In the first two articles in this series, I looked at the reasons why Oswald did and why he did not shoot JFK. For the third and final article, I will examine some of the popular conspiracy theories surrounding the case. A former Los Angeles District Attorney believes over 200 people and more than 40 groups have been accused of involvement in the murder of President Kennedy. While I obviously won’t look at them all, I will examine several of the most commonly proposed theories. This is a very complex topic, and I won’t be able to cover everything, so please leave your own theories and ideas in the comments section.
1 – The Grassy Knoll
If you have even a passing interest in the whole Kennedy Assassination business, then you have unquestionably heard of ‘the Grassy Knoll’ theory. This is the suggestion that the fatal shots actually came from a grassy knoll on the northwest corner of Dealey Plaza. Approximately 40 people claim that they either heard shots from that location, smelled gunpowder or saw smoke.
Is it possible that every single one of them was either lying or mistaken? One of these witnesses is none other than Abraham Zapruder, creator of the legendary Zapruder Film. It’s not as these individuals were ignored as several of them were interviewed by radio or TV stations almost immediately after the shooting. Dozens of more interviews have been carried out by private researchers in the decades after the event.
Photos suggest there were up to 600 people in the area and there are official statements and witness testimony from approximately 200 of them. Incredibly, the Warren Commission only chose witnesses from the official statement and testimony category and ignored the other 400 people.
Three men who were standing on the front steps of the Depository at the time of the shooting claim the shots sounded as if they came from the general direction of the grassy knoll. This is odd since Oswald supposedly shot Kennedy from his sniper’s nest directly above the three men.
Although the Zapruder Film is the most famous video chronicle of the assassination, Orville Nix’s film could hold the answers to many key questions; if only we could find the original footage. It was last seen in 1978, and now his granddaughter is suing the U.S. Government for $10 million. The Nix film was shot from the opposite side of the presidential motorcade to Zapruder’s which means it captures the legendary grassy knoll area. In fact, you can see Zapruder in the movie when you enhance it.
The film was used by the Warren Commission in 1964, but when the House Select Committee on Assassinations ‘borrowed’ it in 1978, the original was never seen again. In a 1966 interview, Nix claimed that when the FBI returned the film, some frames were either ruined or missing. Some people suggest they see shadows of a gunman in the footage or puffs of smoke.
Holes in the Theory
President Kennedy was shot twice; once in the neck and once in the head. Zapruder captured the head shot in Frame 313 of his movie. Until 1975, this part of the film was not released to the public; then President Ford ordered the release (he served on the Warren Commission incidentally).
It is a horrifying image that also appears to show the existence of two gunmen; at least initially. In the frame, the blown-off piece of Kennedy’s head appears to go backward. In essence, it seems as if the first bullet hit Kennedy from behind but the second bullet hit him from the front. However, studies have shown that a nerve can explode when hit by a bullet. When CBS News studied the footage in 1975, it used sophisticated equipment and discovered something interesting. In Frame 312, the President’s head jolted forward slightly and much quicker than when it jolts backward in Frame 313. As a result, it seems likely that the bullet hit him from behind and pushed him forward; then a nerve ending exploded and pushed him backward.
The House of Representatives created a special committee to investigate the assassination in 1976. Using evidence from a Dallas policeman’s radio transmission audiotape (he escorted the motorcade), the House report suggested that four gunshots were fired and one of the shots came from the grassy knoll. However, the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the tape and concluded that some of the sounds were not gunshots. Furthermore, the cop wasn’t in the location claimed in the House report so even if there were extra gunshots, they did not come from the Grassy Knoll. Finally, some of the tape’s sounds occurred up to a minute after the assassination.