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Gardner Massachusetts Air Crash

For those wishing to learn more click this link for a 2014 In-Depth Profile of Noreen Renier as it provides listings by segmented categories.

Noreen Renier, TV's unsolved crime and missing person psychic detective testified to intuitive visions of a plane crash. Before a jury she recalled how she located the lost plane and targeted exactly where the survivors were.This posted 2005-2014 exposť follows a lengthy investigation of Noreen Renier's sensational claims behind an incredible unsolved psychic mystery which captivated the world. Noreen Renier's story first appeared in her book A Mind For Murder in 2005 but she's told her story before millions as a TV medium and while presenting herself as an "investigator for the FBI."  Yet what has been called "the best missing person mystery case solved by a psychic detective this century" is in fact an outrageous sham that duped millions of TV, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter viewers, while exaggerating the truth and deceiving a jury.  It began after three planes in 1984 crashed in New England within a 35 mile square area and suddenly actress and self-proclaimed "super psychic" Noreen Renier visioned crash survivors. There were however no survivors, nor did psychic investigator Noreen Renier find even a single airplane. For over 25 years she has actually enhanced her stream of bogus claims surrounding the crashed plane. Six out of six federal judges have ruled against Noreen Renier from 2005 to 2013. The last five of the six all supported a 2010 ruling where Noreen Renier was declared not credible and having misled a federal court. But even they did not know the whole story presented here.

"January 28, 1984.  A small chartered plane carrying four passengers had mysteriously vanished from the sky somewhere over rural Massachusetts or New Hampshire. . . . Reaching into the unknown, I began searching for the airplane.  I saw the downed plane immediately.  In fact, I found myself almost on top of it".

Those wildly fantasized statements come from crime and missing person psychic Noreen Renier in her book, A Mind for Murder.

But here with updates we expose the real truth behind an incredibly deceptive and exaggerated charade which 77 year old Noreen Renier (as of January 16, 2014) spun in a chapter called "The Doomed Flight" --- just part of an extensive series of paranormal fabrications she has promoted for more than three decades in print, television, public lectures, and during testimony.

Among readers who closely follow Noreen Renier's unsolved and missing person cases many previously believed that this aircraft search case best chronicled her acute paranormal sensing.

But an investigation started by Tennessee critic John Merrell beginning in late 2005 revealed psychic Noreen Renier neither found any plane nor conveyed accurate information to a jury or to millions of television viewers about events at the crash site.   The investigation by Merrell was prompted by a legal breach by Noreen Renier which resulted in a Washington federal court judgment against Renier in late 2006, and four subsequent rulings against her across three additional federal courts. One as recently as April 18, 2012.

This overview refutes many statements in A Mind For Murder editions published in 2005 and 2008 referencing John Merrell and/or the case he began investigating as early as 1985.   But the deceptions behind this "best psychic missing person case of the century" began soon after the air crash of January 1984. 

Noreen Renier psychic investigator, FBI

Many followers of Noreen Renier, including Robert Ressler, the former director of the FBI's Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, have cited her assistance in this seemingly spectacular psychic search for missing persons.

In fact, the top of two of Renier's 2010-2013 web site pages are quotes from Robert Ressler stating, "She helped to locate a plane containing the body of a relative of an FBI agent" and "She is the best!"

As noted in A Mind For Murder, FBI Special Agent Ressler assisted in the defense of Noreen Renier in an Oregon courtroom in 1986 when Renier sued skeptic John Merrell for libel.   Merrell's attorney told the jury that Renier's claims of finding the plane herself were untrue.  Renier, however, told the jury that she was "instrumental in helping to find an airplane that had crashed in Massachusetts".

Missing persons aboard the plane Renier was hired to find --- a Piper Cherokee PA-28R-200 plane marked as aircraft N55495 --- were passengers as noted in the National Transportation Safety Board NYC84FA085 Templeton Massachusetts plane crash report:

Carolyn Porter, age 26, who was born November 6, 1957 in Vermont

Robert Brewster, age 37, who was born November 28, 1946 in New York

Charles Principe, age 57, who was born May 18, 1926 in Massachusetts

Arthur Herbert, age 29, who was born January 31, 1954 in Virginia

While Noreen Renier claims she "saw the downed plane immediately" in fact by her own testimony she confirmed that she never picked up the phone and called emergency rescue personnel stationed within 2 miles of the crash.   She never was at the crash scene nor the search center while the crash search was active, nor did she ever directly contact work Massachusetts police and search investigators.

