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Greg Burnham

David Mantik Responds to Pat Speer

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A Response to Recent Comments on the JFK Education Forum

12-12-2015

David W. Mantik

1. Did I view the (purported) original JFK X-rays at NARA?

Answer: I have often affirmed that I did; my optical density data derive from those images. Here are supporting clues (that I saw NARA’S “originals”).

A. The so-called “burn” marks were highly wrinkled (i.e., three dimensional)—quite different from how they would appear in a copy film (i.e., they would be two dimensional).

B. The pencil line (presumably placed by Ebersole) was evident on only one side of the right lateral X-ray (that’s the image in the public record). That is proof that that film had not been copied since the pencil line was placed.

C. The 6.5 mm fake object exhibits the phantom image effect, i.e., smaller objects are visible inside it. If this film were to be copied, such a double exposure effect would not occur. Dr. Michael Chesser notes that, on the HSCA X-rays (that he saw, but I did not), the 6.5 mm image is uniformly bright (transparent). That is the expected outcome for a copied image. It is also very important to note that Michael Chesser also observed at least two metal fragments inside the 6.5 mm object—which further confirms that we saw the same X-rays.

D. The edges of the skull films (in many places) showed the typical deterioration that inevitably occurs over time, i.e., the emulsion had either already disappeared, or was actively falling off.

E. Chesser’s ODs are consistent with mine; this is a very unlikely outcome if we had examined different films. Chesser has also just stated: “I didn’t say that David had not seen the original X-rays….” He has also just sent this comment to me: “I'm certain that you viewed the originals, and you can quote me.”

F. For further confirmation that I viewed the “original” X-rays, just ask these on-site witnesses: Gary Aguilar, MD, Steve Majewski, PhD, David Poynter (NARA), Martha Murphy (NARA), or Matthew Fulghum (NARA). Furthermore, Aguilar actually assisted in taking some OD data.

2. Did JFK have a large occipital defect when he arrived at Bethesda?

Answer: Yes!

A. According to Michael Kurtz, this was affirmed by eight physicians at Bethesda. Also see Doug Horne’s list.

B. The Bethesda paraprofessionals concurred with such a large posterior hole. That includes James Jenkins—see images of Jenkins (actually demonstrating this hole) in Law’s book. At my request (and in the presence of William Law and me), on November 22, 2015 at the Adolphus Hotel, Jenkins circled the site of this posterior hole on the head of Michael Chesser. This was videotaped.

C. Boswell verbally agreed that the defect extended into the occiput.

D. Finck’s report to his superior (Blumberg) cites an occipital defect.

E. Even Humes, in the autopsy report, states that the defect went into the occiput.

F. Ebersole, even after examining the autopsy X-rays, told me personally that JFK had a large occipital defect.

G. I have listed 15 clues that support such a hole (where the Harper fragment fits).

H. One clue that is extremely compelling is the presence of fat pads in the corner of F8 (the mystery photo--officially autopsy b&w #17-18 or color #44-45). Besides the ARRB consultant (forensic pathologist, Robert H. Kirschner), both Dr. Michael Chesser and I have seen these fat pads (from the abdominal incision and reflection) in stereo viewing of NARA’s color images. We have also seen other pertinent anterior anatomic features that are consistent with this interpretation of fat pads. All of these features require that F8 be mostly a posterior view, in which case the large right-sided skull defect is obvious in the photograph.

3. Did the skull defect include the parietal area?

Answer: Yes, most likely it did. At the very least, the parietal skull had experienced trauma.

A. Horne and I have proposed an oblique shot entering near the right ear. That would fit well with parietal trauma.

B. James Jenkins saw evidence of a bullet entry near this site.

C. Nearby witnesses (the Newmans and Zapruder) report seeing trauma (possibly even blood or tissue) near the right ear.

D. Actually, there is a long list of such witnesses—from November 22, 1963.

E. Such an oblique (frontal) shot fits well with ejection of the Harper Fragment. Moreover, no other shot explains the occipital hole that was widely reported at Parkland.

