the French edition) as an "investigator for the FBI."
But the FBI seal shown on the book cover has been used without authorization and author Noreen Renier only stood before an informal FBI Training Academy group for a few minutes --- never as an employee. And that invitation came from FBI Special Agent Robert Ressler, a man who apparently believed in supernatural paranormal powers. Mr. Ressler died in May, 2013, and was born the same year as Noreen Renier, in 1937.
As early as 1980 Robert Ressler was supporting the merits of a young and attractive 1970's stage actress and recent divorcee who was claiming remarkable paranormal talents. Her name was Noreen Renier. (She's in the black and white photo on the desk in the photo to the left. That photo was taken at the time she met Robert Ressler.)
As a resident in a nearby Virginia city near the FBI Training Academy, Agent Ressler asked the young Noreen Renier to speak for a few minutes at an informal FBI function in 1981 as his guest.
Three years later, in early February 1984 --- just days after the airplane crash in Massachusetts --- Noreen Renier would according to her own statement, be "sanctioned" by Robert Ressler to help the divorced wife of an FBI agent find four missing persons aboard a missing plane using her paranormal powers. One of those passengers was her brother Arthur Herbert.
Ressler's paranormal interests coupled with his strong personal ties with Noreen Renier --- including his personal recommendations to use Renier's paranormal abilities alongside local and regional missing person law enforcement investigators throughout the U.S. --- helped rapidly propel Noreen Renier's conversion from a stage actress and nighclub entertainer to a full-time "superpsychic" medium detective. And the letters F. B. I. acted like jet fuel. Noreen Renier exploded on the scene and across the media as a new 'police psychic detective'.
During her court testimony in 1985 Noreen Renier admitted she had multiple supernatural entities within her. These she claimed enhanced her ability to communicate with the dead and obtain new clues as many victims knew who killed them.
Her entities act as pathways to the dead "in ways I don't understand" and interact with the deceased among past lives and past acquaintances.
One of her paranormal entities she describes as having "a gruff no-nonsense personality" and is apparently both a current and strong former life presence. During court testimony Noreen Renier appeared to slip and mentioned his name as Robert with no last name. Coincidence?
Other than her attorney in the court room, Renier's leading male defender offering testimony before the jury was, not surprisingly, Robert Ressler.
As of early 2022 FBI agent Robert Ressler's highly supportive quotes from decades ago still decorate Mrs. Renier's web site. In the late 1980's according to one Virginia Sheriff "Ressler discussed opening investigative options" by encouraging the use of Renier and "privately pushed" some "off the charts" paranormal investigative methods.
And for Robert Ressler that included repeatedly helping connect local law enforcement personnel directly with Noreen Renier and her claims to communicate with the dead and missing persons.
Now 38 years later it's critical to recognize that it was FBI agent Robert Ressler who was a key public supporter that Renier "found" the crashed plane. Yet he was never part of the case, nor the investigations. But apparently had a close relationship with Renier from the early 1980's and until his death in 2013.
But even Noreen Renier herself has furthered extended her FBI links and testified in one court that she was paid directly by an FBI officer for her investigative work, though FBI officials --- including Ressler--- deny she has ever been an FBI investigator.
In the case of the plane crash outlined by TV psychic Noreen Renier in her biography A Mind For Murder, she visioned bodies in the wrong places, the carrying of bodies actually sealed within the crashed aircraft, surroundings at the crash site which never existed, survivors who actually died immediately, and the stumbling over of bodies that never happened.
Noreen Renier has repeatedly claimed that she speaks "under the auspices of the Rhine Research Center" and in 2010 cited the Rhine Research Center to her bankruptcy court as one of her employers. Yet the RRC apparently hasn't sought to publicly correct or acknowledge exaggerations in a host of psychic claims made by Noreen Renier, including her claims about the air crash events.
Amidst 2006 federal court questioning about her credibility and claims, Noreen Renier posted on her personal website a 1990 statement from Rod Englert of Forensic Consultants. It reads in part, "In a lot of the cases new information comes forth as a result of Noreen's consultation. She has established a formidable track record for honesty and professionalism."
Rod Englert in 1990 called himself a "qualified court expert" and had actually backed a female psychic who testified four years earlier in a court that she often spoke to the dead and in one case stopped toilets from overflowing due to hauntings. Not surprisingly that psychic he backed ---who convinced a jury she was a authentic medium taking with ghosts over-flowing toilets---was Noreen Renier. Apparently Noreen Renier is talented at finding courtroom backers who are both highly naive and can fall for her paranormal deceptions.
