Freaky Friday: Who’s Really Behind the JFK Assassination?
Welcome to Breaking Blue’s newest column, Freaky Friday! My name is Vincentia Thatcher, and every Friday, I’ll be explaining some sort of spooky topic, like conspiracy theories, ghost stories, cold cases, etc. I thought this would be a fun thing to start off during the month of October, so here we are! What better way to kick things off than go in-depth on one of America’s biggest conspiracy theories?? Without further ado, here’s what all happened during the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, and why…
October 29, 2021
The Beginning of the End
It was a brisk morning in late November of 1963; the twenty-second, to be exact. A light rain fell upon the city of Dallas, Texas, but the weather soon cleared to make way for the upcoming parade. The sun was shining and the city was ecstatic; the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, accompanied by his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, would soon be making an appearance in the back row of a motorcade. The governor of Texas and his wife, John and Nellie Connally, rode in the middle row of the vehicle. CIA Agent William Greer and SAIC Roy Kellerman rode in the front, with Greer driving and Kellerman occupying the passenger seat.
Crowds lined the streets excited to see their country’s leader around 12:30 PM. Then, everything went wrong; a smattering of gunfire shook throughout the plaza, and Kennedy was soon slumped over in his seat. Supposedly, three shots were fired from a high-powered rifle belonging to former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot from the sixth story of the Texas Schools Book Depository. According to a report from 1964, the first bullet hit the President in the back of the neck.
The second bullet hit Governor John Connally in the back just below his armpit. It then shot out through his chest, into his arm, shattered his right radius bone into eight pieces, exited through his palm, and finally lodged into his leg. Some retellings say it remained lodged in Connally’s left inner thigh, while others say it exited through his knee while still remaining a fully intact bullet.
The third shot fired hit the President in the back of the head, killing him. After firing the third shot, Lee Harvey Oswald fled from his hiding place, where he soon ran into a police officer. Oswald then whipped out a revolver and shot the officer twice, killing him. Two days later, however, Oswald was shot and killed while in police custody by someone I’ll elaborate more on in a bit. Later on, authorities discovered that Oswald had communist sympathy ties, convincing them that Oswald was the sole perpetrator of this crime. So many things didn’t add up, though.
First of all, the first bullet didn’t hit the President; it was a miss. It missed Kennedy, skidded under the motorcade onto the other side of the street, and hit a man in the cheek. His name was James Tague. Photographic evidence of the skid marks from the first bullet backs this up, but it’s not consistent with the 1964 report. This report didn’t mention a missed shot. According to Tague, he was stuck in traffic heading the opposite way of the parade, not really watching it. He stepped out of his car to watch the motorcade pass and was soon struck in the cheek by shrapnel. If Tague was struck by residue from the first bullet, a miss, it would make more sense if Kennedy was hit with the second shot, but that brings up another issue. With Tague’s testimony, the most logical number for the number of shots fired would be more than three, but the official report sticks with three. Why?
After Tague told his personal testimony, the “magic bullet” theory was formed. It states that the first shot missed the President, the second bullet first hit the President in the neck and then made its complicated path through Governor Collanny, and the third shot was the headshot that killed the President. The reasoning behind only three bullets being used is because of the fact that only three shell casings from Lee Harvey Oswald’s gun were found at the window he shot from. If there were more shots fired, there would’ve had to have been a second shooter, and that really complicates things.
This is where it gets weird; James Tague’s testimony wasn’t the only one that didn’t match reports. In fact, Governor Connally’s testimony matched that of Tague. They both thought that far more than three shots had been fired. Both Connally and his wife were certain that the “magic bullet” that hit him and the President was actually two separate bullets. In his personal testimony, Connally said, “There is my absolute knowledge, and Nellie’s too, that one bullet caused the President’s first wound and that an entirely separate shot struck me.” This would make the most sense, as one bullet traveling along that long of a path wouldn’t remain perfectly intact once it reached its final destination.
One of the main reasons Connally’s testimony seems more logical than official reports is because of the gun Oswald used — a 6.5 mm bolt action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. It is nearly impossible to fire a bolt action rifle a second time in the amount of time between Kennedy getting shot and the Governor getting shot. This sliver of time is long enough for one to know that Connally wasn’t shot immediately after Kennedy, but it isn’t long enough for Oswald to have had time to load another round and fire a second shot.
What all of this means is that there’s no plausible way that Connally and Kennedy were hit with the same bullet, but if they were hit with two separate shots, one of them was NOT from Oswald’s gun. A second shooter would’ve been present on the opposite side of the street.
The idea of a second shooter being present at the crime is actually quite logical. If Oswald fired at least the first and third shots, and the second shooter fired the second one, it lines up with personal testimonies. The first bullet (from Oswald) missed Kennedy but hit Tague, the second bullet (from the other shooter) hit the President in the neck, the third bullet (from Oswald) hit the Governor in the back near the armpit, and another bullet (also from Oswald) hit the President in the back of the head. But these are just testimonies; is there any more proof?
An Unintentional Recording
A man by the name of Abraham Zapruder was filming the parade and ended up capturing live footage of the assassination. It’s widely known as the Zapruder film and is a silent color motion picture sequence recorded with a home video camera. In this film, video proof of a second shooter is present. Puffs of smoke from the opposite side of the street from where Oswald was located can be seen lining up when the second gunshot hits Kennedy.
Fast forward to thirteen years later in 1976. A governmental committee, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, was formed after it was exposed that the CIA was purposefully hiding information about the JFK assassination. They held a first trial in which they discussed what really happened. After this trial ended, a second trial for the CIA directors who allowed the information to go missing took place. Why did these trials even happen in the first place, though?