4. Why didn’t more witnesses see the parietal trauma?

Answer: Quite possibly the scalp had fallen back into a nearly normal position, so that this area was (mostly) covered.

5. On the lateral skull X-rays, does the White Patch cover the Harper Fragment defect at the back of the skull?

Answer: No! This is discussed (and illustrated) in detail in my e-book. I have never said otherwise.

A. Chesser agrees: “I agree with David that there is an occipital skull defect, separate from the White Patch, and I think it is probably where the Harper Fragment was located.”

NOTE: Supporting sources for most of these statements can be found in my e-book: John F. Kennedy's Head Wounds: A Final Synthesis and a New Analysis of the Harper Fragment

For my critique of Pat Speer, see: David Mantik vs. Pat Speer on the JFK Autopsy X-rays

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Please note that Dr. Michael Chesser has now joined my forum and is actively posting answers to inquiries raised by the article.

Edited by Greg Burnham

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A Response to Recent Comments on the JFK Education Forum

12-12-2015

David W. Mantik

1. Did I view the (purported) original JFK X-rays at NARA?

Answer: I have often affirmed that I did; my optical density data derive from those images. Here are supporting clues (that I saw NARA’S “originals”).

A. The so-called “burn” marks were highly wrinkled (i.e., three dimensional)—quite different from how they would appear in a copy film (i.e., they would be two dimensional).

B. The pencil line (presumably placed by Ebersole) was evident on only one side of the right lateral X-ray (that’s the image in the public record). That is proof that that film had not been copied since the pencil line was placed.

C. The 6.5 mm fake object exhibits the phantom image effect, i.e., smaller objects are visible inside it. If this film were to be copied, such a double exposure effect would not occur. Dr. Michael Chesser notes that, on the HSCA X-rays (that he saw, but I did not), the 6.5 mm image is uniformly bright (transparent). That is the expected outcome for a copied image. It is also very important to note that Michael Chesser also observed at least two metal fragments inside the 6.5 mm object—which further confirms that we saw the same X-rays.

D. The edges of the skull films (in many places) showed the typical deterioration that inevitably occurs over time, i.e., the emulsion had either already disappeared, or was actively falling off.

E. Chesser’s ODs are consistent with mine; this is a very unlikely outcome if we had examined different films. Chesser has also just stated: “I didn’t say that David had not seen the original X-rays….” He has also just sent this comment to me: “I'm certain that you viewed the originals, and you can quote me.”

F. For further confirmation that I viewed the “original” X-rays, just ask these on-site witnesses: Gary Aguilar, MD, Steve Majewski, PhD, David Poynter (NARA), Martha Murphy (NARA), or Matthew Fulghum (NARA). Furthermore, Aguilar actually assisted in taking some OD data.

2. Did JFK have a large occipital defect when he arrived at Bethesda?

Answer: Yes!

A. According to Michael Kurtz, this was affirmed by eight physicians at Bethesda. Also see Doug Horne’s list.

B. The Bethesda paraprofessionals concurred with such a large posterior hole. That includes James Jenkins—see images of Jenkins (actually demonstrating this hole) in Law’s book. At my request (and in the presence of William Law and me), on November 22, 2015 at the Adolphus Hotel, Jenkins circled the site of this posterior hole on the head of Michael Chesser. This was videotaped.

C. Boswell verbally agreed that the defect extended into the occiput.

D. Finck’s report to his superior (Blumberg) cites an occipital defect.

E. Even Humes, in the autopsy report, states that the defect went into the occiput.

F. Ebersole, even after examining the autopsy X-rays, told me personally that JFK had a large occipital defect.

G. I have listed 15 clues that support such a hole (where the Harper fragment fits).

H. One clue that is extremely compelling is the presence of fat pads in the corner of F8 (the mystery photo--officially autopsy b&w #17-18 or color #44-45). Besides the ARRB consultant (forensic pathologist, Robert H. Kirschner), both Dr. Michael Chesser and I have seen these fat pads (from the abdominal incision and reflection) in stereo viewing of NARA’s color images. We have also seen other pertinent anterior anatomic features that are consistent with this interpretation of fat pads. All of these features require that F8 be mostly a posterior view, in which case the large right-sided skull defect is obvious in the photograph.