This differs significantly from the portrayal she provides in her book titled A Mind For Murder, and is a central dispute readers of A Mind For Murder should recognize.

Renier notes in her book, A Mind for Murder, that the recommendation to use her as a search psychic in the missing person case was "validated by [FBI] Special Agent Robert Ressler" and "Robert always backed me up, especially in the face of skeptics, and recommended my services to the police".

From 2007 through 2010 Renier included an article on her web site from the Journal, based in Durham, England, and dated July 12, 1997.  She states in that article that her most unusual missing person case came when she was asked to locate a missing airplane that had disappeared without a trace.    "I came out with the longitude and latitude, and the number of miles away it was --- not bad for someone who can't find their way around a grocery store!"

And on July 31, 2005, in an article in the Lynchburg News & Advance, she stated "I've found a wrecked plane a thousand miles away".

Her principal critic --- John Merrell ---decided to review, from top to bottom, Renier's claims surrounding the plane crash near Gardner, Massachusetts.

By surprise, after 22 years, in June 2006 Merrell located two people who knew about the crash.   And these two residents from Massachusetts --- not psychic investigator Noreen Renier of Virginia --- actually found the specific plane Renier was hired to locate.   Amazingly neither of the two people who found the plane ---- Carl Wilber and his daughter Cheryl --- had ever heard of psychic detective Noreen Renier who claims to have searched and found the same plane they actually located!

Mr. Wilber told Merrell after reviewing A Mind for Murder (co-written by Naomi Lucks), that psychic investigator Noreen Renier "doesn't know what she's talking about. . . . I don't think she's got anything right. . . . My daughter and I found the plane ourselves. . . . We never heard of her. . . . She's lying".   A review of local newspaper articles published at the time of the crash shows Carl (much the same as he appears today) and his daughter as the actual finders of the plane.

The missing plane was not found because of any psychic involvement, nor was it found because of any psychic search assistance from Noreen Renier even indirectly.  Nor was the crashed plane lost "a thousand miles away" from Renier or considered by local police to have crashed in New Hampshire.

Detective Lieutenant Gerald J. Poirier, Gardner Police Department

Detective Lieutenant Gerald Poirier, of the Gardner, Massachusetts, Police Department, is the commander of the North Worcester County Drug Task Force and was on duty the evening of the crash.   In June 2006, he assisted Merrell in obtaining police reports and background about the crash and massive search.   After providing Merrell with a tour of the airport and showing him maps and aerial photography of the area, he told Merrell, "We knew for a fact [the crash site] wasn't in New Hampshire".

Lt. Poirier showed Merrell just how narrow the search area around the Gardner airport had become just 24 minutes after the crash.  The airport is actually split between the cities of Templeton and Gardner Massachusetts.   A pilot on the ground (Ronald Richard) phoned in the report of the crash from the airport and --- according to newspapers published the week of the crash --- estimated the direction coordinates of the crash site to within approximately 2000-3500 feet of the Gardner airport.

New Hampshire is more than 10 miles further north of the airport.   As Noreen Renier claims to have re-created the events of this specific crash in her mind as they happened why does she mention New Hampshire?   By the time she was brought into the case (more than a week later), no one thought it was in New Hampshire as witnesses at the Gardner Massachusetts airport reported the crash.   Amazingly they actually heard the plane crash approximately 30 seconds after passing 60' over the airport runway!  So why is she confused about the state?  Indeed she claimed in testimony she knew the terrain underneath as the plane flew and saw the crash site "immediately."  

The telephone call from Ronald Richard, who sighted the plane and heard the crash (along with companion Cricket Frost), was placed to the Gardner Police Department at 7:32 p.m. on January 28, 1984.   That call to police came just 19 minutes after the plane was officially lost by radar.  The exact time of the crash was able to be matched when Air Force officials received results of a Federal Aviation Administration review of area radar records, "which indicated an aircraft disappeared from radar contact near the [Gardner] airport at about 7:13 p.m." 

