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Greg Parker

The Elevator Escape Theory

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Thanks, Greg. There's probably more there in the elevator pages, as well as on the rest of the site, than people have had time to take in today, but it's a resource that I wasn't aware of.

Edited by David Andrews

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Thanks, Greg. Most interesting.

I submit that discovering what really happened on the fifth floor of the TSBD is key to understanding the assassination itself. This of course brings into serious question the accounts of Williams, Jarman and Norman.

James

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Thanks, Greg. Most interesting.

I submit that discovering what really happened on the fifth floor of the TSBD is key to understanding the assassination itself. This of course brings into serious question the accounts of Williams, Jarman and Norman.

James

Absolutely. One of the first things that I studied and seemed "off" to me, were the testimonies of these three men. I immediately felt that there was something that was left out, and that there were many inconsistencies among the statements by these gentlemen. Together they just didn't jive.

Also the same went for Jack Dougherty, I just couldn't put my finger on it. It took someone of the caliber of Duke Lane to figure some of these inconsistencies out. I read about half of the writing in the link provided by Greg Parker.

I think that there's something about the Dr. Pepper bottle and the chicken lunch that was had up there on the 5th and the confusion regarding the floor where the TSBD rifle was found (5th or 6th floor)?

Why would anyone just leave their chicken bones, paper bag and Dr. Pepper bottle there if they were done eating? How about putting it in the trash can? Unless they got interrupted.....

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I submit that discovering what really happened on the fifth floor of the TSBD is key to understanding the assassination itself. This of course brings into serious question the accounts of Williams, Jarman and Norman.
Absolutely. One of the first things that I studied and seemed "off" to me, were the testimonies of these three men. I immediately felt that there was something that was left out, and that there were many inconsistencies among the statements by these gentlemen. Together they just didn't jive.

Also the same went for Jack Dougherty, I just couldn't put my finger on it. It took someone of the caliber of Duke Lane to figure some of these inconsistencies out. I read about half of the writing in the link provided by Greg Parker.

I don't know about this "caliber" stuff (if anything, .223!), but I've been reading Richard Gilbride's article and have several disagreements with and disconnects from what I've read so far.

The disconnects come largely in the form of resolving - or rather, not resolving - apparent conflicts in testimony, a couple of things to remember about which is that their own first-hand accounts (testimony before the WC) came about four months after the actual events, during which time one's memories might change to either include or exclude things previously said, and that second-hand accounts (reports made by police and/or FBI and/or USSS) were the interviewers' "take" on what they'd said, and may or may not have included every word they'd spoken or point they'd made, and could just as likely as not be distillations of the "important" facts as the interviewer perceived them that were ultimately recorded: that a second-hand report didn't include something that was later recounted in testimony can mean either that the interviewee didn't make the comment, or that the interviewer didn't feel at the time that it wasn't germane.

There's also the distinct possibility that they were told that they were "mistaken," for example, if someone said that they'd seen Oswald in or near the domino room around lunchtime, they were "mistaken" because he was "actually" on the sixth floor, or "couldn't" have been somewhere because it didn't fit their theories.

If Gilbride has the notion that some testimony might've been coerced by other external factors, he doesn't say so in the first 15 or 20 pages; he might draw that conclusion later, but if so, I haven't gotten that far yet.

Another disconnect comes where he notes Roy Truly having seen Givens, Jarman and Norman leaving the front of the TSBD heading in an easterly direction, presumably across Houston toward the parking lot (which location was misstated in the article). Truly thought that the three of them were all walking together across Houston, while Jarman and Norman state that they walked around the Houston Street to the back of the TSBD. Here Gilbride presumes that Jarman and Norman "lied" and "omitted" this "fact" of crossing or partly crossing Houston without apparently considering that Truly presumed himself that Jarman and Norman were still "with" Givens - or that they ever were, as opposed to leaving the immediate area separately but at the same time - if Truly saw only Givens in the middle of the street.