Likewise, in June 2006, William Roll who was an Advisory Board Member of the Rhine Research Center stated "Noreen has now written a remarkable book, A Mind for Murder, about her work for the police and the FBI. I haven’t had much success myself in getting experimental evidence for this ability, but I've done the next best thing by writing reviews of the major work, including Noreen’s book."
Apparently none of these paranormal believers and court room testifiers ever really made an effort to question the dozens of conflicts in Noreen Renier's testimony or media claims. They fell for it hook, line, and sinker --- and still to this day push Renier as authentic. In 2006 after a U.S. federal court ruled against Noreen Renier in a lawsuit brought by critic John Merrell, he was asked why it had taken him 20 years to disclose her bogus airplane claims.
Why in particular had Merrell not unmasked her deceptions about the airplane crash in 1986 before the six jury members in Oregon who found him guilty of libel?
"Because she avoided providing the facts before the trial that led me to many of the key players. She clearly didn't want the facts to be investigated before the trial. And for 14 years after 1992 I was under a settlement agreement even as major research personnel remained in a cover-up mode or deep in silence about her fantastic claims."
However the Washington U.S. federal court noted on November 16, 2006 that the 1992 settlement agreement was "unquestionably breached" by Noreen Renier with the publication of her book A Mind for Murder in May 2005. That legal breach by Noreen Renier allowed Merrell an ability after 14 years to explore and investigate once again. And there were more than 20 years of deceptions that would be revealed.
As an example, during a review of the original court deposition taken by Noreen Renier on March 28, 1986 --- two years after the crash but before the courtroom trial --- Merrell's attorney attempted to get some facts about the air crash from Noreen Renier during a deposition.
This included asking Renier to verify where the location was of the crash site, to compare against her psychic claims. To protect himself in the courtroom Merrell was attempting to get additional details about the crash literally hours before the trial from the only source making the claims --- Noreen Renier.
Even in early 1986 --- 24 months after the crash --- Merrell could not find any crash across the United States that matched the claims being made by Mrs. Renier. In 1984 Renier had been hired by Jessica Herbert to find her brother Arthur Herbert, and Mrs. Renier had met and worked with Jessica Herbert closely, for pay. They had even met in Mrs. Renier's home and been linked together by Robert Ressler according to Mrs. Renier. This is a partial exchange from Renier's 1986 court deposition about the Massachusetts crash. Remember the location of the crash --- a crash she claims to have seen "immediately" --- was in Massachusetts!
Question: Mrs. Renier, there was a previous article that appeared in the Ashland [Daily] Tidings and it recalled a time or a vision that you had with respect to a downed airplane?
Question: In Virginia?
Question: Is this the case where a wife called you and her husband was an FBI agent, do I have that correct?
Question: Could you tell me first of all what the woman's name is?
Answer: No, but I could find out for you, I don't have it in my head.
[GNR note: In this testimony just before the trial Mrs. Renier states under oath that the case was in the state of "Virginia" not Massachusetts in answer to the attorney's question. And even while under oath she claimed not to recall Jessica Herbert's name, which would have narrowed down Merrell's search for a specific crash. And Renier never did honor her offer to "find out for you" to the attorney. So in not recalling Jessica Herbert's name --- even while under oath --- we can now see how Noreen Renier played a game. Just two years before Noreen Renier had worked on the case closely with Jessica Herbert. She had taken payment from Jessica Herbert and Jessica had spent the day with Renier in Renier's home. But Renier clearly wasn't going to allow the name of Herbert to be known. Not to John Merrell or his attorney. Yet when writing in her book A Mind for Murder twenty years after these activities, Noreen Renier was able to describe her encounter with Jessica Herbert with astounding specificity. Her memory returned! Noreen Renier writes of her encounter with Jessica Herbert that "She was beautiful --- beauty queen beautiful --- with a perfect oval face and warm, intelligent brown eyes that smiled as she introduced herself. She was expensively dressed in a cream silk blouse and dark slacks, with her jacket draped over her arm. The outfit looked good on her model-thin figure."]
