Updated: Mar 4, 2021
“What good fortune for governments that people do not think.” - Adolph Hitler
In my book, The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors, I suggested that there is a plethora of double evidence in the case against Lee Harvey Oswald that smacks of frame-up. There were two rifles, two revolvers, two sets of ID, two (or three) wallets, two jackets, two packages to wrap the rifle, two shoe stores, two Oswald's and two separate 201 CIA files, one overt and one covert (Lee Henry and Lee Harvey) on Oswald. A surplus of planted evidence with no chain of custody and much of it coming from anonymous sources. One example is a call to an FBI special agent on November 24, 1963. The anonymous male caller told the agent that a “sack boy” at Wyatt's Supermarket, Plymouth Park Shopping Center in Irving Texas told him that on November 21st, Oswald had his rifle sighted at the Irving Sports Shop. This was the same Sports Shop that, according to employee Dial Ryder, that someone named “Oswald” placed an order to have 3 holes drilled in a rifle he left there. The rifle turned out not to be the one used in the assassination. In addition, Oswald's scope came with the gun and only required two holes to mount its sight. Another example is the anonymous individual who handed the wallet found at the scene of the Tippit killing to DPD officer Croy.
Oswald's rifle was found by DPD on the 6th floor of the TSBD. At first, it was identified as a German Mauser. Suddenly it became an Italian Mannlicher Carcano traceable to Oswald's alias. No prints were found on it by DPD initially. A paraffin test came back negative on Oswald's cheek. A powerful indication that he had not fired a rifle that day. The rifle was sent to the FBI's sophisticated crime lab and still no prints were found. It came back to Dallas. At that point, a palm print was discovered on a portion of the barrel of the rifle hidden by the wood stock.
Lieutenant J. C. Day, the man who claimed he discovered and lifted Oswald's palm print off the barrel of the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, was not properly questioned by the Warren Commission (WC). Years after the WC disbanded, it came to light through an internal WC memo that the Commission was suspicious of the manner in which the palm print was obtained. When Day appeared before the Commission, the questioning to which he was subjected was non-probing and came close to friendly conversation. Later, when the Commission's doubts about the palm print began to surface, chief counsel J. Lee Rankin asked the FBI to secure more information from Lt. Day about the palm print. Day refused to make a sworn statement regarding his handling of the print, and that ended the matter. Lt. Day had the rifle from 1:25 till 11:45 p.m. on November 22 and did not find the palm print. The question is why did the FBI, who had at that point, taken over the investigation, return the rifle to DPD at all??
Later documents were released showing that the Dallas Police found another .38 Smith and Wesson revolver in another paper sack on November 22nd between the TSBD and the Grassy Knoll. More interesting is the fact that the government kept this secret for 30 years.
Why? Was it because the second gun was planted but ended up playing no roll in the incrimination of the patsy? Was the plan to Kill Oswald and plant the revolver on him to give justification for his elimination by police or stage a suicide?
I speculated that two weapons, a Mannlicher Carcano rifle and a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver were traceable to Oswald through his Hidell alias. The best way to frame him for the killing of the President would have been to plant these, or similar weapons, near the crime scene. Planting the rifle at the scene of Kennedy's murder implicated him in the shooting by providing a paper trail leading through Hidell to Oswald. But what about the revolver? Logically, the public would expect our hero not to be stupid enough to imagine that he would get away unchallenged from the scene of the assassination. Of course he would bring his revolver along, in his lunch bag perhaps or in his jacket pocket, and shoot it out (Texas style) with police. Having two traceable weapons is twice as good as having only one.
It may have been part of the plan to kill Oswald at the scene and plant his revolver on the corpse since Oswald didn't take his revolver to work that day. However, this patsy did not cooperate. Instead, Oswald slyly evaded the clutches of his adversaries, and by now possessed by the realization of the danger he was in, fled to his apartment and retrieved the Smith and Wesson that was actually his. That he must have known by now of his expend-ability, became apparent in his behavior. He abandoned a taxi several blocks from its destination. Could he have been expecting a trap? If so, he would need his revolver for protection. This weapon, found on his person when arrested, created a problem. We now have two revolvers. Solution: Keep one a secret.