You can thank modern technology.
In 1976, new technology was found that analyzed the assassination and its data more up close and personal. Using new audio graph equipment, the Committee was able to isolate the Zapruder film audio and heard something new. There were actually six shots fired that day, not three. This information changed everything, but the day after they determined there were more shots and a second shooter, the film mysteriously disappeared overnight from a CIA “lockup.” When asked about this loss, the CIA simply shrugged it off, saying that someone probably stole it. Many people found it suspicious that such important information went missing shortly after that huge discovery.
After all of this, the House Select Committee on Assassinations made their final statement: “In the end, the Committee believes on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.” This is where the conspiracy theories begin.
The CIA Rabbithole
President Kennedy was originally a huge supporter of the CIA, that was until the Bay of Pigs happened. Now that’s a whole other story to tell, but he was incredibly upset after the botched invasion and supposedly said, “If it was up to me, I would take the CIA, break them into a thousand pieces, and throw them into the wind.” The CIA was obviously offended by this and began to take their own directive once they saw that Kennedy did not agree with them. They thought he was going to do something about the CIA, maybe even expose them for what they’ve already done.
Many people think the CIA played a part in Kennedy’s death because he posed a threat to them, and they needed to eliminate that threat. In an interview a few months before his assassination, Kennedy said that, “scary things [were] happening in US politics” and also that there were, “secret societies planning to take over democratic systems.” The CIA had a motive to assassinate the President, but where’s the evidence?
As mentioned above, the CIA supposedly “lost” all the data that proved there was a second shooter the day after it was used in court. It’s a pretty strange coincidence that the very thing that could expose them just… disappeared shortly after it was brought forth. Kennedy’s brain also went missing shortly after the initial autopsy. How does a human brain, the President of the United States’s brain, go missing? Aside from this, the security measures put in place for the parade were laughable at best. It was determined that there were over 20,000 open windows along the parade route that Kennedy’s motorcade drove by, and none of them were covered because there were “too many.”
Remember the agent I mentioned who was driving the motorcade, Agent Greer? As soon as the first shots rang out, his behavior was very odd. He didn’t stop the car, run away, or even drive the car out of harm’s way. He made no effort to save the President. Instead, he slowed the motorcade down to seven miles per hour, and he and SAIC Kellerman hunched over in their seats. After the whole ordeal, JFK’s wife, Jaqueline Kennedy, came out and stated that Agent Greer was acting strange the whole day. Why didn’t he make an effort to save her husband; isn’t that something he would’ve learned in CIA training?
Greer wasn’t the only one who exhibited strange behavior, though. George H. W. Bush was in Dallas at the time of the assassination and was one of the people put in charge of the whole motorcade route. He was also supposed to keep the President safe. Bush obviously failed at this, but he faced no repercussions; in fact, he was later promoted to director of the CIA and later went on to serve as the 41st President of the United States. One more thing: years later, Bush was asked where he was at the time of Kennedy’s assassination, to which he said “I don’t remember.” I’ll let that speak for itself.
The Umbrella Man
Another figure that has become quite prevalent in conspiracy theories is known as the Umbrella Man. In the Zapruder film, a man holding an umbrella up in front of the motorcade can be seen standing directly under the window where Oswald fired from. As JFK’s motorcade passes by the window, the man can be seen lifting the umbrella into the air. Immediately after the umbrella is raised, the first shots ring out. If the raising of the umbrella wasn’t some sort of signal for Oswald to fire, I don’t know what is.
First of all, why would you have an umbrella out in the middle of a parade during a sunny day in Dallas, especially if you’re already standing in the shade? That could just be me thinking out loud, but there’s more to this. After the shooting, there are pictures of the man simply closing the umbrella and calmly sitting down on the curb. He’s cool and collected while everyone around him is freaking out, screaming, and running away. Maybe this is just me, but if I just watched someone get shot in the head and I didn’t have anything to do with it, I’d be pretty spooked and wouldn’t want to just stay where I was. Some think this man could’ve been a former CIA agent who wanted JFK dead, but nothing is for certain.
For many, this man is the final piece of the puzzle that confirms something suspicious happened around JFK’s murder. Jack Ruby was an American nightclub owner that fatally shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald while Oswald was in police custody. He was later found guilty of murdering Oswald and sentenced to death, but his conviction was later repealed. While Ruby died in prison as the date of his new trial was being set, all of his debts were mysteriously paid off.
If the CIA used Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate JFK, he would be the only non-CIA affiliated person to know what really happened that day, right? He would be the only person that could potentially expose the CIA. It’s odd that he was killed two days after the assassination by someone who eventually had all of his debts just… paid off by an anonymous source.
If Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, why did Jack Ruby kill him and then have all of his debts disappear? If another group killed JFK, like the infamous American Mafia, why go to such lengths to cover things up; why not just blame the Mafia? Why was George H. W. Bush promoted to Director of the CIA after he failed to protect JFK? Why were so many security measures lax that day? Why did the enhanced audio file of the Zapruder film go missing after it was proven the CIA was hiding something? Why was everything handled in such a poor manner?
To me, there is not a doubt in my mind that something is off here. I think the CIA definitely had something to do with the death of John F. Kennedy. They have a motive, a method, and there’s so much evidence that proves something shady is going on.
If you’ve read this far, thank you! I’d love to hear other perspectives on this topic, so feel free to leave a comment or two. Please keep in mind that this article was written purely for fun and does not represent the opinions of the entirety of Breaking Blue or MHS Publications.