It likewise presumes that Truly's recollection of events in November was absolutely accurate by the beginning of April.

Here's another: he relates that during "the great elevator race," the flooring crew had gone downstairs and Oswald had yelled something to the effect of "how about an elevator, boys," but that the crew had "ignored" Oswald and not closed the west elevator door to allow him to call it back up to the upper floors when he was ready to use it. This without any evidence that whenever Oswald might have tried to call the elevator that it wouldn't respond.

Gilbride goes on to relate Givens' "cigarette trip," but omits - if memory serves - that Oswald had also mentioned to him to make sure that the gate was down on the west elevator, and - more importantly - that when Givens got downstairs and went around to the west elevator, the west elevator wasn't there.

Givens didn't look to see where it was, but it could only have been above him. This means either that someone else had gotten into the elevator and ridden it upward while Givens was upstairs or coming back down, or that the crew hadn't "ignored" Oswald, had closed the gate, and that Oswald was thus able to call the west elevator upstairs while Givens was on his way downstairs in the east elevator, or even walking around to the other side of the shaft to check to be sure the gate was closed.

(According to Givens' "cigarette trip" story, Oswald was walking toward the elevators and Givens as Givens was getting ready to get back into the east elevator to go back down. At five seconds per floor, that put Givens on the first floor in about 25 seconds, which is sufficient time for Oswald to have walked from where Givens saw him last to the west elevator entrance to call it upstairs, and even more sufficent if you add the 5-10 seconds or so that Givens needed to open the east elevator gate and walk around the elevator shaft. Since Givens didn't look up the shaft, we don't know that the west elevator wasn't on its way up at Oswald's call, and we sure don't know where it stopped.)

The elevator timing of five seconds per floor movement (based on Billy Lovelady's statement of having timed them at 30 seconds to travel the six stories from seven down to one) is used to indicate when Jack Dougherty took the elevator down from five to one, and likewise presumes that Jack came directly from five to one. The reality is that he could have (not that I believe that he did, mind you!) started down while Baker and Truly were in between the first and second floors, and have been downstairs by the time they reached the third floor after encountering Oswald on two: it was a mere 20-second trip.

What we DO know is that it was gone by the time that B&T got to the fifth floor; we don't even know for certain that it had gone down in that time - although it's a reasonable conclusion that it did - or how far down it might have gone. We also know that Truly knew that Baker thought shots had come from inside the building, and despite his own belief that they hadn't, he gave no consideration to the cop's suspicions or the possibility that, if Baker was right, an elevator was a reasonable means of escape for anyone who'd been inside the building.

Instead, upon reaching the fifth floor, Truly completely ignored the fact that the west elevator wasn't present even after having seen it there only a minute or so before, while directing Baker (who hadn't looked up the shaft) to the east elevator which Truly knew to have been there because he'd seen it there. Even months later, while testifying before the WC, either this disparity hadn't dawned on Truly or he simply chose to omit it from his testimony. To be generous, it's possible that he'd come to the conclusion that Jack Dougherty had taken it downstairs, and thus was able to ignore the obvious possibilities.

What's lacking is any kind of timing from the second to the sixth floor by the two men: Baker's trip to the second floor was re-enacted and has been dissected six ways from Sunday over the years, but never has there been any sort of attempt to determine how long it took them to cover the rest of the distance upstairs.

We do know that the elevators weren't as noisy as some people like to portray; that the two men were making a considerable amount of noise running up the enclosed wooden stairway in boots and shoes; and that they paused, however briefly, at each floor for Baker to look around (that he didn't see the three black men when on five can be because of him following Truly's lead to the east elevator and didn't look back over his shoulder, just as easily as it could be that the men didn't do exactly as they had claimed to, which latter explanation Gilbride settles upon).