Ronald Richard's phone call is listed on the January 28, 1984, Gardner Police blotter at 7:32 p.m. and includes the words "plane crash in woods south of Gardner airport."

David Gillis ArticleNone of this very specific information of time, location, police involvement, eyewitnesses, or radar tracking is mentioned in A Mind for Murder.  Instead, Renier describes the plane as having "mysteriously vanished from the sky" and builds a premise for an unsolved missing person case in desperate need of what she calls her "super psychic" talents.

From the time of the crash through the next 800 hours (the plane was found approximately 275 hours after the crash), there is no evidence that Renier ever reported anything relating to the crash directly to FAA officials at the search scene, nor to any of the five Gardner Airport Commissioners, nor to the local search and rescue coordinator.   Renier is not mentioned in any daily logs by the Gardner Police Department or the nearby Templeton Police Department.

Noreen Renier provided absolutely no foresight about the location of the crash to prevent more than 65 Civil Air Patrol members from searching more than 6,650 square miles.   Amazingly --- for someone who claims psychic missing person sensitivity --- she never told a single police officer or Civil Air Patrol authority that the crash was less than the length of the runaway away from the Gardner Airport search center.  In fact her statements more closely match another plane crash in a different state!

Yet Noreen Renier told millions of television viewers that she provided the longitude and latitude of the crash site.  And in A Mind for Murder she writes that "the numbers I had given . . . turned out to be the longitude and latitude of the downed plane". 

In 1986 in her Oregon lawsuit against a psychic critic, Renier's attorney, Lee Werdell, told the jury, "The evidence will indicate that Noreen Renier gave quite a bit of information about where to search; actually some numbers that turned out to be the latitude and longitude of how far it was from a major city. . . . She said it was in a wooded area and a lot of specific things; and described an old woman that had been selling things in kind of a beat-up old house near a Texaco gas station".

Noreen Renier writes in A Mind for Murder, "I saw two sets of numbers.  Breathlessly, I repeated them. . . . I could feel that they were important".

One former Tennessee based critic noted, "It is very common for most people who hear longitude and altitude to assume you say them as two numbers --- like 45 degrees by 30 degrees.    But it's far more complex than providing two numbers.   As an example, the longitude and latitude for the Gardner Municipal Airport located just a half mile from the crash site is N4233.0, W 07201.0.    And the Statue of Liberty is located at latitude 40.6897 and longitude -74.0446.   Unknown to the vast majority of the public, pinpointing a location, even as big as the Statue of Liberty, is far more complicated than just tossing out two numbers".

Yet in a lengthy interview conducted by Florida Magazine and published on May 17, 1992, journalist Charles Fishman quotes exactly how Renier claims to have provided the longitude and latitude.   Renier stated, "I get lost going to the grocery store, but I found a plane once.   I gave them two numbers , it turned out to be the longitude and latitude for it". (Emphasis added.)

If so, she might have pinpointed a site location over Lake Ontario, Canada, or miles off the Atlantic seaboard near Greenland.

But who is the "them" Renier claims in interviews to have given these longitude and latitude numbers to?

Researcher John Merrell smiles and notes this bigger issue.  "Her most notable claim --- one she has repeated for more than 20 years --- is providing the longitude and latitude of the crash site for the missing person search teams.   With hundreds of people involved in a search during sub-freezing temperatures Renier claims to have "immediately" seen where the lost party was.   And according to testimony the woman who hired Renier said Renier told her two of the four missing person passengers survived the crash."

So when this incredible psychic moment hit of the plane's location did Renier instantly reach for the phone?  Did she immediately call the search and rescue team headquartered less than a half-mile away?   Did she phone the local police?  The airport close-by?   Did she immediately call either of the two nearby fire and rescue facilities --- one within just several thousand feet?  

Not surprisingly Noreen Renier she did none of those things.

In fact Renier avoided any urgency and simply passed her visions on through the woman who hired her to find the plane.    A woman who apparently received nothing very specific or critical from Renier, and according to Renier then waited until the following day to discuss it with others.   And even then yet another day would pass before an entirely independent party found the plane.   Whatever the vision Renier had it appears that it was not enough to immediately pass along to authorities.   This is a far different scenario than what she has presented to the media for 20 years.