3. Did the skull defect include the parietal area?

Answer: Yes, most likely it did. At the very least, the parietal skull had experienced trauma.

A. Horne and I have proposed an oblique shot entering near the right ear. That would fit well with parietal trauma.

B. James Jenkins saw evidence of a bullet entry near this site.

C. Nearby witnesses (the Newmans and Zapruder) report seeing trauma (possibly even blood or tissue) near the right ear.

D. Actually, there is a long list of such witnesses—from November 22, 1963.

E. Such an oblique (frontal) shot fits well with ejection of the Harper Fragment. Moreover, no other shot explains the occipital hole that was widely reported at Parkland.

4. Why didn’t more witnesses see the parietal trauma?

Answer: Quite possibly the scalp had fallen back into a nearly normal position, so that this area was (mostly) covered.

5. On the lateral skull X-rays, does the White Patch cover the Harper Fragment defect at the back of the skull?

Answer: No! This is discussed (and illustrated) in detail in my e-book. I have never said otherwise.

A. Chesser agrees: “I agree with David that there is an occipital skull defect, separate from the White Patch, and I think it is probably where the Harper Fragment was located.”

NOTE: Supporting sources for most of these statements can be found in my e-book: John F. Kennedy's Head Wounds: A Final Synthesis and a New Analysis of the Harper Fragment

For my critique of Pat Speer, see: David Mantik vs. Pat Speer on the JFK Autopsy X-rays

1. It was Dr. Mantik himself who concluded he'd been shown a copy of the left lateral x-ray, not me.

From Mantik's 20 conclusions after nine visits article:

20. On the left, lateral skull X-ray, just anterior to the cervical spine (see enclosed image) is an apparently hand drawn inscription, not previously discussed by me or by anyone else. It looks like an upper case letter T, lying on its side, with a slight separation between the two perpendicular strokes. It is the only hand drawn symbol that I could find on any of the three skull extant X-rays.... By way of comparison, at one edge of this same film, emulsion has obviously peeled up from one side of the film; short segments of this detached layer are obvious to the unaided eye. Furthermore, where emulsion has completely separated, the shiny plastic film base is easy to see. As would be expected, light transmission is greater through this single emulsion site. That the emulsion is still intact at this same site on the other side of this double emulsion film is also obvious. Now if emulsion is truly missing from one side where this hand drawn inscription appears, then the interruption of the emulsion surface should be easily visible to the unaided eye (like paint scraped off an oil painting). Here then is the chief discovery of this ninth visit: no emulsion is missing! Even when the emulsion is closely inspected using reflected light glancing off the surface at a wide range of angle the emulsion appears entirely intact over this site on both sides of the film. Both surfaces are as slick and smooth as a freshly iced hockey rink. Emulsion is neither missing nor disrupted in any way. Only one explanation is possible--this left, lateral skull X ray is a copy. The reason, of course, is that the emulsion of a copy film would be fully intact, yet at the same time it would faithfully record any areas of increased transmission (i.e., missing emulsion) from the original. A simple or more straightforward proof of film copying is unimaginable.
1 After my visit, I sent a specific letter of inquiry on this point to Steven Tilley. His letter of response is makes it clear that NARA considers all of the extant X-rays to be originals. None are copies.
1a. And it was Dr. Chesser who suggested NARA routinely showed people copies, not me.
From Chesser's article on Greg's website:
"As I was dictating my impression of the left lateral skull x-ray, and I was surrounded by 3 NARA personnel, I dictated that there appeared to be emulsion overlying the wax mark. Almost immediately one of the NARA personnel left the room and returned with Martha Murphy, and she informed me that a mistake had been made, and I was viewing the HSCA copies of the x-rays. I then asked if I could view the originals, as had been agreed upon, and these were brought out. I don’t believe that I would have viewed the original films without this happening."
2. Yikes. Any post that starts out by citing Kurtz is a post no one should have to read, let alone answer. As detailed in my online article, Kurtz made up his interviews for his last book. He not only quoted people saying things no one believes they ever would have said to him, he cited interview dates after they were...dead. Oops. As far as Humes, Boswell, Finck, and Ebersole, they all signed off on autopsy photos in which the scalp at the back of the head is intact, and never retreated from that position. Now, they said from the first that the back of the head was fractured, and that when the scalp was peeled back bone fell to the table, and this revealed a large defect stretching into the occiput. And this has allowed some to pretend they claimed or suggested or supported that there was a blow out wound on the back of the head. So, let's be clear. Mantik is not only claiming the back of the head was fractured beneath the scalp, but that it was MISSING, with a huge hole in the scalp. That the doctors thought this was bunkum is revealed both in the drawing they made during the autopsy (which is credible due to its placement of a back wound at a location too low to support the single shooter scenario),
WCT-CE397.jpg
and in the drawing they made for the Warren Commission (which is credible due to its placement of the head wound in the middle of the top of the head, whereby it could be an exit from the front or the rear).
CE388_Rotated.jpg
As far as Jenkins, he was most certainly pointing out a hole observed after the scalp was reflected, and not a hole on the back of the head observed upon the body's arrival. In 2013, and then again in 2015, in front of multiple witnesses, he explained that the bone at the back of the head between the ears (where Mantik claims a large hole of scalp and skull was located) was fractured, a la an eggshell, but still extant beneath the scalp.
Edited by Pat Speer

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First, you are committing multiple fallacies. That Kurtz's credibility is less than impeccable in some areas does not mean that everything he has ever offered should be discarded. If that were the case no one should read a word you have written either. Indeed, he wasn't David's only cite for that very reason.

Second, you are also refusing to abide by the philosophical Principle of Charity:

"In philosophy and rhetoric, the Principle of Charity requires interpreting a speaker's statements to be rational and, in the case of any argument, considering its best, strongest possible interpretation."

​Moreover, you are also discarding the Principle of Charitable Interpretation, which says:

​"When more than one interpretation of an argument is possible, the argument should be interpreted so that the premises provide the strongest possible support for the conclusion."

You attempt to use semantics in order to attack the weakest possible interpretation of David's argument rather than its strongest. This approach is quite counter-productive, as it is adversarial by design.

I tried. Now I'm done.

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There was no nastiness in my response to Mantik, so you must be all up in arms over my comments regarding Kurtz.

Kurtz is a special case. I don't know any researchers who dislike him, but I don't know any that claim to know him. He's pretty much kept to himself all these years. Which makes his last book one heck of a surprise. In the book he claimed to have interviewed pretty much everyone under the sun, and to have garnered from these interviews more jaw-dropping quotes regarding the medical evidence, and more jaw-dropping quotes regarding Oswald's relationship to the CIA, than any ten books combined. Since the release of this book, a number of researchers have expressed skepticism about these quotes, in part because so many of the subjects supposedly interviewed by Kurtz were long dead.

When I looked into this further, moreover, I found that a number of these subjects were long dead when Kurtz claimed he'd interviewed them.

I go through this in exasperating detail in chapter 19d, here: http://www.patspeer.com/chapter-19c-lost-in-the-jungle-with-kurtz

To summarize it then, Kurtz's analysis of historical events is reasonably solid when describing or dissecting the historical record, but he loses all credibility when describing events and interviews in which he supposedly took part, e.g. his supposed sightings of Oswald, and his supposed conversations with men like Richard Helms and Hunter Leake.