Merrell stated "I can hear Renier's defenders now. They would like to believe Renier was simply attempting to protect her client. That would be dead wrong however. And it certainly would not be appropriate when you are providing testimony under oath. But more importantly even before Noreen Renier took her deposition she had previously spoken to the press about finding the plane. In fact, a local Oregon newspaper had already run the story of Renier's claim to have found the plane. So there is no reason to believe she was attempting to conceal her involvement or keep the matter private. Indeed I believe it's accurate to assume her sudden memory failure was exactly what it appears --- a deceptive game --- with a memory that returns selectively when she wants."
The original text of Renier's testimony in her court deposition by Noreen Renier was transcribed without punctuation. Here, in these following quotations this web site has added commas and dashes for clarity. A typo ("It" was "I") has also been corrected and key words are also shown in italics. Caught in her stated error by Merrell's attorney, Renier's answers below in this exchange add further concerns:
Question: So when you indicated in this particular article [Ashland (Oregon) Daily Tidings], that it occurred in Virginia that would be in error?
Answer: I probably would maintain that I worked on it in Virginia, and it was misrepresented --- it was in Virginia, I worked on it, I referred to where I worked on the case in Virginia.
Question: So when it says, "The dream belongs to professional psychic Noreen Renier, and she used the image to help authorities to locate a lost aircraft in Virginia..."
Question: You would have meant in Massachusetts?
Question: Could you tell me where in Massachusetts that occurred?
Answer: I have no idea.
Question: Don't know if it was close to Boston, close to the New York border, don't have any idea?
Answer: What you have to realize is when people use me they don't give me information, so I never know anything, I just give them information.
[Advanced to follow-up question]
Question: We already know the state's wrong. What kind of assistance did you give the authorities to help them locate the plane?
Answer: I put myself up like a helicopter or a bird and I saw the road, a little gas station that had barking dogs --- It was really dilapidated and [I] gave them that as a point from up in the air --- I told them how they would go up and they would turn, I also gave them longitudes and latitudes, I believe, if I remember correctly, they told me that I gave them the exact miles --- which I don't know if it is miles where they left to where the plane was or what exactly --- There were quite a few clues that they felt were instrumental in finding, she told me that they were instrumental in finding the plane.
But again, there was no "they" or "them". Mrs. Renier testified that she only passed information directly to Jessica Herbert.
And why is it difficult to believe that psychic Noreen Renier wouldn't know where Gardner was within Massachusetts? Perhaps because she was born just 32 miles from the Gardner crash site (in Turners Falls Massachusetts) and lived near the crash site and at the time of the crash still had relatives in the immediate crash search area --- all items she never admitted in court or during media interviews!
Yet a very confusing trail back to reality was being established by Renier. And Renier was about to set an incredible whopper.
First however Noreen Renier added confusion when she passed on Virginia rather than Massachusetts to a newspaper reporter in Oregon as the site of the missing plane. And even after to admitting it was Massachusetts in her deposition, during a follow-up question Renier was vague, responding, "I believe it was Massachusetts."
And just a few months earlier, prior to Renier filing her lawsuit against Merrell, Renier told Merrell that the plane was in Virginia, Massachusetts, or New York.
Later she claimed she saw the crash site in New Hampshire. Renier's vast efforts to confuse and never identify Jessica Herbert or where the case are had increasingly tied up Merrell amidst Renier's litigation rather than investigating Noreen Renier's ever changing claims and exaggerations. And that's what Noreen Renier emphasized to the jury. It was Merrell she claimed who was confused about the location and events, not herself. And the six member jury agreed and awarded $25,000 to Renier from the $275,000 libel amount she had sought. But it did not end with Merrell paying off Renier, as she used her jury award --- which barely covered her legal costs --- as a media campaign to showcase "that truth was my ally" and she was a super psychic."
On July 16, 1990 --- four years after the jury found in favor of Noreen Renier --- Renier was a guest on the Joan Rivers Show. Dramatically, she recounted once again her work in finding the plane. In front of a national television audience, she stated, "When they found the plane the two people in the front --- their necks were broken --- [and] her brother had carried a headless woman and sat this headless woman against a tree and walked several yards away."
