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The Nixie Nexus

By Gary Hill

“We seek a free flow of information...We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts...For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

JFK (February 26, 1962)

If Lee Harvey Oswald would have lived long enough to face a jury, one of the lynch pin exhibits of the prosecution would be the paper sack supposedly found on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository near the alleged sniper's nest.[1] The importance of this sack was that it was the link making it possible for Oswald to sneak his Manlicher Carcano into the building on the day of the assassination.

That Oswald carried some kind of package to work that morning is certain. He was seen doing so by Wesley Frazier, who drove Oswald to work that morning. Frazier's sister, Linnie Mae Randle, saw it as well. However, their description of the sack he carried did not correspond in size with the one to be used as evidence. It was smaller and could not have hidden the rifle even if it was disassembled. In addition, TSBD employee, Jack Dougherty observed Oswald enter the building that morning and stated he had nothing in his hands.

Incredibly, a second paper wrapping for the rifle turned up in the dead letter section of the Irving Post Office a couple weeks after the assassination. It was addressed to Lee Oswald with no return address and mailed before November 22nd.

Anthony Summers wrote:

“On December 4, 1963, an deliverable package addressed to "Lee Oswald" was retrieved from the dead-letter section to a post office in a Dallas suburb. It was wrongly addressed to 601 W. Nassaus Street, which could approximate to Neches Street, which was near where Oswald had lived. When opened, it turned out to contain a "brown paper bag. . . ." Since no postal worker is likely to have tossed aside a package addressed to "Lee Oswald" AFTER the name became world famous on November 22, it is reasonable to assume the parcel arrived before the assassination. Who sent it to Oswald, and why, are questions which appear especially pertinent with the knowledge that another paper bag became key evidence. But the Warren Report did not even mention the mystery parcel, and there is no sign that it was forensically tested or further investigated.”[2]

In 1963, the Dallas post office’s dead letter department was referred to as The Nixie Room. The package was discovered by C. G. Twilley on December 4, 1963. It was addressed to Lee Oswald, seemingly in his own handwriting, but the address was for 601 West Nassau Street. A street that did not exist in Dallas, or anywhere in Texas. Below the address label, the words “Irving Texas” were scrawled in different handwriting. The package was due 12 cents postage. It was metered postage and not stamps. The Depository metered the postage on its shipments. The package had no return address. It would seem that someone at the post office knew Oswald and was aware of his connection with Ruth Paine's Irving address and possibly added “Irving, Texas” below the label.

The ubiquitous Dallas Postmaster, Harry Holmes opened the package after the assassination. Besides being the only non-police officer to question Oswald, he was also an informant for the FBI.[3] The FBI had been illegally opening Oswald's mail in the U.S., just as the CIA had done when Oswald was in Russia.[4] The package contained a long, empty paper bag similar to the one found in the sixth floor of the Texas school book depository building. There were some smudged prints on the package but they were not of a quality useful to identify Oswald as the sender or handler.

What was the purpose of this postal predicament? Why was Oswald mailing this package to himself prior to the assassination? If, as the Warren Commission intimated, Oswald made the package with shipping materials utilized by the Schoolbook Depository to mail books, was his purpose to use the facilities to mail it to himself to avoid paying postage? Did he mail it to himself in order to avoid being seen carrying it home? If so, why not mail it to his Beckley Street rooming house? None of these theories make sense. The first because the postage was inadequate and the second because he still had to mail it and could have been seen carrying it to a mail box. And why would he use a non-existent address?

However, if approached from a different perspective, it is easy to see the usefulness of this maneuver as a tool for incrimination. Was it more planted evidence to be used against the patsy? Conspirators who knew ahead of time that planting the gun wasn't enough. The weapon had not only to be tied to Oswald but their had to be evidence that he secreted it into the building ahead of time. With the FBI tracking his mail,[5] a package with his name on it mailed to a phony address would be sure to draw attention to Oswald's premeditation in the crime of the century. Taking into account that Harry Holmes was the Dallas postmaster as well as an FBI stoolie brings this weird odyssey into more focus.