There's much more, even as far as I've read, but my intent here is not to review Gilbride's work, but merely to point out additional areas of consideration and research, as well as to note that additional and opposing conclusions can be reached from the same (or more) data. One of these days, I'll get around to posting my perspective on this - what I call "The Three Blind Mice," part two of a three-part essay including "The Great Elevator Race" and "The Invisible Man," which respectively deal with what happened with the elevators in the time leading up to noon (when Eddie Piper saw Oswald and heard him say he was going "either 'up' or 'out'" for lunch, despite Gilbride's only noting the former of the two options), and examining Jack Dougherty's story in detail; "Mice" covers everyone's movements in between as best as they can be determined.

I kind of like the format the Elevator Escape Theory is presented in, and might ask Greg to post it there (Greg? Send me an email on this) ... or maybe I'll use it to put the theory that John McAdams will even post conspiracy articles on his website!

More later, maybe.

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I read the article yesterday with great interest. Thanks, Richard for writing it, and thanks, Greg, for posting it. It gives one much to consider. While I remain unconvinced that the likes of Dougherty, Williams, Jarman, Norman, Arce, Lovelady, and Shelley were parties to the assassination, it's clear the WC did an inadequate job figuring out their exact movements leading up to the time of the shooting. It seems that there should have been some exhibit or memo created which details who was where and when, and what they should have seen, and how their stories changed. But no such memo exists. It's as if the WC accepted anything these guys said as long as they didn't say anything to suggest Oswald's innocence.

I think Dougherty, in particular, was let off the hook. While he, apparently, had an emotional problem, and was unlikely to have been a shooter, it seems someone sometime should have said "Wait a second...this guy was on the upper floors at the time of the shooting, had the run of the building before it opened (whereby he could have helped shooters hide on the seventh floor or roof), went back to work early after lunch (whereby he could have helped build the sniper's nest) and rode the elevator down after the shooting (whereby he could have helped the shooters escape)." I mean, really, where is the background check on Dougherty? Did he have an older brother to whom he felt subservient? Was this older brother in the Klan, or the John Birch Society? Did Dougherty know Jack Ruby? None of this, as far as I can tell, was looked into. The absence of these reports is a huge hole in the investigation.

Ditto on Givens. Instead of readily accepting the almost certain lie that Givens saw Oswald after the "elevator race", the Commission should have investigated Givens' changing his statements regarding Oswald. Why wasn't the FBI agent writing the report on Givens, in which Givens was purported to have claimed to have seen Oswald in the domino room, questioned, and asked if he still had his notes? Why wasn't his personnel record discussed? It was a he said/she said situation, whereby the credibility of each he/she should have been investigated. Why wasn't Givens' statement challenged?

And why wasn't Dallas Police officer Jack Revill investigated. He wrote a memo saying Givens spoke to Oswald at the time of the elevator race, but that Givens was unreliable and would change his story for money. And then, months later, testified in a manner suggesting that he'd known all along that Givens saw Oswald after returning to the sixth floor. Was he just being forgetful? Or did someone get to him?

The WC did a lousy job. Period. While putting the screws to Williams and Norman, and asking them why they either failed to tell the whole truth in their initial statement (Williams) or failed to make any statement at all until after Oswald was dead, even though they were an important witness (Norman), might have been awkward, it nevertheless needed to be done. The WC was supposed to function as truth-getters. Instead, they often slipped into the behavior of prosecuting attorneys, whereby they refused to ask inconvenient questions of what they believed to be "their" witnesses.

Edited by Pat Speer

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Pat,

I don't think the Book Depository employees were directly involved either. I do think they were manipulated, poked and prodded though. Simple folk threatened with things like treason if they didn't cooperate would be more than enough to have them confused and frightened.

I submit that Jack Dougherty in particular was one manipulated and taken advantage of. I do think it very possible he interacted with at least one shooter located in that building.

James

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Pat,

I don't think the Book Depository employees were directly involved either. I do think they were manipulated, poked and prodded though. Simple folk threatened with things like treason if they didn't cooperate would be more than enough to have them confused and frightened.