"I was absolutely stunned," Merrell reports. "I had lost a lawsuit to Renier and yet she announced before another national audience that the young woman [Carolyn Porter] was headless and was removed from the plane by Arthur Herbert and set against a tree. What was the purpose of announcing this fantasy on national television other than for shock value? Clearly there was no sensitivity to the relatives involved to portray any truth about what actually happened. Now Renier indicated that when they found Arthur Herbert he had walked several yards away and had a broken leg. Even after Noreen Renier heard in the courtroom that the medical examiner had said all four passengers died on impact she now claimed Arthur Herbert carried a headless girl across ice and snow just to set her against a tree! Renier's bizarre fantasy just kept evolving --- but always as an attention-getter with ever wider audiences who didn't know the truth. Not once did she mention the radar tracking, the eye witnesses, the police on site or that the plane had been found by people who didn't even [until 2006] know she existed."
More than a million TV viewers watched psychic Noreen Renier as she sat next to Joan Rivers in 1990. From convincing six jury members in 1986 Noreen Renier had skyrocketed to national stardom by 1990.
Jessica Herbert, having never spoken with Merrell, and after testifying on Renier's behalf, stated Renier "really came through" during a difficult period. Apparently she believed (at least in 1986) that her brother lifted a young woman from the airplane in his last moments of life and carried her outside the plane. From the court transcript a statement referenced to Jessica Herbert states "Everybody told me, and Ms. Renier told me, that my brother carried a woman away from the plane who still survived the plane crash, and then walked a few steps and collapsed and died."
Merrell asks, "How could a headless woman have survived? Nothing made sense. The fantasy was becoming so warped it simply had no reality."
But Renier was raising her rates significantly and beginning to bask in an international spotlight.
And on page 189 of her book Renier writes, "I saw the young man lifting something with great effort and carrying it out of the mangled plane. After a few steps he placed it gently on some dark, flat rocks, under a tree."
But Carolyn's body was found inside the fuselage, not on dark, flat rocks under a tree. And Arthur Herbert lifted nothing from the mangled plane nor did he walk a few steps and place anyone or anything on rocks. Readers were fed a fantasy. It never existed. It never took place.
Equally disturbing is that among the 27 pages of testimony Jessica Herbert provided, not once does she mention the names of Carl or Cheryl Wilber, the people who actually found the plane and her brother's body. And as these truths have unfolded Jessica Herbert has sat in Salem Massachusetts in silence, never offering an explanation for why she continued to support a lie. Even as she has watched Merrell twist in the wind due in part to her own testimony.
If Jessica Herbert ever believed that members of the Civil Air Patrol found the plane based on information she herself provided them, she is highly naive. There were no search teams hunting that morning near the crash site. Nor did her brother Arthur ever carry an injured survivor in his last minutes of his life. In hiring Noreen Renier to find the plane, Jessica Herbert instead purchased a fantasy that she in turn re-conveyed to the Oregon jury as fact. While she may not have realized what she was doing, her testimony supported a fantasy the jury apparently took as the truth. According to Merrell two of the six jury members teared up when the heard Arthur Herbert had carried a dying Carolyn Porter in his arms before dying.
Twenty years after the crash a Noreen Renier supporter, the late Professor Robert Van de Castle of the University of Virginia noted, "The author, Noreen Renier. . . won libel damages in court from a critical skeptic [Merrell] who publicly said she was making fraudulent claims. This book [A Mind for Murder] was riveting in the way it held my attention as she traces out how each challenging case unfolded."
Professor R.L. Van de Castle who died in 2014 may have, like the Oregon jury and millions of television viewers, been easily overcome with beliefs rather than examining whether the "challenging" cases were actually portrayed accurately. It's so much easier to ignore the facts and believe in exciting tales --- even though they are delusionary and fiction.
On the morning of their final day of searching the weather had cleared and Cheryl Wilber recalls her father saying that it's terrible that no one was still searching for the plane. Troubled with that thought, they decided to try again on their own. It took approximately 40 minutes after they left a side road to find the crash site.
Once they left the plane it took them approximately another 30 minutes to get back to the side road where they had parked their car --- an area where the snow was less deep as it had partially melted after a 26-34 centimeter snowfall (12-14 inches) the week before. From the time they left their home until the time they found the plane the area was silent and they saw no other search teams. "It was over," recalls Carl. "Folks were tired and cold. The search teams had gone home."