I decided to see what else I could find out about the second .38 revolver. I discovered that Gary Shaw and Larry Harris had written about it in an unpublished Manuscript entitled, “A Smoking Gun for the Grassy Knoll?” In it they speculated that the revolver was dropped by a blond woman, who may have been one of Ruby's strippers, near the TSBD. They quoted Dallas Deputy Constable, Seymour Weitzman as relating that, “...during the time he was running from the intersection of Main and Houston, he observed a blonde woman, 20-25 years old, drop a lunch sack at a point about half a block west of the TSBD building, but thought nothing of it at the time...”
It seems the actual finding of the sac and revolver occurred on 11/23/63, Patrolman J. Raz brought to the Homicide and Robbery bureau, Dallas PD, a brown paper sack which contained a snubnose .38 caliber Smith & Wesson, SN 893265...had been found near the curb at the corner of Ross and Lamar Streets and was turned in by one Willie Flat.. (several blocks north of TSBD).
Who is Willie Flat? At least he's not another anonymous contributor of evidence against Oswald, and there were several.
However, the name sounds suspiciously phony to me.
Researcher, Bill Adams, investigated the confusing conundrum of the duplicate firearm in an article for the Fourth Decade in May 1996. The article was entitled, Second Gun or Second Guessing, The Story of the Revolver in the paper bag.
Adams tried to pin down the location where the weapon was found. He investigated the conflicting versions of its discovery to verify which of the several versions was the correct one. He started with the AIB newsletter's version saying, “a .38 caliber revolver was discovered in a paper bag in the immediate vicinity of the assassination site.” Next, he obtained a copy of a document regarding the HSCA investigation from researcher John Woods II. This document contained the following information:
...For the information of the Boston office on the morning of November Twenty-three, last, a snub nose thirty-eight caliber Smith and Wesson, serial number eight nine-three-two-six-five, with word quoe England unquote on the cylinder was found at approximately seven-thirty AM, in a brown paper sack in the general area where the assassination of President Kennedy took place.
This version of the event changed the location from the “immediate vicinity of the assassination site,” to “the general area where the assassination took place.” Not much better. Adams then filed several FOIA requests with various FBI filed offices as well as FBI Headquarters. Three of them responded that they had no such documents. The Boston office's response was that they were “currently unable to locate their file pertaining to the assassination.” They assured him they would send it when they found it. They never did of course.
An ARCA file contained a two-page document concerning the FBI's attempts to trace the revolver. It tells us that the revolver was “found in a paper bag in the immediate vicinity of the assassination area.”
It seems Adams was back where he started. However, in his research of Thomas Vallee, the Chicago version of Lee Harvey Oswald, he came across a little-known attempt on Kennedy's life that took place in Nashville, TN in May, 1963. This threat on JFK's life was reported in Nashville newspaper articles as well as a tabloid version sent to him by another researcher. It read as follows:
“The Nashville Congressman—The son of the late Governor Frank Clement, the president's host during a May 1963 visit—said the incident at Overton High School was kept quiet in order to keep from encouraging similar scares. “At Overton High School there was a man who approached with a gun underneath a sack. He was grabbed by the Secret Service.”
Adams wondered if an assassin was planning to approach JFK in Dealey Plaza with the revolver in a paper bag as seemed to have occurred in Nashville six months earlier. He never mentions how Vallee fit into the picture.
But there were more versions of the gun's location. Nigel Turner and Anthony Summers claimed to have proof the revolver was found “by the TSBD.” The proof apparently came from a source they could not identify. Another anonymous source of information seems to be the standard operating procedure of all aspects of the JFK assassination investigation.
So, like the wallet that was found in three locations, (at the Tippit murder site, in Oswald's pocket at the theater, and on the dresser in Marina's room at Ruth Paine's house), the 2nd revolver, the one in the paper sack, was also transient. It appeared “by the TSBD”, behind the fence on the grassy knoll, in the immediate vicinity of the assassination site, at the corner of Ross and Lamarr streets, and half a block north of the TSBD building.”
The elusiveness of almost all of the evidence presented by DPD, FBI, and WC, in this case, is, to say the least, extraordinary. There are multiple versions of their authenticity, chain of evidence, and suspicion of fabrication. The wallet and ID, the rifle, the revolver, the paper sack containing the Manlicher Carcano, the jacket, and even Oswald himself exist in duplication. The result was intentional. It created false trials to confuse and frustrate investigative reporters and researchers for decades.