Even the woman who hired Renier to find the plane (Jessica Herbert) testified that Renier didn't actually provide specific longitude and latitude numbers, but "lots of numbers" that she attempted to somehow relate to a map.  Herbert stated in testimony, "She [Renier], you know, said some of them could be numbers of major highways, or small back roads, whatever, and so I jotted all these down.  Some of them she had feelings were major highways and others she thought might be smaller roads and then she had three other numbers that I've forgotten. . . . And she said 'I don't know what these mean but they definitely have something to do with the location.'"

Noreen Renier in 1982.Before millions of television viewers and readers of Renier's book titled A Mind for Murder the sense is that Renier led authorities directly to the scene of the crash.   Yet under oath during a court deposition Merrell's attorney asked Renier which authorities she gave the crash site information to.   Statements from this deposition have never been publicly referenced in the media before now.   Amazingly Renier responded " ...I didn't give it to anybody, I gave it to her [Jessica Herbert, a realtor, who had hired psychic Noreen Renier to find the plane]."

And when asked if she had "any contact with any of the authorities whatsoever" Renier answers "no".   So the real fact is that Renier never handed anyone anything that was clearly specific longitude and latitude.   Nothing from Renier kept search and rescue members from continuing their efforts across frozen swamps.

So what did she provide?   It appears Noreen Renier created a very elaborate missing person psychic fantasy after first creating fantastic --- but completely untrue --- visions she said before a six-member jury in her 1986 lawsuit against her key critic.

And Renier's longitude and latitude numbers --- if they ever existed at all ---- had nothing to do with finding the plane.   But the 1986 jury was provided with that bold and spectacular deception --- the same deception she has restated before live audiences while being videotaped in 2006 and more recently.

Renier stated, "I led them from the air as if I was an airplane to where they crashed."  But Renier actually only "led them from the air" in her mind.  In fact she was in her Virginia home throughout the missing person search.   A home not 1000 miles, as she earlier stated, but just 463 miles away --- close enough to easily obtain newspaper and media coverage that had run stories for more than a week.

Longitude and latitude numbers are not the only claim Renier is famous for.   Renier writes in her book with co-author Naomi Lucks that " . . . Now letters came into my head. . . . H,D, and A. . . . They are significant. . . . They could be initials of towns. . . . They definitely have something to do with the location of the missing airplane."

Gardner Airport looking northeast

In late 2013 Merrell noted, "There are more than 350 towns and cities in Massachusetts.   Why does Noreen Renier only report her awareness of three letters -- not even the full name of a single town?   None of the towns immediately surrounding the crash site match those three letters."  

In 1986 Renier told the Oregon jury, "I saw a dirt road.  And at the bottom of the dirt road was --- it looked like an old, rickety gas station that really wasn't a gas station anymore.  And I saw an old woman and she didn't have any teeth and she sold things in the camper , and then I remember hearing dogs barking.  Oh I hear dogs barking.  There's dogs there . . . up this road and to --- I believe I said it was to the right.   Not all the way up the road, but part way up. . . . She has lots of hunting dogs.    I can hear them. . . . When you reach the gas station, take the road up the mountain.  You don't need to go all the way to the top.   The plane will be found to the right of the road." (Emphasis added.)

And backing up psychic Renier was realtor Jessica Herbert's testimony.   She testified that the woman according to Renier "had been there for many years and she mentioned dogs.  Dogs barking everywhere in the area. . ."

While Renier --- who was never in the search area in 1984 --- states the old woman "sold things in the camper," this conflicts with the testimony of FBI special agent Mark Babyak who said that Noreen had stated that "an old lady sold supplies to campers."   So did the toothless woman sell things in a camper or supplies to campers?

Once again, it doesn't matter.   Whether it's a badly misplaced reality or a wildly creative fantasy, it simply has nothing to do with finding the crashed plane. 