In 2022 after 38 years Noreen Renier still portrays herself before millions as being active on site and critically aiding search parties and local authorities. Yet on February 11, 1984 the Gardner News shows a photograph of Carl Wilber directing state police to the crash site. In the article written by Rose Foley which accompanied that photo Carl states "All I kept thinking is what if somebody had survived? Nobody's been in the woods, I know they didn't look. There were no footprints in the woods. I think that's pathetic."
Accompanied by his daughter Cheryl and after about five hours of searching over two days in sub-freezing temperatures they found the plane. But unlike these silent heroes Noreen Renier has spent almost 4 decades taking credit and enlarging both confusion and fantasies.
Carl Wilber gazed down at a copy of A Mind for Murder handed to him by John Merrell in 2006. After reading the pages where Noreen Renier informs readers about the crash site he simply concluded, "I don't think she got anything right." This comes from the man in a black and white photograph taken on the day the search ended in 1984 as he prepared to take police officers to the crash.
TV color videotapes taken years later in a New York City television studio and broadcast to millions also show Noreen Renier boldly taking credit for locating the same plane on the same day. But unlike some exaggerations this one also carried over to a courtroom where Renier's fantasy visions helped defeat John Merrell before a 6-member jury in 1986. However from 2006 to 2012 Merrell turned the tables and won judgments with higher court awards against Noreen Renier across four different U.S. federal courts.
Jessica Herbert testified that Noreen Renier said, "My brother had tried to help her [Carolyn Porter] out of the plane and he was going to go for help. . . . The woman [Carolyn] was lying between two trees, as though she had been placed there. . . . Noreen said [my brother] had survived, the girl had survived . . . and that he had taken her out of the plane, set her in a safe place and gone for help. Also [Renier] described how he had tried to get down the side of the big hill and sat down because of a broken leg." That testimony by Jessica Herbert helped Renier defeat Merrell in the small county courtroom in Oregon in 1986.
But Carl and Cheryl Wilber found no hill around the plane site. The swamp-like area is perfectly flat for thousands of feet in all directions. Not just hundreds of feet, but thousands.
Yet Renier writes, "Reaching into the unknown . . . I was on the side of a hill." Apparently Renier created the elements of the terrain from her imagination, having no firsthand facts to go on. And Renier's principal source of information --- Jessica Herbert --- did not visit the actual crash site.
Noreen Renier was interviewed for an article written by Karen Mahabir and published by the North Jersey Media Group on February 10, 2004 --- amazingly the interview was exactly 20 years to the day after the plane was found. In describing her general psychic work she stated, "There are a lot of frauds, a lot of charlatans . . . who know all the right things to say. . . . You have to get so many details right, you have to be exact."
And yet it is police psychic Noreen Renier who stated, "Everything I've said is true" and "The woman's brother had walked several feet and died, but they found everything that I described."
And in the Court TV Online transcript [later called truTV] Renier stated, "I even found a missing airplane for an FBI agent's wife a long time ago. . . .I don't think I could be working with the police for 20 years and have as many successes if I was a fraud. Frauds and charlatans exist in many professions but they seem to flourish in mine because of the average individual's innocence/ignorance about the phenomena."
Cheryl Wilber said in June 2006, "It makes me feel terrible that somebody took advantage of the situation and nobody even bothered to call us. She [Renier] could have at least checked the story. . . . She made up a lot of stuff."
Merrell notes, "Imagine attempting to find the truth from a person like Renier even when she is under oath. It's amazingly difficult to track her comments. Virtually the only specifics that come out are limited to fantasy visions one stumbles over like her stories of dogs and gasoline stations. Yet before network television cameras and in her book Renier it makes it appear she is very specific --- right down to the shape of rocks on the ground."
Apparently over the last 40 years during Noreen Renier's psychic "download sessions" with some law enforcement personnel those meetings have been extremely informal compared with traditional murder inquiry interviews. Renier has been shown on video recordings "making contact" with the missing dead while consuming wine, and admits to at least once drinking straight Scotch while being questioned by police --- in a police station! Glenn Weatherholtz, Sheriff of Rockingham County and City of Harrisburg, Virginia (U.S.A.) stated "She wasn’t psychic alongside police. She was sauced.”
But what about the information exchanged back and forth between Noreen Renier and FBI special agent Robert Ressler? Renier notes that the recommendation to use her on the air crash case was "validated by special agent Robert Ressler." In March 2015 the opening page on Noreen Renier's web site boldly includes a quotation from Ressler, " ...She helped to locate a plane containing the body of a relative of an FBI agent."