In spite of Anthony Summers claim, the paper of the undelivered package was examined and found not to be identical to the paper used in constructing the gun sack found on the 6th floor of the TSBD. However, because rolls of paper used at the Depository lasted an average of about three days and varied in composition, this did not prove the Nixie parcel wasn't created there. Like the package Frazier saw Oswald with on the morning of the assassination, the Nexie package was too small, measuring 18” in length, to hold even a disassembled Manlicher Carcano.

But there is more. On November 23rd, a 12 cent postage due card arrived at Ruth Paine's house at 2515 W. 5th Street in Irving. This is the same amount of excess postage due as on the Nixie package. Someone at the post office, probably Holmes, had to know that Oswald's family lived with the Paines, since the FBI was opening his mail. Although the card was discovered by Dallas police the weekend of the assassination, I could find no mention of police questioning of Ruth or Marina about it at that time. In fact, it wasn't until February 20, 1964 that the card was mentioned by postal inspector Roy Armstrong in an FBI interview. He told the Fee Bees[6] that in his inquiries in Irving and Dallas he had somehow determined that the delivery slip of November 20 was related to a magazine delivered to Oswald on the 21st or 22nd of November. Marina was then finally interviewed five days later (February 25th) and ever cooperative with Hoover's minions, stated the card was for one of Lee's magazines and that she had paid the over due 12 cents. Since Lee's magazines were purchased by subscriptions and paid for in advance this is a weak story. But it wouldn't be the first time statements made by Marina were laced with contradiction or confusion. In addition she stated that when she paid the excess postage she accepted the parcel. If the card arrived on November 20 and the package wasn't discovered until December 6, this defies logic. If it were a magazine, it just happened to be 12 cents light in postage which conveniently coincided with the amount due on the Nexie parcel. As for Ruth Paine, she wasn't interviewed about the card until July 31, 1964. In the interview she skillfully avoided the issue by changing the subject and wasn't asked anything further.

Researcher Garrick Alder believes that Marina's lie and Ruth's evasiveness were deliberate efforts by the FBI and Holmes to separate the witnesses from the parcel, the parcel from the delivery card and the postal service from the whole affair. The reason is obvious. Because the FBI was intercepting Oswald's mail, they knew of his connection to Paine's Irving home. When someone saw his name and the fictional address on the package, this postal employee knew where he could be found. The package may have actually been delivered there with the wrong address displayed. This would certainly draw attention to the FBI's illegal intercept program after the assassination. It needed to be swept under the rug and with Marina's and Ruth's help it was. Who was this postal employee who knew Oswald's whereabouts? The obvious suspect is Harry Holmes, Dallas postmaster and FBI informant.

So, why would Oswald mail the package to a non-existent address and fail to pay full postage? As with much of the evidence against him it appears he was trying to get caught. Like the rifle, revolver, ID cards, backyard photos etc., there is too much evidence. Dropping his wallet at the Tippit sh

ooting scene is another example. What is more likely is that conspirators were using the parcel mailing to link the Paine house to the package and to trick Oswald into handling the package and thus obtain his fingerprints on it. Later it could be planted in the 6th floor sniper's nest as proof of this guilt.

Researcher John Armstrong had a different take on this bizarre episode. He seems to speculate that there were two postage due slips delivered to the Paine home, one on November 20 and the other on the 21st. Ironically both were for 12 cents postage due. This unlikelyhood lessens the strength of the theory. However, it provides strength for an axiom I promoted in my book “The Other Oswald,” that the evidence against LHO always came in pairs.