Edited by Pat Speer

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FWIW, I believe JFK was hit four times.

I may be out to lunch. Notwithstanding, JFK was a moving target.

The goal was to kill JFK. Not simply wound him.

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David Mantik responds to Pat Speer:

===========================

Pat Speer, on 20 Dec 2015 - 7:30 PM, said:

The point of my last post was to show that creating a good x-ray on that old equipment was very complicated--you had to find the right balance between the power of the x-ray and the length of the exposure. Mantik never addresses this in all his writings on the subject. He makes it seem like you can't have the whiteness of the white patch alongside the blackness of the front of the skull--that it's just impossible. But he fails to address that there were 3 layers of bone on the side of the skull where the "wing of bone" overlapped the skull, and that this directly overlay the so-called "white patch", and that the black area he found so problematic at the front of the skull represented but one layer of bone, and, by his own acknowledgement, missing brain.

When he did discuss the white patch in public--at the 2009 Lancer Conference-- moreover, he misled his audience. He told them it was "Speer's theory" and made this out to be the theory of a layman who understood little if anything about x-rays. He hid from them that John J. Fitzpatrick, the forensic radiologist contacted by Mantik's biggest supporter Doug Horne on behalf the ARRB, had not only rejected Mantik's findings (as Mantik admitted at the conference) but had specifically told Horne that "overlapping bone is clearly present in the lateral skull x-rays" and that "the red flap above the ear" in the autopsy photos "equates with the overlapping bone in the lateral skull x-rays." Well, HELLO, it wasn't my theory after all, but the conclusions of a forensic radiologist...that Horne and most certainly Mantik had known about for over 13 years...but had chosen to sit on until the release of Horne's book...

And it wasn't just Fitzpatrick. Forensic Anthropologist Douglas Ubelaker, upon viewing the lateral x-rays, had similarly told Horne that "overlapping bone fragments" in the "temporal-parietal region of the lateral x-rays" were readily apparent.

So why hasn't Mantik addressed this? Why didn't he compare the OD measurements of Kennedy's x-rays to those demonstrating overlapping bone fragments?

Well, when I first raised a stink about this some years back, he DID address this...in a pretty strange manner, IMO. When Greg's old buddy James Fetzer confronted Mantik with my comments Mantik assured him that an extra layer of bone would barely register on an x-ray. OOOPS. Apparently, he'd forgotten that x-rays are used to identify skull fractures, which represent narrow lines where a layer of bone is missing.

Response by Mantik (Winter Solstice, 2015)

1. Was it complicated to find the right balance between the “power of the x-ray and the length of the exposure”?

Answer: Although it is not defined, I shall assume that the anomalous phrase, “power of the X-ray,” refers to voltage. Besides the duration of exposure, though, the missing parameter in the above discussion is current.

But to the point: the answer is No! This is not complicated—one just needs to follow the standard charts (shown below). Skull exposures are on the next page in this reference book. They are not shown here, but are available on request.

See attached scan from Formulating X-ray Techniques by John Calhoun, Jr., Sixth Edition (1966). Based on my measurements of the background air (in JFK’s X-rays), I have discussed how appropriate Custer’s settings were.

See http://www.ctka.net/reviews/mantik_speer.html.

x_rays-e1450765981765.png

1. Have I addressed the fact that 3 layers of skull sometimes occur on JFK’s lateral X-ray?

Answer: Yes indeed, this is an old story. No one disagrees about this. See http://www.ctka.net/reviews/mantik_speer.html.

2. Would an extra layer of bone register on an X-ray?

Answer: Not very much. That is also discussed (in quantitative detail) at the above link. This issue was definitely not overlooked. If Speer disagrees with this conclusion then he should say so—and supply quantitative data.

3. Do the 3 layers explain the White Patch?

Answer: No, definitely not. That discussion is also an old story. See the link above.