I submit that Jack Dougherty in particular was one manipulated and taken advantage of. I do think it very possible he interacted with at least one shooter located in that building.

James

I tend to agree. Most of those guys were not someone one would want

as plot participants. I agree that they were underinvestigated.

Jack

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Pat,

I don't think the Book Depository employees were directly involved either. I do think they were manipulated, poked and prodded though. Simple folk threatened with things like treason if they didn't cooperate would be more than enough to have them confused and frightened.

I submit that Jack Dougherty in particular was one manipulated and taken advantage of. I do think it very possible he interacted with at least one shooter located in that building.

James

I tend to agree. Most of those guys were not someone one would want

as plot participants. I agree that they were underinvestigated.

Jack

Has anyone checked the service records of the TSBD rank-and-file employees? With Byrd and Shelley above them, one suspects that the place was something of a hive. When LHO is not the only suspicious character in a building that the author of the article rather aptly characterizes as a Potemkin village, set up only months before the assassination, well...

Again - the TSBD deserves it's own comprehensive, book-length study, possibly a collection of authors' essays.

Edited by David Andrews

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what about the photos of the assassins in the windows on each corner of the building? have those been around for a while? there seems to be something that resembles a person in each, but its cropped and hard to tell for sure. Interesting to say the least.

As soon as the evidence was found on the 6th floor, the whole building should have been labeled a crime scene, along with all of Dealey Plaza. Its amazing that there aren't crime scene photos of the ACTUAL "snipers nest" before it was disturbed and even more amazing that evidence was touched and moved around.

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what about the photos of the assassins in the windows on each corner of the building? have those been around for a while? there seems to be something that resembles a person in each, but its cropped and hard to tell for sure. Interesting to say the least.

As soon as the evidence was found on the 6th floor, the whole building should have been labeled a crime scene, along with all of Dealey Plaza. Its amazing that there aren't crime scene photos of the ACTUAL "snipers nest" before it was disturbed and even more amazing that evidence was touched and moved around.

Yeah, those photos are something to be researched, all right. In the case of police securing the building, curious notions of preserving the right of private property were allowed to intrude, when control of the TSBD ought to have been fought over by law enforcement just as Kennedy's body was fought over at Parkland. That same noble obligation to ownership almost allowed the later destruction of the TSBD - and, of course, caused the later removal of massive evidence from the World Trade Center site.

Edited by David Andrews

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The late Mary Ferrell once told me of her "suspicion" that the TSBD operation might

be a cover for shipping arms or contraband, since many of their shipments were

in large crates labeled BOOKS and would not be suspicious. FWIW.

Jack

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I was going to say, yes, that TSBD Dealey may have been set up for a Gulf/Caribbean smuggling op, and then adapted, like so much (potentially), toward JFK's assassination.

Two or more articles on the TSBD by William Weston in The Fourth Decade give some good background to CIA and other agency involvement with publishers for anti-communist propaganda destined for the US, Cuba, and Eastern Europe.

Edited by David Andrews

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for there to be 2 rifles in the TSBD at the same time, and for one to be hidden and the other to snuck out, seems highly unlikely as surely someone would have noticed SOMEONE carrying a rifle or long package out of the building. I guess its not impossible for the gun to be snuck out, but a lot of things had to happen perfectly for it to happen. I haven't finished reading TEET, but working on it.

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... One of these days, I'll get around to posting my perspective on this - what I call "The Three Blind Mice" ... "Mice" covers everyone's movements in between as best as they can be determined.
Ah, such chutzpah! What I should've said was that "'Mice' covers everyone's movements in between as best as I can determine them." They're pretty detailed, and I believe they're accurate. In any case, "Mice" includes details of testimony involving people's movements and observations that are not included in "Elevator Escape;" some may be significant.
... If Gilbride has the notion that some testimony might've been coerced by other external factors, he doesn't say so in the first 15 or 20 pages; he might draw that conclusion later, but if so, I haven't gotten that far yet.
Other than official disinterest in, for example, Arnold Rowland's reports of a black man on the sixth floor, and the suggestion that Slim Givens might have concocted his "cigarette trip" return to the sixth floor at or around noon (based on Jack Revill's belief that he'd change his testimony "for money"), no other coercion is suggested: any and every story that was inconsistent or contradictory, the only possible reason was to cover the witnesses' own guilty knowledge of and participation in the assassination.