The Attempted Delivery on Thursday, November 20

This package was addressed to Lee Oswald, 2515 W. 5th St., Irving, Texas and was not in his handwriting. It didn't arrive because of insufficient postage. The postage due delivery card was discovered by police on Saturday at the Paine house in a blue suitcase owned by Oswald. Officers were sent to the post office to pick up the parcel. They were told it had already been picked up. When interviewed by the FBI in February, Dallas Postal Inspector Roy Armstrong said the package was delivered on either November 20 or 21 to Marina Oswald and that it was a magazine. This agrees with Marina's version of the event. However, if that was the case how do you explain the postage due card that arrived on November 23? Armstrong's take is that the gummy label with the Nassau Street address was pasted over the original “Lee Oswald, 2515 W. 5th St., Irving, Texas” address. That would explain the, Irving Texas scrawl below the pasted on label. This interpretation leads to a scenario that makes more sense than others. It goes like this; The conspirators knew in advance that Oswald's gun would be planted on the 6th floor of the TSBD. They needed to provide evidence that he clandestinely transported it from the Paine garage to the crime scene. Thus, they shipped him the package manufactured from materials that could be linked to his place of employment. Oswald was told to expect a package on Wednesday the 20th. This would explain his Thursday visit to Irving which was out of his normal routine. The postage deficit caused the package not to be delivered and it ended up in the Nexie room at the post office. When the mistake was discovered, a gummy label with a phony address was pasted over the original address, that of the Paine house. If the package had arrived on the 20th, Oswald would have opened it on the 21st and handled it, linking his finger prints to the package which would later be planted on the 6th floor. However, if the undelivered package were discovered after the assassination there would be a problem. The official version is that Oswald did not know the motorcade route would include Elm Street until a day or two before the assassination. Hence he needed to to go Irving to get his gun to take advantage of a golden opportunity. If the package were discovered after the assassination, it would be assumed it was sent by conspirators or that he mailed it to himself before he knew the motorcade route was changed. Either way, the lone nut theory would go down the drain. The package had to disappear.

Stranger Things

Although there was no West Nassau street in Texas, there was one in Tampa, Florida. The zip code was 33607. It was in Tampa that an apparent assassination attempt on Kennedy’s life was thwarted on 18 November,1963, just four days before the president was killed in Dallas. The would-be assassin was one Gilberto Policarpo Lopez.[7] Like Oswald, Lopez was a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. A very reliable FBI undercover asset Joe Burton, reported that on November 17, 1963, that Oswald visited Tampa and attended a Fair Play for Cuba Committee meeting and met with a key member of the FPCC. Lopez attended the same meeting.[8]John Kaylock claimed to have met Oswald in Punta Gorda, Florida, shortly before the assassination[9]. Frank Sturgis also alleged that he had met Oswald in Florida in the days prior to the assassination itself. Sturgis of course was a disinformation agent intent on blaming the assassination on Castro.

Could Oswald have been in Florida on the 17th? The Warren Commission was unable to determine Oswald's whereabouts on the 15th, 16th or 17th of November,1963. Why Marina did not want Lee to visit that weekend is unclear. The WC never bothered to ask her. There is also evidence that he visited Abilene, Texas that weekend and met with Cuban exiles.[10]


ACCESSORIES AFTER THE FACT,Sylvia Meagher, Vintage Books, 1967

Harvey and Lee, John Armstrong, Quasar Ltd.

Last post for Oswald, Garrick Alder, Lobster Magazine

Oswald's Mother website, George Bailey

The Ghosts of November, Anthony and Robbyn Summers, Vanity Fair, Dec.1994


[1] The actual existence of the bag is questionable. The bag does not appear in any of the crime scene photos taken of the sniper's nest after the assassination. In addition, the police officers who said they saw the bag gave contradictory testimony about the size, location, and condition of the bag. Some of the policemen who searched or saw the sniper's nest after the shooting didn't see a bag there. Also their was no tape on the bag found and it had no oil present even though Oswald's rifle was well oiled. [2] CONSPIRACY, Anthony Summers,Paragon House Edition, pp. 71-72. [3] Holmes, FBI informant T-7, continually lied and docto

red evidence to incriminate Oswald. [4]CIA project HTLINGUAL [5]The FBI's domestic mail interception program was called HUNTER. Today they use- electronic surveillance of email with a computer program called CARNIVORE. [6]Apologies to Dean Andrews. [7]For more on the fascinating parallel between Lopez and Oswald see “The Other Oswald, A Wilderness of Mirrors”, Gary Hill, TrineDay Books, 2020 [8]The Ghosts of November, Anthony and Robbyn Summers, Vanity Fair, Dec. 1994 [9] [10] See “Alibi for Abilene”, for more on this incident.

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