4. Does the Dark Area represent one layer of bone?

Answer: No, it contains 2 layers. That discussion is also old. See the link above, and especially note my Figure 7.

5. Why didn’t I compare the OD measurements of Kennedy's X-rays to those demonstrating overlapping bone fragments?

Answer: Of course, that too was done a long while ago. The result is summarized at the above link.

6. Did the ARRB consultant, forensic radiologist John Fitzpatrick, reject my findings?

Answer: Yes, he did. He does not accept photo-alteration of the JFK skull X-rays, but (rather curiously) he offered no critique whatsoever of this proposal. (He merely stated that he disagreed—but how does that help us?)

So then how does he explain the 6.5 mm fragment? The answer is that he does not. He was so puzzled by this thing that, in an attempt to solve the deepest mystery in the history of diagnostic radiology, he even returned for a

second day to view this object—and he totally failed to explain it (as he admitted). My letter to him cited 12 or more points of agreement (with him), and one possible disagreement. He eventually responded, but refused to

engage in any dialogue. So the matter rests. (Both my letter and his response have been publicly displayed. There is nothing mysterious about any of this.)

7. Should we as researchers impute motive (especially unpleasant) to other researchers?

Answer: No.

8. Have the extra-cranial X-rays been altered?

Answer: No one has ever suggested this, and I have had no reason to believe so. Why is this an issue at all? After all, the radio-opaque dye from the myelogram is still visible.

9. Have new and useful questions (about JFK’s X-rays) been raised in this forum?

Answer: No.

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8. Have the extra-cranial X-rays been altered?

Answer: No one has ever suggested this, and I have had no reason to believe so. Why is this an issue at all? After all, the radio-opaque dye from the myelogram is still visible.

Very good.

Thank you, David. Thank you, Greg.

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Kathleen/Jon:

I agree that all who post add value. Getting to see/hear the views of experts like David Mantik and Pat Speer on the subject of the wounds is like receiving a post-doctoral course in the subject.

I too believe that a fusillade hit the limousine (i.e. a "flurry of shells coming into the car" as described by Kellerman) and some were simultaneous, indicating multiple shooters. Pretty amazing that Jackie was spared, which attests to the skill and precision of the shooters. It does not appear that much was left to chance. John Connally was the only collateral damage, which did not appear to be part of the plan.

Broad daylight, high-noon, sitting next to your wife ... not just a murder, but a statement.

Gene

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Getting to see/hear the views of experts like David Mantik and Pat Speer on the subject of the wounds is like receiving a post-doctoral course in the subject.

Seriously? You are equating their respective levels of expertise? If that is true, then why is one (Mantik) allowed into the National Archives to handle the actual autopsy materials and conduct scientific tests on it, while the other (Speer) is not even allowed access to the materials for lack of expertise?

To wit, David W. Mantik:

1) received his doctorate in physics from the University of Wisconsin (his doctoral thesis concerned x-ray scattering)

2) became a member of the physics faculty (as assistant professor) at the University of Wisconsin

3) upon choosing a profession in the medical field, completed his internship and residency in radiation oncology at LAC/USC Medical Center in Los Angeles

4) completed a fellowship in physics at the University of Illinois

5) completed a fellowship in biophysics at Stanford University

6) completed a junior faculty clinical fellowship with the American Cancer Society

As for Pat Speer:

1) received no degree in physics

2) was not a professor of physics

3) never completed any medical internship in any field at any University

4) completed no fellowship in physics, biophysics, or any medical discipline

Moreover, David Mantik's qualifications and expertise in correctly reading and interpreting data gleaned from x-rays is demonstrated by the hundreds, if not thousands (no exaggeration), of patients whose lives have depended on him to accurately identify and locate malignancies that were first observed by him in their x-rays.

I do not mean to criticize Speer for his lack of qualifications. I mean to criticize him for attempting to piss in the tall grass with the big dogs.

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Maybe he slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

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