The real thesis of Richard Gilbride's article does not seem to be, as he says at the outset, merely to "demonstrate that Depository employee Jack Dougherty escorted two snipers down in that west elevator," but rather what he states at the end: the TSBD "was a Potemkin Village populated expressly for JFK's assassination." He makes this claim even while excusing anyone within the TSBD who'd have been able to accomplish such a purpose from complicity, and implicating a host of low- to mid-level employees who'd have been hard pressed (at best!) to erect such a "Potemkin Village."

The list of those complicit - the "brood of vipers," in Gilbride's language - includes Bill Shelley, Billy Lovelady, Jack Doughterty, Bonnie Ray Williams, Hank Norman, and Danny Arce, none of whom had the apparent authority to bind the TSBD company to a lease of the building, to move its offices into it, to sublet additional office space to client companies, or to move stock and reassign workers to the new location, a feat they nevertheless seem to have engineered and accomplished. Roy Truly, whose authority as building superintendent even approached that level, was "intimately involved" in only the subsequent cover-up, while the two working officers of the corporation - company president Jack Cason and vice president O.V. Campbell - aren't even mentioned, much less considered, in this narrative.

(One might theorize that Bill Shelley, who Gilbride acknowledges had been with the company "since 1945," was able to do this based upon his claim to a reporter that he'd been "intelligence officer during World War II" - which ended in 1945 - and "thereafter joined the CIA," which incidentally wasn't formed until 1947. Having been employed by the TSBD company since two years earlier, one can "only" deduce that Shelley was a "sleeper agent" left in place to orchestrate a presidential assassination to take place 16 years in the future on a man who hadn't as yet even entered politics!)

This brood ("pit?") of vipers also had quite the unusual consituency for an arch-conservative city in the deep South during the early '60s: not only was there the usual complement of white guys (undoubtedly with ties to the KKK and JBS), but also including cohorts who were both black and Mexican, some as young as 18 or 19 and fresh out of high school, all of whom not only trusted each other(!) but also were confident that their roles would be kept secret by the whites who in any other context might well lynch them with half an excuse.

My chief criticism, however, is that every inconsistency, every contradiction, every change in statements by anyone has but one connotation: sinister. People "lied" and "committed perjury" deliberately (which may not be disputable) and for only one reason: they had guilty knowledge to hide (which may well be disputable).

He ignores various bits of evidence, makes statements that are "undoubtful," "unavoidable," "certain" and "indisputable" (among other absolutes) when there is no evidence to support them, and even goes to some lengths to show how someone very well might not have done exactly as they'd said in the time they'd thought (Sandra Styles and Vickie Adams), and then uses exactly what he'd just seemingly disproved to "prove" that others (Shelley and Lovelady) had lied

Likewise, he takes inconsistencies or lack of corroboration in several people's testimonies to "disprove" others' statements. This is not uncommon, and generally requires us to believe that the people there made strict mental notes of every minor detail of what they saw, heard, did and said, almost as if they - everyone - knew this would be an important day, that they needed to mentally record everything down to what people wore, knew their words would be scrutinized and dissected for decades afterward, and wanted to be sure to miss nothing and to get it all absolutely right.

Thus, when Gloria Calverly said she went "immediately" back to her office after seeing Kennedy's head get blown off and didn't mention seeing Shelley and Lovelady, then it means that Shelley and Lovelady were lying about seeing her, just the same as when, several months after the fact, the two men testified to doing things that aren't supported by film and photos, they "lied," and only for sinister purposes, no innocence or error to be attached or even considered. This despite Joe Molina (another of the "front step gang?") also saying that Gloria was visibly upset, the "crying" attributed to her by Shelley and Lovelady dismissed with the observation that "most people do not break down in tears until they've acclimated to the shock of the event" (even her "crying" was a "lie").