But the same Robert Ressler, when contacted by Merrell in 1985 --- just months before court depositions were taken --- passed along erroneous information. In Ressler's testimony (taken in September 1986) he stated, "...I believed it was in Maryland and Merrell indicated that is was in Massachusetts but I thought it was Maryland." So shortly before the trial Ressler was indicating what little information Merrell had about Massachusetts was for the wrong state. Why did Ressler believe it was Maryland?
So it is interesting that the two key people --- psychic Noreen Renier and FBI agent Robert Ressler --- who now 38 years later are shown on various web sites as supporting Renier finding the lost plane, actually testified to the crash location with "I have no idea" (Renier) and "Maryland" (Ressler). Mates in a maze? Both are among the highest proponents found on the internet who have spoken with the media about using police psychics with law enforcement agencies over the past 40 years. And Robert Ressler was the man behind providing Noreen's name to dozens of law enforcement personnel before his death in 2013.
Merrell notes, "It is quite evident that FBI officer Robert Ressler was a flat out, full-fledged supporter of Noreen Renier and her police psychic claims. But his first hand knowledge about this air crash case is both flat-out dismal and smells odd. He certainly reached a point of zero credibility by failing to clarify his statements as they appear on Renier's web site and in other media. One must wonder whether Robert Ressler later came to realize that law enforcement agencies that he matched up with Noreen Renier by 2010 questioned his psychic power characterization of Noreen Renier as 'the best.'"
A local newspaper article by John Monahan published just days after the air crash stated, "Cricket Frost, 40, of Keene, provided the most detailed explanation so far about the suspected crash of a plane that matched the description of the rented Piper Cherokee Arrow. She and a Winchendon pilot, Ronald Richard, had reported to local and state police that night (January 28, 1984) that they saw a Cherokee Arrow fly over the runway at the Gardner airport at about 60 feet. The plane, she said, banked west about 15 degrees at the end of the runway, and within a minute, at about 7:10 p.m. they heard a loud crash and explosion. She said she heard the engine running steadily right up until the moment they heard the explosion. Then there was silence, she said."
In early June 2008 Cricket Frost (now known as Cricket Johnson) who once worked for the Department of Corrections agreed to add some additional new information for Noreen Renier's critic John Merrell. At that time she had worked for the Health and Human Services in New Hampshire for over a decade.
She stated that "Beside myself and Ron [Richard] no one else was at the Gardner airport that evening." And she confirms that the search towards the crash site later taken by Carl and Cheryl Wilbur --- about 2700 feet from the runway --- was one based on directions that she herself had originally provided to police more than a week prior to the plane being found.
Unfortunately when she and Ron Richards first went looking for the plane they did not find it. "I had two of my three sons with me but we were about half a mile too far north of the crash site. There were no other people searching in our area and no prints other than our footprints where we searched. The search teams never searched in our area since they were searching in another area further away where Ron (the pilot at the airport that evening) indicated the plane was heading when it crashed. Ron had gone back to tying his plane down and did not see the 180 degree turn the plane made seconds before it crashed."
However the facts are that Cricket Frost provided the virtual dead-on directions to the crash site at the time of the crash more than a week before Noreen Renier became involved and without ever speaking to Noreen Renier.
[In fact she never heard of Noreen Renier before December 2007!]
Thus she didn't use Renier's wild fantasy visions of letters, quick sand, numbers, rocks, hunting dogs, hills, mountains, an abandoned Texaco station, big gorges, and or an old lady with no teeth to narrow down the crash site location.
Instead she used authentic facts and observations. And she --- not Noreen Renier --- actually gave information directly to police officials and was on site and involved in searching herself.
Because she was at the airport that evening the events had a major impact on her life and are "the worst thing ever experienced" in her life. In early 2007 she was able to provide almost 2 dozen newspaper articles she saved about the crash and many of those she provided for display to this web site.
Interviewed by Merrell she feels the Gardner crash never got real a completely thorough and open investigation.
"My hair stood up and I knew something wasn't right when things came out about the crash. Not everything made it into the record and people got sick of us [Ron Richards and herself] calling."
Cricket Johnson remembers talking to radio talk show host John Glick at WBZ in Boston just shortly after the crash and also helping search for the plane. "We were very credible witnesses yet we had to call the FAA rather than the local police or state police themselves contacting the FAA and forwarding our report. We never had any dealings with the state police or FBI personnel. We never heard anything from them."