In early February 1984, Carl Wilber and daughter Cheryl found the plane.   Carl and his wife Pat, along with their daughter, have lived near the area of the crash site for many years --- Carl Wilber now in his mid 60's for his entire life.   Carl remembers the area from more than 55 years ago, and even his daughter remembers it for more than 30 years.   They know the area well, as it surrounds their home, and Carl has been an active hunter for more than 40 years in the region --- even 20 years before the crash.   They know of no old rickety gas station, nor any woman who sold things in a camper.   In fact, with so few neighbors nearby in 1985, the Wilbers were quite adamant that there was simply no such woman at all.   Ever.

But most amazing is that for 40 years Carl, Pat and Cheryl have had one principal occupation --- the care of dogs.   They run two businesses which have expanded into the care of multiple pets, but the taking care of dogs is their principal business.

Noreen Renier neither found the plane nor conveyed accurate information to a jury or to millions of televsion viewers.  The Wilbers found the plane.

The Wilbers have taken care of generations of dogs throughout the area --- and can match dogs to owners.   Over dinner with Merrell they ran through everyone in the last 40 years --- not just 23 years --- in the crash area who could possibly have matched the hunting dog owner Renier described.

And Renier's description of that owner is quite specific --- "an old woman who runs the gas station.  She doesn't have any teeth.  She sells a lot of junk."  And Renier's book includes the additional comment, "We learned the toothless old lady had died the year before".

Merrell notes, "That's a lot of information to pinpoint someone in the small community the size of Gardner and Templeton.  But of course Noreen Renier likely assumed no one would ever check up on her claims".

The Wilbers prompted one another about dogs on various streets around the crash site and far beyond.   They considered a variety of dogs and owners --- and not just hunting dogs as described by Renier.  Their conclusion?  A complete fantasy.    Their credibility?  These are the actual people who found the plane as volunteers in sub-freezing temperatures amid ice and snow.

In her 2005 book, Renier wrote that "A dirt road came into focus, and I followed the thin, winding yellow thread down the mountainside. . . . There is an old dirt road near the crash site, and at the bottom of it . . . is an old fashioned house.  The house has been turned into a gas station".  (Emphasis added.)

In her court deposition taken in 1986 Renier claimed it was this "little gas station that had barking dogs" that gave authorities "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."

But the reality is that even Renier testified that she never actually spoke to any authorities.   So her continued use of providing "them" information is apparently a fantasy since she gave no one but Jessica Herbert information.   And that information --- whatever it might have been --- did not result in the plane being found.   And the repeated references to hunting dogs nearby the crash site is untrue.

What about the "dilapidated little gas station" created from a "old fashioned house" that allowed air search teams to spot a reference by the crash site?   Jessica Herbert in her testimony stated that Renier told her about an old woman who "lived in a house but it had been a gas station. . . it had a Texaco sign, rusting out in front of it.  She described a lot of stone fence, foundation. . ."

In May 2006 Noreen Renier was filmed during her Las Vegas presentation before the International Remote Viewing Association.   Her Texaco gas station now became "an old rusty Gulf gas station".

There are several "old fashioned" houses in the crash area --- but none which was ever in the last 30 years a gas station.   And though Renier's attorney also referenced the Texaco to the jury, it has never existed.   There was no Citgo.  No Standard.   No Gulf or Shell.   No 'Flying A' gas station with a basset hound named Axlerod.  Not even the stone fence or foundation of a gas station.   Nothing.   What the jury heard was only Noreen Renier's fantasy repeated again by Herbert and Renier's attorney.

And who, again, is qualified to know the old homes in the area of the crash site?   Again, the Wilbers themselves, whose own home was built in the 1800s.   "She doesn't begin to know what we know," said Carl Wilber of Renier.

Careful investigators have found psychic Noreen Renier repeatedly links herself before the media with the criminology and laws fields even though she has absolutely no professional experience or accredited college degrees. The Noreen Renier psychic detective web site is misleading as are email and Facebook postings surrounding her claims.

And Renier's elaborate media and court room tales about the search and survivors quickly expanded following the 1984 crash.   Millions of TV viewers, book readers and court room participants would be deceived before a massive three-plane, multi-decade psychic missing person charade would be uncovered.   For more, continue with the second segment of four titled "Runway Part 2" below.

Original copyright material © 2006. Commentary By Sherlock, Sherlock artwork and flash image are TM.