He questions the veracity of Givens' "cigarette trip;" is apparently unaware of how Oswald could've gotten downstairs after Givens went down on the east elevator; notes that Eddie Piper recalled Oswald saying he was "going up" to have his lunch, omitting the "or out" that Piper added in his observation; determines that Oswald could only have seen the "short Negro" and the guy he knew as "Junior" only after the shooting based on second-hand reports and the fact that, upon being arrested for a cop-killing (with no mention being charged with killing the President until after a late-night "news conference"), Oswald failed to give complete details of his lunchtime activities at work on Friday afternoon, not even raising anything to do with where JFK had been shot until - surprise - the next day, after he'd been charged!

All of this leads to the "virtually certain" conclusion that Oswald was "on the upper floors from approximately 11:55 to at least 12:10, if not significantly later."

Most incredibly, he seems astounded that Jack wouldn't have noticed the three black men on the same floor, or they him, and this "large, white" guy Jack got onto the elevator without being noticed by the same three men who - get this - received at least one rifle from the upstairs shooters after they came down the stairs, which only could've happened before they got onto the elevator with Jack and without their rifles, which they then hid and would have been caught with if only Marrion Baker had looked behind the stack of book boxes at the fifth floor landing.

Yet he illustrates, in effect, how the gunmen could've come down the stairs to where Jack was with rifles, passed them off to the black guys without Jack seeing them do that, and then left with Jack on the elevator without the black guys being aware of Jack's presence.

Yet oddly, Gilbride doesn't even notice (or mention) that, if Jack heard the shot while standing by the west elevator, and the west elevator hadn't left the fifth floor by the time Truly had reached the elevator shaft 30 seconds or less before encountering Oswald in the lunch room, then Oswald, if he'd run down the stairs - we know he didn't use the elevator - had to run by Jack, something else that Jack didn't see.

He didn't see it because it didn't happen, and Jack proves it, a point lost in this narrative.

This reality has no impact on the theory whatsoever. Things that make no sense whatever are readily accepted, while unfounded speculation (that is, no foundation is laid to show how it could be so) is stated as certain, established fact, including what people "must have" done in the time it "makes sense" for them to have taken to do it.

Sadly, what starts out as a promising re-evaluation turns into another "everybody did it" scenario complete with an "Oswald double" (not that John Thomas Masen wasn't involved!) "proven" to be there and, despite all the certainty expressed throughout, doesn't even include the slightest speculation on what Oswald was doing upstairs or what he saw (since it's "virtually certain" he was there), or when or why he went downstairs and what he was doing and why he was so blissfully unaware of what had transpired upstairs even after he'd just left the area and seen others milling about. Was he also on the upper floors and saw nobody like everyone else was and didn't? Oswald simply wasn't seen by anybody, ergo "was" upstairs, even while not attempting to determine who might have seen him if they and he were both in the same place at the same time ... and the fact that nobody was in the same place at the same time as Oswald "proves" he "wasn't there" if such "proof" puts him anywhere other than where we want him to be.

All of that said, however, there are still several "wow!" moments when Gilbride examines things that generally aren't, and his compilation of DP witness observations of men in upstairs windows in one place is indeed useful (even if in need of verification due to the other inconsistencies and omissions previously noted). Gilbride succeeds in raising awareness of and questions about Jack Dougherty, and of the oddities in the actions and activities involving Jarman, Norman and Williams (my "three blind mice"), which are reasonably accurately, if incompletely, portrayed and about which, in my opinion, he makes incorrect (albeit "unavoidable") conclusions.

The dialog is joined, and that in itself is a good thing.

Edited by Duke Lane

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