In late July 2007 a federal judge in near-by Boston highlighted a cozy relationship that Boston mobsters enjoyed with FBI agents. Judge Nancy Gertner noted that FBI agents were trying to protect informants when they encouraged a witness to lie, and thereafter withheld evidence proving four men were innocent. That kept four men in prison for decades for a murder they did not commit.
Judge Nancy Gertner ordered the government to pay nearly $102 million in part due to the severe misconduct by FBI agents Dennis Condon and H. Paul Rico, including the withholding of evidence in the murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan.
Now we know at the same time the FBI was funneling false information to the Massachusetts governor’s office and withholding evidence, an FBI agent was tossing out Noreen Renier as a means to locate a missing plane in Massachusetts with drugs aboard. Interesting?
And what is the conclusion from this actual witness who was at the airport and actually heard the crash?
"There is no way she [Noreen Renier] had anything to do with finding the plane. . . there is no way she could have. I don't think about the crash every day but when I do I know from the bottom of my heart that what came out was not the entire story. There wasn't real openness and honesty, it was like a murky cloud covering everything."
Was it a murky cloud partially because some of those involved were more interested in keeping a lid on factual realities while helping to promote psychic nonsense for the media?
Interestingly Jessica Herbert completely ignored in her own testimony that Cricket Frost and Ron Richard were at the airport that evening. And it was Jessica Herbert's testimony that claims the plane could not land because landing lights were off and the airport closed.
We know that is wrong since the plane turned off the lights that pilot Ronald Richard had actually turned on while at the airport. But Herbert went further. Rather than citing Cricket Frost's correct statements Herbert instead gave the sense that the airport was abandoned and described reports that the persons who heard the crash were "neighbors" in the area and "they also thought it could have been a car crashing" --- though the reports by both Cricket Frost and Ronald Richard are quite specific to a plane and never mention a car.
Jessica Herbert claimed in her testimony that this report of a car crash came from the Civil Air Patrol. But no one surveyed remembers any reports from anyone who cited the sound of a car crash. And remember Carl and Cheryl Wilber are among the closest neighbors to the crash site. They neither heard the sound of the plane crash nor any other kind of crash. If they didn't hear a crash who did? It appears no one.
Fortunately based on the report by Cricket Frost local residents Carl Wilber and his daughter Cheryl decided again to renew their search. With a compass they used Cricket Frost's description (as noted above) to locate the general area on a survey map. Carl Wilber noted, "That was the way we were going when we spotted deer [tracks] on the ground. Cheryl said let's follow the deer tracks! Because [both of us] know they are curious animals!"
So instead of dramatic psychic visions soaring amid the clouds to locate the crashed plane, the real discovery was a natural pathway in the snow. And the deer tracks were a virtual straight line to the plane. Within 40 minutes, Carl and Cheryl Wilber came upon the crash site within the area originally identified by Cricket Frost.
And just as with Cricket Frost, neither Carl and Cheryl Wilber were assisted in any way or had knowledge of Noreen Renier --- though Renier claims to have located and found the plane.
Mr. Dana Vickery, a Gardner Airport Commissioner at the time of the crash, said he "never heard of any psychic taking credit for finding the plane or involved in any way" until Merrell notified him on June 18, 2006. He also agrees that witnesses indicate the plane had its lights off while flying over an unlighted runway. This doesn't match with Jessica Herbert's concept that an innocent plane with an engine problem needed to land. Why would the plane shut down its own lights?
And when a local pilot on the ground (Ronald Richard) saw the plane approaching for a landing and turned on the runway lights --- which the airborne pilot would be capable of doing himself with his on-board transmitter --- someone in the plane turned them back off and then flew away without lights! What reasons are there to attempt to land at a small unmanned airport at night with both the airplane and runway lights off?
In a Court TV Online transcript covering the chat with guest Noreen Renier (almost 20 years after the crash), Noreen Renier stated, "It was a missing airplane that I found. I was in Virginia and the plane disappeared somewhere in Massachusetts. I gave my client the longitude and latitude."
Roxie Cuellar, Merrell's attorney in the Oregon trial, knew the jury was swayed by the testimony of Jessica Herbert and FBI Special Agent Robert Ressler --- testimony skillfully edited by Renier's attorney to have the maximum impact. Indeed between Renier's testimony and the support comments from Jessica Herbert it appeared Merrell was attempting to silence someone with amazing psychic powers.
And the six member jury saw before them the image of Jessica Herbert and her tragic loss of her brother Arthur Herbert. And each jury member could not escape Arthur's heroic death scene as he exited the plane with Caroline Porter in his arms. That scene by Renier still filled the small Oregon county courtroom.
And if Massachusetts realtor Jessica Herbert backed up psychic Noreen Renier how could Merrell be right about Noreen Renier being a fraud?
Attorney Roxie Cuellar --- Merrell's sister --- told the jury that volunteers "went through snow. They went through a swamp. They went through a heavily wooded area to find that plane. And Ms. Renier has the nerve to sit here on the stand and tell you and I that she, while sitting in a comfortable house in Virginia, found that plane."
But the Jessica Herbert and Noreen Renier combo had made their mark. And the two were aided and supported by Robert Ressler and the letters FBI.
Amazingly, on September 16, 1986, after winning the original Oregon lawsuit, Renier told the Orlando Sentinel, "Truth was my ally." The verdict, she said, proved "that I'm real, that psychics do exist, that everything I've said is true."
For more than 30 years, television reporters and newspapers have repeatedly noted that Renier was vindicated by a jury after being libeled by a skeptic (Merrell). The real events in January and February 1984 in Gardner, Massachusetts, became buried. History was rewritten with each appearance by Noreen Renier.
Many TV viewers and radio listeners have gushed on the Internet about Noreen Renier's incredible psychic powers to find a crashed airplane. In the last ten years, the Internet has all but erased any remaining tracks outside of the 1984 newspaper articles and photos.
Renier's attorney in her lawsuit against Merrell in 1986 took almost 30 minutes in his closing arguments to the jury. Attorney Lee Werdell of Medford, Oregon, told the jury, "My client thinks she's a good psychic. That doesn't make her guilty of fraud. . . . Ladies and gentlemen, in some ways this case is almost reminiscent of times long ago gone by in the northeastern part of this country. I don't know why, but it reminds me a little bit of the Salem witch hunt. The defendant has appointed himself the guardian of our public morality as it relates to psychics and psychic phenomena and it is his intent to expose them."
It is interesting that decades after Lee Werdell cited a 'Salem witch hunt' that a principal participant in this psychic portrayal is Jessica Herbert who lived in Salem during and after her original court deposition was taken by Werdell. Was Werdell being a comic with the line? Was he sending a message of his own that the truth was in Massachusetts? In A Mind for Murder Noreen Renier writes, "I must also thank my attorney, Lee Werdell, who tried my libel case against the skeptic brilliantly and saved my reputation. He will always be my hero."
There is one final intriguing note about the crash near the Gardner Municipal Airport that "psychic" Noreen Renier appears to have failed to sense. For the last 38 years, while re-experiencing with the media the "exhilarating feeling" at becoming "the plane" and soaring with a "panoramic view" above Gardner, Noreen Renier has never mentioned the following moment in time.
On September 11, 2001, after flying 50 miles west of Boston, American Airlines flight 11 was hijacked in the sky directly over Gardner, Massachusetts at 8:13 in the morning. Thirty-three minutes later, it slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, beginning a day of horror with an impact on billions of people around the globe.
For America's most prominent police psychic --- one who claims to foresee the future and to communicate with the dead, this is another question that readers must ponder. How could Noreen Renier have missed this overlap when she herself became a plane flying in the pathways of space and time? Born in Massachusetts just miles from the crash site why does Noreen Renier need to create psychic fantasy stories?
And having created a psychic fantasy that has now reached internationally to millions through the media, why does Noreen Renier maintain (and continue to embellish) a fictional scene using the deaths of four people?
Yet the psychic community continues to have faith in Noreen Renier even amid these revelations. In January 2006 psychic Pam Coronado noted on her own web site "Noreen, of Court TV's Psychic Detectives fame, continues to pass clients over to me when she is too busy to read for them herself. I greatly admire her work and I am honored that she has such faith in me. So thank you Noreen and may you continue to shine!"
Beginning in early 2007 researchers and investigators also began to wonder about those two other planes that crashed within the same area and within days of one another. And that uncovered the real major story that Noreen Renier's 'psychic powers' completely missed.